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Showing posts from February, 2012

February 30th

So today is a Leap Day, it only comes once every four years, but there are far stranger dates in history. Take February 30th, for example. That's right, there was a February 30th.

In 1712 the Swedish Empire, in an attempt to balance their calendar and switch from the Julian to Gregorian year, added a day in February. It was the 29th in the Julian Calendar, but in countries where the Gregorian system had been in effect for a while it was March 11th. In 1753 the changeover was finally completed when the Swedish omitted eleven days in February to catch up.

Favorite- Edo period Japanese Kimono

The Patron Saint of Genital Disease

Now that we have entered the season of Lent, according to the Catholic calendar, it seems like an appropriate time to bring out this morbidly fascinating article on one of the strangest saints of which I have ever heard. Head of Saint Up For Auction in Ireland. Okay, so this happened months ago, and I'm a little late to the party, but it's still interesting to share.

For more surprising saints I recommend reading about; Saint Bernardino patron saint of advertising, communications, compulsive gambling,  and respiratory problems, or Saint James the Greater, patron saint of millinery (hatmaking), or Kateri patron saint of World Youth Day.

Grand Duchesses/Wedding Gowns

I hope I'm not raising all kinds of hopes with the title of this post. We received the final albums from our wedding which occurred last July. There are a couple of bridal portraits that seem to capture the turn-of-the-century Russian Grand Duchess inspiration of my dress. First, two of the inspiration pictures:-

And now, my dress:-

Do you see the resemblance? Okay, now I promise to stop posting wedding things. We are officially finished...until I get to those posts about the places we went to on our honeymoon.

The Style That Ruled the Empires- Exhibition Review

I am getting to be quite bad about cross-posting my blog entries, but I find that since the Regency period is related so perfectly to both the Georgian era and the 19th century I just can't decide which audience to share it with.

My husband and I attended an exhibition yesterday afternoon that I think my readers here would enjoy hearing about. For more information (spolier alert: there are empire gowns!), you can visit my other blog at


In Their Words- Thomas Jefferson On Honesty

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”- Thomas Jefferson

In the News- Remains of Carolingian Palace Found

I love when new information comes to light about the past, and this excavation sounds promising. remains of carolingian palace found

Regency Society of Virginia

I don't usually post the same thing on both of my blogs, but this news is worth repeating!

There is a brand new re-enactment group called the Regency Society of Virginia. This is of particular interest to people like me who live near Washington, D.C. and have despaired of finding a casual (but knowledgeable) group of people on the East Coast who aren't doing Revolutionary or Civil War events. I quote from their website:-

"Do you adore Jane Austen and her works (or the movies based upon them)?  Are you a War of 1812 or Napoleonic Wars re-enactor?  Perhaps you love the fashions of the Regency era or wish you had a place to wear such finery?  Enjoy the elegance of an English Country Dance?...We are a group of early 19th century enthusiasts who seek to unite all those who wish to recapture the refinement and civil society of this by-gone age.  Join us in this, our inaugural year, as we host workshops, costumed events, lectures and more with a distinctly Regenc…

Theatre Costuming vs Re-enactment Costuming: Part 2

In my last post we explored the experience and requirements of theatre costuming, today we'll look at the counterpart; reenactment costuming.

Let me start by saying that I am not exactly currently part of a reenactment group. Enthusiasts and authenticity-conscious reenactors may be horrified to know that I was, at one point, part of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Let's be clear. If you like history, want to wear costumes from a bygone era, and would like to be part of a very welcoming group that has very simple (almost non-existant) standards for historical accuracy from a beginner, then the SCA is a great group to which one can belong. I was personally attracted to the words "Creative," (I'm a costumer by trade, and even in college creative was my default adjective for myself) and "Anachronism" (from another time). It's how I met my husband and I made many great friends. If you want to be really authentic, you can; if you want to just have f…

Theatre Costuming vs Reenactment Costuming: Part 1

With my most recent show finishing tech tomorrow, and everything well in hand for opening on Monday, I feel that now is a good time to address the differences between costuming for theater and to re-create historical styles. I do both. I love both. They are completely different things.

Costuming for Theatre
First of all, when designing costumes for a theatrical production or television you aren't alone in getting to decide how they look. The director (and/or producer) is the ultimate authority and if they want a leather frock coat with studs, you will give them a leather frock coat with studs. You can try to point out historical inaccuracies all you want, but they only thing this will make you is unpopular with your creative team. Believe me, I learned that the hard way years ago. I also used to point out every historical discrepancy in films, but now I know that far from being ill-researched there was probably a good reason for doing something differently.

This brings me to my sec…