Saturday, October 30, 2010

Perhaps...

Perhaps...

Perhaps I was wearing my favorite denim circle skirt and brown sweater that day as I went out to the goat pens to meet a buyer interested in our Boer buck, Chauvelin.
Perhaps, on being asked "Does he lead well?", I confidently and innocently replied; "Oh, yes, he was raised out in the pasture on a lead rope with my little sisters - he's very well behaved."

Perhaps I was then unceremoniously plunged into an unprecedented, tremendous, terrifying, half hour long war, attempting to load said well-behaved buck into the buyer's pickup.
Perhaps, just perhaps, I named said well-behaved buck Citizen Chauvelin for a reason, after all. Other than the fact that I was reading El Dorado around the time I named him. Impair de poissons. Le Terrorist. ;D

Perhaps you have never experienced the physical and mental anguish of wrestling with an animal notorious for it's repugnant aroma, emanating fruity wafts of repulsive barnyard bouquet, and liberally splashed with that nameless, thick, odorous muck that accumulates after several weeks of rain in a goat pen.
Perhaps, oh, perhaps, that vile caprine creature was not the only thing liberally splashed with deplorable muck by the time I tackled, desperately sized, and bodily cast him up into the bed of the truck.

Perhaps I was never so glad in all my life to see someone leave our property as I was to see that whimsical, cruel, amused buyer go down the drive with that buck safely fastened to a sturdy rope in the bed, their cash safely ensconced in my now besmeared and besmelled skirt pocket.

Perhaps I astonished my poor mother by charging through the open front door, thrusting the paper bills into her hand, and crying UNCLEAN!! UNCLEAN!!! whilist racing for the shower.

Perhaps copious amounts of soap are the epitome of luxury, lavender is akin to a miracle, and I will never again give my word of honor about a goat.

Perhaps all of these things are true.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fishing For Lake Trout...

Round Lake at dawn.

Round Lake at Dawn

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Girl With Pears

~Girl With Pears~

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dress Design for Shabby Apple Dare to Design Contest

I very recently discovered a wonderful contest via Miss Atlanta, and as I am intensely keen about designing, love contests, and already have a sweet little spring-y dress all designed, sewed, and photographed, I am now taking the opportunity to enter the Dare to Design Contest!
 
Dress design for Shabby Apple Dresses.
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 
 
This fetching frock is just the thing to don outdoors as Spring makes her charming debut.  
Timeless, retro-inspired styling incorporates flattering and feminine lines with the subtle charm of a crisp middy collar and dramatically pointed cuffs, creating an ensemble replete with classic, effortless grace.
 
 
 
 ~*~ Design Features: ~*~
 
*Figure flattering princess seams 
*Removable self-fabric belt with matching buckle
* Hidden side zipper maintains smooth back silhouette, while faux button front showcases three whimsical buttons
*Unique, face-framing middy collar
*Dramatic, retro-influnced pointed cuffs
*Rounded pockets are topped with a band, while small pleats add a distinct, charming detail
*Waist-slimming, swingy circle skirt
{petticoat is optional}
 
 
 
This dress lends itself to a variety of fabrics and materials, but I think a winsome gingham check in soft, springtime shades of cornflower blue (modeled), rose pink, buttery yellow, lavender, or leaf green would be perfect for a captivating, classic look easily spanning the warmer seasons.   
 
~Back view
 
~Pocket and cuff detail
 
A very warm thank you to Shabby Apple for hosting this wonderful contest!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Historical Costume Inspiration Festival - The Retro Sailor Dress

Presenting my final entry for the fabulous Historical Costume Inspiration Festival!
 
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 
 
The Introduction
 
I created this dress to be my sewing project for 4-H this year, and I am happy to say that it won Senior grand champion!  Was I ever surprised - I am not exactly known for my patience in often long-drawn out trials of sewing, and I honestly didn't expect my project to do so well with the judges;)  It did, however, and I al so made 2nd place in garment modeling!  
Wonders never cease=)
 
Here I am at the County Fair in August, shortly after the 4-H fashion show ~
 
 
The Inspiration
 
I knew I wanted to make a 1940s-50s styled outfit for 4-H, but I couldn't make up my mind what style to go with:)
I first gleaned inspiration for the dress when I watched The Story of Seabiscuit (Shirley Temple) with my little sisters. 
 
I absolutely love Shirley's dress here - it reminds me of Smucker's jam, and picnics, and darling little shoes, and everything vintage and sweet=)
 
Then when I saw the dress Debbie Reynolds is sporting in this photograph - I fell in love. ;)
 
 
Smart little pointed cuffs, a sailor collar, and a small check fabric with a lovely drape were all elements I incorporated into my outfit from these pictures.
 
I based the main pattern off of a vintage Simplicity blouse pattern used by my friend's mother when she was little.  The skirt piece is derived from my favorite half-circle skirt pattern, worn with a muslin petticoat (also made by me) underneath for the correct silhouette.
The belt and buckle are covered with matching fabric and sewn entirely by hand.  I drafted the sleeves, as well as the pattern for the pointed cuffs, and the three blue buttons are an antique find. 
 
The Costume
 
The suitcase is one of my most prized possessions - it belonged to my dear great-grandma (lovingly called G.G. by all her great-grandchildren).  A spunky Irish girl and the eldest of seventeen, Rose met and married a handsome American solider (my g-grandpa Logan) who was on leave in london after being shot down by German snipers in the French countryside in 1945.
 
She came over from England in 1946 as a war bride, meaning she journeyed all the way to America solo to meet her husband after the war was over.  Though not absolutely certain, I like to think this valise made the journey with her, all that brave and hope-filled voyage.
 
I am planning to make several posts in future sharing the amazing stories, fascinating memorabilia, and darling photographs entrusted to us by G.G, who passed away only two weeks ago after a short battle with cancer.  
This post is dedicated to her.
 
 
My gloves and sweet little handkerchief were a gift from a very dear friend, procured at an antique shop in California.
 
My hat, also bequeathed to me by my friend, is a cunning little affair of pleated blue velvet, held on with pearl-head hatpins.  I love the sailor-inspired buckle detail on the navy pumps=)
 
 
Posing with Rosie
 
 
I sincerely hope you enjoyed your visit - please do come back soon!
 
Yours, lovingly, 
~Me~
 
 
P.S. Many thanks to Ellen for her talented (humorous) and dedicated assistance as a photographer!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Historical Costume Inspiration Festival - The Marguerite Blakeney Gown

I am very pleased to present my second entry for the fabulous Historical Costume Inspiration Festival!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The Introduction
It all started back in January.
I was planning a "Literary Tea" for my eighteenth birthday.  The girls and mothers were all to come dressed as their favorite literary or historical character, keeping their alias a profound secret - only to be revealed during a game of charades before tea.
I knew I must go as Margurite Blakeney, a heroine I greatly admire (to put it lightly).
However, Margurite was not only known as "the cleverest women in Europe", but was quite a fashion plate, being the wife of London's greatest dandy, Sir Percy Blakney, Bart.  
Not having time, money, or materials to work with (or so I thought), I was quite in a quandrary as to how I would create a costume worthy of so lovely and elegant a charecter.  
Nevertheless, human nature asserted itself all the more in the face of adversity, and I decided to go ahead.
So began one of the most enjoyable sewing experiences I have ever yet been blessed to work on.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The Inspiration
I began ransacking my stash, looking for something suitable in the way of material.  Nothing.  Not yet despairing, I started researching various resources online, hoping perhaps to find a gown or two to spark my imagination.  Long story short, I did.
I found this.
Oh, yes, I was quite inspired, by this time!  I started to make various sketches of my gown based on this one, carefully breaking down the garment in my mind's eye, deciding just how I was going to re-create this bit of loveliness, not having a pattern.  Still, no fabric was forthcoming.
I showed the picture to my Mother.  "You know," she said.  "That material reminds me of curtains. . . "
Now I knew.  My aunt had very recently sent us a box of misc. things, including a wild jumble of some old, dark green curtain/upholstery fabric - and a luscious gold brocade.  
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The Costume
 
I could not have finished this project without my Mother - a very accomplished seamstress, by the way!  She used me as a dress form to get the general shape of the jacket.  We then transferred the shape to newspaper, drafted the sleeves, and the gown started to take shape. 
Of course, I must have a hat with such a dress.

When I had cut out all of the pieces for the gown, I found that I had exactly enough material left to cover my 18th c. low crown straw hat.  A few roses gathered from the remains of the skirt trim material, a bit of white lace, and a handful of peacock plumes graciously bestowed by a kind neighbor completed the millinery.  I sewed two grosgrain ribbons to the inside of the crown, to be tied on under the wearer's hair, to secure the hat.  That, combined with a hat pin in the front, served to hold it put quite nicely. . . most of the time!
I plan to post a tutorial in the (near) future, showing just how I covered the hat.
"Is my hat alright?"
 
Blue skies, dreamy gowns, and a photo shoot with a very dear friend - Bliss
 
I just adore shadow pictures=)

Aussi longtemps, mes chéris!

Let us not say goodbye, but as the French say it, "Au Reviore!"
Yours truly,
~The Lady Marguerite Blakeney~
{P.S. A heartfelt thank you to Alex and Aubrey for devoting your time and expertise to help create such a wonderful photoshoot!}

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Historical Costume Inspiration Festival - The Bonnie Lass Ensemble

I'm so very excited to finally post my first entry for the fabulous Historical Costume Inspiration Festival!
 
Without further adieu, I am pleased to submit for your perusal. . . 
 
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 
 
The Introduction
 
Firstly, gentle reader, I must apologize for feeling the necessity of giving an introduction.  It cannot be helped, however, so I pray you to bear with me for the interval of elaboration on a subject dear to my heart.  
 
I must confess something about myself which may help you understand how very special this costume is to me.
 
I am infatuated with Scotland.
 
 
The Inspiration
 
The music , the ballads, the culture, the foods, the accent, the heros and heroines, the histories, the landscape, the mist, the plaids, even the very heather on the hillside served as an inspiration to me for this costume.    
 
My paternal great-grandmother's maiden name was Kitty Stuart, of the little Scottish hamlet of Pitlochry. 
I have a picture of Kitty, c. 1920, dressed in the full highland regialia of pleated tartan plaid, grouse-foot pin, and tam, dancing the fling.  You can only imagine my rapture at finding such a picture!  I regret exceedingly that it is at present unavailable.
 
It is one of my dearest dreams to someday make a pilgrimage over the water, to meet the people of my clan name, and to see with my own eyes that romantic, mist-laden little island of which I am so justly proud.
 
 
 
Other inspiration for this project includes the timeless, romantic scenes in the pages of Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy and The Lady of The Lake, The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter, and In Freedom's Cause, by G.A. Henty.  
 
My dear friend and fellow Scotland enthusiast, Tasha, and I even have Scottish nicknames - mine being Margery Stuart - Margery after the charming, spirited heroine of In Freedom's Cause, and Stuart being my own clan name.
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
 
What though no rule of courtly grace To measured mood had trained her pace,--
A foot more light, a step more true, Ne'er from the heath-flower dashed the dew;
E'en the slight harebell raised its head, Elastic from her airy tread:
What though upon her speech there hung 
The accents of the mountain tongue,---
Those silver sounds, so soft, so dear,The listener held his breath to hear!
A chieftain's daughter seemed the maid; Her satin snood, her silken plaid,
Her golden brooch, such birth betrayed.
And seldom was a snood amid Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,
Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair Mantled a plaid with modest care,
And never brooch the folds combined Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy, You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;
Not Katrine in her mirror blue Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confessed The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danced in her dark eye,Or woe or pity claimed a sigh,
Or filial love was glowing there, Or meek devotion poured a prayer,
Or tale of injury called forth 
The indignant spirit of the North.
One only passion unrevealed With maiden pride the maid concealed,
Yet not less purely felt the flame - O, need I tell that passion's name?
--The lady of the Lake
Sir Walter Scott
~Canto first~
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 
The Costume
 
The outfit consists of a full, gathered skirt of small burgundy and green check, with matching tam and fringed shawl - also a simple black twill lace-up vest bodice.  I made these about four or five years ago, using the Simplicity "Bonnie Lassies" pattern by Andrea Schewe.  I sewed the white muslin blouse a little over a year ago for a piano recital, using the Armistice Blouse pattern from Folkwear.  I love this blouse!  It fits so cunningly into the neckline of the vest, and I adore the pintucks running down the front.
 
My outfit is completed by hand-forged celtic inspired buckles worn on each shoulder, which I bought at a local Mountain Man Rendezvous tradeshow.  The shoes are black leather kitten heels, with the most darling little Scottish looking tassels over the toes!
 
Meet my lovely assistant model, Rosie. . . also my beloved accordion, Remo=)
 
This is my other lovely assistant model, the wonderful Brownie.  
As good a laddie as ever trod the dust 'o the 'arth. . . 
The front detail of the blouse can also be seen in this shot - also the shoulder buckles.  
On a side note, said buckles are absolutely wicked sharp - Yet I wear them anyway...
I'm quite crazy.  Or is it the Scots stubbornness in me? ;D
 
Fringe detail - I dyed the lace on the cuffs and collar of the blouse with tea to match the color of the muslin.
 
Horses, costumes, and a jaunt through the forest. . . bliss
 
 
 
This shot was inspired by the CD cover of Echoes in the Weave, an album by Bonnie Leigh Barnum, harpist
 
 
 
Thank you so much for reading!  Will ye' no come back again?
 
Vivas Ut Vivas!
 
--The Lady Margery Stuart

Monday, October 04, 2010

Historical Costume Inspiration Festival - The Bonnie Lass Ensemble

I'm so very excited to finally post my first entry for the fabulous Historical Costume Inspiration Festival!
Without further adieu, I am pleased to submit for your perusal. . . 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The Introduction
Firstly, gentle reader, I must apologize for feeling the necessity of giving an introduction.  It cannot be helped, however, so I pray you to bear with me for the interval of elaboration on a subject dear to my heart.  
I must confess something about myself which may help you understand how very special this costume is to me.
I am infatuated with Scotland.
The Inspiration
The music , the ballads, the culture, the foods, the accent, the heros and heroines, the histories, the landscape, the mist, the plaids, even the very heather on the hillside served as an inspiration to me for this costume.    
My paternal great-grandmother's maiden name was Kitty Stuart, of the little Scottish hamlet of Pitlochry. 
I have a picture of Kitty, c. 1920, dressed in the full highland regialia of pleated tartan plaid, grouse-foot pin, and tam, dancing the fling.  You can only imagine my rapture at finding such a picture!  I regret exceedingly that it is at present unavailable.
It is one of my dearest dreams to someday make a pilgrimage over the water, to meet the people of my clan name, and to see with my own eyes that romantic, mist-laden little island of which I am so justly proud.
Other inspiration for this project includes the timeless, romantic scenes in the pages of Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy and The Lady of The Lake, The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter, and In Freedom's Cause, by G.A. Henty.  
My dear friend and fellow Scotland enthusiast, Tasha, and I even have Scottish nicknames - mine being Margery Stuart - Margery after the charming, spirited heroine of In Freedom's Cause, and Stuart being my own clan name.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


What though no rule of courtly grace To measured mood had trained her pace,--
A foot more light, a step more true, Ne'er from the heath-flower dashed the dew;
E'en the slight harebell raised its head, Elastic from her airy tread:
What though upon her speech there hung 
The accents of the mountain tongue,---
Those silver sounds, so soft, so dear,The listener held his breath to hear!
A chieftain's daughter seemed the maid; Her satin snood, her silken plaid,
Her golden brooch, such birth betrayed.
And seldom was a snood amid Such wild luxuriant ringlets hid,
Whose glossy black to shame might bring
The plumage of the raven's wing;
And seldom o'er a breast so fair Mantled a plaid with modest care,
And never brooch the folds combined Above a heart more good and kind.
Her kindness and her worth to spy, You need but gaze on Ellen's eye;
Not Katrine in her mirror blue Gives back the shaggy banks more true,
Than every free-born glance confessed The guileless movements of her breast;
Whether joy danced in her dark eye,Or woe or pity claimed a sigh,
Or filial love was glowing there, Or meek devotion poured a prayer,
Or tale of injury called forth 
The indignant spirit of the North.
One only passion unrevealed With maiden pride the maid concealed,
Yet not less purely felt the flame - O, need I tell that passion's name?
--The lady of the Lake
Sir Walter Scott
~Canto first~
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The Costume

The outfit consists of a full, gathered skirt of small burgundy and green check, with matching tam and fringed shawl - also a simple black twill lace-up vest bodice.  I made these about four or five years ago, using the Simplicity "Bonnie Lassies" pattern by Andrea Schewe.  I sewed the white muslin blouse a little over a year ago for a piano recital, using the Armistice Blouse pattern from Folkwear.  I love this blouse!  It fits so cunningly into the neckline of the vest, and I adore the pintucks running down the front.
My outfit is completed by hand-forged celtic inspired buckles worn on each shoulder, which I bought at a local Mountain Man Rendezvous tradeshow.  The shoes are black leather kitten heels, with the most darling little Scottish looking tassels over the toes!
Meet my lovely assistant model, Rosie. . . also my beloved accordion, Remo=)
This is my other lovely assistant model, the wonderful Brownie.  
As good a laddie as ever trod the dust 'o the 'arth. . . 
The front detail of the blouse can also be seen in this shot - also the shoulder buckles.  
On a side note, said buckles are absolutely wicked sharp - Yet I wear them anyway...
I'm quite crazy.  Or is it the Scots stubbornness in me? ;D
Fringe detail - I dyed the lace on the cuffs and collar of the blouse with tea to match the color of the muslin.
Horses, costumes, and a jaunt through the forest. . . bliss
This shot was inspired by the CD cover of Echoes in the Weave, an album by Bonnie Leigh Barnum, harpist
Thank you so much for reading!  Will ye' no come back again?
Vivas Ut Vivas!
--The Lady Margery Stuart
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