Halloween Masquerade 2018

Catherine’s screen winks on and an image flares in brilliant color  — 


DARQ: Hi, Catherine! Happy Halloween! And, yes, that’s me behind the mask. The 1830’s Themed Masquerade Ball has wound down. Soon I’ll be escorted by my MIB team to the airfield, and on my way back to your farm.

CATHERINE:  Happy Halloween to you, too. How was the party? Can you show me how your costume looks on you?

DARQ: As you wish —  [She hands one of the Men In Black her cellphone and steps back to the ballroom’s decorated wall. The MIB takes the picture.]

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As soon as the MIB returns the phone to Darq, CATHERINE says: Oh, wow. You look like you stepped out of the 1830’s!

DARQ: I’m not sure I would have wanted to live in that era.  You wouldn’t believe the problems I and the other women had with our costumes.

CATHERINE: I might. So, what kind of problems?

DARQ: Where to start —  ah, yes. At the top  — with the hairdos and elaborate feather headpieces. It took an hour for the maid to do up my hair, but the style was very becoming, don’t you think?

CATHERINE: Indeed I do.  Now, what about the fascinators?

DARQ: Fascinators?

CATHERINE: That’s what we humans currently call such hat-like concoctions. They’re back in popularity these days, particularly in England and for Derby Day here in Kentucky.

DARQ: I didn’t realize that. Anyway, to answer your question  —  no, the fascinators were not the problem  —  it was the feathers that were part of the headpieces. My headpiece has only a few tastefully arranged feathers, but the party hostess had such an elaborately feathered piece that the meter-long ostrich plumes curled forward. They drooped and bounced onto her face. Then there was the woman who kept shedding her headpiece’s little feathers, which made many a guest sneeze and jokes abound about snow falling indoors in these tropics —  oops. Forget I mentioned tropics.

CATHERINE knowingly smiles that no one is supposed to know where in the world Darq travels: Done. No problem. So —  how did the feathers on the masks work out?

DARQ: I didn’t notice any problems with mine or others. Those feathers seemed to be held down tighter than the chocks on a Ky fighter.

CATHERINE: Any other problems?

DARQ: Plenty.  Take the shawls. Nearly all the woman had a lacy shawl, ones like mine. Trouble is, the ballroom was cold. Lace is not warm. And besides, no one dared to put a  shawl around their shoulders.


DARQ: Because they didn’t want to squash their gown’s elaborate sleeves or get the lace snagged by jewelry.

CATHERINE:  You do realize that an 1830’s ballrooms was likely lit with tons of candles, which give off heat? Add to that the body heat of the crush of attendees and ballrooms back then seemed like hot houses. Therefore, a lace shawl was more about propriety than usefulness.

DARQ: No, I didn’t know that. Which explains a lot and makes me ever so grateful for your modern air conditioning  — just not appreciative of how cold things got. But, onward, let me tell you about the problems with the dresses. 

CATHERINE: Big skirts?

DARQ: Exactly! Such flared skirts, held up by tons of lacy petticoats  like mine  —  [Darq lisfts her skirts and takes a selfie.] 


CATHERINE: Oooo, nice shoes.

DARQ, dropping her skirts: They’re custom made. I wanted more bling. but I took the shoemaker’s advice. He said that in the 1830’s a woman wore ballroom slippers. So, I ended up with slippers and darned little bling. Anyway, back to what held up and flared out the skirts  —  petticoats, hoops, and “cages.” In other words, no one could get close to anyone without smashing into a skirt, hoop, or cage. Thus the noise level was louder than a rock concert. 

CATHERINE chuckles.

DARQ: And what do you suppose is under all the petticoats, hoops, and cages?

CATHERINE: Bloomers? 

DARQ: Exactly!  Some women even had stockings under their bloomers that were anchored to their corsets. Two woman had what the MIB told me were wasp waists. [Darq stifles her own chuckles.] You wouldn’t believe the problems all those underpinnings generated when someone needed a potty break!

CATHERINE [smiling]: Did they bring out chamber pots?

DARQ grins, then says:  That was suggested.

CATHERINE: Did you have problems?

DARQ: I had the foresight to wear panels  —  fighter pilot nappies.

CATHERINE bursts out laughing. After her laughter subsides: What else? 

DARQ: Of the hooting-laughable variety? Well, there were a few instances of skirts getting tipped, legs exposed, while going through a doorway.

CATHERINE: So, what’s on the non-hoot-worthy list?

DARQ: Let’s see. There was plenty of bling in the form of jewelry about bare necklines. A considerable amount of gems dangled like chandeliers from earlobes.  Speaking of the lighting,  wall sconces emitted candle-glow light. That light reflected on the gowns and jewels, making things seem more magical than spooky. 

CATHERINE: You didn’t wear a necklace?  

DARQ: No, I didn’t, and my earrings were conservative but elegant. As elegant as my dress and the lace of my sleeves. To which, that little pumpkin you saw me holding was my prize for winning the Billowing Sleeve Award. No one had bigger, poofier sleeves than me!

CATHERINE: They gave out prizes? Not candy?

DARQ: Yes, they gave out prize cauldrons and yes, the cauldrons were filled with various gourmet chocolates and wine samplers, but I only won the one prize. There was the Deep Throat Award that went to the most daringly low neckline.  The French widow, whose big breasts strained the confines of her gown’s neckline, won that award. [Darq chuckles.] When she reached for the cauldron-prize,  one of her breasts popped out!

CATHERINE chuckles, then: Any other prizes?

DARQ: One for the Most Unique Headpiece, one for the Most Authentic Reproduction Gown, and one for the Most Elaborate Sleeve. That sleeve award went to a woman wearing a plaid gown, the sleeves were a beribboned, pleated-smocked short sleeve with a froth of heavy Guipure lace underneath.  [Darq shrugs.] My sleeves weren’t all that elaborate, just puffy.  [Darq beams a smile.] All in all, it was a fun party.

CATHERINE: Will you save me some chocolate?

DARQ looks off to the side then back at the screen and Catherine: I’ll try, but with an escort of six MIBs, I’ll be lucky to eat a couple pieces myself, but I’ll try to save you some. Oh, there’s the signal. Have to go.  See you in a couple days and we’ll talk about Thanksgiving.

CATHERINE: Have a safe flight home. 

………the screen winks off.


NOTE TO SEWERS: This is the inspiration for Darq’s 1830’s ball gown  —  


Darq’s gown is shantung and pink satin with velvet ribbon and a little trim along the neckline collar. There are three sleeves, sewn down as one: The cap sleeve, the billowing lace sleeve under it, and the mutton-chop sleeve beneath. 

To won and all who read and enjoy this blog, Darq and I wish you a  —  



Stop back on Thanksgiving Day to see what Darq is wearing and where she’s celebrating the holiday.  

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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Uncategorized


Darq is back!

CATHERINE:  A week ago, the MIB (Men In Black) gave me the heads up on Darq’s ETA to my farm. With such advanced information for a change, I decorate the dining room to welcome Darq back to planet Earth and her stay at my farm.  Oh, darn, the dog’s barking up a riot. Excuse me . . .  (Catherine looks out the window and sees the stealth helicopter landing. It doesn’t take long for Darq and her luggage to be deposited on Catherine’s porch and the government men take off in the helicopter.)

After joyful hugs, Catherine and Darq enter the house   —   and Darq is surprised with balloons!


DARQ (laughing and batting away a stray balloon): Thanks for the welcome!

CATHERINE: Just thought some balloons would be a nice touch to welcome you back to the farm.

DARQ: Well, I really appreciate it, and, I have something for you. (Darq goes to one of her travel bags and takes out a shell dotted with flowers. She presents it to Catherine.)

CATHERINE: This is lovely. You shouldn’t have —

DARQ: Nonsense. You like vases and you like flowers. That shell, by the way, is from my home world.


CATHERINE: It’s as glittery as Mother-of-Pearl!  Oh, and the big knobby end looks like a conch shell, but that long shell tail is something else. Are the flowers from your homeworld?

DARQ (scowling): No. Customs said I could bring the shell to Earth but no flowers. I had to settle for Earth posies. Those blooms are from the tropics.

CATHERINE (sets the shell-flowers in the center of her dining room table): Well, it’s a lovely decoration. Thank you. Now, tell me about that outfit you’re wearing.

DARQ (smiling with pride): Do you like it?  It’s a fashion statement from my homeworld. And it’s very comfy for traveling. Especially the shoes.


CATHERINE (muttering under her breath) : Always the shoes!

DARQ: What did you say? I didn’t hear that.

CATHERINE: Nothing. I was just clearing my throat. And, yes, I like our outfit and your  shoes. But you do know it’s fall here, right?  Cool, as in my-furnace-just-kicked-on-again to keep the house warm?

DARQ: I was informed it would be sunny and warm here today.

CATHERINE: Ah, not necessarily. Seventy degrees is on the high side of cool, but I’m sure when the sun does comes out it will be a lot warmer. No matter. Point is, YOU’RE BACK! Welcome to your Home Away from Home for the next seven months and all the galas you get to go to!  (Catherine gives Darq another hug.)

DARQ (pulling away from Catherine’s bear hug):  Speaking of galas, the first special occasion outfit I’ll need is for Halloween.

CATHERINE: Oh, ho! What’s the party theme? There is a theme, right?

DARQ nods: The Earth time period is 1830-ish, and it’s a Masquerade Ball! Not only do I need a dress, I need feathers and flowers or something for my hair.

CATHERINE: 1830’s?  I’m not sure what a ball gown of that era entails, but, com’mon, let’s go to my office and rev up my computer. We ought to find a garment design I can work with at Pinterest.


Stop back on Halloween and see what costume Darq wears.



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Posted by on October 1, 2018 in Uncategorized


Heading Home to Wysotti!


DARQ:  As you can see, I’m packed and at the Interstellar Terminal to make my flight home to Wysotti and see my husband and family. My tour as ambassador to planet Earth has been enjoyable, but there’s no place quite like home! 

I heartily thank Catherine for sewing my outfit – it’s full of pockets!  Just look at the pants — 


And, of course, I love the shoes with the beaded tab.  Oh, there’s the announcement that my flight is boarding. Gotta go —  see you when I return October 1st!

*******From Catherine to sewers —  The pants are corduroy and the jacket is an embossed cotton. Both pants and jacket have leather trim. The  pink, silk “blanket stitching” was done with my sewing machine. I thought working with the little pockets would be difficult, but it wasn’t. I had the pants and jacket done in one day.

*** “It’s Women’s Starscape Fiction”  –  During the summer months, get and read (or reread) JEWELS OF THE SKY –

BACK COVER SYNOPSIS:  Being a direct descendant of the captain who massacred the Mayans, Darq is a Wysotti woman and a duty-oriented, pragmatic interstellar fighter pilot. She doesn’t believe in miracles or forgiveness, or that J’Hi-inti (god) would ever rescind the death curse on her people for what happened to the Mayans. Only J’Hi-inti hears one compelling plea for reconciliation and decides to let chaos rule— and test Darq. After all, she’s a wild card like her nefarious ancestor. What will she do when she faces the ruthless alien fleet commander who spearheads the blitzkrieg that is to finally destroy her homeworld, and who she once witnessed murder her cadet comrades?  Blinded by hate and survivor guilt, all that stands between survival and extinction, heaven or hell, for Darq and her people is mercy— or a miracle.
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Posted by on May 1, 2018 in Uncategorized


Easter 2018 – A Carrot Hunt?


DARQ: Hi, Catherine. To you and all who celebrate it, I hope you’re enjoying a Happy Easter!

CATHERINE: Thanks, Darq, it’s a cold Easter here, but it looks like you’re enjoying bright sunshine and mild temperatures.

DARQ:  I am, but as usual, I’m not supposed to disclose where I’m at. Security and all that.

CATHERINE: I didn’t realize how Easter-eggish your attire is.

(Darq laughs.) DARQ: Yes, I sort of look like an Easter egg, but, hey, I’ve gotten lots of compliments from everyone here at the villa.

CATHERINE: So, what’s with that carrot you’re holding?

DARQ: Isn’t it obvious? I’m on a Carrot Hunt.


DARQ: Instead of having an Easter Egg hunt, my host is having a Carrot Hunt. The person who finds the white rabbit will get the prize of a gem-encrusted carrot and a basket of three golden Easter eggs.

CATHERINE: Wow, that’s a ritzy prize!

DARQ: I know. And as you can see, I’ve discovered a quiet garden spot behind the villa and found the carrots that should lead me to a path and the rabbit!

CATHERINE: Well, good luck and have fun!

DARQ: Oh, I surely will. Enjoy your day! (Darq renews her hunt for the next carrot that will lead her to the white rabbit.)


Note to Sewers and Crafters – Darq is wearing a two-piece outfit consisting of a top and culottes. Of course, no Darq outfit is complete without shoes –


FOLLOW THIS BLOG to keep abreast of Darq’s adventures and her outfits.

On May 1, Darq returns to her homeworld for the summer. What will she wear for her trip home? 

******* Have a very Happy Easter *******IMG_6926

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Posted by on April 1, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Belated St. Pat’s Day, sort-of?

DARQ:  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all who celebrate it!

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Of course, no outfit of mine is ever complete without some bling on the shoes!

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CATHERINE:  Due to computer problems – and the wiping clean of my hard drive to reinstall Windows 10 anew – I have spent the past week trying to get up and running again.  I lost my photo editing program (long story) and had to revert to what was available that came with the computer to crop the pictures. Finding my way through files and learning alternate programs took more time than I realized it would.

Darq will be back for an Easter greeting, so stop by then, or better yet, follow this blog and be automatically notified of the changes.

**********Connect with Catherine E. McLean***********

Author, Writing Instructor, and Workshop Speaker at

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Posted by on March 17, 2018 in Uncategorized


Valentine’s Day 2018

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Nothing very fancy,

just wishing everyone a

Happy Valentine’s Day!

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

Catherine and Darq

~~~~ What will Darq be wearing for St. Patrick’s Day?

Stop by March 17 and find out!

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Posted by on February 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


Valentine’s Day 2018

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Posted by on February 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


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