Friday, January 31, 2014

Just wait until you see what arrived today!

It's a surprise!

It's for the Downton Abbey Ball coming up.

Since I found my camera today I will take a picture tomorrow!  In the meantime, try and guess what it is!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


It really is supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow.... It has been since Thanksgiving that we've had rain so everyone is excited!  I am headed out to my RV tonight.  I love to hear the rain on the roof and since we put cement tiles on our house we can no longer hear the rain.  So here I go with my kindle to read and enjoy the rain, if it really does come.

Tomorrow is Weight Watchers and I have to own up to all my emotional eating this month.  5 lbs worth!  Well, we are taking it off again starting tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


After today, I have everything in the way of paperwork for Aunt Edna's estate taken care of as far as I can.  She made it as easy as she could.  I just have to wait until the last of the bills come in and it will be done.

Tomorrow, we have to clean up the yard after a months neglect.

Then I have to spend some time on the treadmill.....I gained 5 lbs since Aunt Edna passed away.  I guess that is a good example of what an emotional eater I am.  My brain is starting to actually come back to work so I need to get back on the plan!

Then I hope to spend some time with muslin and start working on the Downton Abbey dresses!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Another step...

Today was the interment for Aunt Edna and it was very nice.  Pat put in a little ceramic that he had made when he in high school for my Aunt and Uncle.  It was really sweet.

It is another step forward to realizing she is really gone from this world.  It is strange how my brain has a hard time accepting this even though we had so long to get ready for this time.  I have been responsible for her care for about 23 years so she was more of a part of me than I even realized.

Now some paperwork and taxes need to be done and that will be the end of her earthly life with me and the start of a whole new relationship.  It is all kind of strange-feeling.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Aunt Edna's Memorial

We had a beautiful memorial for a beautiful person.  It is still hard for me to realize that she is really gone from this earth.  She was such a special person, laughter and love marked her life.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Next Project

The next project will be dresses for Jen and me for the Downton Abby Ball, put on by PEERS on April 5th.  This shall be our first outing with GBACG.

So once my Aunt Edna's memorial is over I can go on with new things.  My brain had decided to shut down and now it is willing to turn back on.  I have done a bit of research and some of the ideas I have have been inspired by these pictures.

I came across these fabrics last month and scooped them up.  So glad now since I had no idea I would need them for this project.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Steaming, steaming, steaming....

I spent this afternoon steaming the velvet that I bought from that came totally crushed.  I had cut a piece out of the fabric before realizing just how bad the velvet had been crushed so they wouldn't take it back.  The Dry Cleaner did not  think the crushing could be repaired.

I steamed and steamed and it did help a lot but this velvet will be used for just dust ruffles, etc.  since it is too crushed to be used where it will show.

This is how it looks initially:

 How it looks after a lot of steaming:

It is hard to see but there is still areas of crushing that shows.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Photos from the GBACG Open House

These are the photos Jen has posted so far.

I didn't get to check this outfit out, but it looks so intriguing.  It looks like it would be for a pageboy in King Henry the 8th's time.

The dress is made from some really wonderful silk!  Yum!

There were lots more wonderful costumes!....I am still kicking myself for forgetting my camera.

There was one lady that looked like she stepped out of a 11th century painting.  It was amazing.

There were so many and they were all so great, something to strive for!

There were several men's costumes, from the 11th and 14th centuries.  Just fantastic.  History come alive.

And then there was:

I don't know this character's name but the makeup and costume was out of this world!

Plus this link to a lot more photos:

And Jen took a picture of me too.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Greater Bay Area Costume Guild

Last week I decided to take a big step.  Get big and brave and join the Greater Bay Area Costume Guild.  I figured they would all have absolutely wonderful costumes and be a little condescending when they saw my meger attempts.  So today Jeanie and I attended the Open House and my daughter and her husband joined also and attended.  Much to my delight everyone was so friendly and gracious.  The Guild has lots of fun events and educational opportunities.

And, to top it off, everyone at our table won at least one item from the raffle.

We saw some great costumes and when I get the pictures from my daughter I will share them.  Me and cameras!  I am not very good at photography and to top that off I forget to even bring my camera! DARN!

All those various events, and of course, outfits are needed for them. Looks like I won't have to think up projects!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Today's planning

Today one of my sisters and I spent the afternoon setting up the plan for the family dinner after the Memorial Service.  It should be very nice.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Still in the middle of saying good-by

We over 5 hours at the funeral home Tuesday.  This was even though Aunt Edna had everything pre-paid.  There are just tons of papers to sign.  The Funeral Home goes overboard to make sure every detail is correct, the have the correct body, the correct person is signing the papers, and that there is no possible way any relative can be legitimately upset at them with the arrangements that are done.  And there are so many details.  Then the cemetery person goes over all their area of expertise.  They certainly don't want the wrong grave site opened, etc.

All this and Aunt Edna will be cremated and she choose the urn.  I'd hate to think if we had to decide all she had already taken care of.

And then there is all the financial and legal stuff to take care of.  Most of these details need the death certificate.  The death certificate is one of the things we had to take care of Tuesday.  Now that information has to go different places, ending up at the Recorders to put it in the "Books".  Then it finally gets routed back to the Funeral Home, and then it will come back to us. They figure it will take a week and a half before we get it.

In the meantime, my brain is kind of in limbo.  Aunt Edna passed away and 99.5 years and I almost always visited her on Thursdays after my Weight Watchers meeting.  I have be sort of dreading today but I have a plan...., I have to go to the office supply store to get some photo paper.  Maybe I will go out to lunch with friends also.  It's been a long haul, about 20 years.

Her Kaiser doctor called this morning with condolences this morning.  I thought that was really nice.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Life's Lessons

This afternoon I have to go with my Aunt's Step-Son to the mortuary and make arrangements and sign papers. Aunt Edna was so good about making everything so easy for others when she possibly could.  And she taught lessons to the very end.

These last couple of days have been days of reflection on her life.  She made it to 99 and a half years old.  She collected so many friends through the years, but most of her good friends she outlived. She was of the era of letters.  In her diaries, she mentions almost every day letters that she has sent off and those she has received.  I compare it with emails but much longer and with more detail.  Some letters she kept through the many emails will you want to last as long as you?

She had lots of childhood friends that she kept in touch with through all the adventures of life.
Growing up, marrying, moving across the country and just time, can get in the way and wither a friendship, but her and her friends kept in touch and held each close through life.

Just a story about some of her childhood friends.....
Aunt Edna and Uncle John had bought a motorhome that they were planning to drive around the country.  They had lots of additions, like extra air conditioning, added and so it took quite a while before the motor home was ready for them to take home.  When they were bringing it home my uncle asked Aunt Edna what she would do with the motorhome if he died.  And she told him she would probably get some little old lady friends of hers and take some trips.

Well, wouldn't you know, Uncle John had a massive heart attack that same night and passed away.

Aunt Edna did do some traveling in that motorhome.  She went up to Canada to visit relatives.  She took me up to Dead Man's Creek, up in the Sierras for a few days of re-living summers with Uncle John when they camped there and fished.   And she took her 90 year old mother and me off half-way across the country to her childhood land of Iowa and Nebraska.  We had quite the adventures.  Then Grandma and I flew back to California and Aunt Edna picked up a couple of gals she had gone to elementary school with, and off they went, the rest of the way across to the East Coast.  And they visited a bunch of their friends along the way.  They were all pushing 70, and they all had a ball!

2014 - Challenge 1 Make Do and Mend

I am going to try and do the challenges again this year and the first one is:

Challenge 1 - January 1 - January 15

"Make Do and Mend"
More info:

Let’s start of the year with a clean slate, and with a bit of a tidy up. Use this challenge as an opportunity to get your historical wardrobe in order by sewing back on all those buttons and hooks that have worked loose, replacing those very dusty dust-ruffles, adjusting that jacket that never quite fit you, or re-making that out-dated item into something fresh and new.

Don’t have a historical wardrobe? Or is yours already in perfect order? Celebrate the historical precedent of making-do by re-making something into a historical garments, whether it be a bodice from a worn-out skirt, a chemise from old sheets, a bosom-friend from an old cardigan, or a new historical hat from an old modern one etc.

Or, just celebrate those people who had to make-do by making something for someone who would have scrimped and saved and re-made and mended until the fabric entirely fell apart: the poor peasant, the intrepid pioneer, the Depression era housewife, and anyone from any other historical period who couldn’t just buy a new one.

When you are done with your challenge item, please put a photo of it in the Challenge Album (through the Photo tab on the main HSF page)

I have a petticoat that needs fixing at the waist so this challenge just might get me to fix it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Aunt Edna has left us for a more peaceful place

My dear Aunt Edna passed away tonight.  Life will not only be changed for her but for all that knew her.  She brought so much joy and laughter to all.  Her passing was easy like she wished.  We will all miss her so much.

The next few days will be busy for us so I will not be posting.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Starting Titanic Dress - mockup

I cut out the bodice from my scrap pieces stash.  It is a  nice enough cotton to use if the mock up turns out well too.

My scrap stash

The first mock up showed the alterations it definitely needed to fit me.  The young perky me no longer exists, and as all you more mature ladies know, things drop.  So I added to the bottom of the bodice by 1.5 inches, just to make sure I had enough.  The sides of the neckline were way too wide, so I brought the neckline and the arm hole toward the center by 1.25".

The altered pattern
2nd try on mock-up

I put it together and I'm not to sure how this all is going to work but so far, so good, I think.

The mock up showed the alterations it definitely needed to fit me.  The young perky me no longer exists, and as all you more mature ladies know, things drop.  So I added to the bottom of the bodice by 1.5 inches, just to make sure I had enough.  The sides of the neckline were way too wide, so I brought the neckline and the arm hole toward the center by 1.25".

Those 2 alterations really seemed to fix the problem at this point.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Titanic Era Dress- Planning

Ok, here is what I am thinking......

I am planning to blend these two views into one:

I plan these modifications.
I will use the bodice of view A (on the right), but instead of the band I will use lace (if I have enough). I probably won't use a ribbon sash, so actually it will be more like bodice B, with lace across the bottom.
The skirt will be like B and with lace for embellishment, but only one row.

The over-bodice and over-skirt-
The over bodice will be like view B, but may open down the center, or not.....
The sleeves will be like View A, but have a tapered point with perhaps a bead tassel on the points.
The over-skirt will be like View B (which opens in the front), but be only floor length in the back.

Here is the fabric, a silk taffeta with a pretty light hand:

The taffeta is a strange color, kind of a cream beige with a dull greenish hint.

I bought the lace at a flea market about 20 some years ago and have been looking for a project to use it on.  It is a beige and does look good with the material.  I haven't figured out if I have enough yet, so send me some good wishes on that respect.

The beading I was working on during the Christmas season doesn't quite do it for this project.  The blue iridescent color doesn't work.  The blue beads are those that are long cut on the ends.  It makes them have a little rough look.

So, I started another beaded ribbon with light yellowish beads alternated with light brownish beads.  These are the rounded glass beads and lay better for this application.  I like how they look.

I do have to alter the pattern a bit.  I certainly don't have that column look of the 1912s. Which makes me think, it only got worse!  I would hate to be a "mature" lady in the Hobble Skirt times!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

See the Monarch Butterflies!

Wish the Monarchs a Happy New Year at Ardenwood, Fremont CA!

11:30am & 1:30pm
Wednesday, January 1st
Interpretive Staff
Start the year off right with an inspiring visit
to a monarch butterfly over-wintering site.
Discover the amazing migration of these tiny
creatures and how they survive the long
cold season in our eucalyptus trees. We’ll
use spotting scopes to see these magnificent
creatures up close and personal. Meet at the

The is what they look like up in the trees until the sun breaks through and warms them up.  Then they flutter around like falling leaves!
Last I heard about 30 were sighted several weeks ago, usually there are thousands.  Hope more have arrived since then.  With all the concrete jungles it makes it hard for them to find the environment to survive on their trips from Canada to Mexico and back in 3 generations.

Meanwhile, Otis in at the vets.  Awaiting diagnosis.  He is my sweetie. He is with me constantly when I am doggie sitting.  He protects me if anyone comes within 100 yds of the house!

He is very bashful.  When I go to take his picture he won't look me in the eye!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 2014 and Good-by 2013


2013 wasn't a really horrible year, in fact, there were some pretty nice things that happened.

It started out very bad for my grandson, who has PANDAS/PANS.  He went into some very scary sessions and life was so hard for him.  But, then by June he was well enough to go to summer school!

He went on to start the fall session of 2013 and is doing pretty good, even though the Winter is the hardest for him.

And then there were the IEPs.... Since the little escapade with the court system, the IEPs became a LOT easier and unbelievablely even a bit actually pleasant (that is a scary thought).  Well, at least it wasn't torture like before.  And as the year progressed, the attitude has changed so much they even seem to be putting the kids needs ahead of everything else.

I attended a Painting Workshop in April in San Francisco and learned a lot and had a great time with friends, Simone and Sheryl.

We had another "Girl's Day Out" at Annie's Annuals and bought tons of plants, then spent a couple week planting them.  My succulents did pretty well this summer but this winter has been hard on them with all the frosts.  We have had more and harder frosts than usual.

I spent a week with my grand-dogs and grand-cat in May.  That is always a treat for the animals and me.

Grandson Julian graduated from High School and Grandkids, Luke and Francesca finished their freshman year.  Then Julian left for St Edward University in Austin to start his college experience.

Aunt Edna did well this year.  Her pressure sore on her heel healed up fine and all else was a well as to be expected.  She did start the year with not recognizing me though.  I had expected it for a couple years so it wasn't a surprise.

We spent a lot of time in the yard, slowly changing the plantings to easier care plants.  My arthritis in my hips are giving me warnings to head for easier gardening.  Some big projects in the gardening included the fence on one side replaced and the long planter box rebuilt.  The Eucalyptus tree in the front and another in the back were removed.

Granddaughter Jessica finished her college studies in December.  The first of the Grandkids to get through college.  Brent has a long haul, he is just in pre-med now.

Meanwhile, I had joined the Sewing Challenges for 2013 and kept very busy with the projects.  And then, of course, Ardenwood's season opens in April and closes just before Christmas.  I wore all those sewing projects while giving tours.  This year I spent of time at Ardenwood on School tours.  They are quite intense as we give tours to about 200-plus kids in 3 hours in groups of about 20-25 each.  Then there were the special events also.

Then there were different holiday events and parties, from Thanksgiving to Christmas.   The Dickens Faire was a wonderful event we are planing to do again.  And then, New Years Eve, which we always enjoy with some of the grandkids.  The new year starts at their house at 9pm Pacific Time (Midnight, Eastern Time) with New York's celebration!  That gets the kids (and us old folks) in bed at a decent hour!

Then it is 2014!  and the Rose Parade is the agenda for this morning!