nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I put this in a comment earlier, but it's worth documenting in an entry.

The dress I'm inspired by is this one at the Met:

British, silk, 1860-64, C.I.37.46.7a, b

I really like the amount and style of trim on this one. Unlike a lot of my CoCo stuff, this one will be geared for appropriateness at good reenactor balls. That means it would not be appropriate to copy Princess Alexandra's white dress! (Yet. I still want to. Why must white silk be so expensive?)

Anyway, this example has very clean lines with enough detail to not be rigid, and does not rely on un-obtainable trimmings or hideously expensive materials. Essentially it's a doubled row of layered trim: box-pleated pinked material, bordered on each side by white and black blonde. (Blonde is silk lace, and ordinary "blonde" was actually slightly off-white, the natural silk color.)

I don't do ivory, beige, tan, or brown, so I'm thinking of the slipper pink Kaufman Radiance silk/cotton satin. I haven't used it before, but [profile] reine_de_coudre has, so it sounds fun to try.

That should be a similar-enough "weight" of tone to have the right contrast with both the black and blonde lace.

The box-pleated trim looks like a coordinating taffeta; it's not the same as the main dress fabric, though very close. I doubt I'll be able to find a silk match without going to L.A., so I'm thinking of a darker pink, maybe the pink of the sash I wear with the Romney dress. A rich rose color.

Lace will be fun to look for. Antique black chantilly net lace is readily available on ebay and Etsy. I figure I'll find something similar in a soft white after I source the black.

And it looks like there are shoulder bows, in another nearly-matching ribbon color. That can come later. :)


10 March 2017 11:25 pm
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I found a new dessert to try. With a sugar substitute (or even none at all, possibly), it's the perfect low carb dessert. It looks super easy, too, and easy to vary up a little bit with flavors.

Panna Cotta (Epicurious)

Panna Cotta (The Kitchn)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (funny)
(it's like shooting fish in a barrel, I know)

"... gown by Parisian courtier Worth..."
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I just have to make it to the chiropracter tomorrow. Then it should all get straightened out.

I'm thinking about pulling out the Star fancy dress for the Gettysburg masquerade. Which means a star tiara, of course! I've found a couple of good ones. My most pressing need may be for shoes. I still have a lamentable lack of evening footwear for most periods. The white satin ballet slippers were adequate for Costume College, but I'd rather have real shoes.


3 March 2017 11:24 pm
nuranar: (singing)
They announced the musical choice for this year's show at my church. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! It sounds so much fun! [personal profile] theladyrebecca, I would love to hear the low-down on differences between the show and the movie.

(For those of you who don't know, my church does an all-out musical show once every two years. I say it who shouldn't, but please don't think of typical "church musicals" when I say this. They are full scale, with large casts and orchestra. And a lot of really good talent, including direction. It's a joy and a challenge to be part of - a lot of work for an excellent result.)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
February's going out with two 80-degree days, and March is coming in with a cold front. Figures! Not a frigid cold front, but it gets us back close to average.

Lazy evening again. I forgot about the dishes I hadn't done. Oops.

Trying to find an Easter dress. It's surprisingly hard!

And I have a new default icon. Isn't it pretty? The lady Hortense Bonaparte, Josephine's daughter and Napoleon I's stepdaughter, herself previously queen of Holland, and dates to 1813. I've seen it before but assumed it was just one of the fanciful later 19th century romantic paintings. Not so. :)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
And little to report again! Work and long choir practice. But a good practice.

I'm trying to think about making a hat for the 18th century tea. Probably one to go with my red polonaise; they're often pictured with those front-of-the-hair hats. Does anyone know what the base of those were? Straw, buckram, pasteboard, felt, wire? Hmm...


26 February 2017 12:12 am
nuranar: (home improvement)
It's been an action-packed couple of days. Typically on my off Fridays I do my major grocery shopping, and once a month do my budget/pay bills. This weekend I've already had three additional events, so Friday and Saturday have looked like this:

Friday early AM, one grocery stop
Then back to the house and heavy labor to plant Marya
Late lunch with parents
Major grocery stop
Shower and dress for concert
Concert that ran 1 hour late, ended at 10:57 PM
Late to bed

Saturday AM woke up earlier than I'd set the alarm
Busy morning trying to not burn bacon, make an omelet, and clean my boots
Awesome Guild outing, with another late lunch
Yet another grocery stop

Back home to collapse on the sofa and doze for a while. I brought the groceries in from the car but didn't even put them away (non would spoil).

[I really am trying to pay more attention when my body says it's really tired. I have to be super careful with naps, because if I get to sleeping for real I will sleep for hours, and then be unable to sleep at night.  So I had a long-running Jack Benny Show DVD on, turned up fairly loud, and it kept me from really getting to sleep.]

I did manage to get up before 6, and I played a few games. Then I attacked the kitchen, which was extra messy on top of the groceries. And somehow I ended up cooking. It worked out well, because I felt a lot better by this time. And my big late lunch kept me from being hungry and needing to eat immediately.

So I now have a pound of good bacon, cooked crispy and broken up into bits for omelets and salads. YUM.  I also braised some fennel for the first time. That was quite a job; I had to use two pans for the three fennel bulbs. It got a little crowded with both of those and the bacon pan on the stove at the same time.

It all worked out, though! Everything's clean and put away. And then I finally managed to do the monthly budget. Never a favorite task, but not too bad this month.

I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow. I badly need to re-organize the refrigerator; I have a lot more meat and dairy and vegetables than usual, so those shelves and bins are super crowded.  I also want to rearrange the kitchen itself.  What pans go in what cabinet and things like that. It's largely unchanged from when I moved in, so there's room for improvement now.
nuranar: (Art Deco)
The wind is steady at 20 mph and gusting to 30. Driving on an east-west highway with a strong, gusty north or south wind can be an exciting proposition! When I'm doing over 70, the airspeed is already noisy enough that it's easy to forget the wind.  And then you drive under a bridge and the wind shear catches you by surprise. Or you crest a hill and wonder why the car seems to start bouncing. :p  But it's not really a problem until it gets higher than that. Then it's smart to be careful when driving around eighteen-wheelers. Sometimes they can't help fishtailing, or edging too far over the lane on a curve. That can make highway driving a little too exciting. ;)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (glamour)
Nothing much to report again.  Let me see...

It was ridiculously warm. 84 at least. Now they're saying 89 tomorrow, before a cold front comes through Thursday overnight.

I got a bag on ASOS. Anyone heard of Lavand? It's clearance, probably left over from summer. I love the colors, and it's a cute design without being too cutesy.  I won't use it as a purse. Usually going in to work I have my purse and my small lunch bag, but fairly often I have extra things. Like 2-liter soft drinks, or half and half for my morning tea. Or a clean tea mug. It's not glamorous and actually rather annoying to drag those in with a Walmart bag, or try to negotiate everything into the lunch bag. This is the perfect size for a 2-liter and lunch bag, and really no bigger. PLUS it has a top zip. Absolutely imperative, since when it storms it's usually when I'm walking the nearly quarter mile from my car. So that's nice. I won't be able to use it tomorrow, but I probably will Monday.

nuranar: (choir)

Concert coming up on Friday. We had to learn fast, since it's been barely 5 weeks since the beginning of the semester. At least we're not the whole concert, but quite a bit of it. Among other things, "Dies irae" and "Lacrimosa" from Mozart's Requiem. (Good recordings on youtube, by the way. The video shows the score, line by the line.

I really enjoy them now. Diametrically opposed in feel and speed. So interesting. And the director is really excellent in every way.

Now, raspberries and cream for dessert. I don't care that it's a little late. :) 

nuranar: (music)

Some of my favorite pieces played by the church orchestra are arrangements that combine a hymn or praise song with another, famous piece of music. Not a medley, but a style of arrangement, often with the introduction of the classical piece segueing into the hymn.

One of my favorites combines Bizet's Farandole with the hymn "Glorious Is Thy Name."  I simply cannot find a recording anywhere online, except for this video. It's unfortunately only the last minute, but I really like how the different melodies seem to alternate in this part.

Another is "You Are My All in All" with the famous/infamous Canon in D. It's a very natural combination. And unfortunately I cannot find a non-vocal, full orchestra version of it, either! This piano one appears to be the same arrangement, but it loses a lot of the depth and subtlety that all the different instruments can give.

Another one I heard again this morning (inspiring this post) is a little more unusual; it's "Victory in Jesus," but with an extended fanfare opening, repeated at the ending. It is VERY exciting music! And thanks to our local classical station, I'm reasonably sure the arranger was directly inspired by Erich Korngold's score to the Errol Flynn film "The Sea Hawk." The opening phrases at 0:07 are not identical in the hymn arrangement, but very very very close, and the arranger extends it into a fullblown fanfare. It's pretty cool. Definitely wakes everyone up for the service. ;)  I don't know the arranger (I need to ask my dad, who is in the orchestra) so I haven't even attempted to find it yet.

And finally, here's another one the orchestra has done: Fanfare and Fantasy on Lobe Den Herren. Also known as "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty." But the fanfare and fantasy part is really cool! It's not a soundtrack, but sounds like it should be. Magnificent.

The orchestra did record a CD several years ago; I think 1 or 2 of these is on there, including the Farandole. I need to find that and figure out a way to share them.

nuranar: (home improvement)
This is a thing that's going to be happening regularly every weekend into April, actually. When you're planting seeds, you have to go by the number of weeks each packet says it must be planted before/after the last average frost of the winter. Which can be ANYONE'S GUESS because "spring" is the craziest season. Today hit 80 (again) but there was frost on Thursday morning. Pfui.

I stopped at Home Depot and made the mistake of looking at the herbs. I'm feeling daring because the parsley I planted last fall is still going strong, having survived even the two separate occasions of temps in the teens. (Which the Goodwin Creek lavender did not. Hardy to 20 degrees, and they meant it. But I may try again, since it survived 100+ plus August days with watering only twice a week. That's a lot more certain than such hard freezes.)  The parsley died back a bit, but not totally, and it's already coming back strong. To my surprise the thyme I planted then is also trucking along. Not thriving particularly, but still honestly impressive since I doubt it gets a whole lot of sunlight.

I'd been thinking I also wanted to some mint for recipes, but I know that mint in a flower bed is a baaad idea.  And not sure the thyme will live long enough (or get big enough) to be a reliable source for cooking. So I came home with a mint, a German thyme, and an unspecified lavender (I keep trying!). I was proud of myself for putting the mint in a medium-sized pot. I plan to just set it in the front flower bed so it will be acclimatized and look pretty (nice cobalt pot) but unable to take over the world. The German thyme may do the same; not sure. I put it in a small rose-pink pot for now.

The lavender I did have to stick in the ground, though. I really took a risk with planting it so early in the year. (It was SO HARD to not go through Callaway's when I stopped at Trader Joe's next door! But I knew I would want to buy plants, although a warm February has very little guarantee that it will stay warm.) I'm going to have to keep an eye on the weather and cover the lavender if/when it gets cold again. I hope it grows well - I do love lavender.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I worked late, and then just kind of crashed on the sofa in front of the TV, pinning tiaras to a couple of period boards: Regency and 1860s. It should be helpful as I start to narrow down my own selections for costume use.

It's a shame tiaras weren't much of a thing before then, since my other major costume period is 1780s. The major jewel item seems to have been the devant de corsage or stomacher, meaning a jewel worn in the stomacher position. Every so often you can find a giant brooch with the right shape, particularly triangular, and better if it has danglies. I know [profile] vanessa_lynne and [personal profile] starlightmasque at least have one...


16 February 2017 10:01 pm
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Did anyone see the$9.99 silk taffeta sale at Fabric Mart? There's some really good stuff. The jacquards in particular are extremely nice for mid-19th century. Patterned silks with woven texture are fairly common in extants, but not often seen in reproduction. A lot of the tan blends (just one example) look very much like things I've seen in museums and on ebay. I can't do the tan/beige/gold family, but a lot of you can. You need them!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Isn't this an interesting tiara?

It's a very close reproduction of this one, which appears to have been sold by Symbolic & Chase recently. (blog post with image)

The really interesting thing to me is the date. Wouldn't you think it's an Art Deco tiara? So very 1920, that starburst and those clean lines? Nuh-uh. It's circa 1890. Cool!

Of course, since tiaras are intrinsically valuable and not always easy to refashion, this was very likely worn in the 1920s as well. It would be fabulous with a robe de style, as well as with a high hairstyle like Princess Alexandra.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Which is just fine, since I had a great party on Saturday. I didn't feel like indulging myself a whole lot, so I've just spent a quiet evening. Set my hair, played games, wore my favorite lounging outfit, thought about buying some dresses but decided to wait. It's cold and wet, so I did give myself permission to build a fire. So cozy. <3
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
It's just a non-stop day of routine. Early morning, long day of work, rush home to make and eat dinner and deal with household stuff (today's edition: mail, email, power outage, and Modcloth shipment), rush off to long university-level rehearsal, and get back in time for the bedtime routine. Not bad, but little extra to write about.

At least we're getting some rain now. First precipitation in about 30 days. And on that day back in January, we had over 3", when our January average is 2". THAT is why, boys and girls, "average" does not equal "normal". Average may be 2" of rain in January, but normal can mean 29 bone dry days wrapped around 2 days of a second Great Flood. :p
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I put in another flower bed this afternoon. It's a sheltered corner on the southeast side of the house; it needs a retaining wall someday, so I've been hesitant to put significant plants in. But it's really a good corner, and quite visible from the family room. I planted some snapdragon seeds five years ago, and a few of the plants are still alive. (Plus some of their descendants.) They're not really supposed to be perennial, so that amuses me. They even survived multiple ice and snow storms, including the Epic Cobblestone Ice Event.  So by elimination, it's not the harshest environment in which I can attempt to grow things...

Another boat load of rocks came out of the ground (though no monsters this time; nothing bigger than a softball), and I replaced that volume and built it up slightly with 160 pounds of humus.

And all that because I was going to plant the first round of seeds (4 to 6 weeks before the average last freeze, which is really anyone's guess). Poppies! I hope they come up and thrive.

I also seem to have ordered more seeds. I decided I must plant English wallflowers, tall Sweet William mix, and blue cornflowers. They're all supposed to be drought tolerant, which is never, ever a bad idea here. (When a plant is glowingly recommended for the Pacific Northwest, it is immediately eliminated from my consideration. It wouldn't be fair for either of us.)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I got a bur oak. It's a nice big white oak, with enormous acorns (up to 2" long) with big fuzzy caps that make them even bigger.

My tree is fairly young (about 12' tall) and in a 15 gallon container. My soil is of such, um, uncertain quality that the nursery recommended a young tree that can establish itself quickly and learn to deal with the rocks and clay.

It's going in the back yard where I can get some shade from the south. And I think I'm going to name it Marya, after the Russian woman from Hogan's Heroes (played by Nita Talbot). Because she wears furry hats like the acorn caps.

Image result for bur oak acorn

Image result for bur oak acorn

Image result for hogan's heroes nita talbot


nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

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