Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Queen's Gallery! or My History Crush: Up Close and Only Separated by a Thin Sheet of Glass

I know I promised Jilly beansTALK a lovely 1930s fashion theme, but I'm actually rather good at overlapping my promises, and I DID tell Vikipedia several weeks ago that I would be posting all about my LOVELY morning at the Queen's Gallery's current exhibit: Victoria and Albert (My history crush, in case you'd forgotten): Love and Art.

It featured impressively large paintings, like this one:
And then the gift shop sold postcards of the same painting, but flipped around! *sigh* I particularly enjoy the upsidedownness of Princess Helena in this picture, trying to figure out what on earth is going on!

The second room in the exhibit (we'll come back to the first one soon enough) featured a plethora of paintings and other knick-knacks that they had given each other. Hilary noted that Victoria seemed to be fond of giving Albert large paintings of topless women for his birthday. Like Winterhalter's 1853 "Florinda":
So anyone still convinced of her prudishness, you can throw that one out the window.

In later exhibit rooms, there were bits of personal artwork - both by Victoria, and her children, and some music composed by Albert! I particularly fell in love with this gem of a self portrait of Queen V herself! I think it's splendid to get such a personal look at how she saw herself! (age 25)

The very last room was dedicated to Albert's death, which was all quite tragic and sad, so I'm going to breeze right past that and return to the first room! Where I spent quite a few minutes drooling over these portraits:
I wish that I could put them next to each other here, but I'll not waste time lamenting that I can't and carry on with I was two feet away from these ACTUAL paintings! *swooooooon* Both are, yet again, by Winterhalter, done in 1842, two years after their marriage! (I think I'll *swoon* again for good measure)

Here are two more paintings that I particularly like that were included in the exhibit:
Queen Victoria and Prince Arthur

Victoria and a cousin in 1852

In one of the little alcove rooms was an entire case of PHOTOGRAPHS!!!! It was just me and the glass.... There were many from the Strangers At A Bus Stop set:
In which a dashing Prince Albert breaks the unsuspecting Queen out of her ponderings of Important Matters Of State long enough to ask her if the Number 7 bus had passed that way yet. There were many that I've seen, a few I haven't(!), and I know of a few more that didn't make the cut! There were also some lovely photographs of their children, including a tintype of two of her daughters (and I can't for the life of me remember which ones) that I would LOVE to get my hands on! Hilary had to drag me away from that display as well....

Finally, we come to one of my favorite paintings, loved, if not for the portrait itself, then for the story that goes with it. You've all seen it:
It is another Winterhalter, this time from 1843. She commissioned this portrait and presented it to Albert as a birthday present to him. Unlike the rest of her/their portraits, she's not sitting/standing ramrod straight, her hair is not severely pulled back and decorated, but falling elegantly and informally over her bare shoulder (Albert LOVED her shoulders). It was intended for his eyes only; a portrait of the woman he loved, not his Queen. He declared it his favourite portrait of her and hung it in one of his rooms in Windsor. *swoon!*

I almost went back to the Gallery a few days later with some more friends, just to stare and sigh dreamily at them. If you're in England: GO SEE IT. It's Beautiful!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Tag! I'm it!

So apparently I've been tagged, twice, no less! That means I MUST answer the questions, I suppose.

The rules are to answer 8 questions and then make up 8 new ones and tag 8 others for them to answer!

1. What is the favorite outfit you ever styled for yourself?
Definitely the Faery costume in the fourth photograph of my banner/header thing. I've never worn it since and I'd tweak it if I did, but I suppose that's perfectly ok, as it's up to us to always be changing and improving!

2. If you could have any designer design a custom gown for you, who would you pick?
Um. I don't really know designers. However, my mum and I are working together to design the perfect wedding dress!

3. If someone offered you a job in the fashion industry, would you accept it?
I honestly don't know. If by fashion, you mean costuming, then definitely! But I don't really see anything I'd design on the side of a bus or even the Red Carpet. I tend to run a bit too fantastical.

4. What is the one place in the world you'd like to visit?
The Glastonbury Tor. I did manage to make it to Glastonbury, but we only had about 45 minutes there before we were whisked away to our next tour destination. Someday I'll go back, and I'll climb it the hard way.

5. If you could tag along on a world tour for your favorite band/artist, who would that be?
Well, they're definitely not my favorite band, but most probably Albannach! Really, long haired, Kilted Scottish men playing the pipes and drums? Is a better scenario even possible?

6. If you could walk a red carpet, which carpet would you want to walk?
Um, I guess the Oscars? It's pretty prestigious and, in my mind anyway, the classiest of all of the awards shows.

7. What's your favorite book and why?
Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. I generally throw it across the room at least three times during reading it (which is fewer than with Tess of the D'Urburvilles, but still, throwing books at all is pretty sacrilegious), but it's only because it makes me care so much about the characters that it really makes me mad when they make bad life decisions. I actually care, and that's the difference between just reading a book to find out what happens at the end.

8. Would a reality show about your life be interesting?
Oh. The Drama.

I now tag: Woodland Walker
Miss Rants

I don't actually have 8 people to tag.... *sigh* (And I don't want to get annoying and ask others to do this multiple times)
But I can make 8 questions!

1) What is your favorite tea and why?
2) If the fashion of any other time/decade had to come back, which would you choose it to be?
3) What was/is your favorite children's book?
4) What was the last 'fun' thing you bought? From where?
5) Would you rather spend your summer vacation at the beach or in the mountains?
6) Would you rather be the hero or the damsel in distress? Why?
7) What are you looking forward to doing when you retire?
8) If you could have a personal assistant, what is one crazy (but legitimate) thing you'd make them do every day?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Gloved and Dangerous!

Final Glove post! Mostly movie stars! Oh la la!

Also, Target has some spectacular Steampunk style jewelry right now, just in case anyone feels like buying some for my Steampunk Fairy costume... ^_^

That aside, Onto the Gloves! Beginning with.....

An ADORABLE Marilyn Monroe, who is Clearly excited to be wearing such smashingly shiny gloves! (and to be featured here, of course!)

I know it's super tiny, but I just wanted to include another photograph of children wearing gloves. I have quite a few like this one, in which they are wearing pretty lacy mitts, but children will be children, and the majority of them are blurry due to movement (or, you know, too old to tell).

Actress Patsy Ruth Miller with some fancy embroidered gloves!

Pretty Pretty Pretty PRETTY Lace gloves! (Fantastic hair as well! This is another one of those photographs, and I can't remember which kind it is, that just captures all of the minute details of the sitter in a way that makes you think you could reach in and touch her wrinkled dress!)

Actress Lilian Harvey! I think we know what the real stars of this photograph are! ;)

Ms. (mostly because I really don't know) Mary Ann Bartlett, in 1850. Fringe! Her mitts have fringe! Look! Look at the fringe! ^_^ I am also enamored with her dress! I love the front of it! Her necklace is also rather unusual looking!

The gorgeous Gene Tierney, showing off those gorgeous gloves in the 1940s!

This is where we lose the real people and are left with nothing but glamorous movie stars and their glamorous gloves! Look! It's an army of gloved Ginger Rogers's! Run! Or rather - DANCE! From the set of the 1937 film Shall We Dance

Photographed sometime between 1855 and 1865, actress Laura Keene sports short kid gloves with her short sleeves, rather than lacy fingerless gloves. I wonder what color they were.

And finally, we come to the end of our gloved days with none other than Glorious Gloria Swanson, silent film vamp. Showing off her own take on fingerless gloves, she wears her fishnets on her arms rather than her legs. And she looks stunning all the while.

Oh. And I almost forgot. I made these! ^_^

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Reviews Return!

I haven't forgotten. I have a whole stack of books here that I've read and would LOVE to be reviewed. Now, have I been too busy or too lazy? I'll leave that up to your discretion. Let me know what you conclude. ;)

But where has Books for Boys (specifically) gone?? Well, I don't work at Barnes and Noble anymore (*weeps*). We'll see how wiped I am after Faire season (and how wiped my bank account is) I'll probably go back for at least the Holiday Season, and well, probably after my museum term ends. (Unless someone else wants to hire me into the history field! Or (even better) offer me a fully paid PhD! Any takers?) But as I don't personally have much in the way of books for boys (seeing as I'm, you know, not one), you'll just have to deal with the girly books for a while. Which brings us to:

Nellie Bishop, by Clara Gillow Clark. Yes, it's a Juv Fiction book. Deal with it. Definitely in the 12 end of the 7-12 age range, due to, yes, slightly adult themes. The book details the events in the author's great-grandmother's life when she was 14 years old. Nellie and her brother Willie live in an Irish canal town in Northeast Pennsylvania (suddenly this book makes so much more sense by just knowing a little bit about the coal region!) Nellie, unlike her sisters, yearns for learning, not a husband. She is also desperate to find her little kleptomaniac brother a way out of the life of a canal worker that he is destined to lead. Ma, however, is determined to sell Nellie into marriage to the highest bidder. (The grabby hands of the men at the dance is where I would recommend this book to the older end of the Juv spectrum.) Several hidings from Ma, a rigged trip to the tavern, a few trips to the rich end of town and one runaway brother later, Nellie finds herself being lodged in the local hotel by a (much older) half Native American man named Daniel Martin. Much to Ma's delight, Daniel is willing to pay handsomely for Nellie's hand in marriage. However, he is also just as willing to let Nellie commit to the seamstress job that she was offered and never interfere again - the choice he leaves up to her. You may be surprised by what choice she makes.

I very much enjoy this book (as I do most Juvenile historical fiction). It has a realism to it that can only (and most appropriately) be described as gritty. The majority of the characters are not nice, nor are most of the situations that arise in their lives. However, neither are the characters evil or bad. They're just doing what they think is best in order to get themselves through this life. I very much recommend this book to anyone (boy or girl - boys, get over it and read a book with a girl main character) who has an interest in historical fiction, specifically nineteenth century or Pennsylvanian.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

More Gloves?

Yes! Of course more gloves! It is my goal to bring back glove wearing (you know, in more than just the winter)! (and hat wearing! especially for the gents, but more on that another time)

We begin today with 1930s actress Olivia de Havilland (hmmm. looks like I need to find another ___ de ___ for the next post...) Another one of the most beautiful ladies I've ever seen (and so cute!) She's also STILL ALIVE! The last living leading cast member from Gone With The Wind. Check out her flarey gloves (and AMAZING hat!)

Here's a fella' for you! (Even though he, too, has been posted here before) He's got excellent knitted gloves though. (Waves at Katie!)

And now for some serious Glitz with a capital G from actress Merle Oberon in 1935. Her hair is phenomenal as well!

Lovely Lace from the 1850s! (Love the bonnet!)

More modern lacy fingerless gloves (in white! like mine! you'll see them soon!) on English Opera Singer/Actress Ruth Vincent:

There are so many other categories that this Charming photograph could fall into. But I have so few photographs of children and their gloves. And they're so dainty! Taken by Paul Sano in 1920. (I imagine she'll make more appearances...)

1940s film actress Dorothy Lamour doing that thing she does with gloves and heavily shadowed eyes.

A 1960 San Francisco street scene.

The luscious Fay Wray, yes, of King Kong fame:

And lastly, Pretty Pretty Pretty! From 1844

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Tea of the Day!

Yuanyang: Rating up to you!

So Devon introduced me to a new drink this past weekend! Can't decide if you'd rather coffee or tea? Have them BOTH! Hot or cold, this beverage (popular in Hong Kong) is coffee, tea and milk, all in the same cup! As I am no coffee drinker, it was not quite to my taste, as the coffee definitely overpowered the tea. However, the tea was by no means lost in the cup. So for all of you coffee drinkers, here is something new to try! Enjoy!

Extra: What's in a Tea?
Tea enthusiasts describe and assess individual teas on the basis of the following characteristics: (except me, apparently)
*Appearance: How do the dried leaves look? Are they all of the same color and shape? What is the color of the steeped liquid?
*Scent: How do the leaves smell? How does the tea smell after it is steeped?
*Flavor: How does the tea taste after the first sip? Later? After a second or third infusion? Is there an aftertaste, either good or bad?
*Body: Is the tea strong or weak? Does it feel full bodied or thin when drunk?
*Astringency: A pungency or bite that puckers the mouth. Is the drink more or less astringent?

Each tea is different, as is each personal response. These are all characteristics to be savored - the enjoyment of tea should not be rushed.

Monday, 9 August 2010


I'm making some! But they're not finished yet. So until they are, you'll just have to make do with this fabulous collection!

Also, I just had a most excellent weekend full of board games, kitty cats, wizard rock, Beatles covers, and two of the most wonderful people I know.

Let us begin with the Beautiful actress Cleo de Merode. I can't tell if she's doing amazing things for those gloves or if those gloves are doing amazing things for her. Either way, something wonderful is happening in this photograph (and, well, most other photographs that feature some combination of her and her gloves). I love her. And her gloves.

Well heck, while we're at it, let's see if we can make this an elbow/opera glove post. Here's another pair from 1893 from the Lasess Female Seminary. She looks so delicate.

Some 1940s Rita Hayworth:

On second thought, it looks like everybody else wearing elbow gloves is famous. So let's intersperse some more little people with little (yet still fantastic) gloves into the mix. Like Mme Emile Straus and her spifftastic gloves! (You may remember her from the bustle post, where she was featured for her spifftastic bustle! Really, she's just a spiffing lady. Perhaps I'll feature her again for her spifftastic use of polka dots!)

The Stunning Miss Jean Harlow, a film star from the 1930s who I've just discovered died tragically young! :(

Gorgeous fingerless lace gloves from the 1850s!

Another photograph that I've already used (two in one post? shame on me!): Queen Alexandra of Great Britain, Queen Louise of Somewhere and the Duchess of Fife in 1893

I have a few photographs featuring this odd feature: One glove on, and one glove off. And I have no idea why. But I do know the when: this one is from 1846. Others are from the same general time period. Strange people, the Victorians.

The lovely Sarah Bernhardt in 1889. Another case of woman/glove mutual GREATness.

And we'll wrap things up with another excellent pair of lacey fingerless gloves, because that's what I'm making. These are from the 1850s as well. It looks as if she had to sacrifice her sleeves for the sake of her gloves and their loveliness. Or something.

Friday, 6 August 2010

National Breastfeeding Week

Well, the end of, anyway.

I have photos for that! (Following, of course, on the idea that I have antique photos stored in here for virtually every occasion) (except weird things like school, and fish. and most other themes that people suggest to me. You should suggest something. I just might post about it!)

1899: "The Manger" by Gertrude Käsebier

1896: "Madone Moderne" by Archibald Goldie


1931: Eastern Djur, Africa

1936: "Migrant Mother"
Part of the famous set of a migrant family in Nipomo, California by Dorthea Lang

These last two photographs (I don't have enough in my collection for the normal 10 photographs) I find highly intriguing, the first one especially. In a time when women draped themselves in as many layers as possible and even covered up the tables for fear that seeing a table's legs would drive folks to think of bare people legs and from there to unmentionable acts, these women are baring their breasts in photographs! I was, honestly, shocked to find these. I'm very excited to have them, and share them with you.



Thursday, 5 August 2010

Tea of the Day!

ANOTHER blog post, all in a row! Life is about to get fairly hectic (PA Ren Faire begins in two weeks!!) - as in back to work 7 days a week for a LONG time. I'm going to try to stay more focused on getting posts up in a timely fashion, as well as spending slightly less time with Etsy so that I can do more other things (like this! - really, writing and sewing, but neither of those displays my love for my dear readers!) But please don't hate me if I just don't get to this for a week at a time. *Puss'n'Boots eyes* And now, the real reason we're all here: TEA!

England DENIED me tea THREE TIMES! Just throwing that out there. It was more than made up for by this delicious afternoon tea in Ye Olde Windsor with Bonnie and James at the Crooked House (seriously. 500 years of settling. it's brilliant) (and this was after we'd demolished quite a bit of it...)
But STILL! And now for today's ACTUAL tea:

Peach Tranquility (Teavana): 4.5/5

Omg! What's this? An herbal tea that DOESN'T taste like Hibiscus!?!?! I must be dreaming! Luckily I'm not, because Peach Tranquility is DE-licious! I have to say that I very much enjoy it more as an iced tea (especially this summer!) than a hot tea. It is made up of candied peach pieces, pineapple, lemon myrtle, Roman chamomile, sunflower petals and rosehips. (I'm fairly convinced I saw a bay leaf or two in there as well...) (You'd think that the lack of actual Hibiscus would make it obvious that it wouldnt taste like such. You should re-read my post about rose hips.) It is very light, VERY refreshing, very sweet, and Actually tastes like Peaches! Yay!

Extra! Breakfast teas are hearty, often incorporating Keemun or Assam, the boldest of teas. They are bright and strongly colored with a brisk, eye-opening flavor.