Monday, November 28, 2011

An Embroidered Miniature of Charles I

I have been SO busy with school and my lovely new job (which gives me 30 or more hours a week, yay!). I am a horrible blogger. But thats ok.

Check this out: its a "museum project" I had to complete for my History of England class. It was a ton of work but it was actually really fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Regency House Party

I recently discovered a television series called Regency House Party via the book list on Stephanie Ann's blog World Turn'd Upside Down (the list is extensive and I have copied down many titles to look for at the library). According to IMDb, the series ran 4 episodes in 2004 and ran on Channel 4 in the UK and PBS here in the US.

The series follows several eligible young men and young women (accompanied by their chaperones for propriety's sake!) from the real world as they explore how life would have been for a person of their money and status back in the Regency period. Wearing period costume and eating period food, these modern folks have to follow period restrictions in every aspect of their lives for the two months at the Regency House Party.

Just like in most of Jane Austen's novels, these men and women are supposed to form romantic attachments to each other, guided by the chaperones and their own hearts. Its rather interesting to see who ends up with whom, since each person knows the "ranking" and financial status of the others. Love or money or status seems to be the question in this series just as it was for people in the Regency period.

The series also explores things that were new and fashionable during the Regency, such as Gothic novels and boxing and gas lights and plastination (which is the preservation of dead and dissected bodies). Race issues are also touched on, through the boycotting of plantation products such as sugar and the mid-series presence of a black heiress and a black performer.

I quite enjoyed the series, though the 4 hour-long episodes were not something to be watched all in one sitting. Many of the costumes worn by the people in the show were also worn in some of the beautiful and well-made BBC film adaptations of Regency-era novels. I had fun trying to spot the items that were being re-used and match them to the proper film (I was pretty unsuccessful!). The series also alerted me to several other similar series taking place during the colonial era and the Edwardian era, to name a few. I plan to watch them all over the next few weeks.

The full series is available on youtube or you can purchase or rent or borrow the DVD. There is also a companion book available through Amazon and probably other booksellers, though I didn't look too far.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The fabulous leather version of the equally fabulous silk shoes designed by the lovely American Duchess is up for the long-awaited pre-order! It began August 1 and will run until August 10. Lucky folks who participate in the pre-order will get a special discounted price of $100 per pair!

As said by the Duchess herself, "The Devonshires are a leather 18th century shoe based on museum examples from the 1760s through 1780s. They're made of top-grade dyable leather, with a beautiful, smooth Italian leather sole for dancing, and are hard-wearing, water- and mud-proof, for even the toughest of outdoor re-enactments."

Did I mention this is a limited run of only 200 pairs??? Act fast, ladies!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Today is the last day of my Creative Writing class.

I am unsure what to think about it still. On one hand I expected more excercises along the lines of writing prompts and vignettes, and on the other I am glad we each focused on a single story. The teacher sometimes seemed to be arrogant and all of her examples came from ories and authors that nobody in the class had heard of (therefore quite ineffective). I wouldn't recommend her to anyone, but I wouldn't tell them not to take her class.

Right now, I am finishing up my final reviews of my classmates' stories. My final version of my story is due on 9:30 am. SO EARLY. The class lasts from 3 to 6, why is the final due before noon!?! Ugh.

Monday, July 11, 2011


A LOT has happened.

I finished my three-week Ancient Egypt class with a high grade despite narrowly avoiding failure on that last 1000-year test (the first two spanned 200 years or less each). Sadly, that was the last Ancient Egypt class ever to be offered at my university. I’ll have to look elsewhere to fulfill that pesky Africa/Asia/non-Western credit. 

My creative writing class is drawing to a close this Wednesday. My story has evolved from a story about a mermaid living in the harbor of Reykjavik in the late 900s AD to a story about a young girl who believes in fairies in the 1940s. I feel it has changed for the better. All I have left to do is review the last two of my classmates’ stories and blow through to the finish line!
The biggest event was Under the Redcoat, an event for which I have been preparing since last August!!! I finished my gown (at 3am the night before, I might add) and wore it on Sunday, the final day of the event.

That’s me sitting in the yard of the Palace after a few hours of delightful Virginia heat:

Of course I wore my dress in a polonaise, which my good friend from the Mary Dickinson shop helped me arrange. Please ignore my terrible Target flats! I didn't even have heeled Maryjanes to approximate the look...and I forewent stockings due to the heat. A lady commented on my lack of ankle covering, though her gentleman friend seemed to appreciate it. I was most embarrassed!

I got horribly sunburned, arrested by Redcoats, flirted with Hessians, and saw/met many bloggers whom I respect and admire. Some were amazingly friendly and everything I imagined they would be. I really hope I meet the lovely lady (and her children) of Teacups in the Garden again some time. I want to pick their brains about history and literature. Other bloggers I saw only in passing…or did not recognize until I saw their posts about UTR!

More pictures from that weekend are on my Facebook…I will have to transfer them over and have a huge imagespam post. I am going to try not to ignore this blog.

My thoughts now turn to an upcoming Disney trip with my best girlfriend and her terrific mother. I am also considering whipping something special up for the upcoming 1812 bicentennial.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finished Pocket Number One!

After much ado, I finally finished the embroidery of my left pocket. It took so long due to finals week and all that jazz, but here it is: CLICKY!

Don't really feel like typing now, but I didn't want to lose my tinypic url either.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Class Schedules 2011

If you have spoken to me in the past year, you will have heard me vent my frustration with the class registration system of VCU. I had an extremely difficult time signing up for classes this Spring semester, and had hoped to have less of a time getting classes over Summer and Fall. Due to my 59 credits, this was not to happen. I have 63 according to TCC, but at VCU I have only 59. One credit more would have allowed me to register three days sooner and thus get my dream schedule with no trouble at all. However, being one credit too few, I had a hard time getting classes again.

Alas, after much badgering of teachers and much refreshing of the registration website, I now present my schedule for the rest of the year:

This summer, I will be taking ENGL 305, Creative Writing: Fiction and HIST 393, Akhenaten to Cleopatra. I am very excited for the Egyptian class! It satisfies 1/2 of my African, Asian, Other History requirement while still engaging my interests. The Creative Writing actually does nothing for my major (history) or my minor (British studies), but I needed more credits and it appealed to me. I used to write very often, but I have fallen out of the habit. So lazy am I! For some reason, VCU decided to have all the history classes at the same time on the same days of the week. How lame. I guess they only expect students to take one class? I decided to finally put in for my minor in order to pick up another class, but sadly all the English classes that suited my minor were closed. So Creative Writing it is! I hope it isn't too much!

This fall, I have a dream schedule! I managed to get into one of the most coveted classes in the department despite an extremely late registration date. Whether I got a seat through badgering the teacher or not, I am extremely pleased with myself. That class is HIST 319, History of England (Part the First), for which I have been excited since before I was accepted into this university! I really hope it is all that I am expecting. Other classes include ENGL 335, Literature of the English Renaissance (Marlowe, here I come!), ENGL 415, The British Novel of the 18th Century, and HIST 345, Civil War and Reconstruction. I am slightly worried about the British Novel Class, since it is a 400-level class and I have never taken above 300 before, although google reassures me that the numbers are largely irrelevant. The Civil War class might go if I can replace it with the Early Middle Ages, which is far more my style.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Too Long

I last posted over two months ago. What a load of fail.
Anyway, I have finally ordered my linen. Yes, I have decided to make my first gown and petticoat of linen. Linen is an affordable, period-accurate fabric and was admittedly far cheaper than the cottons I wanted. Luckily, linen comes in tons of lovely shades and if the preferred shade is unavailable, it takes dye very well, being a natural fabric and all. I chose a very pretty pale greenish-bluish color. We shall see soon enough if the color is as it appears on my computer screen!

In addition to the linen for my gown, I have also purchased linen for my long-neglected shift, kerchief, and cap. All of these are in white, of course.

There has also been a change in undergarments. Preferring the later years of the eighteenth century, I have decided to forgo the panniers/pocket hoops and wear pockets and a bum roll instead. I happened to have a pattern on hand for pockets (though they would have been extremely easy to draft from scratch) and cut them out of a white muslin I had on hand. However, since I can make NOTHING simple, I have also sketched out a lovely embroidery pattern…so my one-night project has become a much longer one, since I have neither hoop nor thread. I’m waiting on a shipment of supplies from the Joann website. Come on, people, if I had ordered from Amazon it would be here already!!! However, Joann had what I wanted; 100% cotton DMC floss (though silk or wool would have been more accurate) and cheap wooden hoops. Also, they were on sale. Can you see my excited face? :D
I just wish I had remembered to order white as well, so I could do a simple whitework vine around the hem of my kerchief. Perhaps next time?
I also have an idea for the dates of the Under the Redcoat event down in Colonial Williamsburg, where I had intended to debut my eighteenth century garb. End of June, anyone? Perhaps I will have the resources to make a second gown to wear by then. After all, it IS a three-day event and ‘twould be tacky to wear the same clothes every day. How could I ever catch the eye of a British officer that way? ;)

PS: Here is my sketch for the embroidery of my pockets!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


It has been so long since I last felt I had something worthy to talk about. Of course, I still don’t, but that’s what blogs are for, right? Rambling about one’s life in hopes that someone somewhere will find it interesting?

Anyway, I finally finished sewing my stays. Handsewing isn’t so bad afterall! I also have the JP Ryan pattern for my Anglaise in my possession. The bodice pieces are all pinned to muslin so I can try it out. The version with the seamed bodice back rather than the en fourreau version seems REALLY easy now that I actually look at the pattern pieces. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon, saying that. J There are only four or so pieces, which are very obviously too short for my torso, same as the stays. I plan to make them in the regular size and then whilst trying the muslin over my stays to get the correct fit, slashing the pieces and actually pinning them to my stays so I know the exact amount to lengthen. Plus I won’t have to get my boyfriend to lace me in and out of the stays so often this way. I would like to make a second set of slightly smaller stays sometime...a front AND back-lacing set, so I can do it myself.

I have several fabrics in mind for my gown. Mostly they are flowered cottons, even though my preferred fabric would be a luscious striped silk. As soon as I get my bodice fitted perfectly, I will order the fabric and carry on from there. Hopefully I will be able to get a couple gowns made, so I can go to weekend-long events and have a different gown for each day. Petticoats should be easy…if I can figure out the complex-sounding written instructions from my pattern. There isn’t a pattern piece, which makes sense, because of varying length and varying sizes of panniers, but I would love if someone else would do all the work in drafting, so I wouldn’t have to! :P

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Why do students find it necessary to sleep in front of the computers in the library? There is limited space, but you feel the need to have your head down and SNORE in front of your computer?

People suck.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spring Semester

I made a New Year's Resolution to start blogging and to keep at it, at least a post every week, pictures optional. See how well I've done: only one post so far and that one from last year! Let's see where I can go with this.

So as you may or may not know, I recently transferred up to VCU in Richmond. Getting the classes I needed was insanely tough! All I really need at this point are 300 and 400 level history classes…and of course at this late date everything was full! With much luck and constant checking and refreshing of the class list, however, I was able to get a full schedule: Colonial America, Two American Revolutions, History of the Holocaust, and Russia from 1860. All but the Russian history class were on my dream list of classes, so I count myself extremely lucky. Having been to class for a week, I think the Russian class is going to be my favorite!

Last Friday my school held a fair where all the clubs set up tables and passed out flyers giving information. I would love to do some clubs, but I am coming slowly to the realization I don’t really have time for them. Very disappointing! The Alexandrian Society, a club mostly for History majors, looks like it would be great to participate in, but their first meeting is this Wednesday at 8am, and what do you know but I have work starting at 730am that day. I spoke to some of the current members while at the fair and it seems that we have the same concerns (I had looked at the organization online earlier in the semester) about the seeming pre-occupation of the club’s leaders with minorities. Don’t get me wrong, learning about black history and asian history and Swaziland history is all well and good, but when the focus of every single Symposium organized by the club is Afro-centric, it gets a little too repetitive.

This reminds me of a recent outburst by a customer at a certain store that stocks only items of a single low price tag. He felt that as remuneration for “400 years of slavery”, he and other black people should be able to walk into a store and have anything they wanted for free. I bit my tongue, but I wanted to tell him that the origin of the word “slave” was from the ethnic group of the “Slavic” peoples, and if any ethnic group that had suffered slavery in the past were to get special treatment, nobody in the world would have to pay for anything and the world economy would collapse. I have a problem with people who think they need special treatment for something that is long dead and gone. But, I digress.

The SciFi “Skiffy” club and the Quidditch Club (a traveling team that plans to attend both the Triwizard Tournament and the Quidditch World Cup!) also seem pretty interesting. As I get further along in my completion of my 18th century garb, I’d like to form a club where like-minded people would get together and dress up and talk about George the Third and tea taxes and guillotines. Maybe we’d play some Vivaldi and learn to dance. I do so love Vivaldi…

Time to run off to Holocaust now. If I have time tonight I will post pictures of my near-completed stays. J