Sunday, November 27, 2011

Marie Antoinette's Poufs

I have started to prepare for a trip to France this summer by reading a book about Marie Antoinette. The book, To the Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson, is quite fascinating.

Yesterday, I read about Marie's incredible poufs. In 1774, the women of the court were wearing elaborate hats. But, they started styling their hair in elaborate ways instead. The pouf a la circonstance featured "a cypress and black marigolds, a wheat sheaf, and a cornucopia filled with every sort of fruit and white feathers. The allegorical meaning of the Circumstance Pouf was that while mourning Louis XV, France welcomed the bounty certain to be enjoyed under the new King. A medical coiffure came next, the pouf a l'inoculation. Louis had submitted to being inoculated against smallpox about a month after becoming King, and the new hairstyle commermorated this with a rising sun, an olive tree and a serpent entwined around the trunk, a flower club near him." (quote from the above book)

Another amazing pouf was coiffure a 'Independance ou le Triomphe de la Liberte (shown above) which celebrated a naval victory in the American War for independence.

I particularly enjoyed a post I found on the subject at a blog entitled "Dressed in Time: Historical costuming with a special love for the 18th century." The post is called "Wiggery and poufs!"  The author tells all about the poufs: how they were powdered, how they scratched their itchy heads (with a tool called a grattoir), how they slept (with their hair wrapped in a triple bandage), how they protected their hair from the elements, and much, much more! I found it absolutely fascinating!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Japan's Influcence on Western Art (1854-1918)

We are headed to San Antonio this weekend for my 3rd half marathon. (Yeah!) And, I'm hoping to go to the McNay Art Museum while we are there. There is one exhibit, in particular, that I'm interested in seeing. It is called: "The Orient Expressed: Japan's Influence on Western Art 1854-1918."

Alex & I studied some about the influence of Japan on Western art when we studied Mary Cassatt. I read here the following: In 1890, Cassatt visited an exhibition of Japanese woodcuts at the Beaux-Arts Academy in Paris. She was so intrigued by the prints that she decided to do a set of prints in her own personal style. These prints are some of her most well-known works and are considered by many to be her most beautiful creations.

(Alex's print from our study of Cassatt in March 2007)

This exhibit includes a teacher's guide which can be found here. It is 42 pages long and includes a background of Japan's influence starting with Commodore Matthew Perry's arrival and the reopening of Japanese ports after over 250 years of isolation. The guide also shares reproductions of many of the paintings from the exhibit along with the texts from the wall. It is a fascinating read whether you can see the exhibit or not.

Monday, November 07, 2011

What's the Genre?

Alex has to read a lot of books this school year (wow!) and she has to fill in this chart that tells what genre each book is. Well, I was having a little trouble telling the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasty. But, I found this neat site that I found very helpful at the BookNutsReadingClub. I wanted to have it here to look back at and maybe some of you will find it useful, too!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Some people believe in ghosts. Others don't. In a small city in Timberland, called Millstone, where I live, everyone does.

This is the start of Alex's NaNoWriMo novel. I love it! She's writing a novel with NaNoWriMo. Are you familiar with it? It's something I'd seen off & on the past few years, but we've never tried. Now, at school, Alex is writing a novel along with all of the students in 6th grade.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is an annual project held every November. You can find out more on their website.
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