Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sunbonnets, Laura Style

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm featuring prairie sunbonnets from my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations.

The sunbonnets are available in a number of colors.  I use high quality 100% cotton reproduction calico fabrics from the 1850s-1890s period.

I was a huge fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books as a young girl.  And my daughter and granddaughters have all enjoyed a "Laura phase." 

This photo of my granddaughter Madeline (now 10), was taken four years ago when we visited the Ingalls Homestead and attended the annual outdoor pageant in DeSmet, South Dakota. 

The INSP cable network recently celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Little House on the Prairie TV series, which starred the late Michael Landon as Pa and Melissa Sue Gilbert as Laura, with a marathon showing of fan-picked favorite shows.

The Little House books had a special realism for me, because I grew up on a farm in Lake County, South Dakota -- about 30 miles southeast of DeSmet (the little town on the prairie) in neighboring Kingsbury County.  And the Smith-Zimmerman Museum on the campus of what was then General Beadle State Teachers College in Madison, SD (now Dakota State University), had a full-size replica of a claim shanty--complete with old newspapers nailed to the walls.  Claim shanties were a step up from sod houses, which were often the first shelters built by homesteaders.  There were not many trees on the prairie, but there were miles and miles of prairie sod. 

I remember gathering fallen branches from our little grove of trees to build a square enclosure (the walls were only about 2 feet high) which became my "claim shanty."  It included a tree stump chair.

Here is a drawing of a real claim shanty from the Ingalls Homestead:

And here is a photo of the interior of a replica that is found at the Ingalls Homestead.

As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, I have a fascination with tiny houses.  I would love to retire someday to a tiny house by a babbling brook, hopefully somewhere reasonably close to my children.  I follow the Tiny House Blog and I have a Tiny Houses board on Pinterest. 

Here is an inside view of a modern-day tiny house:

And here is a lighter, sunnier version:

Perhaps one day I really will be able to reside in a modern-day claim shanty (with a loft filled with fabric), living simply, frugally, happily, and in tune with Nature -- just like Laura!



  1. You should come to our place, it's tiny. lol.
    Your granddaughter looks adorable in her Little House outfit! Long time ago I watched a few episodes of the series with Michael Landon :)

    1. If I am ever in your neighborhood, I will definitely pop in.

  2. The outfit is adorable. I wasn't a fan, but I like the last house pic you posted.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Linda! I like that last house, too. The skylights brighten things up--and at my age I'd much prefer stairs to a ladder--plus there's storage under those steps.

  3. I went through a Laura phase, too! My mom read us the books when we were little and I remember playing "pioneers" with my sister. We got sunbonnets from a historical society up here and we LOVED them.

  4. Great post! Loved all the info about prairie living. Love the sun bonnet too!!