Opera Card?

You know how Americans collect baseball cards and Canadians collect hockey cards?  Well, I guess, Victorians collected Opera Cards and Actress Cards.

I have one to share with you.

Madame Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa was a soprano in Britain.



Yup, I’m built like a Victorian soprano.

This photo was likely taken between 1867 when she married Carl Rosa and 1873 when she died in childbirth.  She was 37.

I bought the card because I was attracted to the funky little faux-apron and her hair style.

Time to learn to let go

My oldest baby (who isn’t a baby anymore!) is heading off to Australia in a couple of days.  He will be gone for 6 months.  I shall miss him like crazy and I shall worry myself to the point of being crazy but I’m proud of his bravery heading off on his own.  I’m jealous of the freedom he has at this age too.  And here I go, practicing letting go.  Sigh.  Wish me luck and strength.

We had a family party for him yesterday.   One of the perks of working in Recreation is I can borrow the bins of decor for parties and events in my private life.  We had a beach/Australian theme.  Here is my front window.


And my back yard.


We had shrimps on the Bar-B, Australian beer and wine and surfing music (cause he wants to surf while there).  I accidentally bought a $40 bottle of wine (oops)  and didn’t realize it until I got home with it.  It was very nice wine but I nearly died of apoplexy after I saw my mom-in-law pour COKE into her glass of wine!  The sweet lady is not much of a drinker!

Professional photos from one of our outings

I got my photos from the Dames Dandy’s and Dominion Day carriage ride.  The carriage and the photos were from Aspire Photography


It is a lovely photo is it not?  To bad there are some modern buildings ruining the effect! Oh wait!  With a cheap and crappy program like “Paint” and a little bit of patience I can get rid of them!

IMG_1478 - Copy

If  you don’t look to closely (zoom) -especially at the trees- it isn’t to bad.  The pavement might be a bit off but I didn’t think I could do much with that.

Here, I did it again.  Before….



And after….IMG_1609 - Copy

A couple of the photos didn’t need the “skillfully” executed alteration.



I just love that blue in Shirley’s suit.  We are both done up in 1890’s dresses in honor of the age of the house.



The building in the back is the Manitoba Legislative Building.  I didn’t “Paint” it out because it was passably old.  It is only about 18 years too young for our dresses. The parasols were a blessing!  In an era before sunglasses and tank tops, they really did the trick with the oppressively hot sun!

Good Book

Ever have a book so good that all but the bare necessities of life get put on the back burner.  Yup.  That’s me right now.  You are gonna get a crap post so that I can get back to my book.  And I’ve discovered the joys of having said book at my finger tips at all times via my smart phone.  I can’t even walk the dog properly now….


My next project is my tea gown.  I showed you the material and the lace a couple of days ago.  I bought tons of that lace knowing that I want to use it but I’m not sure how.  I had thought that running it down the front might be nice but it is so wide and straight (no ruffles or pleats)…I just wasn’t sure what I wanted.  Then I saw THIS!


It is sort of zig zagged  down the front.  I like it!  I like the pleats too but I doubt I have enough fabric for that.  And I think my fabric is too loud a print for that any way.  May be if I found a plain print with a matching or complimentary color….  I have to see what the gown looks like all put together first I think.

Do you plan your trims before hand or do you wait and see what it “tells” you once it is done?  Some trims are easier to do pre-assembly but I end up worrying that it will look bad or over done and then I’ll struggle to get it off!  I buy a few things that I think might work before sewing.  Sometimes I don’t end up using them and sometimes I end up heading out to buy more.


Hat made!

I got my hat made today.  As you may recall, I was aiming for the hat on the top right.


I was a bit stuck on how to shape the hat that must be under all that stuff.  I thought it might be something like the bottom left.  I made it with wire, buckram and left over scraps from the dress and that went fairly well.  But without the decorations it looked more like this.


I decided to pin the decorations on before attaching them permanently.  Good thing I did because my first two attempts looked more like this….


I can’t say it ended up being much better, but I did want something that was a bit more daring than what I have made in the past.  The 1870’s did like things to be a bit over done. And this qualifies as over done.  Unfortunately, I decided to use my phone instead of my camera and the photo is a bit blurry.


The color is also a bit off.


I slapped my hair up into a bun and attached my fake hair so that I could get an idea about how it might look.  The hair was done loosely and the hat is quite heavy.  I do hope I’ll be able to keep it on my head with a hat pin.  The fake hair was also a bit crooked.


Here is the other side.  I tried to have a bit more asymmetry but my modern senses resist this.


And this is how it looks with the dress.


I like hats.  I can get them made up pretty fast.

Time to think about the hat

I found this photo here.  The grapes one at the top right is speaking to me.  It is silly and over done and out there but when you are wearing a purple and green dress don’t you need grapes all over it?  I would like a hat like the one in the top middle (worn like a facinator), but really, with my double chin, do I really want to be shortening my face?  I’d be better off with the grapes piled high, making my face look longer.  Now how to do it….

It is done! HSF Challenge #16 Separates.

Done with 59 minutes to spare! The due date was this past Monday and I had it posted on Monday 11:01 pm!  I call this a separate because the skirt can be changed to a matching one (not made yet) or may be a black or silver…. I also made it so that it could be buttoned closed all the way to the bottom for a different look.


But the best part is the back….


I made it a bit longer in the back for some training effect but not quiet that much…my dress form keeps shrinking down.

The Challenge: 16 Separates

Fabric: a synthetic that is very much like silk

Pattern: Truly Victorian 410

Year: 1873

Notions: Twill tapes, buttons, beaded trim, buttons

How historically accurate is it? The colors, pattern and silhouette are as correct as I know how to do. The color and style would be appropriate for a woman my age, size and marital status.  It would be used for a semi formal to formal event.  But, I think its first time out will be a picnic.  I’ll just be that high maintenance woman who shows up at the camp grounds in heels and full make up (wink).The synthetic fabric, plastic beads, non silver metal in buttons and buckle, machine sewn button holes would drop the bodice down. I’d say it is about 60%.
Hours to complete: 25

First worn: not yet but aiming for a picnic next month.

Total cost: @$50