25 Jun 2011

It's Caturday!

Last week, during our mini-holiday in Vadstena, which was a lovely little town with many historic buildings, husband and I naturally admired and visited the castle:

It looks very impressive on the outside, but was a bit lacking on the inside I'm afraid. It wasn't very much used for many a-years and that took its toll on the proud building.

So I was very glad and surprised when I found this little kitty on a huge painting by Luigi Benfatto in one of the rooms!

Sorry about the bad quality, I used my phone...

16 Jun 2011

Something old, something new

Believe it or not, but I have been working on things during my blogging hiatus. It's just that I'm terrible at documenting what I do and I don't abuse my husband's mad photographing skillz half as much as I should. There must be change.

Last Friday, I went on a small gathering with Gustafs Skål. I wanted something new to wear (well, isn't that strange!) and after much pondering, I realised that I needed something along these lines:
Perhaps minus the embroidery. For now.

So I got started and things did go rather well, but in the end there just wasn't enough time. At least I realised it before things got ugly so I decided to let it rest.

I used a fabric I've had in my stash for a long time (originally intended for my husband, but... Tough luck, honey) and based the pattern on a 1780s-90s Pierrot jacket from a Swedish book. It doesn't look very promising at this stage but I actually have great hopes for it. So it's a good thing I didn't rush it after all.

So for the event, I wore an old gown that I made two years ago (two years ago? Yikes!).

It's never been a favourite, but the sad truth is just that a lot of my things no longer fits! Isn't that wonderful? I blame delicious cake and soon turning 30.

Good thing that hats don't care about your increasing waist measure - instead of new outfit, I settled for new hat:

Sorry 'bout the tounge.

I've had the ribbon for some time and I always knew I'd use it for a hat. Said, and done!

Yes, hat pin is a bamboo skewer. I was desperate.

I'm rather pleased with new hat, but when I saw it on me, my mind started to visualise a gown in blue and white stripes... A Polonaise... Or retroussée dans les poches à la Kyoto...

It could look stunning... Or it could look like this:
I'm not sure yet. Any thoughts?

I hope you don't get too disappointed about missing out on an "It's Caturday!" post this Saturday. We're going for a mini-holiday to the old, old town of Vadstena, and since my phone is old and steam-powered, I can't do blogging stuff on the go. We're going to stay at an old mental asylum. Fun!

All the best!

11 Jun 2011

It's Caturday!

Hello all,

I was going to post about what I'm working on and what I wore to a party yesterday...

But said party has made me a little tired, now the day after, and it's a beautiful Summer's day here in Stockholm, so I think this girl with her cap and cat (which can be added to the growing category of "strange looking cats in 18th century art") painted by Johann Zoffany will have to do for now:

Victoria Art Gallery Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. Thanks Isis for the suggestion!

1 Jun 2011

A friend has left

A friend of mine passed away very recently. I don't think I have grasped it yet because the whole idea that she's no longer part of this world is so absurd, because she was the most alive person I ever met.

I want to share the story of how I came to knew her, because it is also the story of how I got into the re-enactment and 18th century costuming business and an illustration of how I will remember her.


Once upon a time...

Back in spring 1996, I was 14, going on 15, and me and my best friend were captivated by everything 18th century. I guess we obsessed about it in that way only teenage girls can obsess over stuff.

There was some celebrating over one thing or another in Stockholm town one weekend, and part of it was an 18th century masked ball in Old Town..!
(Now imagine two teenage girls reading this announcement in a newspaper. Then a REALLY high-pitched squee...)

It was an event for all ages and with what little money we got and parents' permissions, we were on our way! Wait... Right, we needed costumes.

"Oh well, how hard can it be?" we thought. The event was only two days away, but we had studied some sewing in home economics and besides, we were finally going to get those 18th century costumes we had been craving! What could possibly go wrong?

Our mothers sacrificed old curtains and sheets so we could get started. We had no idea what we were doing, of course. I don't think we even made sketches or anything but rather relied on divine inspiration or something...

I imagine there were two late nights until we finished our "costumes" but at last, there we were on the big night of the event.

I won't even try and describe what we looked like! If I had had photos I promise I would've showed them to you, but I don't... I guess we have to settle with "second-hand-store-and grandma's-linen-closet-threw-up-on-puppy-fat-teenage-girls". Or something. But we were rather happy with our results, if I remember things correctly (then again, we used to watch Valmont because of the, in our opinion, wonderful costumes...).

You wish...

So we happily trotted away and got admitted to the premises. And then awkwardness ensued.

It didn't take us long to realise how wrong we looked compared to the other, real costumers. And it felt! No one said anything, but that made it all the worse I think, because people were just looking instead (and those weren't looks of admiration, that I can assure).

So there we were, wishing ourselves miles and miles away, awkwardest of all awkward teenagers in the world (I can't remember exactly, but at this point we were probably having a quiet argument about whose stupid idea it all had been in the first place...).

Then She turned up. She had immediately spotted two damsels in dire distress and simply walked up to us and said: "You need help! Stick with me, everything will be all-right!"

So she took us under her wings from that night and for many other nights (and days) to come. If it wasn't for her, I'm sure I would've never gotten the courage to try and get involved in 18th century re-enacting in the first place, and I would definitely not have dared to join Gustavs Skål! I only hope I may return the service to another person some day.

When I left the 18th century scene, she and I still kept in touch and when I realised I couldn't live without it for another day more (that was three years ago or so) I turned to her again for some encouragement and guidance. And she was there for me, yet again.


I think the story above says so much about her. That kindness was one of her sides, and she had many! I'm sure everyone of those who met her could tell a different and unique story about her person because if you could ever say that a person was "one of a kind", she was it. I could live for another 1,000 years and never meet her likeness again. Like all interesting personalities, she was complex and she had her difficulties in this life. If anything, I hope she has found peace of mind, because I think she never quite did in this world.

I am going to miss her so much.

Painting by Pehr Hilletröm, 1790s. I think of her as the lady to the right.