I just found out I’m going to be a mother-in-law!  Hopefully, not like this mother-in-law from Everybody Loves Raymond…


Don’t let me be like this one!

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I physically can’t be this one…I’d blow a knee.giphy (3)

If I become this one, call my pastor and arrange an exorcism!

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I want to be a good mother-in-law so my daughter-in-law does this….giphy (6)

And not this….

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Lol!  That last one is funny!

Anyway, I start packing for CoCo today.  You may or may not hear from me in the next week or so but I come back to you with more fuel for my costuming and blogging fire.  Stay turned!

Turn the page: the carte de visites

The last time I shared my cabinet card album, we were on the last of the cabinet cards and starting the smaller pictures.5a5d

First, the baby.  I have no clue of dates or location.  I’m gonna guess “girl” because of the center part, but that is all I got.  Look at her toes!


Why does Liza Doolittle pop into my head when I look at this picture?IMG_20160724_183326802

Oval pictures became popular in the 1870’s and from what I can see of the dress, this seems plausible.  Love her cuffs!

There is some damage to the next picture but it is pretty sweet.IMG_20160724_183354941

Look at the beadwork!  The hair style is different isn’t it?  The hair style is “out there” which was common in the 70’s. There is also a fair amount of props for such a small photo so that could indicate a 70’s date as well.

No clues about date or location for this fellow with the whiskers!


Tuesday’s Treasure: is this a set?

While rummaging through the jewelry looking for items for a display, I found a bunch of pieces in the Costume Museum of Canada’s collection that caused me to wonder, “is this a set? A Trend?  What?”

There are earrings:2

I can’t begin to tell you what they are made of.  There is a bracelet labeled 1850.5

And a choker:3

The choker is labeled 1840 and the cameos are attached to a black velvet band. My guess that velvet isn’t original.

They are close but not quite  the same, are they? And the fact that two of the pieces are labeled as being 10 years apart implies they are not a set.  And I realize cameos have been popular, or trendy, off and on for ages, so it isn’t unheard of for there to be several different yet similar images that are classified as cameos but not sets.  It is just I’ve never seen them in these earthy, almost clay like tones.  If these were my pieces, and not the property of the museum, I would wear them like a set.  But then again, I don’t really like these colors.  What do you think?

Forth and final incarnation of “Ugly Bag of Tea Gown”

Last weekend was fun (Medieval Festival) but it was also productive.  I tried starching a petticoat for the first time.  I know!  Shocking isn’t it!  I’ve been doing this for 5 years in limp petticoats!  I really thought starching a petticoat would be a wretched experience.  My pal Lottie Lovette told me it wasn’t and explained how to do it.  And she was right!  Easy!  And now my petticoat practically stands on its own!img_20160717_160525416.jpg

I tried it on my oldest most beat up one just in case it went poorly but it was fine.  I will eventually get around to doing them all.

Subject change:  I gave myself until the end of the weekend to fiddle some more on the Ugly Bag of Tea Gown and I think I have finally reached a matronly but presentable presentation.  It was on the advice (again) Lottie that I finally settled on the final look.  One of the photos she shared was a tea gown that had the lace going the chevron pattern I first tried.SAM_1619

But it was wider.  There was also way less than what I had in the next incarnation.IMG_20160712_202818628

So I removed a ton of the above fluff and I straightened some of it out so it was more symmetrical and now I’m okay with it.img_20160717_153757.jpgNo I didn’t have a stomach ache.  Just posing awkwardly.img_20160717_153711.jpgYes.  This is less crazy.img_20160717_151850290.jpgWith some accessories and proper hair and head gear, this will do just fine for Breakfast with the Artists at Costume College.

Going further back in time

Obviously, the Victorian era is my “thing”.  But, I am not opposed to trying something out of my usual.  A couple of years ago I went “Medieval” and I loved it!

Every two years the church at Cross Creek Manitoba does a Medieval Festival to raise funds for the up keep and the renovations to their building.27

They went with the Medieval theme because next to the church they have an outdoor spot that they call the Grotto that has a distinct “castle” ambiance. Stupid me, I didn’t get a good photo of the structure but you can see a hint of it in the foreground of the above photo.

My favorite part of the whole thing is the jousting.  So COOL!7

There were several different jousters from all over Canada.  1

This was the oldest horse in the completion.  Sweet boy.  I had an opportunity to pet him.  As I rubbed his forehead I spoke to him.  He took a step closer and with one eye, he looked deeply into my eyes.  I felt like he was really listening to me as I spoke.12

This is the hubby petting the same horse.  You can see that his rider is a female jouster (from Boston).  There were 3 in the competition and the women compete against the men. Pretty impressive!17

This jouster was from Sweden.  I thought his armor was the best.

Now obviously, you can’t bring your horse from Sweden to Canada.  Even from the Boston area for a couple of days would be a bit of a pain so the riders all borrowed horses that come from the same farm near Calgary.  I believe most are rescues as well.6

This particular horse, in the photo above, is named Jack and he is a celebrity.  He was featured in an episode of a Canadian TV show called Heartland.  His mane was amazing.  It moved so gracefully as he ran…just like hair in a shampoo commercial.  Don’t know how he did that!22

The above horse was not in the competition but he was around doing meet and greets.  He was a rescue with some dominance issues but now he is a gentle giant.  He will let you rub his forehead and slowly let his eyes drift shut.  So pretty!

Several cultural groups were featured at the festival, and in keeping with the horse theme, I will mention the Cossacks.2423

Costumes were also a wonderful feature.  Check these guys out!   By far the best I saw!26

Some were in the”awesome Dad” category.  28

In my head, I called this guy Charlie.38

“Hi Charlie”.

“Hi Angel’s”40

How many under the age of 40 get that joke….

I was hoping my younger son could come and wear the chainmail coif I made him but he was swamped with work.  I asked the hubby to dress up again but it really isn’t his thing.  He was a long suffering sport last time so I cut him some slack this year.  May be next time one of the boys will wear the coif, or I will take some inspiration from the jousting ladies and go all “Joan of Arc”!

Fairy wings

I need some fairy wings for Costume College so I whipped a set up.  (Doesn’t everyone NEED fairy wings at some point in their lives?) Not being one to buy something like that, I decided to make some.

I needed 4 wire hangers, wire cutters and 2 pairs of black nylons ( I really wanted green or gold but now that the 1990’s are gone, one can’t find anything but taupe and black.) I also needed packing tape, scissors, silver embroidery thread and a needle.

I took the 4 wire hangers and cut the hook off.  I bent the hangers into the desired shape and then slid one leg of black nylons over each hanger.  Needless to say, the butt/crotch part to the nylons had been cut off.  I taped the nylons over the end where the hanger twists around itself.  I left the excess nylon stay put because I haven’t decided how the wings will be attached to my costume yet and I may need the extra nylon .  And for the sake of packing I’m not permanently attaching the 4 wings together yet.  For this photo, I wrapped the excess nylon around the wire ends to hide them and hold them in place long enough to take the photograph.IMG_20160716_170913062.jpg

The veins are done with silver embroidery thread.  I think they look pretty good.IMG_20160716_170918198

The time I spent making these was the time I allotted for one more stab at fixing the Ugly Bag o’ Tea Gown.  You recall I threatened that if I didn’t get it sorted by the weekend, it was going back into the closet of shame.  Well, since I didn’t actually work on it since that threat, I am giving it until the end of the weekend now.

Tomorrow I hope to share some photos of the wonderful way I wasted valuable sewing time on Saturday.

Ah, life

I wish I could say my life is solely what I write here but, alas, it is not.  In between my volunteer work at the museum, family parties, sewing, knitting,collecting cabinet cards and romping around in pretty dresses, there is the rest of my life and it can get in the way of “blog life”.  I wonder how many bloggers wish that blog life was the only life they have?  Most of us put a pleasant shine on it.  The only negative is a little self depreciation, “oh, look how I screwed that sleeve up….”

But in reality there is drama that I don’t bore you with.  There are stresses that need dealing with, changes that I’m opting to make and changes that are foisted upon me, and there is work.  So sometimes there is no time or inner oomph to crank out another post (that 14 people will read).

I try to have a post go up Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with pictures to break up the print and help you figure out if you actually want to read the print.  If I miss a day, it is likely due to real life.   Forgive me?

Well…it is better…I guess…or may be not…

That title is definitely not said with a lot of conviction.  I have been working on this tea gown for nearly 3 years.  First incarnation: so ugly it wouldn’t photograph.  It hung like an ugly sack. The second incarnation fit better but was still ugly. I don’t think the third time is working out either.


Can you see the doubt in my eyes?

I do like the tassels on the tie.  And the lace on the sleeves is better.  Stupid lace on the bodice does break up the pattern-which was a goal, but it seems a bit….I don’t know….fluffy bordering on clownish?  Is breaking up pattern with more texture and pattern really helpful?

May be if I take off the bottom row of lace and iron it flatter….Or rip it all off and do something else….

The neck line is actually a high neck but it was nearly strangling me.  (I had moved the button too far over.) For the photographs, I tried turning the neck line down.  I do think my neck looks better in a lower neck line but it is far to much work to change that now.  I’m going to move the button back where it belongs and go with the high neck line with a brooch at the throat.  Question is…will there still be all that lace….  I’m thinking not….

Honestly, this dang thing gets worked on until this weekend and if I still can’t make it look nice I’m going to give up on it – AGAIN.IMG_20160712_202836793

I think facial expression says, “Lord help me.”

Welcome to the reality of costuming.  Not every piece “wants to be made” and not every project is glorious.



Transforming the ugly bag tea gown

Third time is the charm?  I had made a tea gown and was not pleased with the results.  It hung like a sack (I had left out optional darts so it would be more comfortable and added space to accommodate the “girls”-not good ideas!) So after shunning it for a length of time,  I re-did it.  See post here.

I still wasn’t pleased with the results.SAM_1619

Costume College is having a Tea and since it is in MY hotel, I could justify wearing an “at home tea gown” but not with it looking so blah! The fit was better after the first renovation, but the piddley little scrap of lace just wasn’t breaking up all that print!   So off it came.

I’m half way through this third incarnation and I hate it less.IMG_20160706_212645358

More lace does seem to break things up a bit more and the cream color instead of the white doesn’t look so weird. I’m hoping the placement doesn’t look as crooked on me as it seems to on the table.  I’ve not noticed that before…please let it only be in the picture!  Wahhhhh!  I don’t wanna do it again!