Hilary Buckland was given a Mary Poppins doll when she was 8. Within days, she had turned it into Anne Boleyn (second wife to Henry VIII and mother to the first Queen Elizabeth).
That was 36 years ago. And Buckland is still doing it. The only difference is that she's doing it today with real people, not dolls.
Her Glenville business, Fashions In Time, provides gowns for brides and bridesmaids, mothers of the bride, flower girls, even grooms and groomsmen. All are in medieval, Viking, Regency, Victorian, Scottish, Elizabethan, fairy tale or Edwardian styles.
Where Buckland's fascination with period dress and early European history comes from is unknown. It has, she said, been a lifelong passion - "I've had a Tudor fixation since I was 5" - and one that she was fortunate enough to turn into her life's work.
That, however, took a bit of time. In actuality, it almost came about by accident.
After graduating from Schenectady's Linton High School, the fashion designer and seamstress obtained a bachelor's degree in Elizabethan history from Syracuse University. Then she enrolled in the University at Albany, earning a master's degree in library science.
All the while, she was making most of her own clothes. Except for a basic junior high school home economics class, Buckland pretty much taught herself to sew; her grandmother had shown her how to knit and crochet.
But, as far as her formal education was concerned, she never taught a history course; she never worked in a library. Instead, Buckland became a computer programmer and a graphics artist, primarily designing web sites.
While doing that for a number of area businesses, Buckland started to make period outfits for friends and acquaintances. Many of them were in the Society for Creative Anachronism, an organization she had joined years ago, "basically because I wanted to dress up."
SCA members delve into the Renaissance and medieval times as easily as more modern history buffs re-create Revolutionary and Civil War experiences and encampments, They all dress up and attempt to bring those earlier times back to life. To wit: the many Renaissance fairs and festivals held all over the country each summer.