Doors Open Vaughn Street Jail 2016

I’m back at the old jail for Doors Open this year.  My first year at the jail, I played the first female doctor in Manitoba, the second year I played a prostitute, last year I was a generic mourner and this year I am Cora Hind, the first female stenographer in Manitoba, the first female Agricultural Editor for the local news paper and a woman who wrote newspaper articles about the horrible conditions in the jail in an effort to help promote better conditions for the inmates. Cora was a non-traditional dresser in that she preferred masculine attire.13310579_1092582567469664_3545026685330394933_n

At this point, I am reading the paper while I wait for another actor to play her part to the crowds.

One of my dresses was used to dress the prostitute for this years event.13330877_1092582557469665_5472724140805134247_n

Now, there is a little incentive to lose about 80 more pounds.  That is what I could look like too!  Needless to say, I needed about 80 pound of pins to cinch that dress into the point that she could wear it!  My goal, this year is to wear (or have worn) all of my dresses and so I can now tick off my 1900 Widows Weeds.

You will also notice our friend Shirley was also there.  She is in the door way ready to hand out some news papers and escort the next group into the jail.  If more photos become available, I will share them with you.

Made me laugh!

My fellow volunteers at the Costume Museum of Canada and I have been putting the final touches on this weekends display at the Dalnavert House Museum.  I wont actually get to see the display as I will be at my other volunteer job at the Vaughn Street Jail but I will be there in spirit!  As a fund raiser for the Costume Museum, they have come up with this poster:img_20160524_193236997.jpg

That cheered me up and made me laugh!

Cut cut cutty cut

Why do I always think “the next step is cutting my fabric…that will take a half hour tops”.  So stupid!  I spent over two hours cutting out my skirt.  I cut out some where around 32 pieces…5 of which I had to cut twice because I cut out the wrong material.  Really, how does one do that?  That cost some wasted fabric…grrrr.

There is actually 6 pieces I didn’t have to cut because I planned on using wide lace instead.  I bought tons of that thinking there would be left overs for cuffs FOR SURE! Not.  I didn’t buy enough length and the lace I bought is too narrow so I will need 50% more to piece it together and make it wider. I will need 6 meters more to do what I want! I went from having plenty left over to needing 6 more meters.   Please God, let there still be some in the store!

It is just a “simple” skirt?  How can it be so much work to cut it out?

She has a new friend

This may become a tradition that will eventually lead me to needing a china cabinet or at least a shelf!  My mother goes away for the winter and when she does she goes to an antique shop and picks up two Royal Doulton figurines.  (You have to say “Royal Doulton” like the queen might sound.) Then as a reward for being the best daughter EVER! and for keeping tabs on her apartment, she lets me pick my favorite of the two. I picked “Louise” in the red last year and this year I picked her friend “Autumtime”.img_20160521_191846174.jpg

She has a dog…how could I not pick her!  Her dress is 1990’s does 1870’s.  Louise is 1990’s does 1860’s.

I seem to be amassing a lot of bric-a-brac lately.

Grand isn’t it!  I’m over 50 now.  People expect it, don’t they!?

The cheese dish from my childhood has arrived

Back at the beginning of the month I wrote a post about a cheese dish from my childhood and about how I found one exactly like it on eBay.  Well it has arrived! And it looks great next to the original butter dish from my childhood.  img_20160517_190632731.jpg

They sit on top of my fridge just like when I was little.  But, you can really see how much better the cheese dish faired with its owner!  Live and learn, eh?

Victorian at Heart 2016 Costume Season is launched

The first costume event is both exciting and stressful.  It is exciting because we are putting on pretty dresses and doing fun things.  And we are frequently the center of attention. The extrovert side of me loves this.

Costume events are stressful too.  Will that dress/corset still fit?  Will there be a wardrobe malfunction? “People will look at me and think I am nuts!” That last bit comes from the anxious introvert in me.

I have to ignore the Introvert’s protests and get dressed and venture out.  And I’m always pleased that I did.  It is like parachuting.  You don’t want to jump out of the plane but once you do, it is a thrill.  Or so they tell me.  No freaking way I’d ever jump out of a perfectly functional plane.  That is just nuts.

This years first event was a play at a local church.  The play was called My Fair Brit and was about a British man who lands in the wild west and tries to fit in but his accent and frilly language makes it very difficult for him to communicate and make friends.  In true wild west fashion, Shirley and I donned bustle dresses and enjoyed the play!  After the play, we were allowed to use the stage as a back drop.SAM_3649

I brought a shawl because we have been having freakishly cold weather this spring.  I was glad I brought it.

This next photo is my favorite.  SAM_3651

I also really like this one.SAM_3652

The cast of the play was so friendly, they even allowed us to take some pictures with them.SAM_3654

There is that wardrobe malfunction!  My bodice seems to have ridden up under my arm pit!

In between acts, there was coffee, tea and dessert.  I was a real piggy and had two desserts!


We are well and truly off to a good start.  The next event is in two weeks time!

Authentic vs politically correct

This is a light and fluffy debate on a heavy topic: costuming in an authentically Victorian way without being politically incorrect.

Costume College has a circus theme for one of their events and I have been mulling over my options.  To achieve my goals of not laying out a ton of cash for new gowns for Costume College and not needing to hire a military transport plane to get all of my luggage to California, I selected my Half Grand Surprise Dress for the circus event.  (Small bustle to wear with several dresses vs gargantuan hoops and skirts.) t

The red military style works for a circus.  But how to up my game?  I considered being a bearded lady.  It would be inexpensive to get a fake beard.  It would take almost no space in my suit case.  There were bearded ladies in Victorian circuses.  But to my modern sensibilities, it wasn’t sitting right.  It felt like mocking people who have that genetic or medical trait.  And it felt like I was “flipping the bird to transgender folks”.  So wrong on so many levels.  So I coughed up a bit more cash and a bit more space in my suit case and went for the snake charmer option.  img_20160514_160340302.jpg

Only a costumer would understand this: standing in the rubber snake section of the toy store trying to decide which snake would compliment my Victorian dress best.  I was considering the black cobra but the red in this snake spoke to me!  Or would the green snake show up better in photographs?  Gah!  I may have to go back and buy a second snake.  Then I would have to research whether or not a snake charmer could hold these two species at the same time without “Snakeageddon” breaking out.  Over thinking again….

I also picked up a couple of items to tweak my efforts for the Steampunk tea and the Midsummer Night Galaimg_20160514_160344583.jpg

Speaking of the Steampunk thing… I was looking at some Steampunk guns but decided against them because I just can’t imagine how that would go over in airport security.  Let’s not put another brick in Trump’s wall between Canada and the USA, eh?  My Steampunk persona will have to be more bookish and less militant.

Newfie mitts and hat

I dug a project out of the UFO pile to work on during my lunch breaks at work and this is what I finished.img_20160510_215813190.jpg

I had intended on putting this into my craft sale pile but I think I will keep them for myself. I’m always attracted to that green but it looks like crap on me.  Having the white next to my skin seem to neutralize the problem.  The pattern is a Newfie mitten pattern which you can find with a quick Google search.  I believe that the name comes from being a common stitch in Newfoundland Canada.  It is a fun stitch.  Enough going on to keep one from getting bored but not so complicated that one can’t watch TV while doing it.