The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, April 30, 2012

Greet May 1st with Morris dancing!

Morris dancers in England.  By Kaihsu Tai,
GNU Free Documentation 1.2
My friend Amy is a Morris dancer and says that it's traditional to greet the sun (i.e. get up before sunrise and dance at dawn) on May 1st, "to make sure the sun will rise for the rest of the year."  So, if you happen to be up before 5 a.m. tomorrow morning, and you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, why not go down to one of the following Morris dancing performances?

Berkeley Morris: from 5:30 to 6:45 a.m. at Inspiration Point in Tilden Park.
Mad Molly: at 5:50 a.m. at the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.
Goat Hill: at 5:45 a.m. in the Twin Peaks parking lot in San Francisco. E-mail goathillsquire (at) oakashthorn (dot) com for more information about the group.
Seabright Morris & Sword: at 5:30 a.m. at the Lighthouse on West Cliff Dr in Santa Cruz.
Apple Tree Morris: at 5:30 a.m. at the Sebastopol Community Center Youth Annex, 425 Morris St., Santa Rosa.

They say that there will be dancing all day long, so you may still be able to catch a performance even if you can't be there at dawn!  

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Oh, Fair to See", by Christina Rossetti

Fruit tree in bloom.
Oh! Fair To See 
Oh, fair to see 
Bloom-laden cherry tree, 
Arrayed in sunny white: 
An April day’s delight, 
Oh, fair to see! 

Oh, fair to see 
Fruit-laden cherry tree, 
With balls of shining red 
Decking a leafy head, 
Oh, fair to see! 
-- by Christina Rossetti 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"The Valley of Heart's Delight", a poem from 1931.

Orchard in bloom. 

The Valley of Heart's Delight
The Santa Clara Valley is
To those who hold it dear
A veritable paradise
Each season of the year.

One loves it best in April
When the fruit trees are in bloom
And a mass of snowy blossoms
Yields a subtle sweet perfume.
When orchard after orchard
Is spread before the eyes
When the whitest of white blossom
'Neath the bluest of blue skies.

No brush can paint the picture
No pen describe the sight
That one can find in April
In "The Valley of the Heart's Delight."
-- Clara Louise Lawrence, "The Valley of the Heart's Delight" (1931)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Working on a Titanic costume project.

ca. 1911 day dress
Well, as everyone around here knows, this Sunday marks the 100th year since the tragic sinking of the Titanic, and I'm planning to attend some of the memorial events in the Bay Area.  While the Titanic dinner sounds fabulous, it's way out of my budget, and I didn't have anything to wear to the Titanic Ball last weekend.  A few friends from my costume guild are meeting for tea at a local tea room, and going to see the 3-D version of James Cameron's "Titanic" immediately afterwards.  I don't plan to join them for the movie, because 3-D movies always give me headaches, but I'll be there for tea!  That means a costume from 1912 ...

my vintage "pneumonia blouse"
I made a ca. 1911 shirtwaist and skirt for the California Woman's Suffrage Centennial last fall, so if I don't get anything else made, I can wear that.  I also have a 1912-ish blue lingerie gown that a friend made and passed on to me when she could no longer wear it, and it's just barely big enough (if I pull my corset laces tight!), but I need to put the hem up so I don't trip.  I've also been working on a ca. 1910-ish linen skirt and jacket, and I have a vintage ca. 1912 lingerie blouse that would be perfect with them.  However, the skirt is in the Edwardian high-waist style and I discovered that I don't have the right materials to make the fitted under-waistband that will keep the skirt waist at its proper position.  I haven't even cut the jacket out yet, and the vintage blouse is damaged and needs restoration, including the removal of rust stains.

Then, on top of that, I need the accessories, in particular the hat and hairstyle.  I have white stockings and T-strap pumps that will do, as well as vintage (1950s) elbow-length gloves and a modern handbag that sort of looks Edwardian, but I just have no imagination when it comes to trimming hats.  My hair, while it's very long, is also thin and fine, and won't hold a curl or wave even if I coat my hair with products and sleep in curlers, and it disappears to nothing when I pin it up.  So much for a full, luxurious, Gibson Girl marcel-wave hairstyle!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An April Day.

 An April Day
When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
‘T is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain.

I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.

From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
The drooping tree revives.

The softly-warbled song
Comes quick from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.

When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.

And, when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o’er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.

Inverted in the tide,
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.

Sweet April! – Many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life’s golden fruit is shed.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter blessings!


The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
-- Psalm 103:8-11

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
-- A. E. Housman, "A Shropshire Lad", 1887
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)