Little Christmas Dress

I blame it on being an empty nester.  No little bambinos to dress in cute little outfits.  And because I had boys I’ve never had the joy of cute little dresses.  So this Christmas, I went nuts and hacked up a babies dress and made a dress for my fur baby.

I think she looks adorable!

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I was hunting in a thrift store with this very project in mind when I found a Christmas red dress with hearts and dogs on it.  Destiny!

She was very comfy in her little dress.

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Have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!

The Christmas Tea

It’s been almost a week and I’m finally getting to the post about my costume groups Christmas get together!

 

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Setting the table for the gathering. I am wearing my favorite dress…a 1870’s pattern and using my 1940’s dishware that I’m trying to collect a descent set of.

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Lottie came dressed in 1700’s style. Not our usual Victorian theme…I told the girls to wear something comfortable and something they have been wanting to get more use out of.

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This hand made cap is so dainty!

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Shirley came in some festive 1860’s wear.

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After some tea and muffins we did the gift exchange.

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I got a bigger haul because it was a birthday/Christmas combo.

Time for the stitching.

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Shirley wound a skein of wool into a ball.

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Lottie added a few more rows to her Canadian Cloud.

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I worked on some trim for the bodice of my next dress...1858 Lottie (Named after Lottie who bought the fabric for me when she went to CoCo).

 

Christmas gifts

Finally!  Something to post about!  The girls and I got together for a little Christmas do yesterday and I can finally post about the gifts I made them.

I made little needle cases loosely based off of a pattern from Lady Godley’s Jan. 1859 pattern.

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Time was a bit of an issue so I omitted the small scallops and a shortage of beads had me altering the circle details.

I  think the girls liked them.

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My pooch did an unwitting photo bomb!

Godey’s Lady’s Book Jan 1859

As a little Christmas treat for you, I photographed some of my favorite pages from the Godey’s Lady’s book I got a few months back.

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The next picture goes with a story later on in the magazine.

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These seem to be patterns for beaded purses.

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I love the color plates! The red dress is so pretty!

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Another line drawing.

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Then a series of fashions.

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Here is the floor plan for a cottage.  Nothing like any cottage I have ever been in.  Mansion, yes; cottage, no.

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A vague sewing pattern for a nice bodice.

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Then a sock pattern that I got all excited about…

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until I realized that it doesn’t seem to tell you anything about wool size or how many stitches to cast on.  They don’t seem to say anything about the ribbing…I guess they assume that is obvious.   A couple of the abbreviations are a mystery but I think they are indications to wrap the wool around the needle to create the lacey holes.  The look is pretty but I doubt these will become socks in my lifetime.

Christmas crap

I’m a bit Grinchy about Christmas.  This attitude comes from my line of work which involves decorating my work space so that my seniors get into the spirit of the season.  By the time I’ve put 3-5 trees (with varying degrees of functioning lights) and a crap load other things, I am not in the mood to do my tree at home.  But the hubby insists.

Once it is up, though, I’m glad I did it.

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Most of my ornaments have a little sentimental story attached so I enjoy the walk down memory lane.

This year, I took some of my birthday gift cards for Micheal’s Craft store and bought new garland for the tree.  I was tired of the ancient tinsel garland that I have used for decades.

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It wasn’t exactly cheap so I wouldn’t have actually paid for it myself.  But with gift cards, I could afford to splurge. Better the garland than spending the cards on more wool to add to the hoard.

They know me and love me

I got many good gifts this year.  Here are some of my highlights.

Old clothes and coloring!  Double hit!img_20161225_170734214.jpg

Inspirational quotes and coloring-double hit again!img_20161225_170757949.jpg

A 3D puzzles that looks like my dog.  It was hard so it is never being taken apart! EVER!img_20161225_170515575_hdr.jpg

Be still my Trekkie heart.img_20161225_170617191.jpg

I didn’t know what this was until the hubby explained it.  You put balls of wool in it.  You are supposed to hang it near where you are working so that it dispenses easily but really it is to keep my dog, who thinks she is a cat, from playing with it.img_20161225_171507294.jpg

An elephant watch and necklace.img_20161225_170918842.jpg

There were many more fabulous gifts but less photogenic.  Who wants a picture of a bag of coffee and gift cards?  I hope your haul was equally wonderful!

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish you all a fabulous Holiday!  I’m enjoying what works out to be a 4 day weekend and  I intend to spend most of it in my PJ’s!  Woot Woot!

I thought you might enjoy some inspiration that I got from the local house museum Dalnavert.

The Origin of the Christmas Tree by Heather Mousseau

In 1841 Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, husband of Queen Victoria, imported a small Christmas tree from his homeland and the fashion quickly caught on. Called German trees at first, they generally stood about 4 feet high and were placed on a table as we have done in the study at Dalnavert. They were decorated with small presents, sugared fruit or candy as we do in the cornucopias on our parlour tree, little toys, and other tiny items. Children might string garlands of cranberries or popped corn to trim their tree. They were lit by small wax tapers and must have looked quite lovely when all lit up.

As often happens, after being overwhelmed by the prep for an event, I find inspiration to add to my stress level for next time!  The above paragraph inspired me to have a bit of Victorian Christmas in my home.  This would mean having a 3rd tree!  I have my big tree with ornaments purchased or given over the years…many with sentimental meaning behind them.img_20161224_090726691.jpg

Then I have a little tree of elephant ornaments because I love elephants.img_20161224_090807821.jpg

This is the latest acquisition.

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Now I want a Victorian Tree.

To have this Victorian tree, I will need to find a 4 foot artificial tree. (1 step away from authentic but no need to kill a tree every year). I will scan the shelves this Boxing Day and see if the stores can produce one for a decent price.

The tree needs to be on a table, which I have.  The trouble is, that table already has decorations on it.

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These decorations will have to find a new home next year or be pitched into the donation bin.  Then I may have to move the table because the 4 foot tree might be a bit much on a 2 foot table in the middle of the room.

The small presents would be easy enough to do…make some ornaments with small doors in them to put small things in. I think I’ve seen a blog that has instructions for Victorian ornaments like that. The candied fruit…well I could learn to do that but likely I’ll take another step away from authenticity and by the fake ones.

I could give the cranberry popcorn chain thing a try again.  I did it once…and hung it up outside for the birds and squirrels.  (Don’t tell the hubby I feed the squirrels.  He hates them.)  The waxed tapers seems a bit like a fire hazard so I will take another step away from authenticity and see if I can find the battery operated kind and then come up with a way to attach them.  Perhaps glue some alligator clips on them…very authentic!

Then I will put the gifts for my costuming chums under it.  All wrapped in brown paper or tissue paper and tied with ribbon or lace.

Now the pragmatic part of me is saying, “yes, that seems like fun but, you didn’t put out all of the decorations this year (or last) because you didn’t feel like it.  What makes you think you’ll want to put out more next year?  And where will you put it hmmm?  And if you can’t find places for it all without resorting to little used rooms and step ladders…”

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“…what makes you think there will be room for it all when you DOWNSIZE in a year or two? And the idea of starting to collect those little Victorian buildings and creating a town is stupid.”

Oh shut up pragmatic side.  You are spoiling my muse.giphy

 

Big success, little success.

I attempted the leg lamp cookies.  They were a little success.  They tasted fine and my “older guests” recognized the reference but I’m not totally happy with them.  Problem one, I couldn’t find black pre made icing nor black food coloring so that I could make my own icing so I settled for blue.  Meh.  And when I iced the fish net stockings, I forgot the garter.  So here is my “nailed it” photo…what it should have looked like and what it actually did look like.

I also made Grinch Popcorn.

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It turned out PERFECT!  I even found the EXACT Grinch doll to display it with.  And I was sure I took a photograph of it but it seems I didn’t.  Drat.  You are going to have to believe me when I say it was PERFECT!

Leg Lamp

My two favorite Christmas movies are not in the Victorian genre.  Go figure.  Number one on the list is The Christmas Story.  My favorite scene is when the father gets his leg lamp.  Slays me every time! So as an homage to my muse, I am taking one of my Pintrest Pins and attempting to recreate it.  See the site here.

The first step is printing up the recipe and the stencil for cutting out the leg. For some reason, my printer printed up the stencil way too small.  Not only would they be annoying to try and make and disappointing to try and eat, visually the lamp shade (made from Resses peanut butter cups, would be out of proportion.img_20161214_095846827.jpg

My printer wont enlarge and I was unable to free hand the sketch so I just enlarged around the printed stencil.img_20161214_094221464.jpg

I traced that onto clean paper and cut it out.  I then used that shape to trace out a stencil in cardboard.  Much better proportions.

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I followed the recipe and added half cup of flour to store bought sugar cookie dough.  I have no idea why they wanted that.  I can only assume the straight dough is too soggy.

I rolled the dough out and pressed the cardboard into the dough.  I wanted 24 legs because I had enough peanut butter cups for 24 lamp shades.

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Then came the tough part…cutting the shapes out with a paring knife and then smoothing and shaping once they were transferred to the baking pan.

They baked up fine, but did take longer than the recipe suggested.  Is my oven not hot enough?  Did I make them too thick?  I don’t know.

The next step is cooling.  Dangerous in my house.  So I took the left over dough and baked that up and left this behind before heading off to work.img_20161214_102008847.jpg

I taped my cardboard stencil and the icing diagram onto the recipe for future attempts.  The cardboard got greasy so my plan is to use it to make a new cardboard stencil for the next batch.  Seems the best way to avoid food poisoning in the future.

I will attempt decorating next.  Sure hope this doesn’t turn into a “nailed it” post for next time.

And so it begins

The tree is up.  The lights were their usual pain in the butt, but this year I had help!

Normally, I do the tree on my own as my boys (hubby included) always hated the process.  My future daughter-in-law, on the other hand, normally helps her mom set up their tree in Germany and so she wanted to help me with mine.  Where the girl goes, the boy goes so I had two helpers with the assembly of the tree.

The hubby will gravitate towards groups so once the hockey game on TV was over, he came to help too.  He did battle with the lights that were not working (he had to concede victory to 3 strands that refused to light.)

The youngest happened to walk by at the ornament stage and he stayed to help with that.  So this year I got to tell the stories of where all the ornaments came from instead of reliving it all by myself.  Many hands make light work.  (Pun intended).img_20161204_180853333.jpg

Ginger, in the foreground, had not noticed that her “boyfriend”, in the mid-right of the picture, is back.  She has now…cue sexy time music.  Stupid dog.