Monday, June 8, 2015

Regency Ball Gown

Just finished the Regency Ball Gown, made from fabric in my stash.  This dress is from the same pattern as the Regency Day Dress.

The fabric is probably some kind of acetate or something.  It does look like a silk taffeta or something though.  I found it on Joann Fabric's bargain table when I was looking fabric for the Downton Abbey Ball.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Regency Day Dress

I had decided I wanted to learn more about the Regency Era last year.  I started those stays I shared with you a few days ago.  I was rather frustrated because I didn't know just how they were supposed to fit.  I actually made 2 trying to get it right, but frankly I think I got it pretty much right but they just aren't that comfortable.  I think one of these days I will try the long stays, maybe that will help.

Anyway, I decided to take a class on a Regency Dress.  this is a Laughing Moon Pattern and a class online with  The pattern is pretty straight forward but I learned a lot, both sewing techniques and on Regency dressing.

I started the introduction lesson.  She lets you know the fabrics of the period and what supplies you need and the class starts two or three weeds later giving you time to order and get your supplies.  I realized I needed a Regency petticoat and the stays to fit the dress correctly.  I finished the stays but since she mentioned you could use a push-up bra I order one since I felt it may well fit the dress better than my stays.  I also bought a petticoat pattern and had plenty of muslin to make the petticoat.

Then I tackled finding correct fabric.  Feeling that I really didn't know the fabrics of the period I ordered a wonderful 100% cotton from Burnley & Trowbridge.  I knew it would be correct.

As I started lesson 1, it dawned on me how I never would have thought a computer and sewing would go together.  Well, it is a great idea for classes online, especially since sewing is not offered in the schools anymore.  I am sure you could learn all you need online.

This pattern has an apron opening with is different.  The main bodice section has a closing in the front that ties to hold it closed.

The "bib" part of the front is left hanging while you are tying the front.

The class just finished and this is the final result:

The lessons are a week apart and so when I was caught up I started another dress from fabric in my stash.  Just finished it...will show you tomorrow!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Jen makes me laugh!!

Thought you may enjoy my daughter's adventure to Paris several years ago.  Jen is very much a "free spirit" but at the same time she is very honest about it and somewhat fights her free spirit too.  All and all, she is so funny when she tells me her stories, I just had to memorialize these here.

I found my old e-mails to everyone while I was in Paris last.
I compiled them into a little journal.  Interesting read.

All my Paris Journals

I am 9 hours ahead of all of you - Crazy Stuff!

On the flight I met a really nice girl named Amelie and she lives in France.  We exchanged e-mail addresses but I managed to loose hers by the time I got to the hotel. 

I arrived yesterday morning and went through customs just fine but then I forgot to get my suitcase and went directly to the money exchange window instead.  I realized that I messed up about 10 min. in line so I decided to just do the exchange and then somehow get back into an area that was restricted once you leave.  Culture shock just set in now because I realized I couldn't just tell someone that I forgot my suitcase in baggage and that I need to get back in.  So, I decided to just wait till someone was coming out and slipped in without being seen.  Scary security there :) I managed to get almost all the way in when three security looked over at my guilty face - I played the dumb blond and used sign language to get my way through. 

Once that was over I needed to find a taxi and get the heck out.  I frantically dug for a copy of the name of the hotel and got in the cab and pointed at the piece of paper - luckly he knew where it was located.  Little did I know it was going to be an hour and a half ride in serious traffic to get there.  I was having talking withdrawal at this time so I just blurted out "Hey, your electrical poles are different than America"  He almost crashed I startled him so - he said what and while I was repeating what I said I realized how dumb it sounded and that he had no idea what I was saying.  He said that he didn't speak English and continued to drive.  Longest silent ride of my life.

Finally getting to the hotel Robert greeted me showed me our room and headed back to work.  I took a long bath and went to sleep till Robert came to pick me up for lunch.  I felt much better and headed out with him to find restaurant.  We picked a cute little cafe and Robert had mushroom ravioli's with major cream sauce and I had salad with hot goat cheese.  Really there wasn't anything else to choose from but the salad part was really good.  Then Robert walked me back to the hotel and he headed off to work telling me he would be back around 7-7:30 for dinner.  I took another long nap and then got up and went out - very intimidated I felt like a total tourist without a camera.  I wanted to fit in and I so didn't.  Culture shock something bad.  I got and idea from a television show I like to watch called "Dog Whisperer" where this guy "Cesar" tells people how to take control of their dogs and become the pack leader.  I thought I would use his techniques and when back to the hotel room and put on my headset and turned up the music and took control of my situation.  Stand tall and owned the sidewalks.  I stepped out feeling so good and fitting in.  I walked for a couple of hours and on my way back to the hotel, as I was casually walking blowing bubbles with my gum - a French Guy stopped me and said something about blowing bubbles and started a conversation with me like I was one of them.  I hated stopping him to tell him that I was American and didn't speak the language but I had to.  He said he thought I lived here.  Yes, I had pulled it off.  Then he gestured to go have a cup coffee with him and try to communicate to each other.  Well, It was almost 7pm and I need to get back to the hotel to meet Robert so I pointed at my wedding ring and gestured to my wrist that I had to go meet my husband.  He said please just 5 min.  I said okay and here I was walking to the closest coffee place with a local.  I think he ask me what kind of coffee or something (the sign language wasn't working well - so  tried to say the opposite of grande and that didn't work so I gesture small cup and he said okay and went in to it.  I was still chewing that gum so I needed to find a trash cane to chuck it.  No luck - not a trash in site.  I asked the owner for this and she thought I was saying I needed a ash tray.  I pointed to my gum and she and a customer said (in french) go outside and throw in the gutter.  I thought "I am not going to dirty another country" and said no to them - so one of the customers got up and walked me outside and pointed to the drain in the gutter - he gestured spitting it out in there.  I reluctantly did it and he was so happy.  I went back to table to continue the conversation with the coffee guy.  He wanted me to teach him English and me to learn French from him - this went on for a few min - I learned his descendants are from Armenia.  I had to leave so he asked if Robert and I would meet him back at the coffee shop tomorrow at 7pm and he would show us around and have some drinks.  I said bonjour and left

Robert had this are you crazy look when I told him my story.  I'm not sure I'm going to get him to meet this guytomorrow

Anyway we went to a cute vegetarian restaurant and had a full meal (Robert is really good at ordering in French with ease).  I had vegetarian pate, a bean stew and chocolate cake.  I'm drinking the water here so I hope I don't get sick.

That was my first full day in Paris - I'll send pictures when I get brave enough to look like a tourist and take them.


2nd day in Paris, France

Today I learned the Metro and took myself to Place de la Contrescarpe.  It took 3 different Metros and a short walk to this fascinating place where there is a farmers market, cobblestone roads, fountains, cafe's and great people watching and not tourist kind either - the French. :)  There I read my book outside a cafe while I drank a glass of wine.  At 3:30 all the schools let out and lots of students passed by.  Later two of those teenagers were in their room on the third floor above a corner grocery store - they were up to no go - I could just tell.  I watched further and noticed that they were throwing bread at the people going by - too funny.  An old man cursed at them and they hid till it was safe and continued.  When that got boring they got glasses of water and began pouring it on unsuspecting people below.  One of the girls noticed me giggling in the cafe and watching them.  She waved my way so I waved back.  Unfortunately someone that got drenched went up to their flat and told their parents - so the fun was over.  About 10 min later - the girls came outside and called me over to chat with them.  I paid my tab and went over.  They were just bored 13 year olds with nothing to do but be bad - they showed me where the mail is for all the people in their apartment and proceeded to pull out mail from one and put in another - they were having a ball.  I attached a picture of the place I was and the girls Charlotte and Lu.  I waved goodbye and headed back to the hotel where Robert was still working hard at his computer. 

We are about to go to dinner now. 

au revoir,

3rd day in Paris

Robert had to go to a customers site today so no lunch date for me today.  I walked to a vegetarian restaurant we went to for lunch yesterday and got a bit lost but then found my way - they are so sweet there I took a picture of the lady that spoke English and interpreted the menu for me.  Today I was a tourist and I embraced it.

Then I was off to see the Jardin du Luxenbourg - wow it took my breath away.  Statues everywhere and I love statues - best art out there.  Flowers are all in bloom and the Parisians were sun bathing in the wonderful weather.  They don't have signs for the lawns you can go on and the ones you can't - I got busted trying to get a good picture - oh well.   I walked for hours and hours.  40 cents to potty and 5 blisters later I made my way back to the hotel for a nice bath and nap before Robert got back and said "I'm done working and on vacation now - lets go see the city". 

We took a couple Metro's to go to dinner at an Indian restaurant that was absolutely fabulous!  We then went to the Eiffel Tower and enjoyed the wonderful views at night.  I really didn't want to go up the thing until I saw it in person then I was like - "lets go up"  Poor Robert got suckered into buying me a rose from a vendor - I loved it though. 

We then rushed back before the Metro closed at 12:49am - very close.  I am going to sleep really good tonight. 

Random Stuff
I was petting some guys dog while he was in a shop - he came out and said "looks, here is a gift for you" and handed me the leash.  I said "no, no" and he said "Yes and he even knows english - watch" he tells the dog to sit and the dog sits - he says "see he does know english"  Robert managed to get me away before I took a brown lab home to american with us. :)

I found a health food store on the walk back from site seeing.  I went to open the door but I pulled instead of pushed.  I thought maybe they were closed.  Nope they were watching me look stupid because the note on the door said push - of course it was in french and I can't read french - They all giggled when I finally figured it out.  Stupid American. :)

I am going to miss the bidet - It's like taking a bath through out the day - fresh and clean. :)

The metro doors don't automatically open like they do on bart.  You open as you need.  I stood there the first time and was like "this thing is broken"  Someone showed me - how embarrassing. 

People don't have right away when it comes to crossing the street.  You know me - I almost get killed anyway crossing in California.  A local was watching me trying to cross (in a cross walk) a busy street and was giggling at me dodging cars and then going back to the curb again.  I guess it did look kind of silly - especially because I just wanted to get over there to take a picture and when I was done I realized that construction had closed the sidewalk ahead and so I had to cross again in front of that guy - I did a better job of running that time.

As you can see its very early in the morning on Saturday and I can't sleep.  We are going to a new hotel in the Latin Dist tomorrow and I'm excited.  Robert is out like a light. 

I guess I better try and sleep myself - big day tomorrow.  

Day 4 in Paris
I had a bad case of excitement last night so I got about 2 hours of sleep.  I couldn’t wait any longer so I woke Robert up at 6am we went to sleep at 2am so this wasn’t much sleep for him as well.  Today we are leaving the 14th Qtr and heading over to the 5th Qtr (Latin Dist).  Our check out time was noon and check in time at the new place was 1pmso to kill an hour we asked them hold our bags for a couple hours while we walked to lunch.  We ate at Aquarius one last time and of course the food was fabulous and the service so friendly.  This vegetarian restaurant is a tiny little place and the owners are a happy older couple that sing while they work.  Beautiful place.  We then said au ruvoir and left to wander the streets counting how many baguette we see people carrying around – we got to 25 in less than an hour and we met lots of dogs and one cat that was peering out of an open window on the 1st floor apartment.  The cat looked very French and snobby.  Too cute – wish I had brought my camera.  I stopped in a small store and bought a scarf – I was all green and yellow – we kept seeing the color green that I was wearing on everything so we got a picture of a fence with me matching so well. J
After picking up our bags and catching a cab for the new hotel we checked in and met our new room – so cute and quaint with windows that open over the special streets.  The room is perfect I love it.  The colors are calming and home feeling with a milk chocolate wall and multi paint transfer on the rest with natural hews – the curtains are burnt orange and milk chocolate strips.  Very nice.  A little LCD TV is hanging on the wall and plays one English channel but again boring stuff compared to the outside world. 
When we got finished getting situated we ventured out into our new environment.  "Wow" is all I kept saying with cobble stone EVERYWHERE and gargoyles peering down from above.  We only stepped a block away and discovered a tiny church that looked pretty cool from the outside – I notice the door was open so of course me – I walked in and holy cannoli was it a find. I will attach picture from it.  I can’t even describe the beauty and the fact that it isn’t on the map is crazy. 
We continued on to see the Notre Dam and although we didn’t go in (because the line was too long for our patience) the outside was a sight to see.  I have never hung my mouth open in awe for so long ever.
Later we had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant where the waiters spoke pretty good English.  – Yummy gourmet food.  Walked across the oldest bridge in Paris and checked out the night scene.
Wow was I tired at the end of this day.  With no sleep the night before I slept so well and I needed that.
Day 5
We went to the Louvre today – I saw the things I most wanted to see.  I am now very statue, painting and antiquities out.  My feet are killing me and Robert can just keep going – I will have to rest a bit before our next urban hike thru town.  

Yesterday I had a banana split with sorbet instead of ice cream - yum.  I went to use the rest room - the only one I found was just a urinal.  So, I went to the owner and asked where the toilette is and she pointed to the place I just came out of.  I told her (mostly sign language) that it was just a urinal.  In so many words she said that it was much cleaner because I wouldn't have to sit down.  Okay - I gave it a shot.  She was right and that was my first experience with a urinal.  :) 

Last night we had Mexican food - didn't really taste Mexican it tasted Paris Mexican - but it was good and healthy.

Today we are headed to the palace of Versailles should be pretty cool.  

The weather was about 70 - 75 degrees and so beautiful.  Perfect day for the Versailles - We rented a golf cart and rode around the entire gardens and over to the "hamlet" where Marie Antoinette had her little pretend village. Really the golf cart was only for an hour - the rest of the time we wandered all around for about 5 hours  I took tons of pictures - I loved it.  My feet are so dead - but later we went out for dinner over in the 4th qtr.  Great food - then we looked for some cute pubs but the 4th qtr is a bit seedy.  We did end up finding a couple places and then went off looking for the oldest house in Paris - we found it - down a little dark street out in the middle of seedyville. built in 1407 Its a restaurant named Nicolas.  Popular name here in Paris. 

We are waking up early to fly away home to USA in the morning.  good night.

Regency bodiced petticoat

I had decided to take an online class with on how to make a Regency dress.  I really don't feel comfortable in this era so figured I would do it right and have instruction.  I signed up and then realized.....I don't have any Regency "underwear" to fit the dress on.  Well, actually I had my short stays finished, but don't really know if they are fitted correctly.

So, since I was going up to my daughters house for a week to take care of the grand-animals, this was going to be a great time for a Regency blowout!  The class gives you information on fabrics and basic information a couple weeks before the class actually starts.  This gives you time to get all your stuff together, order your fabrics, etc.  I used that time to get going on ordering fabric and patterns.  Then started in on my bodiced petticoat.

This is the Laughing Moon pattern #132 and it comes with a bum roll (who would have known they used them in the loose Regency period) and a pocket.

The front has a draw string to adjust the neckline

The back has a bunch of sewed down pleats for the fullness of Regency dresses in those days.

I was looking out for fabric that seemed to follow the guidelines and photos to fit the period but didn't want to be really far off when it came right down to it.  I gave up looking and ordered some from

I was just about ready to start thinking "dress" when my fabric came and I left for my daughter's house.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ardenwood's Mothers Day Tea

We had had so much fun at the Mothers Day Tea so I wanted to share just a few of the photos!

The food was plentiful and yummy and our "maids were kept busy.

We had lots of wonderful guests...

And we gave a fashion show just for them!

And afterwards, there was time to take more pictures!

A good time was had by all!  (And I heard rumors there will be a Christmas tea!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sized by your age????

My daughter bought this pattern and instead of being size 14, it is for a 14 year old!

I tried my hand at adjusting the pattern to fit my daughter with this mock up.  The fashion fabric should be a lot more lightweight than my mockup.

Enough pins??

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Regency Short Stays

I finally finished the Regency Short Stays that I had started over a year ago.  It was a project I took on when I was staying with my granddaughter while her parents were on a trip.  They went on a trip this year to Mexico City and since she still had school, she stayed home again and I stayed with her again.  She was so busy studying for tests that I had plenty time to revisit the project!

Mainly I had the boning and some binding to do.



I even left some of my DNA....darn pins!

My first bound eyelets
I found a smaller cord for the lacing later on.

Since Regency is not really my era, I am hoping I am not too far off with the fitting.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm baaaack!

It has been a while since I have posted...and I have a lot to post.

I have been busy.  After the "Gone with the Wind" picnic and all the "push" to get everything done in time, I guess I just needed a break.  Then in the meantime, my computer when South, if you know what I mean.  Now, I have a new computer, with a new photo program, so I am trying to learn how to use it all.  

So.....Ardenwood has opened its 2015 season and we are off and running!  We have the exhibit on the Panama American Exhibition on display still till mid June.  Clara Patterson attended the Exhibition and we have a few of her mementos and photos.  She loved the Orient.  She bought the Japanese Commissioners Residence at the Exhibition and had it moved to Ardenwood for her residence since her son had inherited the big house and it must have been getting crowded with babies coming.

She hired the famous architect, Julia Morgan, to fix it up as a permanent structure since it was built as temporary for the Exhibition.  It sat back in Deer Park where her pet deer resided.  Just before it was finished and ready for her to move in, Clara passed away.

On Pearl Harbor Day, the Japanese Commissioner's house went up in flames.  We suspect the news of the day may have had something to do with it.