A few days ago, Lauren from Wearing History issued a challenge for costume bloggers that, in my opinion, was an excellent one! It challenges bloggers to....you know what!! Instead of me writing about what she has challenged, I'll pass along the link!
I try on this blog to be very transparent about my reality (my failures, my frustration, my irritations, my triumphs, my joy) so that when my readers read the struggles I have gone through, it will encourage them to keep going. My theory is this...If I can do this, anyone can do this!!!
I am a stay-at-home wife of a fabulous husband who is a self-employed contractor. I am the mother of two boys who are incredible! I home-school them and love it! As the youngest is getting older and his school is getting harder, I am finding I have less and less time to devote to my sewing. Recently, there has been some family drama and issues that I have been drawn into, that is causing quite a bit of anxiety. Always, I struggle with "my house is a disaster, but all I want to do is work on my dress." I struggle with using a gift that God gave me for His glory. I struggle with, I am not perfect, so why am I having such a hard time with the fact that what I am working on right now isn't looking like the inspiration???? For corn sake!! My sewing skills are very limited! I am a self taught seamstress, who has no formal tailoring training! If I don't know how to do something, I turn to google for tutorials or to friends who know how to do it.
All this to say, that I am not perfect. I am not always joyful and happy. Sometimes when I ask one of my sons to take a picture of me, there is great wailing and gnashing of teeth. When I load up the car for a fashion show, I am so exhausted from all the hours of prep work that went into it, that I don't even want to do the show.
I am content and I love to dabble in my craft!!
Let's begin shall we?
I hated the way this dress fit me. My hips were too big for the dress, or perhaps my dress was too small for my hips. My hair was too long for the fun finger-wave bobs of the 20s but too short to do a faux bob. The day before this event, I got lost in my own neighborhood. Like I do not recognize one thing. I was driving home from the grocery store to begin the prep work on the menu for the event and all of a sudden I didn't know where I was. I have never been so scared in my life. I sat in my car at the side of the road for a full 5 minutes crying because I was lost. I finally recognized a boat in a drive way and it quite literally all came rushing back to me.
I was beyond exhausted, nervous, I was overwhelmed and my feet were killing me.
This was at my first Costume College last year and I was just so tired, my eyes were burning, I had a colossal head ache and my feet were threatening to disengage themselves from my legs and walk off. I was uncomfortable where we were taking the pictures, because I was wondering if the people in the restaurant just off to the side were thinking, "Ugh...there she is again, getting her picture taken. Who does she think she is?" Yes, that thought goes through my mind a lot. The reason I take so many pictures of me and my dresses is because I can take about 25 pictures and get 1 that works. Also, as my friend Josie says, if you are going to put that many hours into a dress, you need to have it documented. I promise you, the amount of pictures I take has nothing to do with vanity.
For this photo shoot, I had drug my mom to the Rose Garden and I was feeling guilty for once again asking her to take my picture. It was also incredibly hot and I was sweating like a pig. For some reason, the stares of other people really got to me on this day. I kept getting glaring stares from some ladies setting up for a wedding that would be held later that day. Most of the time when I do a photo shoot, I feel super confident and have a great time. This day, I just felt really off.
This whole photo shoot, while I loved the way the photos turned out, made me seriously uncomfortable. My mom and I had gone to Spokane to visit my brother and his family and I knew the garden there would be a perfect back drop for my Demeter dress. But the whole time I was getting ready all the way until I stripped off my costume in the back of my mom's Escape, I felt guilty and uncomfortable. You see, I don't want to ever impose on people in the course of my costuming whims. My mom did a fabulous job photographing me, my sister-in-law said she had fun watching the process, and my niece got in on a few of the pictures, but that feeling of guilt robbed me of the joy I had envisioned for the day.
This evil, vile dress provoked me to so much anger during its construction!!! It has been named the "Sailor Suit of Swear". I have never had so much trouble with a costume in my sewing career and it almost wound up in the trash.
This photo was taken in front of the restaurant where we were going out to dinner with Jennifer Rosbrugh of Historical Sewing, and it was super hot. I had gained a little bit of weight, my corset was too tight, I was seating like crazy again and I just really felt uncomfortable!! Plus I hated my hair.
Before this trip to The Steampunk World's Fair, I had had bronchitis. I was sick as a dog and was still hacking up a lung during the trip. I felt so bad for my room mates and was taking copious quantities of cough syrup so as not to keep them up at night. It was back east, so the humidity just about killed me, and I just felt miserable. I did have a grand time with my friends, but the betrayal of my body, was most irksome!!
This photo shoot in the back yard of the B&B we stayed at for The Victorian Festival in Port Townsend was anything but fun. Oh, mom and I had a lot of laughs, but what you don't see is the millions of goose bumps on my arms because it was freezing! It had just rained and the grass was not just damp, but wet. Water was wicking up the pleats on my dress and we had only a few minutes before we had to be at the ball. This weekend was also a get away from the stuff that was going on back home. On the way back, we were told that what we thought couldn't get worse, had gotten worse. Mom and I were like in a haze of "Let's just not think about it" the whole weekend, so even though we were having a wonderful time, we knew that reality waited for us when we got home.
While I am perfectly content in the life I have chosen, I do have my down days, my fight days, my frustrated days, and my "Oh dress...I am so done with you, you suck!" days. I still struggle with hoping everyone in my costuming group is having a good time at the events I plan, even though I know I am not responsible for their happiness. I struggle with guilt a lot...still. One day I will over come that! I struggle with hoping that people don't think I feel I'm all that and a bag of chips. I struggle with hoping that I raise my boys in the knowledge that I love them with all of my being! I struggle with the fear that some how the words I say or the actions I do will harm someone in some way. I struggle with the money I spend on fabric and accessories because I am not the one earning the money for our family.
So many struggles in my psyche that I alone get to deal with. But, I can say this. I LOVE this art of costuming and I so enjoy the community of costumers!
I pray for you all a most blessed day!!!
Only 25? Most professional photographers take hundreds to get a few good ones. Sometimes our genius is not only in our talent or art, it's in bringing people together, there is genius in that. I come over to peruse the blog roll on an almost daily basis to see what's up. I would never tag you as vain- enthusiastic and prolific, definitely. Keep spreading the joy, it's important work.ReplyDelete
Ha! Well, for pictures, I use a lot of Picasa to help make me look good! hahahahaha!!Delete
Thank you for not thinking I am vain. That is something I struggle with a lot when writing my blog posts...They are not to say, "Look at me and how cool I am!!" But rather an, If I can do this you can!! I love to cheer people on and be their biggest fan!!! You have greatly encouraged me!
I really love this whole set of posts that people are doing. I haven't made anything or blogged in a long time because I've been feeling sort of dispirited and not up for it. I admire your attitude and your talent so much. Knowing that it is difficult for you and how hard it can be at times makes me admire you even more. Better yet, it makes me feel like I need to jump back in.ReplyDelete
Oh Tracey! It makes me sad to read that you have been dispirited! You are such a great talent and a fun lady! Keep up your good work! There are times for me in just my costuming life, that I want to take the piece I am working on and tear it apart with my bare hands. Then there are the times when I want to pack all of my costuming things up and donate them to charity and have nothing to do with sewing ever again! I go through those stages more than anyone would know. I think it is just the process one goes through when trying to achieve "perfection" or what they have as their vision. I wonder if Picaso or Tissot felt the same way when they were painting!! That would be a fun fact to know!!Delete
Oh, so much guilt and doubt. Thank you for sharing your thoughts during these lovely photo shoots. I would never have imagined anyone who created such lovely things would be anything but confident hand happy.ReplyDelete
Yes, I struggle with doubt and guilt, then I don't, then I do. I think it depends on how I am doing in my every day life and spiritually! I do have a lot of fun, but sometimes those pesky doubts creep in....grrrrrrr!!!! Thank you for your lovely compliment!!
And every photo is a beauty for our eyes and heart! So whatever you felt at that moment, the end result was that you brought happiness to others. I believe that we are drawn to those things that will teach us the lessons we need to learn. Not because they are always fun or that we are always perfect, but it is a step to bring us closer to understanding ourselves and the ultimate perfection that we will be blessed with. I struggle with every stitch, every photo, every comment and every event, but I know that is my lesson - to accept who I am. You are a beauty and a blessing to all of us!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your lovely compliments Jeanette and I agree with you about the mistakes and lessons that bring us closer to better understanding ourselves! I too do the whole struggle thing, but am so much better at accepting myself that I used to be! I am who God made me and I can't be any other way!! You are a wonderful lady and friend and so very talented Miss Jeanette!!Delete
The Sailor Suit of Swear remains my favourite costume ever! Knowing that it caused you so much grief makes me feel better about my various disasters and sewing shortcomings - that there's hope they might turn out alright in the end.ReplyDelete
Your photographs always look lovely. As Miss Brilliantine says, only 25? I dread to imagine what my neighbours must think when they see me out in my garden again, with tripod, taking photo after photo.
Hey there BT! Oh yes, that SSofS was almost not to be! I don't know if you read the posts on it, so I'll add them to this comment....it provoked me to so much anger!!! But I have this horrible thing called OCD and this perfectionist/first born thing that I had to make it right!! Grrrrrrrrr.....Delete
I would love to be your neighbor watching you take your pictures! I'd have to come out and join you! I think we would have a ton of fun!!!
Sailor Suit of Swear issues blog posts...
Blessings to you!
Gina, when I met you at Costume College I did not get the sense at all that you were tired or in pain. You were so gracious and kind to everyone, but most of all, so enthusiastic!ReplyDelete
Thank you Vivien! I have mastered the art of hiding the pain from sore feet and exhaustion! As I get older, I find that I just don't get the good sleep away from home as I do in my own bed and that always leads to massive headaches! Ugh!!!Delete
Thank you for you lovely compliments! It was so very wonderful to meet you!! You are one of my blog and costuming heroines!
I found your blog thanks to Lauren's amazing post and I just want to say that I think your dresses look amazing. Knowing a little more of the story behind the fantastic costumes just adds more appreciation to what you've done. Thank you for sharing. ❤ReplyDelete
bonita of Lavender & Twill
Thank you so much for your lovely compliments Bonita! And for the link to your blog...another Vintage wardrobe blog for me to follow and get inspiration from!!Delete
Oh yes, I hope that people don't see me as shiny and perfect...cause I'm soooooo NOT!!! There is all sorts of reality in my costumes and I dream of a time when I can make a dress without the need of a seam ripper!! Sigh......