nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I don't usually do year-end posts. To be honest, it's mostly because I can't remember everything I've done. And that's because I've been getting lazier and lazier about even mentioning what I've been working on, much less actually dress diary-ing them.

So I have a resolution for LJ: I'm going to regularly mention, at least, what I'm working on. And this is the first post on that subject!  I have a lot of UFOs right now, but if I list them I'll just get discouraged. What I actually have been working on:

* Two baby blankets. They're for giving to mothers-to-be through pregnancy centers and adoption centers. I'm knitting one in pale yellow wool blend in a fun checkerboard pattern; the other is crocheted in an argyle-like pattern in two colors of blue, green, and white. Both are about a third done.

* An 1860s baby dress for Eleanor. This was her major Christmas present from me. Sarah ordered the patterns from Elizabeth Stewart Clark shortly before Christmas. I didn't have the pressure to actually finish the dress, but I did manage to get everything assembled. Yes, I stayed up late on Christmas Eve, finishing the stroked gathers on the skirt.

The dress is a lavender calico that I've had in my stash for quite a while. Sarah's favorite color is purple, and Eleanor doesn't get a choice yet, so it was the obvious choice. I made an "infant" style dress (full bodice gathered at waist and wide neckline), using the smallest (2-year-old) size in the pattern. Eleanor is only 8 months, but (a) she was 10.5 lbs when she was born and (b) it will be some months before there are more reenactments. The only pattern change was to shorten the bodice 1", and I made the waistband halfway between her actual waist and the size 1 pattern size.

I just finished the inside waistband, effectively finishing the stroked gathers on both bodice and skirt. Now I need to hem the skirt and sleeves, and do three buttons and buttonholes.

* This fall I made two more skirts out of my current favorite skirt pattern, a 1950s 4-gore skirt. It's full enough without being enormous, and has awesome big patch pockets. One skirt was a really nice soft navy flannel suiting, and the other a thick gray wool blend fleece. I do a 2" waistband on these skirts, and with the gray one I put short pieces of boning in the front to keep it from folding. I didn't do that with the navy, hoping that the extra-heavy layers of interfacing would keep it straight. It didn't! Partially because the waistband is extra snug. So yesterday I opened up the front waistband, and this afternoon I put casings on the reverse of the band and sewed it back up. It feels really good to have that done!

* I got started on the patterns for the robe de style undies and bodice. I didn't get far, because I need a work computer to convert the images back to PDF so I can poster print. But that should be in good shape.
* Speaking of, I got robe de style fabric for Christmas! Namely, navy blue silk taffeta. It's super pretty. I also tried to order a first batch of beads, but one item was out of stock. So I'll wait on that. I need to pretty much make the whole dress and undies before I can do the beading, anyway.

* I did decide that I'll probably need to do a real pannier for the dress, too. My favorite picture of the dress is on a model, and on her the skirt has a rather triangular shape more than a bell. Just netting or side hoops, added to my own hips, would give the skirt a wide top and straight sides. So a simple pannier like this, just a little smaller and shorter, is more likely to give the right look. I think. Opinions?

So that's all that's actually in progress. And actually the robe de style stuff is still mostly not started. But I need to do that so I can be beading steadily instead of frantically this summer!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I'm alive and doing well, in case there was any question. :) I didn't realize how busy I've been until the last couple of days, when it finally stopped.  My singing commitments kind of went crazy. Beginning Thursday the 12th, I had 11 events in 9 days, for 3 different groups:

Thursday: Rehearsal (Impressions)
Friday: Concert (Impressions)
Saturday: Rehearsal (CCBC Cantata, moved a week because of the ice)
Sunday: 3 Concerts (Cantata)
Monday: Rehearsal (Impressions)
Tuesday: Rehearsal (LM Holiday Chorale)
Wednesday: Nothing! Whee!
Thursday: Caroling around the plant (4 hours, 3-4 miles) (Holiday Chorale)
                Rehearsal (Impressions)
Friday: Concert (Impressions)

On top of that, I got into a bad habit of staying up late while I was iced in. I haven't really broken that habit, although I was back to working regularly for two weeks once the roads were clear again. So I've been running on willpower a lot of the time. I really didn't have a breakdown, but Christmas morning I could have fallen asleep in the middle of opening presents. That's my favorite part of Christmas, so it says a lot for how tired I was!

But that's not to say I haven't been enjoying myself. I love singing, and my voice has been just fine. Even after the caroling at work, when my speaking voice was incredibly hoarse, I had one cup of Throat Coat tea and was recovered in time for rehearsal that evening. Pretty amazing, honestly; I don't have the strongest voice ever.

Anyway! Christmas still was lovely. It was Baby Eleanor's first, which was lots of fun. Hours of stimulation and people are exhausting even for a people-person 7-month-old, but she still did really well. After a little while she'd "be sad," as Sarah said, and have to have a break.

The gift-giving was pretty good all-around, too. Two things off my wishlist were a Uniquely You dress form (yep, I've joined the throng!) and navy silk taffeta for my beaded robe de style. Doing the undies and patterning that dress is Number One on the project list.  Oh, and my family named the dress form:  Dolly! My parents and Trevor and Heather and I watched my DVD of the show while they were in town. After this time I can see flaws a lot more, but dang, our Dolly was good.  She turned the dialogue with Horace in the Harmonia Gardens into a riot of one-liners, and "So Long, Dearie" is absolutely hilarious. So I'm glad to name the dress form after her!

And in other giftsquee, I got some lovely packages from [personal profile] jordannamorgan and [personal profile] suededsilk - the last one arriving on Christmas Eve. Perfect timing! The blue rhinestone jewelry is super pretty. I've never seen anything like it. And the little card with me on it - Squee! That totally made my evening. :)  And Jordi, I totally understand the confusion of my wishlist - you chose very  wisely! I was just wishing again a month ago to watch The Ghost Breakers. And I can put the gift card to good use. Thank you! (I mailed you both some packages, but they were the week before Christmas so I have no idea when they'll arrive.)

So after a day of total vegging, I'm working back toward being useful. In other words, I've done one useful thing, instead of none! But I'm rather proud of myself, since I cleaned my bathroom sinks/mirrors and the bathtub, which included unclogging both drains. Ha! I win!

Now, I have to get back to some important TV re-run watching and game playing. ;)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)

Besides being a weather nerd, this perfectly illustrates another reason I watch the forecast so much. How would I know tomorrow to wear a short sleeve cotton dress and cardigan to work, and the next a heavy wool coat, a warm outfit underneath that involves leggings, and insulated rain boots?

In other news, the Christmas cantata is Saturday and Sunday. Rehearsals scheduled Thursday and Friday nights... for now. [ominously, with plenty of eyebrow] 

You're invited to begin the Christmas season with Christ Chapel’s annual Christmas Cantata, “Sing A Song Of Christmas.” Featuring majestic arrangements of traditional Christmas carols, the Cantata will tell the story of Christ’s birth through beautiful music.

In addition to hearing the Cantata Choir and Sanctuary Orchestra, we will also be blessed with a very special carol arrangement by our children’s choir, MusicPraise, and by our Youth Bells.

* Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m
* Sunday, Dec. 8 at 9:15 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

We are going to stream video of the 2012 Cantata online for 24 hours! Beginning Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m., you can click here to watch last year's service online until 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6.

You may also watch the 2013 Cantata live on our website during all four service times by clicking here.

[All times CST.]
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Regency winter)
Merry Christmas, everyone!  Yesterday's happy things:

1. Yet more work on a Christmas present. The finished product... has its points. More to come. ;)

2. Wrapping all the presents. Hurrah for the big work table!  And for red and white ribbon that curls so prettily. (The less said about the green ribbon the better. !!!)

3. Yet more Dick Van Dyke. WALNUTS!

4. Christmas Eve at the parents' house, with Bro. No. 1 and wife. Steak for dinner, and Mexican Train afterward.

Not really "happy things" yet, but so far this morning I have:

(1) Woken up to a thunderstorm.

(2) Got out of bed 20 minutes later when informing there was HAIL.

(3) First thought was [SQUIRREL!] ahem, Camera! and then MY CAR!

(4) Took several pictures. The hail was tiny, about dried-pea size (and hence no threat to the car), but there was a nice amount. It made nice pictures with the Christmas yard lights.

(5) With my mother, shot at a squirrel in the pecan tree, trying to steal pecans. As my mother said, THEY don't know it's Christmas, the little thieves. (If you're new to my journal, we use Airsoft on squirrels.)  It's been a big pecan year. My mother has felt like she's been living the Dick Van Dyke "Walnuts" episode, except with pecans. Pecans on the kitchen table, under the piano, on the living room floor, in the spare bedroom...

(6) Interrupted myself while typing this post to shoot at TWO squirrels getting back in the tree. (Can you tell where the interruption was?) It's still raining steadily. I think I need to reload...
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
I just got an email from the church:

"If you missed this year’s Cantata or would like to see it again, watch the “24 Hours of Christmas Cantata” starting this afternoon at 4 p.m. at We’re repeating the Christ Chapel Cantata by streaming it every hour through Saturday afternoon!"

So if you're interested, just click on the link and select "Cantata."  If you watch carefully, you'll see me. I'm on the very back row, to the viewer's right, next to the mens' section.  Oh, and my dad is one of the bald-headed men playing the trumpet. I think he's more or less dead center.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Regency winter)
1. Toad in the Hole for lunch. I tried it once last winter, and that was when I figured out that I really don't like sausage. I love meat, but I think it's something about the spices in sausage (any kind of sausage) that just don't do it for me. I had an idea last week, though, to try it with the "Li'l Smokies" cocktail sausages. Because I like those, and they're not just massive pieces of sausage anyway. And guess what - no spices at all! Just smoke flavoring. So I tried again and YUM! So filling, and lots of yummy flavor. It'll be nice when I get my herb garden started and can use fresh parsley and thyme instead of dried.

2. The wind, all day and night. I blather on about it long enough that it's probably clear, but I really like it when there's a wind. It just feels more alive and invigorating. Even when it's a hot wind, that's better than stillness.

3. Finishing a Christmas present! It's so pretty. :D
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Regency winter)
1. Singing a fun piece from the cantata for the special music during the service. I'm firmly in the camp that [almost] any song can be improved by being sped up, so I tend to approve of quick-tempo songs. This was definitely one such.

2. Lunch (at Whataburger!) with the parents, Bro. No. 1 & [ profile] ladylilac12, and another friend from church.

3. Talking to Bro. No. 2 on the phone. It was a good conversation. I'm so excited for when he and H. arrive in town on the 26th!

4. Finishing one part of H's presents. I'm not sure yet if this is for her birthday (the 23rd) or for Christmas.

5. Discovering that I think I really LIKE embroidery.  I had a blast doing the embroidery on Taylor's mitts, and then I just did my initials on something else. My initials! In backstitch! That's all! But it was SO FUN.  Like, actively fun.  Moreso than knitting or crochet, or even regular handstitching. I moderately enjoy non-fiddly handsewing, but it doesn't give me the "This is fun!" rush I've gotten from the embroidery.  As a result, the 18th Century Embroidery Techniques book is on my wishlist. :)
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Regency thoughtful)
1. Chilliest weather of the winter so far! Predictably, DFW airport (the official recording station for the area) was the "warm" spot at 25 degrees. 20 miles from me, north of Fort Worth, it was 14 degrees.
2. Lack of wind when getting in to work in the morning. I got to wear my down coat, and it still wasn't freezing on my ears and nose.
3. Bean soup out of a can, with buttered saltines. I LOVE that meal.
4. Small group night! We were still 1 or 2 people down, but the girls who came did a little Christmas decorating (the house looks so cute now!), then we had candy and gingerbread cake, sat around the fire, and talked. It was great.
nuranar: (reading)
1.  Cold front! The day started at 63 or something silly like that, but by noon the wind had changed and the temperature fell slowly but steadily.  It's so much more festive when the weather is chilly!
2.  I had a friend over for the afternoon, so I was able to do some little housekeeping things before she arrived, with the Cowboys game on.  Football is such a relaxing thing to have on.
3.  Having my friend over!  We talked a lot, especially about food, and made a few things, and I sewed while she looked at catalogs and watched some Remington Steele.  We had some of my potato/leek soup for lunch, with English muffins because I ran out of edible rolls. And then I made the gingerbread cake, and then I fried a little of the canned corned beef hash I keep on hand, so we had that for a snack. She liked it, too!
4.  Christmas party with our adult Sunday School class.  Amazing yummy food (I ate WAY too much), and great fun and laughing and conversation.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Default)
Saturday, 08 December

1.  Ladies' Christmas Brunch for church.  I didn't decorate a table this year, but I helped my mother set up hers. The array and elegance of decorations was really good this year! As was the food, and the speaker. It was a good morning.
2.  Playing around with dyeing again. I overdyed a dress that I spilt red candle wax on last year. It was tedious and slightly stressful, but I averted any mess and the dress is lovely.
3. Cooking! While watching "It Takes a Thief" in the evening, I made leek and potato soup again. I also made "hard sauce," from my great-grandmother's recipe.  It's to go on a gingerbread cake I'm taking to a Christmas party on Sunday night. I'm not sure why it's a "hard" sauce, because it's essentially icing: butter, powdered sugar, and three flavorings, including lemon. It's still really good!
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (firelight)
I was SURE I posted yesterday morning! I guess not. Oops.

Wednesday, 06 December

1. Good day at work. I got a lot done, and relatively few weird pop-up issues.
2. Another nice, relaxing evening at home.  I finished running the gathering stitches on Heather's petticoat, so all that was left was the waistband.  Because I'm rather fanatical about efficient fabric usage, that meant the petticoat sat while I cut out two chemises from my Pimatex.  Of course the waistband came out of the scraps of that. :p
3. Chicken fried rice, with extra eggs, out of a box. :D

Thursday, 07 December

1. Choir night! Impressions, this time. That's almost always a happy thing. And after last Friday's big surprise, it was just that much happier. Mr. A said that he hopes all of us have someone do something as nice for us someday. :D
2.  Helping my mother set up Christmas decorations, last-minute before voice lessons/rehearsal.  (We meet in my parents' living room.)  She was rather frantic, trying to set up the miniature village on top of the piano and vacuuming the carpet.
3.  After choir, having Mumsie ask my opinion on what all she's planning to do with the master bathroom. They're gutting the shower and entirely re-doing it, but keeping the top half of the current wallpaper. Deciding the right tile is tricky, and then she came up with the cutest decoration for the walls, and a way to tie it into the deep tub surround.
nuranar: Hortense Bonaparte. La reine Hortense sous une tonnelle à Aix-les-Bains (1813) by Antoine Jean Duclaux. (Doc Smith)
1. Singing in three Christmas cantata performances at church. I am still wiped out, especially after the madness of Friday's concert, but it was one of the most fun cantatas I've performed.
2. Particularly, finishing with the Hallelujah Chorus after not doing it last year, and seeing people in all three services stand up.
3. Santa Claus was in the first service! Big man, perfect silver beard cut just right, in a red sport coat and red shirt, third pew from the front. No accident. ;) And he was the first to stand up for the chorus in that service. Definitely St. Nick!
4. Random discussion of economics and ideology at Smashburger after the singles' group that evening. I'm glad I let myself be talked into going.


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

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