Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wedding Teaser

Alright, I'm a happy bride heading out on my honeymoon today to Venice, Croatia, Greece, and Turkey; but before I go I thought I would really quickly post a couple of photos taken by our guests. Can you see the 18th century and Russian influences?

Sunday, July 24, 2011


My heart and my prayers go out to the people of Norway. I was at Virginia Tech during the shooting there several years ago, but I can only imagine the grief and shock they must be experiencing at this time. This is the very meaning of tragedy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Out of the office

I hope you will all forgive me if I am absent for a week or two. I am getting married on Friday and will then be off to the Mediterranean for my honeymoon. When I return the mad sewing of many projects begins, so I promise you lots of photos and research will resume. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Decorate Your 18th Century Shoes

I'm very excited, my shoes from American Duchess (link on the photo) are in! I was in the process of moving when I ordered them and wasn't 100% sure what the new address was going to be, so I had them sent to my parents house where they are waiting for me to pick them up tomorrow.

The question is, how to decorate them? Below are some extant shoes from the site shoe-icons.com which is a lovely resource for close-ups and information on shoes throughout the century, and the Bata Shoe Museum.

I could tie mine with a little bow in a contrasting color and applique some embroidery on them, like this little yellow pair. The ribbon could even be changed out depending on the outfit I wear it with.

Or maybe buckles are the way to go. I have a pair of paste buckles from a previous pair of shoes that are just waiting to be re-used. Simple, effective, iconic.

Then there are my favorite shoes in the world; these lattice-embroidered yellow shoes from the late 18th century. The buckles are huge and ornate, and the heel is a different color than the body of the shoe. Of course there are always rosettes, cockades, wide trims down the front of the shoe, fringe even, anything you can imagine! What would you do?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Favorites and Blog-anniversaire Giveaway Winner

1789 Vigee-LeBrun "Portrait of a Lady"
I could spend all day everyday working on things for my wedding, and still it feels like I never get to check off more on my list than I put on. Still, I have time to post this portrait for your enjoyment. I love the way the artist has shown the sheer striped fabric. The simplicity of her elegant pearl drop earrings and large bow- delightful. Blue and white is a colour combination that never goes out of fashion. Someday I should make a dress based on this portrait.

I also have time to announce that Abby, at Stay-ing Alive is the winner of the Blog-anniversaire giveaway. Abby, please contact me within 14 days to claim your fan and postcard, and thanks so much for visiting!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dogs and Cushions, or How to Travel in Comfort and Style

Long-time readers of this blog will recall that I have a one-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Reinette, whom I adore as all puppy parents do. I have found however, that traveling with her on my lap, while a nice idea, is somewhat uncomfortable. She tries to sit up or changes position and digs her little feet in my thighs which end up bruised and raw by the end of the trip. What's a lady to do?

Wondering about this I started to notice that ladies pictured with their dogs frequently had them standing next to them, or on a table, or held in their arms rather than on their laps. Might they have had the same problem?

Thinking of the many pictures of spaniels perched on  cushions, I decided to combine the two and see if she would stay on it, and if that would make things any more comfortable for us.

I'm pleased to report that it was a success, so now Reinette and I will only be trapsing about the country to visit friends and family with a pillow on hand.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June 6th, 1781

I've played a trick on those who are against Thierry and I, and I am not the least bit sorry for it. I wrote, knowing that Marianne would read it, that Thierry and I were to separate and he would flee France and I would go probably to Auvergne. Then I went by carriage to Ferney to my half-brother, Andre, and stayed with he and his fiancee, Caroline Delacoeur. I invited them to come stay with me for a time at Lespinasse Castle, since it was the childhood home of his mother as well. I know that Maman would like for me to make it a wedding gift to them, but she little realizes how much I need the income that would come with selling it.

Leaving Marianne with them to help prepare for an extended visit, I came away ostensibly to arrange everything at Lespinasse, but instead travel by carriage to Lyon at this very moment, there to meet with Thierry, and from thence will travel on to Lespinasse. I should be very much surprised if F- or anyone else remembers this least consequential of my castles. This being so there will be no one to disturb our wedding. They may follow us around the world, but we will be married, and soon.

Olympe, Comtesse

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Costume Poll

Preparing for a wedding is so time-consuming! I thought that my work as a costume assistant and coordinator would have made me well-suited for this, but then there's a lot fewer emotions in professional projects; besides, there's always another show to look forward to.

Given my grand scheme of re-doing my entire 18th-century wardrobe after the honeymoon I'm trying to decide where to start. Your thoughts are most welcome.

A mantelet au lever de l'aurore (dressing gown) with quilted and embroidered petticoat? I already have all of the fabric and trim for this project, in fact using it up would help clear space in my stash.

I could start small with a pair of jumps? They would be a good draping project for over my new stays, and these petit-point "buttons" would be darling.

How about something I can wear out of the house, as it were? Like maybe a riding/traveling costume. Again, I have most of the fabric for this, even a giant roll of buckram for the hat, and I have made one similar to it so patterning shouldn't be a problem.
Then, of course, there's always the fourth option; do something completely different! What would you suggest?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Famous Words- Henri de la Rochejaquelein

During the uprising of the Vendee when royalists in southern France clashed with the French Republic troops, the young (royalist) general Henri du Vergier, Comte de la Rochejaquelein famously said; "Mes amis, si j'avance, suivez-moi! Si je recule, tuez-moi! Si je meurs, vengez-moi!" ("Friends, if I advance, follow me! If I retreat, kill me! If I die, avenge me!").