Monday, January 25, 2016

One of THOSE long weekends

The husband and I packed up the car and headed off to Martinborough on Friday night for a long weekend (Wellington Anniversary). Saturday was to be our annual contribution to the Pinot Noir industry - waiting tables at the Meandering Vineyard lunch at Te Hera Estate.
However, the car decided that it no longer wished to carry us any further just north of Te Marua, and as we sat at the side of the road waiting for a tow truck with a sense of deja vu, I was not best pleased. Let us leave it at that.
It's times like this one appreciates one's friends so much. Eileen picked us up from the workshop whence the car was towed, and the next morning she called and offered their car for a few days while they were away! Wow. So, 20 hours later than our first effort, we were off again. Sadly we were unable to get there in time to help with the lunch, but next year, we'll be there again!
This is what our car would look like - if it were clean. Which it is not.
Audi A3 Sportback
This is what Eileen's car looks like, as it is quite clean compared to ours! And at 200cc more power, it was just a joy over the hills.
ANYWAY, the whole thing rather took the edge off our holiday, but we made the most of it.
Tomorrow I need to call the workshop to join the dots on why our car is in their park, and hopefully they will find out it is something minor that just happens to make a big show of it.
But the thing with cars is; they have ONE JOB. A to B, etc. Ours I think aspires to be a piece of garden furniture, or possibly a water feature in the harbour. Tempting thought.
No big news about what we did - read, wine, eat, read, socialise, wine, read, eat. And I had a massage. Normal life resumes tomorrow!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Looking back, then forward.

I have so enjoyed reading people's recaps and seeing all the things they have made this year, I'm giving it a go!
 The most recent of my maxi dress makes. Made in January 2015. I LOVE this dress and it is on rotation with the others this summer.
 Third time lucky, I made these shades for over our kitchen counter and I love them.
 Paisley knit dress. I've come to realise it is just way too big and will have a crack at fixing this before winter.
 Merino colour block dress. A far better fit this one - it's a 24 not a 30!
 Tiered skirt based upon a pair of recycled denims
 Mrs Santa - another costume that needs sorting - too big, too swampy, it moves really badly. But a bit of tweaking and tucking and it will be lush!
 Apart from the need to wear different accessories, the only thing left is to upgrade the hem frill to a larger one
Lastly, the reborn Peacock outfit. Pared down!

Picture me, if you wish, on Sunday afternoon, modelling a MINI dress, at least 3 inches above my KNEES. It is strapless, black, with a high waist line. I was given this dress and put it on to get agreement from our dinner guests and David that it was a terrible look. But they loved it! I looked hot! 
I am learning that I am only as big as I am. Not bigger. I can wear things that I gave up trying 30 years ago, in some contexts. I suit simpler, more pared back shapes and silhouettes. I need to stop swamping myself in fabric. It doesn't suit me! Who knew!
So, 2016 is the Year of Tailoring and Streamlining. wish me luck!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sometimes The Tim Gunn of your Life is a Gorgeous Drag Queen

EDIT. That was the message I got back after the last show. From someone who wears only black off stage but always is the epitome of elegance. Like a 6' 2" 100kg Tim Gunn, only dressed in a successfully androgynous way.
And you know what? Amanduh is right. She always is but we don't always admit it first up in case it goes to her head ;-)
Too much goin on. Earrings, necklace, hair feather, corsage. EDIT!!!
It's true. And for the record, Ms Amanduh also realised she had too much jewellery on when she saw this pic. It's not personal criticism. Just like Tim Gunn tries to do, it's helpful.
So, my plan is to ditch the feather in the hair, wear the corsage flower in my hair as part of a simpler hair piece (necessary to cover up some transitions from fake hair to real) and lose the necklace. Let the dress, and the woman beneath, shine though!

I am a card carrying Maximalist. Our byline is MORE is MORE. Instead of Chanel's advice to take something off, ours is to look what to add. However, this is a huge responsibility! Being a minimalist is easy - just wear a little black dress and tiny diamond earrings. Meh. But with Maximalism there is always the danger of Too Many Things. It's not about creating visual clutter, but about being opulent and sumptuous. So, I am very happy to rebalance the look - especially when my sewing machine comes back from Hugh's Hospital and I can get the bigger flounce added.

In the mean time, I have two acts to put together for the next show on 10 Feb. Here is the Facebook event page in case anyone wants to see more of the photos or even buy a ticket if you're local. Although these are selling out fast!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Peacock makeover

Last post I mentioned getting my shape out more. Like many women, I am oblivious to other women's body hang ups, seeing beauty not faults, but I am hyper critical of my own. And yet in spite of my obvious imperfections, I am beginning to realise that over-compensating on stage for my faults leads to unflattering, shapeless, boxy costumes. In an "industry" where some level of sexy is encouraged, it makes no sense to be so out of proportion about my proportions!
A case in point is the Peacock outfit I made earlier this year:
Glorious fabric! A corset under a duster jacket. I love the corset, but the jacket always looks baggy and boxy on stage, even though it is gorgeous.
Here is the original corset;
What you don't see is that it is only pretty on the front - the back is brown lycra (the corset I built this on is a cheap eBay one) because the back was not meant to be seen. I needed to sort this.
So, I CUT UP the duster jacket, using the bottom fringed edge, to cover the back panels too. I then added hot pink sequins to the straps and top edge of the scallops for an extra bit of jazz.

And now, I can wear it like this! With the black bolero (I will make one from the rest of the jacket) because I draw the line at bare bat wing arms - or possibly gauntlets with fringing along the under side so I can have bare shoulders? Oooh!
I know I have lumps and bumps, and under this costume is quite a lot of retaining engineering! But I can live with that. Even standing with the glorious PollyFilla, with the most amazing figure (and apart from fake boobs Colin doesn't pad anywhere) I feel gorgeous.
It's all a girl can hope for, yeah?

Constance's Latest Blingon

On Sunday I went out for brunch with a bunch of sewing bloggers, so lovely. I mused that maybe I should make a new costume for Constance's show on Wednesday night. So, on Sunday afternoon I was chomping through sequinned fabric, adapting my favourite maxi dress pattern.
Come Sunday night, we were here. The mannequin stand has lost its lock so it slides down to about 4 foot tall, hence the pooling fabric.
Now, I have this dress made up in a light, lined voile - it has quite a lot of fabric in it and I have been challenged to get my curves out. So, I sucked it up, if not in, and reduced the pattern's skirt panels until they barely skim my spanxed body.
I didn't line it as I have an all black under layer anyway, and it's cooler. It weighs a ton as it is! But I decided it needed a little something extra, so I made a fluted flounce out of coppery organza for the hem. We got to here by Monday night:
The flounce doesn't really show up, and I have already cut a wider one to add.
So, I showed this photo to the bloggers and they were all WOW!! AMAZING! I showed it to Amanduh La, the Drag Queen in charge of the show, and she did a face, and said, "You can't wear that bolero with that dress" She offered to lend me one but I went home, looked at the offcuts, and made this:
I had enough fabric to make front and back, and I probably could have eked out the sleeves too but I wanted to have some fun. Some stretch net, flowers cut out of the fabric, sequin strips also cut from fabric and some Swarowskis in the flower centres. EASY.
The result?

 All put together on stage - well, on the floor level of the bar. The larger flounce will balance it better, and I may add small shoulder pads to the shoulders but overall I am stoked! It is very heavy and moves like a dream.
Here I am, with Amanduh La (left) and PollyFilla (centre). I adore the gals- they are so professional and super uncompromising about everything - costumes, make up - and I love the challenge of it all!
Now in this red dress, for some reason all the photos have given me that slightly Essex tan look - like a Twistie. So here is one last pic proving that I was quite normal in person!
The black bolero got its moment in the glory after all ;-) I will blog about this costume soon.

Happy shiny things!!!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello lovelies. I had a lovely night showing in the New Year sewing sequins onto a costume while half watching Firefly with friends, drinking cups of strong tea and eating watermelon. It was peaceful, fun, affinity was high and I love spending time with friends in that way. The most relaxed I have felt outside my own home in forever.
I have nothing else to share really - I am having a bit of a social media rethink -  my soul is tired of broadcast and declaration, and craves communication, and the difference between the two is becoming more and more unbearable to me. Before I get so fed up I can't bear another minute of it all, I am working on how to be a better communicator myself, and how to tune this thing so I hear the kind of stuff I want to listen. Less memes, less cats, less melodrama, more human to human engagement.

And so on that rather surreal note, Happy New Year. May 2016 bring new pastures, plans and projects. xo

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

 Hello everyone!!! We're at home after a wonderful day with family. As pretty much every year since I started blogging, we got the use of the big lounge where my parents live. We were alas down the whole side of the family that came with my lovely step dad, but mine were out in full force.
I really wanted to get a photo of the table setting, which changes every year, but by the time I escaped from the kitchen, there were a few bodies already eating.
 Another view of the tale. Instead of lining up one long line of trestles, we doubled the width, so it was more communal.
 Mum made a gorgeous centre piece out of a mini bird cage, lilies, greenery, and some incredibly pretty reindeer decorations. Chris and Paul made the christmas crackers before dinner.

 A wee group of Xmas trees and baubles. Mum made the trees as shop samples a few years ago.
 The napkins had a stylised peacock feather design. I have to be honest and say that I prefer red, gold and green Christmas decor and always will. But the Mother quite likes to mix it up and this blue and white look so who am I to argue?
 A snap of the buffet. MrC tucking into some chicken. It all looks pretty messy in the photo but it was pretty delicious. as always, everyone contributes and I get into the kitchen and make it all happen on the day.
 Speaking of MrC, here he is in his gorgeous new shirt. Can you see the pocket his glasses case is poking out of? Or the button placket? I am teaching a promising sewist how to pattern match and this was her first make. She is the real deal, right?
It's pretty subtle, but this shirt has both the positive and negative prints in it - the white on indigo is across the yoke, on the cuffs and lining the collar. We LOVE this shirt, almost as much as the one currently being made!
After dinner we opened gifts, had a wee concert with my nieces singing and me showing off Constance's new songs.
Something I learned today - my new favourite topping for pavlova is rhubarb and strawberry compote, and passion-fruit pulp. Delicious!

Merry Cristmas to you all, wherever you are and however you spend it xoxo