When the road is bumpier than usual, the ride is rougher and sometimes despite any smooth sailing, it’s harder to get back on track. I enjoy our holiday breaks but this one has left me exhausted and flat due to unexpected events.
After a decent amount of repair work on my car over the last few months, it broke down again at the beginning of the holidays, leaving me feeling let down, disillusioned and forcing me to buy a new car.
My step dad, Pat is still in hospital, though his visit was planned.
My mum was in hospital too,(not planned),we brought her home last Monday after she recovered from an ecoli infection that went to her kidney!
I then received news that a close friend died and though she was quite ill, it is always sad particularly as she was only my age, leaving behind her husband and two teenagers.
Everything got mixed up.
I tried some retail therapy which did little for me.
Book therapy was much better. A good second hand book fair and escapism between a few pages.
Mastering the treadle machine required more rhythm than I was currently capable of, so mum’s kitchen curtains were finished with a faster model. I will have to experiment more with the beautiful treadle machine later on.
Much of this weeks making was done in my head what with recent mishaps leaving me pensive, I have been writing.
The stress and drama of extra financial burdens and the unbearable surrealism of death...this friend is the fourth to die in as many years.
I’m trying to shake it off but it’s caked on like mud and seems to need more drying time so I’ll stick with it for a bit and hope it’s rejuvenating.
WEEK 15 - reels & hornpipes, rounds & squares, whirls & jigs and feather quills
Being amongst so many Austenites helped helped to soothe my mind of the current predicament, if only temporarily.
Seeing all the ladies and gents dressed in their finery was a treat. Mr. Darcy would have had his pick of Miss. Bennetts, as the women largely outnumbered the men. We were frequently changing gender during the dance workshops and despite occasional mix ups, had lots of fun.
Not only is dancing a lively workout, it also lightens the soul.
The event was largely about learning the dances for the evening ball. There were a few talks, a little theatre and other workshops available.
We joined in 3 dance workshops and in the afternoon learned how to make feather quills.
A little practice is needed to get a good cut, otherwise it is fairly easy. We tested them out, made adjustments, then wrote a letter with our quills. The letter was then folded and sealed with wax and stamped.
As a longtime fan of letter writing and correspondence, I have already dabbled in letter folding, sealing, making envelopes and other creative mail art ideas.
This was the predecessor of the modern email and text message, obviously slower but powerfully intimate, personal and tactile. Receiving a letter is exciting, it fills us with emotion. The art and history of correspondence and the post is fascinating, without even looking at the art of writing itself!
Sadly it is becoming lost in devices and keyboards.
Today students write incredibly less than when I was at school. In fact, many students struggle with writing, not necessarily with writing well but with the physical act of writing.
Imagine then how Jane Austen, among others, wrote her books and letters by hand with feather quills and ink.
As I drove along appreciating the season and that lovely holiday vibe, my mind was filled with gratitude for all the simple and wondrous aspects of my life from family and friends to realising dreams and all those little things that make up a day. There is much more balance and harmony in our lives that we generally recognise.
So it is obviously at this moment when I am full of life and positivity that the harmonic balancer in my engine decides to come out AGAIN, after being repaired less than 4 months ago.
Almost like the universe slapping me back down to size saying no no no, not allowed to be too content!
We got as far as Wellington just after 11am where we spent most of the day figuring out what to do. I have been trying hard to remain positive BUT...no, i feel anything but. Despite all the wondrous aspects, i am pissed, let down and horribly disappointed. After having already spent a decent amount on this car, I am feeling inclined to just put a new motor in it and hope for the best. Otherwise I have to find a new wsecond hand car and spend around the same amount with no particular guarantee of its condition, (Now is the moment when winning one of those elusive raffles or competitions would be wonderful).
Though we managed to get to Canberra through the kind loan of a vehicle from the mechanic in Wellington, I feel extremely flat. All my joy and enthusiasm has been sapped. We visited the National Library and Artemis and Armand were champions last night helping out with last minute hand sewing till rather late at night and now, I sit here exhausted in my crumped empire line thinking about the day ahead, I will surely find some amusement in it, only without the bounce I had intended.
I can’t help wondering what important lesson it is that the universe desires me to learn through all this. Probably quite straight forward or nothing, though I imagine I will philosophise about it for a while as I cheer on (yay) 48 years of me.
Dare I say that 4 dresses is a tad ambitious...with 1 finished, 2 almost finished and 1 only just cut out and 3 days till we leave.
The pattern is fairly simple and I am improvising somewhat.
I am loving being in the studio despite the heat, it is slowly becoming more functional and organised.
Have been enjoying a dose of Austen films, researching styles, colours and fabrics. We are looking forward to seeing an array of dresses during the festival and perhaps making a more historically accurate version later on.
Even hundreds of years ago, fashion was the same, so many variations on a theme, so fickle and interchangeable. These two weeks sewing have awakened my dress-up desires. I feel more sewing will make the project list especially since I have plenty of patterns to test out.
The schedule has been BUSY. Who said living in the country is boring?!
A short week after the Easter weekend. Scattered sewing. Schoolwork. Local creatives meet-up. Library. Opera under the stars. Baking. New bed. Friends visiting. No wonder the sewing is slow. However, after a few late nights all the machine sewing is finished! Now for some hand sewing before Saturday and we’ll be ready to go promenading and may even check out a few Mr. Darcy”s while we’re at it!
The promise of a long Easter weekend was more delicious than chocolate eggs!
In preparation for the Jane Austen Festival 12-15 April in Canberra, the next two weeks will be a Regency costume marathon for Artemis and I, 2 day dresses and 2 ball gowns.
Biting off more than I can chew, over ambitious, high expectations...paper pattern cutting and slight adjustments, comparing measurements, researching images, cutting fabric, transforming old saris and quilt covers, enjoying the creative buzz, sweating it out in the studio.
For me, it seems there is not much difference between wondering and wandering. It has always helped me find inspiration. Creative dabbling is good for the soul, I couldn't imagine life without it and often surprise myself by what I come up with.