Saturday, August 18, 2012

See, That Other Door Did Open Up!





The last few weeks have been....less than stellar. 

I've been creating. Not every day, but most days. But there hasn't been much joy involved.

I haven't felt like posting; well, not exactly, it's more like I haven't wanted to take the time to post. But things are turning around for me. I was offered a new job! I interviewed at Norcostco two weeks ago (August 2nd, to be exact), and had hoped to hear back the next week. But nothing. 

UPDATE: After my interview, I had lunch with Dear director friend - we were supposed to go to a movie (but it wasn't a date! No! Couldn't have that now, could we?), but the interview went long, so when I got to his place, we decided to stay in, have lunch - and then we had sex. So much for monogamy!  He didn't feel all that remorseful, either. I was feeling so positive about the interview, he couldn't resist that energy. Or my body.
The following week, we did get to a movie, while my oldest was out with friends in Minneapolis. And he would have loved more than a movie date, but I had to pick up R. So we made plans to see each other the next week.
Thursdays have always been a particularly good day for us to meet, and evenings were now an option as well. And we had a lovely Thursday evening romp at his place; I wasn't there ten minutes before he was removing my clothes! The man can't resist me. But later, I told him how worried I was, about finding a job. Other than my time with him, I felt like I was nothing.

Which led to the sadness, tiredness, lack of positivity I've been feeling. I was so right for this job! Really! Not to mention I needed a job, and was starting to look farther afield - some bakeries are hiring for early-morning shifts (really early-morning, like 4 a.m. early) which would be doable for me, but not ideal. Especially with getting kids to school. And more especially with evening rehearsals.

But luck (i.e., hard work and a good attitude) was with me, and I will be the new sales floor associate for Norcostco's Minneapolis location, dealing with costume rentals, make-up, wigs, and accessories. Life is good.


Speaking of costumes, here are some of the items I built for Cymbeline earlier this summer.
Zoe in the awesome bodice I built
The Evil Queen with her headcovering




And this is the back of my head, in a cool braid/bun creation I did a couple of weeks ago.


this is actually my hair

UPDATE #2: We were both at a wedding reception/party the following Monday, and even though he was still dating Horse Teeth girl, he didn't bring her to the reception. It's too hard for him to put on his Handsome Act when he has a date. He wouldn't have been able to sit with me and introduce me to some friends, if she had been there. This was why I thought we had a relationship, not just sex. He wanted to be with me. But he didn't want her to find out. It got complicated.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

There Are No Famous Quotes In Cymbeline

"Cymbeline" - one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays. Actually, "Pericles" may be the only play lesser known than "Cymbeline".

Set in ancient Britain, when they were under Roman rule, the story revolves around King Cymbeline, his daughter Imogen, his second wife (the Evil Stepmother Queen!), her son Cloten, Imogen's lover Posthumous, some lost children of Cymbeline, a roguish Italian named Iachimo, a banished lord......your usual five-act Shakespeare bonanza of plot devices, disparate storylines, love, revenge, jealousy, battles, disguises, and a happy ending.

The design theme for the show was a fairytale, "Princess Bride" look - with a little Ancient Rome thrown in for good measure (there's a Roman General who shows up halfway through, and I decided to go with the classical Roman soldier tunic, tab belt and helmet for him, just to make things easy to follow).

I had most of the base costumes in my stock, and was able to pull several that I built years ago for "The Merchant of Venice"; but I created several hats, a really lovely, simple bodice for one of the women.


meet Headless Cloten II
Oh, and I had to dress a dummy. "Which one?" became the standard joke in the costume shop, not that we think actors are - not so bright. But when you have to teach a 50-year-old how to put on a shirt....(Most actors will admit to reverting to toddlerdom when it comes to putting on costumes; they forget how to tie their shoes, how to button their shirts, they pu a dress on backwards, etc.) 


Back to the dummy: Cloten, son of the Evil Queen, puts on Posthumous' outfit to fool Imogen, but instead runs into some rustic mountain folk (Cymbeline's kidnapped children, btw), and one of them beheads him. Yeah. And then Imogen finds the headless body, in Posthumous' clothes, and thinks her lover is dead. Tragic. Which meant I had to build a second tunic for the dummy. It's been bloodied and dirtied as well, by the t.d., and I hope to get a picture of the final "look" this weekend.


Fancy-schmancy king's robe
I had to do some repairs to Cymbeline's over-robe, and add additional trim to cover the repairs. He looks very regal.


Friday, July 20, 2012

One Door Closes.....

...and it sucks for an hour. That one, small, hall closet-size door that was my job at St. Catherine University.

The theater budget got cut in half for the upcoming school year, so they plan on repurposing and reusing costumes from the last couple of years. But not my costumes, the other designer's costumes. So, she's the one that got hired back. Good for her. Not so good for me.

UPDATE: I had a coffee date with my dear director friend, so he could dump me. One hour after I was "made redundant" by St. Kate's, I was dumped, because he wanted to be monogamous. With somebody else. For no other reason than he didn't want to hurt her feelings. I guess my feelings didn't, and don't, matter.

But, once I got home, and went online, I found a great big, double front door, just waiting for me to open. Norcostco is hiring a full time sales floor person. The company that I worked at for eight years, where I'm known, where I have experience, is hiring. So wrote a new cover letter, sent off my resume, and within an hour heard back from my former boss (not my immediate supervisor, but the big boss of the whole costume/make up/sales division)! She was very excited to see my resume, and we set up an interview, in two weeks' time. She has to go to the Atlanta office, but wants to see me as soon as she gets back. I'm thinking positively, hoping for some good things to happen.

That's one of the biggest differences between Jeff and I. He can only see the bad things, the cloudy skies, that life is one giant "Kick Me" sign on his back. Me, I tend to find the silver lining, the bright side of life, the positive things that could happen. And that's why things usually work out for me. I don't see failure; I accept that plans change, that there are unexpected twists and turns in the road, that we can't predict where we'll end up. And that's okay.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, then it isn't the end yet."


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Salad Days

Mondays seem to be my food creation days; at least, the last two Mondays have been.

July 9th: I was gearing up for tech/dress rehearsals for "Cymbeline". I also had a bunch of raspberries that needed to be baked into something, and a birthday party post-rehearsal. And thus, Chocosagna was born.

I was all crisped out, and thinking more of a raspberry bar-type dessert, a sweet finger food if you will.  I started with a yellow cake mix, one egg, and one stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted. Mixed them together and pressed the shortbread-like dough into a 9x13 pan for the base. I had mixed the raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups) with a bit of sugar to sweeten them, so I poured the berries and resulting juice onto the crust; then sprinkled about 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and 1 cup of dark chocolate morsels over the berries; and poured a can of sweetened condensed milk over the whole thing. Popped it into the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. When I took the pan out of the oven, I decided to swirl the melty chocolate chip morsels over the whole concoction; in hindsight, it would have been better to leave the morsels alone. Anyway, the bar/cake/dessert was gooey, so I put it in the refrigerator to chill and firm up.

After rehearsal, I cut the bars; because the chocolate layer had hardened in the fridge, it was kind of....messy to cut through. Messy, but tasty! I left a few bars for the kids, and took the rest to the party. When I removed the cover, our host Matt thought I had brought an overbaked lasagna - the chocolate layer looked a bit like burnt cheese, the raspberries like red sauce, and the crust like noodles, I guess. My dear director friend was the first brave soul to try it - he loved it! As did the others who gave it a go. A definite winner.

UPDATE: My dear director friend was also busy feeling me up during the party - I almost dropped the dessert when he played grab-ass with me. Then he wanted me to "rub my gorgeous body against him" when he gave me a good-bye hug. This was just before the second time he dumped me.

When I make this again - and I will make it again - I'll put the sweetened condensed milk on the crust first, then the berries, nuts and chocolate chips. And I won't spread out the melted chocolate. Maybe a little drizzle of white chocolate to top everything off!

July 16th: Hot, hot hot! It's still so hot! A cold supper was in order; lunchmeats and cheeses, crusty french bread, and Damn Good Potato Salad. Which meant boiling potatoes in the morning, before it got too hot
outside; also hard boiled some eggs while I was at it.

Damn Good Potato Salad
3 lbs. size "b" potatoes ( the little red-skinned ones)
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
mayo/vinegar dressing

I peeled most of the skin off of the potatoes; I had some sprouting and eyes that had to be removed, and I cut them in half. Dropped them in a large pot of water, boiled them until tender. I saved some of the potato water (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) before draining the potatoes; as they cooled slightly, I whisked together the reserved water, about 1/4 c. white wine vinegar, about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (the last of the bottle!), and several splashes of worchester sauce. Once I could handle the potatoes, I cut them into bite-size pieces, then poured the vinaigrette over them, stirred it all up so all the potato bites would absorb the liquid, and put them in the refrigerator to cool for several hours.

Just before serving, I mixed together some (maybe 3/4 cup) mayonnaise (mayo, not Miracle Whip (mayo, always mayo, gentle reader)), a couple tablespoons of spicy brown mustard, some more white wine vinegar and worchester sauce, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and some Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt. I mixed the dressing with the potatoes, added the hard-boiled eggs and green onions, and served up my Damn Good Potato Salad.

The rest of last week was costume creations for Cymbeline; I'll post about them later (and at least I have photos of the items!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Independence Day

Gonna try this again.

No kids tonight. R. & C. are at CONvergence, and I haven't heard a thing from them. Too busy being all sci-fi geeky and shit, I bet. And J. is going to her grandma's for the night.

So this will be my first Friday on my own, no need to check on or check in with anybody. My plans are simple: drinks with a couple of friends, (one of whom is going to see "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" with a couple of my comps), then dinner with a close girl friend, and possibly ending with a viewing of  "Mostly Martha" hosted by the St. Paul Public Library, at the Central location. They're offering "Foodie Flicks" on Fridays in July; I'm hoping to make it to most of them.

Creations this week:
Tuesday: I wrote a kickass cover letter for my resume, then sent it off to CTC. I also had a swim date with a dear friend; the pool was heavenly, especially during this heat wave. We created a fun, cooling interlude in our busy lives, and made a few plans for later this month. From there, on to the Caves for my Cigarette girl gig. Turns out, it was an international business group of some kind (don't know what business), and I was quite a hit with the Europeans! 


Betty the Cigar Girl

"Cigars, poker chips, mints, chocolates?"
Sadly, the chocolates I had to give out were American milk chocolate, which isn't so popular in other countries, but they appreciated the novelty of the "cigars" and "poker chips". Some of the men were disappointed I didn't have real cigars - they wouldn't have been able to smoke them inside anyways!

Wednesday: Happy Independence Day! I helped R. with her final costume for CONvergence - a silver metallic knit catsuit. She did an amazing job! No pattern, very little experience - and it turned out really good. I taught her how to use the serger, helped her with a few patterning and fit issues, and put the zipper in for her; but the majority of it was all her doing! Then R. and C. modeled their various outfits, and I took pictures. R. posted them on her tumblr site; I'll have to wait until they come back with the camera to post any photos.

Thursday: First, R. needed a zipper put in her hobo bag; she didn't want it wide open, with her money and phone easily accessible. I had to reconfigure the top a little bit, to get the zipper to work; and the straps had to be removed then reattached. but it worked for her! Later that evening, I ended up helping one of the other costumers at Shakespeare & Company with some finishing on vests. I suggested using snaps for closures instead of making buttonholes, especially since a couple of the vests were a little too snug to get really good buttonholes; then just sewed the buttons on top of the snaps, for effect. Easy-peesy, and super-fast finishing.

On tap for this weekend: getting my Cymbeline costumes ready; I've got some shirts to build, a couple of matching tunics to put together, and headwear to figure out. And shoes; all the actors need shoes. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Finding the New Normal

Alright, let's just get this over with - it's hot in Minnesota; Africa hot; record-breaking, outside-baking HOT.

And my weekend didn't go as planned - AT ALL. I had parties to go to, friends to see, plans made; all to keep me occupied, and let the kids go with their dad to a pool party on Saturday night. I was invited to that party, too; it was the opening-night party for Shakespeare & Company, and opening night of the first show "The Merry Wives of Windsor". I had originally planned to skip both, but the hubs didn't want to have to deal with questions about where I was, why I wasn't there. So, to keep the peace, and to keep the kids happy, I went. It was fine, the people who know about our split are being discreet, allowing us our space. But I had made plans with friends to watch a movie, and had to back out at the last minute. I felt torn, and not quite right being at the company party.

Friday night was a slightly different matter. I was going to attend a friend's 50th birthday party, and was looking forward to my first night out, without having to check in with anybody. Then, Friday afternoon, J. got her first period. (She would not be happy with me if she knew I was posting this!) It was....traumatic, to say the least. J. was crying, R. was trying to comfort her, and big brother C. kept out of the way - far away. She finally calmed down, I took off to get ready for the party - then R. called, "J. wants to spend the night with you. She misses you." So, I took off my party clothes, picked her up, and brought her over to my dad's for the night. 

On to my creations: Friday evening, I made another, slightly different raspberry crisp (no almonds!); Saturday, what did I do Saturday? Costume stuff, and got my gear together for a gig on Tuesday night. Sunday, I worked on C.'s CONvergence costume, sewing white fabric tabs onto a black jacket, for an anime character that he wants to be.

And today? I wrote a new resume, helped my stepmom with a rescue adventure, and turned a cardboard box lid into a cute cigarette girl box for tomorrow's gig. Pictures to follow, I promise!

The rescue adventure was not particularly eventful; my dad had a dentist appointment this morning, getting a tooth pulled; but the tooth was in bad shape, and one of the roots didn't come out. So, with a mouth full of novacaine, my dad drove himself to an oral surgeon in St. Paul for the root extraction. By the time my stepmom found out, he was already there; this is where I come into the picture. She needed me to drive her to the office building, so she could drive him home. And of course, it's right in the middle of the University Ave. light rail construction. We found the building, had to make a u-turn to get to the parking lot, then entered at the south end of the building, when we wanted to be at the north end. A quick walk through the atrium, and we found him. All is well. 

But still really hot.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Halfway Mark

Halfway through the year; halfway through my year. It's my half-birthday today, and I'm going to celebrate.

Everybody thinks December 31 is a great day for a birthday. Everybody celebrates, right? Yeah, at new year's eve parties. And my birthday gets lost in all the year-end hoopla. Also, my husband hates new year's eve; he was never able to separate that holiday from my day, so he never wanted to plan anything, he didn't want to do anything. He's a bit of party-pooper anyway, or I should say he's introverted, doesn't socialize much. I, on the other hand, love a good party, whether I'm the host or a guest. This was one of the ongoing differences we had over the years - I was invited to a lot of parties, I wanted to go to the parties, he wasn't comfortable with people he didn't know, so I went alone to some of them - and skipped a lot of them over the years, just to avoid an argument.

I'm also going to reboot here on my yearlong project; I've been creating and working on projects with my kids and around the yard, and cooking quite a bit lately, but I haven't documented most of these things. I'm just going to make a list of what I can remember, and start anew on Sunday, July 1.

1) I did build a new compost bin; but I still have to move most of the old pile to the new location.
"found" pallets 


the set-up













ready to make gardener's black gold




2) My older daughter R. made a hobo bag for herself; I helped with the sewing part. She did a good job on her own little creation. She's also trimming a dress for CONvergence next week. I'm helping her and my son C. get costumes together for the four-day event.

3) I made raspberry-almond crisp earlier this week; my raspberry crop is thriving this year! Lots of rain last month, and lots of heat this month - that's the key, I guess. I even took pictures as I mixed the ingredients; I'll post them later.

ready for the oven


4) I gathered supplies for a couple of projects that I haven't gotten to yet - an arbor made of branches; and wine bottles. Lots of wine bottles. I'm hoping to turn the bottles into hanging planters or candle holders, for the Etsy shop. Don't copy!

5) I'm sewing trim on a coat for C., for one of his CONvergence costumes.

6) I froze leftover coffee in ice cube trays (one of those "what to do with leftover coffee" suggestions that I do periodically), mixed the cubes and some coconut milk in the blender, and made my own icy coffee drink.

7) Some recent food creations: potato pancakes (using Simply Potato hash brown shreds! So simple!); garlicky shrimp and bacon pasta salad; homemade pizzas (yeah, a repeat, but different crusts/ingredients); banana oatmeal muffins with coconut milk; white gravy and mashed potatoes. There are more, I'll have to ask the kids what meals they remember.

8) I have to redo my resume. There's a job opening at Children's Theatre Company that I'm quite qualified for, which would make my life a whole lot easier, at least for the next few years - if I get it.

UPDATE: I just got a confirmation email, they have my resume and will start scheduling interviews by the end of the month. Fingers crossed!

So, there's my little recap. Like I said earlier, I'm taking a mulligan for June. But I need to get back on track, with my blog and with my life. Time to move forward, and keep the little grey cells involved and active. Time to celebrate a half-year, and prepare for the next stage in my life.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I am strong, I am invincible....

Exercise! Fitness! Looking and feeling good!!!

I'm finally over the malaise that hit me earlier this month - the vertigo, the uncertainty about my home situation. I'm ready to move on, and move my body.

In May, I had a part-time, seasonal job at a garden center, that was physically active in the extreme - lifting and moving plant packs, setting up tables, moving large carts loaded with plants from one area to another. it was 4 to 5 hours of constant motion. And it felt good. I felt good. But the job ended last week, and I've been a little lazy, dealing with my emotional health rather than my physical health.

I've started a regular biking routine, three days a week, around Bald Eagle Lake. The views are spectacular, and a lot of other people run and bike around the lake. But there are also a lot of cars driving on the road; with all the people that live out here, there's only the one road for most of us to access our homes. And this road has only a small shoulder (and at some points, no shoulder!), and no biking or walking paths. So there are points of congestion, no matter what time of day I bike. Most people are good about sharing the road, acknowledging each other, but once in a while, some drivers get a little to aggressive and think they are the only ones who should be allowed to use the road. Just adds a little excitement, gets my heart racing.

I've also found some exercise routines through Pinterest, like this one. I'm trying it out, I like that it's all controlled, slow movements, which is a good way to tone muscles. So, we'll see.

And I've been using free weights for toning my arms. So I'm creating a lean, mean boredom-fighting machine.  

Now I'm off to get sushi for lunch with my youngest; tonight I'm taking my two older children to see The Vampire! - what could be better than a vampire in a kilt?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Waiting, waiting, waiting....

Waiting to move on; waiting to do a tour; waiting for other people to get their shit together. My life has been on hold for a bit. I've decided to take a mulligan for most of June.

My original plan was to do two creations every day this month, and post regularly. But, I was sick the first week - or, more precisely, having vertigo problems for several days. I also wanted to get a regular exercise program started.

But life, as we say, got in the way. I've been creating, but there's also been a fair amount of destruction going on as well. The biggest, scariest change: my husband and I are separating. For reals this time. I'm moving out on Wednesday, to stay with my dad and stepmom temporarily. Eventually, he'll find an apartment (and I need to find another job, for the additional expenses we'll have), and I'll move back to the house. I'm hoping we can keep the kids at the house, and we take turns staying with them. I want things to stay as stable as possible for the kids. I don't have much else to say at this point.

One positive aspect of this situation: I'm finally going to start an Etsy shop, selling off my vintage collection, and getting some of my design ideas created and on the market. I don't expect much moolah from this at first, but hopefully there will be some additional income coming in.

The rest of the destruction has been happening in the yard. I've been uprooting weird saplings that have been allowed to grow for a while. I was cutting them back every year, but they just sprouted anew, so I finally removed the "root of the problem".
six, count 'em, six different roots/stumps


they're outta here!

Next up - some gathering of supplies for more yard happenings.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm kind of a big deal

There's been more destruction than creation going on lately - in the garden and in my personal life. More on that later.

Here are my two latest shows; my costumes are mentioned in both reviews. This doesn't happen often, and to happen twice in two weeks - yeah, I'm gonna toot my own horn.

http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/stageandarts/158160835.html

http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/stageandarts/154491505.html

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Feed the soul and the body

At 11:15 p.m. last night, I created an Angus & Spinach burger served on multigrain bread. Then I created a Windsor & diet cola.

After a long day of show laundry, show alterations, show repairs, and a dress rehearsal - they were fantastic. The end.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One person's garbage.....

I keep forgetting to take photos. Or, I'm not good at keeping the camera handy to take photos. Or something.

So you'll just have to trust me that I'm creating. Sunday evening, when I got home from a second long weekend of tech rehearsals, this time for "Laughter on the 23rd Floor", I found that J. needed some serious help finishing a 3-D art project. She's been "working" on this for several weeks, slowly collecting trash and recyclables and planning - kind of. I did alot of the planning with her, making suggestions, helping her think outside the box - or inside the box, in this case.

The assignment was to make an additive sculpture out of trash. Additive sculpture is pretty self-explanatory, you put things together to create the object, adding to the shape. (As opposed to subtractive sculpture, such as carving stone away to create the shape). We brainstormed about what she should make; she finally decided to make a refrigerator, with food items inside. A cardboard box, empty jars and boxes, paper bags, spray paint, milk jug handles - she did a great job with the individual elements! She made a loaf of bread in a pan, by painting the lower part of a strawberry container silver and covering the top with a brown lunch bag. She made a spray cheese can out of the empty spray paint can and making a new label for it. She made refrigerator magnets out of bottle caps and newspaper ads. She even made a phone list to put on the fridge!

Where did I come into this? I'm the owner/operator of the hot glue gun in our house. I attached the handles and the interior shelves. We used drinking straws as supports for the cardboard shelves. It was a strangely relaxing way to spend my evening, after spending the last 12 or so days inside of theaters. But, we didn't take photos, and I don't think she gets to bring this project home - I'll find out tomorrow at the Art Extravaganza at her school.

"An Absolute Turkey" has been getting wonderful reviews; one reviewer even commented on my costumes!

Next up, another pregnancy pad, an altered maternity dress, and MEAT FEAST. Stay tuned!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Coming Clean

I actually cooked dinner several times in the last week and a half. Well, mostly the week of 5/14-5/18. Then I went into a very long tech rehearsal process for a silly French farce. (scroll down to "Opening May 25th!" That's the show I worked on).

I made a pork stir fry (J. told me afterward she prefers Schwan's stir fry, wah wah). Just some pork loin strips, cut up vegetables, and a mixture of soy sauce, olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, curry powder, maybe some other spices (I left out red pepper flakes, the kids don't like their food too spicy).

Another night I made barbeque meatballs; while I started with a commercial barbeque sauce, I jazzed it up with some yellow mustard, spices, a little hot sauce - just enough to take away the oversweet processed taste.  I should just make my own barbeque sauce - and tomato sauce for that matter. Then I could make all sorts of flavor variations. I'll have to try some experimenting this summer.

J.'s birthday party was last Saturday, and she wanted a heart shaped cake. Friday night's creation - a chocolate cake, cut into a heart shape, and whipped pink frosting. Then J. decorated it with M&Ms. I had a tour, then a 10-hour tech rehearsal/costume parade, so I missed her party - and forgot to take pictures beforehand, and nobody (cough*her dad*cough) bothered to take pictures at the party. Ah, well.

There have been a few more costume creations in the past week, as well, for the French farce, An Absolute Turkey (this is the English translation of the title Le Dindon). Matching red lace corset tops kept me busy for a couple of days - including tear-away black satin bows that the two leading ladies pull off of each other's tops.

And then - the rains came. Massive amounts of rain in the last few days here in Minnesota. Mother Nature saved all the snow that didn't fall this past winter, and dumped it in water form all over us. I no longer live by a lake, I live in a lake! Flooded basement! Especially my costume storage area! Lots of wet vac action! Hauling out soggy cardboar! (only a couple of things got ruined, most of my costume stock is in plastic tubs, for this very reason.) And one almost-ruined picture of my son, C. - the cardboard backing in the frame got wet (yes, it was in a cardboard box with other pictures that we still haven't put on the walls!), but I got the photo out and dried off.

So, not so many creations lately, just a lot of clean-up. I'm glad I did the massive organizing in March, the flood damage could have been much worse.

And now, another show starts tech rehearsals! Today!

Monday, May 14, 2012

I knit so I don't kill (not really)

I finished a scarf last night.

I can't count the scarf itself as my daily creation, because I've been working on it for almost a year. It's a lovely scarf, with an interesting triangle pattern; and I'm sure I'll get plenty of compliments on it. But just getting it finished was becoming a chore.

It's the last triangle, the end triangle, that I'm counting as my creation; I had to frog the last bit of knitting twice; I thought I didn't have enough yarn to finish the scarf; I tried to add a different yarn for the end, but it looked horrible. I biked into town to our local yarn shoppe (it's a fancy yarn shop!) for one more ball of yarn - but they're closed on Sundays. So off in the car to a larger craft store for the yarn, and found something to approximate the yarn I was already using.

(The large craft store is close to my mom's home; I already had plans with her, so I thought I could shop first - the shopping wasn't the difficult part, the waiting over 5 minutes in the checkout line was. I guess 31 other people had decided they HAD TO get their project supplies right before me, and there was only one cashier. Bah.)

When I got home last night, I recounted the number of large triangles I had already knitted, and discovered I had made one too many. That was it. I had enough yarn after all. But I had to frog most of hte last large triangle, so I could redo it as the end triangle and cast off the final stitches.

Note: Frogging is a knitting term that means to remove stitches, especially a large amount, either to take a project apart, or to redo a section (usually when there's an error or dropped stitch.) It's a bitch to deal with, but a necessary evil to fix a mistake.

And now I have a large ball of yarn for another project. Yay.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

birthday girl

J.'s birthday was on Friday, so I created a birthday bouquet for her.



She particularly likes the orange one.

Erin go Bragh!

I pulled dandelions today.

Not all day, but I created a dandelion-free zone in the yard.  A couple of dandelion-free zones, to be exact.
No dandelions! The creeping charlie is next...

...after the rest of the dandelions are defeated. Yeah.


I also planted some annuals, in pots and in the first garden area I reclaimed when I moved back here. A rustic seating area under an old lilac shrub, now front-planted with primroses and astilbe. So I added celosia for a shot of color at the front.

Celosia - they remind me of Jen D.


And I worked in the yard just long enough to burn my lower back. Right across my claddagh.

Erin go Bragh



G'night, all.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why I do what I do

Monday evening. Nothing on my calendar. WHAT??

So J. and I made collages. Best. Night. Ever.
J.'s flower pictures

and I went with sideways hummingbirds
(I just looked at the calendar - I had a rehearsal/runthru scheduled, but it was changed to Tuesday night. Lucky, lucky me!)
that's better!
She picked a spot in the dining room to hang our fabulous creations; now I just need to frame them, and hang them. Still the best night ever.

I'm not bitter - but the vinaigrette might be

I got to cook dinner on Sunday. After striking the set, props and costumes for I Hate Hamlet. And painting the floor black. Again. Yeah, I got home around 5 p.m. and got to cook dinner for my family. Because they were waiting for me to come home and fix dinner. How considerate of them.

It wasn't that bad; I had some tilapia fillets thawing in the fridge, and they had at least picked out a quick potato side dish for me to make.

I mixed some flour and corn meal with smoked paprika, sea salt, garlic powder and black pepper; dredged the fillets in the coating, and pan-fried them in peanut oil. Simple, yet so delish!

Even better, the fam picked up some blueberries and strawberries at the same time, and I made a lovely, fruity vinaigrette with basil-infused olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed blueberries, sliced strawberries and a bit of sugar (to offset the sharpness of the vinegar); dressed some salad greens with this loveliness, and watched J. go to town on the salad, especiallly toward the end of the meal.

Quick, tasty, lovely to look at and delightful to taste. I rock!

Just a Quickie

....both as post update, and as a creation.

I've been on Pinterest since late December, and I've found inspiration for several of my creations through that site. Especially food items: Nutella cake, chicken tikka masala, plus so many other Beautiful Foods that I want to make/create.

And then there's my Craft Ideas board. One of the first crafty things I saw on Pinterest was a repurposed painting - taping a quote or saying on an old, thrift store painting, then painting over the entire surface with a solid color, removing the tape, and revealing the words.
like this

I made this on Tuesday; I had an old oil painting in my house (probably from my mom), used vinyl letters to spell out a Nietzsche quote, and painted over everything with a pale aqua (left over from the I Hate Hamlet set).

I started a part-time job, and need to run now. But I'll get the last few day's creations on here tonight (we can only hope!).

Later.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cookies and cocktails

A random selection of some lesser creations:

My youngest, J., wanted me to braid her hair before school one day, a couple of weeks ago. French braids, but not the full length of her hair; she wanted a french braid/pigtail combo. Braids at the top, to just past her ears, then fastened off with ponytail holders and the lower part hanging loose. Her hair is so long, I don't know if they can be called "pigtails"; but that's what I've always called it when a person wears their hair in two "tails" on each side, instead of one "ponytail" at the back of the head.

When I finished the braid/tail combo, she pointed out that could be my creation for the day. Done by 7:30 a.m.! With my life and schedule lately, I'll take that.

My friend RPK is in town (for Jen's funeral), and he loves Oatmeal Scotchies. He once referred to them as his kryptonite. So I baked a batch, some for him, some for my family, some for my IHH cast.
That last bit of cookie dough is always the "big" cookie
What is actually the "creation" part of this is the Big Cookie and the Small Cookie. Most of the cookies were pretty uniform in size, but after four dozen cookies were baked, I had enough remaining dough for one giant cookie; and as I stacked the cookies, I found the runt of the litter. Two of my dear theater friends, Z. and MPL are like these two cookies - Z. is a whole lot of a man, tall and big; MPL is shorter than the average bear. And they tease each other constantly about their respective size disparity. The rest of us enjoy the facebook banter that they provide; I know they don't like it when others join in (it really is a tennis match between the two of them, not a basketball park pick-up game, people!), but I had to tag them when I posted the above photo. And then I brought all the cookies to Z.'s party last night, for RPK and everybody else to enjoy. I don't know who got the Z. and MPL cookies, but they were all gone when I left.

Speaking of Z.'s party, I didn't create a cocktail, but I watched one of the best amateur mixologists I know create some lovely drinks, with vodka, or gin, and he brought his own bottle of Lillet, along with oranges and lemons (for the rind, of course!).

And now that the weather is so lovely and warm, I can wear one of my favorite creations ever - a sundress made out of a man's shirt.

I was given several men's XXL and XXXL shirts by a friend of a friend; the fabrics are lovely and colorful, but the shirts are SO LARGE. I don't have many (if any) actors who would fit into them, so I repurposed one of them into a dress for myself.

I started by removing the sleeves, the back yoke and the collar from the body of the shirt. Then I turned it around, and used the front button placket as the back closure for the dress. I put in a couple of shaping darts, and took in the side seams, to fit the shirt to a woman's curves (namely, mine!).

I cut the bodice out of  the sleeves, and draped it for an empire bodice, on the diagonal for some added design interest. Then I finished the neckline by using the original collar as a halter neck.
shirt collar into halter collar

back to front! 

the button placket, now the back closure
Full disclosure: I didn't create this dress yesterday; I made it a couple of years ago. It was one of the inspirations for this blog; I really enjoy manipulating fabric patterns to create a new look, and repurposing clothing into new uses.

Happy May!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pink!

I dyed my hair pink, in tribute to my friend Jen.

Well, I tried to dye it pink; I've never used the intense, bright hair dyes that Jen used, and I wasn't sure how much to put on my hair. Also, I didn't bleach it first, and I already color my hair, but there is definitely pink tones to my hair color now.

Jen's funeral is tomorrow. So many of us are dying our hair, or getting colorful clip-on hair extensions; going barefoot; and I'll be in a skirt for sure.

As a costume designer, I've realized my tribute to Jen will be via wardrobe, not through words. We work in different media (lights as opposed to fabric), but color and layers are both important aspects of our designs. I'm glad I got to work with Jen on so many shows. There will be photos of a lot of her lighting designs at the funeral home, I'm interested to see which of our collaborations will be represented, plus all the other theaters she worked for.

The ends of my hair are definitely pink; I expected the roots (especially the grey!) to take more color. Ah, well....It is what it is.

Much like life, and death, and everything in between.

The Shadow Knows

I'm finishing up the spring show at St. Kate's - On Air! A Return to Radio looks really good! The kids are having fun with their actor personae, as well as the different voices for the radio scripts.

And there are photos!
new collar/lapel, buttons and a sparkly buckle
I've also added some soutache trim to this red jacket, that was yesterday's creation. I'll post an additional photo from last night, once I get them.
The suit fit like it was tailored for him!
The red ruffle trim was Sunday's creation - I couldn't find any ready-made ruffle trim, so I bought a spool of wide red satin ribbon, ran a gathering stitch down one side, and attached it to the dress! I love how it looks against the polka dots, and the skirt gives the loveliest little swirl whenever Greta turns away from the microphone. She loves the dress, as well! She wants to buy it, and she should - it suits her beautifully.
The newly patterned vintage dresses

The other dress has a calla lily print for the body of the dress, and green taffeta collar, sleeves and a tie sash. It's a fun little design - there are two sections to the sash, one sewn into each side front seam, then they overlap in front, one section wraps around the back, and it ties at the side waist.

A snood, a peter pan collar - so sweet!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

The world is a little dimmer

Sadness. Grief. Disbelief. Shock. Pain.

A lighting designer, and a friend, passed away last week. She died in her sleep, sometime between Wednesday night and Friday night, when she was found in her bed. She was 36 years young, vibrant, talented beyond measure, genuine, lovely, everything I strive to be. She was known for her distinctive clothing choices (usually climbing ladders in skirts and bare feet, focusing lights, sometimes without underwear), her constantly changing hair color, and her warm smile and friendly words for everybody around her.

I found out early Saturday morning, when I logged on to Facebook, and the first post in my newsfeed was from an actress commenting on Jen's passing. I was in shock, I couldn't fathom what it meant. When I checked Jen's profile page, there were more comments, the news from her brother, and throughout the day, the news unfolded. Cardiac myopathy, weak heart muscles (I think). Two of her uncles had also died from this, one at the age of 25.

My grief turned to a dull pain, from that initial shock. Jen and I worked on so many shows together over the last ten years, I can't even count or name them all. Eventually, I'll put a list together, but for now, I'm just missing her.

I last saw her almost two weeks ago, in St. Cloud, at a tech rehearsal for "Arsenic & Old Lace". This is the one show I've costumed this year for which I didn't create anything - I either pulled the costumes from my stock, or borrowed them from a couple of theaters. It also opened the same night as "I Hate Hamlet", so I could only go to the one tech rehearsal, to drop off the costumes and say "Hey" to the other designers. Originally, I wasn't even supposed to be there that night, but I wasn't needed at the cue-to-cue for "I Hate Hamlet", so I made the trek to St. Cloud on a Monday afternoon/evening, and had one last quick chat with Jen.

I'm so glad I did. I will always remember our shared love of Pink, wearing sundresses and working barefoot. And in tribute to Jen, yesterday I wore a short skirt, no underwear, striped footless tights, and no shoes in the costume shop. I may not have the words to pay tribute, but I have the wardrobe.

Hug your people, people. Enjoy every sandwich.

The Anti-Hoarders brigade

I've gone back through my last few posts, mostly to refresh my mind as to what all I've written about. And discovered I hadn't mentioned one of my major feats - I organized and sorted through the majority of my costume stock!

During the last couple days of spring break, back in mid-March, the weather was warm, sunny, and no chance of rain - just what I needed to haul all the clothes and shoes outside. I laid out a tarp, hauled out piles of clothes that needed to go on hangers or into bins, and got to work.

This was a major deal for me, because part of my goal for this year was to organize my work space, and get my costume stock in order. It was a two-day process; and the kids helped a little bit, putting items onto hangers for me. I got like items sorted into bins (pants, shirts, sweaters, etc.), dresses and suits onto hangers and then on hanging racks, and....got shoes paired up and sorted into a total of SIX (!) bins. Yowza! (I still have a bin of unmated shoes waiting to be paired up - I'll get to them eventually).

In the process, I discovered I have three yellow polo shirts (what?), three pair of tall men's suede boots (I thought I only had two pair!), and a lot of brown loafers. It's been easier to find things lately, which is good, but I also realized - I need a bigger boat...I mean, storage area. I think my costume stock has reached critical mass.

I did throw away a few things as I progressed, and there was still a small pile of clothes and fabric outside when it finally did rain. I had to ditch a few things after that, and wash several coats; there were also several pair of socks that really soaked up the rain - that was fun, wringing them out. Or messy and stinky. Not so fun.

At least I don't feel like an episode of "Hoarders" waiting to happen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Art is Hard

This is embarrassing.

My theater has been taking so much time and energy (and another 5 lbs.! Yikes!), that I haven't been able to visit here. But I've been creating - shit, yeah, creating art and theater and wondrous things all over the place!

We did some publicity photos for "I Hate Hamlet", wherein I dressed the wonderful director/actor Peter Moore as John Barrymore as Hamlet - more precisely, as the ghost of John Barrymore as Hamlet. Add the skull of Yorick, and a handsome young actor (Brandon Ewald), and we have comedy gold.

The show is fantastic. It opened on April 20th, has been warmly received by audiences; unfortunately, they have been very small audiences. We're trying to get butts in the seats, but there were at least seven other theaters that opened shows on 4/20. Yeah, how stoned were all the theaters that decided on that particular date?? Hopefully, our second weekend will see an increase in ticket sales and word of mouth.
kinda like this

Some of my creations for the show itself: a hand-painted parquet floor on the entire stage (that took waaaaay too long, not the best idea I've had, especially when I'm doing so many other things with the show); a reproduction of Barrymore's Hamlet tunic for the above-mentioned Mr. Moore (who is giving a marvelous, brilliant performance as the slightly-drunk, ever-emoting John Barrymore); a phone intercom thingy that gets answered several times throughout the play, as people show up at the apartment; and a rigged archway curtain that "magically opens" when Barrymore first appears. I also made a stained glass window for a special lighting effect, where the profile of Barrymore (our own Mr. Moore, to be exact) appears in silhoutte.

Barrymore! Barrymore!

For my St. Kate's show, I finally have the dresses done (or almost, I will tomorrow) that I patterned earlier this month. Right now, I'm in the process of converting/creating a collar/lapel for a woman's jacket, to give it a little oomph and that great 1940's look. I'll also be adding some soutache trim and a decorative buckle.

At home, I gave the dog a much-needed haircut on Easter morning, after he had a little poop problem. And a bath. And I missed Easter lunch with the extended family.....Speaking of Easter, I created a lovely group Easter basket late Saturday night.



 I gave the kids The Hunger Games trilogy, in hardcover, as their big group present, and wrapped it up in almost an Easter Egg shape with tissue paper and wrapping paper and ribbon, then placed it in a big basket on the dining room table. 

I'll get pictures and better descriptions of these things, I just needed to make a list to remind myself of all I've been doing these last few weeks.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On the Air

I've made two patterns this week, for my current show at St. Kate's, On The Air! A Return to Radio.


The setting is spring 1942, and I found some lovely vintage dress patterns, but the sizes aren't quite right for the actresses. And I had to modify the neckline on one of the dresses, for the floozy. One of the actresses has decided her "radio actress persona" is a flirty, saucy young woman named....Bunny.
She's going to be adorable!

The second pattern is for the smallest of the actresses, who can consistenly play a teenager because of her petite stature, so her persona is the new girl to the business. Her look is more innocent, with a peter pan collar to add to the youthfulness. And the pattern I found has a wrap tie belt that creates some gathering and fullness to the front of the dress, which will make the dress adjustable for other actresses in the future.

Photos to follow, once the dresses are built and fitted to the actresses!

Wrapped in Love

My apron project!


Granny Heaney's apron, full of love

Dancing at Lughnasa apron, patterned from the original

the newest addition to the apron drawer...

...and put to work!

This style of apron has a small back to it as well; it goes over the head, the arms go through the side openings, and it ties at the back waist. It's simple, and feels like a hug from my Granny.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March Madness!

We had crazy warm weather in March. No snow, in Minnesota, in March. That's your March Madness, right there! The ice was off the lakes by the third week; plants were budding, too quickly in some cases - there was no sap run in the maple trees, so no maple syrup.

Then it changed, as the weather is wont to do. The wind picked up, the clouds blew in, and we were back to normal (somewhat). And on a cool, windy day -March 26th, to be exact-, I decided to make turkey chili.

I don't follow a standard recipe when I make chili; I use what's on hand, and let it all simmer on the stovetop. On this day, I had ground turkey in the refrigerator, so that was the meat base. I also had canned kidney beans, black beans and chili beans in the pantry, along with a large can of whole peeled tomatoes and a small can of diced tomatoes with garlic (fire roasted!, in fact). I also started to pull seasonings out of the cabinet - and realized I was out of cumin. Horrors! How can I make chili without cumin??? Ohhh, wait a second - I do have whole cumin seeds, just ready to be toasted and added to the mix!

Turkey Chili (inspired by a mild spring zephyr)

1 lb. ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can chili beans, undrained
1 can black beans, drained
1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic
1/2 of a 12 oz. package of frozen corn kernels, partially thawed

Seasonings, what I had on hand: smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, taco mix, curry powder, whole cumin seeds, garlic powder, salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce

and finally, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. That's right, cocoa powder.

1. brown the turkey in one tablespoon olive oil, over medium flame, until no longer pink; add chopped onion and cook for several minutes, over medium-high flame, until onion is soft and translucent.

2. add canned goods, mix, then simmer over medium-low flame to desired consistency. The longer the chili simmers, the thicker it gets.

3. add seasonings to taste: anywhere from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon, heavy on the smoked paprika, cumin (if I had ground cumin!), lighter on the curry powder and cayenne pepper (because my kids complain if it's too "hot" or "spicy"). Since I was using whole cumin seed, I added a teaspoon of the seeds first, in the middle of the pot, to toast the seeds lightly before mixing them in with the turkey; then I added the rest of the seasonings. After it had cooked a while, I tasted it and added salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste.

Then I added the cocoa powder. It gives the chili a lovely dark color, and the cocoa and hot spices complement each other, creating a complexity of flavor that can't be readily described. Add the corn, heat through, and serve with sour cream, shredded cheese and corn bread.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Let's see, where was I?

Okay, I made that new apron.  And I've been wearing it almost every day since.

I'm back at St. Kate's, post-spring break; I'm designing for the spring touring show, "On Air! A Return to Radio"; they're using two old radio scripts, and the students are developing "actor personas" who will be performing these scripts in a radio studio set.  I've done this before, with a David Mamet script. It's fun to work with 1930s and 1940s clothing and hairstyles.

Since this is a touring show, we need garment bags for transporting the costumes - so that's our big spring project in the sewing room.  I made a pattern for the garment bags that the students will be building over the next few weeks.

I'm also designing the set, and costumes, and set dressing/props for "I Hate Hamlet". It's been occupying so much of my brain space lately. We start rehearsals tomorrow, and I can't wait! The cast is also getting quite excited. So there will be several creations involved with this show.

I've also been working on some recipes - I made spiced pumpkin cupcakes with a crumb topping; turkey chili; and flatbread pizzas.

And - finally! - the garden. Oh, the weather has been glorious the last couple of weeks. The ice was out on Bald Eagle Lake on March 17th, the ground has been pretty much frost-free all along (I don't think it ever really froze this winter!), and plants are sprouting. The magnolias and azaleas have already been blooming!

I started digging out an old stump and some other roots, and created a hole in the ground. A few days later, my stepmom gave me a large rhubarb plant (that was actually several plants) and I now have a rhubarb patch! Can't wait!! She also gave me some chives plants, and I put them in my vegetable bed.

I've also had to re-visit "American Family" a couple of times; I've had to make some costume adjustments. One of the actresses was having some issues with the temperature in the theater, so I added a t-shirt layer under her tunic top. One of the actors also wanted a shirt change (there was a slight fit issue that came up after opening night...) But it is going well, overall.

And now, back to I Hate Hamlet, and prepping for a publicity photo. That's tomorrow's creation.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Food, Glorious Food

I'm all about the food right now.

During my supercrazy, hyperbusy February/March, I lost almost 10 lbs.
Mostly because I was working 16-hour days and had no time to eat anything but transportable snacks (i.e., my go-to, fruit & nut trail mix).

Now I just wanna cook, and eat, and make aprons. 

So on Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, I celebrated my Irish heritage with the most brilliant Shepherd's Pie. With lamb, peas & carrots, a light gravy, and cheesy mashed potatoes on top, it was divine. I changed up the seasonings a little bit (I used thyme instead of rosemary, added garlic powder, and I left out the cayenne pepper in the mashed potato crust). The kids cleaned their plates, and I had two servings (I had basically skipped lunch on Saturday, prepping the evening repast, and it was worth it)! I even remembered to take photos!

the lamb mixture in the casserole

Good Irish cheddar and cream cheese... 


...added to the mashed potato crust

Fresh from the oven!

Sunday afternoon, I had a short amount of time to create something; I started to cut out an apron, using my favorite old-timey full apron as the pattern ( I made it a few years ago, using my granny's actual old apron as the pattern prototype - are you following all this so far?). As I was manipulating the apron on the fabric to cut out the pieces, I realized what I needed was an actual paper pattern for aprons. So I made one, using the newly-cut-out pieces traced onto paper. Now I can make many, many aprons; and once I get the new one done, I'll get to count that as another creation!

Monday was the start of spring break for the kids; we didn't do much. But I made Philly-style hoagies, with onions and green peppers, and a little au jus for dipping. My two oldest kids just did beef and cheese, so their sandwiches were more like French Dips, but the youngest happily put onions on hers. I sauteed mushrooms for my hoagie, and passed on the roast beef (I had shepherd's pie leftovers for lunch, so I didn't need the meat.). All in all, another successful, quick weeknight meal!

And today, Tuesday, I made lasagna. Without a recipe. I just layered meat sauce and noodles and al fredo sauce and ricotta cheese and more noodles and more meat sauce and more ricotta cheese, and topped it all with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. And it's just about ready to eat!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, March 16, 2012

What else?

Time to catch up - again!

For the first week of March, I was still working a lot at the St. Kate's costume shop. I got to create several little decorative elements for Pirates of Penzance.

 1) For the character Ruth (the maid of all work on the pirate ship), I added a lovely white eyelet peter pan-style collar and French cuffs to her first bodice. The pattern called for pregathered lace on the edge of the collar and cuffs, but since her accent color was red, I made red ruffles instead. Her second bodice had the same red ruffle around the neckline. Unfortunately, the actress who wore the outfit sweated so profusely, that the red dye in her hair snood leached onto the white collar and turned it pink! Hopefully, this will come out when it's dry-cleaned, because it's a really beautiful 1860's-era bodice, based on this pattern.

2) I made a pale green jacked and skirt for one of the chorus members, but the skirt pattern was too short for her. This turned out to be a happy mistake, because the designer wanted a pleated flounce around the bottom of the skirt; so I spent a morning pleating the fabric to make a 4 1/2" flounce to add to the bottom of her skirt. The fabric had a regular stripe in it, so the pleats were easy to mark out. I also made a narrower pleated piece to add to the sleeve wrists, for a little extra design interest.

3) The girls wear nightgowns and mobcaps in the second act, and while we had a bunch of white cotton gowns and caps, they were pretty plain. So we added ribbon trim: the student workers mostly made bows to attach to the mobcaps and the front of the nightgowns, but I got a little more creative. For one girl (the one nicknamed "Moaning Myrtle" by the running crew!), I made yellow ribbon rosettes with little blue bows in the center to put on both sides of her mobcap, and a bigger blue ribbon bow with a yellow ribbon accent for the front neckline of her gown. I used peach ribbon and green floral trim on another gown/mobcap combo. The girls looked very sweet (and just a little silly!).

See? There was plenty of creating going on in my life. I'm trying to document all of them, though I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two items. But today, the sun is shining, the weather is unbelievably fabulous (76 degrees on March 16th! In Minnesota! Whaaat??), and I'm going to make a few final tweaks to costumes for American Family, walk around downtown St. Paul, and maybe get an ice cream cone. *smile*. Hope you have a similar Friday!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crimson Tide and Black Tights

You guys.

I made a #12 Alabama old-school football jersey today. It's a costume piece for American Family. It's in the dryer right now; because it's brand new, I had to wash it, and I'll have to distress it a little so it looks lived-in, since it belongs to a 16-year-old football player in Alabama in 1979, who is probably a big fan of Joe Namath. So I can't photograph it right now. But I will, later.

For the same show, I also made a 1960's-era dress for the mother of the 16-year-old in 1979 (it's a memory play, so there are two distinct years for the characters, and it's a little hard to describe without telling the whole story. Anyway.). I'm quite proud of this dress, I think it looks like something from Modcloth.

Finally, I made a flower girl dress, also for American Family. Very sweet, 1960s, lots of little pink, orange and yellow flowers printed on the fabric.

There was a photographer at the dress rehearsal tonight. Hopefully, I'll be able to link some of the production photos on here in the next couple of days.

Finally, we have a complete cast for I Hate Hamlet! I had to get on Peter's case to JUST MAKE A DECISION ALREADY! But the show is cast, I have designers and a very eager stage manager - now I just have to get production meetings and rehearsals scheduled. With everybody's conflicts, and overworked schedules, this should be a piece of cake. (Oh, for a sarcasm font!).

Theater - it's what I've been creating for the past month, and will continue to create for a while. But -  next week is spring break for my kids, and for St. Kate's, and American Family will be in preview performances, and I Hate Hamlet won't have started yet - so, maybe, just maybe, I can create some little projects around the house. And blog about them. Regularly. Won't that be fun??

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Who's dead?

Actual conversation at my house tonight, whilst reading The Bloggess:

ME: Isn't Ray Bradbury dead?
J: I... don't know. Alot of these sci-fi authors are either really old or dead.
ME: He created Star Trek, right?
J: No, that's Gene Rodenberry.
ME: Ohhh, that's who I was thinking of. Score one for the Bloggess.
J: (checking the interwebs) Ray Bradbury is 91 years old. And he hates the internet. He thinks it makes people unable to carry on conversations. And cell phones. He thinks there are too many machines in the world now.
ME: *laughing loudly* That's pretty ironic, isn't it?

I don't read a lot of science fiction, so if I'm wrong about Ray Bradbury, I apoloqize to his fans. About the machines comment being ironic, I mean.

However, I've recently been introduced to Terry Prachett. Him I like. I've been listening to audiobooks of "Nation", "Night Watch", "The Fifth Elephant", and just started "Equal Rites".  They make time in the work room or costume shop fly by. Seriously, check out his Discworld books.

It's been a long, lonely time

I didn't realize how long it's been since I've posted on here.

I've certainly been creating, though. Mostly theater-related: a plaid wool skirt that the actress wants to keep (!), a scary sea-type monster Halloween costume (both of these were for The Nerd). Then, we struck the set for The Mousetrap; this is what the blank stage looks like in the Theater Garage:
 





I don't know what I did - the picture is either really small or blurry, and I've somehow set the alignment to center rather than left. This sucks. I couldn't remember my password; yes, it's been that long since I've been to my blog; and now, this. Well, world, guess what! I've been so busy creating theater magic, I haven't had time to deal with my blog. So there! I've actually accomplished what I set out to do in the first place - gotten off my keister and done things! Lots of things! Costumes and food and friendships and relationships. I'm done for the night.

I'll tell you about my next projects, as soon as I figure out what I did here. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

All Theater, All The Time

This is getting redonculus.

I don't even know if I spelled that correctly. And I don't care.

I've been creating so much "theater" in the past week, I've forgotten about - pretty much everything else in my life. But "The Mousetrap" is open, we've had audiences (not huge, not sell-outs, but butts in the seat!), and my life continues.

We almost didn't get there, though. Wednesday night of tech week, the second dress rehearsal, one of the actors had an "episode". I don't want to say he was drunk or stoned,  because I don't have definitive proof, but something wasn't...right. In fact, several people thought he was having a stroke, at first. He was slurring his words, he was incoherent, he was missing his cue lines.....I wasn't there to witness the first act of the play; I was picking up some artwork for set dressing. When I got back to the theater, it was too quiet, the other tech people were just standing around, and the director wasn't to be found. He ws backstage, trying to figure out what was going wrong with his best friend. Yes, it was the director's best friend, and somebody I've known for over 20 years, who had a complete physical/chemical melt-down two days before opening. We had to pull him from rehearsal, because he was physically unable to go on. The night ended with the rest of the cast waiting in the green room, while the director and the tech director held down this actor until his brother arrived to pick him up. It was ugly. This is an actor with a long history of alcohol addiction, who's been in recovery; turns out he's had a couple of relapses lately. There are other issues in his life right now, I won't go into them; but he needs help. I can only hope he gets it.

Fortunately, a couple of cast members knew another actor who played the same role just a few years ago; he was available, and willing to step in at the last minute. One rehearsal with the rest of the cast, and he went on opening night! This man is my hero.

Situation #2: on Friday afternoon, about 4 hours before opening, my husband, who's in the play, fell through a riser in the audience, and sprained his ankle. Badly. Like, we thought a broken ankle or blown knee injury. But he went on; fortunately, his character is using a walking stick, so he had a support ready to go, and he got through the show. He did go to urgent care today, for x-rays, after his ankle gave out on him again and swelled up again. Nothing broken, but all of the ligaments are torn. This will be a long recovery for him.

So my creations have been small, theater-related, and dictated by others. Set dressing for an English manor, snow-covered shrubbery, a newly-painted fake fireplace, a cartridge-pleated skirt, and a hero shirt (or a pirate shirt, or puffy shirt, or Renaissance shirt, whatever you prefer to call it!) are some of the projects I've worked on in the past week. I also created a couple of food items, including a mock shepherd's pie, with turkey, and a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning. My kids deserved a treat!

Sorry, there will be photos in the future. But I'm so fricken' tired right now, I don't have time to upload them.

And today's creation? A new measurement sheet form,for a new zip drive, for a new theater project I started tonight. I was getting upset with myself, for not creating anything today; when I remembered this simple technical creation from this afternoon. I'm golden.