Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas in Wmsbrg

We had our Christmas party today--as a departure from the norm, we went to a Chinese buffet. It was nice, except for the fact that the chairs were crammed so close together it was nearly impossible to get by. But! Sushi and sesame chicken and fried rice, crab rangoon, dumplings and egg drop soup and teriyaki chicken... I managed to stop after two plates (plus dessert), but I could have grazed for hours.

Afterward we were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the DeWitt Wallace Museum's new exhibit, Quilted Fashions. The tour was led by Linda Baumgarten, who's written several books about eighteenth century fashions and textiles. We started out in the actual collections of CW, oohing and aahing over actual costumes from the 1700 and 1800s, carefully unfolded in their storage drawers. It was astonishing to see actual garments and note the handstitching--"ah! THAT's how it's done!"--all the while resisting the urge to touch, lift, stroke, lick, etc.

Then we went upstairs and Linda talked about the quilts and quilted clothes on display--lots of quilted petticoats and embroidered/pieced garments. The museum also features "study drawers" with different pieces...Nicole and I nearly had simultaneous heart attacks when we opened up the last one to reveal a beautiful black silk coat embroidered all over with lilies of the valley and other greenery. It's a good thing the drawers are covered with plexiglass, because I was very nearly drooling. So much pretty...

All in all, a very pleasant afternoon, and a nice break from work. We have no projects right now, so I've been repairing returned items, getting them ready to go into stock, to be reassigned. It's been low-pressure, so I've had time to practise hand sewing (flipping a stomacher is no fun, even in the 21st century) but it's less interesting that, say, building a jacket. We also exchanged Secret Santa gifts...I got a tin of sipping chocolate, some Walker's Shortbread and some Devonshire cream. Turns out my Secret Santa was my boss' boss...someone who's waxed nostalgic about London with me many a time, hence the Devonshire cream. Mmm...

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