Friday, 27 November 2009

"She is too Fond of Books, it has Turned Her Mind"

The past two weeks have been worthless as far as sewing goes. One reason is I've had another cold. The other reason: I've been reading. I always read a lot, but sometimes it gets much worse, and then reading is all I do, when not sleeping or working. Now, I've read so much I'm almost (but not quite) sick of it. I'm not really sick of the reading in itself, but my body is stiff, and almost aching from being still so much. When I've finished the book I'm reading now (only about 200 pages left), I'll hopefully get some serious sewing done. The silly thing is that I've already read these books before, more than once. It's not that I don't know whats going to happen... but a good book can be read innumerable times, and be just as interesting every time. There's always something new to catch your attention, or the words are so familiar that it's restful to read them.

On Sunday it's the first of Advent, a very much looked forward to time in Sweden. In many windows, in both homes, schools, hospitals and companies, the typical Advent candlesticks and lighted stars have appeared this week. It makes the darkness of this time of year bearable (in this part of Sweden it gets light at about eight am, and by four pm it's dark again - in the north they only get an hour or so of light). Most people don't see the light but through the windows at school or work; it's dark when you leave home in the morning, and dark when you go home again. The lights in the windows really cheer things up.

Today I've been doing laundry, cleaning, and taken out some of the decorations of the season. Doing this I realized my cat is an absolutely worthless protector of damsels in distress. I hate spiders passionately (especially when taken by surprise), and suddenly I found one in my hair. Shudder. I must have been a sight for the neighbours, jumping around, screaming, and repeatedly brushing over my hair, face, arms and clothes to get rid of it. When I tried to set the cat on the eight-legged monster, he thought I was playing and didn't even see the thing. When he finally noticed it, he touched it very hesitantly, and backed away when it moved towards him. Sigh. I had to save myself in the end. Well, if he's not a great warrior amongst cats, at least he's loving and very cuddly, which after all is why I got him in the first place.

I have got a little bit of sewing done these past two weeks, with heavy emphasis on little. The third group of cording in my petticoat is done, and I've sort of started on the fourth.

This evening I took out a long forgotten project (new 18th century stays) from the "ongoing projects" box, and did some work on them. I really should stick to one period for a longer time, but it's so difficult. Since I usually don't have an event to wear my period clothes to, I don't have the pressure to get one set done before starting the next... But then, just like with my reading, sometimes I get obsessed with a certain project, and then it can be finished quickly. The "moderation in all things" I wrote about recently does not always come naturally....

Monday, 16 November 2009

This and That

A while ago my cat broke of a rose from the plant in my living room window. I put it in a vase, and, as so often happens with me, I forgot to remove it when it had wilted. A few days ago I got tired of it, and picked it up to throw it away, when I noticed it had begun to sprout roots! I already knew that this plant is resilient; it’s almost died on several occasions, when I've been away for a while, but I have always been able to nurse it back to strength. So I’m making an experiment now; I've put the twig in a pot of soil, and then I’ll see what happens. If I’m lucky, I will have a baby rose as well as a big one. It still looks good after three days, so I think it might work.

On Saturday I had planned to start a new project, and I had three options; a 14th century kirtle, an opplöt, (a sort of shirt) for my folk costume, or a dress for New Years Eve. I never got round to any of them. I didn't feel like making a pattern for either the kirtle or the dress, and the fabrics for the shirt was not pre-shrunk yet. Instead I found myself working on a Disney costume (Jane in Tarzan – there’ll be a post on that costume sometime) I made last year, but wasn't completely satisfied with. I will have to alter the sleeves a little, but I couldn't find the fabric, so the main thing I did was to remove the basted-on linen collar to starch it.

I thought I’d try the potato starch again, but instead of doing it like last time, I mixed it in cold water, which I then stirred into boiling water. That worked, it all became a sort of smooth, thick liquid.

After starching the collar and hanging it up to dry, I still had starch left, so I starched a couple of other things as well, like this 1830's cap.

And, finally, I have taken down the veil I was trying to bleach in the sun. It’s not white white, but it’s much lighter than it was, so I’m well pleased.

I tried to pin in to my coif, and it worked very well indeed. The veil is rather sheer, so you can just see the coif through it, but I think it looks nice. I love veils! I like having things on my head (veils, kerchiefs, coifs, caps – all depending on the period I’m dressed for), and a coif won’t be enough in summer. The sun gives me headaches, and a veil protects from the sun better than a coif or a kerchief tied round the head.

It frames the face in a nicer way as well, and since make up is a big no-no while re-enacting most eras, anything that can make you look prettier, in a period way, is a good thing.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

A Feminine Appearance

Lately I've been thinking about what it means to be feminine, and today I'll share my thoughts on a feminine appearance. This is what I think and what I do to feel womanly, so if you don't agree, there's no reason to bite my head of. This is just for you to get to know me better.

There's a movement amongst some women out there to dress in a more feminine way. I like it, and want to be part of it, but it will have to be in a way that works for me, where I live. I could dress in skirts and dresses all the time (that would be nice, I had a period when I did that), but sometimes jeans are just more practical. There's also the thing of not appearing too weird - I have enough geek labels stuck on me as it is :) Besides, in the LDS church we believe in moderation in all things. For quite a long time I wondered what I could do to look feminine, despite wearing jeans, and the best example I came up with was Princess Leia in Star Wars .

She lives in a world (or galaxy) where a lot of the time it would be impractical or dangerous for her to wear skirts, but her hair is always put up in very feminine ways. As soon as she's in a relatively safe and combat-free environment, she dons dresses or cute tunics.

That's what I try to do. No matter what I happen to be wearing, I can always have my hair put up nicely, and that is a comfort in this women-should-be-more-like-men-and-men-should-be-more-like-women era I'm living in. (On a side note, I believe that is one of the reasons why I, and many other people like living history and reenacting - it gives men permission to be men, and women permission to be women.) Beautiful hairstyles are also something I can have at work, where I have to wear the pyjama-looking, less than pretty scrubs. Besides, wearing jeans doesn't mean you have to wear them with a t-shirt - I never do. I wear soft, feminine shirts or cardigans, often with some nice, but inexpensive, jewellery. That way I feel somewhat well dressed and lady-like even in jeans.

Another important thing about being womanly is, in my opinion, to be modest. I'm proud of being a woman, and I would never flaunt what I've been given to all the world. According to the Bible, the body is a temple, and as such, should be treated with respect. For me, that means I will keep it healthy, clean and tidy. I will not have anything tattooed on it, and I will not be used as a pincushion for multiple piercing jewellery. I won't wear sleeveless or low cut shirts or dresses, and my skirts always cover my knees.

That being said, this is the skirt I'm wearing today. It's made out of checked wool, in blues and greys, trimmed with grey wool. I actually began sewing it two years ago, but then I forgot about it. I took it out last week, and finished it today. I like wearing wool in the autumn and winter.

So, that's my serious thoughts for the week :) Never you fear, hopefully it'll be a sewing related post next time.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Report on the Wedding

The wedding last Friday was absolutely wonderful. Two of my best friends getting married, that's a pretty good start, and everything was so well and carefully planned. The grooms family and relations are many of them friends of mine, and many of both the bride's and grom's friends are also my friends, which made it fun and comfortable.

These pictures were taken after the wedding, outside the Latter Day Saint Temple in Stockholm, Sweden. I didn't get any from the reception, my camera died long before that. The dress fit perfectly, and the bride was so very happy with it, her mother-in-law told me. I was very happy with it too, I felt like a little girl who's just dressed a beautiful doll in a pretty dress, and now admire the effect... silly, but that's how it felt. The groom liked it as well, as did a lot of other people. Even the groom's youngest brother said he thought it pretty - now, that's praise!

A picture of the bodice of the dress. The bouquet was made by the groom's mother. It was the first wedding bouquet she ever made, and it was just lovely!

The groom preparing to pick the bride up.

Practice before carrying her over the threshold.

The back of the dress, and the beautiful hair, made by another of the bride's friends.

After (literally) hundreds of pictures had been taken, we all drove back to our town. Being hungry, some of us (including the bride and groom) stopped at a burger bar and had lunch. As they were still in their wedding clothes, they got a lot of looks. Not a very romantic meal, by way of a wedding lunch, still I thought it was nice. To me it showed that the promises they'd given, and the life they would have together were more important than an illusionary romantic world created by so many couples on their wedding days.
The reception was the most fun I've ever been to, a good combination of romance, laughter, mingle and speeches. I will use it for a model when I marry. The cake was made by one of the groom's brothers, a pretty and yummy chocolate thing covered with white sugar paste. The cake topping was a bride running away, and the groom stopping her by stepping on the train of her dress. The bride picked it, because, though good friends, she was so not interested in the groom that way at first, and it took him a couple of years to make her fall in love with him. What do they say, slow and steady wins the race?
The very best of wishes to you both!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Wedding Dress Finished

Two hours ago I finished it, and the bride tried it on an hour ago. I was terribly nervous, in case she would be disappointed. The dress looks exactly like the drawing we made before I started, but I was still anxious.

She was more than pleased, and said it looked exactly like her dream dress, and she got tears in her eyes. There's no higher praise than that.

In a couple of hours we're leaving for Stockholm, and tomorrow I'll get to see the dress in action. I am very much looking forward to the grooms reaction (and I must confess, the reactions of everyone else).

My back aches something terrible after sewing so much, and I have only slept for four hours tonight, I had so much left to do on the dress. I am very, very happy with being finished with the dress, now I can work on my own projects again, with no time pressure. I'm glad I made this dress (the bride being such a sweet, loving, and truly wonderful friend), but I think it'll be a while before I make a wedding dress again....

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Almost There.....

The wedding dress is getting close to finished! I had to do a slight alteration on the tulle skirt, but the rest is straight forward enough. Good thing too, we leave on Thursday (the wedding is to be in Stockholm on Friday morning, and then we'll drive back here for the reception) so it'll be done at the last minute. Very much in character for me, I have to say.... This is how the hem of the skirt looks like in the back, it turned out better than I thought, after worrying so much.

I've prayed about it quite a lot lately, asking for the Lords help with it. When I did the cutting last night I wasn't nervous at all, and it turned out well. The Lord truly help us when we ask Him to, even in small matters like these.

Poor Lord Wellington will be happy when all this is over, he's very confused by my not allowing him near me while sewing. Sometimes he's just a little monster, trying to rip everything to pieces, and at those times I have to shut the poor thing in, and hear his pitiful meows. Most other projects will not be as delicate, so it won't matter so much if he is curious then.
Tomorrow I will get the N1H1 vaccine. Not looking forward to it, but what can you do. I've been thinking about it, with all the pros and cons, and I'm now resigned to taking it. I'm not really afraid of the flu for myself, but I have patients that could get seriously ill if I carry it. I'm not really afraid of the vaccine either, though by no means unaware of the risks people associate with it. Well, it'll turn out the way the Lord meant it to do, and what more could I ask for? I don't believe in "Ooooops....." as being a word used in Heaven.