Monday, March 4, 2013

Red Brick Store Activity

Last April I was asked to serve in our Relief Society Presidency. My main responsibility would be activities. When I was trained, I was told that this year we needed to have an activity commemorating the 170 years since the founding of the Relief Society in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842. 
Well, this spoke right to me. I had been there several times. It was a special place to me. The Red Brick store holds special memories for me from my college days. 
So, I decided to try to recreate that atmosphere for our activity.
Here is the poster I made to announce it:
(So glad I saved all the brick paper from after our first Hogwart's party)
Someone from my committee found this picture. We decided to use it for the invitations. I didn't look too closely, and after I had printed off 70 copies, I realized that it was flipped- so the writing was backwards. Oh well.
We encouraged the ladies to wear pioneer (1840's) clothing if they had it. We did a bunch of door prizes, and everyone who dressed up got to enter their name for that.

We started off in the kitchen with homemade root beer (some of it even bottled in the bottles we brought back this summer from the Red Brick Store) and I made a whole bunch of mini corn muffins so everyone could try the Damson Plum jam I also brought back. It was Emma Smith's (1st President of the Relief Society's) favorite. We also had a few hard candies, like horehound, and someone thought to bring some sugar free lemonaide. That is so thoughtful. I never think of that unless I'm the one on the diet.

Here's some pictures of people eating and mingling:

After the ladies got to eat and visit for a little bit, we led them up the stairs to the stage (the RS was founded and held their 1st meeting in the upstairs room of the RBS)
Here's my friend Lesa, in front of the split drop cloth that was the entrance to the stairs.
 It was tight in there, but I think the coziness of it added to the atmosphere, and was probably more realistic to the size of the actual room.. 

We had set up more of the red brick (this was worth all the work of making them. You can see how we did that here, and the 2nd Hogwarts party here) up on the stage. It really gave it the feel we wanted.
 I'm so glad I've hung onto those drop cloths, we've gotten a lot of use out of them. The youth had a big Christmas gala at our church and used them again for that with a fireplace, tree, etc. set up. It looked beautiful.

Anyway... We had set up the tables with things that we thought you'd be able to find in an 1840's store. I brought my set of dishes, and I hate to admit it, but most of that stuff is mine. I have a lot of stuff.
Some bricks from Nauvoo and an old hurricane lantern of my mom's
some replications of early church books- hymns, Book of Mormon, Book of Commandments, Doctrine and Covenants

Here's a few more pictures: I guess I took a lot...

We had also set up 2 quilts, one for hand quilting, and one for tying. The ladies who put those together did a beautiful job on them. 
The baby quilt was hand quilted.. I love hand quilting!
The women could sit and work on the quilts during our short program
This was one of the ladies who put the quilts together
This was the other lady who put together the quilts.
This denim zig-zag quilt was really cool looking. Good thing my son didn't see it, he would want one!

We had an opening song, the Spirit of God, which was the same song sung at the opening of the first meeting, and then an opening prayer. Then I talked for about 10 minutes about the historical part of the Relief Society.

(I was a history major...don't get to use my degree too often...)

Then our newly called Relief Society president spoke about the purpose of Relief Society today

If you are wondering why I had so many of my dishes there, it wasn't just for display...

After our program was over, we had homemade pie and milk, but just using the real plates... more authentic that way, don't you think?

Well, I know what you're thinking... didn't we start out with refreshments? Rootbeer and corn muffins and candies?
Well, ya, but did you forget that a pregnant lady was in charge? Food is such a great mingler, too. Great way to start, great way to end.

This was our door prize table:

We tried to cover that plywood, but our old building didn't have enough black curtains to go around the stage, and with 4 wards sharing the same building, there was so much other "stuff" being stored up there that we had already had to move... wow.

(Confession: these were all things we found in the RS closet, so didn't even have to spend money on them, even the ribbon to wrap it with!)
Singing Hymns with my friend, Cobie. Good thing my Grandma's pioneer dress had a high waist. Guess those pioneer women had to make sure their regular clothes were also maternity clothes...


  1. Wow! What a lot of work, but it looks like such a great activity!!

  2. I was wondering where that dress of grandma's I know. I think I need my own pioneer dress. I wonder if I know someone who could make that for me....

  3. Very nice. Thanks for sharing.