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The picnic was fantastic,, surprising no one more than me, because the morning dawned grey and damp, worrying me rather a lot, and my silicone muffin pan kept ruining my chocolate cupcakes. (sigh) Sir had an MRI for some shoulder trouble scheduled for 10AM, and we thought that we'd have plenty of time for him to get home, load up the car and head to the park early, so as to stake out some space for the gathering. Wrong! By 11:30 I was looking over our things and muttering worriedly to myself when he called and told me to leave without him, since he hadn't been seen yet. Add that to surprise construction on the N and I was late to my own affair. (sigh)

However, the day brightened and developed a lovely breeze, and people began to show up! [livejournal.com profile] chelseagirl47 was there with Miriam and Althea by the time I rushed up, and in the end we had about 12 people, which is not bad at all for 1 week of notice. Most everyone brought something to read or show off, with [livejournal.com profile] chelseagirl47 and I having an Arts and Crafts Movement theme going on, with her reading from Ruskin (BTW, what was that book you were reading from?) and Althea was kind enough to do a reading from the gigantic William Morris book I had brought to show around (I don't read aloud very well, my brain and eyes move too quickly for my mouth, so I stumble and stutter if I can't do a lot of rehearsal.). She reads beautifully, which made it even more of a pleasure for me. Another attendee brought a mandolin, and after a reading of a somewhat surprisingly funny Joseph Conrad story he played some sea shanties, which was a lot of fun. There was plenty of food being shared about, everyone was beautifully dressed up, and all in all people seemed to have a very mellow, pleasant time. I'm *so* pleased. There's interest in it being a monthly thing, as I'd hoped, and while my original idea was a back and forth between Prospect and Central Parks people said Central is too crowded, which is fine by me - while Prospect Park is somewhat of a trek from Astoria it's an easy one, and there's a Jamaican restaurant nearby. I'll put up with a lot for good Jamaican.

I'm really happy with this - my intention and desire was to have a quiet, mellow event that put few expectations/burdens on people in terms of money and time, both things precious few people I know have these days. All I really did was give out the invitation, it was what everyone brought to it that made it all come together so well.

I'm already musing on next month, thinking of things I want to look at to see if they make good readings, what food to bring, (While I am quite specific that people only need bring enough to feed themselves, many people brought to share, and Sir and I are incapable of not feeding armies.) and how to make a water-cooler look steampunk. Giant tea cozy!

In other news my mother is amazing. Every few years I get a birthday present, and when I do it's something amazing. Last time it was a gift certificate to a knitting shop, beaded stitch markers, and a gorgeous side table. I think I was 26. Today she told me to get online and buy a Victorian outfit from someplace like Clockwork Couture or Gentleman's Emporium. I actually asked her not to, instead I asked her to get me a set of heirloom quality, hand cast sewing scissors - three sizes, everything I could possibly need in the absolute best quality. Currently I'm using scissors that belonged to my grandmother, which seems nicer than it is, since the metal is so worn down they can't possibly cut in a straight line, making it impossible to do anything well, much less work from a pattern with any hope of success. For the cost of one outfit I bought the ability to make my own. I can't wait till they arrive.

Date: 2010-06-14 10:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chelseagirl.livejournal.com
The book is an anthology called The Genius of John Ruskin, edited by my professor, John Rosenberg.

The passage was from a chapter called "The Nature of Gothic" in his Stones of Venice. Ruskin's quite long-winded, so actually if you want to explore him, I would recommend the Rosenberg anthology -- it's in print. (I just checked on Amazon.)

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