Sunday, February 22, 2015

Standing Up!

I guess it is called stand up comedy because, well, the comedian stands up to do it. And I stood up and did it, for nearly 20 minutes!!!! On Saturday night just gone.
It was very hot as we were the second set of the night, a hot night at that, and both times the smallish bar was full. SO I was well pleased I wore light cotton!
I was thrilled to see so many people there I didn't actually know, but even more thrilled to see my lovely friend Emma there - she was in my Burlesque class and is just one of those people whose company is always fabulous. She took the action shot on her phone.
This is Emma and I at Enigma Cafe afterwards. Emma dragged us the whole length of Courtenay Place in search of Pie. It was worth it mind you.
 Anyway what to say? My last set at my regular Thursday Night open mic was a total turkey, and I had never experienced this before. I was a bit freaked out given it was two nights before my proper debut as a stand up, but it also made me realise I had to take drastic steps to overcome my terrible memory.

I don't get stage fright, I am never nervous about being in front of people. But my mind can just blank out no matter how hard I try to memorise something. So, I got a big piece of paper and a black felt pen, and wrote my cues out in huge block letters. MrC sat at a front table with this held up against his knees. It was fantastic! And it amused the crowd too :)
As our one hour show featured three female comedians of whom I was the youngest by some years, I was expecting a mostly older audience, and indeed there were more over 40s there than I would expect. But there were plenty of  younger people too, making it a truly diverse crowd, Luckily they all found something to laugh at, not just during my set but also the others.

Will I do it again? too right! I love Constance and we do share some material, I do confess - I sang "Don't Copy Me, Lady Gaga" for example. But it IS nice to just be me, and it takes half the time to get ready!

And yes, there may be a video. It was made, I am not sure when I will get access to it, but if it is OK, I will post it :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

All done!

 Here she is! The cabinet has no back in it, so you get a bonus view of MrC in his peacock shirt, hanging bunting.

 This is the front. I think I am ever so clever combining the chalk board paint with the chance to write about my project on the front.

The wax was interesting - I painted it on fairly liberally and it made huge marks like nicotine all over it! I just about had a fit! Quickly I read the instructions (ahem, for the first time) and they said to put it on thinly and wipe the excess of with a damp cloth. Phew, much better! It undeniably aged the piece even more, so if you wanted a really white look I don't think it is the answer. Love me the aged look though!
Kirsty and Martha, you would be SO proud! MWAH MWAH!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bend it like Martha!

People I swear I am turning into the terrifying love child of Martha Stewart and Kirsty Allsop.
Yes, I have discovered Vintage Decor Paint, distressing and decoupage. All at once. It's a wonder I haven't been transported to Henley on Thames.
But oh, it is FUN!! All this time I have been disdaining all this nonsense for being too middle class. But I did a quiz via Facebook called, "How Posh are you?" and it told me I was bang on middle class, so there you go.
Anyway, enough facetious banter, on with the project!!!
We've had this oak washstand forever. It has no back in it and has been used for everything from holding the stereo to a spare loo roll holder in the bathroom. It was in the shop being used as a general bit of surface, and I pounced on the chance to play with these new products.

I  used Martha Stewart's Vintage Decor paint in the colour Antique Sky, which is actually green. But after two coats I didn't like it, and decided it would make a nice show through after the distressing process.
 (Hmm, action painting shots don't work so well!)

Two coats of Wedding Cake (white in Marthaspeak) later and we look like this. The colour isn't really white, because in spite of four coats, the oak darkens it to an aged linen colour which I LOVE. Phew.

 (the door and panels have only one coat as they are about to get fiddled with)

 I hate sand paper, so I did as little distressing as I could. Really just on the hard edges, but oh I love it. The green is very subtle and the oak peeks through, er distressingly?
Don't cry little stand, you may be distressed but I love you!

 Now wanting to make the inside more interesting, I reached for one of the cheapest and most glamorous things in my shop - patterned tissue. That toile du jouy to be precise, trying to hide behind the blue bunting.

 A liberal sponging of Mod Podge later...

...and a smoothing on of the tissue which has been cut to size.

All that is needed now is a few more layers of Mod Podge on the tissue, a couple of coats of wax on the paintwork, and the Chalk board paint going into the front panel.
That which is not Martha Stewart is also made by Plaid, who actually make all of the MS stuff.
So what do you think of it so far? More to come!

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Productive Day Off.

Lately my Sunday off has meant reading  novels and not much else. I'm a bit brain dead, what with working long hours and this heat. But, it drives me bananas too when there are so many jobs outstanding!
So, I resolved that in spite of the heat and the lethargy, I was going to knock off two important domestic creative projects.
1) Recover the foot pouf. MrC and I made the pouf in 2002 and it has been recovered once before this, in 2008. That cover was fabulous, but it had ended up looking like this:
SO threadbare - look at the red flowers around the sides - most of the red had faded and worn off the top. And yes, that is a gaping hole. :(
The new fabric we bought from Graham and Sons in Martinborough. It was a short end and we got it for a fraction of the usual price. I love it SO much!
It has Tartars on horses! And goats! And flowers as big as the Tartars on the horses and the goats!!! And of course, it is red and gold and black. LOVE.
It looks blue in the evening light but it is black with lots of rich golds, olive greens and of course, reds. 
New pouf has a button on the top, a pretty antique bronze one. I hope it lasts longer than the previous button. The top is made of three pieces patched together on account of lack of fabric. Two halves, then one I sliced and swapped over so the Tartar was balanced with his bro across the other side. I did some illusory pattern matching and it all seems to work very well!
The piping is a bit wavy - it ought to be cut on the bias but there simply wasn't enough fabric. Ah well.

2) Lampshades! this is my third attempt at shades for over the kitchen bench. The first wallpaper ones were just appalling. The second ones looked awesome but the fabric was so dark, it didn't let the light into the room! A triumph of style over substance!
And so, in a different and more recent trip over the hill, we ended up at Emporos in Greytown and I simply had to buy this French linen.
SO in love. They sell remnants from France and so have things no one else seems to.
This third time, I made the shades 18 inches in diameter (previous ones were 15) to allow for maximum light.
My favourite part of this fabric is actually the in between bit which looks like a flow diagram drawn by a crazy botanist. And has lions and monkeys!

Aren't they pretty! Or elegant maybe!

I have the piece in the photo above left over, about 0.5m, which is not enough to make the enormous stacked piece of fabulosity I have planned for the beam over the living space, but I will not be thwarted! There's still some left in the shop.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Latest Crazy Venture

Weell, the Wellington Fringe Festival starts in a month's time, and while our original plans for a Constance driven cabaret have been canned, I am nevertheless appearing in a comedy show, as myself.
21 February, 9pm at Kitty O'Shea's, our show is one of the one hour slots of a series called One Night Stand (see how they did that?) which are one off gigs, hence the name. Hur Hur. Our slot is all about being female and over 40. With Caroline Welkin who is far more experienced than I am, which is a relief!
I'll be musing on everything from The Hobbit movies to 24 hour stay makeup. Issues that impact the over 40s.
I am still working on my material - my goodness it is more work than drafting an original pattern and making it up! A big part of the process is Hard Cases, an open mic night at a local bar. We all use it to test out out material on an audience. Tricky given most of he audience is young and make, which is not my ideal audience. But they are very understanding and laugh at my jokes sometimes, bless!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Recycled Movie Costume Fame at last! ;-)

If my cheek were not so sore, I would place my tongue in it when I say that I have now reached the height of happiness by achieving my first acknowledgement on Recycled Movie Costumes.
Reader if you know not of this site, but you love a good costume drama (even if it's just for the costumes, lookin' at you Downton Abbey)  then do check it out. Its entire purpose is to identify examples of where a costume has been used in more than one TV programme or film. It is fascinating to browse though and see the examples - gowns from the 1969 production of Anne of a Thousand days turning up in The Tudors for example (this I find fascinating as the styling of The Tudors is so utterly indifferent to actual Tudor styling, the costumes also look completely wrong.) Shows even use the same costumes in different episodes on completely different characters.
Anyway, have a geek out if it's your thing.
My contribution came from watching Burke and Hare, a movie I didn't like one bit, but as Andy Serkis and Simon Pegg were in it, MrC wanted to watch it, so I just glanced up from my book to check out the costumes.
I could only identify one match, the dress at the end of this link, which had been spotted in many shows before. But I am sure there were many more - it didn't strike me as a very high budget job and there would have been a lot of specific costume requirements to use up the budget as it is.
This is the dress I spotted:
Being worn by Isla Fisher in Burke and Hare 2012
Spotted in three other productions as well since its original debut on Kate Beckinsale as Emma 1997

If I may geek out a moment, costume dramas seem to be divided into two types - ones which attempt to be authentic in their styling from clothing and hair and makeup to manners and modes in general. The Tudors is a perfect example of one which deliberately prioritises the current day over the past. Loose locks, bee stung lips, acres of cleavage on show, it is a disgrace to my mind anyway. 
Of the other kind, I don't think any show has truly managed to recreate the time it was set or to avoid unconscious leakage from the time it was made. This production of Emma is a perfect example. In the mid 90s, brown was the new black, and vertical frills or flounces were very 'in'. the 'poet shirt' reigned supreme, with its circular cut front flounce. The costume as show on Kate above shows the latter, and the base colour of her entire wardrobe was brown.
Brown velvet pelisse, brown velvet hat, vertical frill. 1997 much?
This floppy hat style is SO late '90s, but was it ever SO 1810? 
So while it was technically much better than many, it is still unconsciously (I assume) of its time. 
Anyway, I am very pleased with my acknowledgement - it is the second spotting I have submitted, however the first one had already been identified just not listed as yet. I still get credit for that if it ever DOES get credited.
If you are an afficianado of Regency costume dramas, I suggest you do a Google image search on this movie and see if you too spot any recycled gowns. This pelisse is tugging at my memory, not just because it is inspired by one on Patterns of Fashion
Two gorgeous pelisses on Isla Fisher and Jessica Hynes. Fisher's airforce blue pelisse with the distinctive laurel corded work down the front edges keeps tugging at my memory. either way it IS nice to see a massive fur muff in use, as was on trend at the time!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tooth troubles

Warning: This post is not suitable for the squeamish!

This is me:
Due to being chicken and not getting a broken tooth removed completely, I now have a face swollen up on one side like this.
I am curious as to whether it will stop trying to swell up more, as I don't really want my face to do a Mrs Creosote on me.
Oh well, off to the After Hours medical centre for some ABs, I think. I have comedy to write and a shop to run, no time for this bollocks!