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Archive for December, 2009


Window shopping on ebay is a dangerous thing, gentle reader!

After all, what in the world is there that is better to go with one’s changing styles in the latter decades of the 18th Century than an oak desk from c. 1780?

Rather charming, don’t you think?  And ample room for a polonaise to slide under – how capital!

However, if your budget (like mine) doesn’t stretch as far as the buy it now price of £1,350 (swoon!), then you can still own your very own little bit of the 18th century to weave into your own sewing with this delightful set of 8 steel Georgian buttons:

OK, so a buy it now price of £79 is not exactly cheap, but for the chance to use these lovely buttons in a very special 18th Century ensemble (I’m thinking a jacket?), then it would be very much worth it.  If I had the money available, I would be all over these buttons (or perhaps they would be all over me?).

Alas, I can’t afford them, so I thought I’d share them here, gentle reader, in case you can make any use of them.  All I ask is that if you do buy them, please send pics of whatever you use them for – I’d love to see!

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Happy Yuletime!


I hope everyone has had a wonderful Yule with plenty of mince pies and love and fun and mistletoe and presents and food and everything that is good.

Here’s a picture of one of the presents I made this year, a stocking for my nephew (which was posted to him before Christmas for him to open and hang up on Christmas Eve):

Afraid it’s not a very clear photo as I still have a half-dead camera, but it’s decorated with ribbon and white stitching and a felt ‘J’ edged with gold embroidery.  He said it was very cool, so I think he liked it  😉

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Versailles Stories – BBC 4


I am just watching this programme about Versailles, specifically fundraising for the restoration of the Petit Trianon.  Check it out on BBCi Player to enjoy the swoon-worthy views and information on everyone’s favourite Queen of France.

One of their ideas is to recreate Marie Antoinette’s perfume – what a great idea!  Fingers crossed they’ll raise the necessary money so that visitors can at last enter the Petit Trianon …

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I have taken those promised photos of my lovely new sewing machine:

Snug in its little case.

Awake and raring to go!

It even has all the original feet that came with it and the instruction manual, which revealed a cute coincidence … In the back is the original guarantee/warranty receipt with a space for you to enter date it was bought, I recognised my Dad’s writing instantly showing that it was bought in April of the year I was born.  So my machine is the same age as me (or older by 7 months).  A silly little piece of info, but it made me smile.  My Mum’s birthday is in April, so I’m guessing it might have been a birthday present (I must remember to ask her!).

Anyway, I took the machine for a turn at the weekend – as I made a Yule present, I can’t post pictures yet, but here is the fabric haul from Saturday:

The plain fabric with thread on the left is for something else, though…

Yes – I finally have a pretty binding fabric for my stays!  In these pictures it looks red, but it’s actually more of a deep pinkish colour – or raspberry, if you will – which creates a great contrast with the silvery blue dupion fashion fabric.  I also got matching raspberry thread for the boning channels to add to the effect – I’m hoping it’s going to be pretty and bold all at once … and the stripey lining will always make me smile.

But first I have more Yule gifts to make and a Zombie Antoinette dress to finish (no, I haven’t forgotten!) – I sense I’m going to build quite a relationship with our dining table …

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For the triumphant (?) return of the Saturday Shoe, what better theme than the queen of triumphant returns (and falls from grace, but we’ll skirt over that for now) – Angelique.  Now, if you don’t know Angelique, then I think you should get acquainted post haste!  Here’s Wikipedia’s very brief summary, while the official website can be found here.

My Mum read these books in her teens/twenties and I can remember their rather buxom covers being on our bookshelves throughout my childhood.  When she recommended them to me, I’ll admit I was put off by their pulpy, prurient covers and so it wasn’t until this year that I finally read them.

And what an adventure they have taken me on.

Pirates, thieves, princes, poisoners, whores, child-killers, Sultans and the Sun King himself – no one escapes the thrill that Angelique brings to 17th century France (and, in later books, Canada and the east Mediterranean).  Anne Golon and her late husband, Serge, take the reader on a wild adventure full of romance, intrigue and even philosophy and alchemy – their depth of research is not overwhelming and instead it renders the period utterly real.

Sadly these books are out of print (though there are possible plans to re-print them now the legal battle between Anne Golon and her former publishers has been settled), but if you can get your hands on them (at the library, a second hand bookshop or a kind friend who’s willing to lend them out) I heartily recommend them.

(Though I’ll give a couple of warnings: there are different translations and I’ve noticed this makes a big difference to the quality of the writing in English; the beginning might not seem so promising, bear in mind that the novel was written before we became so demanding of our gripping openings and trust me when I say that it becomes utterly enthralling.)

Yes, yes, yes, Clare, but where do shoes come into this? Well, these spangly silken creations are from the height of the Sun King’s reign and with those dizzying heels in red leather, I’d suggest these are shoes fit for our indomitable Angelique.

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New Home! New Machine!


Sooo … no posts … yes, I am rubbish.

But (!), we picked up the keys for our new apartment today, so this is more disruption, as I’m not sure when the internet will be transferred over.  And I am still working on the Top Secret Project because I’ve just been so busy.

And (!) I have a sewing machine!!!  I wanted to wait until I had a camera to take some photos, but my camera’s dead and The Boy’s is packed away somewhere.  It’s a heavy old beastie – it’s my Mum’s old machine that she’s had since before I was born, all metal parts and casing.  It stopped working properly about six months ago, so she and my sister bought a brand new machine between the two of them (even though I kept telling her that she’d be better off fixing the old one!).  But, I’m not going to complain, though, as it meant that for my Birthday Mum got the old machine fully serviced and fixed – turns out it just needed taking apart and cleaning out for it to work beautifully – and gave it to me!

I got it last weekend and I can’t wait to use it, but have to wait until we’re in the apartment so I have the space, etc, to get the work out and store it after.  So excited, though!  Also, amongst the bits and pieces my Mum has accumulated over the years is a zip foot, which will come in handy for boning channels on my stays … So the sewing plan is to finished my Zombie Marie Antoinette dress (which should be really quick now I have a machine – probably done in a day, I reckon) and then get on with some stay-making action!  Huzzah!  This will probably be interspersed with making curtains, throws, cushion covers and so on … Our flat is going to be so awesome – I will try to post pics when I can!

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