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!).


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


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!