Beyond Repair Monday, Nov 26 2007 

IMG_6780

26 November 2007

As if to mock us, the day dawned bright, sunny and cloudless.  The sky was that amazingly beautiful shade of blue that even Crayola never quite captured perfectly.  The sun on our skin was warm and comforting, the shade was chilly and a constant reminder of how miserable we’d been for three days.  Mary shared a clever joke with us this morning . . . “what do you call a beautiful day after two days of solid rain?  Monday.”  Yep, Monday.

And Packing Monday at that.  My two wonderful guys were ready and at it by nine a.m.  We plowed right through the packing of the booth, and by about 2 p.m., I let Garry go home to do his own packing, and Mary and Donny were done and gone by about 3 p.m.  I had set a goal for myself to be on the road before dark . . . I figured five or six o’clock.  So, I kept after it, and did pretty well.  After working a whole (somewhat frustrating, from what I could tell) day from our living space in the booth, Kyle helped with the last of the moving of benches and trash cans and the like, and we locked up and pulled away at 4:58 p.m.  I was very proud of myself!

By the way, thanks, Terrill, for allowing Kyle to be with me this weekend, and work remotely on Monday.  It was a much appreciated gift!

Another TRF season is behind us.  A bizarre season of ups and downs all in the wrong places!  And, of course, the official news that TRF will now determine its opening date by counting backward eight weekends from Thanksgiving weekend.  Next year, 11 October.  Never again will we have the luxury of a long, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend, or a free weekend between faire and Dickens on the Strand.  <sigh>

Since we were driving home and it wasn’t yet dark, I finally had the opportunity to stop and take some photos of this old derelict house that stands right beside the road in the little town of Anderson.  We’ve been watching it for years, empty, deteriorating a little more all the time.  I used to think that someone should by it and fix it up and love it.  Houses need love.  But, this year, I noticed on my first trip down, that it was far more dilapidated than ever before.  And while very sad, it is so obviously beyond any hope of repair, that I began to think of it as a photo opportunity that might not last another season.  Surely someone will decide soon that this broken down building must go completely before it falls on top of some curious kids.  So, Kyle pulled over and I got out and shot a couple dozen photos, only some of which came out very well, ’cause I was almost out of daylight.  But, this one I’ve chosen for my daily photo shows the battered nature of the house, and conveys pretty well that decay is the victor here and nature is taking back this little plot of land.

~MB

Muddy Final Weekend Monday, Nov 26 2007 

Muddy Final Weekend

25 November 2007

What a very sad ending to our final weekend.  Such cold and rain, that under my cloak and scarf, no one could even tell I wasn’t in full costume.  But, it seemed there were even fewer patrons today—fewer folks to care.

TRF is over, now, for another year.  Official word was given today that Thanksgiving Weekend will forever after be our final weekend.  The festival will open on the 11th of October next year, and run for eight weekends, ending on Thanksgiving weekend.  I am not happy about it.

Tomorrow we will pack down the booth and hopefully be headed home before dark.    I am pretty much just too tired to write much else until all that work is done.   At least it’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow.

~MB 

Blue Velvet Sunday, Nov 25 2007 

Blue Velvet

24 November 2007

This lovely bodice was purchased by one of our customers from a much loved merchant friend of ours, Leslie Harris.  Leslie’s company, Noblesse Oblige, can be found in Maryland or Colorado and for anyone with few budget constraints, it is the place to go to purchase upscale, noble costuming.  She does outstandingly beautiful work.  And although I’m pretty sure she doesn’t necessarily revel in the success of others who might be in some small way be considered competition to her, I personally revere her and consider her a bit of a mentor and an ideal for which to strive.  I am glad I got to know her years ago, and I am grateful to her for inspiration and guidance so long ago.

I snapped this photo today while working with one couple wishing to place a custom order.  Fortunately, they were not the only ones!   We had three big custom order customers today, and a handful of regular sales besides.  The only cloaks still in stock are the ones that arrived in a box I had to send an employee to fetch from Conroe this morning.  Velvet is a little harder to sell in the driving rain! 

The day was pretty sad, with almost constant rainfall, sometimes very hard.  There were some friendly faces in the small crowd; friends (Hello Klobetime family!  Hello Emily and Alex and Peter!), pet patrons, playtrons, etc.  But, for the most part we just weren’t very busy and the day was just long and cold.

Right now, it seems the temperature is a chilly 45 degrees, and the rain is STILL falling! 

~MB

Fabulous Fabric Saturday, Nov 24 2007 

Fabulous Fabric

23 November 2007

I was wrong.  I thought, and I even put it in writing last night, that we’d have a slow day at TRF on this Black Friday, as it is called in the retail world.*

Well, the official word regarding attendance is somewhere in the 27,000 range.  That’s a lot of people, and anything but slow.  The crowd was large, and we stayed relatively busy—although we were down by one member of our sales staff.  But, unfortunately, lots of comp tickets and even the regular ticket price being reduced by five bucks, makes for a rather . . . shall we say, “cheap” crowd on the average.  “You want how much?” was a common attitude. 

Oh, well.  On the one hand, it was an extra day.  A bonus.  Of course the weather forecast for the next two days indicates much of the “r” word and even more cold than what we had today, so this “bonus day” might be our only decent day this weekend. 

This photo is of the fabric in a little doublet that Kelly made me years ago.  I love the piece and it always gets many compliments when I wear it, which is precisely what I did today.  Today was all about layers and insulation!  We sold lots of cloaks!

*Black Friday:  contrary to popular belief, named not because it’s evil or awful, but rather because this is the day that traditionally, retailers begin to see black in their ledger books.  From here through the holiday season should all be profit! 

~MB

Giving Thanks Thursday, Nov 22 2007 

Giving Thanks

22 November 2007

Thanksgiving Day

Probably the oddest Thanksgiving Day ever, for us . . . and yet fabulous!  The day was spent with Kyle’s family where our dear border collies will stay for the next ten days or so.  We enjoyed a delightful visit, and an artful holiday meal of paella and crudité (the beautiful paella is pictured here), followed by amazing crème brulée and a final course of delicious cheeses.  Kyle’s mum totally outdid herself!  Da claims to have simply been the sous-chef!  Dinner was served with a choice of a Malbec-based Cuvée or a Rioja, and the dessert and cheese were served with a dry Marsala.  The only sadness to the meal was that we won’t be there for the left-overs!

After an interesting drive (the brakes work—tested when Kyle heroically saved a beatiful doe from an untimely end) in to faire from San Antonio, made simple by Emily (our new GPS device gifted by my mama), we’re ready now, for the big experiment that is TRF’s final weekend of 2007—Thanksgiving Weekend.  Like it or not, we’re here, and we’re open tomorrow— Black Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It is a chilly 50 degrees, and it’s drizzling rain.  There is no telling what the weekend will bring us.  We know the festival has advertised well.  And we know there have been hundreds of comp tickets given out for this weekend.  And further, we know that the price of admission is a little lower tomorrow than it is regularly.  But, what we don’t know is if our customer base will care enough to be out here in the wet cold, rather than gathered with their families in warm houses, or shopping their little hearts out at the mall.

I personally believe this weather will test even the die hard playtrons when combined with the holiday weekend competition for their time and energy.  I hope I am wrong.  But, surely, whatever the weekend brings, tomorrow is destined to NOT be the busiest of days.  We are warm enough with our heated mattress pad, and we already miss the pups. 

~MB

Balance Thursday, Nov 22 2007 

Balance

21 November 2007

Amidst laundry chores, sewing, and packing, I chanced to see this little thief helping himself to an early Thanksgiving feast from my birdfeeder.  I have since replaced the conical device that hangs over the feeder to keep the squirrels out.  But, I managed to get a few fun photos of the little guy first.

~MB

The New Dress: Day Bodice Wednesday, Nov 21 2007 

Day Bodice

20 November 2007

As I write this tonight, it’s just after midnight and it might as well be five a.m. considering how tired I am.  The three and a half hours I tried to sleep this morning just weren’t enough.  I am struggling to keep my eyes open and have been since about three o’clock this afternoon.  I just keep moving around when I get sleepy.  The last time, I got up from serging and tore some silk into ruffle strips, ’cause that was more active than sitting at the serger.  But, finally, just now, even my beloved Pirates of the Caribbean DVD isn’t enough to keep me awake. 

It’s been a good productive day, though.  I got Kathleen’s bodice fitting all  prepared and a sketch made for her.   Her mock-up fitting went great, and I’m into the construction phase on the real thing now—it’s all cut out and partially built.  I worked on my day bodice most of the day—the bodice is done, except for sleeve cuffs, a bias edge around the neck, boning, grommets and a little bit of trim.  I’m pretty pleased with it. 

So, for now, I’m calling it—off to dreamland for me.

~MB

Landing in San Francisco Tuesday, Nov 20 2007 

15 November 2007
Thursday and my last full day in San Francisco. I finished up at the office a tad early and went to a local place called the Elephant Bar for dinner. Before walking in, however, I walked over to the bayside and snapped quite a few pictures of planes landing and taking off from San Francisco International Airport. The light was fading so the quality isn't quite what I'd like, and the telephoto on my little camera doesn't have quite the oomph I might like, but still the photos aren't so bad. Here's one:
Inbound Plane.
I even managed to get some of the "mountains" and a sunset. Anyway, the Elephant Bar was overpriced and the beer taps weren't working, so I left. I'd spotted earlier in the week a place called Finn McCool's so I plugged that into the handy Garmin GPS device that I got with the rental car (a sleek Pontiac G6 GT) and went there. They didn't serve food. I had a few beers, stopped at the In-and-Out (again) and went back to the hotel. I had an early flight out. Sometime in the dead of night, I started feeling uncomfortable and by about 3am or so was full-on sick. I slept fitfully the remainder of the night until my 5:30 wake-up call. I blame Paul and Laura for making me sick. 🙂
Cheers.

~KR (15 November 2007)

Listening to:
Everything I Do, I Do It For You by Bryan Adams
on Billboard Top 100 of 1991

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/640)
Aperture: f/5.5
Focal Length: 23.2 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode

The Swingin’ Door Tuesday, Nov 20 2007 

14 November 2007
Back in 2002, Terrill & I did a whirlwind tour of the Cargo facilities in our system, visiting 12 cities in 9 weeks. One of those stops was San Francisco/San Jose where we spent a week. During one of our nights out we located a fantastic pub called The Prince of Wales in nearby San Mateo. Sadly, I wasn't keeping a journal nor carrying a ubiquitous photo-taker with me, so have no record of it as it was. In January of this year, it ceased being as it was and has become The Swingin Door, having been sold. The Prince of Wales had at one time been The Swingin Door as that's the name the bar had opened with back in 1955. Apparently it was a swingin' joint in its heyday and was frequented by many a famous personality. It would seem the new owner would like to recapture some of that original mojo.
Swingin' Door
Personally, I preferred The Prince of Wales the way it was, but certainly if I lived in the area I'd happily return to The Swingin' Door for a pint or two and an award-winning hamburger. I did not, during this visit, venture upstairs which apparently is quite the place to be having been voted San Mateo's Hottest Spot for Entertainment. I was plenty entertained by the clientele.
Cheers.

~KR (14 November 2007)

Listening to:
Fjarskanistan by Amina
on Animamina

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode

Papier Mache Me Tuesday, Nov 20 2007 

Papier Mache Me

19 November 2007

I can’t even imagine how behind I’d feel, if I hadn’t driven home from faire on Sunday night!  As it is, I have no idea if I can finish all I want to, or not.  But, I keep plugging away at it.  Before going to bed at almost four a.m., I had waistbanded both my skirt and my petticoat, drafted two bodice patterns for me, and one for Kathleen, cut out one bodice for me, sewn the mock-up, done the fitting, and begun sewing the real thing.  I was about halfway through watching the Phantom of the Opera movie (which I love) for the second time in a row (it’s one of the rare movies I own on DVD that seems to automatically restart if  you leave it in the player!) when I realized it was after three a.m. and I really did need to get some sleep.

The photo is of the “dress form” I have of myself, made at a Costumer’s Guild gathering a couple of years ago.  I had actually forgotten all about it until last night.  And I’d have to say, it’s pretty wonderful to have, especially now that I’ve used it.  I was wearing my corset when this body double was made, so it is pretty much my shape in a Victorian corset.  I’m a little bigger now, but not much.  It is made from pre-glued paper tape—essentially it is papier mache.  I wonder if there’s a psychological connection between me remembering to use this, and watching Phantom?  “Lot 665:  a pa-pee-ay ma-shay music box . . .”  😉

~MB

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