Saturday, October 31, 2009
Choice B for White
Fr. Flynn wears this one as the play opens.
Making these has been mulling over and over in my mind for months. Yesterday, I finally got the time to do them.
The green was not a problem. I made the center motif months ago, and showed it to you in my blog. The white one required some thinking, because in the script, the playwrite describes it as "blue and white vestment". In Catholic liturgical circles, blue was not a color of a vestment that was used within the past century.
Some churches would make/buy a white vestment with blue trim for feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The vestment would only be used for feasts honoring Mary, such as her birthday, Sept. 8, the Immaculate Conception, Dec. 8, Annunciation, March 25, Assumption, Aug. 15. So it was used very sparingly, and most churches couldn't afford to buy something that was used so little.
In the progression of the play "Doubt", the wearing of the second vestment, the white one, could have been in late fall/early winter, and may have been the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Dec. 8. So I chose a motif picturing the Blessed Virgin Mary as a possible embellishment for it. But to make it more generic, or possibly usuable for other occasions, perhaps they used the typical symbol for vestments, the Chi Ro, which symbolizes Christ.
So what do you think? BVM or Chi Ro? I'm on the fence. Comment to tell me which you think looks best.
The green one is finished, and will not be changed. It is what it is.
Need to get all the "On Borrowed Time" things organized today. The actors and actresses will try them on tomorrow.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
We here in St. Louis have barely seen a day during the last month when there weren't clouds in the sky! It has rained and rained. And I'm listening to the weather right now, and he promised anywhere from 1-5 inches of rain today! Wow, where is all that water going to go? Hopefully not into my basement!
We've set the record for all time rainiest month. Any day now, they're going to recommend that we start measuring in cubits and build our own ark--water of epic proportions here on our fair city!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
After my first couple of visits, I doubted that anything was going to help me, especially not physical therapy. And the worse thing is, YOU HAVE TO EXERCISE AS HOMEWORK!
Now, in this class, I'm not the best student. I rarely do my homework, and I do poorly in class. But the physical therapists I've been working with show no mercy. After the first few sessions, it was "boot camp" for me, for sure!
My weak area is the abdominal area. One can look at me and know this. And after many years of neglect (no crunches for me, No sireee!) it has been a painful, uncomfortable ride to get improvement.
But lately, I've been able to do a little bit more in the strength area. I've noticed a small improvement in my posture, and I can do more "bridges" than I ever thought I would be able to do.
Today was my graduation day. I could do my bridges and planks and hold on for 25 seconds. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it is better than when I started when I could hold it for 2 seconds.
My therapists get a charge out of my comments when they ask me to do stuff. Last week, I told the one, "You've got to be kidding!" when she asked me to do this one exercise. But this week, I can do it and hold it. They seem to get a kick out of listening to me grunt and groan and collapse when I'm done! One day they sold me a stretch band to do my glutemus maximus exercises. The receptionist asked me if I wanted a receipt. I told her "No, my tight butt will be my receipt!" They all got a charge out of that one!
Today when I left, they gave me a graduation present, a t-shirt with their name on it. MY GRADUATION PRESENT. And they all said, "We're going to miss you, you are a riot!"
Guess they'll have to deal with older, fatter, more out-of-shape and not so hilarious patients in the future. Goodbye, therapists--thanks for your help.
Oh, and my hip only hurts a little bit now, so at least I got some relief!
Wallking across campus in the rain!
Wearing my unstylish but dry parka every day!
Wearing out the wiper blades on my vehicles!
Having wet feet and trouser cuffs all the time!
Resisting the urge to nap all day because it is dark outside!
Wondering if I'll ever get to put the top down on my convertible this year!
Could care less if we broke a record for the wettest October EVER in St. Louis!
Listening to the cat meow to get out, but knowing he wouldn't stay out for more than two seconds!
Getting the newspaper that is all soggy from sitting on the lawn in the rain!
Chasing the worms out of my garage, where they are seeking asylum from drowning in the lawn!
Get out of here rain clouds, we're tired of it!
Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come again another day (season) so little SewWhat can go out and play!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Demetria is a much misunderstood and maligned character in this show. She thinks she should be rich, but she really is not. They get awfully mad at her and call her some very bad names! But she'll look sharp!
The day started out early, as usual, about 4:30, with some time spent at the computer. I usually wait for my friend to get on the computer so we can chat. But we didn't make contact, and about 6, I crawled back between the sheets, then it got too late to chat with her.
I had my second-to-last physical therapy session at 9:30. The therapist must have thought, "let's throw it all at her", because she really worked me out. On one, I said, "You must be joking!" "No", she said, very matter of fact, so I tried it and did it. Very challenging. I could hardly wait until the time was over! So I rewarded myself by going out to look at a piece of sewing equipment I'm contemplating purchasing. It is a major purchase, so it needs some thought and research.
Luckily, JoAnns is near this shop, and I found some chasuble material and some ball gown material ON SALE for Doubt and Christmas Carol. I had a part of an hour left, so I decided to go to the machine owner's second shop to check out another selection of the equipment I'm contemplating. Just traveling there ate up that time, so I shopped, checked out a couple of other stores (another JoAnn, this one is a superstore--my new favorite store 20 miles away!) At the sewing machine store, the owner's wife had just called him in to help her because she was very busy, so I waited in the area for him to come in, so I could talk to him personally about what I wanted to purchase.
By the time I got home from that extended trip, it was 2:45. At 3, I was signed up to participate in a webinar from 3-4. Then at 5 I had a chiropractor's appointment.
I got home from the day's running around at 6--hungry and freezing from being out in the cold all day. Too bad the rest of the night slipped away just chilling out and warming up! Hopefully today, the slippery hours will be more productive!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
It was hard to choose which of the wonderful vintage patterns I wanted to make. They all have such exquisite details. Most have shirring of some sort on the garments, they also have interesting yokes and neck details. This one is a simple suit or two piece dress, I'm making it out of a tiny olive green check. HOpe it turns out well.
Need to get some more zippers, and possibly some more fabric to go with this suit, then she can wear the jacket with a dress, and also the dress by itself. We need mix and match, for sure.
After class, if I don't suffer from the Thursday afternoon blahs, I'm going to finish it! Then on to the next one.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I'm supposed to be sewing something, aren't I? Can't I just have one night off from the guilt of not sewing? I want to do some, but darn, that bed looks awfully inviting! Bed, remote control, boring TV programs, dozing off, sounds like a match made in heaven.
No, darn it, I have time to get something done in the sewing room! Better get to it before I talk myself out of working tonight! Those vintage patterns are calling my name!
Father Flynn--guilty or not guilty?
The Cast of Doubt.
Taken at the photo shoot, Oct. 20, 2009. Opening night, Nov. 13, 2009 Clayton Community Theatre at Washington University South campus theatre, on Clayton Road (old CBC school). Come see it, it is very dramatic and a good story.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Nunny Bunnies outfit and Mrs. Muller's suit
The bonnets that the Order of Sisters wore in 1964.
Father Flynn has many looks, but the ladies only have one!
Still needed, Mass vestments--coming later!
This is what I have for the photoshoot for Doubt: A Parable. The photoshoot is tonight. I was hoping to have clothing for as much of it as possible, and now all will be clothed. I still need a pair of shoes for Mrs. Muller, which I may try to find this afternoon.
It will be a jam-packed day, we are having professional development day for the district, with workshops going on all day long. I promised to host a small gathering of ESL teachers this afternoon, so sometime I have to go to the grocery store and pickup that food. Then I have a physical therapy appointment at 6, then the rehearsal and photoshoot at 7. Busy day!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Back in the 90's, when she and I met, we found out that we both had the same wonderful embroidery sewing machine. She did wonderful projects and so did I. When I moved to the next model, she bought an accessory from me that she didn't have for the original machine. Who knows how many itterations of machines we've been through since then, but we both have the same model of embroidery machine that we use today.
She has been systematically cleaning out her fabric stash, and she knows I do costumes. She and her husband usually attend our local community theatre productions, so they are patrons of the arts. So, she passes on fabric stuff that she no longer wants, and I've used a bunch of it for costumes in the past year. She gave me that awesome collection of her mother's patterns from 60-70 years past, which I will cherish! But, in the discussion of all things involved in sewing, we started to chat about our wedding dresses that we made.
She began to describe hers, and I said, "Mine was just like that!" The more she described, the more I realized, we must have used the same pattern for our dresses! Then I asked her when she was married, it was exactly 1 year after I got married! Yesterday, she showed me a picture of herself in her wedding dress, and it sure did look like the same pattern! I took my lace short jacket to show her, and she took one look at it and said, "Yep, that is it!" We must have been using the same pattern book for our creations, I'm sure of it!
Life is wierd, isn't it? It's fun to make little discoveries about people you meet today, and to find out how close your pasts were intertwined. It's happened to me many times, and it never ceases to amaze me! For instance, I found out a member of our choir is the same age as I am, and he was college roommates with a boy I went to grade school with. How wierd is that?
This was exactly what I was looking for to make for one actress who is in "On Borrowed Time"
When in the costuming business (can you call it a business if you do it for free?), the best type of find is a cache of vintage fabrics, designs or patterns. Or a garage sale of vintage clothing, hats, shoes. So far I haven't found the cache of actual clothing, but a friend was cleaning out her fabric/pattern stash, and was willing to give up her mother's pattern collection to me! Hopefully, she realized that I'd be an appreciative recipient for them, and she is absolutely right!
I'm costuming a show that is set in the '30's. This period is known for its elegance and style, despite the woes people were experiencing because of the Great Depression. The idea that Hollywood could be in your life, if only on your back in the clothing you wore must have driven folks in that era to strive for style, despite money constraints.
I have a sample dress from the 30's, my mother-in-law's wedding dress. She was married in the late 30's ('38, I believe). In those days, often folks didn't wear traditional white wedding dresses. She chose a beautiful avocado green velvet to construct her wedding dress. I still have it, plus her long white leather gloves and black hat that she wore on that day. They were tucked in her beautiful cedar chest which we inherited. The dress is well made, my mother-in-law was an accomplished seamstress, as were many women of her day.
In designing the dresses for this show, "On Borrowed Time", I found a couple of pages from the Sears Catalog of 1934. They clearly showed so many cute dresses of the time period, flowy, full of details in buttons, necklines, peplums. I dreamed of the dress I wanted to make for one of the actresses in this show. And as you can see, the motherlode of patterns my friend gave me is exactly what I had envisioned making, but had no idea how to do! Now I can hardly wait to get started on my next creation!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Here's the monster tomato plant that keeps producing flowers and little tomatoes, who knows if any of them will ripen?
The squash plant grew and grew, put out many flowers, but the fruits haven't ripened, they got rotten and fell off, except for two excellent specimens. There is one more tiny one, hope it gets a chance to grow a little bigger so I can eat some more yummy squash.
Here are a few of the tomatoes that are on the plant still, there are probably at least 2 dozen small to medium tomatoes, plus the silly plant keeps flowering!
This garden experiment started back in June, when I bought two little tomatoes and 1 squash plant. The tomatoes have grown lush and are putting out lots of flowers and fruits. The only problem is that they've done all of this growing AFTER Labor Day! So, they are getting very little to no sun, and will have to brave the cold tonight!
No problem, My Late Mr. was quite a gardener and had purchased this cold-frame tent, but never used it. It is coming in very handy for this tomato and squash, it is just the right size for both of the monster plants.
Let's hope they survive the cold night, the weather man promises warm weather next week, our true Indian Summer. Maybe some more of the wonderful tomatoes and squash will ripen.
Next year, I'm starting much earlier.
This is it!
I harvested my garden today. This is my second yellow squash of this size, and I've gotten about 6 tomatoes so far, before I picked these green ones. You should see the plants! They are huge! With frost predicted for tonight, I harvested the biggest of the tomatoes, but there are plenty more on the plant.
Good thing I'm not relying on my own growing skills to feed myself! I'd be mighty hungry!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Little Miss M was so impressed by her brother's Batman costume that she said she wanted to be Batgirl for Halloween. This does not acknowledge the fact that Grandma already made her a Glinda of Oz dress, with multiple layers of floaty, sparkly fabric, and she paraded around the house in it for the past month. I guess that is old, so Batgirl is a new idea. This is a woman who is destined to change her mind, because she sure does it often right now!
The M & M's came over came over for a few minutes this morning. Grandma was asked to deliver them to their appointed places for the day. Batman tried on his outfit and loved it. We had a few alterations to do on it, but they are now complete. Then Little Miss M started in with, "Where's my BatGirl costume?" Finding Little Miss M's desired colors in fabrics at a price Grandma was willing to pay proved to be make for a two hour long shopping expedition, but I came home and got started on it.
Finished it tonight. She will obviously need to wear tights, as it has bare legs and no costume pieces under the skirt.
However, I do believe it is darling, and even if she just wears it around the house, that's OK. They'll be cute together.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It could be the merry-go-round of Monday through Thursday that I find myself on. No rest for the wicked, except if I can catch a few ZZZZs in the mid-afternoons. It could be that my afternoon class usually sucks the juice out of me, because I sometimes have to do everything but stand on my head to make progress with my limited English speaking students. When you explain the activity, and the "lights are on, but nobody's home" look flashes on 15 faces, you know there has to be more explaining to do, but how to do it. Remember that old line on "I Love Lucy"? "Lucy, you've got some splainin to do!" That's me, most days.
By the time I'm finished with the 12:30 class a little before 2, we are usually well along in my assignment project, they've all gotten it, the project has been done, learning has taken place, but getting there was not an easy task! I've found myself dragging my body and heavy books back to the other side of campus more than one Thursday afternoon!
Today the secretary asked me what was wrong when I came into our office. I told her, "Nothing, except it's Thursday afternoon!" She understood what I was talking about! Guess I'm not the only one that feels that way on Thursday afternoon!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
These holidays have taken a turn over the years to become BIG RETAIL DAYS! I remember many decades ago, a local fabric store took pity on the football widows and staged a huge New Years Day sale, just for something for the women to do while the men were grunting, drinking beer and scratching themselves while watching the big game. Now, every fabric store in the nation makes EVERY holiday a big retail day, with super sales, and not to be missed opportunities.
But, dang, I MISSED IT yesterday! I was pressed into service to take over for a sick colleague, using up the entire day (8-4) for that. Another colleague had wanted to take me to lunch yesterday, but since I worked all day, we had to meet for dinner. I had just enough time after work to get to the restaurant to meet her. And last night, our theatre group had their annual unveiling of the new season. Since I'm going to costume one of the shows, I was asked to be there.
So, all of that activity effectively killed my opportunity to get "EVERYTHING IN THE STORE 15% OFF" OR "10% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE" or some such wonderful enticement. Well, at least the Visa account is still intact.
But, DANG, I MISSED THE GREAT SALE DAY!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
My students asked me this morning, "Will they call off class?" "Why?" I asked. "Because it is raining!" Who ever heard to calling off class because it was raining?
Well, tonight on the news, I heard that one school district DID call off school because of the rain. This was a rural district whose buses had some low-lying back roads to travel, and areas that were underwater from floods last year--so I'll cut them a break and agree that it was necessary. They only lost less than an hour of school because of the rain.
When it rains like it did today, with the sky so dark at times it looked like night outside, I would have been all for the "call off class" recommendation. It was all I could do to keep myself and my students alike to stay away for the 12:30-1:45 class. So sleepy were we all studying vowel diagraphs that I had to devise something to wake them up. So we did a Total Physical Response activity--stand up, put one hand up if you hear OOOO sound, and two hands up if you hear the OW sound. That seemed to liven things up a little bit and made the time go a little bit faster. I must admit I was clock watching today, and was really glad when it got close to 1:45.
And of course, long snoozy naps were in order when I got home. Now, I'm needing to flog myself to get downstairs and tackle that basic black job! But blankets and remote controls sound so much more appealing on a very rainy dreary night!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday was a wash out. Little Girl M was home sick, and Mom needed a babysitter for her all afternoon. She wants Grandma or Mommy by her side when she is sick, so there was no use trying to sew and keep her happy. No sewing would have gotten done. Today was much the same, I had a physical therapy appointment that lasted til 3, then picked up the kids at 4, entertained them until 7:30 when mom came to get them. Now I'm cooling my heels til 8:45, trying to avoid crawling in bed, because I need to go measure some more actresses for one of the plays I'm costuming.
Doubt needs costumes by Oct. 13 for promo pictures. Having a deadline will make me get going on finishing SOMETHING. I need to get on the stick, November is coming toward me ever faster each day.
Monday, October 5, 2009
This pattern is quite authentic, down to the oversized pockets and 24 front buttons. It is also a very difficult pattern to find!
My next costuming gig will be all about basic black. Oh, there will be a splash of color here and there, such as Mass Vestments, but basically, I will be using most of the 20+ yards of BASIC BLACK fabric I purchased Friday to make the priest's outfit, and the habits for two nuns. This if for the play "Doubt: A Parable", starting in mid-November.
I investigated the real thing that priests' wear--these are called cassocks--I guess other ministers wear them also. I went to the store that sells them and saw the range of styles, details, fabrics, and PRICES that these things cost! The basic cotton one was a wrap-around, cost about $175. The Cadillac of cassocks was wool, made in Belguim, and cost $545! Dummy me, why am I not making these for real people instead of actors?
I tried to borrow one of these from my local parish priest. He said he hasn't owned one for a long time. He said, "Oh, I had one for a while, but then I got too fat for it, so I never bought another one." I guess we all have that problem, and it really would be a problem if you sunk $545 into a garment you outgrew! By the way, Father C, you aren't fat by any stretch of the imagination!
The design choices for this type of garment are simple, the devil is in the details. Should it be buttons or no buttons? If you choose no buttons, a lot of snaps and a belt are in order. So, I chose to make the 24 buttonholes and try to find the 24 buttons alike--this is not as easy as it seems. I've already looked on 3 stores button boards, and have come up empty. Most of them stock 12 or 15, but not 24 alike. I thought I scored the bonanzy at my last store I went to, they had more than 24 of the perfect size and style, and then when I went to count them out, THEY WERE NAVY BLUE, not black! Back to hunting again.
The other thing that is interesting is the pocket. On the more expensive cassocks, they have a very deep side slit pocket. On this pattern, not only do they have a very deep pocket, but they have a pass through, so the guy can reach into his pants pocket as well as the cassock pocket. I always wondered where they carried their handkerchiefs and note pads. Now I know.
As I said before, finding the pattern for this garment was difficult. I needed to make one for a January show, and I had to hunt in the back of the pattern drawers for this pattern. I actually had to shop at least 3 stores before I found one in stock. Then, when I unwrapped the pattern, it was missing some very vital pieces, they wrapped up two sheets of the same thing, and left out a very important piece! I had to improvise big time to overcome that problem.
Keep this one in the drawers, Butterick, you are always my 'GO TO' pattern company to find costume patterns that I need. I'm noticing that your books are getting thinner, please hang in there and keep producing good patterns, true sizing, and other good stuff!
I'll show the finished product once I get the fancy sleeves installed (very deep cuff, more storage options!), and the 24 buttons sewed on!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I've been working on this quilt this week, and finally finished it this morning. This is a pirate theme quilt, which is using the patch pattern of "attic windows". I used log cabin patches around each pirate picture, because they needed to be made bigger to look out each window. The border is a coordinate border print, and the backing is an all-over pirate pattern in beige, with lots of pirate ships on it.
This will be fore some little boy grandchild, I'm not sure which one right now. I am starting on a star block quilt for the little girl grandchild, I attempted to figure out how to make the star blocks today, and failed miserably. I'll try again another day!
I love doing these patches and blocks, and hope the kids enjoy them when they get them. I've got big plans for more quilts, hope my enthusiasm holds out until they are finished.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Luke, I am your father!
My little 5 year old grandson, one of the M & M's, loves superheros. You name it, from Superman to Spiderman, to Optimus Prime to Indiana Jones (and Grandma cannot begin to name them all!), he is in a fantasy world when he plays, being one of the superheros, or animating his Lego Superhero figures into an imaginary war in which good prevails over evil. He so far hasn't done a complete smack down of his sister as his opponent (only over who will be first to get a toy, or do some task with Mommy or Grandma). But the other afternoon, I heard him smacking down something in the other room while I was finishing up the supper dishes.
It was smacking against the wall, down the hallway, and I couldn't imagine what he could be playing with. It bumped and thumped, and sounded like he was playing football with something. Then to my horror, I realized what it was!
Needless to say, Grandma came to Sister Aloysious' rescue in a nano-second, with a very surprised reaction from little boy M as to why I came unglued when I saw her being kicked down the hall! She was a little bit bent out of shape, but luckily I wired the brim up pretty well so that it could be reshaped if it did get bent.
Later, he came to me and said, "Grandma, you hurt my feelings when you TALKED LOUD to me". Yes, I did talk loud, and chastised the little darling for messing with my costumes. Sometimes they need a little scare from Grandma to know where she draws the line in the sand!
I thought about it later, wondering why he had ever thought to "fight" my bonnet lady. Come to think of it, the hat does somehow look a little like Darth Vader. I think it scared him, and he thought he had to fight it to save us all. Poor little guy, he was just protecting us, and he got in trouble for doing it.
I'm sorry, Little Boy M, but in the future, leave my costume pieces alone, OK?
A decision was made over a year ago by our college administration, in the midst of the crazy high gas prices, that we would hold most classes on a two day schedule rather than a three day schedule. This meant classes would meet only on Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday, but never Mon, Wed, Friday. So, even though it makes some of our classes harder to plan for and deal with, we do have Fridays off! To this I say HOORAY!
Friday, now let me see, what will I be doing with my day?
Well, I have a physical therapy session to try to conquer back pain that has been hampering me for quite some time. That's at 9:30. But after that, it is time to play.
HMMMM--maybe I'd better get going on gathering some costumes for the two plays that are now only 1 month away!
HMMMM-that might require a trip to the fabric store--oh, darn!
HMMMM--my theatre friends have invited me to see a production tonight, so I'd better save some energy for a late night out.
HMMMM--what will happen to that overflowing laundry basket if I don't pay attention to it? It's getting a little cool for summer shorts, which is all that is left in the drawers.
So, the possibilities are endless, but the time is not. It's 6:10 a.m. and I've already gotten the laundry going, maybe I'll get it all done after all.
To all of you out there, Happy Friday!