Reality Check (i.e., recognizing over-enthusiasm in the mirror)

ca. 1870 (via Tumbler)

ca. 1870 (via Tumbler)

It is time for some serious reality. I will not make the Jane Austen Tea on Sunday and I am crushed.

Deep down, I knew this is how it probably would end, but I’m stubborn and didn’t want to throw in the towel too soon. Well, it’s been thrown now. I’d so been looking forward to meeting Laurel Ann (Ms. Austenprose) and a few other noted local Janeites, enjoying the costuming and the food, the whole shebang. But I’m fighting against a two-part conspiracy.

This virus is a pain in the keester. Our local variety is notorious for laying one out for 4-5 days, hiding for about 2 weeks, and then coming back twice as bad as before. It’s not the flu, “just” a cold…bad enough to wish I’d bought stock in facial tissues (I think I’m carrying the market myself). It is hard, not to mention unsanitary, to layout a pattern, cut, mark, sew, refine fit, etc., when my nose gushes every time I lean forward. And the sneezing is another dimension of  “sharing” I want to fore-go. (Thank goodness the washing machine has a “sanitize” setting.)

I do not want to meet all of these interesting people, only to wipe out half the room. And I don’t think there is a Regency formula for a hand sanitizer. I don’t think the word sanitizer even existed. And wearing a mask over my face defeats my desire for a period-correct evening.

So, it’s a case of same time next year. I would rather make my clothing correctly than slap it together with a “good enough.” It’s happened before.

The other heavily-indited co-conspirator is me. From the beginning I tried to so too much, too fast and got too frustrated and too overwhelmed. That’s what happened with my first Victorian-style bustle dress. I rushed and, while it fit beautifully and the pattern was correct, in the end I didn’t like it. Wrong fabric, wrong colors. I still don’t like it. The only reason it’s on my “Completed” page is to document where I started and how far I can go from there. It also serves as a reminder: do not let this happen again.

While I’ve been busy sneezing and blowing my nose, there has been plenty of time to think and re-assess my goals. What do I want to get out of this? Knowledge, experience and technique. Is throttling myself with deadlines the best way to do that? Not at this particular point in time. So, the deadline board is gone. I care about Costume College next summer. And I care about the JASNA AGM next fall. In light of where I am now, those two are sufficient to keep this squirrel busy… finish a piece, tuck it away, and on to the next.

In truth, it’s nice to leave the pressure behind.  The tricky part for me is not bringing it back. There is so much I want to learn and try. I’m a kid in a pretty dangerous candy shop and restraint is called for. (That’s restraint, not restraints.)

The Plan: finish the long stays, THEN finish the Georgian/Regency gown, THEN complete the bonnet. While I’m doing all that I can contemplate what to do for Costume College. I’m only going to do one costume and it will be done correctly, inside out and head to toe.

There you have it: 2014 in a basic, uncrowded nutshell. If I can do more I will. And if I can’t? Well, the world won’t exactly stop rotating, will it?