Merry Christmas!!

Just checking in with you all to say MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday season and get to spend it in the way you most want to.

Here are some pictures of a recent project of mine and Andrew’s, a Regency gingerbread house! A fun and challenging project that took a grand total of 8 hours to complete, but I think it  was worth it.


Obviously we had to dress appropriately for the photos!

Apart from the crack that makes it looks like the house has been through and earthquake it turned out really well we thought

Yes, I know, he IS handsome!

Finishing touches

Looking mighty proud of the result


Dreaming about a future in a real house like this perhaps…?

The final resting place

So, once again from me (and Andrew) a very Merry Christmas to you all!!!!

New sewing project; Regency fall-front trousers

As I said in the end of my last post I have a new sewing project to share! A pair of Regency gentleman’s fall-front trousers.
As I also said in my last post my boyfriend has just moved over here to Sweden and these trousers were for him. I haven’t really introduced him to you all before but I think it is time I do so, you will be seeing and hearing alot about him in the future on this blog. His name is Andrew and he is from New Zealand, hence the reason we haven’t met for a year before he came now. I am going to share the story of how we met at some point, it is very much connected to this blog and Jane Austen, but not right now. He is however a big fan of the Regency era, and I mean a very big fan of it! Does reenacting and collects uniforms and swords and everything else Napoleonic military related.

So anyway he has moved over here and wasn’t able to bring much of his collection of stuff with him so for his birthday one of the things I got him was a pattern for some Regency fall-front trousers, something which he had long been talking about needing. I got the pattern (pictured right) of Nehelenia Pattern’s website.

Regency trousers were often very tight-fitting so we wanted to find a fabric with some stretch to it, to make them as tight as we could. We found this fabric that was a synthetic material but had the right color we were after, so we decided to get it for making a test pair.

I have never attempted something like this before. Trousers is NOT something I have much experience of making, I have made a grand total of two pairs in my life, and that was with the assistance of my sewing teacher. So I had some apprehensive feelings beforehand.

I had some very frustrating moments making these trousers I will admit, I wasn’t completely happy with the way the pattern was made and the instructions. I found it very confusing at times. But after some ripping of seams and changing of pieces I got a shape that we were happy with.

They may look a little wrinkly lying on the floor like this, but those wrinkles do go away when they are put on

Regency trousers didn’t have a zipper or fly, they had a fall-front like this. We used some pewter buttons and some of the leftover buttons from my pelisse that worked very well for this 🙂

This is what it looks like with the flap down

In order to help achive the really tight stretched look a tie or band of some sort goes under the foot. I just used some elastic ribbon and that worked perfectly. 

There are a few things I would change for next pair, especially with trying to make the fit better (some of the pieces were quite baggy and I needed to take a lot of it in) but overall I’m actually quite pleased with them. And what is more important, Andrew is happy with them! 🙂 For being a first try I think they turned out alright. And the fabric, even though it is synthetic, was surprisingly good in the end! Good enough that they could actully be used, not just be a test.

After I had finished them we wanted to do a little photo shoot and since it was a lovely sunny Sunday we decided to both dress up and go across the lake (10 minute drive) and take some pictures by one of the big houses on that side, Julita gård. It was sunny and beautiful but nowhere near as warm as we had persuaded ourselves it was, so with the wind chilling us to the bones we ran around snapping some pictures before hurrying back to the car shivering with cold.
It was worth it though because I thought we got some really nice pictures. 🙂

Isn’t he handsome?! 😀

I’m really quite happy with the fit of them! Note the nice sword as well…

Taking a stroll through the gardens

Waiting for a ship to come in? I love this picture! My house is just across the lake from here

Took some pictures of me too even though I wasn’t really wearing anything new

Hide and seek in the garden?

I have more sewing projects coming up soon, and tomorrow we are off to the fabric store to see if we can get hold of some more material we need. He needs more trousers, capes, jackets…  Oh and I might need a thing or two as well! 😉

Bath part 6 – last post

So, its been a while again. This time it is mainly because my boyfriend whom I haven’t seen in more than a year has finally come over to Sweden and the last three weeks I’ve spent mostly just enjoying being with him again. Everything else has sort of been put on hold. But I think I should try to wrap up my Bath story here now, I’ve been long enough writing it now so I’ll just do one post for the last few things. Cram it all in.

Monday the rest of my group left Bath, but before setting off some of them were going to visit this great house outside Bath, and since I had nothing else planned for that morning I decided to come along. This house was called Bowood House and it was, just like every other big house I have visit in England, lovely.

Bowood House

Beautiful, don’t you think?

Albert looks like he owns the place!

Seriously one of the cutest statues I’ve ever seen. It’s asleep!! 

I love how all these great houses always have some form of water somewhere, makes for such good pictures! 

And then, it started raining. Heavily… (great photo from Jeanette!)

We saught shelter under this arch

Then we found a massive playground, with a ship! Of course the boys had to get on it..

And we ladies stood crying on the shore waving farewell as they sailed off..

In the afternoon straight after coming back from our little outing I had a dance workshop to go to. It was my good friend Aylwen and her husband John from Australia who held this one. I’ve never been to a dance run by them so it was fun to finally do that. And of course as always, great fun just to be dancing.

Picture of the dance workshop by my friend Justin, since I didn’t get around to taking any myself

Here you can see a close-up of the back of my new dress (and my messy hair. Intentionally done that way) I actually love this dress 🙂

After that and after having had dinner with some friends it was time for me to find the place where I was going to stay for the remainder of my nights in Bath. I was staying at a sort of B&B place but the lady who owned it wasn’t there that day so had given me instructions on how to let myself in. Problem was I had a phone that didn’t want to work properly so I couldn’t call anyone and of course could only use the internet on it when I had wi-fi, and contrary to my belief I couldn’t access that email without the internet connection. So there I was standing in a dark street infront of a completely dark house about 20 minute walk to where my closest friend was staying (and I didn’t want to drag my bags all that way!) without knowing how to get in. And I was still in costume. After thinking it over for a while I did what I really had hoped I wouldn’t have to do, I rang the door of the nextdoor house. This man opened and I started of straight away by saying “Hello, I have a bit of a strange request to make”, explained my situation and asked if by any chance I could possibly use his wi-fi? He was so kind and helpful! I eventually explained that I was in Bath for the festival, trying to explain my odd outfit and his reaction was “oh so that’s what it was! I didn’t want to say anything!”

Anyway with his help I got into the house (it just makes me happy when strangers are so helpful and genuinley nice, I think little stories like that are worth sharing for that reason 🙂 ) only to find out a few minutes later that the only other person staying there (who just happened to arrive then) was none other than Beata, a lovely lady I have had the pleasure of meeting and talking to on several of my previous Bath trips! I don’t know which one of us was more surprised to bump into each other there on the stairs!

Long story there, sorry I’ll move on now.

Next day I had the only talk I was able to attend this time (I was going to attend another, by the lovely Serena Dyer whos talks I’ve always enjoyed so much before) but to my disappointment I overslept and missed it!! 🙁 So this was the only talk I was able to do and it was a talk on the etiquette of the Regency era. A very interesting talk where we learnt all about how one takes ones snuff the proper way, how to greet people in the street when you meet them, and also, how to insult someone. All this and much more. And the audience was called on to help out and assist in demonstrations. It was a good talk and I enjoyed it.

I was going to attend another event that evening also, some Regency zombie event they had. Now, zombies are not really my thing, but after having taken part in a “scary walk” thing my brother organized this summer as a zombie I thought it could be interesting to see what this was. But I didn’t end up going because I recieved an invitation that was more appealing than that. This invitation was to a game of cards and games at the (for the week) rented apartment of some new-found friends, Angela and Megan. We weren’t such a larg party, it was the two ladies of the house, me, Isabel and Noora (who is from Finland! Always exciting meeting people from my part of the world when I’m away). I am not usually a massive fan of cards or playing games like that, but I can honestly say I had a fantastic evening! Possibly the most enjoyable one out of the whole trip. We played some cards but it was all so light and fun, we had plenty of goodies to eat and drink (lemonade!) and were laughing and talking. We were gambling too (not with real money let me point that out, just with tokens and things that were all given back to their rightful owner at the end of the evening) and towards the end Megan and Noora were both in a bit of trouble having lost all their “money” a long time ago and were starting adding both jewllery and hats and minatures of “dead husbands” to the pile. It was hilariously funny!

Angela, me, Megan and Isabel (picture by Noora)

One with Noora in it as well

I can’t remember the name of this game but judging by poor Megan’s body language it’s not going too well.. 

My winnings at the end of the evening (sadly I had to give it all back haha), hat, jewllery and all

Megan lost all her bling! And the miniature portrait of her “husband”

So yeah. That was my trip to Bath this year. Next morning I met up with Isabel for a last cup of tea together before getting on the train to the airport. It felt a bit sad to leave so early, while there were still so many people left and still so many events happening. But at the same time I was quite happy with doing a shorter trip this year. However next year I think I wouldn’t mind staying the whole festival should that be possible…

I’m sorry this post was a bit crammed and long. I just wanted to finish off my Bath stories without any further delays. And I’m quite excited to say I’ve got a new and slightly different sewing project to share with you next time; my first attempt at an item of gentlemen’s clothing! 😀

Bath part 5 – An evening soiree

In the evening that day we went back to the house where we’d had the harp workshop because there was an evening soiree to be held there.

Let me tell you about this house first of all. The house is known as Beckford’s Tower, and the “tower” part of the name is there for a reason. Basically because this place is a house, not a massive house but with a BIG tower. William Beckford was a novelist who lived in Bath in the early 19th century and he had a fondness for towers. So he built this house. It is a strange place. Lovely, but strange. The tower is very dominant to the building. And the whole house is situated right in the middle of a graveyard creating a very gothic feeling around the whole place.

Beckford’s Tower, picture from their website as it was dark when we got there

So this is where we had our sioree. Once again this was organized by Helena from our group. She really did a great job putting everything together for this weekend!

To start off with we all had to climb the tower of course. It was quite a climb up these beautiful swirly staris. We used no electric lights so the whole thing was made even more atmospheric by our footman who walked first carrying a candelabra. It made such a perfect light and cast amazing shaddows on the walls. I was so sad that my camera hates places that are not completely lit up so it wouldn’t work to take pictures, because it was really amazing when we walked up all in a row and to see the others. There was Luke (our footman) going first with his wig and his candelabra, then came Rob in his redcoat uniform, after him Oliver in his tailcoat and fourth Ian in a top hat, and just that, going up those stairs in that light looked amazing! It was one of those movie like moments.

At the top it was crowded but cool. Even though it was dark you could see a nice view over Bath and we spent a long time up there taking pictures of each other.

Me and Claire at the top of the tower (once again I’ve borrowerd pictures from Claire, Jeanette and Noora). I love this picture of us!

Me and Isabel

Doing reflection shots like this was lots of fun, we all had ours this way

Once down there was a whole score of activities planned. First out there was food of course. Mike entertanied us with lovely harp music and we, his pupils from earlier in the day even got to perform all together a very simple little piece we had tried out. So I’ve played the harp once and already performed! 😉 We had a little dancing. A lovely fun little dance which sadly I don’t remember the name of which is a pity because it was lots of fun. Then we had games. There were all kinds of games, blind man’s buff, pin the tail on the Emperor (which resulted in roars of laughters from everyone participating), a treasure hunt (which did involve going out in the graveyard in the dark and the rain…) and a score of other games that I don’t know the names of. We also had readings and singing performances.

Food! (wow, clever caption eh? 😛 )

Oliver being the blind man

Love this action shot. Some of us *cough* were hiding behind the curtains 

Luke had to “wear” the picture for “pin the tail on the Emperor”. He did it splendidly though! Sooo much fun!

Another game where we all had to copy whatever Helena (who is sitting on the chair) was doing

Zach reading to us from one of William Beckford’s novels

Napoleonic songs!

It was a lovely evening and a tired group of people who left long after midnight.

Bath part 4 – Finally getting to try playing a harp!

Next day the rain was pouring down, again. I spent the morning NOT in costume going out for lunch with a good friend and getting a few things done. Then in the afternoon I had a lesson planned so I wanted to dress up for that.

This lesson was a harp lesson, or workshop. The Jane Austen center organizes  harp workshops sometimes and I wanted to try that last year but it was sold out, so I was excited to get to try it this year. It was as part of the deal with this group I was staying with. Except it wasn’t the Jane Austen center one as I thought, our wonderful hostess Helena had arranged something privately and we had our own instructor who came to teach us at one of the houses we were renting (not the one I was staying in, this was a different, more special place). So it ended up being only three of us doing this, which meant it was practically a private lesson!

I have wanted to try playing the harp for a really long time now. It is such an elegant and truly beautiful instrument and I’ve been dying to give it a go. So I was very excited to be doing this little workshop. And tell you what, I loved it even more than I thought I would!!

Our instuctor, Mike, is a fantastic harpist and he started off by showing us the instuments and telling us about them and their history before moving on to letting us try to play. The harps he had brought were truly beautiful instruments. They were all old. One of them dated from the time of the French revolution and was from Paris, another was a real Regency harp rumored to have belonged to Princess Charlotte and the third one was also I belive early 19th century by the harp maker John Egan and was the only one of his surviving harps in private ownership. And you know what? HE LET US PLAY THESE HARPS!!!!

The three harps. The little one to the left is the John Egan one, in the middle is the Regency one and the one to the right is the oldest, the one from the French revolution.

Mike, our teacher, playing for us

And then we got to try. We rotated around so we all could try the different ones. I couldn’t decide which one I liked best, they were all so lovely! (oh and thanks again to Claire whom I’ve borrowed some pictures from since I didn’t get any of my own of us playing)

Me, Lyze and Jeanette playing. Oh and there’s my new Spencer too btw. 🙂

See how different they all are? Not sure how well it shows in these photos but they are all decorated in completely different styles. The oldest one has beautiful paintings all over it, like was fashionable at the time it was made. The Regency one is much plainer but with a beautiful elegance to it, just as was in style at that time. I loved you could see the reflections of the times they were constructed on them. Mike also told us they all three have their own personalities and he has given them names! Unfortunately I cannot remember all of their names but I know the little one was Lydia. 🙂

Me with one of the gorgeous harps. I want, I want, I want one!! 

It really was fantastic and I could have kept going all day! It was a little tricky of course because it is a completely new instrument to me, but I do think playing the piano helped me to get a hang of it fairly quickly. I so want to properly learn to play the harp now, I’ve been looking around for places where you can rent them as that sounds like a good thing to start off with. It was just so exciting and fun! And I like how it is an instrument that ladies played in the Regency era, that was so popular then. But also you can do so much with it! And I’d like to learn to play so well that I could eventually accompany myself when I’m singing. Well, that’s a goal at least. First I need to get hold of a harp!

 “A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself; and both placed near a window, cut down to the ground, and opening on a little lawn, surrounded in the rich foliage of summer, was enough to catch any man’s heart. The season, the scene, the air, were all favourable to tenderness and sentiment.” ~ Mansfield Park

That evening too was full of fun and I’ll tell you all about that soon!

Bath part 3 – Assembly Room Ball

So. Yes. Post three.

After the promenade we headed back to our house to get ready for the ball as I said. I quite like the getting ready part. As long as you are not in too much of a hurry. I can fully understand how women back in those days could spend hours getting dressed!!

For this ball I decided to wear my blue velvet dress again. It felt a little too wintery perhaps being so heavy but I wanted to wear it. And paired it with pearls and feathers. I’ve got a new thing for feathers. Have never really worn them much before but they really are fun and make an outfit that much more interesting I think. 🙂

The ball in the Assembly Rooms was lovely as always. I had the feeling there were more people than last year, but I can’t say if that was really the case or just my impression.
This ball is, as I’m sure many of you are aware, not officially part of the Jane Austen Festival. It is arranged by some other people, Farthingales, and there seems to be bad feelings or some sort of rivalry between the two organisations (that is at least what the gossip is) and they don’t cooperate. Which is a great pity I think. Because this means that the ball is not advertised anywhere and people who don’t know about it have a hard time finding out there even is one. Some people were telling me they found out about it through my blog which made me happy to hear because I feel like I’ve been able to help out. 🙂 And also because they don’t cooperate they place big events at the same time. So the Regency Fashion show which I would have loved to see because it sounded like such a fun thing was something I missed out on becuase they did that at the same time. And I heard several people saying the same thing, that it was a pity. Oh well. I guess you can’t do everything. But I just think it’s a pity that they don’t work with each other instead, as the same people who go to all these events would be interested.

Anyway, rant over. 😛 Here are some pictures instead

With two of the loveliest ladies in the world, Isabel and Claire!

Dancing in full swing

Beautiful Miss Isabel

And lovely Miss Claire twirling around the ballroom

Me with Isabel and Jeanette. We’ve done so many events together now that no event feels really complete if they are not also there!

Eliane from Switzerland, another lovely lady. Some of the photos for this post I’ve borrowed from her

Me chatting to a couple of the gentlemen, Matthew and Zach, between the dances

I was quite pleased with the way my hair turned out for this evening and I’m glad Claire got a picture of it because I completely forgot to 

Zach, Helena, Ian and Rob at our table for dinner

It was a good evening with lots of lovely dances, many of which I am now very familiar with, and a nice dinner. My table was slightly neglected though and when all the other tables were served marzipan fruits at the end of the meal we were forgotten about. So me and one of the others, Zach, set out for a hunt for marzipans when everyone was heading back to the ballroom. We collected quite a few that were left at the tables and were quite happily stuffing ourselves with our finds.

Our group split at the end of the evening some deciding to take a taxi back home and some wanting to walk. I walked as that is usually my preference. I don’t like walking on my own through the center of Bath on a Saturday evening though. Because you DO get quite a lot of people (most rather drunk) commenting on your outfits and you don’t really go unnoticed by. But as long as I’m not alone that is not really a problem. It can even be rather amusing at times. Highlight this time though was the drunk person who asked us what we were doing (or whatever it was he asked, I can’t remember) and one of the gentlemen in my group offering him some snuff from his snuffbox. I don’t think that drunk person was expecting that and we had some good laughs over that incident.

Sunday was another nice day, and I’ll be telling you all about it soon so stay tuned! 😀

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