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Apr. 27th, 2016

"Taking a small section of a street on an historical census and expanding on all of the occupants" was, if I may say so myself, a bombshell exhibition idea, but it rests on being able to put them in context on the street - both for aesthetic purposes, and to help the audience connect with these people - and I just cannot figure out what houses they were living in. I'm using a 1900 census with no house numbers, and to make some sense of it I have a map from 1864 with house-owner names (only two were still in their houses by 1900) and a 1905 map with no names. The 1890 census was CRUELLY TAKEN FROM US EVEN THOUGH I ALWAYS NEED IT, and when I compare it to the names along the same street in 1910 and 1920 (the latter of which does actually have house numbers), a) there are a bunch of people who've moved away/died and b) the order of the names still there is not similar, so I don't even know wtf the census takers were doing, just wandering around here there and everywhere.

My butcher paper arrived, so exciting! I'm completely sick of using newspapers. Now I just have to remember to print out the scaled-down tap pants pattern (it's from VeraVenus and has legs a bit longer than these, which I've used before - I want something to protect my thighs in the summer) and slip pattern when I'm at work, because I don't have a printer here. I've also just got the lingerie elastic. It's in so many colors, and there's so much of it! The per-yard-price difference between the SewSassy stuff and what you get from Dritz is amazing.

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Apr. 24th, 2016

New patterns + new season = need for new fabric. I suppose it's a cheaper hobby than some things, but I'm not sure what. But I am going to be SO sharp this summer. One of last year's dresses just doesn't spark joy, you know? I also got a yard of jersey and a bunch of lingerie elastic because I am going to go underwear crazy. That's one of those things that has been hard for me to get into gear and make, but from what I've read it's going to be super easy and of course much cheaper than buying them. You can just churn them out by the dozen. Plus I got the Mrs. Depew full-skirted slip pattern, because I keep finding lawns I really like for dresses and would rather make a slip than line them, and because I've needed a slip all winter to deal with my skirts climbing my legs. So, uh, yeah.

(The patterns I got: Butterick B5748, B6582, B5708, and B5953. I've decided not to bother with short-sleeved dresses anymore because they feel too hot in the summer, and I can layer them either with an undershirt or a sweater before it's really hot.)

I did hold back from getting any bathing suit patterns, but I'm going to need to do that soon because my old suit is unflattering and the boob cups aren't big enough. And the ones on Bare Necessities are so expensive. There's a retro swimsuit pattern at Butterick that's basically the same as the suit I have now, but the vertical ruching is a big part of the problem; I was going to use Mrs. Depew's, but then I noticed it has a zipper (???) which seems impractical for swimwear.

I've also been looking at updo tutorials this morning, because a) if I'm ever going to wear these '50s hats, I need a decent foundation for them and b) I'm getting tired of the crossed braids. But as usual it's an exercise in frustration. My forehead is just SO BIG that the hair won't fall right in front, and my hair's too long so it sticks out of things, and to top it all off I'm just very bad at doing hair. There's a part of me that wants to cut it back above my shoulders so it can look styled even when down, but at the same time I like the feel of long hair, so no decision as yet.

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Apr. 24th, 2016

The long antique & artisan sale nightmare is over! I handled it all much better than last year - in part because I worked really hard to make sure we had young college-student help to move tables around the school, and in part because I just felt more confident about my place there being to just walk around and mingle (so I didn't feel like I should be Doing Something). I ended up spending. There was one vendor with really good prices, and I bought a box of sheet music, two linen tea towels embroidered with scottie dogs, six 1950s hats which I'm totally going to get into wearing at some point (no), and four or five pairs of leather gloves, unfortunately none white as the white pair had been bought earlier. And a framed late 1860s fashion plate from a different dealer. In the silent auction, I won a pearl necklace, a Noritake two-tier candy plate, a glass candy dish, a porcelain candy dish, and a bud vase (the last three came together and I only wanted the first one). I'd also bid on a couple of other things in order to encourage other people, like the tiny antique pump organ, but fortunately my plan worked and I didn't have to take them home.

But it did kill my legs. I just walked back and forth, back and forth, occasionally sitting but never really for long enough. And I still have to go to the store today for more pads. :( :( :( :(

Brakes on my car are dying. :( On Friday afternoon, I took the long way to deliver some of our supplies to the school for the show so I could fill up my slow-leak tire, and when I started the car up again after fixing the tire it just felt ... wrong. When I got to the school, smoke was pouring off the front left brake. The caliper froze. It sucked and I was really upset for a while, but after it sat in the rain all evening it started working again. Haven't driven it since. I know I need to take it to the garage but I'm just so sick of fixing things on this car. Time to call a few dealerships or something I guess, UGH, I don't want to have to do this on my own because I don't know what I'm doing.

I'm going to go see The Boss to cheer myself up, I think. I have to get dressed and go for the week's bagels first, though, so I can get in before the college students.

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Apr. 19th, 2016

Going in to work late today! Have to stay until 9 for the Zonta Club dinner, so I'll be in after lunch and voting. Hopefully I can vote - the NYS polling-place finder doesn't have me in it at all, for here or Greenwich, so ...

Got into a fight on and thought about leaving the Rev War Reenactors FB group. Which is worse, men who get really defensive if an unthinking bias against women's activities (not even by them!) gets brought up, or women who feel the need to defend them and make fun of people talking about the bias? I'm glad Sharon Burnston and I are complaining buddies. (We are complaining buddies, I'm totally name-dropping here.)

I thought my lips were really chapped, but now I think my lip balm was irritating them. It must be one of the flavorings/perfumes - I never had any trouble with the Eos pomegranate/raspberry, but the "summer fruits" one is what I've been using lately.

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Apr. 13th, 2016

I'm so tired of those 100 Years of ... videos. Just seeing the blank white backgrounds is starting to make me annoyed.

Staff meeting today! I got to bring up all my many ideas from while Sue was out - changing up the way we come up with children's programs, getting lunchtime speakers that are more qualified, creating a new exhibition based on census data, having potluck lunches for volunteers, trivia nights, etc. - and nearly all of them are being taken on board. And then I wrote the article I was asked to write for our journal, so that's done.

I've been wearing matte lipstick for so long that sparkly lipstick just looks terrible to me now when I try it on.

Still haven't heard back from Batsford, so I'm assuming that that means they're really, actually thinking about publishing this translation, or Galerie des Modes. Exciting!

Robings pleated and pinned, ends of sleeves pinned. Just need to sew down the robings, add the back-of-neck piece (and a little bit of linen to lengthen one side of the robings - scoliosis), and make a stomacher. How do people generally feel about pinning with robings - hide pins under robings? Pin through robings? I'm inclined to the latter as, though this linen takes a crease very well, I could see it flapping around annoyingly.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/898712.html - comment wherever you please.

Apr. 11th, 2016

I hemmed the edges of my gown's skirt today (while watching the Outlander premiere) and got my car back from the garage (brakes fixed), plus made a shortlist of the Once Upon A Fic prompts I could write - so I feel I've done pretty well today. OUAF is proving more difficult than Chocolate Box: there's a lot more scope for options when it comes to fic based on fairy tales.

And I'm halfway through my revision of L'Art de la Lingère! So far, I've been able to untangle every bit that I highlighted as "wtf does this mean?" when I did the original run-through. The only thing I'm not totally sure about is, should the names of stitches not just be translated literally, but put into English? Eg, should I render point arrière as "front stitch" or "running stitch"? "Running stitch" is more immediately comprehended, but "front stitch" helps the reader understand other primary sources better.

I think there's also a connotation to grande dentelle/petite dentelle beyond width, but I don't have any reason to believe that other than a feeling.

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I don't understand how our choral director sees no contradiction in the way he wants us to loosen up and not sing so square, but at the same time to hit every nuance exactly the way the singers did on particular recordings. The reason eg Carole King did it so awesome is because she wasn't obsessing about doing a triplet with a slight hang in it (or something). It just doesn't work to do both at once.

I'm having a hard time with this one line in my revision of Lingère. Edit: NEVER MIND, I figured it out!

(But in Things I Do Get - I finished saving all the articles I wanted and have started to actually look at them. Sad to say but my brain kept repeating "intellectual lightweight" at me lately - but Costume's articles made me realize that I'm not stupid, Dress's article length and style is not the only way to do things.)

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Apr. 9th, 2016

We had eleven kids at the Second Saturday program today, which was amazing! I noticed in looking at our spreadsheet that the only times we've had a good turnout have been for the cider-making day, our Christmas stuff (sit on Santa's lap and also decorate gingerbread cookies), and today's one-room schoolhouse. All the other months, when we were doing a story, a short little talk, and a cheap craft, there've been five or six at most. I think we have to accept that we need to put more effort into providing a full experience rather than the easy picture book + useless craft project combo. And it's also like the issue I've noticed with the adult lunchtime lectures, people come for topics that relate to rural everyday life in the early 20th century.

It's something I really had to learn by doing, because I've read about needing to make this kind of connection many times, but it didn't sink in until I put the pieces together. It pushed me to an idea for a new exhibition that I'm raring to do - reconstructing the lives of all the people living on a block or two in one of the villages in the county, based on one of the censuses in the early 20th century. (Probably 1930 because it's pretty detailed, I like the "radio?" column.)

---

I've been watching Jericho, the "British Western" (which is pretty cool) starring Jessica Raine and Hans Matheson. Did you know Jessica Raine'd been in an episode of Garrow's Law? I didn't realize until I saw promo shots from this because of her hair. Anyway, I really enjoy the story and the characters but their armscyes are SO HIGH and it makes all of the women's bodices look strange. It's okay for the rich woman and the madam who dress fashionably, but even the women who are clearly supposed to be wearing 5- or 10+-year-old clothes don't have dropped armscyes. It's amazing how such a little thing can just make a whole outfit read wrong.

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Apr. 9th, 2016

Okay, feeling a bit better this morning. (ICYMI, last night I posted an extended rant/vent about my inability to be either academic or popular and then privated it.) It is something that's been bothering me for a long time - proper academic articles are nearly always about textual, archival sources, and I'm all about the object-based study - not helped by the two bad experiences I've had in trying, but it only seemed like a crisis because a) I've had so much bullshit work lately, extra hours and extra duties, and it's all so mindless and stultifying, and b) I'm waiting to hear back from two jobs I really want (plus those three earlier ones I never heard back from, thx) and suspect I won't get because I'm not academic enough. But I can't get more academic unless I get a job that gives me more scope for it!

Ironically I'm supposed to write an article for our magazine this month. Which you would think would help, but they don't want something object focused, they want me to talk about my job as "curator" (not my position, but they don't listen) and if I'm going to talk about an object they want it to be in the context of how it was acquired and how we take care of it. IT WAS DROPPED OFF BY SOME RANDO AND WE STUCK IT ON A SHELF. We don't take care of anything and so far I haven't come across anything we actually worked to acquire, apart from a late 1830s portrait of a woman that was bought at Sotheby's because they thought it was Clarissa Wright, and it's not.

So this week, I've had to work a twelve hour shift yesterday and I'm working again today (not a full eight hours, I'm going in late), and then tomorrow I have to go to Massena (45 min drive) to walk the Civil War Weekend site for reasons I'm not really privy to, maybe because we're changing the layout? They've done this about 13 times, it seems unnecessary. And then we're having an extra chorus rehearsal from six to nine, because why not? I only have to finish making my gown plus also make a circle skirt with fabric that hasn't arrived yet. (I may have to go to the charity shop.)

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Apr. 7th, 2016

Here's the downside of being more active on Twitter: I'm constantly jealous of the professional academics who write all day. I guess the solution is to write more pithy tweets about working in a museum so that they can be jealous of me?

I barely even actually comment on politics anywhere online and just reading about it is exhausting me and making me so anxious. :/ I think it's as much about refraining from saying anything when I see someone describe a mildly critical article as "a hit job" etc. as it is from the discourse in general. There's been a lot of refraining (refraint?) on my part for months and you know I have a hard time dealing with wrongness on the internet.

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Apr. 5th, 2016

Gave blood again, and this time I drank a jar of water before I left (and ate my lunch), and drank another jar when I got back. I was feeling pretty good, but the walk home took it out of me ... Hopefully dinner will see me through chorus rehearsal.

Once Upon A Time is really just a collection of nonsense these days. It's sad, when I compare it to everything else I queue on Hulu. If it weren't for Robert Carlyle I would have given it up two seasons ago, but fortunately he likes the paycheck.

I kind of wanted to go to JoAnn and buy fabric for a concert skirt, but in the end I ordered it off FFC - two different blacks, so I can choose between. Plus a long length of a tropical-print poplin to make some more summer dresses, when it's warmer! For the skirt pattern, I'll be copying a long circle skirt I've had for about ten years, which looks very nice and is a good vintage-style length. A part of me wanted to make a cool '60s dress because of the concert theme, but if it has to be at least knee-length I might as well go the other way.

No word from publishers or job applications. :( :( Nobody loves me.

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Arrrrrrrgh

My gown's sleeves are too tight, by like an inch. And they're slightly too short. Fortunately I didn't sew down the robings or the pleats yet, but I need to unpick the armscye and the seam and add a bit in, and then set them back in with a smaller seam allowance. And I was making such good time! I was trying to make them snug because the other two 18th century gowns I've made were baggy in the arm and that was ugly, and in general my new philosophy is to aim too small rather than too big. Annoying! I'm also not convinced that the straps are close enough in the back, and I know the back pleats are too far apart at the waist. The latter are probably going to stay as they are for a while, but if I'm taking the sleeves off I guess I might as well redo the strap attachment in back. My other attempts have had strap issues, and it's very annoying to have them slipping off the shoulder. Hopefully that won't make the sleeves situation worse ... But I'm leaving all this for tomorrow morning. Too tired.

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Apr. 2nd, 2016

There's something about the 18th century that just feels so right. Maybe it's just that that's where I got started (I knew how to sew before I got into it, but only in the most basic sense), but it seems more intuitive and simpler. Everything comes together so sensibly and practically. Or am I the only one that feels that way?

While fitting the lining this morning, I had to take about 1-1.5" off the lower edge. It's so hard to believe my torso is that short! But it is. I could have added little triangles into the seams to make it flare out more and then set the skirt down a bit lower, but I decided not to. I might have to do a little piecing at the back, though - just like last time, when cutting out the blue linen for the back I put the little waist slice about an inchish lower than the lining. OTOH, a bunch of extants show a kind of severe dip in the waistline in back, so it might be all right. Don't know, we'll see when I come to pleat the skirt. I anticipate getting the gown finished by the end of the weekend, minus hems etc.

I answered a question on AH about historiography, feminism, and corsets which you might like to read.

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Apr. 2nd, 2016

Working the late Friday and Saturday shift, which this weekend means going in a couple of hours late. Because why not? It's really silly that we're even open on Friday nights since hardly anyone comes in then, but I have to defend it because if we jettison that Sue and I both have to work every Saturday.

After I got home last night I put together the bodice lining, minus straps. Going to pin the straps on and try it with stays after I finish my tea. Aughhh, but I'm feeling so lazy ...

I'm weirdly annoyed by opinion pieces about how the writer, an older Millennial, is not a Millennial. They complain about generalizing over the whole timespan and then talk about "people born 1980-1990" and it's like, I was born in '87 and I don't identify with what you're saying because I was too young to remember that. Stop redefining the boundaries and start arguing for less stereotyping based on generation cohort!

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Mar. 31st, 2016

I realized today while looking over my checklist for the antique sale - which isn't until April 23rd - that I'm kind of being a boss at being a boss? I've gotten a ton done. Three press releases have gone out (one more to go in a week or so), the radio spot's recorded, we have silent auction stuff coming in and being handled by the volunteers who do that, some volunteers have signed up to work on the day or to bring in desserts for the luncheon, flyers are made, raffle tickets are made, dealers are contracted, the space is reserved, tables are confirmed, the quilt for the raffle's almost finished. All that's left to do is to get the ads to the newspapers (I don't know what the process is for that), make up the layout of booths, and send the program to the printers (need the booth layout for that), basically.

Then apart from that, I've gotten our magazine bulk mailing out and I've single-handedly created the next issue of the newsletter, which I will then bulk mail. Not only did I make the newsletter, but I made the newsletter about the county rather than just our organization, which has been a decent goal people lay on me and then do nothing to help with - the article about summer events includes our Civil War Weekend and the Founders Weekend put on by the Fort de la Presentation people, and there's a whole piece about the Lisbon, Hammond, and Hopkinton museums, which are only open in the summer. I think Sue will be very pleased with it when she comes back.

I even managed to post about two of the #museumweek daily themes on Twitter (people and heritage), and not just RT some people but QUOTE-RT some people, which is a huge step for me. Also I talked to someone at the Newport Historical Society (two applications there and counting) on Facebook and they friended me, so I networked! I feel so accomplished and useful.

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Mar. 29th, 2016

Oh, chorus. Who smells like poo? What is wrong with that bass's voice, and why does the director not recognize that he's either got a physical issue or won't stop doing it? Why won't the woman in the next seat stop talking to me? Who smells like poo?

My linen left Rochester this evening, so I will have it tomorrow! We're going to see how fast I can sew this gown by hand. Not that I'm worried. I've got this in the bag. If there's one period I feel really comfortable with at this point, it's the 18th century.

This morning I went and talked on the radio (well, it was recorded)! Once I got to the station they said I could have done it from work on the phone ... but it was easier to do in person, getting the visual cues from the announcer of like when she was going to start talking again and so on. I'm so far out of my comfort zone at this point, Sue can't come back fast enough.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is making me pretty happy. I'm so glad the story's progressing, it's much less embarrassment-squicky this way.

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Mar. 27th, 2016

Spending the night at Gramma's. She's getting to the point where Mom thinks she's going to have to come by once a week to do the laundry and take her shopping - the basement stairs are finally being acknowledged as too much. We also did a little cleaning: I'm taking home a small letter holder made by my great-grandfather and a couple of old mechanical pencils.

Here's a good story: when Gramma was working as a secretary at the bank right out of high school, she was paid $500 a year.* (This was in the late 1940s, early 1950s.) One of her duties was to type up the monthly reports her boss wrote. One month he was out of the office and so she put the report together on her own, then delivered it to the other boss guys(?). After their meeting, they realized the guy who was supposed to have written the report was out of town, and she fessed up that she'd written it, and they doubled her salary!

Then the in-house bookkeepers found out when they did the next week's paychecks, and they told everyone else and apparently her life was made miserable for about a week. (It wasn't said, but I'm guessing that there were allegations of s!keeping around.) So ... there's that.

* I'm suspicious of this number because that would be 25c an hour, but it's what she said so I'll run with it. Maybe she meant a month? Going by a currency converter that seems like an extremely high jump in salary. Man, I don't know.

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Mar. 26th, 2016

So Doctor Thorne is pretty great. (I'd forgotten about it until I read an article I think FrockFlicks linked to, and watched it today.) The ending was a little overtidy, but I really appreciated the journey. I would rate the hair and costumes fairly highly, although the clothing was marred by my constant complaint, "why are the corsets mashing their boobs up so high?" I really like Tom Hollander, there's something about him that seems so nice even when he's playing a dickbag like John Ruskin, you know? Also, Rebecca Front plays Andromeda Tonks in my head.

Julian Fellowes is good in small doses, it's his long-term plotting that's a problem.

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Mar. 23rd, 2016

Today's weird person at work: this guy got pulled into our parking lot by a police officer and taken away in the police car last week. I assumed he was an Alzheimer's patient who'd gone off with a car he wasn't supposed to have and let it sit there for a week, figuring whoever was looking after him and alerted the police would come for it. Nobody did. Finally I called the police with the license plate and they said I could have it towed but they would contact this guy and let him know he needed to come get it. Well, he popped in today to tell us about how he wanted to put in three nuclear reactors and the FBI talked to him about his inquiries into what to do with the waste (he called labs and they told him to call different labs all over the country) and he also wants to get involved with wind power because the windmills here are inefficient because they're the wrong height? I realize this makes him sound like an intelligent entrepreneur/scientist but he's an old man with a backwards baseball cap, a suspended license, and a '90s Buick LeSabre whose registration was up last June. Also his car is still here because he needs someone to drive it to the Price Chopper parking lot, and I was not quite willing to put myself in that situation.

People were wrong on the internet all day, it was a real trial being the only right one I tell you.

Anybody else seen Breathless? British,1960s, Jack Davenport, Natasha Little, Boyce from Green Wing, gynecologists. Iain Glen reaching his final evolutionary form as a guy who predates upon but ultimately doesn't get the woman he wants and is real pathetic. S'pose he can't help being typecast at this point.

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Mar. 21st, 2016

I finished my chemise! It was a pain in the butt, but I think it's good and with that neckline and those tiny sleeves it should work for anything mid-century I ever need it for. The picture is crap, as usual, but there's something about the lighting in this apartment that makes it impossible ...

I also got a lot of cleaning done today. The handymen came in and started fixing the showerhead (apparently the old one had two pressure-reducers and one broke, and then when I wiggled it around the broken pieces got into the channel and cut off the water) and because I'd just finished the chemise, I started cleaning. Dusted all the surfaces, put the ironing board away, hung up the dresses I took to Vieques, and cleared off my dresser top, which was covered with jewelry. I need to get rid of a lot of jewelry, people are always giving me necklaces and I just don't wear them!

Got the last parts of my Amazon spree today, too - Anita Loos's No Mother to Guide Her and Liza Picard's Restoration London: Everyday Life in London 1660-1670, which looks to be excellently cited and researched, head and shoulders above most "daily life in ..." books, especially since it focuses on such a small time period.

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