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Day One of Civil War Weekend

Ohhhhh mannnnn. My legs are killing me. My boots are good, but standing all day - literally 12 hours from when I left home to when I came back - hurts no matter what.

Need a bonnet stay, it likes to fly back a little when I walk. And I really need a petticoat as the PinUp Girl one causes a bulge at knee level and allows the hoops to show through below it.

I had a good time, but it was really disappointing that no other women were wearing corsets, and every other stereotypical minimal-effort Civil War civilian stereotype that implies. Yeah. But I made a couple of friends and competed in the frying pan toss, so.

The spacebar on my laptop has basically crapped out. The right spring? Dead. Every space requires a very deliberate smash. Damn. I'm going to map the right Shift to be my new Space. But now Imust stop becausethis is a tedious way to type.

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Jul. 24th, 2015

Everything is working out! I can't find my usual sleeveless ahistorical chemise, so I took out the 1840s one I never quite finished (the ends of the sleeves need a little pleat - pinned, will sew) and is a bit tight in the armscye. And I have no petticoat to go over the hoop, but I bought a short one from PinUp Girl the other week (I do what I want) and it's so full that it does a decent job of hiding the hoops. And I did my hair way lower on my neck which fixed my bonnet problem. It looks much better! I'll have to make sure to get someone to take a good picture of me tomorrow, as I'm the photographer and won't turn up in pictures (as usual).

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Happy back from vacation!

So tired from all my plane-hopping to get back home, especially since my day started at 2:30. But it was a very good vacation - Outer Banks, lots of beach, worried about sharks all the time, a little bit of history (they let me take photos of clothing inside the historic house that was no photos, yaaaay). My dresses were great to wear but a little impractical for such a windy place, especially the circle skirt.

I didn't keep up with LJ while I was away - will be doing it once maintenance stops - but did have time to disagree with people on multiple historic fashion FB groups, astounding. Didn't write more than a couple of paragraphs of fiction, but I did read quite a bit.

Watching After the Ball on Netflix. For a ridiculous Cinderella retelling that may have been made for tv, it's pretty decent. I have a weakness for movies set in the fashion industry, though.

Going to start a batch of yogurt, then go back to working on downloading all of Ackermann's.

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Jul. 16th, 2015

My hoop came today! SO HAPPY. It's hard to properly try it and the dress on because I have a tiny mirror and no space, but it all looks pretty good. My petticoat situation is not as I would like it to be but IDC. The shape's less domelike than I feared! It actually has the exact 1861 curve. It must just be photo angles or maybe people's petticoats that made it look very 1850s.

Where are my good pens? The ones that write decently? I don't like the one I'm using and can't find anything better. I know they're here, I used to have several in my purse. It's very hard to write when your pen isn't smooth.

Most of my list is taken care of - alarm set, car has gas, Costume articles on my Kindle, food put in freezer. I just have to finish packing (bras, makeup) and take out the garbage.

Young Doctor's Notebook has a second series!! Wonderful. Jon Hamm plays a good Dan Radcliffe (even there's zero possibility the latter could age into the former).

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Jul. 15th, 2015

Pbbbt. Just realized the reason my rehydrated beans are always so dry is that you're supposed to boil them before you start cooking with them, especially if you're cooking with tomatoes as well. WELL. How are you supposed to just know that. I'm still going to reheat some of the Butter Chicken-Style Beans I made last night for today's dinner, but I'm not sure I'll do it on Thursday night since the partially-cookedness isn't good for me, I don't think. But I have so much of it left over, I don't want to throw it all out ...

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Jul. 13th, 2015

Dunno if everyone's seen it yet, but Maney Publishing has put fifty Costume articles (mostly apparently older) online for free for July because it's the journal's 50th. I just saved all of them for later perusal.

Dying of heat. It was 85 today, I can't handle that. But it's started raining hard, even though it didn't look at all dark out until just now! If I park myself in front of the window it becomes almost bearable, although there's not much of a breeze.

I worked a little bit on the parrot-print dress I made several years ago. It's from this New Look pattern, and while the final one on the packet looks very cute, it's not very shaped and as I made it so long ago it's not fitted well at all. I've shortened the straps and moved them closer together in the back (plus pinned one strap shorter and pinned a tiny dart into one of those boob triangles because I was kind of falling out of it), which helped, but the sides are so terrible. I took them in a teeny bit which helped enormously, but because the top and skirt are made up separately and then attached, I can't do more of that easily without taking them apart and I don't really wanna. So it looks good from a frontal view but terrible in profile or 3/4.

Using that 1/4" square graph paper notebook I bought when I thought it was substitutable for 1/8" for patterning (IT'S REALLY NOT) for writing in. I've done 4 pages this weekend! Pretty good.

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Jul. 12th, 2015

I bought glazed croissants off the 1/2 price cart at Price Chopper and I've eaten three this afternoon/evening. :6

Finished reading The Goblin Emperor. I cannot stress enough how good it is. As with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, it's like the author reached into my heart, took out a pen, and transcribed my dreams.

Okay, this evening I'm going to finish pinning flowers into my bonnet. Never have I been so annoyed that I made the brim so huge. Edit: Ugh, I forgot how badly it tips forward. You see, this is why I don't buy patterns for historical sewing, because even when I do and I don't frankenpattern them, I make them as they are, they come out messed up! Thanks, Obama.

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I had a crazy dream last night, apparently inspired by [profile] m_of_design's dream and my trip to New York two weeks ago - there was a party in like a big stone-interiored castle going on, an 18th century white and gold themed costume party. (Note to self: DO THIS.) I was late because of travel issues, like before, and so I got there after dark, toting around a heavy bag and a rolly suitcase. Everybody else was fully dressed and in the ballroom, having a great time. The person who was going to meet me was already dressed too, so she wasn't really into helping me, and kind of waved me on. So I'm carrying all of this and trying to find the room where I can put my things down and get dressed, but in doing so I end up in the main room with the stuff, kind of cranky and tired, and people keep telling me not to worry about it, just stay - but at the same time, it's like Dress U and the dressed people's eyes just kind of skate over me because I'm not One of the Tribe. Soooooooooo.

tl;dr yet another anxiety dream where I get left behind, haven't had one of those in a long time, what is wrong with me

I was having a relaxing, leisurely aloneday at work, and then as soon as it was open, while I was still eating lunch, a Cornell grad student came to research the local dairy industry. So I had to take her up to the archives and stay with her until 4, and because everything I do is with either Outlook or PastPerfect (which is only on my computer), I can't really do anything work-wise up there. Which retroactively ruined my relaxation, because I'd been, you know, going at a Saturday pace beforehand and I just felt bad for not working as hard as I could have been once I was stuck doing nothing. Next time if it's a student who seems trustworthy I'm just going to let them stay there by themselves, it's ridiculous.

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Jul. 11th, 2015

I put Thinking Woman's Guide aside for a bit because I hit one of my hot-button issues - "riding sidesaddle is objectively terrible" - and picked up another book I got out of the library at the same time, The Goblin Emperor. Oohhhhh. It's soooooo good. I'm barely into it but I love it. It's about this half-elf/half-goblin who's like the fifth son of the elf emperor coming to the throne because everyone else was in an airship accident. You have to have a high tolerance for high fantasy names and constructed societies/political systems, but I LOVE IT. It helps that I love this particular cliché, the person who's not ready or trained or intending to do it succeeding to a title.

It's actually making me very sad that I can't get into my fiction-writing brain anymore, because I once wrote 20k words in this line (then took a break, then matured writer-wise in the meantime, then came back and realized I needed to take these bones and start over, so now I have ONE SCENE) and would really love to go back to it, but as long as I'm sewing it doesn't seem possible. You know, maybe I'll take a notebook with me on vacation and try to work longhand again. Maybe I'll be able to keep writing once I get back if it's longhand, since being on the computer all day at work may be part of why I stare dully at the screen when I try to write.

Getting a bit tired of the way some people on Facebook cannot hold a conversation. They just infodump like a bot, and half the time it seems like a non sequitur. Maybe they are secretly bots, I don't know.

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Jul. 9th, 2015

It's kind of sad to me how little energy I have for my blog these days. I'm not surprised, it's always been kind of obvious to me that certain types of my energy can only stretch so far - I can't work on a sewing project and write fiction, is the main thing - but it's kind of sad that doing history-related stuff and lots of FindaGrave/Ancestry.com research exhausts me from more fun research and writing. I liked writing absurdly long posts about whatever struck my fancy.

I have to put in all the flowers in my bonnet this weekend. I keep kind of mentally putting the CWW off and I can't! I have to finish it all a week before the event because I'm getting back the day before setup.

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Jul. 8th, 2015

I started reading The Thinking Woman's Guide to Magic because it has a very attractive cover, and when I flipped through the beginning I could tell it was starting out fairly quickly with the main character enchanted by fairies, with the whole "they're creepy and fake but hide it under glamour" trope, which was kind of a brave choice - having her spend ~100 pages obviously brainwashed early in the book, you know? It starts starts with her as a grad student writing about Donne, which is incredibly annoying to me at this point (female characters who are English lit grad students are one cliché that "doing it fully and earnestly" doesn't make it more fun for me; just no) but that slipped by fast. Overall I was having a pretty good time with it, but then the obvious Romantic Interest revealed himself and I just dunnooooo. He's older, gruff, knowledgeable, etc. while she's younger and naive and a newcomer to the fantasy world, which isn't terrible. But from reviews and the text I can tell it's supposed to be something of a P&P parallel, and it really annoys me when people's P&P parallels show that they don't really get P&P (especially if they went to Harvard like the author, most likely for English lit given the heroine). They don't go off P&P, they go off Beauty and the Beast, or something like it. It's never nuanced enough and giving us the Darcy's PoV ruins it, imo. This guy's just kind of a megajerk and the way he treats the heroine is less due to position and perception and more to do with him just being a megajerk.

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Jul. 7th, 2015

Finished my petticoat! Well, sort of. It has no fastening. I'm cool with pinning it a few times. It's very sloppy overall, the hem is in no way even, but since it comes to above the knee and all my vintagey dresses come to below the knee, that's not a problem. It's very very full. I'm happy.

I never heard back from the woman with the sewing machine - I think when she got my number off her phone she didn't see that it has a different area code. So I finally got around to calling her again to let her know; left a message. I hope this does work out, I'd really like a cabinet machine.

... I just came back to edit something in and I completely forgot it. Time for shower and bed.

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I'm so tired, but it's been a good day. It took me a while to get going, but I went to Price Chopper for a few things, and when I checked out the 1/2-price-dated-today bakery cart it transpired that they overstocked for the Fourth* and I got a ~6" chocolate cake with fudge between the layers, chocolate frosting, and chocolate chips on the sides for $5. Came home and had lunch, then cleaned the cutting board, which had unfortunately got a little moldy because I often put a dish towel over it for wet dishes to dry on. I used the rest of the bleach solution on the sink and it's SO CLEAN, just amazing.

After lunch I went out and got my bagels and a couple of things at the health food store, taking my knitting so I could sit in the park afterward and work. Only got a few rows done, but more than I did on the train. It was the perfect temperature today, about 73, so it was very nice to be in the park. When I got home I was finally able to get down to work, put in the zipper on my cute little floral dress and tried it on properly - the bodice doesn't fit as well as I'd like, I'm going to take an informal little dart under each arm, but next time I use this I really should change the angle of the straps so I don't get the neckline and armscye gapping anymore. It should also be a tad longer, because while the frumpy dress isn't supposed to gather all the way under the bust, this one is, and it's not snug to my underbust. Although I said "next time" when I made it the first time, so ...

After dinner, I pinned up the hem to finish tomorrow, and then got down to some necessary trying on. I put on my corset and then the dress I bought on FB - IT FITS PERFECTLY. I think the seller may have blocked me after I was vocally annoyed at the Confederate obnoxiousness because I went to send her a bad mirror photo of me in it and could not. Oh dear. But I don't need to raise the waistline - I probably could like half an inch, but that's not enough to make me actually do it. And then I put on bustle, petticoat, and bustle skirt, which all works pretty well - I'd like to make the bustle tip back a little bit because it's tipping forward, and I'm not sure what to do about that - it doesn't need another petticoat because the skirt is flatlined and heavy - and the muslin for the bodice fits perfectly over it. YESSSSSS. I need to add a very little bit on the front edges before I cut out the silk, but I think I can get on with that now.

* You know, it's interesting to compare to Hannaford - this Price Chopper is way smaller than Greenwich's Hannaford, probably because we're closer to Potsdam and Ogdensburg than G-town is to Saratoga, so it's not totally comparable, but - because the cake case here is tiny, they must waste so much less cake every day. At H, you could spend hours just filling up what had had to be taken out that morning; at this PC it must take up so much less time. They told me they make their cakes from scratch, which possibly makes them less inclined to toss so many.

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moar dressesssssss

I was supposed to work on other projects but I can't help it, I want another new dress to take to Chincoteague. It's Chincoteague, the trip of a lifetime! So I kept myself to the cheaper quilting cottons in order to get a better drape and more breathable fabric. The full-skirted version of this will be made in Lollipop Flower Blue, with the orange version for the bodice lining. (You know, I went through every quilting cotton in the "floral" category and searched "lollipop" on the site and couldn't find these. I had to google. What?) I also got Ilsa Sterling to make a Retro Butterick pattern.

I finally got a ruffler foot, too. :O I hate gathering. Also Swedish Fish. I mean I also got Swedish Fish (and ate them while waiting for my lasagna to heat up - it's tough to do that without a microwave), I don't hate them.

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Jul. 2nd, 2015

Wore the frumpy dress to work - it's not very good for typing, the shoulders are so tight they don't want to let me have my arms active like that! I wore it with my "pure red" Nyx matte lipstick, which I'm not sure why works for me because it's so orangey; I'm thinking about getting a bright pink, similarly warm, because I have a very vibrant pink in a cheaper brand that looks nice but rubs off. The Nyx seems to stain and hold on through meals and also not dry out my lips the point where I pick that whole layer of skin off.

I need to finish that petticoat, and I'd love to make another summer dress before vacation ... but you know what's a lot more appealing lately? Playing Manuganu and watching Mad Men. So yeah. Hopefully this weekend - another three-dayer - will see some work done. I must have enough fabric to make a dress, but do I have enough to make another one with a big full skirt? It's a bad thing, having a Joann's in Ogdensburg - too close, it's too easy to pop over there and buy more fabric. (100% cotton if I do. That's the other downside of the frumpy dress, it holds in the sweat.)

Goodbye, Reenacting Memes for Ladies. You were a nice, humorous page to follow, but then you had to reveal yourself as Lost Causers who think there's something noble about the Confederacy. What does #allhistorymatters even mean? Other than "I think #alllivesmatter is a good hashtag because I'm kind of racist so I'm going to jump off that."

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Traveling is the WORST

I felt like I needed to sleep in, but my body did not sleep in, so I'm going to warily accept that and make myself go to bed early tonight.

So let me describe my crazy train adventure this weekend. I went down to the Manhattan area for Julie's mother-in-law's bridal shower and her own bachelorette party (I can now admit that the project I couldn't talk about was a pair of knitted garters for her), driving down to Syracuse, taking the train to Penn, and getting something to New Jersey. This worked well - I got up very early and it was many hours of travel, but as usual when taking a train there's a great sense of relief that I don't have to be in charge and can just sit back, even if it's for six hours. I did get a little verklempt at Port Authority because, well, it's an overwhelming place especially if you can't figure out what you're supposed to do. I had walked most of the way in, realized that I'd found the number of the line I wanted but wasn't really sure of what company ran it - it's kind of obvious that it was NJ Transit in retrospect, but there's so much going on there that I was confused - walked back out to the information guy to get that info, walked back to the NJ Transit machines, remembered that I had their app, started to buy myself a ticket with it, had to put in my credit card information in a pay phone booth which was awkward, realized that you can only buy month tickets with the app, went to a machine and got the proper ticket, found the gate, found the long line at the gate, watched most of the rest of the line fill up the bus, waited for the next bus, thought an old guy was trying to cut in line ahead of me, visualized how I was going to confront him when he actually did it, watched him not cut and breathed a sigh of relief, got on the bus and sat down, listened to these two loud children for almost the whole ride (oh my god, it was incredible, first this woman - who had wanted to get on the first bus in standing room, acting like there probably was standing room in it that people were turning down or something, it was weird - wanted to give up her seat to them (she just really wanted to stand, I guess) and the boy was not having it, but his mom made him sit, and the girl had all the receipts from the bus driver and there were issues with someone stepping on them, sitting on her dress, etc.). But that was relatively short and when it was over it was over. I got to the party and I had a great time!

In retrospect, this was all very simple.

You"re killing me, Amtrak.Collapse )

I basically got home, changed, brushed my teeth, and went to bed after that. It was rough. I didn't eat much for two days, but everything I ate was wildly bad for me, so I guess it balances out. But I did find that the not-frumpy dress is perfect for traveling! It doesn't crease too much, and the full skirt helps keep you warm when there's cold air blowing.

My fridge is emptyyyyyyy.

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Edith Wharton

After months of putting it to one side, I finally finished The Custom of the Country. I'm not totally sure when it's set - if it was meant to end contemporaneously to publication or start there or what - but it would make a smashing adaptation, I think, if it were set:

- late 1860s for flashbacks to Apex
- early First Bustle for Undine's New York City career
- waists descend as her marriage gets stifling and she leaves
- elegant early Natural Form with trains and all for Paris and her next marriage
- late Natural Form for St. Desert and leaving with Elmer
- Second Bustle for being married to Elmer at the very end

I'm not totally sure if the dates would work out, you'd probably be compressing a bit here and stretching a bit there, but it would be so gorgeous. Though I guess you could also do Second Bustle flashbacks, early 1890s for New York, big sleeves for leaving and Paris, late 1890s St. Desert, and early 1900s Elmer ... but I love that contrast you get with the earlier periods. It makes the whole thing feel more jangly and frenetic.

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Jun. 24th, 2015

Lost Cause stuffCollapse )

I wore my frumpy dress today and it looked pretty good! It's a bit tight in the chest (and shoulders, and upper arms - I should not have taken so much in at the shoulder seam), and it does need a petticoat because the fabric's so thin. So I cut out the pieces for one from a thrift-store sheet this evening. That's it, I did enough sewing for one day. Basically sewing. Sewing prep.

A deer's been coming back to the field behind my building, and today she has a TINY FAWN with her! They mowed most of the field, so they were sticking to the edge of the tall grass and then went in it. Someone just did a firework and she ran off across the mowed section to the woods, leaving the baby. I guess drawing off a potential predator? Come back, deer, your baby is scared. :(

I found a pin in my bra yesterday. Inside the cup, pointing up, with the tip sunk into the foam. Gave me kind of a shock to realize it had been there all day.

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Jun. 22nd, 2015

Dad called me this evening to let me know he had a car crash, fell asleep and went off the road at high speed and dislocated his shoulder. Very upsetting, really wrecked me for a few minutes. It was mid-afternoon, which we always laugh about being "naptime" because he often literally naps then. So there's that.

He also wanted to tell me I made everyone feel awkward because I wished "both my fathers and some of my grandfathers" a happy father's day. (I got a lol from Owen, that's all I really care about.) I'm not sure why it would make anyone feel awkward. Either people don't know why I said it, in which case they probably came up with a few things (hey, maybe the one I'm not addressing is my mother's father, who died years ago), or they know that one grandfather hasn't wished me a happy birthday in almost ten years, even after we exchanged letters last year, and they don't feel awkward because they recognize that the man deserves a snub. My dad dislikes him more than I do, I don't know why he brought it up. There's no way he's thinking of reconciling, near-death experiences aside.


Two different bra calculators told me that I should be wearing a 32I, which is not a size I previously knew existed. I don't think I believe it. Maybe a 34D instead of 36. Or 38? I spent most of this afternoon working on the VaVaVoom bullet bra but I still don't know how I feel about it. After finding that the cups as drafted didn't fit I drafted new ones, but then realized I just needed a little extender piece at center front for my wide ribcage. I have a hard time with bras because I have a high bust (inches-wise; proportionally with my torso I think it's average) and they're not even 100% right with the straps as short as they'll go, which I don't like to do as obviously they wear out faster that way. This is especially bad in my stripey dress, which is just meant for a different shape. They didn't do much if any updating when bringing the pattern out of retirement. At the same time, I of course want to be "that girl who dresses well, she's old-fashioned but quaintly adorable" and not "that weird girl who's always in costumes". I've altered the VVV pattern to not be so pointy and we'll see if it works to give me the shortness and support I'm not getting from regular bras, at least for dresses that need a different foundation.

I was actually thinking about a merry widow the other week, because my Rago shapewear isn't narrow enough in the waist and my hips are fine, they don't need slimming, really. I gain all my weight on my gut, I need something to haul that in for these 1950s looks. Plus the top of the girdle gets into fights with my bra, because that's how short-waisted I am. But merry widows are way more expensive than other things and I am going. to. stop. spending. I've spent my entire last paycheck and saved nothing. Plus some of my next paycheck I think, leaving enough for the rent. This is annoying. I used to save so much just a month or so ago, what happened?

My train on Saturday leaves at 7 in the morning from Syracuse omggggg That means leaving at about 4:20 from here.

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Jun. 21st, 2015

So yesterday I finished a particular small project I can't talk about right now. Today I took my vacation dress to the park, pinned up the hem, and started sewing it, but went home because it felt like it would rain at any minute. Finished it, then pinned the hem for my striped shirting dress. That took forever. This thing is seriously frumpy. Next pattern I cut out is going a size smaller on the waist.

It's funny, I never cared for the 1950s/60s before so I didn't consume a lot of media relating to it, but now I can't get enough. Watched the Astronauts' Wives Club premiere (liked it, couldn't tell some of the brunettes apart unfortunately), Three Coins in the Fountain, and ... a movie whose name I already forgot because I was meh on it. Woman has Soviet secrets carved on a steel mirror she needs to get to Santa Fe, there are bad guys everywhere, she meets up with a guy on the road and they travel together? Today I've been watching Ascension which is RIDICULOUS, two episodes in and my mind has been blown like three times. Great retro-futuristic aesthetic. I have some issues with the unbearably classist "on Earth, young people had an infinity of choices, but we have to stay here!" thing, also wondering about some worldbuilding holes (like the lack of sexism outside of the prostitutes sorry I mean stewardesses, but I do like the aesthetic.

I wasn't going to see any movies this weekend, but I was invited to go to Inside Out, so I did, and I way, way overthought it as usual. overthoughtsCollapse )

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