Friday, July 27, 2012

My Greatest Creation

31 Weeks

36 weeks
37 weeks

40 weeks


2 weeks
3 weeks

6 weeks

7 weeks

Baby toes!

9 weeks

Look how strong!

Super Baby and Super Daddy
10 weeks and a proud Mamma

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Birthdays and new hobbies

My computer was virus infected last week. It seems it was more of an STD than a flu though, as it apparently had claws it was digging in to unusual places, and my poor sick husband had to work extra hard to get rid the infection. Gah!
On a happier note, I had a birthday, and my lovely husband acquired a gorgeous bouquet for me. He patronized a local florist and mentioned that he had been thinking of purple roses, which she had! And she suggested Stargazers, which he knows I love. And this lovely addition of Waxflowers. I think they are quickly becoming a favorite as well; when you rub the leaves they leave a lovely citrus scent on your fingers. Well done him.
My friend Stephanie is a wonderful chef, and made me an unbelievable cake. The interior is purple marbled and lemon lavender flavored. A true masterpiece in my home.
My mother took me shopping as has become tradition for my birthday, and she purchased a length of fabric I've been coveting, along with some super cute knee high socks from Sock Dreams, here in Portland. If you like unusual socks, I highly recommend them. They even have responsible, office worthy socks if you trend toward those.
I've recently taken up crochet. The lovely Nora taught me some basics and I seem to have really taken a liking to the craft. I have skeins of crafty type yarn that is to scratchy for clothing, but perfect for things like the hot pads I've made. I think I'll hone my skills by working through the cheaper yarn, making things like this until I'm happy enough to move on to working with the more expensive, softer stuff that I had to diligently avoid looking at while in my local yarn store. You see I simply HAD to go into the shop as the cheap, plastic needle I had been using finally snapped on Friday. Woe.
Of course I must not abandon my sewing machine, and have several projects in mind that really should be completed before baby comes in May. I have some red silk to make into a Regency robe, and I now have the lovely purple stripe to make into a Regency day dress. I also need to convert some jeans I have into maternity toped jeans as I am currently working with only one pair of pants that I can wear. Oh! I passed six months last week as well. What a week!
I acquired a late birthday present for Nora, two wax sealing stamps and some flexible wax that promises to be kind to the USPS machines. We'll see. I also purchased some wax for myself, which looks lovely, I must say.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Month of Letters

Today marks day one of my particular friend Mary R Kowal's challenge to write a letter a day for every postal day in February. I am taking up that challenge, but I think I may have an edge for this particular month as my birthday and Ayyam-i-Ha both fall in February, so I'll have the pre-made excuse to write thank you cards and Happy Ayyam-i-Ha cards. Today I sent off my first letter, a thank you note to my in-laws for a lovely birthday dinner on Sunday. I've also completed a letter today to be sent tomorrow to a Regency friend, written with my calligraphy pen and dip ink. My hand writing is ok, at best, but I hope it will improve upon regular use. I've pulled out my wax and seal and will attempt to send it in such a way as to not muck up the postal system's automated machines. They apparently don't like that kind of thing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New projects on the horizon

I’ve had many projects going, both physically, and mentally. I think it must be a combination of the weather, and the exhaustion of growing a baby. I am reluctant to leave the comforts of my cozy home and would much rather, say, learn crochet, or teach a friend to make ruffles, both of which I’m doing.
I am what is called an animator for a group of Jr Youth (12-14 year olds) and we have embarked on the joys of loom knitting. They seem to be enjoying it, and I enjoy teaching them the skill. I hope to build up their confidence in it enough to convince them to join in the next knitting for homeless event, as one of the purposes of the group is to help them find ways that they can find joy in helping others.  
I’ve made a couple skirts to accommodate my changing figure, the easiest of which is drawstring. I had fun working with the stretchy material for the printed skirt; I know folks have difficulty working with stretch knit, but I seem to work fine with it, which makes me happy as I will be chopping the top off of a couple pairs of jeans to add a stretch panel to those.
A full length skirt with a stretchy
panel to accomodate the belly
Close up of the fabric

On the learning crochet front, I am rather enjoying the craft. My stitches appear to be pretty even, although I seem to be having trouble keeping the length of the scarf I’m working on consistent.  I think it must have something to do with the difficulty I have in reading a pattern, oh and the dropping of stitches. Thankfully, the further I get in the project, the more I seem to be regulating myself, so I must be learning something. And the fact that it’s wider at the end then the rest is ok, since I can widen the other end to even it out. Fake it till you make it, right?

This one is going to my friend Analeigh, as
she like quirky things. Which it certainly is.

 I’ve also acquired a scroll frame and lap stand, which I hope will make embroidery easier since I won’t have to grasp the hoop for those projects - which brings me to one of my mental projects. I’ve had the notion to start thread painting, which is basically a multimedia type of artwork on canvass or fabric. My idea would be to take Regency images, most likely from our events, translate them into a simple drawing which I can then transfer onto my fabric. From there I could line stitch and fill in with thread and/or silk embroidery. I can embellish with lace or fabric bits. I have grand ideas about this medium, you see. One of my first projects will likely be a scene translation from the next book in a Regency series written by a friend of mine. I took her up on the opportunity to read the next two (unpublished) installments and the scene will be from the one that is being published in, I believe, March. She’s moving away in May, and I hope it will make a lovely going away gift and something for her to remember us by. Unless by some crazy chance I get it finished in time for the book release (haha). Deadlines are good for me, otherwise, nothing gets finished!
Speaking of deadlines, perhaps I should set a few in order to finish some Regency projects. I have one purple suede boot complete, a matching set of gloves started, and I’ve purchased a length of red silk to make a robe from, since I couldn’t bring myself to steal Nora’s robe.  I would set a goal for next Saturday, as that is a whist party, but I think I might only have time to finish the other boot. Although I really need to finish the gloves as well as they would be most helpful in this chilly weather. And they would look lovely matched with my boots. I’ll try and finish them both by next weekend. I have a whole week, what could possibly distract me from the task?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Retreat

Although it’s been a couple days since the retreat, I’ve needed to collect and organize my thoughts.

I became so used to wearing my corset and gowns, that upon donning my modern wear, I felt strange and out of place. The clothing had the added benefit of layers, helping me to remain warm, which as anyone who knows me can attest is a feat in and of itself. Upon arrival on Thurs, we immediately set about changing into our Regency clothing and then settling into our rooms. We were happily informed that the first workshop was being delayed until after dinner, (allowing more time to settle in) and that the post dinner workshop was being cancelled unless an informal discussion was called for during free time (this made us happy so that we could socialize more). We were given seat assignments that first night, in an effort to become acquainted with new people, of which there were a great many.  I’ll pause here to note how incredibly pleased I was to see so many new faces, and to finally meet people I’d only interacted with online.  This assigned seating was an inspired idea, helping us to get comfortable with new acquaintances and prompting us to continue seeking out new people all weekend .
We were up and dressed early (for me, anyway!) for breakfast at 8 each day. On Friday I attended 3 workshops; a proper fit for your costumes, a pastry class, and a scented product making class. It was a good thing we were asked to bring aprons, as the last 2 were quite messy, but all the more fun for being so. Our hostesses were thoughtful enough to give us time to dress in evening clothes prior to dinner each day, which was very nice considering some (the more insane) of us created 2 dresses per day, just for this purpose. Saturday I attended Miss Nora’s ribbon flower making class, which was lovely and very helpful, and I think that was the only workshop I attended that day. Saturday evening we had our annual Winter Ball, complete with a dinner which we invited the general public to attend. We had a few extra guests this evening, including some gentlemen which made the dancing much nicer! Sunday was bittersweet as it was our last day. I taught a slipper making class, and attended Stephanie’s bonnet making class but only copied the new pattern onto buckram that day. I’ll get around to finishing the bonnet soon. It ended all too soon, and everyone is already speaking of when we can have another retreat! I hope it happens as it was a tremendous success.
A slew of pictures and a video for your enjoyment
Photo slide show
Auretti's Dutch Skipper

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Almost Ready!

Back to my list of things to do. I’m not sure what I was thinking, but my black dress can be one of my day dresses, so I’m all finished with my dresses. Woot! I looked back and realized I meant to work up my red in the same style as an extant gown I saw, but I got so excited about a new pattern I acquired that I forgot all about that goal. I’m also nixing the second nightgown, unless I get everything done with several days to spare (haha). I really don’t need more than one nightgown; it just was a nice thought.  I’m definitely nixing making more bonnets before the retreat. I’ll be making at least one there, so no need to make more beforehand. The weather has already turned c.c.c.cold and rainy, so the likelihood of us jaunting about the grounds is pretty minimal. I’ve finished recovering the parasol to give away and I’m mostly happy with it; it’s not quite as taught at the top as I’d like, but I really didn’t have time to take it apart and redo all the seams. Mrs. Nora has a new pair of slippers, and she seems to be in love with them. :) I also drew up my pattern for the shoe workshop I’m giving at the retreat and it looks like it will be a good working pattern. Hmm, I’ve also completed the calligraphy for the name plates which will adorn each guest’s door.

Let’s see, today is Wednesday, and I have until Thurs around noon to finish the following:

Help decorate the center for the retreat.
Mob cap
Finish dressing Robe
Boots for me
Attaching my pocket watch to a short chain to pin to my dresses
Reticule from spare parasol fabric for the raffle

Look at that lovely handle

Completed parasol

Name plates
It’s not a completely outrageous list, and I just might be able to get it done.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Turkey Red

My absence has been somewhat productive. I’m not quite as far in my list o things to accomplish prior to the retreat, but I’m making headway.

First up, I’ve dyed some muslin. One is the pale green you see here, and the other is, obviously, red. I went to a great deal of effort, dragging Nora along the way, to achieve what I think might be a perfect Turkey red (not, as you will see, the fowl we are all about to devour in a couple weeks). Now, in the English Regency, our fair ancestors apparently had a hankering for anything from Turkey and, I believe, India. They loved the exotic as much as we do. Turbans were worn ‘a la Turk’, and Turkey red was well sought after. The process of achieving said color at the time was incredibly labor intensive, and amongst the many ingredients, I believe dung and lye are the worst of them. I am not so particular as to want to achieve this color authentically, so I went with mixing modern dye baths. Our first attempt came out a bit pink, and as I already have a pink dress, and pink is obviously NOT Turkey red, I set it aside to attempt again later. Second try produced the desired red. Now the only thing I’m unsure of is, if I were to try the color again, could I just use the colors I tried on the second run, or did I need that initial pink base to achieve the right color. I guess if I ever try it again, I’ll be able to answer that better.

Somewhere in between dying fabrics I made a soon to be needed maternity corset. I thought I might be able to hold off until 4 months or so, but after tying on my long corset and being extremely uncomfortable I decided that it was a necessity by the time the retreat rolls around as I will in fact, be 4 months along by then.
So I took my Mantua Makers pattern, chopped it down to my waist and added the splits along the bottom to accommodate a growing belly. The first rendition was a disappointment; absolutely no support, which was especially frustrating as I was so very happy with the appearance of the corset.
I love this color combo
However, 2 heads are better than 1 frustrated pregnant woman, and with Nora’s help on the corset and a pattern for a drawstring chemise (instead of the non-draw shift I was utilizing) I have accomplished a supportive corset!
I attempted to fix my green silk in order to wear to the opera last weekend. I removed the poly sleeves and modesty panel, replaced the sleeves with silk and stopped there. I had not purchased a wide enough swath of silk, so the sleeves are very, very short, and not at all to my taste. I was however willing to overlook that in order to have something to wear Sunday. BUT, when trying it on the Saturday before, it no longer fit my chest. I had not realized I’d expanded that much there already. So I put it aside in favor of the purple sheer for the day, resigning myself to not getting to wear it to the retreat. And then I thought, maybe I can alter it somehow (because really, I do not have time to make another ball gown), and lo and behold, I had left myself a good 2” of leeway in the back hooks! So I am going to purchase some more silk for the sleeves and reposition the hooks and I will have a dress to wear to the winter ball during the retreat. Yay! I also fixed my pink dress that I had worn on the ship in Astoria. I can’t remember what was wrong with it now, but I turned it into a crossover which I think will be much more useful in the coming months. I think the crossover is my new go to.
My handle, and it's near perfect for a cane length
This one's for me
I accompanied Miss Stephanie R. last weekend on an errand of acquiring retreat goodies. We successfully found 2 prizes for a couple contests that are planned, one if which is a parasol I shall be recovering.
Soo, lovely, and found at an antique shop
We found an item for the auction, and the necessary for making name plates for each dorm room.
The colors! the design!
More drool worthy design!
I also found some personal items including a parasol for myself I shall be re-covering, some lovely lace gloves and a couple bottles to be used in a workshop.
A couple of weeks ago I also acquired a gorgeous shawl I can hardly wait to use.
This shall be very useful
Well, one can get an idea of the pattern
And lastly, I finished a new drawstring petticoat, as I was practically bursting out of my button up one last weekend. Oy. I MAY be able to use the button up one at the retreat, but not for much longer I fear. I love the fabric I found for this one. It is a white on white paisley print, which one can only truly appreciate up close. I utilized a new sleeve pattern which was quite large for a petticoat, so I gathered in the edge and now it should be perfect.

But I am abominably behind. I made up a little calendar, replete with what should be done by what date in order to not be frantically sewing the night before. I am a week behind. A week. This is a lot in a month of planning. This does not bode well, and must be remedied right away. I am only blogging since I finished the petticoat tonight, and realized I would be happier getting this up to date now, instead of making a super long post later. Speaking of blogging, Mrs. Stephanie J. has given in to my wheedling and posted a blog on fishus, which I shall be using as soon as I get to that on my long list :)
Oh! Nora and I also attended a highly useful hair workshop, focusing on Regency styles. I was able to use the skills acquired there to have a blissfully frustration free morning in readying myself for the opera.
Cheeky Nora
A lovely updo
Look at that perfect Regency fringe! 
Another lovely updo
I learned that I needed teeny rollers for my fringe
Hair success!
Looking fabulous at the opera
Cheers, and happy sewing to all :)