Thursday, July 24, 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged...

...that when there is an opportunity to attend the 7th Annual Jane Austen Festival, you take it.

   Costumes donned, hair curled, reticules filled with hard earned pence.... two of my friends and I embarked on the two and a half hour ride to Louisville, Kentucky this past weekend for a day of Austentatious bliss.   And bliss it truly was!  I spruced up my regency afternoon dress and helped Ali and Becca do the same.  One thing missing from each of our costumes was a perfect bonnet, and our plan for the day was to return home with just that.

   I will apologize in advance; I did not bring my Nikon to the event since I did not feel like lugging it around, so all we have is mobile pictures.  But nonetheless there is quite a bit to share.

Ali showing off her new fan
   We arrived at the beautiful historic Locust Grove at around eleven, just as the first high tea was starting.  The grounds were gorgeous; elegant gardens, brick paths, stately buildings, sweet smelling air.  After stopping by the tea room and getting our tags for the promenade, we headed to see the rest of the event.  This year we were going to attempt to break the Guinness Book of world record for most people in regency attire.  Up to this point, the Jane Austen festival in Bath, England, held the record at 409.

   The main attraction was definitely the Shops at Meryton.  A horseshoe bend of crisp tents sported shop after shop of feathered bonnets, bright colored dresses, lace parasols and more.  There was so much to look at!  Right off I spotted my bonnet, and bought it straight away to wear for the rest of the day.

  Soon after my two lovely companions found their dream hats.  The shops were full of so many beautiful things!  I ended up getting a bonnet and a riding hat, as well as a fan.  My next costume project: a regency riding habit. ;)

The picture of my riding hat I took when I got home.
    After shopping the morning away and getting a bite to eat, we assembled for the gentlemen's duel on the green.  While we were waiting, we set eyes on a very exciting sight.

  Mr. Darcy!!!  We just had to get a picture with him, so Becca and I snuck this one in.  Look at those gloves!  And his stature and poise!  He was definitely a true Austen hero.  Although I'm afraid he noticed our whispers.  Ah well, it was well worth it.

    At last it was time to assemble for the promenade.  They had cameras ready for filming the event, and everyone was counted.  We walked in pairs.  Becca, Ali and I had the great privilege of being asked by the Lieutenant's wife if we would like to be escorted by three of the navy officers, since they had no ladies to escort.  What a privilege!  Our giddiness was too hard to contain.  I mean out of almost 400 other ladies they chose us three!!  Oh the excitement!  I felt like Lydia Bennet to the extreme.

   This video was made of the festival, and the promenade is in it.   You can see me at 2:39 on the far right in the green dress.  I was so excited to be on there!!!  They did such a good job filming it!
    After strolling about in our grand parade, we all assembled on the green to hear the final count.  And when it was announced, the entire crowd cheered!  We had beat England by ALMOST EIGHTY PEOPLE!!!!!  Bonnets and top hats flew into the air.   It was such an exciting moment, to be part of breaking a world record.  And what a fun way to do it!

    All around I was so happy to have had the opportunity to attend this event.  I wish I would have taken better pictures but there was so much to do and see that I am happy I did not have that very un-period-correct camera bag to drag around.  There was so much more I could have shared but time and lack of photos made it a bit difficult.  Next year the three of us have plans to make regency ball gowns and go to the grand ball following the festival.  We made plans to go this time long after tickets for the ball were sold out, but now we have a year to plan in advance.

   Have any of you ever been to the festival?  I would love to see some of you there next year!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Introducing my new shop... Pemberley Threads!

The day is upon us!  Me, rather.  But nonetheless, I am exhilarated to get my new shop up and running today.  I had so much fun making each and every one of these things.  Though the collection is small, I have big plans for fall so never fear.

My banner.  I stayed up late tweaking it and definitely like the brown and coral color combination better than the black and white of the other logo I came up with.

Yes, most of the things in the shop right now are Downton Abbey. :)  My favorite couple is Sybil and Branson, so why not begin with this hoop art?  I loved finding fabric for the little coral colored heart in the middle.  See it in the shop here.

I have a few doll costumes in the shop, this being my favorite hands down.  May I introduce you to Lady Mary, the eldest Crawley sister?  This is my favorite dress from the entire series of Downton Abbey (closely followed by her spectacular riding habit), and I had so much fun recreating it from the lacy gloves to the string of pearls.

Does it look similar to the original?  Next on my list is to replicate that fabulous hat. *sigh*

I have also done a few pillows made with pieces I embroidered.  Here we have on the left the Dowager Countess of Grantham's stately silhouette set in some coral pink calico and edged in robin's egg blue floral cotton.  Also, who could resist a quietly reading Miss Elizabeth Bennet?

Another piece of hoop art with none other than my favorite fictional hero... Mr. Thornton. :)  His famous quote and a few Helstone roses on either side of his silhouette... I almost don't want to sell this one.

Be sure to visit the new shop to see everything else in the collection!

And for all of my new customers... 

Just use this code when checking out on Etsy: TAKE10FORDOWNTON

Might as well proclaim some of our Downton spirit right?

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In the Shop | Out with the Old and in with Pemberley

   Well hello again!  I am still around, yes.  My life has lately been full of some pretty tough mountains to climb, but also a thrilling roller coaster drop here and there.  Amid all of my philandering I have managed to get the summer collection completed for the shop.  But here is the big piece of news: I am changing my shop name.  Going into this new season I have decided to let my old shop fly away in the wind to make room for my new ideas and creations.  For a long while I have been pondering a name, and at last came upon the perfect title.   Ladies, (and gentlemen, should there be any of you reading this), I would like to introduce you to...

Pemberley Threads!

   While I have enjoyed creating many different things for my Etsy shop in the past, I have come to realize that it is my love of literature and period drama that wins out among all of my other interests.  Making embroidered portraits or quotes from favorite heroes and heroines, recreating favorite costumes worn by the actresses for dolls, and drawing the likenesses of Mr. Thornton, Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Knightley and many more.... that's what I really love to do best!  Pemberley Threads will be a myriad of period drama inspired creations, and probably a few things from some of our favorite fandoms too (ehem Avengers, Dr. Who, and Sherlock)

   To celebrate this new chapter on my path of artsy chaos, I am hosting a grand opening weekend on June 6 - 8.  If you haven't noticed, my shop is now completely cleared of inventory and once the new name is approved by Etsy, I will post all of my new pieces.  Come by the blog this weekend to preview all of the new things I have made, and maybe even a discount or two. ;)

Of course, every shop needs a logo.  What do you think of this one?
I may change it but for now I think this is the logo I shall use.

Have a loverly afternoon and see you this weekend!

Yours truly,

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Homestead Diaries | From Sheep to Shawls

   I have been enjoying this lovely warm weather immensely, and what better way to spend these first sweet spring days than at the farm.  This weekend the barn housed the annual sheep shearing, and the farmhouse was full of period fiber craft demonstrations all day long.

 Taking advantage of the event, I wore my midnight blue polonaise to celebrate the occasion, brought my wheel, tied one of my aprons around my waist, and pedaled away the afternoon spinning.  

The boys wrangled the sheep one at a time into the pen to wait their turn.  Poor things had no idea what was going on and did not like the buzz of the shears at all.  We do almost everything period correct here at the farm, but they draw the line when it comes to period shears. ;)

My friend and I set up our wheels in the parlor and spread the table with finished hand spun pieces and period spinning equipment.

The lighting in there is perfect for spinning, and the photographers like it too.

My corner. ;)  There were often 10-15 people watching us work, and it was so much fun sharing what we know about spinning in the 19th century with the visitors.  Many of them had never seen a spinning wheel before!

We had a weaver working the loom in the sitting room.  How I have itched to try that out myself.  Everyone I have ever spoken to about weaving has always said it is pretty easy.  Now to find the money for a loom...

We set up the triangular loom as well with a partially finished shawl on it.

We also have our very own tatter.  The pieces she makes are gorgeous.  Tatting is certainly a craft I admire, but from afar.  I could never have the patience for all those tiny knots.

She bought this beautiful 1830s tatting kit on eBay for $5.00.  It is in superb condition, especially the material on the inside, and the tools are all original and still stunningly new looking.  The purple and blue tatting thread was too pretty to use, so she keeps it in the kit for show.

Yes I am jealous.

I loved the green silk with the purple edging.  It is wonderful inspiration for a reproduction project.  If I ever get into tatting, that is. :)

Besides the spinning, knitting, crocheting, tatting, and weaving going on in the house, we had felting outside and dying with rosemary and turmeric out in the summer kitchen.  

The sheep took all day long and there will be more shearing tomorrow.

I just love the fiber world; working with sheep, creating beautiful things from their wool, sharing your work with other people.  And it's even better when you do it all in 1880s costume!

"She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands."
~ Proverbs 31:13

Photo credit Tim M.

Do any of you spin or work with fiber?  Perhaps you knit or crochet?

Have a lovely..... oh my gracious it's almost midnight!
  How does that always happen to me?

Many blessings,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Do You Never Laugh, Miss Eyre?"

   Each year when the winter melts into spring, yet the landscape is still brown and gloomy, I dive into Jane Eyre.  For some reason the damp, slightly chilly, dull colored atmosphere reminds me of what the English countryside must have been like on that fateful blustery day which found our dear Jane walking to deliver a letter and met with Mr. Rochester for the first time.

   I made this pair of earrings recently for an evening out.  They somehow remind me of something Jane might have worn on her wedding day; small and understated, yet glinting in the sun like the small light she was in the darkness of Thornfield.

"You examine me, Miss Eyre," he said. "Do you think me handsome?"
"No, sir."

"Do you never laugh, Miss Eyre? Only rarely perhaps. But you're not naturally austere, any more than I'm naturally vicious. I can see in you the glance of a curious sort of bird through the close set bars of a cage, a vivid, restless captive. Were it but free, it would soar, cloud high."

    I just love this book; I could quote it all day!  And now, what do you think of Jane Eyre?  Do you enjoy darker stories?  Which movie adaptations have you seen/liked?  I'm warning you, the 2011 version is definitely my favorite. :)

Enjoy this spring day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

{In the Shop} The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

     How do I begin this post?
     Since I saw Frozen for the first time in the theater in December, it has become one of my favorite musicals ever made.  I sing along to the soundtrack every morning on the way to work.  I watch it lots, thanks to the fact that it is now finally on dvd.  The story is so cute and exciting, and each of the characters are equally perfect, but I do have a favorite character.
     Who could not like Elsa?  *ehemhervoiceehem*  I was fascinated by her.  Her songs, her personality, and yes, her wardrobe.  That's why I decided to take on recreating her "Snow Queen Dress" as I like to call it.  (after all the movie was based roughly on the tale by the same name by Hans Christian Anderson)

Granted, it's not going to look as good on a chubby American Girl as it did on Elsa's slender figure, but I tried to capture the same idea.  That sparkly blue gauze jumped out at me on the rack and I instantly knew it would work it's magic wonderfully for this project.

If you look closely the back closure and the cape piece are still only pinned on, since we had what could be our last sprinkling of snow this morning and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to shoot the dress among it's natural habitat. :)

You can't really tell from the pictures how sparkly the outfit is.  Photographing sparkles is so difficult and the lighting has to be just so.

The braid was fun to do.  All you really do is brush the hair to one side and french braid it.

I loved the lighting in the early morning hours when I shot this.  It was just enough to cast that gentle glow on the fabric making it more breathtakingly magical.  Now if only there had been enough snow to build a little Olaf for her.... 

Look for this dress in the shop soon!

Hope you are having a lovely beginning of spring!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Praying for Prince Charming

  Hello again from the wilds of Ohio!  My terribly neglected blog has been terribly neglected once again.  But, here I am.  *deep breath*  No, I did not forget it was Valentine's Day.  In fact, I did a guest post over at Lianne Taimenlore for her "Dear Love" series that I thought would be very appropriate for today.  So, here you are.  

  It's that time of year again.  I don't need to tell you about all of the mushy cards, the boxes of chocolate, the pink and red decorations, and the hand-in-hand couples we see everywhere around town because I'm sure you are already observing them for yourself and thinking "I really can not wait for Valentines Day to be over."  What used to be a day when Daddy would bring you home a bouquet of roses with a special kiss for his little girl, now leaves you feeling a bit empty inside.  Of course you still love Daddy but you're a woman now, and you want someone of your own, someone who wants to be with you for the rest of his life.  But where is he?

            I don't know about you, but sometimes I look around and get a bit discouraged by what my prospects of a husband are.  If you are in this boat, don't panic or worry. If you feel called to the married life, then God most certainly has someone out there for you, He just hasn't introduced you to him yet, and He has the perfect reasons why He has not done so.  However, just because you haven't met Prince Charming yet, doesn't mean you need to frown upon Valentine's Day.

     Focus on praying for your future someone instead of moping about what's taking him so long.  Chase those thoughts away with the one thing that is most productive; prayer.  It will help him the most and connects the two of you in a spiritual way before you have even met in person.  Be specific in what you are praying for as well, for example some of your intentions could be: that he may advance in his relationship with God, that he has success in his schooling/career, that he may resist temptations against purity, etc.

     Praying for your future spouse will make you feel peaceful in that you are helping him in the best way that you can for the present.  He is going to have to come up with some type of career to provide for the family one day and that takes time and effort and study, all of which are not easy and can be overwhelming.  You can begin your role as a supportive wife right now by backing him in his endeavors with your loving prayers.

    So lets not look at Valentine's Day as our anniversary of being single, but as an opportunity to remember what we are striving for.  We are helping our future spouses by praying for them, wherever they are, whatever they are doing.  If you think about it, chances are he is spending his Valentine's Day alone too.  And if you think about it even more, he most likely has you on his mind.  So you are really not alone, because besides Our Lord, who knows all the desires of your heart, there is someone out there longing for you just as much as you are for him.

And if you must know, yes, I have a Valentine this year.  His name is Ignatius and he is the sweetest little gentleman I have ever met.  Yes, he is two years old but that doesn't matter.  It's the thought that counts, right?  ;)

Have a happy Valentine's Day dearies! :)

Yours truly,

Alright, I just can't end this post without something period drama related, so here you go.

The feeling is mutual, Branson, the feeling is mutual... :)

Other posts of interest....

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