The Gatsby picnic 2014

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Ignore the date on the cover. The scanner is buried under a pile of papers. If we wait for me to unbury it we’ll be waiting until the day before Thanksgiving…

 It is that time of year again….time for the annual Gatsby picnic hosted by the Art Deco Society. Last time we were there was 2012 and we were three-fourths the way through the year with the Sew Weekly challenges. Angie and I put together a picnic based on the election of 1936 (FDR!), shared our area with Mena and her beau and didn’t win the picnic prize 🙁 Mena said “we was robbed”. That’s ok, it strengthened our resolve to do better after we took a year off. Putting these things together is sort of like giving birth, it’s a LOT of work, a small amount of agony right at the end and then you get to enjoy something really wonderful (for a short amount of time, unlike babies that you get to enjoy for the rest of your life). There’s even some sleep deprivation involved 🙂

Our theme this year, chosen by Angie, was the 1924 Olympics. She envisioned 5 of us at the table, each one wearing a color of one of the rings. The table itself was FULL of color!

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Table before the food…

I even found a menu for a 1920’s picnic that we used as a basis for our food choices which the judges apparently REALLY appreciated!

  • Tea Sandwiches
  • Tomatoes stuffed with shrimp salad
  • Thin slices of chicken or ham with cold asparagus/vinaigrette
  • Hollowed out oranges shell filled with berries
  • Rice salad with celery, nuts, raisins in ring mold
  • English trifle in crystal bowl
  • Champagne punch with block of ice floating

We added deviled eggs to the list because Angie LOVES deviled eggs and deleted the champagne punch in favor of 5 different lemonades. I had a huge container of iced tea that I made tea ice blocks for – instead of adding ice and diluting the tea I just froze the same tea in jello molds. Of COURSE there are no photos, for which I profusely apologize, but it works really well. I also didn’t do the slices of chicken/ham with asparagus. Doing a cold asparagus dish was on the menu but at 8am Sunday morning, with everything else that had gone on, I said “uncle” on the asparagus. Good thing too, that table was FULL.

Instead of basic sandwiches we did Motorloaves, just like our first Gatsby picnic:

Motorloaf

We had a version of deviled eggs called “picnic eggs”. You make regular deviled eggs, put them back together and wrap them in parchment, twisting the ends so they look like candy 🙂 I almost didn’t get the shot we ate them so quickly!

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Lynette made Berry Baskets. Angie specially requested chocolate covered Madeleines and check out the plate under the baskets:

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Olympic colors!

Limoncello

There’s homemade Limoncello in that little blue bottle…and check out the hand embroidered napkins. I did those on BART every day for a week.

We had a trifle that EVERYONE went bonkers over. Can I FIND that photo? I cannot. Rather than wait weeks days for me to look everywhere I’m just going to get this post up.

For those of you not in-the-know about this event let me just say it is a DEAL. No detail goes un-thought-of. The actual weekend of the event we spend all day Saturday doing a dry run of the set-up, packing the TRUCK and making sure shoes, hosiery, make-up, clothes are all in order. The morning of we’re up at dawn, finishing the food and last minute prep (Do we have enough ice? IS there enough ice?? What about the umbrella stands???) It’s a mad house. The cherry on top THIS year was Angie – the day before, as we’re in the middle of the madness, her phone rings and it’s her boyfriend who is calling to let her know his dad just died.

That’ll bring any party to a screeching halt.

We stepped back, took a breath and just stood there. Another call and she was on her way to his family’s house an hour south of us. I offered to drive her there so she could drive him back home and we set out. Midway down the freeway, change of plans, I dropped her elsewhere and went home to finish packing and food. We decided that we would go ahead with our plans and see if she was able to join us. I finished the sewing and hoped.

It was not to be for her. She stayed with the family, helping them make arrangements while three of us piled into my truck and headed to the Dunsmuir house in Oakland. We had an early entry pass which, in previous years, allowed us to get in line at 10 and be let onto the grounds at 11. THIS year they let us onto the grounds as soon as we were there !! It gave us an extra HOUR to get the picnic put together, an extra HOUR to get dressed, an extra hour to stop sweating 🙂 Here is our before shot:

Before

Check out my Mama Jade shirt there!

Dontcha just love Instagrammed selfies in the bathroom?? (If you’re curious about my shirt you can read the story here.) But oh just look at the afters:

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This is Lynette, she represents the “green” ring.

Leslie

Leslie is “blue”…

Caolifhionne

…Caolifhionne is “black”…

Me

…and I am red 🙂

I have no pics of Angie, who was yellow, but I know she finished her dress.

As for the patterns, I used this for mine:

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It is a vintage pattern that was traced off and reproduced by the woman that brings you Past Patterns. This is the second version of this dress I’ve made (you can see the cuffs of the first still-yet-unphotograhed dress). My one issue with the pattern is those front drapey pieces. First time round I cut them out as designed and spent 3 hours re-pinning and draping to get them looking like the picture. Second time around I draped them myself and then let them hang on the mannequin to “set” the pleats like you would window drapery. Pain in the rear is all I have to say. I do like the way you pleat the dress to fit a little better than a sack, the centerfront drapey panels are caught in a 3/8″ tuck as is the back belt. And yes, there is a small back caplet. I had a cape…

The other pattern we used was this one that our friend Leslie had in her stock:

Pattern

We used the handkerchief hem version for her and the sleeker version with the side drape for Lynette. This is an EASY, EASY pattern so for everyone who doesn’t want to have to think about drafting or draping a 20’s dress and just wants something basic try this out. Leslie bought it on Amazon. It’s a little pricey BUT you either draft or purchase 🙂 Lynette’s dress is remarkably similar to the dress I made for Wendy.

 Leslie made her own hat:

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When we finally sat down to eat there were drinks:

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Lynette is shakin’ up those gin cocktails!

TheGirlsHere we all are towards the end of the day, saluting Angie, because…

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See that shiny silver champagne bucket under my elbow? That means WE WON the Grand Picnic Prize!!!

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Third times the charm!

Although we won over what I would consider one of the Best picnic setups I’ve EVER seen and this picture just doesn’t do it justice:

Best tent everSorry for all the grass-filled shots, I’m trying to get this done on a computer sans photoshop 🙂 They are still setting up here but you can see the tables of food, their wonderful chairs and that TENT. THAT is your basic patio umbrella with a million yards of RIBBON sewn to look like lattice panels, then draped with 48 custom dyed jade green net panels on the inside! They made those “fins” on the top of the umbrella to mimic the decorations you see on Chinese architecture, there was an enourmous light fixture on the inside of the tent, a huge arrangement of Chinese lantern plants on a table under the light, oriental rugs…it just went on and on in the details. To top it all off we met the charming Kim and family/friends, shared goodies and happily gave them some of our extra ice (because we finally had enough!). Turns out Kim used to make hats under the Topsy-Turvy label and for a few years I lusted after one of her creations. Never scored one but meeting her was even better!

You can see more photos of our set-up on the Art Deco Society’s facebook page. Looks like the got a shot of the trifle, rice ring and tomatoes with shrimp salad!

I had to grab a pic with this lovely lady, because she’s wearing polka dots, and you can see my awesome shoes.

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And finally, I AM MAKING a version of this amazing vintage swimsuit!

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7 thoughts on “The Gatsby picnic 2014

  1. Wow! Congrats ladies, beautiful and meticulous attention to detail! Well done! And a lovely prize – I have a couple of those champagne buckets – in one I have an orchid and in the other I keep my big sewing shears and other tools in, and it lives in my sewing room xxx

  2. Your picnic and your dresses are fantastic! I’m so glad you won the grand prize! I’m sorry I didn’t make it this year, but it was nice not being stressed and hurried. Lol. We had decided back in April to go to the game and miss the Gatsby, but next year we’ll be back!! 🙂 Was it hot again? In the south bay it was in the 80s.

  3. Wow! What an amazing picnic! Everything is gorgeous, the food looks yummy, and your dresses are beautiful. I can imagine Clara Bow stepping out in all of them!

  4. What a wonderful day I’m so sad I couldn’t be there but we all know why which makes me sadder. A bitter sweet win for me but it made up for doing all that work and not being able to enjoy it. Now, what are we doing for 2016?

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