The Battlefield Ball

Being somewhat new to the creative world of Regency Events, it was a nice surprise to find another Regency Ball being held so soon after the Ball at the Forkes (in Chatham) and just a month later!

So Lady Anita and I made it to the Battlefield Ball on Saturday, November 2…arriving in our silver chariot around 5:45 p.m. in Stoney Creek. Just one near carriage-turning-over, as I thought that perhaps the car needed to be weighed at a truck weigh station and exited…oops, good thing that there weren’t open and we just sailed through! You are so very conscious of being pulled over for a traffic misdemeanor when dressed in Regency clothes and hairstyles 🙂

The Battlefield House hosted the Ball as the culmination of their 1812/1813 festivities. It was held at the very lovely and historic Liuna Gardens. We arrived just ahead of many other guests, so we grabbed a table by the window and were soon joined by two lovely women from Hamilton, who were Friends of Battlefield. The table then filled up with friends from Chatham, and lots of great stories and memories of the Battle of the Thames re-enactment and the Ball at the Forkes.

After introductions around the table and by the MC, dinner was served and the selection of salad, vegetables and meats were nice. But the real treat was after dinner when the Fashion Show began – presented by Betsy Bayshore. This is the second time I’ve seen a show by her and always learn so much! Oh, I have so much appreciation for those dresses, spencers, pelisses, etc. after my sewing projects this past summer!

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After drawing for the door prizes (3 out of 6 at our table won something, including yours truly!), there was SO MUCH Dancing! Lady Anita and I danced all of the dances, which totaled six, but when you consider that each dance involved instructions and then going “down the set and up the set” and there were 8 couples or so for each line, it was a lot.

These are the dances, in order: Miss Muster’s Fancy; Constancy; Allemande Swiss; Doubting Shepherd (???) and we finished with British Sorrow. My favourite? The Shepherd song, which I can’t remember the first word of except that it started with a “D”. In this one, the men danced a little turn while the women danced around the men, like a shepherd leading the sheep. Does anyone know the one I mean?

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Many thanks to the Battlefield House for giving a Ball this fall! There was some talk of it being repeated next year…let’s hope so!

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Shoot that Poison Arrow

Archery was considered a “graceful exercise” for women in the upper classes. By the mid 1800’s archery had become an established leisure activity and there were over fifty societies in existence spread among the larger towns and cities in England, Scotland and Wales. Women and men competed against each other, and it must have felt quite empowering for ladies of the time.

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This weekend the barn where I keep my horse was hosting an archery day so I had to give it a go. It was a little cold to be wearing a regency dress, and I am not sure if graceful entered into the equation at any point in the day, but I had a great time, hit the target many times, and got some fantastic pointers from a friend who used to compete in the sport and knows much. This is something I want to continue to do.

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Another regency era activity of the leisure class checked off the to-do list. It will look so much better next summer while wearing a linen dress.

Regency Bodice

I attended a regency bodice making workshop on the weekend. A few things stood out, the first being that I now understand why none of my dresses fit correctly. I took measurements that I never even knew existed, and the majority of them required the assistance of a helper. The second thing that stood out was the connection to the past. A group of women gathering together to create clothing, problem solve and chat. I am not much of a talker, so during break times I wandered off to the kitchen to help make afternoon tea, but that in itself was also something that women would have been doing in the 1800’s, preparing the same type of food we were preparing, brewing pots of tea, putting homemade scones on the table next to the clotted cream. Modern life is so fast, technical and pre-packaged and participating in these types of events is extremely grounding.

In the past I have used a period pattern from “The Elegant Ladies Closet” and managed to produce what I thought was a lovely bodice. The issue is that I have been having the devil of a time trying to attach the skirt.  Pictured below are the bodice pieces from “The Elegant Ladies Closet” pattern.

Elegant Ladies Closet Bodice

I noticed that the bodice I made at the workshop is much smaller, and hope that adding the skirt will be a less complicated process. Pictured below is the custom measured bodice pattern.

Custom Bodice Result

 

The photo below shows the difference between the front bodice patterns. The piece underneath is from the Elegant Ladies pattern and the muslin laying on top is the custom piece. What a huge difference, no wonder all of my dresses felt so huge.

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Unfortunately, there were too many people at the workshop, we ran out of time, and I did not leave with a completed bodice. I have been sitting on a pile of mud green fabric, all pre-washed and ready to become something that will hopefully resemble a day-dress using the new bodice template. I suppose that update will have to wait for the next workshop.

Mud green     Mud green fabric to be continued…..

 

 

 

New Author Lady Kathy on Good Time Regency Girls

I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to live up to the name “Lady Kathy” when I was asked to contribute to this fantastic Good Time Regency Girls blog! For my introduction, I would love to share with you how I came to be interested in the Regency period.
For the last 8 years, I have been a devoted Jane Austen fan…going from “not interested, thank you very much” to having some reading material either by or relating to Jane Austen on my nightstand every day of the year! My history up to this turning point had been that of someone interested in literature but primarily newer writers – say, in the 20th century. And preferably American. And preferably short stories.
I had definitely read my share of English writers during my 4 years of study as an English Major. But when it came to reading for pleasure, they were not my focus. Not yet, any way.
Of course I had heard of Jane Austen…who hasn’t? But did I realize that her novels were so few (only 6 completed) and her life was so short? NO. But more importantly, I did not grasp the way her stories mirror real life…not just in the early 1800s but still today. And because I had not been required to read her at University, I was just plain missing out.
My sister-in-law, whom I shall call Sue (like I do in real life), wasn’t missing out…in fact, she loved the movie Pride and Prejudice (BBC) and would often have it right by her TV/VCR because she was committed to watching it twice a year. The first time I noticed it there, I actually teased her about. My SIL is an urban gal, sophisticated, and what interest could this story hold for her? But her response was something like, “I just love the story” and well, how can you argue with that?
So fast-forward a few years, when I was asked to be the delivery person to a mutual friend of these BBC Pride & Prejudice VCR Tapes. There they sat, on my windowsill for a few days with Darcy’s picture spanning the tapes while Elizabeth sat calmly by. One night, I decided to just play the first one and see what the big deal was about.
Oh, my. I was hooked. As I neared the end of tape 3, I wasn’t even bothering to rewind them anymore. Just hit “eject” and pop in the next one, like candy. And yes, I had to re-watch tape 6 immediately after it was finished and rewound, because it was just SO GOOD.
I still occasionally thank my sister-in-law for introducing me to Jane Austen and re-assure myself of her forgiveness for ever snickering at her about her love of Pride & Prejudice.

1812 and Table Top Gaming

So who is ready for Halloween? My self and his Lordship will be setting up the window display ether tonight or tommorw and we are also in a deep deep talks about what this years punkin should look like. With all this spookiness in the air I have been reading some scarey stories.

While he is not a Regency writer one of my faves of the horror tale is H.P. Lovecraft. A master of creeping you right out and the fellow who brought us things like the Necronomicon and the dark one Cthulhu.

I got to thinking what if I ran a table top game that was Cthulhu based but set during the War of 1812.? Personally I think that it could be super cool.

Going on a hunch I am going to guess that many of you have played some sort of table top game that involves story telling, dice and a ton of Mountain Dew. I say this because when I first started going to Regency dance events I was shocked at how many folks in the room had played Dungeons and Dragons. The more I thought about it the more it made sense, here was a group of people who liked to get dressed up and imagine they are back in time. Not a far leap to table top at all.

As part of a table top group it’s going to be my time soon to run the story or “DM” (Dungeon Master). When we have a game going, we tend to meet maybe twice a month have some pizza and play. The last few times have been in a modern setting and using the monsters and mystery of the Lovecraft stories.

My idea is that I am going to per-create some characters for the players to pick from. Normally you would build your own, but I want to make sure that particular types show up during the game play. Players will get to pick from: A British Officer, Young Wealthy Politician or His Wife, a Common Solder, Dressmaker, a Settler, a Minister or Female Missionary.

It would open as all good Regency stories start…with a ball of course! However something would be very very wrong and a handful of the guests would have to work out just what lurks in the dark. I was going to write more but I don’t wish to give to much away. I will however if we run this story, post more should you folks be interested.

So I leave you with some questions – would you be up for a Regency table top game? How would you run something like this? Would it be more war tactics? Or maybe something about snagging a rich husband? Let us know in the comments below.

Oh and Happy Halloween!

A love of history

So I know that I haven’t posted very much as of late, but even though I am always a GTRG, I also have to work and have been away for the past little bit.

My line of work is history and some of what I get to do is see a ton of historical sites. Much of what I do deals more with the Victorian era, though there is some over lap with my Regency hobbies. Some days I get paid to read about the War of 1812, so I feel very lucky.

What I would like to talk about is some of the history I came across on my last work trip to the Yukon. This post is more history based and about how I like to connect with personal stories.

To start the trip was just out of this world, and the landscape and views breathtaking. I got to go to a hot spring, see all sorts of wild life and visit some of the wonderful museums. Everywhere I went the people I met seemed excited and connected to the land and the history around them. I found that as the people I was with went to look, take pictures and soak in the views, I was sitting chatting with locals.

For example, did you know that beavers used to be the size of kitchen chairs? Or that it was only in the past few years that a candied photo of folks from the gold rush smiling has been found? These were all things I learned by just listening to people.

At one point I was in a gallery looking at some wonderful photos of First Nations woman from around WWII. One of the women pictured had the most beautiful beaded jacket on. A woman came up to look and we got chatting. It turned out that she had done some conservation work on the jacket when it had been loaned to a museum. This piqued the interest of another woman who was the great niece of the lady in the photo. For almost an hour this pair talked about the jacket and the photo. Family stories were shared, and I was almost late for the planed lunch as a result.

History is not just the past and objects. It is a living fabric of stories and connections and I think that while this story is not related to the Regency it made me think about why I love history in the first place. Connection to stories, plain and simple but lovely.

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.