Saturday, January 28, 2012

Red Shoes!

I've always loved shoes.  Luckily, styles of dance shoes changed throughout the nineteenth century, which gives me plenty of opportunities for shopping!  My most recent quest has been for red ballet slippers, which are sometimes worn in Scotland for country dancing and I always admired while dance shopping when I lived in Edinburgh.
Scottish country dancers--look how cute they are! yay red shoes!
As I've been working on new dresses for the upcoming 1812 Ball in February and Returning Heroes Ball (1860s) in March, I've also been re-assessing my shoes.  I have normal black ballet slippers for practicing and white ones that I usually wear for events...but red ones were definitely fashionable during the regency era, and my new 1860s dress is all about Victorian appropriation of Scottish things (think tartan), so why not add red shoes to the mix?
Colored evening slippers for ladies were quite fashionable during the early 19th century, although white was still standard.
3 examples from the Victoria and Albert Museum, c. 1790s

from the Met Museum, c.1820

polka-dots! c.1800
 For some slightly inexplicable reason I've ended up with my heart set on red dancing shoes.  It's possible I spent too much time reading Hans Christian Anderson as a child (actually, that explains a lot), but also they just look so cute!



 Unfortunately for me, finding red ballet shoes that will actually be useful for dancing has proven rather difficult.  In a fit of thesis procrastination, I caved and ordered a pair from Dancewear Edinburgh (the shop on Rose Street where I bought my shoes last year).  Given then distance they have to travel to reach the USA, I'm not sure they'll be here in time to be altered (I want to add gold trim and red ribbons to tie on) and worn for the ball in a few weeks, but there's always March...

...but given that I've also seen a couple of extant pairs of tartan slippers from the mid-19th century, let's hope I don't find a modern source for those anytime soon.

Inner Monologue, part 1

[my housemates have been giving me grief for years about the disconnect between my life and my in honor of that, and because I have nothing better to do to procrastinate, I'm starting a new bit of this as an experiment: below, my morning, as imagined in my inner romance-novel-ogue.]
New Year's Eve 2012...yes, I do wear a tiara occasionally. As you can see, my friends have reason to mock.

Although out quite late last evening, E and I rose early to take a morning constitutional before breakfast and the lecture at the Westlands Halls.  The talk was much more enjoyable than I had expected, and I passed a rather pleasant late morning sitting amongst friends partaking tea and sharing stories of our past exploits representing the legacy of the estimable Mrs. Lawrence.  While there were still the occasional comments (always from the same source, as usual) that elicited a less-than-politic response, camaraderie with J and A, as well as some well -placed sips of tea to hide my face, meant that I was able to avoid causing any major conflict.  I am sure upon the return of the other attendees to the house this afternoon we shall be able to discuss in full.
After the lecture I happened upon Em, who was lounging in the sun outside the theatre waiting for Cb.  She is excited for the upcoming ball in a few weeks, as am I.  The more I discuss the event with friends, the more excited I get for the grand adventure of the party making our way up to Boston, which on my own is a miserable venture but as a group will hopefully prove to be quite memorable.  I am planning a lovely picnic for us to bring as a late lunch before the afternoon dance class.  Discussing what to wear also reminded me that I must re-hem the skirt of my ballgown and add light wiring to the lace collar.
Now I have returned home to lovely friends and loads of washing, which I must carry out before I leave for this afternoon's working tea with Au and H.  Washing is my least favorite chore, but alas it must be done or I shall have no more sweaters by Tuesday...I have put it off as long as I could.

"Napoleonic Fantasy Ball" at Arisia 2012 (the ballgown in question)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Burns Night

This blog is undergoing some growing pains, as usually occurs when I rely on other people for pictures because I fail to charge my camera (oops).  In the meantime, I wanted to share something cool that some friends participated in today.  Tonight is Burns Night, a holiday in honor of Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland (it's his birthday, in fact).
Traditionally, this is celebrated with a Burns Supper including haggis, neeps, and tatties.  Burns's poem, Address to the Haggis is read before eating.  Another traditional Scottish activity, dancing, often occurs at events called ceilidhs.
Why am I telling you this?  Because in honor of Burns Night 2012 some awesome people had a flash mob ceilidh in Edinburgh.  Here's a video of it!

and pictures of the dancing haggis...

(Sorry, I couldn't make those embed.)

Basically, I want to dance all the time.  Instead I spent all day reading about the insula's role in disgust recognition.  Good thing I love my thesis...