Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Miss Czech Slovak US Pageant

Dear Czech costume enthusiasts,
Next weekend is sure to be of interest to you! The 2011 Miss Czech Slovak US Queen will be selected next weekend at Czech Days in Wilber, Nebraska. This pageant is held annually the first weekend in August and this is the 25th Anniversary of the pageant. SO, not only will there be all the lovely contestants for this year, there will also be MANY of the returning national winners and state queens from the previous years.
Wilber, Nebraska is a tiny little town that you are sure to fall in love with, as we have. The residents literally open up their arms to 40,000 or so of their "closest friends." (You see if you come to Czech Days you will quickly become a close friend to everyone in this little town.) You will also see Czech culture at its best, including the beautiful costumes, food, music, dancing, museum, parades, etc.
So, make plans this week and we will see you next weekend. My daughter, Sarah, was the 2006 Miss Czech Slovak USA Queen so we will be there all weekend. Be sure and look for us, I would love to meet you and hear your opinion and ideas for the blog.

These lovely ladies will be competing for the Miss Czech Slovak US Queen title at Czech Days. I know the competition will be difficult! Pick out your favorite and be sure to come cheer her on! For more information, go to the Miss Czech Slovak US Queen website by clicking on the photo of the current Queen, Stefanie Vocasek (on right side of blog).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Preparing Petticoats for Travel

We left off a few days ago when I was cleaning and starching petticoats. After the petticoats are washed, I hang them up (see picture from previous post) out in the sun spread out as much as possible. While hanging I spray the petticoats with full-strength liquid starch. I sprayed the petticoats until they were drenched with the liquid starched, evenly distributed.
After the petticoats are dried, I checked to see how "stiff" they were. Let me explain, I am preparing the petticoats for a 12-hour car ride and they have to stay fresh for a weekend long festival. So, for our purpose they were not stiff enough so I repeated the starching process. Czech costume expert, Maggie Grmela, recommends buying powdered starch and boiling it mixed with water but I could not find the powder. She says the boiling method works much better.
When I was happy with the stiffness, I ironed the petticoats (I did not use any more starch). As I ironed the petticoats, I used clothespins to keep the pleats in place. (See photo.) This serves two purposes 1) keeping the pleats during travel and 2)compacts the petticoats without destroying the shape. A few years ago, when traveling the 12-hour car ride to Nebraska, my daughter Sarah and her cousin Lindsay had to sit in the back seat the entire way with stiff petticoats in their laps. We would not recommend this way of travel. Boy, was that a long ride for them. Oh well, live and learn.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

We Are Not "Two-Percenters"

Sorry for the weird title. But, I know Texas Aggies will know what a "two-percenter" is. But for all of the rest of you, a "two-percenter" is an Aggie who does not participate in Aggie Traditions. For this post, I use this term for those who just "wear" Czech costumes as opposed to those who like to "showcase" a Czech costume (kroj). When you showcase a kroj, you have it at its very best from the tips of your toes to the top of the flowers or cap on your head. For us, that means first things first...the petticoats.

A kroj (authentic or Americanized) will not look its best unless the petticoats are prepared. Yes, petticoats! Plural. Most Czech costumes need multiple, starched petticoats to stand out as they should. SO, as we get ready for Czech Days in Wilber, Nebraska, and Westfest in West, Texas, the first thing we do is clean and starch the petticoats. My motto is if the petticoats cannot stand up on their own, they need more starch!!

So, don't be a "two-percenter" and if you have Czech costumes, don't just wear them SHOWCASE them.

More posts and pictures coming soon.

Thanks for your patience.