gwendolyngrey: (W&D Cynthia and Molly bright)
I made a fairly last-minute decision to attend the annual Mid-Winter Civil War ball in Lansing with [livejournal.com profile] dandytailor  and [livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon  this past Saturday, and it was probably the best decision I've made in a looong time.

I always enjoy a ball, but this one was just plain fun.  It was pretty long, with nearly five solid hours of dancing, there was a great mix of dances and the caller was really good.  It was also really nice to feel like we're starting to become a little familiar with the regular crowd there... and everyone seems more friendly than at the regency balls.  Not to mention, the Spanish Waltz is pretty much my favorite dance ever, and we had a particularly good one that night which was the last dance of the evening. 

This ball also marked the first time I wore contacts ever outside of the optician's office!  My dad had some medical funds stashed away that needed using before a certain date, so he offered to get me contacts.  I happily accepted this offer, and got myself to Lenscrafters.  I had a wretched time getting the contacts in though, and taking them out was ten times worse!  Fortunately, Katie showed me her very clever method of getting them in which does NOT involve poking yourself in the cornea.  And I no longer have to farb it up in my very modern eyewear.

I stole a couple pictures from Katie to post since my camera didn't make it out of my purse.

The galop was too quick for the camera, but this picture is fairly atmospheric and kinda pretty anyway. 


Call me narcissistic if you like, but I love how my dress looks in this picture.


And after the ball... yes, Katie frequently thinks I have lost my mind... ;)
gwendolyngrey: (Default)
It was with great relief that I drove my car downtown this evening for the Halloween swing dance. 

My poor little car had gone entirely kaput... engine trouble with the spark plugs and horrid klunking on every turn due to some sort of alex/bearing malfunction.  The first mechanic I took it to told me it would cost about $750 to fix.  I despaired for a moment, and then had someone else look at it.  I was initially told by him that it would be about $500, but once he actually started working on it he was able to source cheaper parts, and I only ending up spending about $300!  I don't LIKE laying out that much money in one go, but at least I'm not entirely broke.  And when I drove it tonight it hummed along merrily like it ought to... a great load off my mind!

And swing dance was quite fun.  I went with Mike and Katie (surprise, surprise),  and we all threw together last-minute costumes.  Mike was a WWII sailor, and I had a lot of fun drawing fake tattoos on his arms with sharpie before the dance.  I drew pin-up girls on his forearms, and an anchor on one bicep and added a scroll and letters to an actual temporary tattoo of a ship on the other.  Katie dressed up as Josefina (the birthday outfit)  and I used my 18th cen corset as base for a sort of pirate-ish look.

I have to say though, this was the first dance I've ever been to where I didn't get to dance with anyone outside of my own party.  Perhaps it's due to the vast number of high-schoolers in attendance, but there wasn't a lot of mingling going on.  I think I was kind of spoiled by the recent Civil War ball, where people were quite good at asking strangers/new acquaintances to dance.  All the same, we had a good time... my feet are killing me (half an hour walk there and back plus dancing in heels), but it was worth it.

   

gwendolyngrey: (Lady of Fashion)
The past two days were wonderfully pleasant.

Saturday was the day of the Civil War Harvest Ball held in Lansing (in the same church as the regency balls).  True to form, my dress was re-trimmed (up-trimmed?  I added lace medallions and beads to the bodice and the ruffle and and zig-zags to the skirt.  It still needs a couple more ruffles and beads on the skirt) at the last minute, and I finished the headpiece about half an hour before walking out the door.



The ball itself was great!  I couldn't help but compare it to the regency balls I've attended in the past, and, while I enjoy English Country Dancing, I can't help but think that the mid-century dances were a whole lot more fun.  I went with Mike and Katie, and while Mike divided his time pretty evenly dancing with both of us (and a couple dances with other girls) I didn't experience such a lack of partners as I have at past events, and only sat out two or three dances.  The dancing was also of higher quality than at regency balls... with more experienced dancers and fewer children to clog up the dance floor. 

Perhaps the best part was at the end of the evening, when, after the last 'official' dance, the band struck up a polka.  Mike popped up, seemingly out of nowhere, grabbed my hand and whirled me onto the empty dance floor, where we basically led everyone else galloping and flying around the room.  Best polka I've had in ages, but I was completely out of breath at the end of it!

 

Mike, in his annoying habit, made his entire outfit (sans shirt) in the week before the ball.  I don't think I've ever met anyone who can churn out full outfits as quickly as Mike, and still have them look that good.  My only consolation is that he still has a lot to learn about making ladies clothing, but once he does, he'll be unstoppable.

The whole event was quite an ego boost as well.  Got more compliments on the dress than I could count, and had a great time chatting with Jackie of Past Reflections and Kimberly from The Dressmakers Shop, both of whom were really lovely (and very complimentary!).  We also received several flattering comments from the dance caller, Glen Morningstar, after the ball was over. 

 

After the ball, we went back to Mike's house, where Katie and I spent the night.  We all parted ways on Sunday, and I went back to Grand Rapids where I spent the afternoon with a couple good friends.  Had lunch at a wonderful vegetarian restaurant, and then listened to old records and played Scrabble and card games over tea and cookies all afternoon.  It was beautifully relaxing.

gwendolyngrey: (SBP- air is filled with exclamation poin)
All right, I know Katie already posted this but our f-lists aren't quite the same, so I apologize if you've seen it already.

However, we're having a ball in March!



Join us at the Felt Estate
Laketown Township, Michigan

For a spectacular historical costume ball!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Click the picture or go HERE for more information on the dance, what to wear, and who we are. 

If you want to visit me Michigan, and enjoy good food and good company, you should definitely come!  I would be more than happy to put anyone up who's coming from a distance, I know costume events in the midwest are few and far between, and hopefully this will fill the gap a little.   Pass the word, and we hope to see you there!  ([livejournal.com profile] lindseyerin37, I'm looking at you...)

gwendolyngrey: (Anne- kindred spirits)
It's amazing how going somewhere completely different, even for only a night, can change one's perspective.  I spend yesterday evening with Katie ([livejournal.com profile] rvqavalon ) and Mike McCarty (and Mike's family (who were very nice)) at a Regency ball in the Ann Arbor area.  We weren't there for very long (I was in a meeting until nearly 4:30, and then we had to drive and drive from GR to Mason to Ann Arbor) and had to leave terribly early this morning so I could get to work.  Still, it was a LOT of fun, and was exactly what I needed.  Good friends and dancing is always an amazing combination.

I was really pleased when they ended the event with a waltz, as I have recently decided that it's my favorite thing to do; and since Katie has posted a bunch of pictures of the event on her journal already, and my Dad is nagging at me to let him use the computer, I'll just post a short video of Mike and I waltzing.


(I know it's dark, but I'm wearing my new blue 1820 dress and long white gloves.)

gwendolyngrey: (Anne- little miss perfect)
I gave a presentation today in Capstone, and had the distinction of having some of the other students come up to me afterwards and say they enjoyed it and actually didn't want to fall asleep during the presentation.  It also generated the most interest and feedback of any presentation in class so far.  The assignment was to pick a contemporary artist to write about and present on.

Instead, I talked about Alexander McQueen and his Autumn/Winter 08 collection.

It was a beautiful fifteen minutes.

And tomorrow I have the final for my ballroom dance class.  My partner and I are dancing to Neville's Waltz from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Since we are doing the least flashy dance of all (waltz), we're absolutely determined to be vastly more elegant than any other couple performing.  For we are performing... in front of about 200 people... by ourselves.  I just have to go hem my dress so I don't trip and fall on my face in front of everybody; at the moment, the dress brushes the ground even when I wear my four inch heels... so much potential for disaster!

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