It was a morning of mixed promise, hazy blue skies and sunshine in one direction, and a cobalt blue enhanced with gray in the other. Rainstorm, I thought, that's what that is, rain in the making.
Sure enough, mountains of clouds moved somewhat overhead, pinches of blue above their enormous lumpy sides, but they just spat sprinkles on us while we lingered over the picnic. Jane remarked that we wouldn't melt, so there was no mad pick-up and dash for safety. I had forgotten, of course, about how my sleeveless spencer and water don't mix, so it's lucky the sprinkles were scant because while I might not dissolve into a puddle, the spencer surely would have been ruined.
Oh, how we feasted. We paid as much attention as we could to creating the atmosphere: luncheon dishes and teacups and wineglasses, and a block print tablecloth for a colorful background like the skirts of an early Regency dress.
Then there was the food...oh, the food. Why did such dishes ever lose their way in history, and become lost and foreign?
|Autumn Jane, and Jane, as we set up for the picnic. Do you see the lovely raised pie in the center? That's Jenni's|
|Salmagundi: a composed salad with the scents of lemon and herbs.|
|Whip't syllabub: light, cold, and creamy all at once.|
|Polly identifying flowers. The garden is maintained by a garden club my mother's a member of.|
They use lots of native and heirloom species, drought resistant, perennial.
|Polly and Autumn Jane consider the afternoon.|
|Jenni and Autumn on the estate's massive portico.|
So How Did the Spencer and Ensemble Do? Fine, with a Tweak or Two
This was the spencer's first step into the world, a beta test to see how it, and the rest of the ensemble, performed. Now refinements can be made for the Jane Austen Festival in July.
|The spencer, laced. Nice sneaker laces, eh?|
|Once laced, the spencer front lies smoothly, without wrinkles. Oh, how I love the|
spangles twinkling as the spencer moves.
The back is where I am concerned. Remember how the back is lower than originally designed, and how I built up a high ruche to mitigate this? Well, not high enough. Plus, my chemise is showing. Our house has no full-length mirror, if you don't count the 1920s mirror set into a door that's so de-silvered the view is obscured with dots and splots and scratches. Therefore, I left the house gaily unaware. The solution? Add a ruffle to the dress neckline, to match that on the hem. It will fluff over the ruche, obscure any wardrobe malfunctions, and in the front provide some welcome screening.
|Bowing on the back ruche, peekaboo chemise, but still a pleasant, fresh effect.|
Now, About That Hair, Missie...It Was Supposed to Be Curly, Not Mussy! Tsk, Tsk
All my livelong life, I've warred with my curls. For decades, I endured frizzhead, bobble-curl, and the electric-socket look. Until the Flatiron Age. Now I sport straight hair with flipped ends. Ahhh.
Now, here I was trying to make the hair hold ringlets, especially in front and it did...but only in the back. Even the humid air didn't help. It wasn't the beach humidity that creates Greek ringlets, just Kentucky humidity that pulls individual hairs into a Mrs. Frizzle bob. Fine for 1780s, not for 1794-6.
Yes, I hear you, and no, I didn't put Lottabody on it, that fantastic setting lotion. I reserved that for the artificial pin-in curls that I tried that morning, and gave up on because they looked flat ridiculous. Hrrmph.
So we had that morning hair au naturel, with a silk gauze bandeau. Cute, but not the Master plan.
So, between now and the festival, it's hair play time! We'll set it with Lottabody in foam curlers, we'll test the famous papillote curls, we'll "turn up" chignons at the ends per Gallery of Fashion, and we'll twist and tie turbans a la Festive Attyre (thank you!) until we have something a little more of the date. I'm looking forward to this.