Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 27, 2015

Latest Project and News

My latest project is to replace the screening in my greenhouse/spa.  Some years ago I got this brilliant idea to put a small hot tub in my greenhouse.  It gives me privacy and protection from the wind, and I love it!

I put some special screening in the greenhouse so the sun would not damage the hot tub and it would keep the green house cooler.  I have solar openers on the windows.  Through the years the wind has blown in lots of pollen and tiny seeds onto the screening.  I tried to wash it off but no dice.  It is also getting rather stiff, anyhow I decided to replace the screening.  This is a big project and very physical!  So it will keep me busy for awhile.

I thought I would document again some of the plants that are blooming at this time.
The freesias are just starting!  My favorite flower!
This rose is "Henry Fonda".

This is Cassidy's rose, named after our baby granddaughter that passed away at birth.

The mallow blooms all year around.

Now, the bad news . . . .

My bees have suffered from hive collapse.

I miss the little girls.  Our dear son-in law will be bringing us some new girls to start a new hive.

But, just to leave on good notes . . .

1.  One of the plum trees has started blooming!

2.  I am going up to take care of my grand-dog and grand-cat for a couple days.

3.  And the reason I will be with them is because Jen and Robert are going to attend the Game of Thorns Costume Event this weekend.  She has promised pictures!

A little preview though, from when she was working on her costume:


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In the Garden!

It was just too nice to do any sewing today.  I did plan on it but got side-tracked.  I had told you the garden was calling!  And other outside projects!

This crazy drought and warm weather we have been having has totally confused the plants.  First of all, we have been using almost no watering so all the plants have been under stress.  Then the temps have been so warm they think it is still last summer, I think.  Not much is blooming right now, and the fruit trees that usually start blooming in January or early February aren't even close to blooming. With one exception, one of the plum trees.

The poor succulents have had a very rough time.  They sure have loved every sprinkle we have had.

The red on the succulents show they are under stress.

This red is a tiny cactus.  

The wisteria is usually fully blooming now.

There is hope though.  Buds!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gardening and other projects

The garden has been calling.  Last spring I didn't have to worry about weeds, no rain.  But, we have had just enough rain this winter to inspire all the weeds that have been sitting around for the last few year during this drought to decide to grow.  So I have spent the last few days weeding.

And when I am so tired of weeding I have been working on fixing and finishing a few small projects.  Tonight I hemmed a petticoat for the 1860s dress.  Tomorrow I may get around to adding a flounce.  The petticoat has been re-purposed to an earlier period than its original.

I signed up for the Costume Academy on March 14th in San Jose.  My first one!  Anxious to see which of my first picks of classes I will get!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cathy's 1860s dress done!

It's done, although she was talking about adding more embellishment!

The front

The back

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My 1860s dress - Done!

I feel liberated with all those ruffles gone!  Guess I am not a ruffle person after all.

The front

And the back
I may end up making a petticoat and more important, panteloons.  I am not used to having my skirts flying up exposing all!  Of course, I will have my chemise, ect. on under there.

By the way, photos from the Presidents Day Tea are at this site:

Ben Update:

My Daughter's Ben Update: 
The Journey continues. I think this is what I will title this. It has been about 20 something days since the IVIG. We saw incredible changes in Ben the first 3 days. It was so miraculous, amazing, just WOW. The next few weeks were exciting to see this new Ben but also painful to see for seeing the symptoms return little by little. I think of those 3 days, as Gods gift to me, to show me not give up hope of what could be. The last few weeks many of his symptoms have returned but he is still better then before the IVIG. I was really sad on Thurs. This was our first trip back to Stanford for the doctors to check Ben out. That morning was the first time the imaginary characters came back. frown emoticon I went into the appointment with tears. Was so sad. But the doctors surprised me. They were excited. It was a two hour appointment lots of questions and checking out Ben. At the end Dr Frankovich was excited and happy. She said that decline was expected but the fact that he did so well the first 3 days, lead her to give him an official diagnosis of post infectious encephalitis (remember that PANDAS is not in the diagnostic books yet so we can't use that as an official diagnosis) She felt that the best plan of attack would be to do IVIG/steriod pulse every month for 6 months. Her hope is that what we saw the first 3 days will get even better and better and the decline will be less and less until he will hold at a good place. So my wonderful friends and family, continue to pray. I love each of you so much for caring for my family the way that you do! heart emoticon

Friday, February 20, 2015

"Re-group and Re-do"

The pattern I used for my 1860s dress was really rather weird.  First of all it called for 17.5 yards of fabric.  There was so much fabric in the ruffles they weighed themselves down instead of being fluffy.

After days of thinking about what to do with the skirt, (even though the fabric is very light, I was going to have to use suspenders to hold it up!) I decided to take off all the ruffles, take out some of the fabric in them and re-install.  But, after taking them off I have decided to just leave them off.  It is like a breath of fresh air!

Photos tomorrow with the new look!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Good Friend is Gone

I was so sorry to hear we have lost a wonderful person, Dottie DiFranco.  We were baby docents at Ardenwood together over 25 years ago.  She was so funny and kept me in stitches!  She took care of her sister for the long adventure of Alzhiemers.  Dottie's health had been failing for quite a while but I was glad to be able to see her a several months ago.

She will keep heaven laughing!  Rest in peace, dear friend.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Presidents Day Tea at the Camron-Stanford House in Oakland, CA

What a wonderful day we had at the Camron-Stanford House Tea today!  We had a wonderful warm day, about 80 degrees! . . . Sorry, all you people back East!  By the way, you want to get rid of all that snow and have no where to put it?.....Just dump it into train cars and send it to California, we have lots of reservoirs just waiting for a bunch of water!

First we had a little lecture on how the wife of President Hayes visited the house for a formal reception during President Hayes visit to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Something I learned was that Lucy Hayes was as popular as Jackie Kennedy in the 1960!

Then there was a demonstration of "how to get dressed in 1980".  Been there, done that!  But I never get tired watching someone else doing it!

I always have a hard time taking pictures at these events.  In this case, I was just enjoying myself too much to think of the camera.  Besides, my photo skills are so lousy.  But, for what it is worth, here are the few I took.

A little Steampunk look!

And our surprise guest of honor, Oakland's new mayor, in costume no less!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Getting close to finishing my 1860s dress and plans for tomorrow!

On my 1860s bodice, as of tonight, I have the buttons and buttonholes, whipstitching the lining to the armholes, the cuffs of the sleeves and the ribbon trim on the collar yet to do!

Of course, I still have the hoop petticoat to shorten and the skirt hem to do.

Tomorrow I will be going to:

Hopefully all will work out that I can do Jen's final fitting on her dress afterwards, too!

Friday, February 13, 2015

My 1860s bodice

Yesterday, after spending several hours sewing ruffles to the skirt, I quickly cut out and sewed the main pieces of the bodice glad not to be sewing gathers or in a straight line forever.

I used a pattern that is later than 1860 but hope to tweak it down to that period.  I think I am going to add white, a sort of under blouse look, to break up all that blue.  After all those ruffles, I am a little sick of the blue.  So, here I was trying out what it might look like.

The idea is also is to widen the shoulders to match the wide skirt and to repeat the navy stripes that are on the skirt.

This is where I am so far.....Tomorrow I hope to get the bones in and then I will be able to finish the bottom edge.

After I bought this material I was kind of upset with myself because I thought it rather bright for the period.  But, I googled the invention of fabric dyes and got the whole history....but what mattered at the time was the 1834 entry.  I did copy a bit of the history, just for you!

1825 Mathias Baldwin (later of locomotive fame) began the first American production of engraved metal rollers for calico printing which were used in the Philadelphia area and could produce 300 yds of fabric per day.
1834 Runge, a German chemist, noticed that upon distilling coal tar, aniline would give a bright blue color if treated with bleaching powder. This helped to pave the way to the development of aniline (basic) dyes 22 years later.
1844 John Mercer discovered that treating cotton with caustic soda (lye) while under tension improved its strength, luster, dyeability, absorbency. The process was called "mercerization".
1856 William Henry Perkin discovered the first synthetic dye stuff "Mauve" (aniline, a basic dye) while searching for a cure for malaria and a new industry was begun. It was a brilliant fuchsia type color, but faded easily so our idea of the color mauve is not what the appearance of the original color was.
1858 Griess discovered diazotisation and coupling on/in the fiber
1858-59 Magenta (fuchsin) discovered by Verguin the 2nd basic dye and more widely used than Mauve

Historical Costumers vs Cars

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ruffles! On my 1860s dress

For 2 days I worked on ruffles.  First, cutting all the strips, then sewing all the gathering threads, gathering them and sewing them on to the skirt......all so time consuming and rather boring.

But, this afternoon I started the bodice and thankfully it is going along quickly.  I am getting rather anxious to finish all these dresses.

Cathy and Jen's are ready for their final fittings!

Hopefully photos tomorrow.  I have to take up my hoop skirt before the skirt will look good on it.  I must say, that skirt weighs a ton!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pattern Review and Pattern Sites

Before buying a pattern, or cutting into that wonderful new fabric, you may want to go to a pattern review and see if someone has comments on that particular pattern.

The Greater Bay Area Costume Guild has a pattern review on their site:

Pattern places and other things:

Truly Victorian:

Amazon Drygoods:

Antique Pattern Library:

Wearing History:

Vintage Fashion:

Historical Sewing:

Foundations Revealed:

Tudor Links:


Pacific Trimming:
Trim Fabric:
Military Heritage:



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Jen's 1860s dress

I have really been doing a push to finish Cathy's and Jen's 1860s dresses.  I have some tiny details on Cathy's and the straps and hem on Jen's to finish.  I will need another fitting for Jen's straps just to make sure they are in the right position.  And I need to double check if the hem is at the correct length before sewing it.

When I am at the point that I can't go any further on their dresses, I have started working on mine.
The first part of the cartridge pleats on my skirt.
Jen's hoop petticoat had to be shortened.

Then I turned her skirt inside out on Dolly and pinned up the skirt.

Of course this was done while Dolly was on the table because she is at my height and not Jen's!

I put in the grommets on the bodice and added the grosgrain ribbon on it.

So the back of the bodice is at this point so far...The straps aren't in the right position yet.

And the front. . . the grommets are in yet.