Sunday, September 27, 2015

Flaming Nora's Cavalcade of Tomfoolery

It's a thing! It happens in Wellington to celebrate Spring arriving in the Capital of Dressing Up! A costume parade and competition that happens along the vibrant waterfront of our city.
We sponsored the Most Joyful category of the competition. And sure enough, after a week of the most rubbish weather you can imagine, the day was stunning!! The World of Wearable Arts aka WOW is on for the next two weeks but it is a coincidence that this fun event has happened at the same time as the Council made them move it from the original date which was not. It's a happy coincidence though.

 Some gorgeoous goldfish, Thing 1 and Thing 2.
 Some of Capital Steampunk, with Mrs Hudson (The Younger) in her wonderfully patriotic gown.
Two gorgeous "ladies" (not really ladies!) visiting the Colonies.
 Wally, or Waldo, who spent the whole parade hiding behind people. She was so sweet!
 A couple of fab costumes originally made as WOW entries
 A  Steampunker in a Blueprint jacket. So clever!
 I loved this entry - Mum, Dad and their son playing Nemo. The anenomes are just throw rugs safety pinned on and a bunch of skinny ballons around their necks. SO CLEVER!! And so lovely to see a family together.
 Another shot of Nemo as he is so gorgeous!
 Me presenting a prize to these two clever sculptures.
 Cavalcading along the waterfront!
Cavalcading. My gosh it was one beautiful day!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Christmas Plans already!

I have plans, Readers! Lots of USOs (un-started objects!) and in some ways that is worse than UFOs - because UFOs are a bit like those really active molecules hunting for atoms to bond with and make lovely new things, so have a certain energy that makes them attractive. But USOs are just piles of fabric that require cutting out. Erk, I dislike cutting out, and the idea of having to do it puts me right off sewing sometimes.
HOWEVER, I have made some progress. Constance is Emceeing several Christmas shows and I felt that it was time to make a special Christmas costume.
Remember, all costumes must be seen from space, so I was thrilled to haul a length of red sequinned fabric out of my stash (I don't remember buying it!). It is gorgeous - the sequins are sewn on not stuck on, at one point only so they can all move and shimmer deliciously. The fabric has a little stretch too.
Of course, a Christmas costume requires white fur trim. But we are having cream feather boa instead. Because Constance.
I riffled through my patterns looking for an off the shoulder number but to no avail. Then I thought oh good grief, that is why you penuried yourself to get a dressmaker's dummy! So I draped it using pattern cloth, and when I was happy, I cut it out of the sequin yummy stuff, checked it on me, tweaked it and tada! This is where we are at!
 Rolled up hand towels are an essential addition, replacing my arms ;-)
 And with the feathers pinned in place

I really like the drapey thing across the front. I used to look at such things with a sense of sadness that I could never wear them (where? why?) but now I have the perfect excuse.
Now, this dummy is very rigid in ways that I am not. I am soft, squishy and bumpy. BUT, under this costume I will be wearing a corset so I will be rigid at the time. Not super tight or anything, just firm and smoothing. Not for every day use however!

So, there we are. I imagine it will stay like this until three days before I need it, as usual. Right now, as in today, I need to complete and then learn a new song for next Saturday. And another one for the following Saturday, as well as a bit of costuming. And my six day a week job.

Oh one last thing, colouring in is a big trend right now I believe. So I gave it a go. We sell Doodle Art pads and one is on the counter with thee fab twist up crayons so anyone can have a wee go while they are being served or waiting etc.
I did the big butterfly to get the ball rolling :)

See you all soon!

Friday, September 4, 2015

In life as in Shakespeare

Shakespeare's plays often feature someone running onto the stage and telling everyone about the exciting thing happening where they just came from. Some of my posts are a bit like that!

So in the past three weeks, this happened:

 Sauron strikes again! Nerdlesque, at The Fringe Bar 22 August 2015
 The "Eye" just needed new batteries after being in storage since December last year. 

And then on the 29th, this happened:
Yes that is Constance and Me staring adoringly at the FABULOUS Pollyfilla. In her Helen Reddy Tribute costume. Polly was over from Melbourne and OMG, he (Colin) did his makeup at my house and showed me all the secrets!!!!! It takes three hours. One of the most generous and warm people I've met, both in and out of drag. The gorgeous young blonde with us is Martin, who is also lovely. But at 20 something, he had no idea who this Helen Reddy person is. He was given homework ;-)
People we walked out my front door at 11.15pm and I got home around 3am. This is how drag shows operate. I was quite proud of my tenacity actually. Not so proud of my makeup job. But then, it wasn't about me :)
On the 23rd, I had another photo shoot and I love the photos but I wish I had had Polly's makeup tutorial beforehand because I think the makeup is a little flat. Ah well!

We had fun and it's nice to have some promo shots with updated costumes!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mary Poppins, but not as you know her!

Video from our Demented Disney show came through, and here is my interpretation of Mary Poppins, introduced by the effervescent Sadie von Scrumptious, with guest appearance by K.T.
Costumewise, it was the easiest to date by FAR. The usual skirt, a modified jacket and a new hat.
The jacket was a black one I used to wear in my corporate days. I trimmed the collar with blue satin bias, turned the fronts back and under and trimmed the new line. I subbed out the buttons with daisy ones and that was it!
The hat I made using the same method as my hat tutorial here- it's just black calico. I found the three yellow gerberas at a discount store, and just glued them on. Easy peasy.
She needed a more Edwardian hair do than Constance normally has, so instead of the huge ratt on top, I used a bunch of curled hair extensions wound into balls as padding to build my hair up and out. It was just right, and the hat only needed one hat pin through the top layer and then all tha extra hair to stay put.

In case you are wondering, the baggies contain lemon sherbet. We made it ourselves, and here is the recipe:

 Mary Poppin's "Special Sugar"

1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon each of tartaric acid, citric acid and baking soda
1 packet of lemon Raro or Tang powder (sugar no artificial sweetened)
Just stir it all up and that's it!

It really is quite delicious, and quite the pick me up!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

We won!!!

My shop Made on Marion, won the Top Shop Award for Small/Single Store. How cool is that?!
This is me accepting the award and having a lot to say as per usual -behind me from left, Melisa, Karen, MrC (pretty much hidden) Ben, and Mark the CEO of Retail NZ.
It was an awesome evening - lovely company at our table from an online beauty products shop, a lovely dinner and the excitement of winning!! Yay!!!
For a laugh, this is me on the left, up until 4.30pm. Right is me after an hour of serious interventioning at the mirror ;-)

Melissa, me and Karyn all glammed up in red and orange goodness. I am wearing the silk and velvet evening cape The Dreamstress made for me last year. So pretty!
Now to my top. It is made from a strange silk fabric, like a really coarsely woven organza but it is still beautiful quality. It behaves like organza - floating and billowing instead of draping. I fell hard to the print, which reminded me of inlaid wooden tables, but with a slightly tapa cloth vibe too.
The top is a standard MrsC empire line, A-line skirt with uneven hem jobbie, with rather odd split sleeves.
It was a mare to sew however. I tried to narrow hem the bottom and sleeves on the overlocker but the fabric kept pulling away from the stitching for inches at a time. Grrr. I tried overlocking it and it did the same thing. This is all the night before of course.
In the end I got a grip, reminded myself that I have Mad Skills, and worked it out. Firstly I stay stitched the raw edges about 5mm in, to help the warp and weft to settle. Then I changed the way I was drawing it through the overlocker - putting some tension behind it as well as in front. This really helped. I also lifted the cutting blade so it really did roll - I don't usually do this but sometimes it is the best.
FINALLY, I got a nice rolled edge. It held together for the evening, looked nice on stage, looked good as we danced our way UP to the stage to the Happy Song (everyone had great boogie music but we were the only team that danced!) and I didn't slop gravy down it so win!
I am so ridonculously proud of my people and of us :)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

On Touring, Thrifting and Coffee

Well in the past 72 hours I have driven 1200km through snow, rain and sunshine, performed, bought amazing things en route, and made new friends. And now I am relaxing for a day before another big week.
After our first show in Whakatane was postponed because the weather meant we couldn't get there, we rescheduled for Friday 7 August. So at 7am on Friday, I headed off to pick up my two companions and fellow performers, Moxie Fizz and Lady Sane.
We drove nearly 600km in wonderful weather, for which I thanked many lucky stars, and got to Whakatane by 4pm as planned.
The saga of the show began when we walked into the room, saw the stage and all of our hearts sank. All being the three of us, our wonderful leader Cherry Boomb, and Pussy Galorrez. Real names withheld to protect the innocent. I am not going to go into the details of the next three hours, wherein LadyPower transformed an almost unworkable set up into a passable venue, nor of the show itself which was pretty damned good in spite of said venue and because of us! And the great staff there who did their best to help us out. We were a Test Case for them so the boss didn't want to overinvest, you see. So we got paid the worst and had to deal with the worst conditions. From now on it will probably be fabulous. And this is why I would quite like to go back, in spite of it all.
ANYWAY, what I wanted to show you is the loot I scored on the way home!!! We stopped for a good break in Taupo, which for the uninitiated is a gorgeous little town on the shores of Lake Taupo the population of which increases 20x over in summer. It is winter here but it is still hummy, and Moxie and I went off to find junk or craft shops as we love to do.
We ended up in an antique/junk shop where the owners were enjoying a fish and chip lunch on the counter because classy. Smelled good though! Scanning the crammed cabinets of china and knickknacks, I spied buttons. BUTTONS!! Czech glass, old buttons. Just a few but so pretty. Mrs Fishnchips said, there's more in those drawers - and soon we had the little shallow drawers flung open on hundreds of twinkling glass buttons.
Between us we bought about 70 buttons and this is my haul:
Aren't they pretty! The big leaf ones are 32mm across (1 1/4 inches) and are what drew my eye. 
Glass buttons make the most incredible sound when you move them around together. I am immediately reminded of the precious glass marbles so popular when I was young. I took this photo on my kitchen bench, and as I never wear blue, it's probably not the best backdrop to show them off - they are chosen to wear with rich red, purples, golds and blacks, cos that is how I roll.
After beating the snow front on the Desert Road, where State Highway 1 runs across a volcanic plain of extraordinarily wild beauty seen many times in the LOTR and Hobbit movies, we ended up in Taihape. Here we found a junk shop so unappealing I nearly walked out, until I saw that among the total rubbish were some gems, at proper junk shop prices. I could have filled a trailer with charmingly ugly, oak modernist furniture for a few dollars, but I restrained myself to one oak Queen Anne stool that would fit in the back.
I am so torn between giving this a chalk paint treatment or leaving it as oak. I think I'll re-cover the top and then decide. It is so lovely - and useful too! 

Lady Sane came away with a bag of clothes and Moxie found some sewing patterns so everyone felt the opshopping love.

Now on the way up, I got my first speeding ticket since 2000. So, my first in this century. MORTIFIED was I, as I am a nana driver, but it was a straight bit and I got carried away. This happened on the outskirts of Hunterville, where we also stopped on the way home for a hot snack. I did what I have done many times - putting a hot coffee on the dash while I get into the car and move it to the cup holder when BOOSH, off it fell, spilling its smelly, milky self all over me, the driver floor, door and dash. Many tissues later, the worst was cleaned up but I am never stopping in Hunterville again as I feel it is not on my side.
In spite of speeding tickets, rickety stages, microphone batteries dying mid song, coffee spills and because of fantastic company, show camaraderie, a great audience, sequins, comfy motel beds, beautiful snow and op shopping, it was a fabulous weekend.
And to come - this week is the Award Ceremony for the Top Shop awards, in which Made on Marion is a finalist, and I have a posh top to make for it so double reason for a follow up post - new outfit AND outcome!
Happy Sunday everyone! xo

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I actually made another Actual dress!!

Good grief this is becoming a habit! But I think I have a new obsession - winter dresses. Cosy, warm, long, knit dresses.
This one is another Khaliah Ali pattern but this time from McCalls; M2078. While the McCalls range of her designs stops at size 24, I checked the sizing and this was just fine for me.
However it is not in me to leave well alone. The bodice front and centre skirt panel are all as one, which seems like a waste of fabric to me. Also, I wanted to add some flare to the front and back skirt panels. While the line drawing implies that they have flare, they are dead straight.
So, I cut the long skinny bits off, slashed and spread them, and off I went. I also wanted to do something more interesting with the neckline than just face it. So I draped a little tie collar that culminates at that lower corner. And here it is!
 On the back deck of our weekend base in Martinborough where we taught some classes this weekend.
The inky purple is a mostly merino (plus a little nylon) sweatshirting so it has a fluffy inside. The side panels are a glorious, digitally printed border viscose knit from Tessuti Fabrics. I think it was about $45m. Yup. And breathe!
 Because the viscose knit was pretty thin for winter, I underlined it with another purple merino. The two layers are sewn into the skirt as one, however not across the bottom.

The little tie collar is made from an offcut of the print. It has three pieces, so shoulder seams.
I am wearing a red V neck merino under it which slightly confuses the visuals, but again the sun is "all fur coat and no knickers" still.
I'm so in love with this dress - I literally stood in front of the dryer jumping up and down and willing it to get dry enough to wear on Thursday morning before having to give up and wear my other dress. Which I also love. But not quite as much. But don't tell it I am playing favourites.
I reckon I have a couple more dresses in me before I feel sufficiently dressed for the winter.
But for the rest of this week I am on costume duty. Coming up with a Constance version of this: