… thoughts on theatre, life, and stuff

Where’s V these days?

Hi!  In the Spring of 2012, the family ministry program at RMCC moved from the Rush Hour format on to new programming.  Just before the change, I had retired from the Rush Hour program and resigned my position as Creative Arts Assistant, but I love RMCC and will always look back on our Rush Hour days as one of the most creative and challenging periods of my life!  These days, I’m studying studio arts (drawing and ceramics) at Front Range Community College.

My WordPress stats indicate this blog remains fairly active in terms of views, so I’m happy to leave it up as an archive in case other artists, crafters, performers, directors (OK, enough!  You know who you are…) want to use it as a resource.

Oh, and by the way, I finally got a design I liked for the body of Al the camel!  I abandoned the PVC pipe frame and used large sheets of fabric-covered foam for the body.  After three major design iterations, Al turned out better than I ever thought he would.

Enjoy!

V-

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Faux Veggies

Here’s a simple way to make fake food.  Our Family Ministry program usually calls for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner on stage, so this year I decided to make some faux dishes we can store and re-use.  My hope is that the effort spent this year will pay off in a more relaxed holiday season next year, and the year after….and the year – you get my drift.

Corn, broccoli, and asparagus add color to the stage and they were pretty easy to make.

The corn is just foam tubing (the type you get at Home Depot to protect your pipes from winter weather). then I used some left-over yellow fleece which I drew on with a Sharpie marker to get the kernel look.  I hot glued it on the tubing and stacked it on a spray-painted plastic tray.  I hot-glued a few in place on the plate and left a few “loose” so they could be served to plates, picked up by actors, etc).

The asparagus was a little more tricky, but still pretty easy.  I started with some large glue-sticks I had lying around (hubbie bought the large size for me, but I use mini-glue sticks, so I had these extras and no way to use them).  I glued two sticks together, cut some “chips” off the end of each one to form a rough point, and then added hot glue with an uneven, back-and-forth motion to imitate the tip of the asparagus.  Some hot glue and a piece of yellow fleece cut into a square to look like butter and it was almost complete.  I hot glued piles of these together, and left a few loose.  Then I tried the same technique with pencils, to make some of different sizes.  That worked well, I thought, but they looked a little less natural.

glue the two hot-glue sticks together

roughly "round" the ends with scissors.

add hot-glue to the ends to make the "buds" of the asparagus.

 

...some dark blue spray paint and then some neon green over that and voila!

 

The brocoli is just cotton balls shaped, hot-glued together, and then spray-painted.  The trick is… for the heads, pull off small chunks of cotton, roll them in the palm of your DAMP hands (not soaking wet, just slightly damp) and then glue them to each other.  It changes the shape enough, and compacts the cotton enough that the look is just right, and the shape will take spray paint without looking “fuzzy.”

a little white/gray or green spray paint will finish off the broccoli and cauliflower.

have fun with the faux food!  hugs, v-

I’ve been making some fake food for our Family Ministry Christmas Program.  Peppermint Pie, cookies, lemon squares… they look yummy!  The cookies, individual pie slices, and bars are made of upholstery foam, the fluffy pink peppermint pie is shaped with soft sculpture (nylon stuffed with polyester craft stuffing) and “iced” with spackling – the kind you use on dry-wall and can get pre-mixed from Home Depot.  That stuff can be piped, spread, and colored just like cake icing.

Peppermint Pie

A little foam cut to the right shape, some spray paint, hot-glue and candy give these the right look.

 

The lemon bars int the background are spray-painted foam rubber with cake-decorating sugar crystals on top. The green and red sugar cookies in the background are cut from foam, spray-painted, and more cake-decorations applied. The "frosted cookies" are made using foam, spray paint and flour. Flour looks like a dusting of powdered sugar, but will hold up better over time. Powdered sugar is more susceptible to moisture damage.

… happy faux baking!

hugs, v-

 

Alien Costume

The ALIENS ARE COMING!

Alien costume

For our Christmas program, (yes, I said Christmas program) we need 9-10 Alien costumes (yes, I said Aliens) so I’ve been busy working on a prototype.  Here’s version #2.  The fabric is uber-light and stretchy, which gives the odd, arched shape when it’s stretched as the trim is attached.

I started with a sleeveless tank and shorts which I cut and sewed without a pattern.  I sew enough that I often don’t use a pattern on something this simple. I usually just get the right proportions by folding a t-shirt in half and cutting out the shape based on that.  Ditto with the shorts, using a pair of pants or sweats I already own.

The trim is simply round pipe insulation which is pre-scored so you can easily split it open.  <Home Depot guy, you rock!>

I cut it in half, hot glued it to the fabric. (IMPORTANT NOTE:  I stretched the fabric as I went along).

I tried spray painting this trim with neon green spray paint, but then the costume lost the cool color contrast between the green and grey (the trim just faded into the costume)  and the spray paint flaked off.  Badly.  in. a. big. mess.

I asked one of our Alien dancers to wear it at rehearsal one night, and it was comfortable, moved well, and because the trim is soft foam, it didn’t hurt or create a problem with movement when she rolled around on the floor for some of the choreography.

My boss (Creative Arts Director at Rocky Mountain Christian Church – Phil Christian) asked that the dancer’s faces not be visible, so I needed to make a head-piece of some sort that the dancers could see through, but would disguise their faces.

The first version of the costume was a TOTAL FLOP in my opinion.  I didn’t like the trim or the fit, or the helmet, which was based on a 1960’s flight attendants’ accessory made by Italian designer Emilio Pucci.

1960's flight attendant uniform was my original inspiration

I really disliked the first prototype.  It was very time-consuming, and inhaling melted plastic fumes is not my idea of a great way to spend the day.  I originally made the helm by using two dollar-store plastic serving bowls.  The bowls were clear, but I decided to spray paint them… they ended up looking like 1970’s green tupperware which was an early indication that this plan was doomed.

I cut out a face opening and a neck hole, figured out a way to “hinge” it with velcro so it could be opened and closed, hot-glued the seam, and added some tree tinsel.  Blech.  It just looked trashy, not cool – and we have some really cool young dancers on our “Crew-X” so I wanted them to look like Judy Jetson, not some spacey version of Elmer Fudd.  🙂

I wanted a scooped collar and waist piece, but without using stiff interfacing or corset stays it was a floppy disaster… Here’s the idea I abandoned…

The model is an awesome kid, but this costume?  No WAY!  Back to the drawing board.

See what I mean? Great kid, but the costume misses the mark.

I decided to abandon the helmet idea, and go with a simplified (and surprisingly less expensive) head-piece made of foam.  I used egg-crate foam; the type you use to pad a camping cot, which I already had on hand.  In this photo, it’s not complete, but you can get the general idea.  I assembled it from strips of the foam alternated with strips of the pipe insulation trim, hot glued together.  The final version is spray-painted neon green, but I don’t want to reveal the final product until the Christmas Program is over… so you can look for it in a future post.  Here’s the idea, though…

Using tulle to cover the face lets the dancer see out, but effectively veils the face.

These are a little more “Predator”-looking than Marvin the Martian-looking, but I’m hoping it will all come together in the final assembly of all the pieces.  I’ve added a collar to the uniform and am hoping to find some inexpensive leotards and tights in bright green or grey to complete the look.  The dancers are going to wear knee pads, which they will provide, and I will either make matching fabric covers for, or simply spray paint them.  Shoe covers are in order as well, because our dancers will be wearing athletic shoes, not ballet slippers.

I’ll post the final project when it’s all finished, but  thought this would be a good time to post the general idea since Halloween is just around the corner and my blog gets so many hits from people looking for costume ideas.

hugs, v-

Golf anyone?

The Golfer.

Brian D and I needed whacky golf outfits for our church’s family ministry program one Sunday.  (www.rushhourcolorado.com)  I used my go-to pants pattern – shortened at the knee. Elastic at the waist and knees. Added a matching green athletic shirt black socks, the actor’s own dark shoes, and a cotton “sweater vest” I got on sale at where else? Wally World! We had a golfer’s hat in the costume collection at the church (Rocky Mountain Christian Church, Niwot, Colorado).  And VOILA!

Mine was almost identical to this only mine was orange where Brian’s is green. My orange golf shirt was cheap, I raided my husband’s closet for a black sweater vest and I had the socks and shoes already.  For a prop, I also added a “Big Bertha” type driver to mine to punch up the silly factor.

I had a 3-foot caddie we like to call the “Hoblin Nobbit.”  It was his first Rush Hour performance and he was absolutely AWESOME!  Good genes, I guess… his mom plays Sam and his father is a brand new Storyteller this season.  I think the golf bag we asked him to carry was taller than he is!

FORE!

hugs, v-

Knight Costume

Sir Ted of the Round Table

We need a Knight costume for Rush Hour, so here’s what I came up with.  It’s a simple brown cotton tunic and a tabard.  I cut the tabard trim out of brown fleece. That’s also what I used to cut out a graphic for the tabard (which I top stitched on).  I chose to use a sword for the tabard emblem … very Biblical y’know. Sword of truth.

Thanks to my awesome husband for modeling this for me after a long day at the office.  He’s such a good sport.  He would NOT however, agree to model the matching renaissance princess outfit.  Something about … posting that on the web ….  mumble… not wearing a dress… grumble… <snicker>

Evel Knievel Costume

My inspiration

Rock on, E.K.

This week, we needed 2 Evel Knievel costumes.  Lets just say there were tricycles and a huge styrofoam ramp involved. I didn’t have a ton of advance notice (about 2 days) and I needed to make two sets, so I Googled, I simplified, I sewed, I puffy-painted, and then I spent the rest of my time whipping around the lobby of the Fredrick RMCC Campus on a child’s tricycle (thanks to our facilities manager at the Fredrick campus, Lloyd,  for raising the handle bars for me!)

By the way, lets just get this out there… I’m an admitted Evil Knievel fan.  We used to watch his stunts live on TV and it was a BIG EVENT around my house when I was a kid.  His talent was combining athleticism, fearlessness and showmanship … just like me riding my trike around the church in full E.K. regalia.  (BwaHA!!!  Just kidding, just kidding, don’t write any “V, that’s inappropriate” comments.)

The simplified costume emphasizes the bell-bottom pants, the red/white/blue trim on the shirt, and the cape.

Anyway, to make the suits, I sewed some oversized white suits (I didn’t use a pattern, which is probably all too obvious!).  I based the outfits on some oversized hoodie/sweats outfits I made a while back.  I went for a larger size so they would fit other (men) actors if needed in the future, so they could be worn over normal clothing, and so we could move around in them easily for our incredible stunts!  BEFORE I sewed all the pieces together, I attached trim, made the bell-bottom pants inserts, etc.

I attached (machine stitched) the cape to the shirt.

For fabric, I picked up some $4.99/yard white woven cotton/poly blend – it’s designed for lining curtains, but was the only white I could find at the local hobby store that wasn’t too thin but was within my budget.  For two suits, I bought 8 yards.  For the 2 capes and trim, I bought 2 yards of red and 1 1/4 yards of blue.  A large bottle of white fabric paint was more than enough for the stars.

Classic E.K., bell-bottoms and stars.

It took several hours for the white fabric paint to dry… then it was off to take a nap to try to fight off this miserable cold I’ve come down with.  I’m just sorry I got sick and missed the opportunity to see my friend Donna riding a trike around the Niwot campus, because she’s comic-hosting there this weekend.  Look out Rush Hour, V’evil and D’evil Knievel are IN THE HOUSE!!!

hugs, V-

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