It never hurts to recognize other people for the good they put into the world. For me, reading about the exciting events that other people attend, seeing pictures of their fabulous creations and outfits, and sometimes just sharing with their struggles brings joy. I appreciate being connected to other people who share my passion and sometimes I just want to escape and look at lovely things or share my own fun experiences and creations. Along those lines, I wish to thank Kelly, (who writes the blog Seam Racer) for recently gifting this blog a Blogger Recognition Award.
As these awards usually go, there are rules that each recipient tries to follow. They are:
Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Write a post to show your award.
Give a brief story of how your blog started.
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
The story of my blog…
I started my blog as a place to share the historical clothing creations I was making. I was just starting to attend vintage dance (and other historically clothed) events and I wanted to be able to share that fun with others. The blog was a great way to chronicle the awesome clothing I was creating as well as the amazing events I was able to attend. It also became a way of preserving memories in words as well as images–there are so many details of events that I’ve written out in blog posts but put aside in my head. It’s so nice to have a solid bank of memories to be able to review at will in such detail!
My advice to new bloggers…
#1: Find a way to incorporate pictures into all your posts–or at least most of them. It makes them less dense to read and more interesting to us visual types. Take the time to take pictures that are clear and go through them so you can include pictures that really tell a story. Of course there are exceptions–when you’ve made a beautiful thing and all your pictures are stunning, for example. Or perhaps you’ve had a very silly photoshoot and the pictures aren’t clear but they tell a great story.
#2: Comment on other people’s blogs. Express your excitement, ask questions, appreciate hard work, or maybe just let the author know you read their blog and enjoy it. You’d be amazed how much it can feel like you know someone when you’ve been blog-commenting back and forth but might have never met them in person. It helps feel like you’re part of a community, and if you ever get to meet those people in person, think about how much easier it will be to talk to them!
Passing on the award…
I greatly enjoy reading all of the blogs on my RSS feed list. It was hard to choose only 15 to pass this award along to! However, I eventually had to make decisions so I could get this post up. So here are the blogs that I would like to pass this award along to:
Happy new year! The beginning of a new year is traditionally started here with a reflection on the past year and its accomplishments. I am surprised every year by the sheer number of sewing projects I complete. This year, I was more surprised by forgetting that some of these projects happened in the last year. They seem so far away already! So, without further introduction…
I participated in my fourth year of the Historical Sew Fortnightly/Monthly, completing 6 out of 12 challenges. As is usual, my sewing output did not always correspond to challenges and with so many projects already I find it nearly impossible to add projects just to complete a challenge and for no other reason.
I attended 10 balls, 15 other events (teas, picnics, outings etc.), and 3 vintage dance performances, for a total of 28 events. A busy year, but in keeping with the last few years of activities.
Looking at last year’s ‘definitely do’ list, I’m pleased to report that I met all of my goals! I made that list much shorter than in the past in order to accomplish it. Of the 8 things on the ‘maybe’ list, I completed 3 of them. Not bad.
And looking forward… Things on the ‘definitely do’ list:
A super sparkly 1920s evening dress
A new Regency evening dress
Resizing at least one older Regency evening dress
Restyling a 1930s evening gown made a few years ago
Things on the ‘maybe’ list:
Finishing an 1814 pelisse and matching hat
A 1900s blouse
A restyled 1980s does 1950s evening dress
Updating a pair of Edwardian bloomers
A modern hardcover book print dress
A modern autumn plaid dress
A modern black watch dress
Finishing a purple/orange/red floral modern dress started last year
I’m not sure what else will strike my fancy! There are no giant projects planned right now, leaving me open to whims of fancy. Uh oh! That could be bad… You’ll have to keep reading in 2017 to find out!
Here’s to some past and future memories of beautiful places and warm sun, even though it’s winter. I hope my 2017 is full of blessings and happiness, as is yours.
It’s that time of year, when I look back at what I’ve accomplished in the past year and share what I’m thinking of for the next year. As usual, I rather forget all that I’ve accomplished until I stop to think about it. When I put together pictures for this post it’s always amazing to see how many awesome projects I completed and how many special events I was able to be a part of in absolutely stunning places.
To start, projects I completed in 2015:
Also in 2015:
I was married! (Pictures, honeymoon parts 1 and 2)
I participated in the Historical Sew Monthly 2015 and completed 6 of the 12 challenges. As usual, many of things I was sewing did not line up with the challenges. I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate in 2016, as I tend to sew the things that I have an immediate opportunity to wear or that bring me joy without intentionally matching them up to a challenge, but I’ve decided to attempt it and see how I do.
In terms of events, I participated in 25 in 2015: 6 balls, 11 other events (teas, picnics, outings etc.), and 8 vintage dance performances.
There were also things that didn’t get made, but those were all on the maybe list, so I don’t feel at all bad about not getting to them, especially when looking at all the other fabulous things I did get to making!
Looking forward, I’ve been thinking of my 2016 sewing plan for months… and already have a full sewing schedule to keep me busy through May! Beyond that, it’s a little hard to know what items will take priority without knowing what events might pop up on my calendar. Also, it’s nice to keep things a little flexible so that I can adjust my sewing level as needed throughout the year. But I can say that these projects are certain:
An 1899 evening gown with two skirts: one for dancing and one with a train
An 1880s “Starry Night” or “Starlight” fancy dress evening gown (I haven’t decided on a name yet)
A 1780s robe a la francaise (with panniers and accessories)
These other things are on the maybe-sew list for 2016:
A modern dress made of black patterned rayon
An 1850s plaid ball gown and a new smaller set of hoops
A pair of modern black capris
Finishing a modern cotton dress I started in 2013
Finishing an 1814 pelisse and matching hat
A 1900s blouse
An 1890s daytime skirt
An 1830s evening gown
Last year, I was sad I hadn’t worked on the project very much and was hesitant to let it go… But in May, I will be attending an event at Versailles. Yup, that Versailles. In France. Yikes! And of course I need clothes! (And hair! And shoes! There will be blog posts about getting things together! It will be great to have a reason to decorate and wear the Kensingtons I’ve had since 2012, but which have never been worn!)
This event is perfect inspiration to complete my court gown… except that if I ever have need of another lovely 18th century gown for an event in the US, it would be much more practical to have a robe a la francaise in my closet instead of a court gown… Luckily for me, by the 1770s a robe a la francaise was allowed in the French court except at the most formal occasions (check out Leimomi’s post about court gown history to learn more). I’ll be making wide panniers instead of modest pocket hoops, because it is Versailles, after all, but I’m feeling better about my decision to spend all the time and materials making something that might actually be worn again. So, I’ll sort of be completing the Court Gown Sew Along. The gown will certainly count in my books, and that’s what counts, right?
Being in London, I was relatively so close to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Harry Potter experience that it was very important to me that I made it for a visit! With some finagling, I managed to do it, and it was silly and fun and really quite amazing! Mr. Q and I actually split up for this day’s activities, because going was rather expensive and while he’s seen the movies once he doesn’t remember much about HP (sad, I know!). He had his own fun, though, that I wouldn’t have been interested in, so it worked out well. I took hundreds of pictures and had to comb through them to find the ones that made it to the blog.
I believe that part of my reason for liking HP so much is that there is such an immense amount of detail in the creation of the world in both the books and the movies. I love being able to step into such a well-developed reality.
There was a special interest area devoted to the costumes and hair in the show, which of course was right in line with my interests. There was also an employee talking about the wigs and hair and answering questions, which was really interesting and informative. Even some of the every day hairstyles were wigs, so that the actors would always look the same for certain scenes, even if re-filming was necessary and they had cut their hair, etc.
There were also costumes on mannequins scattered throughout the tour, but I can’t show them all! Again, there is so much detail in the costumes. Such amazing fabrics, and construction, and details…
Then there is a whole area devoted to the designing and drafting of all of the elements in the films. It’s amazing to think that every little thing had to be designed down to the smallest detail!
And there’s also concept art…
And models of different sets. These have such detail in them, but were relatively small–this one is maybe four feet across?
It has it’s own room, with a ramp that circles around and slowly descends, so you can see the castle from every angle. This is what they used to shoot some of the outside scenes of the castle.
Finally, you end up in the HP store. Mostly overpriced, in my opinion, and I really didn’t need stuff to take home with me. If I was going to be tempted by anything though, these were them.
And there were so many other really awesome things I didn’t include pictures of! If you like HP and you’re in London, I highly suggest visiting. Of course, if you don’t like HP, I wouldn’t spend the money, because while you can still enjoy the attention to detail, if you don’t know what all the things are it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining and fantastic.
Anyway, here’s the last picture–from the green screen broomstick experience!
Back to wedding related things for a few quick posts, here are a a select number of pictures from our honeymoon! We went to Edinburgh, Conwy (Wales), and London and had a glorious time. There are so many things to see and do that we couldn’t take it all in. By the end we had been museum-ed out and were ready to go home, which was a nice feeling actually, because we weren’t lamenting the fact that we had to return to real life.
One of the highlights of our entire trip was getting day-of tickets to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This amazing annual performance of military bands, music, and dancing from around the world brings together thousands of people and is televised in more than 40 countries! It was suggested to us by our local host and was downright jaw dropping! The performances take place literally outside the gate to the historic castle and involve, amongst other amazing performances, hundreds of bagpipes and bagpipers wearing so much tartan!
Conwy was lovely and small. We could walk across the town in about ten minutes, had a variety of really neat historic house and castle museums to visit without being overwhelmed, and even got to hang out on the wharf for a local Saturday festival with live music. And Wales was nice and green, reminding me very much of the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. I highly recommend it!
It only took about a day and a half to see everything inside the town walls of Conwy, so we took a day for a little trip not far outside town to Bodnant Garden. It’s an amazing garden that’s been tended for over 150 years with plants from around the globe. There are all sorts of different types of gardens and forest areas to explore and it was easy to spend hours roaming around.
Our final stop was London, where we went to shows, got thoroughly drenched in rainstorms almost every day, went to many museums and sights (The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert, The National Gallery, Portobello Road, The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s, to name a few), visited famous stores (Liberty of London and Fortnum and Mason, for example), and generally stayed super busy. We also discovered a super yummy vegetarian restaurant called Tibits in a lovely, quiet little alcove off of Regent Street, which was perfect for hanging out as the sun set and people watching while eating really amazing food. So amazing, in fact, that Mr. Q bought me their cookbook for a birthday present (with a hint from me, of course)! I haven’t had a chance to make anything from it yet, but I look forward to having the time!
And I took a day while we were in London to have a special day trip that I haven’t mentioned yet… A Harry Potter day! I’ve got enough pictures to do a whole post just for that, though, so watch out. I’m really looking forward to some hang-around vacations vs. the go-do-everything style of our honeymoon, though I don’t regret getting to visit so many amazing things and places! It was quite a memorable trip.
I did my best to narrow down our wedding pictures to the best of the ones that most share the spirit of the day and the special details I spent countless hours working on. As it is, this is still going to be a long, picture-heavy post! (All but one of these photos was taken by our professional photographer. Please do not share these photos without a link back to the source.)
Let me start by saying that I wanted an elegant wedding with a cozy feeling. I’m a unique person and I wanted our wedding day to be a mix of the traditional details I care about (and not those I don’t care about) and special unique details that express our personalities. I was also surprisingly pragmatic about what details were worth spending money on and how to achieve what I wanted without breaking the bank.
(No, I didn’t make my dress. I bought it on a super sale for just $99, which is pretty spectacular considering I only wore it for about 5 hours. It was rather an adventure to find my size and involved calling all over the country–my dress wound up being shipped to be from Utah, but it fit perfectly, with only a small hem and a slight alteration to the halter closure being necessary. Yay! A good curly haired friend was able to mark the alterations for me and then I did them myself. It was definitely a blessing to find a dress I liked that came under my hopeful $100 dress budget. A bride could so easily spend so much more! After the wedding it was whisked away to get cleaned and go to some other new home by one of my aunts, who I’m sure will make sure that some other bride is able to reuse it. Yes, I was surprised at myself for not feeling particularly attached to my dress, but the dress isn’t the important part to hold on to.)
Our guests count was about 35 people from around the country and the world. We were blessed to have most of them join us the weekend before the wedding to hang out and get to know each other, which was a blast, but terribly exhausting! It made for a wonderful feel, though, for the guests to know each other ahead of the wedding day.
We were married on a Monday, at a morning ceremony followed immediately by a brunch reception. It was an early morning, with hair and makeup appointments starting at 6:30am after a long weekend without quite enough sleep each night, but after getting some breakfast I felt ready to take on the day.
Luckily, it was sunny and beautiful with no clouds as far as I can remember. In fact, it was hot! We were all sweating during the ceremony and trying not to fidget as the sweat rolled down… we got the occasional breeze, which was lovely, but it was nice to get inside and sit down for some brunch!
The brunch reception was followed by a surprise tour of the venue, so that guests (and I plus the wedding party!) could learn about and appreciate the history of the venue. I picked it not only for its beauty, but also because of my love of history and beautiful historic places, and it was important for me to share that with the guests.
After some cake and toasts, it was time for us to make a grand exit to the airport to catch our honeymoon flight (amusingly, we took a car service to the airport, had some time before our plane left, and as we were nearing boarding were greeted by guests we had just left behind at the venue who were also arriving at the airport to catch flights, including my maid of honor!).
If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you might remember that Mr. Q and I were competitive ballroom dance partners for about eight years, so instead of walking to the car we danced our way down the path! At the end of the path our guests waited with small bottles of bubbles to send us on our way.
And of course, there were pictures of our very small bridal party: Mr. Q’s father was his best man (which was lovely, because Mr. Q’s grandfather had been his father’s best man at his wedding to Mr. Q’s mother) and my best friend of 25 years was my maid of honor. It was incredibly special to have both of them join us–they each travelled the farthest, from the Philippines and from France!
There were also gorgeous pictures of Mr. Q and I together as well as each of us alone, as you would expect from wedding pictures. Meadow Brook has three lovely gardens to choose from for a wedding ceremony: we picked the Pegasus Garden, which has the statue of pegasus in it, but there is also a rose garden and a lovely rock garden, where we were able to get pictures as well.
We purchased limited amounts of flowers to keep costs down. Corsages and boutonnieres for parents and grandparents, a boutonniere for the groom, and only two bouquets, one for me and one for my maid of honor. We repurposed the bouquets to decorate our head table so we could enjoy them and then we gifted them to my grandparents, who were local and able to enjoy the flowers hopefully long after we had flown off on our honeymoon. (Gosh, that bouquet was heavy! I didn’t realize it would weigh so much. But its was lovely. The colors fit perfectly with my wedding colors and I loved the mix of textures that our florist achieved with regular stock flower varieties.)
There were a few very small not-quite-perfect things on the day, but most things went smoothly and I have nothing of importance to complain about. It was a beautiful venue on a beautiful day that we were able to share with all the people who are most special to us and who had gone out of their way to make it to the wedding. What more could we have asked for?
I was off getting married to Mr. Q! Final planning and execution rather dominated my life for a bit and then it was off for our honeymoon. Settling back into regular life didn’t take too long, but opening gifts, writing thank you cards, life errands, catching up on reading other people’s blog posts, and starting new sewing projects (because of course that didn’t take me long!) has delayed my return to posting. Don’t worry, when I have pictures of the wedding I will share, but in the meantime I have exciting pictures of the usual historical clothing variety to share, partly because I was busy with historically clothed events right up until less than a week before the wedding and partly because I’m already back to sewing more things and attending more events. Regularly-topic-ed posts will return soon!