Negus not Negas

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

I was recently invited to party in honor of a fellow Regency Girl’s Birthday. The party was touted as a Regency Gambling Party and instructed that costumes were required. The invitation was issued through the events feature on Facebook, which got me thinking about how this wonderful little world of 19th century reenactors are embracing modern technology to help promote and support the events that they adore so much.

New straw bonnet

New straw bonnet

I was looking forward to this party because it provided me the opportunity to wear a hat I made several years ago, but never had the right place to wear it. Most Regency era events I attend are either evening balls where headwear leans towards turbans, ribbons and feathers, or outdoor day functions such as picnics, where a bonnet is called for. I thought that sitting around card tables would be perfect for my little lace cap complete with lappets, and so it finally made its official debut. While on the topic of hats, I was gifted one at the party by a fantastic lady who I had done a small favor for. She made me wonderful straw bonnet as a thank you gesture, and I was thrilled with it.

While driving over to the party I had another clash of eras. Me, dressed in a regency dress and spencer with my little lace cap pinned on my head, car windows rolled down, lappets blowing in the breeze while singing along to XTC’s “Generals and Majors” on the radio. I may have been in my own little world, but the entire spectacle was quite visible to other motorists, which I noticed giving me strange looks about half way to my destination while stopped at a red light. All I could do is laugh, and continue on to the party.

When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find that almost all of the guests were in regency finery. For some of the guests, this was their first exposure to a reenactment event, but almost everyone made an effort to dress the part, and the atmosphere was all the better for it. Some of the ladies borrowed dresses from the gracious hostess, one lady sewed herself a dress by looking at pictures of gowns from Jane Austen films on Pinterest, and one of the fellows in attendance shaved off his beard to craft himself a fine set of mutton chops. Each and every gentleman in attendance was fitted with a cravat, and a good deal of the evening was spent discussing how wonderful we all looked.

A fine 19th century spread.

A fine 19th century spread.

The food was one of the finest regency spreads I have ever seen. The table was dominated by two Croquembouche, towers of small cream puffs held together by caramelized sugar. Around 9pm the food was set out. Platters of roast duck, salmon, and ham. Chicken in aspic, welsh rarebit, devilled eggs, nuts and sweetmeats. As a cook, I fully understood the cost and the time a table like this took to prepare, and I was beyond impressed.

There was even a pot of 18th century warm spiced wine called Negus on offer, and I admit I had more than a few servings of it, so delicious, and the perfect lubricant for conversation. There were literary and pop culture quotes flying fast and furious over the course of the evening, from Austen and Bronte to Harry Potter and Star Trek, brought on by the Negus, as opposed to ‘The Negas’, leader of the Ferengi Alliance. Again I noted that folks were standing around in 19th century attire, sipping an 18th century beverage and discussing Star Trek. In my mind it doesn’t get any better than that.

Negus

Negus

Negas

Negas

I spent most of the evening in the parlour chatting with friends, and never did make it to the card tables where games of Whist and Faro were being played. The hostess handmade the gambling chips for the Faro table, which added to the overall ambiance of the event. I am not sure if any fortunes were made or lost at the tables, but I saw no tears so assume all went well.

The Faro Table

The Faro Table

At one point during the evening, I was sitting in the parlour with a cup of Negus, taking in everybody’s costumes and I found myself thinking of a line from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth observes “Perhaps by and bye I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones”. I shared the thought with the person I was sitting beside and we discussed it. There were differences between this private function in comparison to public events. The intimacy, the attention to detail, being surrounded by familiar faces, having some quiet spaces to sit and catch up with what was happening with people. I hope to see more of these smaller, private functions in the future, and am appreciative that I was a part of this one.

Lace cap
Lace cap
Advertisements

Spencerville Heritage Fair 2013

Just a quick fly by post to say Lady Jen and Lady Devon are heading to Spencerville for the Spencerville Heritage Fair! It’s going to be an amazing weekend and we’re really looking forward to it! Can’t wait to post about it when we return! 

LARP vs LARRP and what that tag means

Some of you may have seen that one of out the tags on the side bar reads LARRP. You might be wondering what this means and why it’s a tag. If you have well then this post will clear that all up, and explain why it has a place here on this blog.

LARP

This stands for Live Action Role Playing. Now when most people think of this they tend to think of people out in the woods whacking each other with fake swords. Ok well that’s what I think of first also….but it can also be mystery based or Vampires. It’s like super cool make believe but with some rules. Think if you could act out a video game.

LARRP

Now we get to the LARRP part. This was a something we coined and has come to mean Live Action Regency Role Play.

What does this mean? Well to start it was just a play on the word LARP with the word Regency tossed in. However in the last few weeks it has come to mean any time we gather in costume, and do something like sewing by hand. We are still us, just trying to be as Regency as we can. So last hand sewing night we were in costume with candles going. Some letters were written with quill and ink. Good times all around.

So yes that’s what it means to LARRP like a GTRG.

It stands to reason that if I am writing in this blog, I would be embracing all qualities of the regency life. So it should come as no surprise that my interest have been peeked by social structures and rules of behaviour.

With a little digging you can find a wealth of info online. Some of it better then others, but all of it interesting. This got me thinking, how many of these rules of behaviour could a modern young lady really stick to? How long would some one who was more comfortable with Carrie Bradshaw, then with Lizzie Benett be able to manage even one night?

So this week I have started to see how far I can take this. It’s shown up in now in the fact I have been trying to sit properly. Up straight with my knees together. Easy right? Well yes for about ten minutes. After that I start to feel it in my legs. However it has forced me to sit up straighter. While my legs now hurt my back has never felt better.

Like anything it’s all relevant to what you are used to and slowly I am trying to get used to this. Even as I write then I am not sure why this seems like the thing to do, other then I find myself getting more and more involved in regency life style as part of the hobby. Make believe for grow ups.

Sew Hard (Ya I went for the pun…)

Some where in Anne Of Green Gables she mutters over doing needle work. She’s making a quilt and finds it boring. I read this in grade three and the thought of having to sit with a needle and thread doing the same thing over and over….well lets just say that I had to agree with Anne.

I’ve never been good at sewing. My Mother used to work from home sewing so the machen would come out late at night. This was made clear I was not to touch and that it was nothing but work. Grandma sewed and like too, however she was always to busy. I think also I knew deep down that I would never be able to ask her about sewing things that weren’t practical. So help on a costume was out.

I had a Nana I was really close with though she saw sewing as a domestic task I as a modern woman wouldn’t have to learn. She thought that anything past knowing how to fix a button or a small tear was a waste. Better to read a book or do the crossword.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I have started with the help of Lady Jen and the moral support of Lady Kenzie have been learning to sew. Its been a bit slower then I thought…

While I have been working on a ballgown (more on that in another post) I have been most pleased with my work on a shift. You see I have decided that I am going to hand sew ALL BY MYSELF the whole thing. So far so good and I have been woring on it for a few days now in the evening.

Last night I think I hit a new lvl in how I regard my work. Up to this point on some smaller projects if a mistake was made I would sort of just let it be and sew around it. However as I settled down to sew I saw I had made a set of mistakes and before I could wave it off I reached for the scissors and pulled out the stitches.

I fixed a mistake, not just made one! Why am I so excited no idea, but I feel that as far as my sewing goes I have sort of lvled up. If it was a game theme music would play and a new item would become unlocked. Maybe that’s how I should be looking at this. So below your will find my new set of stats.

Lady Devon lvl 2 sewer, new item- shift