From Darq and Catherine —
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Visit Catherine E. McLean’s author website
For writers, visit Catherine’s blog WritersCheatSheets.com
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DARQ: Hi, Catherine. As much as I wish you a Happy Easter, it isn’t the best of Easters with your world suffering the COVID-19 virus, but do enjoy your Easter Day.
CATHERINE: Thanks, Darq. I see the wreath and the three black, Wysotti funerary flowers . . .
DARQ: The virus took the life of a few of the MIB security detail that escort me. [Darq pats the head of the pink rabbit.] RR was fond of rabbits . . .
CATHERINE: He the one with the white hair and mustache?
DARQ nods: I also have to tell you— I am being recalled to my homeworld.
CATHERINE: What! Why?
DARQ somberly says: I got the virus and—
CATHERINE: You got the virus?
DARQ: Calm down. I got a very mild case—
CATHERINE: But you never said —
DARQ: Couldn’t. You know how the MIB [Men in Black] are. Security and all that. I was quarantined, got better, stayed healthy. As of yesterday, the doctors and all the tests cleared me to return home.
CATHERINE: So you’re coming back to the farm to get your things?
DARQ (shaking her head sadly): No. Sorry. I’m returning to my homeworld tomorrow.
DARQ nods: Just hang onto my trunk of clothes and stuff for the time being. And, Catherine — it’s not certain when I will return to your planet. All depends on the course of the coronavirus and how quickly things for you and your people return to normal. So—
CATHERINE: We play it by ear?
DARQ smiles and nods: Hope to see you come October. Stay safe and healthy.
CATHERINE: Have a safe journey home, Darq.
A NOTE TO SEWERS: I had planned to make Darq a yellow Easter gown for a Spring Tea, but the coronavirus has forced cancellation of group events, travel, self-quarantining, etc. And, in light of the ever-mounting death toll from the virus, it seemed best that Darq wear something more somber for Easter. Her gray tunic is a wool-suiting blend. Her slacks are black linen-rayon. No bling on the shoes. As a matter of fact, those black leather shoes she’s wearing are from a previous outfit.
It is my sincere hope that fall will see things return to normal and that Darq will return to blog anew.
Wishing you sunshine and the joy of spring flowers in bloom this Easter day.
# # #
CATHERINE: I received this photo from Darq. Her message was brief. Seems she got all dressed up for a dinner-fund-raiser and at the very last minute, the event was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Her security detail, the MIBs (the Men In Black), whisked her off to a safe site where she’ll be under quarantine.
Her outfit consists of two pieces. The top is gold lame, the skirt is lace underlined with crepe satin. As to her shoes . . .
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day may be low-key this year because of the CDC and government recommendations about “hunkering down,” staying home with family, limiting group gatherings to 10 people, practicing good hygiene habits, etc. Still, Darq and I wish all who celebrate it a —
Coronavirus information can be found at the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
DARQ: Wishing you the happiest of Valentine’s Days!
CATHERINE: And the same to you DARQ. We have snow and slush to deal with, but it looks like you’re in a balmier clime.
DARQ: Sure am. Oh, and we’re having a Valentine’s Hunt — you know, like an Easter egg hunt only we have to find valentine-hearts.
CATHERINE: How marvelous.
DARQ: Well, I better get picking valentine’s before anyone else comes along.
CATHERINE: Looks like you have picked up a couple on your shoes.
DARQ: Don’t be silly. Those hearts are part of the bling on my shoes!
CATHERINE chuckles, then says: They are very sparkly.
DARQ: And really comfortable shoes for trekking through these acres and acres of gardens. Now, I have valentines to pick. You have a happy Friday and a Happy Valentine’s Day!
and the long-distance connection ends . . . . . . . . . . .
What will Darq wear for St. Patrick’s Day?
Stop back and see — or follow this blog.
A NOTE TO SEWERS:
Darq’s dress is crepe-backed satin with a lace “cape” which is fastened to the dress with old earring pieces I found in my “Junk Jar.” Darq’s shoes are glitter foam. I stuck the self-adhesive foam to the lining fabric, which is a scrap of the dress satin. Darq’s earrings spell out “LOVE.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
# # #
CATHERINE: Who’s hiding behind that feathery cape?
DARQ: Why me, of course!
DARQ: As you can see, they revised the photo opportunity corner of the ballroom at this mountain lodge to reflect the theme of “A Starry Night.”
CATHERINE: Yes, I see all those “stars” on the wall. By the way, you look stunning!
DARQ: Thank you! And, Catherine, you did a fantastic job recreating this ensemble for me from the pictures I brought back from my homeworld. Thanks to your sewing talents, I’ve received almost non-stop compliments.
CATHERINE: That’s great! So — take the cloak off and reveal the dress.
DARQ removes her cloak —
DARQ: This dress is simple, yet very elegant. And I love the way the fabric swirls around me. The train hem floats across the fake snow. Oh, and just look at my shoes —
CATHERINE mutters, “Always the shoes.” then says: Certainly more bling than your Christmas shoes had!
DARQ chuckles, then says: But of course — Oh, my! I have to go. They’ve announced the a buffet breakfast-brunch is now being served!
**************CATHERINE and DARQ: To all who stop by, we wish you a
***What will Darq wear for the Valentine’s Day Ball? Follow this blog to find out or ask to be added to Darq’s mailing list to be notified of blog posts — https://www.catherineemclean.com/connect-with-catherine-form.html
*********Note to Sewers
Darq’s cloak is a woven metallic gabardine that’s trimmed with feathers. The feather trim is topped with a metallic ribbon. The “embroidery” is actually an iron-on decal (like for T-shirts). The dress is light blue satin.
The original picture I used for the dress design was from a 1920’s cut-out-doll’s dress. Unfortunately I drew the sleeve upside-down on my pattern and didn’t figure that mistake out until I had the dress on Darq. Fortunately, the satin fabric allowed the sleeves to fold naturally to what you see. I tacked the folds down with the satin flowers.
# # #
DARQ: Despite the weather (way too much snow!), the MIBs (Men in Black) got me to my mountain destination. The week-long holiday event’s theme is Christmas Wonderland. The following picture of my gown was taken at the “Photo Op Corner” of the ballroom—
And, of course, my outfit isn’t complete without a look at my bejeweled and snowflaked shoes —
By the way, Catherine is down on the farm having a quiet Christmas and New Years, but for me, I’ll be waltzing a dance floor, dining on fine food, and enjoying days of winter sports like learning to shred the gnar (snowboarding). I loved the sleigh ride yesterday and even got to do some skiing. This holiday event will end with another charity ball on New Year’s Eve. Stop back then to see my New Year’s ball gown.
Wishing you a peaceful, joyful, and happy Christmas!
**************************NOTE TO SEWERS**************************
Darq’s gown is satin. Rabbit-fur like feather trims the sleeve caps. A bit of the trim-fluff was incorporated into her hairpiece. The feather trim is also used on the top of the hem’s satin fringe. Hand stitching that trim was difficult because the thread kept getting snarled by the soft strands of feather-fluff. Darq holds a rabbit-fur muff in her right hand (way easier to sew!). The idea for this gown came from a coloring book.
I wish you all the best this Christmas Day! — Catherine
# # #
DARQ: Hello! I am grateful for all who follow this blog and extend to you a heartfelt wish for a Happy Thanksgiving!
CATHERINE: I’ll second that – Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And, Darq, how do you like the 1920’s style gown I made for you?
DARQ: I love it! Especially because everyone can see the shiny bling on my shoes — — —
CATHERINE mutters: You and your shoes.
DARQ: What did you say?
CATHERINE: Enjoy the ball and Thanksgiving . See you when you get back to the farm.
NOTE TO SEWERS:
Here’s the inspiration for Darq’s gown —
This came from a cut-out book of 1920’s paper dolls. The gown is brown satin with metallic confetti. The contrasting tabs are synthetic suede lined with the same satin as the dress. Sewing all those point on the hem of the dress and sleeves was a challenge. I ended up using tulle for a facing because lining the dress would have made things far too bulky.
What will Darq wear for a “Winter Wonderland” gown for the Christmas charity ball she’ll attend next month? Follow this blog and find out!
# # #
From and undisclosed residence, Darq video chats with author Catherine E. McLean . . .
DARQ: Hello! I’m having a Rock-n-Roll time at this year’s Halloween Party where the theme is a “Sock Hop.”
CATHERINE: I love the Halloween decor – and you fit right in with your 1950’s Poodle Skirt!
DARQ: I actually stand out in my outfit – very retro as they say, and to satisfy the curious who read last month’s post about what’s under my poodle skirt –
CATHERINE chuckles, then says: A nylon net petticoat – how quaint! And itchy.
DARQ: Not so itchy. That’s because the layers of net are attached to my taffeta underpants, I mean pettipants.
CATHERINE: Okay, put the skirt down. I also see you’re wearing plain old saddle shoes. Considering how much you love bling on your shoes –
DARQ: Oh, ho – not so plain. The black is all glittery. The picture probably doesn’t show that very well. So my track record with blinged-out shoes still stands.
CATHERINE (mutters): except for the one time . . .
DARQ: Hey, Catherine, you won’t believe the party’s food – it’s retro-retro.
DARQ: Really-really. You should see the jello. Every color of the rainbow. Some dishes have three layers of color, others have veggies or fruits mixed in – one platter has mini watermelon-looking wedges –
And then there is this –
But my favorite is this one infused with vodka!
CATHERINE: 1950’s food . . . Do they have any celery and cheese whiz? Spam on skewers?
DARQ (chuckles): Yes, those are on the buffet tables. They even have an old-fashioned Ice Cream Soda Fountain set up opposite the bar that offers 1950’s delights like Manhattans, Screwdrivers, and something I’ve yet to try – a Singapore Sling.
CATHERINE: Careful you don’t get tipsy.
DARQ: No chance with the rock-and-roll dances. I’ve already jived to Rock Around the Clock, and done The Twist, flubbed at the Hula Hoop Contest, and I’m on my way to the DJ with this album from the Rolling Stones.
CATHERINE: What’s the tune you’re going to have the DJ play?
DARQ: Heart of Stone.
CATHERINE: Rather a mild rock and roll tune.
DARQ: You think so?
CATHERINE shrugs, then says: I was never a music lover.
DARQ: Pity. I rather like this party’s rock-n-roll tunes. And speaking of parties, I finally have my itinerary of events for the coming months.
CATHERINE (groans): What costumes do you need?
DARQ (flashing a grin): No costume-costume. I need ball gowns.
CATHERINE: Ball gowns? Surly not for every occasion. How many of the events are themed affairs?
DARQ shakes her head: None are themed. I take that back. Maybe the overall theme is simple elegance.
CATHERINE: Elegance? As in, Erte and haute coutour fashions?
DARQ: Well, maybe one or two can be Erte-esque. As always, I’ll leave the designs to you. Just make me look sophisticated and lovely as always.
A voice booms out over the loudspeaker: Number 52 – Bring your song!
DARQ: That’s my number. I have to go. See you when I get back to the farm! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
Where will Darq be for Thanksgiving?
What kind of ball gown will she wear?
Stop back on Thanksgiving Day and see!
NOTE TO SEWERS:
Making the poodle skirt brought back memories of the 1950’s and wearing one!
The skirt is felt (as was the original Poodle Skirt).
The poodle on the skirt is a purchased applique, but I embroidered the leash using crewel cotton, then laced the leash with metallic silver embroidery floss.
The saddle shoes are white felt with adhesive backed black glitter art foam. The laces are pearl cotton. (It wasn’t easy to tie those little bows!)
I sewed layers of orange, black, and green netting onto Darq’s taffeta pettipants.
I was going to add a belt, which was usually part of the costume, but the felt proved too bulky to be cinched in, so no belt.
SPECIAL NOTE – I took the inspiration for this costume and diorama from reading Liz’s post at the blog Vintage Inn . You might want to indulge in a bit of nostalgia there – https://www.vintageinn.ca/?s=hold+a+sock+hop+party
# # #
CATHERINE: Welcome back to the farm Darq! My but you look like a weary traveler.
DARQ: I am a weary traveler, mostly because of the stormy weather delaying air flights to Pennsylvania — and spending way too many hours in waiting areas. I’m feeling as rumpled as my traveling vest!
CATHERINE: Such a pretty vest with all that embroidered applique work.
DARQ: It’s a Wysotti design vest I bought on my homeworld. There’s a bigger applique on the back. Take a look—
CATHERINE: Wow, that’s gorgeous. So is your hairpiece.
DARQ: The hair decoration was a gift from both my sisters. Such medallions worn in the hair are the current fad on my homeworld.
CATHERINE: And speaking of fancy, turn around and show me your shoes.
DARQ turns around —
CATHERINE: Definitely bling-worthy!
DARQ: By the way Catherine, the flowers are for you. I know how much you love wild flowers, so I brought you some from my homeworld.
CATHERINE: Aren’t there laws against bringing real flowers and plants to Earth? Didn’t the MIB [Men in Black] tell you that?
DARQ (chuckles): Even though these flowers are an accurate depiction of the flowers of my homeworld, they are fakes. Synthetic materials. No pollen, no scent, no bees, no seeds.
CATHERINE (sighs with relief): Thank you for the flowers! Now, what’s on your schedule of appearances while you’re here on planet Earth?
DARQ: First up will be a Halloween Party at the end of the month.
CATHERINE: And the party’s theme?
DARQ: A Sock Hop.
CATHERINE: Oh, what fun. Rock-n-Roll, Poodle Skirts —
DARQ: I’m to wear a skirt made from a dog’s hide?
CATHERINE (laughs): No! Poodle skirts are made of felt. The skirt has an applique of a Poodle dog on it. (Catherine smirks.) And, oh, my dear, just wait until you find out what you have to wear under that skirt.
CATHERINE: I’m not going to tell. You and this blog’s readers will just have to stop back on Halloween to find out what your Poodle Skirt looks like and what’s under it!
DARQ: Sounds like a plan.
~~~~~~Note to Sewers~~~~~ I hand embroidered the symbols on Darq’s vest and then machine appliqued them to the fabric. I used my sewing machine’s stitch features to put the feather/leaves onto the garment. The vest fabric is corduroy with a neon blue metallic lame lining. The rest of her outfit is a polyester blouse over linen slacks. Comfy clothes for traveling!
Stop back on Halloween to see the Sock Hop reveal of Darq’s Poodle Skirt and accessories !