Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Moooving Made on Marion to Tory

We have moved our business! Back in April 2016, 17 Marion St was sold to a developer whose plans for it did not include us. So, we had to find an alternative space, and after a long and frustrating search, we hit the jackpot!! We are now open at 1/100 Tory St. This is right opposite Moore Wilson’s which is the Wellington foodie mecca, and super busy.
Moving 200sqm of accumulated stock and STUFF was no mean feat. And over the summer break too, when getting movers and skip suppliers and sorting out power and phone and internet was a heck of a ride. And our new shop needed to be gutted and refinished from two smaller spaces, too. By golly those tradies did a fantastic job. In five weeks they turned two cafes into one shop.
The top two shots are the corner cafe and the bottom two are the secret one tucked in beside it that is now mostly our studio
It was really sad saying goodbye to Marion St, where Golding Handcrafts opened in 1997, the fourth location since 1968 and our base for nearly five years, but it was very timely too – the November quake damaged parts of the Marion Square Parking building opposite us causing it to close, the Post Office to permanently close and several other businesses to close temporarily, and the pedestrian access from Cuba St to be cordoned off. Overnight it went from a vibrant hub of design activity to a ghost street.
This space has not been empty since 1997. MrC took these pics and as a result got sent back to retrieve the fabric in the right corner of the left photo! It has reels of thread on it, naturally...

So, every cloud has a silver lining for someone. And we have a clean, bright shop in a building that is very safe when the ground shakes, and is in an exciting and vibrant pocket of the city.
Some shots of our new space, featuring my sister Jo!
We could not have achieved this huge task without the army of volunteers who turned up to pack and then unpack. Thank you so much to you all: To Kim (and her husband’s muffins!), Polly, Zara, Angie, Julia, Debbie, Andrew, Richard, Emily, Richard, Jane, Leslie, Fiona, Chrissy, Jo, Zoe, Ron and Jenny, Kirsten, Leimomi, Karen, Karyn, Glenn, Mel, Lucille, Jehanne, Kat, Grace, Felix; you are all heroes xo

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

Hello, good morning and Feliz Navidad. It's 9.30 on Christmas morning and we are off soon to brunch with delicious friends.
I left the window open in case I could hear Santa jingling across the sky. I didn't, as it happens...

However you choose to spend today -with friends, family, Netflix - I hope you enjoy it. It's all we human beans can hope for, and things are what we make them. xo

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Preparing for take off!

Well I went quiet for nearly a month. It's been off the charts busy!
Gigs - Viva Frida, Caburlesque's Christmas show, two extra cabaret gigs, the Wellington Quilters Guild, The Wellington Comedy awards too - I was nominated for the best MC award, which was uber cool.
All the while we are preparing to move, probably not putting enough into it in terms of letting all the right services know and nailing the details. But it is Christmas trade and it is finally picking up after the quake put the city into hiatus for three weeks.
So, here's my last four weeks in photos:
 Crazy Frida outfit for the first half of Viva Frida 19 Nov, Photo by Jac Lynch
 My favourite act from the Viva Frida show - Stephii Onassis and Harlie Lux bring the Two Fridas painting to life. Photo by Jac Lynch
 My two Christmas costumes for this season. The above was an appallingly ugly nativity panel I saw at Voldemart and an hour of sewing later, I had a new costume! Photo by Paradox Photography
Last year's Christmas costume - taken in, lengthened a little and the feathers replaced with vegan friendly silver embroidered organza frills. In both these outfits I have my legs out, which is something I've grown comfortable with only this past year! Photo by Paradox Photography
Made on a stolen afternoon - 70 tiny chocolate dipped Christmas puddings. It's been pretty tough here with the post quake fall out and I've not felt the Christmas spirit kick in, but making these like I have nearly every year for the last 20, really helps. Rituals have their place!
A selfie before I headed out to the Wellington Comedy Awards. I didn't win my category - Jerome Chandrahasen did and he is FANTASTIC. I was totally blown away to even be nominated as all the other nominees were stand up comedians.
 Our Fringe Festival show listing! Quite exciting seeing it in print! "Our" being mysellf, or Constance Craving, and Clever Hansel.
Most definitely not least, our new shop at 100 Tory St. The signwriters put up the new window decal this week. Since this pic was taken, the annoying builders' sign has been moved. Actually they are fantastic builders - they have four weeks only to pullout walls, fix the floor, put up new lights and ducting, new walls, and make it all ready for us. On Friday they were grinding the concrete floor ready to polish it. I've chosen a really simple, industrial feel for the studio area as much to get it done faster. The other part of the shop had big terracotta tiles and we're leaving them in place.
Photos of the interior when we get in there!

Our new branding! We can't be Made on Marion if we're not ON Marion any more. So,  we're now Made Marion Craft physically as well as online. Greg from Ash Creative did the design- my brief was that we really like what we had and didn't want to change it but we wanted to change it. He actually understood what I meant and I think he did a great job.

So, that's a bit of a whirlwind tour. I didn't hold a Thanksgiving dinner this year, it was all too much. I am so tired, and as a friend said, "white knuckling" it right now. My to-do list is a mile long,with a family wedding in March,fringe show to write, shop to move, but I am blown away as always by the people willing to help us pack up and unpack. Friends, customers, one and the same. We have a lovely team of professional movers coming in on the 29th Dec so that gives us three days to pack. BLOOMING HECK. It will be fine, it will be fine, it will be fine...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I Feel the Earth. Move. Under my feet...

About 12.30am on Monday just as we were nearly asleep, New Zealand was hit by a 7.8 earthquake. It went on for over a minute, which for those of you who haven't been in an earthquake is about 25 "experience of being in it" minutes. The epicentre was off the cost of Kaikoura, which is on the upper North East coast of the South Island. It's the place you stop on the drive to or from the Picton Ferry for a coffee and to buy a crayfish, or to go whale watching.
Not for a while. The quake was the second largest ever to hit us since the 1920s. Or some such. Sea beds have risen, valleys have formed, it's amazing and terrifying. It was much bigger than the quakes that ravaged Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, just not centred somewhere with such dire consequences to an urban environment.
Meanwhile back in the Wellington CBD, we stood in the doorway listening to the banging and crashing go on and on and on and bloody on. When it finally calmed down, we went down into the courtyard with most of the residents of our complex, all trying to joke about it so we wouldn't scream or cry instead. In nothing but my robe, I went with MrC to the shop expecting a pile of rubble, but nope, a few unbreakables had toppled off the precariously made piles on the Christmas display. Out on the streets were groups of mostly young people in pjs, or wrapped in quilts, with backpacks. It felt like the Zombie apocalypse, sans Zombies.
Anyway, an hour of aftershocks and I was a mess. I rang my parents and we drove out to their place, which is on the flat, and new. And had brandy, it turns out. I say had, because the four of us finished the bottle before going to bed.
So, the CBD was closed on Monday, which is all very well but when 20,000 people live in it, what do you do?? We opened briefly but an aftershock was too much for me and I insisted we close again. Instead I spent the afternoon with my very calm friends Chris and Paul, eating chocolate and watching American football, and decompressing.
It has been BAU since then.
Except that several newer buildings in town are condemned, and none of the older ones which seemed to ride the rolling motion of this quake but maybe wouldn't handle a jolt from below? I'm not fussed about never finding out the hard way.
So, we here are now once again reminded that life on a sliver of land on a number of Pacific fault lines can be pretty exciting.
We are fine, if rattled; our business and home are fine. We do not mourn the two cheap wineglasses that broke, but we mourn the feeling that knowing we live on a fault line was an intellectual one, not a visceral experience.
The actual outcome is that the planned move of our business due to the building being sold earlier in the year, is brought forward to just after Christmas. The new building is newer, safer, and in a different if equivalently busy part of the city.
And last night in spite of it all, we did a show. More on that when the photos are available.
Right now I am going for a nap. I am really tired. Living on one's nerves for a week while getting a show onto the stage is a lot to handle.
TL,DR: Earthquakes suck, life goes on!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday jobs

Today I did some catching up. It's my one day off and I am very particular about how I spend it.
First, I set a cake free. By now it is probably crumbs.
Not quite finished at point of photo but you get the idea.
 Shopping for yummy fresh food from several amazing shops was fun. I got it into my head that I wanted to make a chicken pie. That meant: free range chicken thighs, likewise bacon, the holy Trinity of carrot, onion and celery, parsley, and lemon. I had the stock, pastry and other herbs already.
This of course wasn't remotely as a result of watching Pie Week on The Great British Bake Off. Nonono. I am also not obsessing over Bombe Alaska either. Ahem.
My chicken pie. No Soggy Bottom as it is just has a lid. Mary Berry you won't catch me out!

Anyway I also ironed a lot of shirts, (for brownie points), did a lot of dishes, and sorted a lot of messy paperwork and sewing stuff, and washed my makeup brushes. Which I do after pretty much every time I use them, because EEW.
For the education of those not into hard core makeup, I do this thusly:
  1. Put a bar of Sards Wondersoap in a flat container with hot water.
  2. Dampen the bristles in the water then rub on the soap enough to clean it.
  3. Leave to sit all soapy for a few minutes while I do the other 20 or so brushes.
  4. Run about an inch of hot water into the half sink and shake the bristles in it until well rinsed.
  5. Smooth bristles into shape, and lie the brush on a hand towel where I leave it to dry for several days.
 The trick is to not immerse the whole brush in water, as it weakens the glue holding the bristles and metal bit, and they fall apart. Ask me how I know.
So there you go, you (possibly) heard it here first.
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, November 3, 2016


It's 7pm on Hallowe'en Saturday - I have four, FOUR places I could be tonight but the only place I want to be is here on the couch for as long as it takes to get to bed time, probably 9pm! NANA!!
I taught a class today, a new one about "Making a pattern from an existing garment." I had a lot of inquiries around this idea so I programmed it, two weeks in a row because of the demand and only being able to take 4-6 people, and both are full.
It was a fantastic class and reminded me how much I love to teach. No photos, as I am to busy doing the work for that.
But I do owe you some photos so here you go!

 Me as Edina Monsoon with dear friend Ross. Friends for 38 years and counting! He came to the second evening of the AB Fab movie opening. Out of two 200 seat shows, only about 8 guys turned up!
 A little too much bolly. Jack was Patsy and Indy is Bubble.
My black lace fit and flare dress - bought unadorned and then adorned with these lovely red rose motifs. It took me ages to sew them on but I love that kind of thing.

And finally THIS happened! Please note the total lack of sequins!
I finished the dress on Labour Weekend and have worn it since but so far no pics. I LOVE IT. Can't wait to show you! 
We're in summer frock weather most days now, and the one I am wearing has rips under the arms. So three new dresses this summer, two more to go.
I'd best get on with it! My output has been pretty slow these past couple of years...

Monday, October 17, 2016

My new frock and adventures with boas

Busy here! I have been dealing with the influx of customers that comes with the World of Wearable Art, while trying to get our Fringe show registered (it's not until February but we have to have everything done that you'd normally do a few weeks before it, done by 10 October! Did my head in!)
So I didn't have much time or inclination to make any new costumes for the Burlesque Baby show on the 15th October.
A gorgeous magenta dress arrived from city chic with lots of time to spare. It is the same gorgeous shape as the last two - with the draped tulip skirt. But so boring, like a bridesmaid's gown. Not OTT enough for Constance!
Then blings arrived and WOWZERS!!! The pink ones I got for the dress were too matchy matchy, but a pair of white iridescent ones were perfect, and I trimmed, arranged them and then stuck them on with Aleene's Tacky Glue. All class, me!

Strike a pose! Why not, complete with duckface!

Not content however with this dress, I felt it needed more FOOFLES. And as my only boa was red and did not go, I knocked one up at work during the day. A roll each of organza wrap in hot pink and silver floral mesh, each corded up the middle then the gathering pulled up. I sewed them together and voila! Up close it has the tacky desperation of a night before the kid's party costume attempt. But on stage it just read as puffy structure. YAY!
So there you go. sometimes RTW can deliver, with a bit of extra bling
BTW the fine bias is a dream and so easy to apply. I've not finished and there's nothing to see yet, but I will share it when there is!