Day one of my vacation... sort of. We were supposed to leave for elegant_musings house in the morning. Due to a series of both fortunate and un-fortunate events we got there about 8pm. *shakes head* I'm sure Casey et all were wondering if we would show up at all that day! The most un-fortunate event was that B went to the doc and discovered she had a moderate case of poison ivy, but this allowed me to finish all the Bee hems in the comfort of my bedroom, rather than lugging Bette to Northern Virginia. A very good thing!
Arrived in San Diego to find a perfect sunny day awaiting us. We promptly went to the bay, ate fudge, bought a new journal, had See's candy, drank a sangria and ate fabulous Mexican food - in that order. It was heaven to be home!!!
The ride to LA ended up being longer than I thought it would be (darn traffic!) but I got my In 'n Out burger on the way so all was well. Parted from the sibling and friends, checked my luggage with the bellboy - um... man, guy, dude - and walked to the Tower for the Sally Queen afternoon.
My first LJ costumer sighting was of dear koshka_the_cat, as I waited to hand my luggage over. She saw me first but I recognized her right away. I never know if I will recognize internet people in person but really one does! Weird to see them in full size though. I spent most of the LJ Soiree tripping out over that. But here I'm getting ahead of myself... My second LJ sighting was of jennil who passed me on her way to her room. I found it amusing that the first two people I saw were actually the ones I known longest online.
Sally Queen was having technique difficulties so we started almost 40 minutes late. That gave her the perfect excuse to go over an hour longer than advertised so we really didn't mind! Her talk was fabulous - I wish you all could have been there! Lots of good things, particularly some things I needed to hear as I prep for my first sacque. I'm finding it's really helpful to listen to non-reenactors research, ideas, observations and opinions about costume - there is a better balance that way. What is it about living history that narrows certain people's focus?
It's always valuable to pick the brain of someone who has seen the real items as well, especially someone like Sally who has seen a variety of things, over many years. I got a particular kick out of hearing her do name dropping... the same names I've heard joysdaughter drop a few times. *giggle* I found that rather amusing and a bit humbling. I mean how did I get here, knowing and asking questions of these amazing ladies? Anyway...
After much simulation from Sally Queen, pork-ing on the fabulous desserts at the luncheon (the chocolate mouse oh!!), a short chat with jennil & koshka_the_cat, checking in with my roomies lmcbeth & eldawen345 (we all showed up at the desk at the same time... we are so good!), tripping over suitcases on the way to our room, unpacking and revealing secrets, we dressed for the LJ Soiree.
We were right on time so were consequently the first to arrive. *hee hee* Finally got to meet the fabulous sewphisticate, who greeted me with a big hug and champagne. Have I mentioned I think Athene is super fabulous yet? :>
The next few hours are frankly a bit of a blur. It was a bit overwhelming to see and hang with so many LJ greats, as well as giggle and chatter with old friends for the first time. Don't try to understand the last bit of that, personally I find it messes with my mind too much when I try. I drank my champagne, drooled over yummy books, petted Katherine's vintage things, took lots of pics and heard *who's a pretty, pretty princess* until it was locked in my memory forever. Yay for LJ people!
The day started with breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Afterwards eldawen345 and I went back to our room to hang out until our first classes. She ironed and I sewed hooks & eyes on my ballgown. We dressed in costume and headed down to start CC in earnest. I went to Make-Up of the 20s, 30s and 40s - which was excellent. It was funny to hear a lot of the tips and tricks I've learned from my Mary Kay training taught in the class. It's always nice to know you are on the right track. :> Sally Queen's Armchair Tour of US Collections was next - very interesting! I need to mention her book to RCHS, it would be a good resource for the group...
Met up with jennil & gilded_garb and talked so long we missed our classes - oh well! We headed to the marketplace instead and I went straight to the book shelves and reveled in a nice, long perusal of all the expensive costume books I'd heard of but not seen in person. My want list is so-o-o-o long now!
After much drooling and a bit of shopping a whole gaggle of us went to dinner in the restaurant. Very yummy! I'm referring to both the food and the company. :> After a trip upstairs to finish off my ballgown’s hooks and eyes, back down we went to the GBACG Gather. Ended up not at the bar with the GBACGers but in the coffee shop, watching koshka_the_cat, jennil & gilded_garb work on various last minute projects.
After saying our good nights and changing into our pjs, we were informed by eldawen345 that jennil was in her room just starting work on her hem for the next day. The infamous "we are here to help hem" episode ensued, just to prove we really meant it all those times we made cooing noises and said we wished we could help over the LJ airwaves. Besides, what else are costuming buddies for?! :>
lmcbeth and I were wired after that so we chatted until 3am, while eldawen345 slept away – such silly girls we are!
The day again started with breakfast. It was harder to get out of bed but we made it down earlier than the day before, and costumed as well. My 9am class was fingerless mitts with gilded_garb. The class was pretty much a waste of time but Sara and I had a good time making faces at each other and whining about it afterwards.
After some very silly videoing, jennil, gilded_garband I trundled to our tambour class. That turned out to be a good thing as their presence was the only thing that kept my from bursting into tears and having a screaming hissy fit right there in class. Lots of issues, not the least of which was that my brand new, never even opened, tambour hook had a striped screw. Not happy with Lacis right now, still have to hash that out with them... I’m sure some of it was my thick head but I wasn’t that impressed with the teacher, no instruction on technique and her choice of materials made life harder than it needed to be. Oh well. Some tips from koshka_the_cat, reading the instructions in my new book and the proper materials and I think I can do better. Once I resolve the tambour hook issue. *grinds teeth*
After the two dud classes, particularly the hellish tambour frustration drill, I was feeling very drained and discouraged. A shared appetizer and fresh bread in the restaurant with jennil & gilded_garbput me back to rights. Good friends and a lively Harry Potter discussion are very good medicine. Thanks ladies! *wink*
We parted ways to dress for the gala after that. It was very much a group effort to get ourselves dressed, which added to the general slumber party feel of the weekend. I did my roomies make-up for them, which was great fun and they helped me iron, hook and primp. After some picture taking in the garden, we saved a table for the rest of our party in the ballroom, minus lmcbeth whom we very much missed. *sends kisses*
The Gala was amazing and totally worth the money. The best part was (as always at CC) the socializing and seeing everyone all dolled up. At the risk of sounding horribly conceited the LJ people were the best dressed - man we clean up nice! :> Really, everyone looked amazing.
Personally I felt like a princess - a pretty, pretty, sparkly princess. :> All the fuss and worry and last minute compromising... and you know it didn't matter one bit once I was dressed that night. I need to remember that the next time I get all wigged out about something needs to be *perfect*. I really do. I still can't believe how beautifully my outfit came together. The gift of the bee fabric, the find of the diadem napkin rings, sewing last minute and while sick, the find of the gown fabric 4 days before I left, B sewing on all those sequins, scoring $6 shoes the day before I left - my hair was even friendly that night! Really I don't feel like I can even take credit for the result. It was all a gift: from generous friends, my darling sis and my very gracious God. I am so spoiled, it just isn't funny. *sigh* Why me?
Much of the Gala is a blur now. Much sparkle and laughter. Piles of silk and satin on the floor at the end of the evening. Red roses everywhere. The flash of cameras. The fun of endless sacques all lined up. Chocolate, gloves and feathers. A really lovely evening... in fact we were practically the last to leave. LJ people are party animals you know.
Morning of the Underwear Breakfast! I forgot to pack my kimono so I wore my regency stays & red wool shawl instead. Bit of a thrown together outfit but fun non-the less. After breakfast jennil, eldawen345and I pranced to our Beginning Metalwork Embroidery class. It turned out to be a blast, an enjoyable subject and a knowledgeable and good instructor. I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t real bullion (but basic milar threads) but as I told Jenni, it was probably good as those were the threads we used were the ones I would actually be able to afford! Next time I definitely want to take the advanced metalwork class though. Our project was really enjoyable, just wetted my appetite for more of the same! Must come up with a good project for it soon. *evil grin*
A quick trip to the marketplace for some last minute shopping and scouting and I dashed up to the room to change into my teens outfit for tea. Tea was fun - it was where you really got to see the ragtime frocks come out en mass and the fabulous big hats. I've had better tea food but the company was great. Yep, tea snob - that's me! :>
After tea we went to the garden for pics. B dropped off elegant_musings for a little while and 19 of us (some still in costume) trundled off in multiple cars for a farewell dinner. Dinner was a hoot, despite koshka_the_cat’s red sauce incident. Yay for pink lemonade and LJ friends!
B picked up elegant_musings again and koshka_the_cat & jennil joined us in room 247 for Shout Wipes, chocolate and much laugher. We chatted about everything, poured over 19th Century Costume in Detail, worked the stain out of K's frock and I managed to get myself completely packed before they left. Who thought packing could be so fun!!
lmcbeth and I again stayed up way too late chatting. Poor eldawen345 had to fall asleep with the light on and us gabbing most of the trip! :>
I got up and dressed with the girls and we went down for my final breakfast. I said my goodbyes, only slightly green with envy at having to miss the fabricland fun, and finished up my packing. I checked out without a hitch (note to those rooming with someone leaving on a different day - no problem, the hotel was very nice and made it super easy). B & Co arrived, we loaded my stuff and with a last fond look at the Airtel I was gone!
So lessons learned:
sleep before you come
make your costumes a little snug as you lace tighter from lack of food
go to the Gala!
focus on socializing, not the classes
tea is nice (I'll skip it next time though I think)
don't expect too much from the classes so you can be pleasantly surprised by most
prepare to be addicted and want to go every year!!