Monday, November 30, 2009

Trilogy completed

The Elf is finished!

Refer to my post on Nov. 22, "The Cowgirl, The Elf and the Curmudgeon"

The trilogy is now completed. I finished the cowgirl outfit on a Friday, Nov. 20, she needed it Saturday, Nov. 21. I finished the curmudgeon's cape 1 hour before it was needed for the photoshoot on Sunday, Nov. 22. The Elf costume is needed on Dec. 3--hooray, it is finished 3 days early!

She needs her elf costume because she will be the deliverer of lots of Christmas goodies to those who are less fortunate, and those folks would probably receive no gifts if it weren't for her and her fellow workers. Check our This D*mn House blogspot for details! She's the Head Elf, and we know she will represent her company very well!

I think she is doing a "show and tell" Thursday to the corporate folks to preview things to come. That is why she needed it early.

I wish her and the others lots of luck in their Christmas presentations, what ever they may be! In theatre, we say "break a leg", so "BREAK A LEG, COWGIRL, ELF AND CURMUDGEON!"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Beginning to look a lot like LA!

Our street is shaping up to become a festive consumer of watts this holiday season. But the weather is anything but Christmas-like! It's like summer! My one neighbor in the big house took advantage of some balmy weather and got his lights put up last weekend. That spurred others to get their act together and start to decorate their homes.

Another neighbor and I use a lighting service to put the lights up on our eaves. For me, it is the only way I'd get them up there because #1, I don't own a ladder long enough and #2, I'm not about to climb a ladder myself and #3, I know my kids are busy with their own decorating, so, I have this lighting service do it.

The deal is with them, they want you to pay up front for the service, and way in advance. They promise if you pay by September, you can have a 10% discount AND they will put them up by Thanksgiving.

Well, Wednesday, Nov. 25 came and no lights were up! So I called them, got the answering machine, but left a message--"HEY, YOU SAID MY LIGHTS WOULD BE UP BY THANKSGIVING!" My neighbor down the street pursued her request further than I did by getting the phone number of the owner and calling him, and demanding that they get it done before Thanksgiving!

So about 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, I heard the trip trap of reindeer hooves on my roof, and there they were, putting up my lights. She got hers put on by about 9:30 that night. They made their deadline of getting them up by Thanksgiving. Good for them, because we are at the end of a 3 year contract with them, and if they didn't come through, we'd be shopping for a new company next year.

This weekend, it has been LA weather here in St. Louis. Clear blue skies, and temps in the 60, and today in the 70's. Balmy! Not your "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" kind of weather that I usually find myself in while putting up Christmas decorations. In the past, I wouldn't have known how to put things up if there wasn't a minus 2 windchill going on! It was just amazingly warm today. I was in short sleeves, and worked up a sweat! I just about put the top down in the red convertible sleigh today while doing my errands!

I got my moving, grazing doe and buck put together, installed their forest of pine trees behind them, got my two little spiral pines decorated with lights, and put together the makings of a creche for Baby Jesus when he makes his appearance. Thanks to some electrical work by a neighbor a couple of weeks ago, the wires are all run to the proper place and it looks good! I just need to install the star for BJ, but that can wait till closer to the time for him to make his appearance!

My neighbor next door and the neighbor across the street also got up on the eaves and put up their lights. Across the street neighbor has two prepubescent boys who love to climb on the roof, so he just had to watch and make sure they did it right. Next door, he needed to climb himself!

Now there are 5 out of 15 houses that are decorated and have the electric meters spinning. I'm sure more will follow, and some will not decorate. One family just moved in Nov. 1, doubt that they will, and one just had a baby on Thanksgiving day, they are probably going to be rather busy doing other things. Some are older folks who just can't negotiate decorating, at least not extensively. So, we'll see how many more watt busters start their Christmas displays and when.

This weekend was the prime time for decorating, because who knows how many more lovely weekends we'll get here in the midwest. Old man winter is just around the corner, and even though we're feeling like Christmas in LA, I know it isn't going to last!

A very special visitor

Here is our special Thanksgiving day visitor, Miss Jaden Isabella--my great granddaughter--this picture was taken when she was about 5 hours old, Sept. 17, 2009
She was stingy with the smiles until we turned off the camera, then we got the full blown smiles
Grandma Monkeygirl got the privilege of holding her, they must have coordinated their outfits, Jaden wore pink to match Grandma's pink socks
Little girl M and Jaden--maybe a future babysitter is created! Little Girl M came over to Monkeygirl and said, "I like your baby!" How cute is that!

She is precious, so cute in pink, and she was so good while visiting, until she got very tired and a little bit crabby. By the time she was dressed in her hat and sweater to go home, and in her car seat, she was already fast asleep. Come back soon, Jaden, we love to see you!

I got to give her mom and dad the quilt I made for her, they loved it with the duckies on it. (See "Soft Blankie" post, Sept. 27, 2009 for pictures of the quilt.) Hope they use it a lot for her. Mom looks good, she looks very confident as a young mom, and is doing a great job with her!

Jaden is my step-grandson's child, Skaterboy. They are very young parents, but they'll make it with a lot of help!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Letter from the past

I found one of my cousins on Facebook, and we post on each other's wall occasionally. This week, she celebrated her birthday (which I forgot about, sorry, Cuz! Happy Birthday, even if it is belated!) But she wrote on my wall that she found a letter from the past, which was written from my mother to her mother, who were sisters. The letter was a congratulatory letter on Cousin's J's birth, from sister to sister.

I had kind of forgotten about how the blending of years of my cousins and my brothers and sisters occurred in time. My parents had 5 kids, and I was the oldest. I knew my cousins were close in age to my sister, but had forgotten that the second cousin was born just 2 months after my youngest brother was born.

This last little addition to our very large family was a special child. Back in the day, there were no words for children like him. Retarded comes to mind, but he was much more than retarded. You see, his little body was wracked with a host of physical problems, and they didn't expect him to live long. He had a severe heart problem, and had other metabolic issues as well. These problems kept him fom growing, so he was not only severely mentally retarded, but physically retarded as well. Diagnosis was not strong in those days, and the usual way of dealing with children like him was to put them in some sort of facility and forget about them.

My parents could not do that. But caring for a perpetually non-growing infant did take its toll. They did keep him and care for him for the first 6 years of his life. He lived his life as a quiet but perpetual infant. Bottle feeding, diaper changing, never changing from the needs of an infant. He didn't react as a usual infant did to stimulation, he didn't like to be held, and preferred the comfort of his hard little crib matress to the warm arms of family members. Finally, a decision was made, to find a good place that would care for a chronic invalid child, and they did this and placed him outside our home with a heavy heart.

So, my cousin's letter revealed my mom's way of dealing with life's burdens, with cheer and always looking on the bright side. She told her sister that she was getting a new washer and dryer-- a highlight for sure! There were no Pampers in those days, and little brother certainly went through his share of diapers while he lived within the family. She also told of the few quiet moments she got when the 4 kids under 5 were all napping. This was a quiet moment when she was able to write the letter to her sister.

She also told of my preparation for directing a Christmas puppet show for the family...perhaps showing at age 10 my love for theatre! I remember caring for my little brother, and mother alluded to that also. "J (SewWhat) is a big help to me, and if, as often happens, P gets hungry while I'm preparing dinner, she takes over and at least starts him off on his bottle." I was 6 years older than my next sibling, and the next four were born within 5 years of each other. So I did do my share of babysitting. I remember that for sure.

What memories this letter brings back to me! I wish I would have had it yesterday to show my brother and my children, but it will be put away into a safe place to be shared at Christmas, when all siblings and children are gathered together.

Our little brother, who wasn't expected to live past infancy, did live to be 26 years old. He was lovingly cared for in a group home in his last years, but never did grow much past the size of a 6 year old. He never could do any self-care, couldn't sit up or walk, couldn't feed himself. But he had a perpetual smile on his face, and his caretakes were devastated by his passing. His was a simple life that was part of my life, but on the periphery because he wasn't in our home. I often think, if he had been born 20 years later, his life would have been different, because we do care for the most delicate of those among us in a different way now, offering them an opportunity to learn to whatever capacity they can learn, to learn self-feeding, observation and some movement control. But that was not to be for him, but we cherish his memories as our little brother, as my father referred to him, "Our Littlest Angel".

(Taken from a book "The Littlest Angel", which was written near the time P was born, it was a book that inspired my parents to look upon his birth as a special occasion to be cherished, not to be mourned.

See Kenadie's story, primoridial dwarfism, on YouTube, this is what my brother looked like, but his mental handicaps were compounded with the physical issues of a type of dwarfism.)

Live like a Cat

They say that household cats do three things, eat, play and sleep. And the sleep part makes up from 20-22 hours of every day.

Today, I took a cue from my furball pet and lived like a cat.

Oh, I got up at my usual time, 4:30. Checked my email and then caught up with news from my early bird friend who also likes to get up early. We IM each other practically every day, just to stay in touch. And I started out with high ideas of what could be accomplished now that my house is cleaned and the dishes from Thanksgiving are put away (well almost put away--at least all washed!), and the next play is about one month away.

I could sew something besides costumes. I could decorate my front lawn with the new nativity set I bought last January in anticipation of Christmas this year. I could shop. Or, I could take a nap.

Well, other than doing a couple of loads of wash, no sewing has gotten done, no statues are out in front, and no shopping has happened.

I ate (turkey shards, a semi-Thanksgiving meal about 10:30), then the triptophan kicked in and the naps took over my body. 10:30-2, one long one. Up for about 30 minutes then another from 3:30 to 4:30.

Now it is 5:15 and my eyelids are growing heavy again! I need to get going on something constructive to try to chase the sleepies away.

But, maybe my body is trying to tell me something--Hey, you've been on a merry-go-round of activities for months, give me a break, and let me rest!

Oh, OK, I'll give in. Just one more trip to the refrig for more turkey and I'll be back with the blanket and pillow for some more ZZZZZ's. It will probably mean I'll wake up at 2:00 a.m. tomorrow, but....zzzzzz...zzz..zzz....zz....z...z...

Pictures from "Doubt: A Parable"

I finally got a chance to show you my costumes on actual actors and actresses from Doubt: A Parable. which was presented by Clayton Community Theatre. I am rather proud of these, I tried to make them as authentic as possible.

Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius have sharp words for each other, but Sister wins! Hooray for the nun!
Fr. Flynn and Sister James confer in the garden
Mrs. Muller meets Principal Sister Aloysius in the tense meeting in the principal's office, where Sister lays out her concerns
Father Flynn as he speaks to his congregation about having doubts

Father Flynn teaches the boys basketball, and afterwards invites them to the rectory to have a bull session

My challenges in this project: researching and executing the construction of the bonnets. These are not as deep as the actual ones that the nuns wore, the director didn't want them deep because this theatre is lit mostly from above, and their faces wouldn't have shown as well. I actually made one prototype, which took me hours to make, then made two more which took me 20 minutes each to make! I used heavy buckram for the crown and brim, covering it with black broadcloth.

Getting my computerized embroidery machine to embroider the center logo for the chasuble, it was plagued with thread breaks all through the process. I think it happened because I was using a stiff backing. I'll use a softer one in the future, and hopefully things will work out better.

Finding just the right purse for Mrs. Muller. Never did find what I wanted.

Find just the right hat for Mrs. Muller. I finally found a rather beat up navy blue hat, she loved it and wanted to keep it. It only cost $4 at a thrift store, so I let her keep it. Once she put on the crunched up hat, it fit her perfectly, it was darling on her, and she loved it. Unfortunately, I found it after they took these pictures!

Making the rosaries for the nuns. My daughter, Monkeygirl, agreed to take on this task, and she did a great job. I had to shop at MANY, MANY craft stores to find the crosses, finally found them at my 3rd Michaels. The nuns wanted to keep their rosaries as mementos, one girl is Jewish and the other is episcopalian or something like that, don't know what a Jewish girl will do with a rosary, but it is a nice memento.

Fr. Flynn got no memento.

Fr. Flynn's cassock had 24 buttons down the front. Finding 24 buttons alike at any fabric store is an ultimate challenge! These were not all alike, but were similar enough not to scream out that they were different!

It was fun to do this show, thanks to my friend the director to ask me to work with this group, I enjoyed it a lot! Unfortunately, we had woefully small houses for each performance, and these people put their hearts and souls into each performance. I wish it had been seen by more people, they missed a very good show!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The lo-o-o-o-ong vacation

Thanksgiving holiday is finally here! Both students and teachers are glad that the time has finally come for us to kick back, relax and not think about school for a few days.

Reflections on Thanksgiving Day..

Mom used to make the best turkey gravy--I have yet to duplicate it! I'm going to give it a try one more time, I think I may have come upon a way to make it taste good, nice and thick and brown and carmelized in flavor--nothing like it!

Mother-in-law was always afraid that she wouldn't cook the turkey enough. She always used her Nesco roaster to cook the turkey. The tantilizing smells came from her basement, where she used the roaster, because there was no other place in their cozy little cottage home to set it up. When Ed and I went down to retrieve the turkey, it was so done we didn't have to carve it! It fell apart into a million pieces right there in the roaster. Mighty good tasting shards, as I remember!

Somehow, my mother let me carve the turkey. The bad part is that is was messy, the good part is you got to taste the bird before serving it! Those little pieces that were too small to put on the platter were just right for a quick before dinner snack! I still get to carve the bird, as often as not! And I get to snag the first tastes, too!

Snowy Thanksgivings--somehow, I remember a lot of these days. Either T-day itself was snowy, or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was snowy. I do remember the T-day of '75, I was pregnant with child #3, and we had to mush through about 8" of snow to get to church. Luckily, church was only 2 blocks away, but it ws an adventure getting there!

T-day at Aunt Margie's house, I guess it was about '59. I ate and ate, she was a fabulous cook. I still remember how miserable I was after that meal because I was too stuffed full! But it was all worth it, very delicious! New mantra, only take one helping of everything, no matter how good it tastes, then you won't suffer all night from being too full! Memories of miseries seemm to last a long time! Let's see, that was 50 years ago!

Turkey sandwiches as a bed-time snack. After the whole kitchen is cleaned up, and we've napped through a couple of boring tv shows after dinner, we awoke with a hunger pang or two, which meant, we needed to go back to the fridge for leftover turkey sandwiches, on white bread and covered with Miracle Whip.

We never played football, took hikes, or did anything that active after dinner on Thanksgiving day. But my brother, who is the family archivist, usually entertains us with a photographic show of some sort or another! Sometimes the tryptophan from the turkey kicks in and snoozing takes place, but we do appreciate his efforts and he is really a great keeper of family memories. He has many sets of photos, some are his, some are family members who have passed on, but he manages to group them togther to make an interesting show. When I was hosting a Korean student last spring, he had some pictures from Korea where he was stationed in the Army in the early 70's. She was able to identify some places that she recognized that were still there. Very interesting! She appreciated that a lot!

My first turkey as a married woman--1964. It wasn't like mom's but it was edible. I didn't forget and cook the giblets in with the turkey, I had helped my mom enough to know not to do that. It was a little bit pale, first time in an electric oven. But we enjoyed it. WE were just about to move into our first home from an apartment, and I was 8 months pregnant, so we weren't traveling to visit (we lived 400 miles from our families that year.) It was just Mr. and me and a soon to be born kid, there in our little apartment, enjoying the first turkey I cooked on my own.

Ok, there are a lot of memories from past Thanksgivings. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving day, enjoy your meal, and most of all, enjoy those you celebrate with!

P.S. Happy Black Friday, have fun out there in the cold at 4 a.m. in the morning, not me, I'll be thinking of you as I turn over and catch another couple of hours between the sheets, while you spend all your money on stuff you don't need!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preparing for the "really big MEAL"

The groceries are in the kitchen, the turkey is defrosting in the refrigerator, the menu has been divied out to various entities to prepare, and we're all looking forward to turkey leftovers.

The only thing left to do is...... CLEAN HOUSE!


Preparing for the "really big show"

No, this show isn't one that is going to be on stage, but it may be bigger than that, it may hit the college webpage, and hopefully millions of people can see it.

My international students have been studying pronunciation of English for the past 3-1/2 months. At first, the progress was really slow-going, because they were really starting from scratch in learning English vocabulary and grammar. But, they've progressed quite a bit since they first came her in August.

Today, they practiced for their upcoming videotape session done by the college AV department. I got three other teachers to help me listen to them as they practiced their speeches. We focused on clear pronunciation, not so much on content. We went over words that they were struggling with. At this point in time, they are pronouncing things using the wrong syllable stress, which makes it hard to understand. And they want to go too fast. But when they slow down, and get help with the syllables, they sound very good.

This is their third oral presentation of the semester. For presentations #2, they were to tell about their countries. Well, there was so much they wanted to share, they forgot about clear pronunciation. So, we simplified things, and now each is telling one aspect of their country's history, culture or symbols. Each only has a minute to tell their part of the story, so they can concentrate on correct pronunciation more easily, because it isn't so long.

So, they have a week to practice, and next week on Tuesday will be their time to be videotaped giving their presentation. I wish them luck, and thank my fellow teachers for helping us today.

You go, SEED students!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Antique Hat meets Modern Head

That beautiful antique top hat I found at the antique mall would have been just perfect for Scrooge for the photo shoot today, EXCEPT THAT......

it is about 5 sizes too small!

Scrooge looked like he was wearing a birthday cake on his head, or he was posing as the mad hatter and or the chimney sweep, about to clean chimneys. Come to think of it, the Mad Hatter's hat is way too big, so that image doesn't work.

We had a hard time finding one hat in our collection that did fit Scrooge! It's back to the drawing board on this one.

I should have known, the antique hat fits me. I have a pin head, so naturally, it was going to be too small for a man.

It was too good to be true!

Family Time of the Year

This time of the year, we all focus on family. The Thanksgiving holiday gives us a time to reflect on those we love, as we gather together to celebrate. It also gives us time to think of the empty seats at the table, those who are no longer with us to celebrate the family holiday.

At this time of the year, I think of some special marriages that took place during the month of November. My dear parents-in-law were married on Nov. 3, 1938. He was handsome, she was beautiful, and a year and a half later, they were blessed with their only child, a baby boy, who was destined to become my husband, father of three wonderful children, and grandpa to 6.

Then there was my own parent's marriage--which took place on a rainy Nov. 21, 1942. The time was WWII, when the young men were marching off to war, and my father was among them. She was resplendent in her handmade lace wedding dress, he, a handsome chap in his Army Greens. Very soon after the wedding, a child was on the way! Shortly after their marriage, he did leave for basic training, then on to Africa, the staging area for the 1943 invasion of Sicily and Italy. This was the turning point of the war, when the Allies finally got Hitler's army on the run. Father developed a serious medical condition while serving, and was not in the war for a long time, but he was away long enough to miss the birth of his first-born child, me, in Sept. 1943.

My mother had two sisters, and one did not marry until "later in life". She was in her 40's when she met the man of her dreams. Because she was unattached for a long time, and had no children of her own, she doted on me, dressing me up, taking me to tea rooms, and we had a very close relationship. She was married on Nov. 22, 1951??? (I need my brother's help, he is the family historian on these things!) My aunt and uncle met with a tragic accident in 1961, they were hit by a car while crossing the street one night, she died very shortly after being taken to the hospital, and he died 2 days later.

Then, Nov. 23, 1963 was a day many of my age remember, the day President John F. Kennedy was assasinated. That day will certainly live on in our minds.

So this time is a time of rememberance for me, for personal reasons. I recall the ones who went before me, who shaped my life, and a national hero who left the earth at all too young an age.

Anyway, I hope your day of thanksgiving is filled with good smells, good eats, happy memories of those who went before you, a table of diners who you love surrounding the feast you have prepared. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

He.e.e.e.l.l.l.l.o.o.o.! Is Any one out there?

Sometimes a bloger's life is lonely. Am I writing and spinning my words into cyberspace for just myself to read? Is there anyone interested in reading what I spit out?

A blogger can be considered the ultimate self-centered creature. That's what I thought when I first heard about blogging. Why would anyone want to read what I write? But then my daughter got me started on it, urged on by her BFF, who is an excellent blogger. For me, it is a way to hone my writing skills (I teach writing at a community college.) Sometimes, I catch myself making the same grammatical mistakes I just cautioned my students not to make, like writing run-on sentences, etc. etc. etc.

I've read some very interesting blogs, written by people with a special love for special topics. My blog focuses mostly on sewing, quilting and costuming.

But, is anyone out there? I never know, because only a few people comment on my blog. Come on folks, you don't have to be a registered blogger to comment!

I found out that my cousin who lives in San Francisco reads my blog. It is her way of keeping up with this branch of the family! And the other night, while waiting for "Doubt" to begin, one of the actors said, "I read a blog today written by someone who must have seen the first night of Doubt, she liked the show and gave me a good review." I told her, "I have a blogspot". Then we found out that she found my blog through Google, and had read my review of the opening of her show (read "Another Opening, Another Show" where she read the review.)

So I guess there really are people out there who read my blog. Since it is my photojournal of things I work on for different shows, it is a way for me to send lots of friends pictures, since they live far away and can't get here to see the shows.

But make a comment once in a while, OK? Do it as an annonymous person, I don't care! Just let me know you are out there!

The Cowgirl, Elf and the Curmudgeon

There is no rest for the wicked. I guess that puts me in the "wicked" category!

This weekend has been an ongoing costuming session, fulfilling commitments I made to folks I love to make special things for them for Christmas occasions.

A precious little girl needed a "western theme" costume for her school's Christmas program, a cute little broomstick skirt and matching vest would be just the thing. It will also be one of her costumes for "A Christmas Carol"....

A dear wonderful BFF of my daughter's, great blogger, scrapbooker, DIYer, and wonderful philanthropist, is playing "Santa's Elf" to deliver Christmas baskets that she and her co-workers are collecting for needy families...Of course, she needs to be well dressed to play her role in spreading Christmas joy....

And the curmudgeon, a.k.a. Ebeneezer Scrooge, needs to show his grumpy face for a photo shoot for publicity shots for "A Christmas Carol"..oh, I almost forgot, so does his little benefactor, Tiny Tim!

BUT, HERE'S THE CATCH...this was the weekend they ALL needed their costumes! So, that has been what I've been doing for the past two days.

Got the little cowgirl all fixed up on Friday. Got the elf started and basted and tried on during the day yesterday,because she doesn't really need it until next week. Then I created Tiny Tim's outfit and Scrooge's duds by picking through stuff I own, going to the thrift store for a grungy shirt for TT, and making an overcoat/cape for Scrooge. I have a wonderful Scrooge hat I found at the antique mall, a gently used "made in Paris" top hat, very vintage. I thought of a way that they could take the publicity shots using no people, just hats, canes and crutches, then I wouldn't have to dress anyone! Too bad I don't have all four elements, or I'd do it myself! Similar to the photo in this blog!

So today, no sewing, except for a snap or button on the overcoat. On the agenda today is "Doubt", which closes today, we do strike, then on to Christmas Carol rehearsal and photo shoot.

When Monday morning rolls around, I guess I will have earned my day off in the office grading papers, because this weekend was anything but a restful couple of days off!

P.S., If the photo shoot were tomorrow, I would have Scrooge's rental costumes, they will be ready tomorrow. Then I wouldn't have had to fool with him at all! Ah, deadlines, they mess up everyone's life!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pictures from "On Borrowed Time"

Mr. Brink, (aka "death"),is a dapper fellow who gently tells the characters, "It's time to come with me now"..where the woodbine twineth...Gramps resists and tricks Mr. Brink to climb an old apple tree to get him an apple before he goes with Mr. Brink. Gramps had made a wish that anyone climbing the apple tree had to stay there until he said they could come down. The wish really comes true, and Mr. Brink (and death) is stuck in the apple tree!

All of this trickery is designed to keep Gramps here on earth a little longer to be with his beloved grandson Pud, whose parents were killed in an auto accident. Aunt Demetria has designs on Pud, more on the money his family willed him, rather than on her desire to show love and care for the boy.

Gramps is declared insane by reason of his claim to have death caught up in the tree. Dr. Evans, the Sheriff, Mr. Philbeam and Marci try to convince him to relent, and let Mr. Brink down, which finally happens when Brink tricks Pud to climb the tree, and as a result, the boy dies. Gramps decides to go with Mr. Brink also, to that wonderful place into eternity, to meet his dear wife Miss Nellie, who still chastizes him in eternity for swearing!

An endearing story, and played very well by the Hawthorne Players! Thought the subject is somber, it is treated in a light-hearted way, and as a result, no sniffles at the end, only happiness that Gramps and Granny and their dear PUD are together once again!

Mr. Brink tricks Pud to climb the tree
Mr. Brink's first encounter with Julian, and Julian resists the call to "come with me now"
Aunt Demetria--flowered dress from vintage pattern (see earler post for pattern details)

Aunt Demetria in another vintage dress.

I found many of the costumes in closets, at thrift stores, and I built several for the women. Aunt Demetria looks fabulous in her costumes! She liked them so much, she purchased them for her own collection! The little boys wanted their thrift store shirts and my famous boxer shorts as a remembrance, so we let them take them home. I found Dr. Evan's checked coat and vest at Goodwill, perfect fit and style, and although he whined about looking like Herb Tarlick, I think he looked great, so did his girlfriend and many others!

It was fun to do the costuming for this show, despite the fact that I was doing two shows at the same time, but neither of the two were that demanding, so it worked out OK.

On Borrowed Time

These are some more of the pictures from On Borrowed Time
Dr. Evans and Mr. Grimes, director of the state insane assylum
Grandpa Julian and Grandma "Miss Nellie"
John Gilford Northrup, aka PUD
Sheriff--notice his "gaff tape" Sam Browne belt! It's a miracle what gaff tape can do on stage!

The boy applestealer

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another Opening, Another Show

That's a familiar opening to a famous show. My blog has been neglected for 10 days because of two openings to two shows that I've been working on. Two tech weeks in a row make for a very busy schedule! So here's an update!

"On Borrowed Time"(Hawthorne Players) openend Nov. 6. It is being shown at the James J. Eagan Theatre at the Florissant, Civic Center. Shows this weekend are Friday and Saturday at 8, and Sunday at 2. Opening night saw a very enthusiastic crowd, small but enthusiastic enjoying the show. Characters were "on" for the night, and the show went on without a hitch. Grandpa and Grandma were great, the kids were awesome (lots of lines to deliver for young actors). Mr. Brink was very mysterious, but entertaining in his own quiet way. The other supporting characters did a great job of helping to tell the story. Larry Marsh directed and designed and constructed the set. Fabulous job in both areas! And it was very entertaining!

Last night, Nov. 13, the show "Doubt: A Parable" opened at Clayton Community Theatre, at Washington University South Campus Theatre. They knocked one out of the park, so to speak. Sr. Aloysius had many friends in the audience, and they reveled in her characterization of the crusty old school nun getting in the face of the young fresh-faced arrogant priest! Mrs. Muller riveted everyone to their seats, as she fought her way through her "visit to the principal" meeting. She caused everyone in the audience to get so quiet you could hear a pin drop as her emotion went from controlled "nice" to letting it all hang out in anger over the plight of blacks in the early '60's--"That's just the way it is, Sister!" Sr. James showed a wide range of emotion within the confines of her black nun habit--from exhuberant "joy of teaching" to fear to embarrasment to anger to sadness over the loss of her innocent way of looking at life. Great Job!

They actors and actresses all looked great! Of course, I'm biased! From the stylish 30's chick Aunt Demetria (aka Pismire!) dressed in her authentic '30's design suits, thanks to the patterns my friend gave me, to Father Flynn in his pretty authentic looking chasubles, I'm pleased with the results of the costuming.

I'll get a CD from the professional photographers who took pictures of both of these shows, and post some of the best shots from each show. I'm very proud of these productions from my own point of view, and I think the audiences were highly entertained by the productions.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dress Rehearsal Night

Tonight is dress rehearsal night for "On Borrowed Time". I officially finished sewing my last costume at 6:45 this morning! (Last minute changes brought about decisions made during a by full costume, full make-up and hair rehearsal last night.) Hope the changes go well. The sets are beautiful, the props are very interesting, and hopefully the costumes all fit people!

Last night, I left rehearsal at 8:30 in time to make one more trip to the fabric store for patterns and fabric to make this last costume change. Luckily, the fates were on my side, and I was able to find what I needed in 20 minutes before the store closed. Darn, patterns are going on sale today, so I had to pay $12 for a pattern that would be $1 in 3 hours. But I did not have time to wait. I went home and in a frenzy of activity made a retro style apron, and started on a retro style dress. Got up early this morning to finish the dress. I didn't get much sleep in between those two sessions, so that made for a VERY SLEEPY DAY for me!

This afternoon, I took a nice long nap! After my frenzy of activity last night and early this morning, I needed it. Tomorrow, I hope to be able to sleep in, knowing that NO MORE COSTUMES need to be provided for this play, and we can all say, "Break a leg" and let the show go on!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

OMG! Precious! The M & M's on Halloween!

Batman and Batgirl had a lot of fun trick-or-treating last night! Their last stop of the night was to Aunt Monkeygirl's house, where Grandma Sew What was also visiting! This is how the little Bat pair looked!

Little girl M had three options for costumes. Two were Grandma's creations. She had Tinker Bell wings from last year, that was option #1. Then Grandma made a "Glinda of Oz" beautiful long sparkly dress for Option #2. But when she saw her brother's Batman costume, and saw that there was a pink /purple sparkly Bat Girl option, she wanted that also. So Grandma happily obliged and made Option #3.

This is a little girl who, true to womanly whims, changes her mind OFTEN! Sometimes it cycles on a 30 second basis! When the Tinker Bell option was mentioned by her, Grandma cringed! NO, I MADE YOU TWO OUTFITS--AND YOU WANT TO WEAR LAST YEAR'S COSTUME? Luckily for my blood pressure, she cycled through BatGirl and got dressed at the same time!

They look absolutely precious. They are so photogenic, love to pose to get their pictures taken. So many kids run from the camera, but not these two! And they did get their pumpkins full of candy, and a liberal chocolate fest followed the trick-or-treating, once we retired to the house to warm up!

Oh, Aunt Monkeygirl was precious also. She was a ???, (I forgot what she called herself), resplendent in blue neon hair tied up in pixie pony-tails, butterfly wings and black knee high boots. Why didn't I get her picture? Sorry, Monkeygirl, you were so cute! Mommy was a bad girl for not taking your picture.

P.S. The dog wanted to eat the butterfly wings, he kept lunging toward them all night. The zap collar kept him under control, and nothing was lost to his waiting jaws, not even the chocolate bars the M & M's waved past his face as they were feasting.

P.P.S Our 4th annual Halloween party on the court was non-existent this year. For the past 3 years, we've gathered on someone's driveway, brought food and drink, had a fire in a firepit, and waited for the kiddees to make a one stop download of candy to their bags. Last year, we only had 8 kids come to visit, besides our own. So this year, everybody exited the court, and only 4 out of 15 houses were giving out candy. There is a street in our neighborhood that has FULL participation, about 600 kids per year! Every house participates, more than one make a haunted house tour, and the cars were lined up for blocks looking for a place to park so the kiddees could participate in the fun. I drove past it last night on my way to Monkeygirl's house, and it was really jiving! That must be where they all headed, because our street was extremely dead. We maybe had 15, including our own families.