Waterloo part 1 – Camp life

Greetings everyone!

After I wrote last time things with the blog have not worked out quite like I planned. We were traveling for 5 weeks with no internet at all and when we came back the internet at our home had been shut off until Christmas sometime, because of them re-doing the whole system. Also my plans of using Instagram more hasn’t so far worked very well either, it for some reason refuses to work on my phone despite all the things I’ve done to try to get it working. But I haven’t completely given up on it yet.

But never mind all that, what I really wanted to talk about this time was the amazing and incredibly EPIC Waterloo 200 event!
I don’t know if any one reading this had the chance to go there but for those who didn’t I’d like to give an account of how it was.

Andrew and I arrived a few days before the “offical” start of the event, and I’m glad we did because there were of course already lots and lots of people there and things happening! And it also gave us a chance to just enjoy setting up and getting into the atmosphere and catching up with friends and all that before the public were allowed in.

With this being the 200 year anniversary the event was of course much bigger than it ever had been before, indeed bigger than ANY Napoleonic reenactment has EVER been before! I heard varying accounts of home many people were taking part, ranging from anywhere between 5-7000. In any case, there was a lot of people!

The event was organized so that there was one big camp for all the allies, and 3 smaller ones for the French. Me and Andrew were both in the Allied camp obviously, he with the 33rd Regiment of Foot and I with the Nordic Battalion (it was very important for Andrew to be in a red coat for this specific event). Our camp was right smack in the middle of the old battlefield, which was quite special.

So what did people do all day? Well for anyone who was a soldier there was A LOT of marching around doing drill practice! Because people came from litteraly ALL over the world (specially impressed with people who came all the way from Australia and the Canadians who chartered two whole planes to come over!) this meant that though most were very good at drill to start off with no one had ever really done it on this scale before, with this amount of people. But I have to say that it all looked very impressive and spectacualr! All day the field was full of various regiments out practicing, and there was never ending music being played. Fifes, drums and bagpipes. My camp was very close to the Highland Regiment, which meant that we got to hear a lot of bagpipes, from early morning till night time. But I loved it!

Drill practice

More practice – with the monument hill the “Butte de Lion” in the background

The 33rd Regiment of Foot – Andrew is second from the right

So for the soldiers when they were not out practicing and marching they were either cleaning kit, or eating, or just collapsing completely exhausted. Hard leather shoes with wood soles are not the easiest on modern day feet, neither is all wool clothes or heavy packs and muskets that must be carried around at all times when on duty. So whenever they had a little time off most people just relaxed.

The Swedish camp with tired soldiers

Muskets being stored while not in use

As for the rest of us, who were not soldiers but camp follwers, our job was to take care of the camps and make sure that dinner was ready for when the hungry soldiers returned from the field. The Noridc Battalion consisted of quite a lot of people, from mainly Sweden and Finland, so there was a much cooking to be done. And of course dishes and tending fires and such like. But it was fun! It’s amazing how much more entertaining any such task becomes when it is done in historic clothes! And when you do it together with other people. And any time we had free we would just relax, sew, sing, go watch the pracice or (in my case) run off to have a chat and a little tea party with my very good friend Isabel. I was so happy that she was there, I hadn’t seen her in ages so we had a lot of catching up to do, and she is honestly one of the best people to spend time with!

Lisa making tea

Another view of the Swedish camp

Another thing we did in my camp was arrange a Swedish Midsummer celebration. Midsummer is one of the most important holidays of the year in Sweden (in a country where it is very cold and dark for 6 months of the year our summer is very important to us!) and we celebbrate it by making a Midsummer Pole that we decorate with leaves and flowers that we then dance around singing songs with rather silly moves. And of course we have a big dinner too, one that must contain fresh potatoes, herring (unless like me you are a vegetarian), strawberries and in most cases, lots to drink.

Since Midsummer was going to take place while we were in Waterloo we had our own celebration in our camp. Some fantasitc people had brought with them a pole and leaves all the way from Sweden, and with those and some elderflower flowers (they were the only flowers we found in the area) we made and decorated a lovely pole. And then we invited whoever wanted to come to join in.

We had a lot of people coming, Brits, Australians, Maltese, Russians, apart from of course Swedes and Finns. And teaching them all our silly dances was great fun! The sight of all those soldiers hopping around pretending to be frogs in our most famous dance “The Little Frogs” was a sight well worth seeing I can tell you!

Me and Lisa decorating the hoops for the Midsummer Pole

Raising the pole requires several strong people

Dancing, we were fortunate enough to get some musicians to join in with some music as well! 

So that is pretty much what we did all days. Cooked, marched, cleaned, ate, sang, danced, talked, drank tea and had a great time!

It was my first ever proper reenactment, before I’ve done many balls and festivals, but never any reenactments. But I loved it! And I can’t wait for the next one! Since this was my first one I had to do a bit of guessing as to what I would need in terms of clothes and things to bring, now I have a clearer idea so I can make necessary additions until next time. But what I had served me well enough this time.

I’m going to post a buch of more photos here now, because I want to show you more of what it was like.

Our tents were some of the closest ones to Hougoumont farm, which played a vitally important part in the battle

Hougoumont

There were MANY tents, I love the dried herbs hanging 

The camp where Andrew was staying, the 33rd’s. Wonderfully friendly and nice people!

I just love camp photos..

THIS is my dream tent! I mean look at that bed!!! This is what I must aspire towards now..! 

One of the few photos I have of me. Here having tea with Isabel. 

The Duke of Wellington (in blue)! 

I’ve got another post all planned, where I will tell you all about the battles as well as the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball that we attended. So as soon as I have a good connection and can do so I will post that. :)

Checking in really quickly

Hello everyone! This is just a short brief post to check in with you guys. It’s been a crazy last few weeks. First with the end of school and then packing up the apartment we were staying at, going back home to my family in the countryside, unpacking everything again, re-arranging our room to fit things in, working a few days and any spare time has been spent sewing.

As I’m sure many of you know next weekend is the big 200 year anniversary reenactment of the battle of Waterloo in Belgium. Like thousands of others Andrew and I will both be taking part in that (so that is why there has been lots of sewing that needed to be done). I will be at the event toghether with the Nordic Battallion coming from Sweden, Andrew, really wanting to be a redcoat for this event, will be going with the 33rd Regiment of Foot.

So this has obviously been a big focus lately, getting ready for Waterloo. But as well as this Andrew’s friend and his girlfriend have just come over for a visit from New Zealand and are here with us now, and we will be travelling around Europe together with them for some 3-4 week road trip. So after yet another few crazy days of packing (and last minute car reapairs) we are setting of in the morning, with our first stop in Malmö. From there a few more days should take us down to Belgium and the event, and from there who knows really! :) I just really wanted to write quickly before we set off as I won’t be bringing my computer with me and so consequently don’t know how much I’ll be able to update on here. But otherwise I will have lots to tell when we get back!

I will hopefully though be able to post now and then on my Instagram account which I’ve recently opened and where you are more than welcome to follow me. I’ve had some difficulty connecting with my phone these last few days but am working on fixing that and then I will be back to posting some more. But do please follow on there if you would like to see what we are up to :)  https://instagram.com/aurorasdreamworld/

I must tell you all my other piece of exciting news now before I sign off and go to sleep. I was fortunate enough to be granted a scholarship/grant for my crafts from the local Katrineholm’s Craft Association. I applied and was over the moon with excitement when they called me to say that they had decided to give me some money! The reason I had appllied and asked them was because for the second year of my course I have to do a 12 week work experience/internship somewhere, and I really, really, really wanted to do part of mine in New Zealand. And because I was so fortunate as to be given this grant this means that now I can!!! So Andrew and I will both be travelling down to NZ this fall, and I cannot tell you how excited I am about that!! So that is something you will be hearing more about on here I can tell you! :)

Last weekend, on our national day, there was the official cermony of giving out this scholarship. It was me and one other girl (a very talented florist) who had been given it this year and we got to go up on stage and talk a little and recieve flowers. It was fun :) And I really am so grateful for this!

After the cermony with the pretty flowers I got 

Ok, I really had better get some sleep now. Tomorrow will be a long day. But I will talk to you as soon as I can!

My outfits are finally done! This is what they looked like on the catwalk!

Ok finallay, after a whole school year of sewing a couple of days ago it was time for the end of year show and catwalk. I’ve already mentioned this coming up, and it was a very stressful week leading up to it, we had a different project (costumes for a big opera that we had been asked to make!) that needed to be completed in very short time. So it was a very full on week with long days. And then there was the catwalk! 

 

We all had the choice between being part of the catwalk or have our things on show in the school exhibition. I decided early on that I wanted to do the catwalk, but there was just one more of the girls in my class who also wanted to. So that meant that out of the 11 people in my class only two of us walked the catwalk. I thought it was a little bit of a pity that not more of them wanted to do it, but of course we all should choose what suits us best :)

On the day before, Friday, we had the first rehersal. And it felt horrible. I really did not feel happy or comfortable after that rehersal. For one because everything was just very chaotic (as it often is on rehersals..) but also I felt that we stuck out so very much, me, Andrew, the other girl from my class and her husband. We were obvioulsy the only ones who did anything remotely historic, a lot of the other things were very modern and very much “fashion”. So I really didn’t feel like we fit in. Plus the music we had picked to walk to was so very different from what everyone else had. So I was not happy and not comfortable and that evening I was almost regretting having said I’d do this.

But of course this is so often the case, when you are just about to do something you wish you weren’t going to, but then when you actually do then you enjoy it. And such was the case this time too. On Saturday morning we had the proper dress rehersal, and then everything felt a hundred times better!

 

Because we had these historic clothes we were going to go out twice to show our stuff, first in the underwear and then a bit later in full costume. I think this was a good idea because as most people are not used to seeing historic clothes it could be fun to see more of how the layers are made up.

 

Andrew and I had been practicing in our living room how we were going to walk and pose, it was quite fun actually. I’m sure the neighbours were wondering what we were up to though!

 

So first up was the underwear. I was wearing my combination and my corset, Andrew was in breeches, stockings and shirt. And the music we had chosen for this part was THIS piece from the HBO mini series John Adams. We wanted something quite calm and good to walk to, and as we wanted to give the impression of it being a morning schene, with us half dressed only, the music couldn’t be too “epic”.

Second time we came in it was to this classic Swedish piece which I just love. It’s called ‘Drottningholmsmusiken‘ and was composed in the 18th century and Drottningholm is the name of the Royal Palace outside Stockholm which is the recidency of the King. And all the time I’ve been working on this outfit for Andrew this song has been what I’ve pictured for it. So of course we had to walk to that one!

Nervous as I was the day before I can’t but admit that it was so much fun to do this! It was a little scary yes, but sometimes we need to do things like that anyway. And I think for me it would have felt a little bit like an anticlimax after all these months of sewing to put them on a mannequin and leave them in an exhibition. But that’s just me.

We did stick out. But I think in the end it was a good thing. I think it provided a refreshing break with something a little different. And the feedback we got was so incredibly good and positive I can’t but be happy and grateful and just a little bit proud. :)

We took a few more photos afterwards too, so here are a few more.

Very happy that Andrew already had the wig and the sword and everything, it really completed the look!

I had made that necklace myself a couple of days earlier, as I really needed a necklace and I wanted a Downton Abbey style one…

It was a really exciting and fun day, and a lot of people turned up! I’m so grateful that I’ve got a boyfriend who is more than happy to do something like this with me, even if he was uncomfortable about wearing Georgian make-up.. He did such an amazing job that day that I don’t know how many people he had who came up and asked if he was a professional or an actor!

The day after we were so exhausted we didn’t leave the apartment once. Slept for 12 hours straight and did absolutely nothing. I’m slowly, slowly coming back to the world of the living again now I think, but last week was a tiring one!

Hope you’ve enjoyed these photos, I might do a more detailed post about my dress later, but here you’ve gotten to see what it is like at least. :)

Talk to you all soon!

Aurora

My readers are the best! :)

I once again want to thank you for your fantastic responses to my previous post. It was such an encouragement to read your thougths and opinions. And once again it was a reminder to myself of how sometimes when battelling a question in my mind and coming to no conclusion sometimes asking for help isn’t such a bad idea really. Because I can really be one of those persons who won’t ask for help but will try to solve everything myself. And the silly thing about it is that I know people are often so happy to help! So it is good to get wonderful reminders of that sometimes. :) You guys are the best!

 

Andrew and I are having a short break from Göteborg right now and are up with my family in the countryside. It’s a long weekend here and I need to be in Stockholm on Monday together with my class, so we thought we might as well go home for a bit. It is always good to come home for a visit, although I’m enjoying trying out city life I really am a country girl at heart. And especially at this time of the year when spring is in full swing all around being in the countryside is nice.

 

So it’s been a relaxing weekend so far. Today I was trying out some ‘Downton Abbey’ hairstyles, beacause I realized I only have a week left until the end of term exhibition and fashion show at school where I will be wearing my complete outfit and walk the catwalk in it. So it was high time to figure out what to do about my hair! But I think I’ve got something that will work now, so hopefully I’ll be able to show you that in about a week! :)

I am getting slightly nervous about this catwalk thing. I’ve never done something like that before and it’s really exciting, but a little bit nerving too… Andrew will be walking with me in the outfit I’ve made for him, and I have to say I think he will really look the part!

It will be a fun experience I’m sure! :)

 


Oh and on a completely unrelated subject, I assume you’ve all  heard about the new little baby princess born today?? Congratulations William and Kate! I’m a die-hard royalist and so news like these are always important to me!

 
I was actually very annoyed when two days ago I was talking to a couple of friends and neither of them were aware of the fact that it was our King’s birthday that day! But then I am aware that not everyone in Sweden is as big supporters of the Royal family as I am. Sadly.

 

Off to sleep now, but I will talk to you all soon!

 

Aurora xx

 

 

Thoughts regarding this blog

You have probably all noticed that when it comes to this blog I have long been struggling to keep it going the way I used to. And I feel this is something I want to talk to you about.

 

Of course one of the reasons that I have been posting less often is simply because of life getting in the way, different things that keep me busy or just simply a lack of energy for writing. But apart from this there is also the fact that I don’t quite know where to take the blog from here. I have been turning this question over in my mind for a long time now, trying to decide what I want, but it’s not so easy for me. You see I love this blog, very much. I am proud of it and of how long I have kept it going for (with admittedly some rather substantial gaps in between now and then..) and it has played a HUGE part in my life. It’s one of the biggest reasons that I continued to immerse myself in this big passion of mine, Jane Austen and everything around it, it has been something to fuel that passion on even more. Give it more purpose. It has brought me into contact with some of the most amazing peopel I have ever met, many of who have come to be friends for life. It has been a connecting point between me and so many other Janeites all over the world, and that has been (and still is!!) a privilege and an honour! It has encouraged me with my sewing, which in turn has lead to me being where I am today at this school. And most importantly, it is the reason that I met the love of my life, Andrew.

 

So as you see it really has played a big part in my life, in more than one way. But I’m finding it harder to keep motivated and inspired when it comes to the blog now. I often feel like the posts I write I’ve written several times before, that it’s not new anymore. And that makes it less fun. I will admit there are times when I have thought about stopping altogether. But I don’t want to have to do that, because as I said, I love this blog. And if people are still happy to read then I am more than happy to write. I guess the reason that I am saying all of this is because I wanted to ask you for your opinion. What do you think I should do? What is the reason you come back to this blog and read it? Is there anything you should like to see me write more about? Or something completely new? And also, is there any other blogger who has experienced feeling this way too?

 

Many questions I know, but if you feel like answering even just one of them with your opinion I would be grateful. I just want to make this fun for all of us! :) And I’m not tired of blogging, I’m just feeling like I’m a little bit stuck in the same track with not enough inspiration to keep it as exciting as it used to be for me. I have also been considering potentially starting up a different blog too on the side of this one. But I would still need to figure out what that one would be about haha :P

 

Anyway, that was something I needed to say. And please know that when I say that I lack inspiration it doesn’t mean I don’t have things to write about, I do. And also know that it has nothing to do with all my wonderful readers out there! You are the best part about this blog and the reason I want to keep it going, because I love having you all here!! But if anyone has any thoughts please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment!

 

Thanks for listening to this rambling, I appreciate it!

Shirt, Breeches and a Waistcoat I am very proud of

To continue posting some of the stuff I have made for school. I have yet to show you any of the men’s things I have been sewing. This year of our course we are working on making two complete outfits, one man’s and one woman’s, so our time has been equally split between the two. Of course since we are making men’s clothes, and everyone in my class is female, we have to have a model to make them for. I am fortunate enough to not only have someone who is willing to put up with modelling for me but who also loves having a complete new wardrobe made for him.

The outfit I chose to make is a 1790′s outfit, and it includes shirt, breeches, waistcoat and jacket. The jacket I have just started on, but the other three garments are completed and I thougth I’d show them all to you. :)

The shirt was the first item I made. I’ve never sewn a histroic shirt before but I love how this one turned out. The ruffle and the tall collar are my two favorite parts of the shirt.

Front veiw, unbuttoned

Gotta say I love the ruffle! 

I have a weakness for tall collars, both on men’s and women’s clothes

An extra insertion in the neck to create more gathering

For the cuff I made an openable one wich when you button it collects all the leftover material and makes it a ruffle

Just a cute little button loop

Second up we had the breeches. These are made from a fake silk material (in other words, synthetic, but it looks like silk :) ) in a gorgeous shade of blue that I am completely in love with. The jacket will be made from the same material. I am making a very upperclass style, more court than everyday wear, and so consequently practicallity is not high on the list ot features for these clothes. The breeches are as tight as I could get away with, they are mainly meant for standing up :P

The lightening in these pictures is very bad I know, doesn’t do the color justice

And from the side

Close up of the flap and buttons. As well as tall collars I also have a weakness for covered buttons. So you’ll see a lot of that in my sewing. You can better see the color of the fabric here

Because this is an era when men were real peacocks you have to enjoy making the most of it! So bling-bling clasps were a must! ;)

And then we have the waistcoat. My pride and joy when it comes to this outfit. The waistcoat too is made from a fake silk which I just happened to find in a scrap pile. But it was absolutely perfect for what I had in mind.

When I first started planning this outfit I knew I really wanted a nice embroidered waistcoat, but embroidery takes a lot of time, not to mention that I never fancied myself any good at it at all! So I started exploring different ideas of what I could do to imitate embroidery, ribbons or applications to sew on etc. But nothing seemed quite right. So finally I just had to accept what I had secretly wanted all along, to do it all by hand.

Hours and hours and hours and thousands of stitches later this is what it looks like.

All the garments for this outfit that I’ve made so far. I think the waistcoat really completes the look! 

Pocket flaps

Lacing in the back to achieve the best possible fit

Looking for good button placement. The gold trim I did buy ready made and sewed on, the rest is all my embroidery

And now the buttons have details on them too! 

I am very happy with it. For me it wasn’t all about achieving this look, but even more about proving to myself that I can do it. That I am not worthless at embroidery as I have always thought (at least now I have a little more practice!) and that I can make something turn out pretty much the way I had planned it (belive me most of my previous attempts have not!). So it was good for me to do this. And of course, being hand sewing this meant that I could bring my sewing with me. Do a little bit here and a little bit there, while watching a movie or sitting around talking. One of the reasons I love hand sewing so much more than machine! Also I find it much more relaxing.

I have a plan to eventually embroider the jacket too, but I think that will have to wait till a later stage, I need a little break now I think!

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