A Regency Ball


It was a first for the Bluestockings: the invitations were issued by our friends we met at Jondaryan Heritage Festival.  Preparations were a bit of a scramble as we had only two weeks to find or construct our costumes, and I confess to being concerned to present in front of folk who have hosted period balls for years.

Have I mentioned before that I can’t sew?   Costume stores, apart from the prohibitive cost of hiring multiple outfits, were out because of the timing of our holidays and the public holidays.  So it was off to the op shops.

Miss 12 found this dress (I’m thinking 70’s Bridesmaid?) and it was love at first sight.  So with thoughts of pinning the waist higher, and cutting the sleeves short and puffy to suit the Regency period, we took it home.

The Broderie Anglaise  sleeves, however, formed a large part of what Miss 12 had fallen in love with.  Not even the thought of missing out on wearing opera length gloves would move her.  Or more to the point, in my mind, the thought of wearing long, synthetic sleeves mid summer!  There was a lot of dress pinning, a brooch to aid the staying power of the pinning,  a night with her hair in rags, and a pair of satin ballet slippers to finish the costume.

The Chicklette came across this fluffy pink wonder, and I knew God loved me.  (You would have to understand how much the task of sewing can daunt me, to know what a deliverance it was to find a suitable dress.)  With the addition of long trailing ribbons, a brooch, gloves, fan, reticule and an upstyle, she was deliciously “Pride and Prejudice”.  (Puff sleeves would have been perfect.  But I remind you, Bloggy friends – just two weeks to prepare, and I can’t sew for peanuts.)

Mr BB was prepared, under sufferance, to show up at the event, but not to be involved in procuring his costume.  I purchased a top hat and gloves on ebay; black pants and  jacket from the op shop; and Mr BB’s own black shoes and white shirt sufficed. My mother donated a pair of white support stockings, which on being presented almost sent Mr BB into an apoplectic fit, but I’m sure you’ll agree they looked lovely. 😛 😀  😉

Mr BB’s jacket had to be turned into tails.  I procrastinated for as long as possible (under the guise of waiting for inspiration, but really just hoping the job would do itself) and finally tackled it with the kind of recklessness that is born of being forced to sew under pressure.  Or sew at all.  (Have I mentioned.. I don’t? )

The pants had to be cut short to just below the knees, and I used the removed pieces to attach to the back of the jacket to make tails. I cut a curve along the front of the jacket to shorten it to waist length and added satin ribbon to cover the raw edges.  The bottom of the pants had the same black satin ribbon to draw them to the leg.

The result?  The lighting at the Ball was soft and forgiving.  That’s all that matters 😛

Along with our gloves and fans, we each carried our own designed and hand-sewn  silk reticule. When Grandma (whose house we left from) felt the weight of the Chicklette’s, she exclaimed at what she could be carrying that was so heavy.

It did contain the necessary :  a fine linen handkerchief, a lip gloss, a purse-size perfume, and… a pocket knife.  Yes, a pocket knife.  Grandma was shocked; Mr BB laughed and announced that only the Chicklette would go to a ball “packing”;  but the Chicklette was unruffled.   A girl needs to be … um.. prepared.  That’s it. Prepared.  I consoled Grandma with the thought that at least it didn’t contain the torch and compass that normally come with the knife.

It was impossible to find a free pattern for reticules on the ‘net, and the Chicklette assures me (even though slack-at- blogging runs in the family!) that she will be posting our patterns, with a tutorial, for the beneficence of womankind.  Stay tuned for that one.

Our hosts had transformed a church hall into a wonderland of candles and flowers.  Wrought iron sconces lined the walls, with flowers wreathed about the candles.  Matching chandeliers hung from the centre of the room.

Friends, it’s not something I would have thought to do, but the evening was very enjoyable.  Our hosts, who are old hands at period balls, started the practice many years ago as an amusement for their young people.  Did I mention they are homeschoolers?  Of course there is a wealth of research required in preparation, and many skills to experiment with to bring the event to pass.

So, if you are looking for an idea to enhance your history program this might just be the ticket! 😉


Playing with: Cinquains


The traditional cinquain is based on a syllable count.

  • line 1 – 2 syllables
  • line 2 – 4 syllables
  • line 3 – 6 syllables
  • line 4 – 8 syllables
  • line 5 – 2 syllables

The modern cinquain is based on a specific number of words and their functions.

  • line 1 – one word (noun) a title or name of the subject
  • line 2 – two words (adjectives) describing the subject
  • line 3 – three words (verbs) describing an action related to the subject
  • line 4 – four words (adjectives) describing a feeling about the subject, or a complete (four word) sentence
  • line 5 – one word referring back to the subject of the poem

Here is an example  of a modern cinquain from a little girl of my household:


Cute, pretty,

Smiling, sleeping, laughing,

Soft, warm, squishy, delightful,




I have written a …. rebuttal… if you will,  in the traditional style of the syllable count.  Of course, I love our baby to bits, so it’s tongue in cheek…..kind of  😉


long, endless nights

waking, crying, feeding

longing for that blessed relief:

sweet dreams!


If you decide to try your hand at writing a cinquain;

1. Post it on your blog

2. Leave a comment here with a link to the post

3. Check the links in the comments, and explore what creative genius is out there!

If you don’t have a blog,  you can leave your cinquain in the comments here: we’ll still get to enjoy it.

Come, friends, dazzle me with your lyrical powers! ( I know you can do it  😀 )










Time to Play: Limericks


the owl and the pussy cat

What is a limerick, Mother?
It’s a form of verse, said brother
In which lines one and two
Rhyme with five when it’s through
And three and four rhyme with each other.

Author unknown.

We have Edward Lear, of “The Owl and the Pussy Cat” poem, to thank for limericks.  They are fun, and the most concise way of telling a story!

Fancy trying to write one? 😀

The form is explained in the anonymous poem above: lines one, two and five rhyme with each other, lines three and four rhyme with each other.  While it’s a little harder than you might think at first glance, it’s such an enjoyable way to torment yourself, and the end product can amuse, (or infuriate 😉 ) or charm your friends!

If you decide to try your hand at writing a limerick;

1. Post it on your blog

2. Leave a comment here with a link to the post

3. Check the links in the comments, and explore what creative genius is out there!

If you don’t have a blog,  you can leave your limerick in the comments here: we’ll still get to enjoy it! Contributions from children in the family are also welcome 🙂

Here’s one I prepared before hand. It was written about my friend, Susan, when I was trying to win my way back into the running for some delectable choc cherry-ripe cake…

There once was a board shepherdess

Who was, I have to confess

A little verbose

but her words were a dose

of instruction inclined to bless!

(There is an alternative reading for the fourth and fifth line, in honour of her Mafia connections, oops! Italian name, which reads..but her words were you know-se ..very inclined to bless)

And this for my friend, Vimal, who has been such an encouragement to me on my Urban Daisy blog.

I have a friend across the sea

Who writes some clever poetry

He writes so fine

That I think mine

Is not fit for him to see  😛  😉

All right, friends; READY, STEADY…..WRITE! 😀