Thursday, December 31, 2015

In my life...

"...there are so many questions and answers that somehow seem wrong. In my life, there are times when I catch in the silence the sigh of a faraway song. And it sings of a world that I long to see, out of reach, just a whisper away waiting for me..."
"In My Life" - Les Miserables
This year has been a whirlwind. I think it's safe to say it's been the hardest year of my life - so many new experiences, new challenges, getting to understand myself more, and realizing my weaknesses. But it's also been filled with the best memories of my life. So in this post I'll try to catch you up on the highlights of 2015 in the life of Tara.

• In February, my dream of being in a musical came true. My college put on a production of Fiddler on the Roof, and I was cast as Hodel! :) Funny back story is that when I first saw the film Fiddler on the Roof, Hodel became my "dream role." As I grew up, she went quite a bit lower on my list of dream roles, but it was kind of fun to get to fulfill a dream I had at 7 or 8 years old!
These 4 cuties were my pals, and we had so much fun doing "The Daughters" in "Tradition" together!

•Since I was about 14, we've had multiple weddings of friends every year, and this year proved to be much the same, except that it really hit my tighter group of friends! Witnessing some of my closest friends get married has been a very special part of 2015 for me.
Laura got married!! Happy happy happy day!
It's amazingly fun to be best friends with not only the bride, but the entire bridal party!
This picture makes me smile so big - so blessed to have "brothers" in my life!
Jaclyn got married!! Another happy happy happy day!!

• October saw our whole family in Italy for a vacation. Yes. Italy. It was incredible! We went to Rome, Venice and Florence. I'll do a full post devoted to that alone, because it needs much more than one paragraph in a "catch up" post, but here are a few phone photos to tide you over until the real ones come out!

Venice was my favorite.... it stole a piece of my heart.

• Kids. When I went to college, I wasn't able to spend a lot of time with kids anymore, so over the summer, I got to eat my heart out each week with Amber's kids! Needless to say, we're best buds now. :)

• You all know how much I love musicals and NYC. I had the great joy of seeing 3 shows on Broadway this year. The first one was Aladdin, when my mom and I went to NYC this summer, which I already wrote about. The other two were Wicked and Finding Neverland, which I went to with my friend, Grace. We two had been scheming to go to NYC together, and then out of the blue her mom suggested they go there on a family vacation..... and take me along!! Autumn in New York is amazingly beautiful. And the shows blew me away yet again! Wicked was starring Kara Lindsay as Glinda, which was totally awesome as I listen to her all the time on the Newsies soundtrack. Honestly, we thought our cast was better than the cast recording. *hides from tomatoes being thrown at me* And Finding Neverland still had many of the original cast (including Matthew Morrison.......) which made it even more magical than it already was! :) We felt like we were on wings all weekend!

• This year our dance group took off like a rocket ship! We've enjoyed dancing for about 12 years now, but didn't have consistent opportunities to do it. In 2012, we put hosted our first formal dance, the Titanic Ball, the following year we hosted the Masquerade Ball, and that started our yearly trend of a formal ball. But it still wasn't enough for two girls who love to dance. So this year we began "The Netherfield Dance Society" which hosts informal balls every month at our home. 3 families began to consistently come to each dance, and that formed our "core dance group." Needless to say, it was a highlight of my year dancing together!
• And that branches into.... The Fantastic Five. Oh my. Where to begin with these people?! It all started with a FB message from me spontaneously inviting them over for a game night at our place one night this spring. They couldn't make it, but all five of us ended up FB chatting for a couple hours, and that started "The Chat." It's a series of FB chat group messages between the five of us that are strictly private because they are filled with inside jokes that no one would understand. Since then we've had multiple get togethers between the five of us, began videoing a comedy sketch, and built a hilarious friendship together. Not to mention crazy photoshoots....

• Singing and making music is always a highlight of every year. I had the wonderful opportunity to be coached by Sierra Boggess and Laura Osnes this year, as well as have lessons with 5 different teachers. It has been wonderful to get so many perspectives on my voice. I've also participated in a few competitions, which was a really neat experience, as I never did that growing up. I've learned some amazing opera pieces, as well as fun music theater ones as well! I've also been blessed to be able to play piano at multiple weddings this year! After I completed my freshman year at college, I calculated learning 150 new pieces of music in 8 months...
I just had to post this one again... because, Laura Osnes. 
We didn't realize we'd be at the same competition together until we showed up! It made the day so much more enjoyable to be able to do it with a friend!
Final performance of the Choir Tour to FL!

It's been an amazing year in my life. If I had to summarize when I learned, I would have to say trusting God was the main thing that got drilled over and over and over into my head. There were so many things that happened which I didn't understand, and some which I still don't. But that's ok, because God is in control - He can see the big picture, even when I can't. And I can leave it in His hands, because He is good.
2016, here I come! :)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Accessorizing Colonial

After making my new block print jacket, I turned to some more block printed muslin Amber had given me. There wasn't enough to get another jacket, so I did a little piecing to get a large enough piece for a neckerchief. I love how much something so small can brighten up a whole outfit! And I totally love block printed muslin. It's so beautiful! :)
It's a half square, cut on the diagonal, and the edge is hand-hemmed with a tiny rolled hem. A super simple, but also highly gratifying project! :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

18th Century || Block-printed Muslin Jacket

When Amber comes over and says, "I brought you some fabric", you know it's gonna be amazing.

Amber has become an extremely dear friend of mine - I've known about her for years, and we attended many events together in the past, but it's only been in the last year that we've become really close. We're both 2nd born in the family, super enthusiastic, and artsy. She is one of the most encouraging people I know, wise beyond her years, and always so ready to listen when I'm having a rough time, and point me back to God when I lose my focus.
On top of all that, she's an amazing seamstress, with tons of knowledge about period correct clothing, quality fabrics, and technique.
One day she came over for one of our in-house English Country Dances (my sister and I frequently host informal dances at our house), and brought a stash of fabric. My mind of course started swimming with ideas of what I could make, and here I give you the first of many outfits from the "Amazing Amber Fabric Collection."

This is my first completely hand-sewn 18th century garment. I wanted to hand-sew my previous clothes, but our trips that require new outfits usually spring out of nowhere, leaving me less than a week to get things together, so I never had the time to actually get them done. This time though, I didn't have a specific occasion in mind, so I could take my time, and hand-stitch away.
 There wasn't a ton of fabric with which to work, but I managed to get a jacket out of it. I couldn't quite use the same pattern I've used in the past, so I altered it slightly. To get a full peplum, I put in godets at the side and side back seams. I also had the back seam come to a point, rather than a curve, and split it at the peplum. I used this jacket as inspiration for the peplum back.
 Otherwise it's just a typical jacket, which closes with straight pins down the front. It is lined with white linen, though I left the sleeves un-lined - partly because I didn't want the extra bulk, as my shift has very full sleeves, and partly because I didn't want to use more fabric. :) I may trim this jacket later on, but for now, I'm liking it just plain.
The front slits are bound with bias binding made out of the same fabric.
 I think the lines of the seaming on the back are my favorite part of colonial jackets!
I like that it can be paired with all of my petticoats - brown, blue, and white. Hopefully I'll add more to my petticoat collection down the road, but for now, it is both a pretty and practical edition to my 18th century wardrobe! :) Plus it adds some print, among a bunch of solid colored jackets. :)
Thanks, Amber!! You're amazing!

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