Lovely Clothes, Lovely Ball: Part II (Pride and Prejudice Ball 2013)

Last post, I shared pictures of my new 1813 evening dress and other related pretty clothes. This time we’re on to photos during the ball!

Dancing a waltz, Regency style.
I believe this is a gallop.
A hall full of eager dancers makes for a joyful ball.
Just coming in from outdoors, it was nice to greet new people and see old friends.
You chat.
And then you smile for the camera.
Part way through the evening the doors were flung open and a table full of yummy refreshments was brought it.
The members of CVD about to perform a country dance called The Cottage Bonnet.
Mid-dance, light feet flying!
And we end.
After the ball, it’s nice to take a break and rest your weary feet.
Often, we have more ladies than gentlemen.
Jazz hands! (This is one of my favorite!)
Finally, we convinced some more members of CVD to come join us for a bigger group picture.
Now for the sad end to the evening. As I was walking through a partially open door my dress caught and ripped! It’s on the back in the gathers, but it’s a good 4″ rip. Now I have to fix it before April, when I’ll be wearing this dress again. I’ve got multiple methods in mind, but it’s still not a fun or exciting thing to have to complete. I’d rather be making other new clothes…

Anyway, all things considered it was a lovely evening with lovely people. It was particularly nice to see old friends, but also nice to see usual ball friends. And I thought we all looked pretty smashing, which really does add to the atmosphere. I just wish I hadn’t ripped my dress…

Lovely Clothes, Lovely Ball: Part I (Pride and Prejudice Ball 2013)

Another thing that the Nemo blizzard affected was the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers‘ Pride and Prejudice Ball. Luckily, the ball was able to be rescheduled for this past weekend, which means that I did wind up having an opportunity to wear my new 1813 red gown (my HSF #1 project) after all! And that means pictures! Lots of pictures, in fact. I think I’ll split this into two posts… To start: the clothes!

New dress!
These pictures capture the color much better than my original pictures from January.
Accessories: opera length kid gloves, white stockings and shoes, a gold laurel tiara, earrings to match the trim on my dress, and pearls.
I wore the petticoat I built to go under my 1812 square neck gown, which is apparently a little longer than this new dress, because the hem of my petticoat was sticking out! Luckily, I had a needle and a friend had white thread, so I quickly basted up the hem of my petticoat so it wouldn’t show.
Our colors match! So cute!
The back of the creative Grecian sash wrapping. It was a great way to jazz up a white dress.
More cuteness in the family.
Great hair!
Those face curls are hard to achieve without bangs. These look lovely!
I tried the face curls, but it looked foolish. In the end I really liked how my hair turned out though! Super regal!
More lovely face curls.

I thought everyone outdid their Regency selves and looked fantastic! I have to say, though, that not all these pictures are mine. Some are from a friend who caught all sorts of gorgeous moments! Thanks for sharing! More to come soon, with actual dancing and during the ball pictures.

Regency Christmas Party At The Commandant’s House

IMG_3974This past weekend, the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers participated in a Regency Christmas party for a public event at the Charlestown Navy Yard. It’s the same venue as the Guerriere Weekend we participated in a few months ago. I wore the same 1812 hand sewn gown I made for that event, which you can read more about in this post. We danced and played games while the public wandered through, watching and taking pictures, and eating the delicious cookies and punch we provided. We love that space, so of course we enjoyed being there again. I took the opportunity of the Christmas party to try out my red clocked stockings from American Duchess... they were perfectly fitting for the Christmas cheer!

Posing with the lovely tea set that was set out to add ambiance to the scene.
Playing Blind Man’s Bluff.
I was having trouble finding a person…
But I had cute stockings!
So someone had to be made a sacrifice!
Yay! I caught someone!
Another glimpse of my red stockings as I passed off the blind fold.
After the party we stuck around to get some extra pictures. I had to get a real pose with my stockings!
Then we staged a few fake scenes to take pictures for possible CVD advertising opportunities.
It was one of those “look into each other’s eyes” scenes, which I somehow get put in rather often… Anyway, I like this picture because you can see my hair. I took a long time (and a lot of bobby pins) putting it up and really liked the result.
Then I grouped some of the dancers to get some nice “as though you are dancing” shots. This is how we would begin and end a dance.
Back to scenes. Aren’t these scenes by the fireplace super cute?
Last one. Missing Mr. Darcy, perhaps?

As you can see, it was a fun Christmas gathering. We look forward to participating in more events at the Commandant’s House next year!


Finally, A Post About Dress U

Well, sometimes I am good about sharing what I’m up to, and sometimes I experience delays. This is a severe case of the delays. All the way back in June, I attended Dress U, a costume conference along the lines of Costume College (which I have never been to, though it does look like mounds of fun). I took a few hundred pictures… but clearly haven’t found time to share them with you. I originally thought to share more detailed information about what I wore and the events that were included in the weekend, but I think I’m going to take another course, and just share a gallery of fun clothes and pictures, with captions.

Boston ladies at the Welcome Tea.
Lovely clothes. I especially love that Edwardian suit!
More cute clothes and fun accessories!
Fabulous 1920s dress.
Super cute Edwardian outfit from Jenni.
Loren’s open robe and gown are lovely and bright.
All 1840s. I missed the memo on that one.
Showing off the 1840s petticoats.
Super cute zone front from Aubry.
At the Titanic Dinner.
More Titanic Dinner.
Just one of the fabulous bustle dresses worn.
Outdoor photoshoot!
Tiaras and Jampagne.
Look at all that bling!
So lovely!
Gloria’s fabulous open robe.
Amanda’s mid-19th century gown.
Shoe shot.

Picnic at the Lyman Estate

On the subject of summer picnics… We recently took advantage of a sunny Sunday afternoon to view two of the historic houses in nearby Waltham, Massachusetts: Stonehurst (completed in 1886) and  the Lyman Estate (built in 1793). We ended the afternoon with a relaxing picnic on the lawn of the Lyman Estate. Pictures often say more than words, so without further delay… pictures!

On the walk up the drive to Stonehurst, I passed this street sign, which was just begging to be photographed!
The main stair in the front hall of Stonehurst.
Also in the front hall. Stonehurst has all these cute little nooks and benches. This one was my favorite!
Then on to the Lyman Estate, which has a very different feel. Light, airy, and Grecian… perfect for Regency!
The ballroom of the Lyman Estate house.
A fireplace at the opposite end of the house. Those tiles are really neat.
One of the bedrooms upstairs. This house is often used for weddings, so I think this is often the bride’s dressing room.
A painting of the USS Constitution! Fitting, considering our summer adventures relating to the Constitution. 1805.
Lovely flowers outside the front door.
The greenhouses at the estate are open to the public year round. This was where I visited last year for the Regency Holiday Tea.
Finding an appropriate picnic spot.
Taking a turn about the garden. Isn’t this a super cute picture???

Summer Picnic In The Boston Public Garden

Summer is mostly over, here (although we did just have a nice, warm, sunny day that felt like summer…), but I haven’t finished sharing about summer picnics! To bring a little summer to you, here are a few pictures from a Regency picnic in the Boston Public Garden in August. The Boston Public Garden was established in 1837, so we were a little early, in our Regency dresses.

Laying out the simple fare on our wide expanse of blankets.
Taking a walk around the garden, you run into all sorts of fun picture taking opportunities.
I don’t think I’ve ever been to the garden in August. I have usually been there in May, when all of the flower beds are bursting with tulips. I didn’t realize they change the flower beds to tropical things! I was super surprised!
I think that is George Washington.
Not the usual Boston flora.
Look at the size of those leaves!
And hibiscus!
I feel so tall sometimes…
Squirrel? He was busy scrambling to get food for the winter.
Watching the swan boats pedal by.
It wouldn’t be Boston without the ducks and geese…

1812 Guerriere Weekend Part I: Happenings

New month = new adventures! This one happened back in August (I did a lot of things that month, so you’ll be hearing about them for awhile) not too long after Newport Vintage Dance Week, the subject of the last… ahem… ten posts on this blog. Anyway, this was another fun filled dancing adventure with the same young people that attended Newport… but in a different period: Regency.

In August, the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers performed in and occupied the Commandant’s House at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston as part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the USS Constitution‘s defeat of the HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812. The Navy Yard was also host to multiple groups of War of 1812 military reenactors from both the American and British sides who did various exhibitions during the weekend in addition to just hanging around their camps looking stylish in their military uniforms.

I wound up with about 400 of my own pictures from the weekend, a number which I have slimmed down in order to share with you only the best of the bunch; however, it’s still more pictures than is reasonable for one post. Thus, I will be doing four posts about the weekend! I had to sort the pictures somehow, so I’ve created four different focuses for each of the posts. This first post I entitled “Happenings” because it is pictures of CVD members and reenactors doing things of various sorts (as opposed to the content of my next two posts:  “The USS Constitution” and “Lounging in the Commandant’s House”). The final post will be about the all new hand sewn 1812 dress I whipped out in the week before the performance! I’ll have to come up with a fun title for that one…

You know us TNG-ers. We like pictures of us running around. In this picture, we’re running up the walk to the Commandant’s House, our hang out for the 1812 weekend.
Some CVD performers starting the weekend off with pictures!
A little bit of Wilson’s Waltz on Saturday.
And some Scotch Reel.
It was pretty fabulous that on Saturday we had live music to dance to!
Between performances on Saturday we played Regency card games including Palace and… (oh no, my mind is blanking! Someone help me remember the name of that C game! It wasn’t Convergence… or Chance… Eep!)
Getting to know a few of the British soldiers while we were preparing for lunch in the dining room.
Lunch was a Regency food potluck affair. It looked pretty appetizing and picturesque.
I enjoyed looking out of the windows and exclaiming “Look! Dudes are doing drills!”
In the afternoon we played Blind Man’s Bluff, which is super fun and works really well on a wooden floor.
It’s quite possible that running around and playing this game was more tiring than dancing.
The way the game works is that the blindfolded person has to try and catch someone else and then correctly guess who it is. The trouble is that all the un-blindfolded people can either be really quiet or make lots of noise to confuse the blindfolded person.
More CVD: this time inside the house in one of the rooms we danced in.
British are red. Americans are blue.
I think almost everyone had made new clothes for this performance, since Regency isn’t a period CVD usually performs.
There was also an unoccupied guard hut in front of the Commandant’s House that begged for pictures.
How many people do you think will fit inside?
On Saturday evening there was a ball for the reenactors. Sadly, not many of them attended, and even fewer stuck it out until the end of the night. However, the small number of people made for a cosy atmosphere.
On Sunday afternoon we had a picnic out on the lawn of the Commandant’s House.
And we ran around on the lawn.
We also went down to the dock to see the Constitution. The reenactors were also there. Here are the Americans.
And here are the British. Isn’t the Boston skyline in the background an interesting contrast to the bayonets?
The British soldiers were posing for pictures for the tourists. We took the opportunity to join them, with many cheers from the crowd.
British soldiers at ease.
There was also this little mini-cannon. Not sure what it was for.
This hat beat them all! I love these fur hats! It’s like the guards at Buckingham Palace.
The British soldiers certainly made more appearances on my camera. Here they are heading off to create new adventures.

And that is the end of Part I: Happenings.

Newport Vintage Dance Week Part IX: You Thought The Week Was Over?

I thought so, too! I was all prepared to go to sleep on Friday night… but instead I wound up staying up until about 6am! What was I doing all night, you ask? Just hanging out and enjoying the company of my fellow TNG-ers. We spent a lot of time putting on as much bling as we could find: it was kind of like the game from my childhood “Pretty Pretty Princess.” Did you ever play that game? Basically, you have to collect certain pieces of plastic jewelry to win… We were using our many stashes of sparkly historic bling instead of plastic jewelry.

You can see the state our common room was in by this point in the week after all the sewing. Only three of us made it to 6am, when we went outside to see the sunrise… and realized it was so foggy that the whole sky looked like the window in this picture. Clearly, this was not one of the people who was still awake for that adventure…

When it was all said and done we had thousands of pictures and so many really fabulous memories and new friends. Whee! I’m so pleased to have shared the silly-ness with you. I’ve got only one more post to do about Newport…

Newport Vintage Dance Week Part VIII: 1890s Soiree at Roger Williams Park Casino

Wow! I am so pleased that you are still here with me to share my copious yet fabulous memories from Newport Vintage Dance Week. The end is near, but not here yet… These pictures are from the last formal event Newport Vintage Dance Week will ever host: the 1890s Soiree at the Roger Williams Park Casino.

Built in 1896, the Casino at Roger Williams Park features a brick exterior and verandas…[in the] Colonial Revival architectural style of the late nineteenth century. The interior walls of the first floor are constructed of hand-finished wood panels, the original maple floors are intact, and details such as beveled mirrors and an emerald green tiled fireplace lend a formal and elegant air to the surroundings. Upstairs, the…grand [ball]room, with it’s birch floors, is painted in warm, rosy tones to evoke a sense of well being, a priority during the “Gay Nineties”. Plaster friezes and frescoes of cherubs and musical instruments adorn the 20-foot ceilings.

We arrived after sunset, due to a lot of last minute sewing, thus I didn’t manage to get pictures of the exterior of the building, but here is one courtesy of one of the catering companies that often does events at the venue (found via google).

The exterior of the Casino.

Now, before we proceed any further, I think we must ponder the definition of the word “casino.” To our modern minds, the word evokes a house of gambling, but that is not the appropriate definition for this particular venue. Here is Merriam-Webster’s first definition of the word: 1-a building or room used for social amusements; specifically: one used for gambling. Clearly, we were going out for social amusements! An example of the word in use (and related to our ball!): “on summer evenings dance bands would perform in the seaside casino.” So fitting!

This is Friday afternoon. The ball was Friday evening…
Getting ready to go wound up taking awhile because this decade needed lots of hair teasing and fussing from all of us to compliment the tiaras and bling!
Dressed! And blinged!
Three all new dresses that were finished the evening of the ball!
Another last minute finish.
Luckily, everyone made it to the ball wearing clothes!
I made an all new 1893 silk ball gown for this event. I received many lovely compliments, including some that expressed the feeling that I had achieved both the silhouette of the period as well as the overall style and that I really looked as though I had stepped out of the past. Yay! Goal successfully reached!
Another TNG picture. The bling was borrowed amongst all of us so everyone had sufficient sparkle.
Such a great ensemble! Adorable dress, fabulous feathers, and really awesome shoes!
A little blurry, but aren’t all the penguin-look-alikes fabulous?
Dancers at the ball. This is the upstairs ballroom.
More wonderfully dressed dancers.
A figured dance, I believe. Isn’t the atmosphere amazing?
Directing traffic around a tight turn in the Grand March. This particular Grand March went up and down stairs multiple times!
The Cake Walk. It’s a silly dance that where you prance and posture around the room, or, if you are in TNG, you might participate in the “Zombie Cake Walk.”
The ceiling of the upstairs ballroom.
Some TNG-ers dancing in the downstairs ballroom.
The ceiling of the downstairs ballroom.
The ballroom grew quite warm, but we discovered air vents in the floor!
Then we had people stand on them but didn’t tell them ahead of time about the nice, cool air… (insert sneaky laugh)
Preparing to leave. It was a long, fabulous week.

Final tally: 20 pictures out of 468 from this event.

Newport Vintage Dance Week Part VII: Glen Manor Continued

TNG: What more can I say?

At the very end of my first post about the Ragtime evening event at Glen Manor, I had just shared with you our series of pictures of the “young set” spelling out our most recent acronym: TNG. You’ll have to read the captions in the pictures of the that post to see what it stands for, because this post is moving on to pictures of the Ragtime ball. Before I start on pictures, I just have to share that this ball had the most fantastic food catered for our dinner. I don’t know what company catered it, unfortunately, but it was spectacular and delicious! We all ate generous first and second helpings and were super full… but it was SO good!

The light was fading as we returned from our adventures down by the water and on the dock… This is the back side of Glen Manor with the lights on in the downstairs rooms and the twilight sky behind.
The orchestra for the night. I believe this is the New River Orchestra.
The doors were thrown wide open to the patio and gardens, which allowed for picturesque viewing of the dancers.
This was one of the venues in which the dancers progressed through a series of small-ish rooms.
It was fun to look in and watch people dance. Because they were traveling through different rooms there were always new people to watch.
There were lots of really beautiful gowns to admire.
Dancers in the main ballroom.
The interior of one of the beautiful rooms.
The fabulous red carpeted staircase. Not quite as grand as Rosecliff or Ochre Court, but still beautiful.
Most members of TNG lounging on the stairs.
One of our faithful cameramen caught lounging without a camera in hand!
None of the young set danced very much, but there were a few times we stood up and danced. This is one of them.
And another, blurry, picture of members of the young set actually dancing.
Photographic proof the Scott the Portsmouth Policeman danced (and with one of our own young set–as well as many other dancers).
On the left is Scott the Policeman. Elsewhere are other wonderfully dressed dancers.
We may not look like we’re dancing, but we had just finished a tango. One of the few times the young set danced.
We did get up to dance the Charleston!
And we basically had the room to ourselves, which meant we could be super silly!
A silly Charleston figure called something like “shine your shoes.”
Charleston in a line. A TNG favorite.
The traditional TNG “raise the roof” Charleston! (It’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach… to Charleston while raising the roof! You should try it!)
Follow the leader. Now everyone is doing the “raise the roof” Charleston!
Double trouble! We caught one of our TNG faithful photographers and Bill Cunningham in the same picture!
I believe at least some of us are doing the “flying Charleston” in this picture.
Yay! We Charleston-ed!
We’re all laughing and smiling! Doesn’t it look like a wonderful time? Don’t you just want to jump in the photo and join us?
Two fabulous TNG-ers.
The fearless leader of TNG and the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers. What a fabulous fan! Doesn’t it just scream for sillyness?
Well, here you go! Sillyness! (Can you tell that it’s her tail? Like a peacock?)
Okay, I’m not actually asleep… but the stairs were a pretty comfy place to relax… Clearly, it is nearing bed time.
“Follow the moon path!” I said, knowing you can’t actually follow the moon path over the water. It’s a good metaphor for life though, to follow your dreams.
Last view of Glen Manor that night, with the lights on and the rising moon. So lovely!

Final tally: 72 pictures between 2 posts out of a total of 1,266 pictures total for this event. Not bad, I say.