Thursday, February 27, 2014

Downton Abbey: Unmentionable.

Back in 2006 I posted about my 1910-1930 era hand sewn silk lingerie collection.  No one knew that by 2014 the era's fashion would be a source of wonder due to the popularity oif a show called "Downton Abbey".
I have decided to follow a few fellow bloggers in showing personally owned items of DT era. While others featured jewelry, I thought my lingerie collection would be a fun re-post.

A couple of Vintage Elegances (note: A Dallas TX based twice yearly event featuring fashions shows of vintage clothing) ago, I picked up an addiction. In a way, it was not unlike my first visit to Fleur de Paris, where I was swept away into a millinery manic/obsession/compulsion state of being from which I have never recovered.

At that VE show, there was a fashion show uncovering (get the pun?) the history of Lingerie from 1840 to 1950.

Oh la la...and wowzer.

I gained a new appreciation of corseting, which was at one time needed to keep females from looking like they were in snow suits, after donning multiple layers of undergarments.

And I was exposed (oh gads, potentially another pun...) to hand sewn peach silk and hand-made lace lingerie from about 1910 to 1940.

What was at the show was out of my price range...or at least what my mind thought was out of my price range. But the addiction had taken hold.
I couldn't get the image of the beautiful pieces out of my mind once I got home.

And like any collecting person knows, the next thing that will dominate a lot of your time is search ebay to find a bit of collecting heaven.

Ebay prices on vintage lingerie are rising. There are several
on line vintage lingerie stores as well, with eye popping prices.

What stops me from buying everything I see is the knowledge that I (at 33" waist this morning, and a 43 inch hip, after losing 4lbs so far) am too big to fit most of the lovely stuff.

I would love to buy and give to brides to be, instead of the tawdry nylon stuff that passes for romantic today. When I see a slip with a 34 inch bust or panties with a 24 inch waist, I want to buy, and hope I will be invited to a tasteful bridal event for a mere slip of a bride, who would drool over such elegance and history.

And I promise myself that I will lose weight and sometime soon will be wearing these kinds of items myself.

Photographed is my first purchase, a chemise.

I'll periodically post other items.

Oh, and added fun: since these items were hand made for the very wealthy, frequently they have the former owner's name or initials on the item. My fondest hope would be someday to find something with my own initials.

On something that fits.

As long as there is ebay, and VE, hope springs eternal for my quest.
Here are a few more close up photos of other vintage lingerie in my collection.

Close up of the silk brocade design in the lounging pj set.

Love that sweet heart shaped hankie pocket!
The straps do untie...nice to be able to adjust a top in that manner.
(Or have a steamy seduction scene with a tug of a bow...oh my!)

(ooops...up side down!)

Another pj set..check out the lace at the pant ankles!

Isn't this more lovely than the horrible modern nighties made of nylon that are so often given at bridal showers?

The hand work is wonderful!

Now if only I could fit into some of these lovely pieces.
Back then a 30 inch chest was common, hips I think were non-existent.
I have worn a few generously sized items: tap pants and night gowns that I haven't pictured here.
The old silk does tends to shatter...after all the fabric is over a hundred years old.
For that reason I seldom don them, although I like to imagine that one day I will carefully reconstruct the garments using new silk.
(Who would wear them made new, I have no idea...)
I read once that the Downton Abbey dresses were original and they had a few instances when the dresses split right down the back as the actresses were wearing them. They taped the dresses as best they could and shot around the damage.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Snowdrops bloom!

I kneel down, 
balance my weight,
elbows and knees dig into the soggy winter loam.

My body
 now grounded
touching earth
 I am enable to see
the Snowdrops.
White winter bees, 
in flower form,
wing upwards,
soaring toward the pale warming sunlight.

The snowdrops dance before me in a row.

Twirling their skirts,
innocent pleasure
revealing their green scalloped petticoats.

A threesome circle dance goes on
 by all but God and me.

Too shy to be found on stage,
they hide behind stone walls
 and peek up beneath shady arbors.

Some have brought their own spotlighting hood.
Unlikely divas,
 the light filters upon them softly.

Spotlights which magnifies the sunlight,
just a touch,
adds highlights to their simple garb.

The stage around them
begins to
magically becoming
a background scenery
painted in spring colors.

A rush
 to get on stage
to dance
to sing.
A floral chorus line of innocence.

A settling pose...
A head gently tilted.
The breeze will come, 
come to this star
and the winter snowdrop
 dance will begin once again.

How careful are the pleated lines of their underskirts!

A bar and an angle...

Green and white...

White and green.

They have found their creative color.
The emerald green;
they proudly wear
 the color of the center
 of every rainbow.

A fish marks the underskirt of some snowdrops.

While others bear a circle and connected footed marks.

Two side touching fingerprints and the symbol of running water:
Is each design a particular snowdrop kind?
Or is it a signature,
handwritten by God
onto the cup of each snowdrop?

Never mind.
The snowdrops bob happily
knowing their beauty marks
 mark them

One young garden fairy sketches
while this older garden sprite
 snaps photos quickly,
hoping to capture the snowdrop's graceful drift.

A single curl adorns this one's green cap.
She stands alone among her straight stemmed sisters.
Does she know her curl is special?

Blankets of frost scorched grasses
yield to the exploring snowdrop
the flowers will stay buried no longer!

The baby sisters peek up
eager to leave their cradle soil bed.
To grow
Sooo big!
The wait to add their own dance and chorus
will surely not be long!

Sunday I headed over to Red Butte Garden to see how midwinter was looking there.
Yes, we really are more than half way to spring.
Most of the garden was still aping autumn with myriad shades of brown.
Autumn colors
Missing winter snow
Blooming spring like flowers poking up from warming soil.
I walked about jacket-less and my back and face were warmed in the sunshine.
It really was seasonally confusing!

The Garden had a new feature:
Poetry had been installed in glass fronted cases randomly placed throughout the garden.
What an unexpected treat it was to find written poetry in the garden.

Oh I shall have to memorize this one...
I shall spout it out whenever I need to scrape frost from my car windows!
(Sometimes it is worth it to leave a car out over night just so one can see the work of Jack Frost!)

The buds are fluffy and still quite tight.

On this garden visit the air was perfectly.
The photographer in me appreciates that greatly.

The only color in the garden were lingering red berried or pods.

How the snow driven birds have missed these I can not say.
We have had a very mild winter.

I fear our roses may bloom resurrected early and be covered late by a white shroud.

The pond remains just barely frozen.

A couple sat together enjoying the sun's warmth on a quiet afternoon date.

The ice is retreating.

The waterfalls fall freely.

Little boys balance fearlessly on the stepping stones bordered by icy water.

A dad with his two children; he shares a quiet talk with his daughter while his red shirted "just like daddy" son plays nearby.

The older couple prepare to leave...

I have this scene in winter snow white, autumn glory, and spring pink blossoms.
I confess...I like the scene better with distinct seasonal clues.

Something for those who love to cook.
Did you know...

How many common plants are part of the rose family?

And that you can make a "Rose Family Salad" with common fruits?
Each of the ingredients are part of the rose family!
(Now wouldn't that make for a fun dinner time conversation starter/Science lesson?)

I had headed to the garden hoping to also see Lenten Roses in bloom.
Here they are barely peeking out from the soil.
(And I do mean barely...I wouldn't  have noticed them if I had not been looking for them.)
Near where they grow I spotted this sign.
Snow Fairy Bluebeard.
Now seriously, don't you want to have a plant with a name like that in your garden?
Or draw a picture of what a Snow Fairy Bluebeard fairy might look like?

Must memorize this poem as well for January next year.

I spent a lot of time trying to photograph the Nervous Nellies aka Chickadees.
A telephoto lens would have been the right one to use but I hadn't brought that extra lens along.

Well, close enough...

Final seasons close...
Spiritually Deep.

I was on my belly photographing the snowdrops at the far end of this winding path when my best friend called.
It took a bit to get upright and dig out my phone to take the call.
A few others in the garden heard my loud shouts of joy at the good news she was calling to share.
She too will be having a grandchild soon!

It is probably a good thing that early sunsets and dropping temperatures limit winter time garden photo outings.

Low light is best for photography.
Even architecture seen from the garden takes on lovely hues in waning daylight.

A final treat as I descended from the garden through the entrance building:
Winter jasmine was blooming in pots along the inside stairwell.
The fragrance was lofted up by the inside heat; each step down brought another scent of heaven!