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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

This Takes the Cake!

I talk a big game about cake decorating but I rarely get a chance to. So when my friend Yvonne planned a big 40th birthday bash I decided it was time to have a go.
We sell a heap of cake decorating things in our shop - we're not just about sewing - and I determined to only use what I had at hand. So that is: coloured fondants, tylose, cake boards and cards, blingy numbers, edible pearls, and the cake tins we hire out.
I went for 6" and 7" sized round tins, two cakes from each to make a tall cake. The tops trimmed flat. I got a bit muddled and sandwiched the top one with jam, but the bottom two are separate cakes, so we can unstack them for cutting. The cake itself is chocolate, made with the cupcake recipe I favour, and I made 6 x the usual amount. That's a dozen eggs worth! I skimmed these with buttercream icing. As you can see, them is tall!
Upturned dinner plate and Tupperware container playing duty as turntables. Sometimes I reckon I missed a successful career as a plasterer.
I made a pile of blossom flowers a couple of nights ago out of fondant with tylose kneaded into it to make it set properly. The centres are edible pearls. I stuck them in with glue made of tylose and water. The only thing extra I did was to press every blossom on a soft surface to give it a softer 3-D shape. Lots of processes!
Here's the cake assembled - the ivory bottom and orange top both covered in fondant. I am really bad at this! Especially with such a deep cake. The bow is also fondant strengthened with tylose. I made the bow last night so it had time to set. Ignore the 40 on top, I realised the top needed something else.
Aha! A ball of leftover orange fondant to give some height, then I made some leaves, popped the 40 into it, and covered it in leaves and flowers. Pretty!
Flowers stuck on with the tylose glue. I can't get over how effective it is! The flowers are fairly heavy but they went on with a smear brushed on the back. No slip sliding. however because of all the creases in the fondant that the flowers could only disguise so far, I realised we needed something more serious around the bottom.
And here we are. Probably too many flowers on it, but it does look less fussy in person. I got all the leftover fondant, rolled it into 12mm balls, and arranged them in colour order around the base. It just finished it off nicely.
So, all ready for Saturday night. The fondant and buttercream will keep the cake fresh. It's a nice, tasty cake and the jam helps!
This cake was easy to put together, it just takes patience to go through the various processes needed. And things need leaving overnight to set and dry. I couldn't have got this together in one evening as cakes needed baking and cooling, blossoms needed to dry etc. I did something for it every evening this week but it didn't take all evening.
In terms of the design, I Googled 40th Birthday Cake for ideas, and found this one:
You can probably see some similarities. But sadly, we have no black fondant until the end of September. My approach to these kinds of projects is to get an inspiration, then forget it. I never try and copy things I see online - I don't know what they used, how they did something and I would rather use what I have. Also, you know how it is - the home job is never quite as swish as the professional job! So why put oneself into the position of a direct comparison. For example, the black and white cake is buttercream so it has nice sharp edges that fondant doesn't make.
No, I am perfectly happy with my imperfect work. I won't be flashing pics of the inspiration cake around on the night, and the pretty fruity colours of my version suit Yvonne better than the stark black and white one would.
So there! ;-)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Busy times!

Oh my word, what a busy bee I've been. Four shows in a week! Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Saturday 6th August. I emceed Caburlesque's Tim Burton Tribute show. This meant a chance to finally fulfill a thirty year long dream - to play Mrs Lovett and sing Little Priest.
Here I am with the amazing Clever Hansel, who is my new Partner In Crime. We had a blast with this and plan to work together again! The Mad Hatter took over the second half of the show and closed it with a Burlesque act. SO cute that one guy in the audience told David and I that he thought the Mad Hatter was a different person!
On Monday 8 August at 2pm,  I spent a couple of hours in drag, helping out at the unveiling of Carmen's traffic light. The link goes to a page with some history of Carmen and a video of the event, in which I make brief, background appearances. I was so busy working the room, I didn't get in many pics.
 This is what you have to do to when it is pouring with rain and your hairdo would flop like a souffle if it got wet! Shopping bag hat, raincoat. I only had to walk 200m and got pretty wet. That's my sonfromanothermother in the mirror.
 The weather was so freezing and wet, the event was moved into Soho Brown's cafe. I am on the left, pinning an orchid onto a guest.
Me, Indy and Amanduh (wearing my peacock costume) and the Mrs Robinsons. I did get to sing a couple of songs as well. But mostly, what an honour to be involved in this event. Carmen is an integral art of the cloth of this city and she deserves to be commemorated.

WELL, on Wednesday night, AB FAB the MOVIE premiered in Wellington and The Roxy Cinema put on a special evening with bubbles and nibbles. BUT, so far no pix so I will leave that for next time!
Ciao all!

Monday, August 1, 2016


So many art experts quipped that I didn't have a monobrow in the Frida show.
Well, I didn't when I walked on the stage, but I did within two minutes!
As part of my opening act, I drew it on. 
You know until I saw this image I never realised they had a follow spot! that's nuts, given how much time I've spent pointing one at other people!
Anyway, we are doing the show again, more or less, on 19 November in Wellington, and in the mean time I still have a lot of monobrow in me.
Friday night was the July instalment of Queen vs Queen (which I did last month) and I wanted to dress up, but be comfortable and warm. It is so freaking cold here right now.
So, I got out the one Frida costume that noone photographed, and is my favourite. It's another mumu garment to my ankles, out of this crazy fabric with faces all over it;
The faces didn't have monobrows but I spent a half hour with a black vivid marker and fixed that! Looking at these guys, I decided to make up as one of them.
Strong contouring, red outlines on black and black on red, an eyelash moustache, lots of red roses and green leaves on my head and off we went!
I wore a tank top and trousers under it, and flat shoes, and even my big brown cosy Pavlova cardi. Noone is the wiser. I love mumus!
My last offering is a selfie of my darling adopted son Jack and me. He was very impressed with my look. As I was with his. Although we do joke that he definitely got those cheekbones from his Papa!
It was a very busy, very cramped night in the Ivy Bar, lots of fun and I was in bed by 12.30am which was quite late enough for a work night thankyouverymuch.