Monday, December 21, 2015

Solstice and Yulemas!

Just popping in to say Happy Solstice!  Welcome back SUN!  I have missed you dearly.
We're in the thick of it all, and of course, I caught a cold.  Been laid up on the sofa for the last four days.  Today, finally feeling more myself, I still stayed on the sofa nursing the horrid cough and sniffle that is left over.  Four days till Christmas (meep!) Sunday was my brother's birthday (Hi Levi!!) and then just a few small get-togethers with friends and family to round out the year.

This year I was able to get a couple of stockings put together (FINALLY!!), the red fabric was sitting around in my stash for a good three years.  I really haven't had the excess time to do anything with it until now.  I had notions of grandeur about embroidering our names on the white bits.  Got my name done, and was putting it together when I realised I had not only gotten my name on backwards, but upside down!  Happily I was able to fold it around in such a way that I did not need to make another top, my mistake is just exiled to the back of the stocking.
I am hoping for a couple days of snow, but it's also Seattle.  We don't get much of that gorgeous white stuff, but a girl can hope!  Stay tuned for a Me Made 2015 round up of all the garments I have sewn this year!


Friday, November 6, 2015

Halloween 2015!



My dear friend Sonya and I are gussying up as Alice and The White Rabbit for Halloween this year! Doing our own takes on characters that are near and dear to our hearts is a challenge and really fun. 
I found this cornflower blue fabric with navy diamonds back in August and knew at once that it would be for my Alice. 
I toyed with the notion of a traditional version (plain dress, apron) and found it to feel too juvenile for my tastes and how I wanted to be perceived. So I married an 1840's bodice with a very full circle skirt and I feel like that is the ingenue look that I want for this character. 


I finally got the bodice and skirt put together and let it sit on the dress form overnight; partially to let the hem hang and partially so I didn't go too fast on it. 


I played around with some various trims and ended up using three different ones from my stash! I am so glad that I had the time to go slowly on this project and let it become the best version of itself!


Steaming out the fringe!


Finally just went with these grey spangled mesh sleeves. They didn't work until I had gotten more trim on the bodice and then the sleeves made sense.

Some rhinestones along the bodice for extra visual interest.

Ended up forgoing traditional laces and using safety pins! I liked the one hard detail against all the softness and lace. Very punk and a little goth.

I drew inspiration from both Theda Bara and Siouxie Sioux in my makeup for the evening. This Alice isn't a little girl any more. She has fallen down the rabbit hole and see far too many things. It was a really fun look to create and I look forward to doing a proper photoshoot with my darling Rabbit so we can have proper pictures! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Home stretch!



I realise my last post was a bit of a downer, and before I get back into regularly posting wanted to check in.  Sunday is my final day of my show and while I don't get to sleep in, I can go to be early and that sounds like bliss to me!
I'm still longing for that break in a cabin, but also have other projects on the horizon.  Life is shifting again and it's going to be amazing.  I want to be here more, and hope to prepare regular posts.  Might set the bar at one a week for now and see what I can turn up.  I really want an outlet for my creative writing and might start that here or drop it into a new blog.  We'll see.  This weekend looks gorgeous sun and some rain and most excellent company.

Here's what I have been reading, in no particular order:

How Doctors Take Women's Pain Less Seriously

Willow and her Mom are the CUTEST!

Slaves of the Needle

And Cultural Appropriation; Dia De Los Muertos

Friday, October 9, 2015

Anxiety

Snow White illustrated 1974 by Trina Schart Hyman

Hullo space.  I miss you.  I keep entertaining ideas of hanging out here and writing amazing things, but those are for later.  For now I am just trying to slip from one day to the next with the greatest of speed.  I am working on a show that is emotionally horrendous for me, but with amazing people who help me care for myself.

I feel like Snow White in the illustration above, only I have yet to make it to the house of the Dwarves.  I am endlessly running.  Sleep brings the tiny slice of death that grants me a temporary reprieve.  I work hard to remember to eat and drink water.  Tiny things are good right now.  I have a scarf that is my bus therapy, I have a book to read that allows me escape.  I need at least one full day, if not two or three, spent entirely alone just to recuperate.  It's times like these that I so wish I had my driver's license.  I have no means of escape from the drone of the city.  I cannot seek out the peace and quiet of the forest, nor the meditation of the Pacific coast.  I need a week spent in a cabin where my greatest struggle is what I'll make for breakfast in the morning.  A wood stove would keep the cabin toasty, I'd have endless cups of black coffee and mismatched china or enamel plates of breakfast.  Eggs and toast with homemade jam, pancakes dappled with powdered sugar, sausages cooked until their skins turn black and burst.  This is what I long for, ache for, right now.  I need to plan some way to get away soon. Away from humans.  Away from everything.  Just for a bit.

I feel guilty for posting this, but post this I will. I feel guilty because I feel like I am complaining about the things that are troubling me at present. I am not complaining though, I am stating. I am making an emotional bid for attention, a plea for help. I am okay. Things will get better. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Bear with me.

xoxo,
Anna

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Costume Comission: THX 1138!







I built a THX1138 costume for a friend's boyfriend in four days.  THX1138 is an oldie and a goodie. My dad who went to college for cinematography showed us a lot of Kubrick flicks when we kids were younger (not too young, mind you) so it was familiar territory for me.


I sourced fabric for the piece that wasn't just cheap poly-cotton because I wanted it to look good.  This was my first big costume commission out of school and it was going to a convention (NorwestCon!) where it would be looked at and scrutinized.  I first thought that maybe I would need to double up some cotton to achieve a good opacity, since most cottons are rather translucent against the human skin.  I found Diaper Cloth at Pacific Fabrics and was intrigued by it.  It was opaque enough, thin, and had a great texture.  The gent at the cutting counter pointed out that it was not a standard width, (being about 36" rather than 45" or 60") and asked what I was making.  I said a THX1138 costume and he smiled.  "Have you seen the waffle fabric?" he asked.  I shook my head "no" and followed him through the aisles over to the yarn section (?!?!?) where they tucked away fat bolts of waffle weave fabric.  It was fantastic.  Wide, opaque, and interesting texture.


While the original film was a plain woven fabric, I wanted this interpretation to be as authentic as possible, but with something to make it more interesting than simply being white fabric. My client okayed it and off I went at scratch; altering the pattern to suit my needs, cutting out white fabric and trying not to get graphite and other markings all over it, getting it all together, and then did a fitting, final tweaks, and it was done!

Watching "The Wrath of Khan" gets the serging done!  I also don't have a copy of THX or I would have watched that.



Had to redraft the neckline and created facings for it.

Pin! Pin! Pin!

Top done!  Then the trousers and we were in business!


Mr. Rex modeling the final project and looking quite spiffy, indeed!  He had made the badge and even an ear tag to wonderful authenticity. 


Daily Lessons

There is a familiar rumble going down my alley, almost like an old gas-powered lawn mower and a motorcycle had a baby, and it is the very wee silver van that is emblazoned with "Soda Jerk" on the side.  It is a soda vendor that lives a block behind us and uses the alley to get out to the main street.  Haven't tried his soda yet, but I keep meaning to.

Today, oh today.  Some days start really, really well.  You wake up- alarm or not- with determination on your face and a spring in your step.  Some days this joie de vivre doesn't go away for the whole day.  Other days, like today, it gets whammied from the side like a semi-truck out of nowhere and you the unlucky road kill.  What makes or breaks the rest of your day is how you deal with that out-of-nowhere-whammy.  You can balk and cry and whine, or you can be frustrated, shed a couple tears of fear, put on your big (insert preferred gender here) pants/shoes/hat/whatever and know that things will work out.

I am following my dreams right now and it's downright terrifying.  I have no. idea. where my next paycheck is coming from and I have bills to pay, routinely, like any other adult.  This is the life of an artist and this is the life I have chosen.  Of course, there are other artists who chose to have a regular job and a regular paycheck and pay their bills on time and maybe a bit extra once in a while.  This is not a bad thing.  I would move into that world if all my art could be done at night.  ALL of it.  Most of my art could, but there are things like Tech Week, or Weekend Rehearsals that don't always fit into that pretty little box of Availability.  So I struggle at times.  Summer is rough.  Bills add up and paychecks don't.

Today I woke up with joy in my heart and determination on my face and bounded out to the kitchen to get coffee.  I kissed my sweet husband good-bye and made my oatmeal with brown sugar.  I bustled into our home office and then my eyes fell upon a neglected bill notice.  Then I realised how much money I need to shell out in the next month and how much money wasn't coming in.  I got scared, I got stressed.  Are your teeth grinding?  Did your heart rate go up just a little reading this?  The thing that gets me going is fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of being broke all the time.  It's enough to make me get a corporate desk job.
What you (and I) must do is look yourself in the eye in a mirror.  Tell yourself that fretting now isn't going to do anybody any good at all.  Especially YOU!  Remind yourself of the ways you can drum up money, when your paycheck in coming in, and what you can do in the meantime.  BREATHE.  Cry if needed.  It's cathartic.  Blow your nose, wash your face, and get on with things!

I like making lists.  They comfort me.  They encourage me.  I list things I have already done just so I have the satisfaction of crossing something off my list.  I am making a list of all the fabulous things I have knitted or sewn and can sell on Etsy.  I am checking my calendar for times that are open so I can take gigs or work elsewhere.  The money will come, and my bills will get paid ON TIME, and everything will work out perfectly, because it always, always does.  I speak the words into the Universe and the Universe puts them into effect.  Put good in, get good out.  Put fear in, get bad out.  It's that simple.

And just like that, my stomach settles, my tears dry up, I take a deep breath and chuck my chin up.  Wallowing will get anyone nowhere.  Determination and Optimism will get you everywhere.


xoxo,
Anna

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ahem. Hello there!

Well hello there!  I feel like I have done this a lot in this space.  Life hasn't been terribly exciting lately and I have neglected this little blog.  I am starting new projects and exploring avenues both figuratively and literally.  What have I been up to while I've been gone?  Well, let me tell you!


 I spruced up part of our bedroom.  It was, and mostly still is, quite barren of art or wall hangings.  I think that is a result of not being sure if we will stay here longer or move again once our lease is up.  So I took the plunge and am decorating as if to stay for a while.  I took my wedding bouquet apart (*gasp*) and arranged the paper blossoms into a little bower.  I finally framed a wedding picture and put our vows up so we can see them often.


I got some new ink!  I am terribly pleased with this piece since it is my first friendship tattoo, but also an extremely geeky tattoo for me.  My dear friend Sonya and I decided to get anchors on our right feet for her graduation.  The anchor is representative of anchoring ourselves to each other, to Seattle, and each unique design echoes our heritage.  Mine is strongly inspired by the British Navy, particularly of the Napoleonic Era.  After the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 commemorative sherry bottles were issued with an anchor stamped on the wax seal.  This anchor is mainly based off of that one, with extra details to make it look more like an engraving.  


My days have been full of this amazing view out my kitchen window.  Sun pours in during the morning and with the warm weather lately the blinds have been down and drawn.  I am so thankful for all of the greenery around this place.  It keeps me stupid happy.  

There was a Wedding!  My Uncle married his sweetheart, Mary and we couldn't be happier for both of them.  I have never seen my Uncle so happy and at peace than he has been with this wonderful woman.  


I have been sewing!  This dress was in the WIP graveyard until I pulled it out, shook it off and tried it on.  Since then it has been in steady sundress rotation in my closet.  Can't beat the strawberry print!


Finally for this post, I have dyed my hair again.  Wasn't expecting such a DARK auburn- such is the mistake of picking up Burgundy Black rather than Dark Mahogany- but I am enjoying it!  I have always wanted to try black hair, and since I think a true black would have washed me out in a sickly way, this is a blackberry/red based black that works well with my skin tone.  

I have other personal sewing projects in the works, as well as a full report of a fun girl's weekend away with my mom on Vashon Island.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Measure for Measure, Dog of the South, and the FUTURE!

Oh my dears!  I have been busy!  Busy and planning.  I want to start using this space for writing and sharing ideas.  I want to start producing articles that are interesting but also help me process information that I have learned.  But first, a round of catch-up...

I have been working with Seattle Shakespeare Company and Book It Repertory Theatre as a Dresser and Wardrobe Mistress.  This means I oversee a myriad of things from applying hair pieces, to basic costume maintenance, to doing the laundry each night.  For Shakes I worked on their January production of Measure for Measure.
I did this wonderful lady's hair each night.  KarenJo played our own Mistress Overdone, a Madam who loses her brothel to a corrupt government official.  

Tech for M4M required me to not only perform some quick-change magic, but also become a lighted hat stand!  Sometimes my darling husband asks what I do, so he gets pictures like the one above.

Some barely visible mending thanks to techniques my mother taught me.  

In the end, all was restored in our little town, the lovers married, the corrupt dealt with, and the good rewarded.


Nathen and I celebrated Valentine's Day a little later (I had another tech!) with an afternoon of board games and proper tea.  

Next up was Dog of the South based on a book by Charles Portis.  A fun road-trip story of a man whose car and wife are stolen by his best friend and his adventure through Mexico and British Honduras getting them back.  I did a lot of "underdressing" for this show.  Underdressing is when we layer several costumes on an actor so all they or I have to do is help them off with some pieces and they're ready to go!  Here I have two of three costumes that were worn by one of the actresses.

What do you call the dresser who helps put on an Aligator head each night?  A Gator-Aide!


At present, I am in tech for another Book It show, Little Bee and worrying about what is next for me.  It is a funny thing to jump from safety of a day-job to the uncertainty of gig work, and I have definitely been feeling the low rumble of the stress.  I think it is why I haven't been present here.  I don't feel like writing anything good, I just want to whine and no one wants to read that.  I am still alive and still working.  You can keep tabs on me on Instagram if you so choose.  I am Hibougirl.

Much love,
Anna