Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Having trouble getting your pasties to stick? Make sure your skin is clean and dry.

Sweat and skin oil can keep adhesive from, well, adhering. If you have the opportunity to wash and dry your boobs, go for it! For most of us in crowded dressing rooms, that’s not an option. Cleansing wipes are a great way to clean up quickly. Just make sure they don’t have lotion or moisturizers or are going to leave a soapy residue, as that would defeat our purpose. The kind billed as “refreshers” rather than make-up removers are your best bet.


Published in: on 22 May 2015 at 10:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Quick Note

Dear Constant Reader,

Costume-Con was a ton of fun and I will tell you all about it as soon as I get a moment or two.

Last night was the B.A.B.E. Spring Student Recital which I will also tell you all about, as soon as I get a moment or two.

Right now The Boston Babydolls getting ready to launch (no pun intended…) Harborlesque, a weekly burlesque show on The Music City Queen.

Soon, my lovelies, I will tell you all about my latest adventures.


Published in: on 20 May 2015 at 9:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! I’m in South Carolina at Costume-Con this weekend. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back and I’ll try to post pictures to Facebook during the weekend.

Here’s your costume-related tip!

Cover your sewing machine when not using it.

Dust, lint, pet hair, and other nasty bits can get inside your machine and shorten its working life. Keep it covered and keep it clean. You can get basic plastic covers which will do the job (and many machines come with them). Or you can make your own. It’s a quick and easy project.

Here’s mine:

I made that charming (and slightly wrinkled) cover in an afternoon. It coordinates with the organizer mat under it, the cover for my dress form, and my curtains. You don’t have to be that compulsive. But it was fun…


Published in: on 15 May 2015 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

In the Kitchen with Mina: Lamb and Apricot Tagine

Dear Constant Reader,

Usually when I write up my recipes here for you they are vintage or burlesque-related. However, my student, Cersei Dior, asked me for the recipe for the Moroccan tagine I made the other night. I didn’t plan to share this one with my adoring public, so there are no photos of the ingredients or process.

Lamb & Apricot Tagine
4 Tbs. butter
2 lbs. lamb, cut into 2″ cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. turmeric or saffron
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt to taste
2 onions, sliced thinly
1 cup whole dried apricots

The night before soak the apricots in water.

Melt the butter in a heavy pot and brown the lamb on all sides. Season with ground spices and garlic. Cook a few minutes. Add only one of the onions, and the water from the apricots (but not the apricots, not yet). Add enough additional water to cover meat. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

Add second onion and more water if necessary. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

Add apricots and cook until meat and fruit are tender. Serve with couscous, rice, or bread.

A few notes:
My lamb had bones, so I had to hack the meat off. Thus I did not have neat cubes, but raggedy bits instead. The meat did not brown so well, because I dumped it all in at once and the pan was too crowded. Batches are better. Next time I might use olive oil instead of butter.

I used saffron and ground it with some salt in my mortar. I don’t think it had a noticeable impact on the color or flavor and next time I’d use the turmeric. I’m not a big fan of capsaicin heat, so I only added a quarter teaspoon of cayenne. You could add a *lot* more, if you love hot stuff.

I let the tagine simmer for about half an hour after I added the apricots. I left it uncovered to reduce the liquid and make a thicker sauce. I think I’d halve the apricots (the fruits themselves, not the quantity) because the meat/fruit ratio was a little unbalanced.

Here it is, over couscous.

I’m looking forward to seeing how it is reheated. Most stews are better after the flavors have had a chance to hang out and get to know one another. Also, it’s easy to remove some of the fat. The recipe is pretty versatile: one could use chicken or a mix of chicken & lamb and/or other dried fruits.

And there you are, Cersei! Is it at all like what you had in Morocco?


Published in: on 11 May 2015 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Straighten your seams!

If you are going to wear back-seam stockings (and they are so lovely), please make sure that your seams are straight. An illustrative example:

I don’t think I need to tell you which leg looks better…


Published in: on 8 May 2015 at 11:07 am  Leave a Comment  

The Teaseday Club 5/5/15

Dear Constant Reader,

I haven’t reported on a meeting of The Teaseday Club in far too long and last night was particularly exciting. And not exciting in a good way.

And then Heather reported the last minute cancellations. Scratch quickly flew into action to fill the empty spaces. We were fortunate in that the cast consisted of a comedienne who could do multiple sets, a burlesque dancer who also sang, and a stage kitten who was also a burlesque dancer (and lived near by and had someone who could gather her costume and bring it). I was the only one who couldn’t contribute to filling in.

It was kind of crazy and hectic back stage. There was much rewriting of the set list and frantic downloading of music.

This is how the set list finally shook out:

Set 1
Mina Murray: It was Cinco de Teaseday, so we thought there should be just a touch of the Latin. I did my fan dance to “Jezebel” by Frankie Lane, which has a few flamenco-type stomps in it, for fun.

Scratch performed a bit of magic involving a dollar bill being pierced by a car key.

Nonye Brown-West gave us a little stand-up comedy as well as dick pictures. Really. These were paintings that she had done of celebrities re-imagined as penises, such as “Tiger’s Wood” and “Notorious D.I.C”. Really clever stuff.

Corinne Southern sang “At Last”. This was one of those last minute additions, but you never would have known. She’s just that good.

Set 2
Nonye Brown-West opened up with more comedy and more art. Actually, at this point she had less art as several of her paintings had sold during intermission.

Corinne Southern presented her first striptease of the evening with a stunning costume from feathered robe to gem-encrusted gown to Glorious Pasties underlayer.

Scratch (with a little help from Elsa Riot) did a mystifying card trick. At least, it was mystifying to his chosen volunteer.

Elsa Riot has been The Teaseday Club’s stage kitten for a long time now, but tonight she graced the stage as a performer too. Elsa made her burlesque debut at The Great Burlesque Exposition this year and has been on a roll ever since. Just last Friday she won the “So You Think You’re a Lady” amateur competition! And tonight, with almost no warning, she jumped in to fill the vacancy left by that troublesome cancellation. She’s a terrific performer and a natural with a boa. Keep your eyes on her. Trust me.

Set 3
Corinne Southern had demonstrated that she can sing and that she can striptease, but now she put them both together with a rendition of Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” while she disrobed.

Scratch: As a visitor to The Teaseday Club, you would be familiar with Heather’s smiling face in the box office. She’s about to graduate from college and go off to parts unknown, so this was her last Teaseday. Scratch called her up to reward her for her months of service with a Teaseday Cookie of her very own and then proceeded to do a little magic with the bag it came in.

Nonye Brown-West did her final set, reading a poem about her complex feelings about herself and cake, and showed off the last of her artwork. She left with her stack of paintings and prints quite diminished. Clearly penis paintings are the art wave of the future. You read it here first.

Mina Murray: I closed out the show with a new-old act that we’re calling “French Champagne”. This is an almost complete reworking of one I’ve done before, but I think it would be barely recognizable from its debut (Hot Dates, January 2011). The concept is the same, but the music and fine details are (I hope) much improved from the previous, recent iterations.

And who won The Great Teaseday Cookie? That would be a tie between Nonye and me! We shared the cookie (with an adorable double-bite that remains uncaptured by film), but she’ll be the one who’s back next month!

Everyone was terrific to work with last night. Performers and crew were complete professionals despite the chaos. We all helped each other out: sharing make-up, providing pastie tape, gifting earrings, pinning a popped seam, being cheerful and encouraging. Elsa even filmed my new act on my phone when my utter lack of planning kept me from having a real videographer there.

The Teaseday Club will return on Tuesday (of course) June 2nd!

P.S. I just found the link to Nonye’s art work. Check it out here!

Published in: on 6 May 2015 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Also Happy May Day! Here is Boston it’s rather grey and cold, but I can see the cherry blossoms getting ready to burst in the orchards at Stately Babydoll Manor.

Here’s your tip!

To dispel dizziness after spins or turns, either jump straight up and down or spin in the opposite direction.

Personally, I find the first method gives almost immediate relief, but looks kind of goofy, so save it for rehearsal and drilling. The second method can be a life saver on stage.


Published in: on 1 May 2015 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Rebirth of a Dance Floor

Dear Constant Reader,

When B.A.B.E. moved to its new studio space, we had to have a *lot* of work done to make it fit for dancing. Chief among the rennovations was laying a wooden dance floor over the horrible concrete floors. After 3 years of abuse, the boards of the floor had begun to drift, leaving gaping holes between them.
A view of the whole floor doesn’t look too bad, but you get closer and you can see…

…dangerous gaps. Also, the exposed edges of those boards were getting chipped and we were in danger of tearing the padding underneath.

It was more than time for repairs.

On Saturday all The Boston Babydolls converged on B.A.B.E. for a day of hard labor. We started by clearing off the dance floor, which also involved moving a huge heavy cabinet which I have hated from the day I bought it and getting it the heck out. I’m looking forward to shopping for better storage options.

Then we pulled up all the boards, hoping to reuse as many as possible.Gosh, we have a lot of stuff…

Here’s Scratch pulling up the last of the boards. We’re all in sock feet so we don’t tear the precious padding that saves us from dancing directly on concrete. Then we tried to sweep up all the glitter, sequins, and rhinestones that had filtered down between the boards.

We began re-laying the floor. We knew a bunch of the boards would be unusable, either because they had gotten damaged or they were cut in such a way that the could only be used in a particular place. We were using “click-together” flooring and cutting it removes the clicky things, which is fine when that end is up against a wall, but one can’t reuse a cut piece in the middle of the floor. So I had bought a couple more boxes of boards. Of course, that type of flooring had been discontinued, so I got the last two boxes in the warehouse. More on that later.

The crew pauses for a photo op. We each signed the back of a board. We’re really invested in our work! Scratch taught us all carpentry skills, like how to drive a nail (harder than you would think), use a chop saw, and properly measure. And I said goodbye to my nice fingernails, which were all grown out longish for the first time in forever.

After several hours we were moving right along, but the usable boards were growing fewer and fewer. Ones that we had rejected for lack of perfection were getting put back into the mix. We were so close to finishing and having celebratory pizza and beer when we ran out of usable boards. We needed about a dozen more and we were completely out. What a disappointment!

Scratch & I started a desperate hunt for one more box of compatible boards. At this point I didn’t care if they matched, only that they fit. We kept finding ones that were at least one mm too thick. A millimeter doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, it makes a big difference.

The closest box of the exact same type, it turns out, was in Bangor, Maine, but we found a (more local) store which had something they thought might work, but they were about to close. The next morning, we were there when the store opened and grabbed two boxes.

It turns out that it’s not *exactly* compatible, but Scratch had a clever idea to secure the boards. He and I laid the last 11 boards in no time at all.

Ta da! Here’s Scratch nailing down the molding.
Yeah, the color of the new boards is different, but beggars can’t be choosers. The floor is now nice and solid and beautiful again.


Published in: on 27 April 2015 at 2:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Today’s tip was suggested by Scratch. After doing this for 3+ years (the first Friday Tip was 2 September 2011), occasionally I could use some inspiration. If you have a suggestion for a Friday Tip, just let me know.

Without further ado, here’s your Tip!

Create a list of goals. How will you know what you’ve achieved if you don’t know what you’re aiming for?

  • Your goals should be concrete: “Rhinestone that blue corset” is better than “Improve my wardrobe”.
  • You should be able to meet the goals without depending on other people: “Apply to three festivals”, not “Perform in three festivals”, since the selection of performers is out of your hands.
  • Pick a mix of short term and long term goals: a one month goal, a one year goal, a five year goal.
  • M2

    Published in: on 24 April 2015 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Friday Tip!

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

    When an Adoring Fan gives you flowers, there are a number of simple things you can do to ensure that they last.

  • Trim the ends of the stems and then immediately put them in water. Do it on a diagonal so that there’s more surface area to get water. Use kitchen shears or a knife to prevent crushing.
  • Remove any leaves that are going to be below the water line. They’ll just rot and shorten the life of the flowers.
  • Use warm water for most flowers. However, bulb flowers, like tulips, should get cold water.
  • Flowers need food, acidity, and an antibacterial agent in the water. Use the packet that comes with the flowers or make your own from 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. bleach, 2 tsp lemon juice to 1 qt warm water.
  • Completely change the water every couple of days.
  • Don’t crowd the flowers. Put them in a vase that gives them a little breathing room.
  • Keep your flowers away from fruit. The ethylene gas from the ripening fruit will shorten the life of your flowers.
  • Enjoy your flowers!


    Published in: on 17 April 2015 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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