Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A robe of one's own.

I love robes! I love a nice thin cotton robe that folds into next to nowt, for travelling, for lounging, and for doing housework and baking first thing in the morning. So glamorous!
My own current robe I've not blogged about, which is remiss of me. But when staying with amazing friend B in London, she commented how cool it was and I decided she needed one of her own. She's back here in a few weeks on holiday and it's waiting for her under my Christmas tree.
Right, my early onset NY resolution is to go into more construction detail about my makes. But I took no progress pics, so it might be more wordy than visual.
The finished garment on a too small mannequin. Fabric is a classic Jason Yenter print from 2018- butterflies in a secondary colour based pallet that makes me very happy!
Lying flat - the pattern I based it on is an old one, size 14, cut straight up and down. Women have curves, dumb pattern! When we wear straight cut robes the front curves open below the knee, and opens out when we sit down! So, I always angle the pattern pieces to create an A line shape. I added about 30cm to both front and back at the hem, starting at the shoulder. So, more bust and hip room.
All the seams are flat felled so no raw edges anywhere. patch pockets won out over in seam pockets for their strength.
The inside showing the front band. I have three different ways of applying these, depending upon the fabrics used. For this stable cotton, the raw edge is folded under.

It's quite hard to see on this busy print but this is the back neck  - with a reinforcing yoke on the inside and a loop caught into the band seam for easy hanging up.
Front of robe with sleeves folded inward. Shows the band. Gosh I love this fabric but more to the point I know that B will!

You know I've made satin robes and robes out of saris, and they are pretty but they don't stay closed. And those internal ties always bug me. I know there's a place for these lux fabrics but I like a robe I can bake in, even if I am wearing an apron! Easy to wash, cool to wear, breathes, washes and dries easily.
My own current winter robe is made of polar fleece but it bugs me. I think my next one will be corduroy. Maybe interlined with flannel...

Sunday, December 23, 2018

I'm pooped- and Merry Christmas!

Pooped here in NZ means really tired, done in, knackered etc. We closed the shop at 5pm this evening after a full on fortnight.
The shop is moving, well if only it would move itself - we are moving it with the assistance of many amazing volunteers and a big van of ripped young men (we live in hope) in a couple of weeks.
Why, after two mere years? Because the greed of our recently acquired corporate landlord who thinks that he can get 90k MORE than we pay now.
So, his loss is our short term pain, long term gain, because we have scored an incredible space on the most charming street in the CBD - Cuba St. A street of little eclectic shops, amazing cafes - it is the street I made a beeline for as a teenager.
Sadly as in every city in the world, this once eclectic street has been gentrified a lot, and my favourite second hand record shop, Silvios, is now a posh cafe, the precursor to today's $2 shops, Crazy Ricks is also a posh get the idea. the charming workmen's cottages up the top where dreadlocked arty types set up a wee clothes shop in their front room were all swept away for the motorway bypass.
So, we are returning there, about 60m down the road from where the original shop was opened in the early 70s. Which is now a posh icecream shop.
It feels really good. How my recalcitrant knee and I are going to get through I don't know.
But them's the breaks! Or the pulled tendons...
Anyway here are a few interior shots. 
 Yes, these are skylights of natural light. Such a lovely thing!
 Looking from front to back, loving the mural from when it was Matchbox studios.
 From back to front - about 25m deep
A genuine real display window at the front!!!
And so, Merry Christmas to you all. Tomorrow we are doing nothing, going nowhere and enjoying every minute xo

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Santa is a family business!

Jim Stanton pretending to be That Kid who doesn't want to sit on Santa's knee.
 Early last week I got to be Santa for a playcentre group. Not Mrs Santa, just Santa.
 In the wake of a silly controversy here about whether Santa can be a different gender or race, Jim and I decided to just get on with it.
It was heaps of fun, handing out gifts to the children.
One wee lass called Nina gave me the grilling; she's going to be an investigative journalist.
Nina: So, where are your elves?
Me: Oh they're keeping an eye on the reindeer, can't just have them hanging about unsupervised, and they're on poop scooping. I'm not doing it!
Nina: So, I saw a man santa last week with a big white beard
Me: Oh him! That's Grandad. He's getting on a bit and the world is so much bigger now, so it's a family business. I'v got 64 brothers, sisters and cousins and we all have to pitch in at this time of year.

And she was happy. Kids get it; it's their parents that can kick it up.

My morning was made by a Mum who told me her wee girl whispered into her ear, "Isn't Santa Beautiful!"

Thank you tiny child, now I feel it <3 br="">

 Costume details for those who like that stuff:
Skirt is two felt tree base skirts sewn together, trimmed with hidjus tinsel and battery star lights.
Hair piece: I've had this for ages - a jandal (flip flop) tree ornament and a bunch of Pohutukawa, both essential NZ Christmas elements
Rainbow sequin earrings from Accessorize in the UK.

Bolero from my red sequin outfit, sparkly belt from city chic, old red cami, tights and knee high boots. I was warm!

Friday, December 7, 2018

West End Wonders and Ooobop!

With three days at large in London over the first weekend in November, I made the most of it!
OMG, this happened! Janene from and I got to spend quality time together and it's like we'd known each other forever in person not just online. What a gal! We hit the West End and the red wine and I think the cabaret world has a new fangirl - just sayin'!

Yes we were THIS close to Patti LuPone. She is every bit as incredible as her reputation. And in an ensemble piece, she was equally Dive and One of the company (of Company by Sondheim), which is part of her magic.
Ah the West End - terrible and fabulous. I love finding ancient landmarks like Lillywhites - which to me is all about Bertie Wooster and golf clubs!
Excellent busker in Piccadilly Circus by the way. I had a good old sing along.
 I have such a love/hate relationship with the West End. One the one hand it is SO London - people, historically fabulous places - Jermyn Street! Piccadilly Circus! The theatres! The crowds!
But it is also a massive tourist trap with terrible service on overpriced food, souvenirs and shows. Twice that weekend I ripped one in a French Maitre D, including the one at the Waldorf who made such a scene, I pointed out to him that it wasn't a lover's tiff.
A major exception was the food and service at Tandoori Chop in Charing Cross. They do amazing platters of the best Tandoori cuisine. A lovely place to brunch!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

London and Proper Ganda

 Well, after my lovely sojourn at Livingstone Lovell, I was back in London!
My first gig was at Proper Ganda, held at The Others club in Stoke Newington.
What an amazing event! I shared the stage over the evening with rap poets, singers, a short film, comedians - it was amazing.
The Others is a big space with couches and a bar made from old doors. It's very laid back, reminds me of the Paisley Stage in Napier. Actually it's very Wellington in vibe. A perfect first gig for this slightly nervous colonial.

This is a tiny snippet of video my brother in law in law Martin took.
A few hardy local friends came along - Felix from University and his wife Alexandra which was a lovely surprise, Martin and Moises, and my old school chum Belinda, her partner Michael and friend Flore. It turned out that Belinda and Michael were no strangers to Proper Ganda, talk about a small world!
It was great to do two sets and get a warm reception but the highlight for me was meeting Liam, The World Wide Welshman. What a lovely human, and a great band too! At the top of the gig before anyone arrived we had a chat about music and I expressed an interest in singing backing vocals for them. I love that. He was all YASS!!!
So I did. All original material but a jam is a jam, you know?
No photos of this crazy, but here is Liam:
The World Wide Welshman -you can find him on Facebook
After, I got to debunk to Hackney with Belinda for a few days. But more on that later.
Thank you Alzira for having me and to the whole Proper Ganda team. It was RAD!