The Victorian Ball

“It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; but when a beginning is made -- when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt -- it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.” - Jane Austen

For many years, when we lived in California, we attended a large and lovely Victorian Ball.  Oh, how our hearts pine to dance those quadrilles, waltzes, polkas, contras, and schottisches with our dear friends again.  Well, this year Colette was invited out for the Ball!  Although I attended, it was just as an observer, since Technohubby could not go.  But observing is almost as much fun as dancing!

An entire suitcase was devoted to her ball attire, which included: pantyhose, bloomers, corset, camisole, petticoat, bustle pad, underskirt and apron, bustle, bodice, ballet slippers, purse, lace fan, necklace, and earrings.  And we carried that suitcase on the plane with us, because what on earth would she do if it was one of those horrible cases of a lost suitcase that is never recovered!?!?!

The ball is actually called “Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball” and is held in conjunction with the weekend-long Riverside Dickens Festival.  As such, Queen Victoria made a grand entrance, with bagpipe accompaniment.

The dancers lined up to dance The Grand March.

Here’s a glimpse of the crowded dance floor.  I do so wish I had a video camera, so you could hear the Philadelphia Quadrille Orchestra play.  They’re wonderful!

Everyone has their best, Victorian manners for the evening.  Dance cards are issued as the dancers enter.  Gentlemen ask the ladies to dance and fill in the ladies’ names on their cards next to the name of the dance for which they have engaged the lady.  Ladies note the gentlemen’s names on their cards. Everyone has an itty-bitty pencil attached to their card by a tiny cord.  Gentlemen keep their dance cards in their pockets.  Most ladies use the cord to dangle their dance card from their wrist.

There was an observation area for those in attendance who were not dancing.  We spent much time admiring attire, pointing out fine dancing to each other, chit-chatting with our friends as they rested between dances, and generally have a grand time!

All the ladies were beautifully coiffed and beautifully attired!  Oh...such silks and tafettas and velvets!

Colette wore her 1880's dinner dress in dark green with black velveteen trim and ecru lace.  I'm sorry to say that this is one of the few photos I took of the front of it all night.

The back view of her gown, as she is led onto the dance floor for the next dance.

The dancing was splendid!

A dance is a joyful affair!

Trip To California

Colette and I have returned from a delightful trip to California.  She was invited out to stay with friends and attend a very special event.  So we made it a trip for the two of us, a senior trip for her, and a chance to visit family and friends, to eat, and to shop!

One aspect of living in California that we really miss is food.  We have great food in New England.  But, oh how we crave In-n-Out burgers, authentic Mexican food, and Los Rios' fresh pressed apple cider!  (News flash for New Englanders: barbecue sauce does not belong on Mexican food.  Really!  And neither does Vermont cheddar.) Weeks prior to going back to California our imaginations run wild with thoughts of all the foods we will eat our fill of while there.  And we did!  And it was grand, simply grand!!!

Colette discovered a new, favorite shop.  Here she found whole racks of 1950's dresses, scarves, shoes, coats, and of course, hats.  She bought herself a red one.

Our friends shared with us a new bakery that has opened since we moved, The Cupcakery.  Calorie watchers, be warned!  Decadence in every bite!  The place was all-over Colette, with its vintage-theme and Audrey Hepburn pictures adorning the walls.

What a relief Colette came dressed for the occassion!

I had a Chocolate Bordeaux cupcake (closer to the camera) and she had a confection known as King Chocolate.  Need I say more?

Then our friends' daughter, looking like a luscious, sunkissed apricot in her little dress, led the way to Italian sodas.

The weather was unseasonably warm, even by California standards.  We were sweltering!  But, I did enjoy dining al fresco with a friend and this delightful salad: mixed field greens, pears, candied walnuts, bleu cheese, and a champagne dressing.  Mmmm.  I see this on our family's dinner table some night (with some chicken tossed in to please the guys).

On our last night in California, Colette had some fun in my brother's backyard.

But mostly she spent the trip with our friends on their farm.  There's a happy girl!

And she and her friends spent hours and hours preparing for "the big event".  More on that in my next posting!

Bulletin Board Makeover

I like starting the new year with a painting project.  It’s a fresh start to a fresh year!  Last year I painted three rooms.  This year I tackled smaller projects.

I really needed a place to keep ideas and orders-in-process paperwork for my Etsy shop in one, easy-to-see place.  And having an unused bulletin board (4' x 4') that used to live in the schoolroom of our house in California AND an empty wall in the laundry/sewing room, I decided to give the bulletin board a makeover.

First it got a fresh coat of paint.  The paint color is called Cobblestone…sort of a mushroom-like color.  I like its mellowness.

Then I bought some decorator fabric with which to cover it.  I’m positively wild about this particular fabric!  So neutral, yet not boring.  It’s got weight, and a nice, historic sort of look and feel to it.

I cut the fabric just a bit bigger than the surface of the bulletin board.

I turned it under all around the edges and secured it with upholstery tacks.

Hopefully, it will help me keep that aspect of my life straight.

The first two items to go onto the bulletin board were my new sewing-themed calendar (purchased from this Etsy shop) and a pretty ribbon sent to me by a friend.

This is just the first step in some big improvements coming to that room of the house this year.

Last Friday's Battle

The dog was allied with Colette.

I’m not sure who won over the course of the day, but I do know that at one point someone was heard to command, “Stop moving!”  Like that was going to happen!
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