26 Apr 2009

To see or not to see

Oooh, look what I found yesterday in an optician's shop window - new, but antique-looking glasses and spectacles and whatnot (they were not cheap, but you can drool for free):

Unfortunately, modern glasses and historic costumes don't blend very well. I remember when I was 14-15 and refused to wear my glasses when in costume (my mother thought I was too young to have contact lenses): I didn't see a thing, but I thought it was better than sporting my octagonal brass-framed glasses (yes, they were very weird. And besides, at that time my costumes sucked so much that no glasses could possibly have spoiled anything).

Anyhow; I've seen many people use early 20th century spectacles of this kind, which looks pretty awesome in my opinion. The good thing is that you can usually find them at reasonable prices in antique/vintage clothing stores (myself, I use contacts when I'm dressed up - it feels very glamorous since I'm too lazy to wear anything but ordinary glasses to work and when at home these days)

An 18th century example from Antique Spectacles:

...and some examples from 18th century art:

Goya; Self-portrait with spectacles

Therbusch; Self-portrait

Two self-portraits by Chardin

24 Apr 2009

It's the time of the season for Awards

We all know Fuchsia of course, and we also know that she has received several well-deserved blog awards during the last weeks. Bravo, Fuchsia (post MOAR!)!

I'm a proud little person today, because Fuchsia has granted me not one but two of these awards, and though I still don't have any idea how I'm going to live up to the honour, I'm of course very grateful.

And the best part is that I get to nominate some of my favourites in my turn, so here goes...

Zombie Chicken Award

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…
Here I'll take the opportunity to nominate some blogs that aren't related to 18th century and living history, such as:

Homemade Hilarity
I'm not a skilled crafter myself, so I hope it doesn't make me a terribly bad person for laughing at the shortcomings of others..?

Katastrofala Omslag
Unfortunately only in Swedish, but everyone can view the terrible, terrible record sleeves from times past. And you who know Swedish will laugh yourself silly at the descriptions from this anonymous blogger.

Cake Wrecks
Who knew professional cakes gone FUBAR could be so much fun?

Okay, it seems like I'm not following that many non-18thc blogs after all... So:

Fuchsia's 18th century dress
it is! I can't help it, I love her work and her blog. I don't think an introduction is needed here.

The Duchess of Devonshire's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century
I'm always amazed by her ability to pick up so many aspects of the Georgian era, high and low, always amusing and interesting.

Thank you, you great bloggers, for maing the internet a better place. Huzzah!

And now we've come to take a look at the...

Tempus Fugit Award

The TEMPUS FUGIT Award is given to writers & living historians whose journals represent the best aspects of the 18th Century. These writers aim to inform and entertain the public with tales from events, historic research & experiments and highlights from 18th Century arts and culture. It is the hope of TEMPUS FUGIT that this award will forge a web of friendship and knowledge that will aid in creating a tight community of reenactors and living historians on the internet and beyond. Winners of the TEMPUS FUGIT Award should pass this award along to six other 18th Century blogs that meet the above criteria, and include this text with the Award, as well as a link back to the TEMPUS FUGIT blog.

This award was founded by The Doctor, a very accomplished blogger and living historian, and although I don't think my humble scribblings quite meet the criteria for the award, I know of several other bloggers who do so (and I know some of them have been nominated before, but I don't care!):

History of American Women - 18th century
A rich source of informationon on the lives of colonial women. Portraits galore!

Slightly Obsessed
I know Chole has been nominated to this award by others, but I love her work so much.

We sailed for parts unknown to man...
A blog from a costumer at LiveJournal that I just discovered but already love.

Travels in Time
Another blog from a costumer at LiveJournal. This lady has great taste and a wonderful sense of humour.

Gustaf III's Wänner
In Swedish. Several people run this blog and it's content is mainly related to the king Gustaf III and his time.

Fuchsia's 18th century dress
Yes, she shall have it! What can I say, it's on the top of my must read-list, and such a great source of inspiration for an aspiring costumer as myself.

And now I'm going to rush off, since I have some urgent polonaise business to attend to! Have a great weekend!

21 Apr 2009

Ball at Nyckelviken

I can't believe that this event is already over and behind me! I spent last week panic-sewing to get everything ready and suddenly it was Saturday, the day for the event, and - Bang! It was over just like that!

Which, of course, means that is was a lovely, fantastic event: you're having a really good time when eight hours fly away like mere minutes.

Yay, a wonderful time I had. There were lots of nice people to meet, both newcomers and old-timers (even a small party who'd come all the way from Germany honoured the event with their presence AND I met Anna, the shoe-making Goddess in person!). Add to that good food and drinks, entertainment, dancing and games and you have just been to a great party.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Instead I'll post a link to a few photos from the event that are up on Slottsfrun's website.

I'll even post a picture of myself because - let's face it - this blog is all about ME ME ME!

Courtesy of Marie Weinefalk
Behind me you can see a part of the lovely 18th century house where we spent most of the time (and one of several pesky, party-crashing Canada Geese. Tsk-tsk - those didn't even exist in Sweden in the 18th century!)

I'm standing in this not-so-natural pose because I'm hiding an anachronistic camera and anachronistic cigarettes behind my back! I'm wearing the accursed IKEA robe and the wig I styled myself. The seams of the robe did not rip, and the wig stayed on my head all night so overall I'm quite pleased.

I'll try to make up for the lack of new posts this week. I was planning to post a little about the information I've been able to gather concerning my fan, and our dear Fuchsia has granted me two other blog awards that I'd like to thank her for.

On the other hand: On May 2 there's another event, and I'll have to have my Pretty Pink Polonaise finished by then... I need to buy some time, seriously.

16 Apr 2009

FAN-tastic flea-market find - a true fairytale

Gather 'round children, and I will tell you the story (just fetch me a glass of gin for my poor digestion first, will you?):

It was the Friday the 10th of April; a lovely sunny and warm day, and the party - Mme Berg, her virtuos husband and their dear friend M:lle Emma, all agreed on that it was the perfect day for spending an hour or two, and a few silver coins, at the weekly open-air flea-market in central Stockholm.

The friends, in the jolliest of spirits, strolled around the marketplace and admired as well as rejected the many various pieces of junk as they were presented to them. Little did they find that was worth paying for, and they had just decided that the time had come for a stop at the nearest coffee house for refreshment and conversation when M:lle Emma cried out:

'Mme. Berg! Quickly, quickly, get yer fat bum over here, for this sutler carries fans of the most exquisite kinds!'

*Sips gin*

The good madame walked over to her friend without particular haste, because she expected to find Spanish souvenir fans with bullfighting flamenco dancers and black lace (she did find Spanish souvenir fans with bullfighting flamenco dancers and black lace, but that is beside the point), but imagine her astonishment when she discovered a metaphorical nugget of purest gold glittering in the metaphorical ashes!

That's all for tonight, children. My stomach is worse than it ever was and it appears we're out of gin... Oh, well, allright then! LittleTim, run down to The Cock and Goat and ask them to put another bottle on your grandfather's account. Don't tell them he ran away.

Madame Berg soon realized that the fan she held in her hands was an original from late 18th century France, for she had seen a picture of a fan exactly like this one, belonging to the museum Kulturen in southern Sweden, in a book she actually kept in her very home.
The good madame, who was known for her greedy and ruthless business sense, did not bat an eyelid when she haggled the already low price down a bit, and before she knew it, she was the owner of an original 18th century fan (or maybe early 19th century).

And all was well!
And that was the whole story, children. If you behave and work well in the salpeter factory tomorrow, maybe grandma will tell you another story soon... Good-night!

7 Apr 2009

NOW I'm impressed!

For a not very experienced costumer as my self, I sometimes think about how many details you actually can tend to in order to make your costume as authentic as possible. But where does it stop? When you have the right fabrics, the right patterns, the right sewing techniques, the right thread and needle and scissors an whatnot - what's the next step?

I know now, thanks to Carolyn (whose name is not Meagan... See comments. He.)!

Carolyn is reconstructing a middle-class woman's wardrobe ca 1750-70 as a part of her MA and is documenting the progress in this blog. This means extensive dress diaries galore, with details down to the tiniest stitch!

But there's more to it.

Needless to say, everything she makes is hand-stitched, but for the sake of scholarly work, the whole thing is also pushed to another, higher level...

This crafting heroine only does her sewing in natural light or candlelight. While sewing, she's wearing 18th century clothing (including stays) appropriate for a seamstress of the time, sitting on a wooden, uncushioned chair. 10-12 hours a day. Sewing day also means no bathing. Everything for authenticy's sake.


Impressive? - Are you kidding?

Inspring? - Sure (to some degree)!

Hilarious? - Absolutely!

I wonder if there are other costumers out there who strive this hard for authencity? I would love to hear about it. I suppose it makes sense, in a way, if you're truly hardcore, but it would never have imagined it (well, I once thought about trying to sew in a very dimly lit room, just to see what it was like, but my eyes protested before I even got the chance).

Carolyn has gotten much deserved attention for her work, and those of you who lives near University of Alberta can see some of her costumes on display until April 30.

Carolyn's blog
Carolyn on web TV

Why the Danes should rule the Internet

Oooh - shiney!

First the Danes brought us Tidens töj - now they bring us Töj på kroppen, a small but lovely web collection of 18th century clothing (as well as garments from other eras) that I found through Bjarne "The Magnificent" Drew's livejournal.

Only in Danish, but the site is very easy to navigate so you non-Danish speakers won't have a hard time finding the loot.

Take me there, already!

4 Apr 2009

A question or two...

Question N:o 1
How can one take out pencil marks from silk dupioni? (I already tried with an eraser. It didn't work). [insert sad emoticon here]

Question N:o 2
Why is Madame Berg an idiot?

If you can answer these two questions correctly you may be the lucky winner of a bumper sticker that says: "Madame Berg is an idiot (and sucks)"! Send in your answers today!

3 Apr 2009

Want to go to shoe heaven?

You don't even have to die first in order to go there, just follow this link: Shoe Icons: 18th Century

(I'm sorry if 'old news are old', but I had completely missed this amazing online exhibition until now).

Great, GREAT pictures. Some of the shoes can even be viewed in 3D - actually, maybe I AM dead and in shoe heaven, or at least dreaming...

These shoes would be so perfect with my 'Pretty Princess Polonaise'...
...while these seem to defy all rules of physics (and comfort). But remember I'm the kind of woman who complains if the has to walk more than half a mile in heels more than one inches high...