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Archive for July, 2010


For her Blog Birthday, the lovely Comtesse Olympe de la Tour D’Auvergne ran a giveaway – I was one of the lucky winners (remember, I said I had my lucky streaks!) and today I got home to find this fabulous prize waiting for me:

I’ve had a quick look through and it’s wonderful – lots of lovely photos, including some full-length pictures of garments I’ve seen parts of in Costume in Detail: yum!  I have some 18th century books and a little bit on the 17th century, but nothing on any other eras, so this book fills in those gaps and indulges my love of 1950s dresses and some Victorian bits and pieces – even better.  Thanks a lot, Comtesse!

But, before I can sit down and read it properly, I had a few things I had to do (both while watching season 2 of Daria!):

The start of a quick and dirty harem pant toile (complete with awesome photography!), using this belly-dance-tastic tutorial.

And tracing one of my Gent’s waistcoats to form a basis of my first foray into man-clothes – one of his Christmas presents (yep, it’s that late!) was an IOU for a home-made waistcoat and it’s also going to be one of the key pieces of his outfit for my masquerade Birthday party.  I’m a bit over-excited – he’s going for steampunk!  How amazing is that going to be??

So, I’ve done those two bits and now I get to snuggle down with my new book – and relax, aaaaah.

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I’ve mentioned bits and pieces that I’ve ordered and a something special for the Lady Luck Outfit, and at last it’s time for show and tell, with some things less exciting than others:

Fray-stop glue (wooo, exciiiiitiiiiing  ;P  ) and spray-on fabric stiffener – that’s a little more exciting as you can build up the stiffness the more you spray it and it washes out.  I think that’ll be useful for all sorts of things, like pleats/ruffs, hat decorations and perhaps even kanzashi.  I also suspect that it’ll be useful to keep bows in shape and for using fabric strips for cockades.

Ostrich feathers – fluffy!  Now I’ve seen them, I’ve decided they aren’t long enough for wearing in the hair (~10″), but they’ll be great for decorating a mini-tricorne or …

… masks!  These two are for moulds for papier mache – they’ve got pretty good shapes, though the black one (which I love!) needs eye-hole adjusting, but with that, it’ll be FAB!

Yay for the Tamina slippers!  I thought they were lovely when I saw them online, but they’re even prettier in reality – very pleased with them, indeed!  I’ve worn them around the house a bit, but I think I need to stretch the front very slightly as they dig in a little, but that’s no big deal.

And, finally – my super-awesome-special-pretty-surprise for the sash of the Lady Luck Pierrot:

I found this lovely on ebay – it’s an 18th century silver and paste shoe buckle that was at some point turned into a brooch.  I slipped a scarf through it to give an idea of how it’s going to look as the buckle at the front of the Pierrot sash.  I really love it rather a lot and am so pleased – it’s my first 18th century antique!

Wow, I really am too obsessed with that century.

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Hello hello!  I’m very sleepy after a looooong day.  Here’s a picture of what I did today:

And here is a slightly edited version of a comment I just made on Miss Rosemary’s blog about today and the whole Master of Arts experience, because I’m very sleepy and should be in bed (and because it pretty much sums up what I want to say):

Yep, today I did the whole rigmarole of silly gown, silly hat and silly hood-thing, walked across the stage with a hundred other people collecting various other qualifications.  And although I finished the course back in September and received my results around November, today did feel like the culmination of that year’s hard work and I felt bloody proud.  I’ve got half a novel that received, according to one tutor, the highest grade she’s ever awarded (I was speechless for a while after reading that comment, I can tell you!) and I’ve got a Master of Arts with Distinction, but more importantly, I feel that I have the tools and the support (from coursemates who have become great friends) to actually complete that novel.  While I learnt more on my Bachelors (Creative Writing with English Literature), I achieved more on my Masters.

So, yeah, it’s definitely worth it. 🙂  Go for it, and I hope you love it as much as I did.

That photo is of me with two of those lovely people: I’m a lucky girl to find half a dozen people who have become dear friends and excellent writing buddies.  I’d like to thank them all – they know who they are.

So this is for them and for anyone else doing a writing course or thinking of doing one (I can only recommend them from my experiences), and for all the people who pursue their passions in life, even when the bank manager (or anyone else) would prefer you took that job as a lawyer: HUZZAH!

Yep, clear blue skies – it was positively torrential when we went into the ceremony, but we came out to glorious, glaring sunshine … maybe the weather Gods were smiling on our success.

And, finally, here’s a pretty photo – the view from our hotel room:

Now THAT is what I call a sea view!

Night, night, all!

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I’m away for a couple of days (it’s silly-looking cap and gown time, AKA, my MA graduation!), so while I’m gone here are some more inspiration/reference images, this time for my Tamina-type costume.  Click on the image for the full-size inspiration board:

The harem pants – the harem pants!!  They must be made.  I have some natural muslin, which I tried to bleach (I don’t want harsh white, but the natural was a bit too dark) but it didn’t seem to make much difference – it’ll do for a mock-up though.  I bought some white (so cheap!), which I think I’ll tea dye lightly, just to take the edge off the brightness.  I’ve also found an online pattern for the trousers – quite simple, really.

I think I’ll put a belt with the pants, just to add some decoration, something like this:

As for the top half, I’m a bit torn – I love that long, kinda empire-line blouse she’s wearing, with the embellishment down the front and around the collar, but I also love the little cropped waist-coat type thing, also decorated, plus I suspect that the sheer fabric blouse she wears beneath it would be more flattering on someone not as slim as the actress (alas!).

Or maybe I could go for a combination – short waist-coat over the embellished blouse?  And yay for the natural colours of her outfit: I think I can get away with making the cropped waistcoat from calico with embellished natural and gold details.  Similarly, the blouse could be made from calico or muslin or a combination of the two (calico bodice/sleeves with muslin below the bust line?).

Here are some more details of the blouse and waist-coatlette:

In my searches, I also found this gorgeous photo of the costume she wears when we first see her – properly princess-esque:

I do love the cloak she wears – that hood just drapes beautifully:

Maybe one day I’ll do this version of her costume (under-bust corset, hmm … not my usual thing, but really works in this case!) and ask (make) my Gent to dress up as Prince Dastan – his outfit looks relatively simple and rather fetching, methinks!  There are pictures from the actual costume creator, Penny Rose, here – gorgeous work – and an interview with her here.

(I know I’ve been posting a lot about writing lately, but I have also been sewing, it’s just I’ve on the slow hand-sewn parts of my stays at the moment and that’s not terribly exciting to post about!  There will be pics when they’re done, though!)

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Good morning gents of the womanly and manly persuasions!  As the title suggests, I have something pretty to show you and recommend most heartily – new tee:

See me pose!

I was very pleased that my t-shirt arrived so quickly (from the USA, as well!), nicely wrapped and with excellent sizing advice from the artist herself.  A lovely cotton t-shirt, nice and cool for the summer and great for layering in winter; I particularly like the long length – no accidental stomach-flashing for me!  A massive thumbs up for American Duchess.

These would make fabulous presents, if you can bear to give them away … maybe it’s best to buy two and keep one for yourself, and at the good Duchess’s very reasonable price, that is actually in the realms of possibility!

Hmm … now to chose which one to buy next time …

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Writing progress – additional


In which I get to be all smug because another 600+ word day (after a pretty crappy Monday at work, no less!) means that I’ve now broken through 50,000 words (50,560 – wooo!) and (yes, AND) I’m already past my target total for the end of the week (50,554).

"Well hurrah for that!"

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I’ve not mentioned my WIP in a while – for multiple reasons progress has been somewhere between slow and non-existent for several months, but the past couple of weeks I’ve been slowly getting back on the horse.  Momentum is the most important thing for me in terms of getting those words on the page, so I’ve been working to write a little bit every day.

My method, uber-geeky as it is, is to give myself a minimum number of words to do that day (the other important thing for me is having a sense of avhievement, you see!) … that’s not the geeky bit, oh no, the geeky bit is the table I draw up – it looks something like this (remember my love of lists?):

Date    Words Due   Words Done   Projected Total   Actual Total

Mon     200                452                 47,000                 47,252

Tues    etc…

And it covers two sheets of A4 paper front and back, running up until roughly 120,000/end of October.

Yep.  That geeky.  I did warn you.

As I’m just starting up again, I’ve set myself a low target for the first couple of weeks, just 200 words per day. I know that’s a very low target, but my writing confidence is terribly tenuous at the moment and I think of it this way: if I write 400 words when my target was 200, I’ll feel great; if I write 400 words when my target was 600, I’ll have failed and will feel rubbish.  Does that make sense?  I hope so, because then, once I’ve got that boost from reaching my target every day, I’ll be upping my target to 400 (in about a week), and up again a week or two later.  When I was writing T&Gw for my Masters, I was writing a minimum of 750 words per day (some days this ended up being as much as 1,500, and that’s on work-days with cleaning, cooking, etc), so I want to get back up to that level.

Anyway, the reason for all this explanation is that I’m really pleased – today I really didn’t feel like sitting down and writing, but I dutifully made myself (reminding myself that the word-count fairies would come after me otherwise – they’re scary little blighters!) and ended up writing the most I’ve managed to write in one day for a very long time: over 650 words.  It might not seem like much (especially for you super-human people who can sit and write 3,000+ words in a day – how do you manage that?!), but for the girl getting back on that writing horse, who was only looking to write 200 words, it’s kind of a break-through moment.  And hopefully it’s a good sign that I can get my first draft finished and begin on the editing by the end of this year … Something tells me I’m going to need those lucky symbols!

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