Sunday, June 29, 2008

Victorian Tea

Hello everyone!

What a blessed day this turned out to be! Precious and I went to a Victorian Tea in the botanical gardens here. It was a blessing from the Lord. It showed me how He really works everything out, how He puts things in our path, and how He helps us.

Let me begin at the beginning...
Last week the Wonder Sweetie needed some things from town. After shopping we quickly pulled into the local nursery for some fertilizer for our tomatoes. I stayed in the car, deep in thought and struggle with the Lord about something I cannot remember now (funny how that happens!). WS came out with an advertisement for this tea--he thought I might be interested.

To be honest, I was but I thought it would be too expensive for tickets for me and Precious and for the costumes (which were not necessary but encouraged). Wonder Sweetie insisted, so I bought the tickets and spent the past week scrambling for supplies for our costumes. Thank the Lord I had most of a Victorian outfit for myself, but Precious did not have anything. I looked for a pattern and found none, so it was pretty much whatever I could manage. The fact that there was no pattern was a blessing--the dress turned out so much better than it would have with a pattern (the Lord just let everything work perfectly!)! I spent most of the week sewing and decorating hats--I love that the Victorian era is very fond of "stuff on things", like birds on a hat or ribbons on a skirt, etc.

Parenthetically, I also spent an inordinate amount of time chasing off the cat who figured that there is also no place in the house so comfy as the skirt on the floor that I am on my hands and knees trying to carefully pin. Oh and I discovered he stole a satin rose for my costume, which I had to hunt down. Our best moment, though, was when he thought that under Precious's skirt (while she was wearing it) was the PERFECT place to hide and conduct surprise kitty attacks on me. I finally had to get the squirt gun. Precious did not even complain when I lifted the hem of her skirt to fire salvo after salvo of water at the cat who rolling in the tulle around her ankles!

The show itself was superb. Everyone was so very nice! There were many people in costume. They had tents set up around the gardens where you could find something to eat, tea to drink, crafts to do, or craftsmen to talk to. They had a quintet in the upper part of the garden and a dulcimer player in the lower part. Yesterday Precious and I watched Greer Garson in Pride and Prejudice just to get in the mood, and the tea today was very much like the scene of the picnic at the Bingley's.

I wish I could set up a place where people could just come, talk quietly, homeschool in the shade, putter in the flowers, have spontaneous instrument playing, bring their art supplies and paint the Lord's bounty, gather together to do some charity work....all in the fresh air and pretty surroundings (Victorian Dress optional!).

I cannot count how many people asked if they could take a picture of Precious and me, though my favorite request came at the end of the tea. I was taking down the number in my Treo of a fellow who is part of a dance group, and a teenager came up chuckling and said "Can I take a picture of you in your Victorian dress, typing on your Blackberry?". I loved the irony in that picture!

The day was wonderful for Precious. She has been having some struggles lately, and it was a wonderful chance to get out, be pretty and delicate, feel the sun and the breeze, take pictures, and be surrounded by beauty and grace in everyone and everything around her. She is usually pretty reserved (her best compliment is usually a mildly surprised "That's not bad"), but has thanked us profusely for the experience. I direct the thanks and praise to God who arranged an incidental, spur of the moment, "let me just run in and grab something" stop at a store into one of the best days we have had in a long, long while. I realize more and more that He WILL arrange things, will put things in our path. Also, though His chastisement is painful at times, His bounty for each of us individually is overwhelming. He has specific bounty for each of us, specific kindnesses that come at just the right time. He is altogether wonderful.


LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I am glad you started a blog. I saw photographs of the early settlements in Alaska, and it was a wonderment to me, to see the ladies of the 1800's dressed in their typical fashions, even in Alaska. There was a great "Victorian" influence there, and Queen Victoria herself sponsored several scientific/exploration type of expeditions to the north. It is always so fascinating to see some of the early photography and to know that they were so brave to go there when many parts of it were not even settled.

Aelwyn said...

Hmm...I didn't know Queen Victoria sponsored expeditions here!

Where were these botanical gardens?! We live between Wasilla and Palmer in the MatSu Valley. I have yet to find a tea room in Alaska and would love to know of events like these.

arrowsparrow said...


They were the Georgeson Botanical Gardens. They are a bit far from you, but I am sure that you probably have even more of these types of things where you live! I would contact the local university (that is who sponsored this), plus any "ladies shops" (the ones that sell the pretties that we like, such as journals, gifts, etc), art galleries, and any public garden around your area.
Hope you find something like this, it was such a great deal of fun!

Aelwyn said...

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll just keep an eye out for events going on. Isn't it strange that coffee seems to be THE drink in Alaska? It is everywhere. I love coffee, but really enjoy a good cream tea once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

those dresses are beautiful! Your sewing skills inspire me :)