Saturday, June 13, 2015

Embarking on a new Adventure

Mademoiselle de la Croix needed a new covering.
June 11, twenty-fifteen

For my seventh birthday I received my first sewing machine and have been sporadically stitching up a storm since. Yes, sporadically. Its one of those things that happens when I become inspired by something I've seen but don't want to pay the exorbitant price.
Attempting to drape mademoiselle without damaging her original covering.
 OK so, I've never actually sewn clothes, unless it was a gathered skirt with an elastic waist or pantaloons, and have mostly made pillows, drapes, and little crafty things. If the truth be known I'm intimidated by the thought of sewing a zipper, attempting to make button holes, and where in the world to place a dart. Other than that I'm pretty comfortable sewing just about anything.
About a year ago I discovered costume blogs. Did you know there were such things in the blog world? Neither did I, but let me tell you, I was so excited to find this other realm that I became completely obsessed. I merrily hopped down one rabbit trail after the other in search of costume inspiration, and the more rabbit trails I hopped down the more excited I became. Finally I'd found that there are other people on this planet who enjoyed playing dress up as much as I.
Mademoiselle's original covering is coming apart at the seams so I added a bit of trim.
 About the same time I started volunteering at a local historic park and needed an appropriate costume to wear...that's when my research began!!  While looking on-line for patterns.

When Mademoiselle overheard me having a conversation about this new adventure she begged to be included. Of course I was hesitant at first, as she tends to be a costume hog and covets all my best pieces, however after much convincing on her part I agreed that she could come along for the ride...or more appropriately, the fittings.
Mademoiselle spied a piece of lace in my bin and thought it would look lovely around her neck.
We would have to start with a new covering since her old one was stained and embedded with rusty nails. And then there is the other problem...while she and I were born on the same year and are both the same size, as you and I well know, a size 10 then is not what it is now.
Do I expand her waist or diminish mine? This is a difficult question to answer so we will ignore it for the time being and carry on with our plans.
I have this gorgeous Edwardian blouse and once Mademoiselle's new covering was stitched together and sewn in place she insisted on trying it on. HA! it didn't fit her sorry Mademoiselle!
I bought it on a whim, knowing I would never be able to wear it but loved all its delicate details. The inside lining is made of the most fragile silk and is in terrible condition while the outer lace is perfect except for one spot on the neck and a few rust marks from the hooks.
It has a linen flounce around the lower edge.

Detail of the front yoke.

The sleeve has a slight curve to the lace.

So the two of us began our adventure and this is our current project. It's based on this pattern and for some insane reason I decided to do my own thing by reworking it. Uhm, not too smart on my part. I turned it into a wrap dress to eliminate the side zipper, which caused more problems than I ever imagined. Plus the pattern was too large and since I'm just learning to fit garments I had to modify it yet again, which explains the drawstring around the waist.

Am I done with the dress (or should I saw we)? Not quite, but we're almost there. I still have to make a belt, add some lace to the sleeves, and figure out what to do for the collar. For now the White Ladies Edwardian collar will suffice.

After so many years Mademoiselle was more than excited to have the stolen collar back from the White Lady, but why the two of them insist on wearing it backwards is beyond me. I guess it's because they can't see :-D.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wandering in the Desert

 June 3, 2015
When I was a child my family spent many weekends exploring old ghost towns, abandoned mine shafts (don't worry, it was only the men who explored those), and following dry washes in the desert. Those were lovely times, bouncing about on the backseat of the old English Land Rover, while trying to scale small rocky embankments blanketed with shifting sand.
 We made many discoveries on our weekend outings, but none as memorable as our recent trip to Castle Dome Museum near the foothills of Yuma, Arizona.

The museum consists of 23 buildings. Some original to the ghost town while others are reconstructions typical of the era. They appear to be haphazardly strewn about with little rhyme or reason, and yet there's a certain charm to each ones placement amongst the cactus and rugged desert landscape.
Many of the buildings serve as mini museums filled with beautiful old artifacts found while wandering in the desert.
One building in particular is the general store stocked with old canned goods, linens, and some of the latest fashions of the late nineteenth century, all faded and time worn.

As I stood there gazing into the display cases I imagined the women who would frequent the store each week to make their household purchases.
Would they have a child on one hip and another in tow?
Would they have a smile accompanied by a radiant glow?
Or would they be tired and bent from the heat of the desert sun.
 Perhaps there would be enough money left to buy a new pair of shoes for the baby or a bolt of fabric for a new dress or maybe a pitcher to hold wildflowers...
Or perhaps there would be nothing left at all.

As I walked out the door of the old general store I began to ponder how often I romanticize the past with all its beautiful architecture, clothing and customs. How easy it is to daydream of being a Victorian lady clothed in petticoats and flowing gowns. How I've often said, "Why did the Lord choose to place me here instead of there."
(And yet even as I think on those questions I know that this is where He has placed me
and that this is the time that He has appointed for me). 

We continued to explore the other buildings...a church... a diner...and a hotel that was found by the couple who own the museum. One morning as they were taking their daily walk they happened upon it sitting in the middle of nowhere. Since it belonged to no-one they took it apart board by board and relocated it to the museum. Who says you can't find anything wonderful while wandering in the desert.

After several hours of exploration the desert heat was becoming unbearable so we decided to drive back into town and leave the old ghost town behind, but hopefully we'll be back another day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

So, where was I?

 February 11, Twenty-fifteen
It was little over a year ago. Hubby and I had just returned home from a trip to Vancouver, B.C. when I decided to get back to this little blog of mine. I was in the middle of drafting a post when the unthinkable happened…Hubby had a heart attack…not one but two. In all my 53 years of life it had to be the most frightening event I’ve experienced.

He’s always told me he was going to die young, but as his wife I just collected those little comments and filed them away deep in the recesses of my memory. I mean really, who sits around thinking about their death? I don’t, do you?


From that day the hours, weeks, and years have quickly slipped by. I can’t tell you where they’ve gone or what I've done with them…
Wait! yes, I do know…


I completed my Graphic Design course, started playing the  lever harp, began volunteering at an Historic Park (where I get to play dress up…happy me), and have been trying to get my house in order. Not having much luck with that one and I’m beginning to think it will never happen in my life time! OI!!
And so, we find ourselves 1-1/2 months into Twenty-fifteen, wondering what sort of adventures are in store for this new year? Many I hope, and I hope to be back to this little place in the blogosphere…oh how I have missed it and missed you!

   And in case you were wondering about the Hubby, his first heart attack was at home while the second was in the ER and he lived to tell about them both…thank you Jesus!!!

(All images were taken at Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens, San Diego, CA)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

They never did make it to Victoria…


Do you remember the old Diorama at Knott’s Berry Farm? The one where a family is crossing the plains, in a covered wagon, and the little girl says to her mother, “Momma, I’m hungry.” I know Dear, just go to sleep,” her mother replies. Then the narrator in his deep booming voice comes on to say…”They never did make it that night.” Well, that’s how I felt about Victoria…we never did make it to the Inner Harbor, even though we made it to the island.


We had a little bit of a problem with our GPS that kept sending us round and round and round in circles. Our plan was to meet up with some old friends, who had relocated to the island several years before, after we had visited Hatley Castle for my garden fix.
The day was so hot and I had dressed for cooler weather...much cooler. OI was it hot! So hot that we only stayed a very short while at the castle. After a brisk walk through the rose garden I found myself heading back to the parking lot striping off layers of clothing as I went. First the boots next the stockings, then  I dropped my petticoat on the pavement, and if I could’ve  taken off my sweater, I would have, but I didn’t for fear of frightening the Canadian geese.

We stood there by the car waiting in the sweltering heat, until our friends finally arrived.


Did you know Victoria has traffic jams? Neither did we! So, instead of heading into the traffic we went straight to our friend’s house that over looks the sea. Such a beautiful sight to wake up to each and every day.
We had such a delightful time and were taken such good care of that I would have been perfectly happy to spend the rest of my holiday visiting with them, however we had a room waiting for us in Vancouver and a concert to attend. Oh yes, a concert, which was part of the reason we were there in the first place.


You see, when I originally decided to take this little Holiday, I thought it would be fun to plan it around an event. And that event just happened to be a Loreena McKennitt concert that I THOUGHT was on Vancouver Island. But as it turned out it was on the mainland. So at the very last minute all of our arrangements had to be changed.


The original plan was to fly into SeaTac Sunday morning, rent a car, hop on the Ferry, and spend four days at a lovely Inn on the island. The concert wasn’t until Tuesday evening so we’d have plenty of time for sight-seeing and visiting with our friends while we were there. In the planning…after I booked our flight and hotel…I decided to print out an itinerary and map out all the locations so we would know distances and how best to spend our time. The concert was to be held in the Queen Victoria Theater that I thought must be located behind the government buildings along the Inner Harbor. As the map route came into view my panic rose as I realized the concert was 3 hours and a ferry ride away from our hotel…Nooooo!


In a panic, I quickly picked up the phone, and started canceling reservations to make new ones closer to the concert hall. What a pickle I found myself in! I certainly wasn’t looking forward to telling the hubby about my huge blunder and how everything had to be cancelled as well as re-arranged.
So our four days on the island turned into one, we added another Ferry ride and booked a hotel on the mainland.


We ended up spending Monday night at our friends house and a quiet Tuesday morning visiting before driving to the ferry terminal and heading to Vancouver.
And so our journey continued…

Monday, September 2, 2013

On a Holiday…


August 11, Twenty-thirteen,

hubby and I decided to set out on a long awaited adventure. One that I have been dreaming about for several years. A little Holiday that would allow us to soar high above the clouds, quietly glide through picturesque islands, swathed in mornings misty fog, then safely land on distant shores…hubby’s homeland…Canada! I don’t know why, but this country has stolen a piece of my heart. After years of living in the Big City, I’ve decided I’m not a Big City girl. I much prefer the wild spaces where the mountains reach the sands that tumble into the sea.


There’s something to be said about the openness of the sea and the calming effect it has on ones soul…at least on mine. These past few years, I’ve felt a certain restless of heart, that seems only to be tamed by the raging sea. I am both at home and at peace, while reminded of the smallness of who I am and the immensity of the God that I love…and Who first loved me.

(Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen.)


We had been here a few years before and I was captivated by its rugged natural beauty. Something we rarely see in a city made of concrete and steel.


(These images are from our Ferry ride starting in Anacortes, WA and ending in Sydney B.C.)


We sailed into Friday Harbor Monday morning…


and I was sad to see that this beautiful Victorian had been torn down and replaced with shops. I guess progress continues its march across the landscape, even in town’s that appear not to be touched by time.


We continued on our journey until we came to our destination…Sydney B.C.


along the road we passed many many signs as we drove into Victoria…which we never saw. But that’s a tale for another day.