Sunday, September 22, 2013

What I've Been Up To...

Again I've been pulled away from you, dear readers, on various adventures with little time in between to post here.
Well I aim to change that today. This summer has proven to be full of Deco era events, with a bit of Victorian thrown in for good measure. Settle in folks, this is a long one.

Back in early August, I attended the Spirit Of '45 event in San Jose.
It was a great time to celebrate all the veterans of WWII, listen to some great music, get dressed up, be in a parade, shop for fabulous vintage hats, hang out in some beautiful vintage cars, and hang with good friends.

Laura and I in the ice ream parlor.

After that, the next adventure was even more glamorous.
My two best friends, Laura and Cait (of Curse Words And Crinolines) twisted my arm...well, it didn't take much join them for a weekend aboard the Queen Mary.

It was the Annual Art Deco Festival, and everyone was dressed to the nines.
Friday afternoon had a bit of a rocky start to the weekend due to a major screw up of the hotel management, and a visiting camera crew filming a reality TV series.
After checking into our rooms, then unknowingly being checked out in the system so they could accommodate the film crew, we were finally checked *back in* and settled by early evening. We had a bite to eat then dressed for the cocktail party on the observation deck and lounge. It was the first time I wore this vintage 1930s evening dress; a cobalt blue number with silver beading on the low draped back. I pared it with a beaded silver lariat for a belt, as the original is of course missing.

 Later that evening, Laura and I ghosted around the ship in our nightgowns, on our way to the Pajama Party.
Being an old ship, there are lots of random switches and buttons, sometimes randomly located on walls and in corridors. We found one smack dab in the center of a beautiful likely-now-extinct wood veneer wall in the observation bar. Perhaps it was to call a waiter?
Would the wall flip around and expose some secret Nazi lair, a la Indiana Jones?
I was tempted to press the inviting little ivory button in its unlabeled brass plate to see if anything happened. I didn't do it....but there's always next year....

Saturday we strolled about, met up with more friends old and new, and checked out the vendor areas. We spied some black satin knickers embroidered with an amusingly steadfast phrase.

Before getting ready for the Grand Ball, Cait, Michael and I enjoyed the late afternoon lounging on the upper deck.

Once we were in all our finery, we gathered in one of the smaller event areas for cocktails before they opened the doors to the grand ballroom.

The Three Musketeers!

Dinner was amazing, and consisted of multiple courses. The live music, featuring Dean Mora of Mora's Modern Rythmists was stellar.
The three of us girls wore midnight blue; Cait and Laura in blue velvet and yours truly in shimmering blue sequined net.

 Of course, between dinner, desert and dances, hilarious hijinks ensued in the hallways, as per tradition...

 Like a scene out of 'The Women'.

 Left to right:
 Autumn Adamme, Dan'a, Cait, Patricia 
Lippert, Annamarie Von Firley, Me, Laura and Lily Mansfield center floor.

To wind down the evening, we retired to the observation lounge for a special treat.
The after-party was a one-night-only reproduction of how the lounge looked on the night of the Queen Mary's maiden voyage in 1936; The Starlight Lounge.
They brought out and set up all the original tables, chairs, china, silverware, linens, menus and star-scattered drapes on the windows.
The story goes is that they drew those heavy velvet drapes against the coming daylight, and literally danced past dawn while the band played until 7am.
In the years that followed, the restaurant lounge became a highly sought after place to dine and drink while traveling aboard the ship, and reservations were often fully booked 2 years out.
Once again, the band played until the wee hours, and I did a few turns on the dance floor until my poor feet begged for mercy.
Time warp.

 Next on the agenda, was the Sunday tea dance, and we all donned our Sunday best, for tasty treats and savory tea. I pulled out my vintage mid 1930s organdy striped dress and a little black straw hat, while Laura donned a crisp white summer dress and borrowed my burgundy hat. It paired well with the new garnet jewelry she bought during the weekend.

Fashion plate poses: Laura with her fabulous new shoes!

Goofing off with Cait...

 As an end to the weekend, Sunday night found us all gathered together at Sir Winston's; an amazing restaurant also aboard the QM.

 Many thanks to Annamarie and her husband David (seated at the far right) for a wonderful dinner and the perfect end to a lovely weekend with friends.

 Again with the buttons and little flicky switches! 

This time, Laura got brave and actually FLICKED ONE!
It did nothing, which was way more exciting, since we imagine it probably did something somewhere! We ran giggling, like two prank-crazed schoolgirls, down the hall a few doors to our room.

It was hard to leave the next day. It was as though the clock was striking midnight and my glass slippers were changing back to little black flats.

Fast forward to the next weekend:...

I met up once again with my girls for The Empress of India Ball in Palo Alto.
A Victorian era event, we arrived in bustled gowns of silks and crisp cottons. The men were sharply dressed in uniform.
I adore Cait's black and white cotton gown. You can't see it here, but the fabric has little tucks sewn all over.
For this event, I combined my pink silk faille bustle gown, with the ballgown bodice, and a turquoise sari with silver embroidery.
 Laura, in a lovely natural form gown of silver and burgundy.

The next day was the Annual Gatsby picnic!
 I went with the organdy stripe dress again, not only because it was just the right thing for an outdoor party, and the heat called for something light and sheer.
 Riding in Johnny's car to the Gatsby mansion...

 Cait, Michael, Daniel and Laura

We ended the day at a favorite Berkley hang out, The Elmwood for some dinner and hot chai.

Overall, the last few weeks were a fantastic time spent with two fabulous ladies, as well as many others I'm so happy to call friends. I'm looking forward to more adventures this coming fall and winter season. Onward to Dickens Fair!....After we hit Disneyland!


  1. Ah, what a wonderful photos! I love all the gowns! :)

  2. Fabulous! That sequined net gown is especially gorgeous. Love it!


    1. Thank you! That gown is one I actually made from a 1935 pattern.


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