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Archive for the ‘Theatre Basics’ Category

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.




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-

Mmmmmm, (faux) peppermint pies!

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-


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!


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-

9-11 Personal Reflections

Today is September 11, 2011.  On September 11, 2001 I woke to my news radio alarm, switched on live TV, and watched the second plane hit, the second tower fall, then the first.  By the end of the morning, my heart was rubble. All those families.  All that loss and destruction.  The “It could never happen here” bubble had burst and what was left was dust. debris. DNA.

When a nation grieves together, it changes us. But there is one thing that hasn’t changed.  Because in all that chaos, God was  protecting some, infusing others with unshakable courage, drawing others to himself.  Letting others go.

This morning, I woke to my news radio alarm, but instead of the sounds of disbelief, speculation and fear, I’m listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing God Bless America and Ray Charles sing “America the Beautiful” played as a tribute to the lives lost.

This morning, I’m thinking about New York City.  About Broadway, and Chinatown, and Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the irrepressible energy that is Manhattan.  So, seeking some inspiration FROM New York during a day that is so much ABOUT New York, I decided to focus my attention on this poem of hope and welcome.

New Colossus (The poem in the base of the Statue of Liberty)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”    – Emma Lazarus

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