Saturday, November 19, 2016

I Feel the Earth. Move. Under my feet...

About 12.30am on Monday just as we were nearly asleep, New Zealand was hit by a 7.8 earthquake. It went on for over a minute, which for those of you who haven't been in an earthquake is about 25 "experience of being in it" minutes. The epicentre was off the cost of Kaikoura, which is on the upper North East coast of the South Island. It's the place you stop on the drive to or from the Picton Ferry for a coffee and to buy a crayfish, or to go whale watching.
Not for a while. The quake was the second largest ever to hit us since the 1920s. Or some such. Sea beds have risen, valleys have formed, it's amazing and terrifying. It was much bigger than the quakes that ravaged Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, just not centred somewhere with such dire consequences to an urban environment.
Meanwhile back in the Wellington CBD, we stood in the doorway listening to the banging and crashing go on and on and on and bloody on. When it finally calmed down, we went down into the courtyard with most of the residents of our complex, all trying to joke about it so we wouldn't scream or cry instead. In nothing but my robe, I went with MrC to the shop expecting a pile of rubble, but nope, a few unbreakables had toppled off the precariously made piles on the Christmas display. Out on the streets were groups of mostly young people in pjs, or wrapped in quilts, with backpacks. It felt like the Zombie apocalypse, sans Zombies.
Anyway, an hour of aftershocks and I was a mess. I rang my parents and we drove out to her place, which is on the flat, and new. And had brandy, it turns out. I say had, because the four of us finished the bottle before going to bed.
So, the CBD was closed on Monday, which is all very well but when 20,000 people live in it, what do you do?? We opened briefly but an aftershock was too much for me and I insisted we close again. Instead I spent the afternoon with my very calm friends Chris and Paul, eating chocolate and watching American football, and decompressing.
It has been BAU since then.
Except that several newer buildings in town are condemned, and none of the older ones which seemed to ride the rolling motion of this quake but maybe wouldn't handle a jolt from below? I'm not fussed about never finding out the hard way.
So, we here are now once again reminded that life on a sliver of land on a number of Pacific fault lines can be pretty exciting.
We are fine, if rattled; our business and home are fine. We do not mourn the two cheap wineglasses that broke, but we mourn the feeling that knowing we live on a fault line was an intellectual one, not a visceral experience.
The actual outcome is that the planned move of our business due to the building being sold earlier in the year, is brought forward to just after Christmas. The new building is newer, safer, and in a different if equivalently busy part of the city.
And last night in spite of it all, we did a show. More on that when the photos are available.
Right now I am going for a nap. I am really tired. Living on one's nerves for a week while getting a show onto the stage is a lot to handle.
TL,DR: Earthquakes suck, life goes on!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday jobs

Today I did some catching up. It's my one day off and I am very particular about how I spend it.
First, I set a cake free. By now it is probably crumbs.
Not quite finished at point of photo but you get the idea.
 Shopping for yummy fresh food from several amazing shops was fun. I got it into my head that I wanted to make a chicken pie. That meant: free range chicken thighs, likewise bacon, the holy Trinity of carrot, onion and celery, parsley, and lemon. I had the stock, pastry and other herbs already.
This of course wasn't remotely as a result of watching Pie Week on The Great British Bake Off. Nonono. I am also not obsessing over Bombe Alaska either. Ahem.
My chicken pie. No Soggy Bottom as it is just has a lid. Mary Berry you won't catch me out!

Anyway I also ironed a lot of shirts, (for brownie points), did a lot of dishes, and sorted a lot of messy paperwork and sewing stuff, and washed my makeup brushes. Which I do after pretty much every time I use them, because EEW.
For the education of those not into hard core makeup, I do this thusly:
  1. Put a bar of Sards Wondersoap in a flat container with hot water.
  2. Dampen the bristles in the water then rub on the soap enough to clean it.
  3. Leave to sit all soapy for a few minutes while I do the other 20 or so brushes.
  4. Run about an inch of hot water into the half sink and shake the bristles in it until well rinsed.
  5. Smooth bristles into shape, and lie the brush on a hand towel where I leave it to dry for several days.
 The trick is to not immerse the whole brush in water, as it weakens the glue holding the bristles and metal bit, and they fall apart. Ask me how I know.
So there you go, you (possibly) heard it here first.
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, November 3, 2016


It's 7pm on Hallowe'en Saturday - I have four, FOUR places I could be tonight but the only place I want to be is here on the couch for as long as it takes to get to bed time, probably 9pm! NANA!!
I taught a class today, a new one about "Making a pattern from an existing garment." I had a lot of inquiries around this idea so I programmed it, two weeks in a row because of the demand and only being able to take 4-6 people, and both are full.
It was a fantastic class and reminded me how much I love to teach. No photos, as I am to busy doing the work for that.
But I do owe you some photos so here you go!

 Me as Edina Monsoon with dear friend Ross. Friends for 38 years and counting! He came to the second evening of the AB Fab movie opening. Out of two 200 seat shows, only about 8 guys turned up!
 A little too much bolly. Jack was Patsy and Indy is Bubble.
My black lace fit and flare dress - bought unadorned and then adorned with these lovely red rose motifs. It took me ages to sew them on but I love that kind of thing.

And finally THIS happened! Please note the total lack of sequins!
I finished the dress on Labour Weekend and have worn it since but so far no pics. I LOVE IT. Can't wait to show you! 
We're in summer frock weather most days now, and the one I am wearing has rips under the arms. So three new dresses this summer, two more to go.
I'd best get on with it! My output has been pretty slow these past couple of years...

Monday, October 17, 2016

My new frock and adventures with boas

Busy here! I have been dealing with the influx of customers that comes with the World of Wearable Art, while trying to get our Fringe show registered (it's not until February but we have to have everything done that you'd normally do a few weeks before it, done by 10 October! Did my head in!)
So I didn't have much time or inclination to make any new costumes for the Burlesque Baby show on the 15th October.
A gorgeous magenta dress arrived from city chic with lots of time to spare. It is the same gorgeous shape as the last two - with the draped tulip skirt. But so boring, like a bridesmaid's gown. Not OTT enough for Constance!
Then blings arrived and WOWZERS!!! The pink ones I got for the dress were too matchy matchy, but a pair of white iridescent ones were perfect, and I trimmed, arranged them and then stuck them on with Aleene's Tacky Glue. All class, me!

Strike a pose! Why not, complete with duckface!

Not content however with this dress, I felt it needed more FOOFLES. And as my only boa was red and did not go, I knocked one up at work during the day. A roll each of organza wrap in hot pink and silver floral mesh, each corded up the middle then the gathering pulled up. I sewed them together and voila! Up close it has the tacky desperation of a night before the kid's party costume attempt. But on stage it just read as puffy structure. YAY!
So there you go. sometimes RTW can deliver, with a bit of extra bling
BTW the fine bias is a dream and so easy to apply. I've not finished and there's nothing to see yet, but I will share it when there is!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

People are Strange...

...As Jim Morrison once sang. And as did I on Saturday night emceeing at Caburlesque Weird and Quirky. I had very little time to get costumed and made up so I went for a simple look; matching my makeup to the faces on my costume. As you do.

Here I am at the curtain call, with Douglas Sievers-Jarrett and La Femme Fantail.

So why such a fast turnaround? Because until 5pm, I was emceeing a wedding in the country!
My daytime look, pinup inspired. Wearing the black lace dress with red rose appliques.
It was a glorious wedding, incorporating Druid, Christian and legal ceremonial elements. Emily the bride declared that she and Richard got "All kinds of married" and that was a great way of putting it!

I know I've been quiet these past few weeks, but of course that's because I've been so busy. I am working on a costume, making those kale edged organza frills for the bottom. Negotiating with the supplier of our bias bindings to make a super narrow satin one for the edges of this. It's going to be such a pain in the pattoottie to attach but it will be worth it I feel.
I have until 10 October to get all the details for our Fringe Festival show locked down so that is my priority. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Technology dependence

I am trying not to be Chicken Little, worrying the sky is about to fall on us.
The reason for this sense of impending disaster is technology failure.
Our condenser dryer started to, er, stop. It chose a time when we were a whole full time person down at work, another reason for the sudden quiet. Thanks to our incredibly generous neighbour Dan, we have been using his dryer when he is out and we are in, and that has been such a blessing as apartment dwelling doesn't give one many options in winter.
This innocent white box is now sitting in the middle of the floor, as the cupboard doesn't allow for access to its important bits. To do this, David had to take the doors off the cupboard. Erk. They are also a trip hazard. Apparently it needs a new controller, so that's $600 plus to regain our drying capabilities. Erk again. Waiting for parts...
Then, both the printers decided to be difficult. The one at work can't work out what paper it has in it but won't listen to me. I finally fixed it over the phone with the Canon helpline. The answer was to tell it that all paper was "others". Hmm.
The one at home has adopted a self conscious endangered species breeding programme approach to life. I send things to it, and nothing happens. But the next day, all alone upstairs, it may suddenly give birth to the document. Or not.
It's all rather tiring in a week where I need to print place cards for a friend's wedding on Saturday, I need to print invoices and labels all the time, and actually when I have owned both less than a year, I kind of resent this precious behaviour.
Pictured with no document spewing forth, as is fit under the circumstances.

Sewing and other aspects of life are happening, just time constraints and lack of photos and experienced staff being covered by enthusiastic but inexperienced staff has kept me busy.
This week, I am concentrating on getting cakes made for the wedding that can be eaten by those who cannot eat gluten, dairy or chocolate, sorting place cards, supervising the completion of a bridesmaid's dress and getting my responsibilities as emcee under my belt. 
I am emceeing an early wedding, we're back into the city then I am emceeing a cabaret. The bride in the morning is the emcee I share the rotation of the show with. So naturally it's my turn! I have an alternative emcee on standby if it all gets too much.
I am very excited by this wedding which will be such a celebration of life and love.
I just wish my technology would get the memo; that it has ONE JOB. Sheesh.

Monday, August 22, 2016

40th Birthday 1940s style

My lovely friend Yvonne put a lot of time and love into a 1940's Blitz party for her 40th Birthday. It's a stunning theme for a party, so much fun to be had!
Yvonne hired The Fringe Bar which is our home away from home, and decorated it with bunting, posters and a great photo booth, Here's a great photo of the whole party and bar.
Here's Yvonne (right) with her friend Heather. Both were dressed in Hollywood Glam. They aren't as blue as this normally, it's just the coloured lights. Yvonne performs as Amber de Luze and her guest list was a cocktail of family, burlesque friends, diving friends and work friends.
MrC went as an ARP warden in a gorgeous old English policeman's jacket from his own costume rack. Here he is being silly with the delightful Simone, who is lots of fun and performs as Miss Ooh La La Paree, in her naughty Airman outfit.
Now here is a special photo - from the left - Lisa who stage manages most of the shows I write about on here. Andrew aka Sound Bitch, who works the lights and sound and edits all the videos I post. Debbie his wife who produces Caburlesque and DIY Burleskiwi and gave me my first paid gig. These guys really are responsible for Constance's success! Thank you! And Delwyn who was in the very first show I emceed along with Yvonne, and is just a darling.
Another group of lovelies! Left Janine Swanson aka Betsy Rose Lee, Anna aka Mis'tress Botanica who co-produces DIY, ME in my new dress, and April aka Azure D'Murre. Janine, Simone and April came down from Hamilton for the party which was a real treat for us all.
Me singing A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. I know that because I got rid of the mike stand fairly soon into the song. I am living with a rebout of virus, had taught a stretch lampshade class all day, and I was full of Codral, Difflam and bravado.

I must get an easier-to-see pic of me in this dress. It is a fit and flare job with a high low hem, black lace obvs, over a skin coloured lining through the skirt and sweetheart bodice, so the whole thing looks like lace on skin. I bought it at City Chic for $199, and sewed on the rose appliques. It took nearly 20 hours to do that, but it is worth it. I love it as I feel like a real girl in it - not a drag queen or a shop owner but that magical in between space.
After the singing I sprung the cake and Happy Birthday on Yvonne, who didn't know! MrC as the fire warden, carried the cake onto the stage with lit candles. He is such a rock, he carried it on his knee in the car as I rather daftly didn't allow for carrying the two halves separately to the venue. It is a seriously heavy cake!
Anyway it was an awesome night, and eventually dissolved into Karaoke, in which this Victory roll sporting, lace dress wearing lass sang Take a Little Piece of my Heart by Janis Joplin, with screaming an air guitar. I have no shames.