Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday. Here’s your tip!

Rhinestones are like precious gems. Surround them with a secure setting, using extra glue.

You can see to the left, as I repair my favorite Amber Ray hair flower, that I let some of the glue ooze out from under the stone. It may look awful at the moment, but it dried clear (always use a glue that dries clear…) and now I can’t even tell which stone it was.

You are creating a bezel (ring-shaped setting) that will cradle your rhinestone and keep it securely in place. You want just enough extra glue to surround the stone without squishing all over the place. And you’ll have the added security of knowing that the back of the stone is completely coated in glue.


Published in: on 31 July 2015 at 11:29 am  Leave a Comment  

In the Kitchen with Mina: Peach Mousse (1950)

Dear Constant Reader,

I recently made dinner based on a menu in a little cookbook from 1950, Meals for Two Cookbook. True confession, I just used the menu as a guideline and made similar dishes from other vintage cookbooks in my collection.

The entree (Lamb en Brochette) was from an undated “postwar” butcher’s pamphlet, the vegetable (Épinard à l’italienne) was from a 1947 cookbook, and the bread (Sweet Potato Biscuits) came from a 1935 baking powder pamphlet. Dessert, however, did come from the original cookbook and that’s what I want to share with you.

Dessert was Peach Mousse and I was intrigued. Usually when I make mousse, it involves whipping heavy cream or egg whites (or both) and maybe a little gelatin to stabilize. This used evaporated milk, a substance I’d never had in my kitchen before, and it was a frozen dessert.

The ingredients are simple: peaches, sugar, evaporated milk, lemon juice, and a dash of salt (the salt box is hiding behind the other ingredients — I forgot to move it into the shot).

Peel the peaches and mash them to make 3/4 cup of puree. That was about a peach and a half in my case. Add some sugar and stir until it dissolves.

The recipe says to whisk the chilled milk until stiff. This is terribly amusing. I was using my trusty hand mixer and while the milk thickened, it was nowhere near stiff. After a little research I discovered that whipping evaporated milk needs a little special prep. Put the milk, bowl, and beaters into the freezer for half an hour. Then beat for only a few minutes. I did get soft peaks, but I’d never call it stiff. I couldn’t imagine this working with a whisk at all.

Fold in the peach puree, lemon juice, and salt and stick in the freezer. I put it in smaller, lidded container to freeze. That night it was in the freezer for maybe 5 hours and it was still soft at dessert time. A couple days later, it was very hard and probably wanted to spend a little time at room temperature before scooping.

I served it with fresh blueberries thus:

It’s more like ice cream than mousse, but so deliciously peachy that who cares. It’s easy to make, as long as you properly chill the milk. The actual preparation is pretty fast, although you’ve got to wait hours for it to harden up enough to serve.

Here’s the recipe:

Peach Mousse
2 large peaches
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Dash salt

Pour evaporated milk into a bowl (preferably metal) and put it and the mixer’s beaters in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Peel and stone the peaches and mash to get 3/4 cup puree. Add the sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Whip the milk for just about three minutes, until it resembles whipped cream. Fold in the peach mixture, lemon juice, and salt.

Cover and freeze for several hours, until firm.

Makes about 3 cups.

There’s a variation that uses bananas instead of peaches. I loathe bananas, but maybe I can find some brave taste-testers.


Published in: on 29 July 2015 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Video Project Week 4

Dear Constant Reader,

This week I decided to go with a theme. I’m working on a bathtub act and now that it’s coming along nicely, I decided to look at other bathing acts for encouragement and inspiration.

  • Lili St. Cyr – Salome’s Bath. I had to start with the classic! (h/t to Corinne Southern for suggesting it and thus inspiring this theme)
  • Angie Pontani – Hendrick’s Bathtub Gin (also here and here). This is my tub in its former life!
  • Ixion Burlesque – Wine Bath. A totally different kind of bath.
  • Immodesty Blaize in the bath. Too bad it was so short!
  • Tonya Kay – Bathtub Burlesque. This was billed as a tribute to Lili St. Cyr, but I don’t see it as such.
  • Sugar Blue Burlesque’s Odile Devine – Tribute to Lili St. Cyr. A beautiful “tub”. I’d love to take a closer look at it.
  • Dita von Teese – Le Bain. Bonus: I have fondled that costume.


Published in: on 27 July 2015 at 3:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Just keep going.

If something goes wrong on stage, just keep going as best you can. You may be thinking very fast on your feet, but don’t let the audience see that you are and chances are they’ll never know there was a problem.


Published in: on 24 July 2015 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Video Project Week 3

Dear Constant Reader,

Here’s my third week of videos. A few thoughts:

I’m finding it hard to pick only performers I’ve never seen, but I am sticking to acts I’ve never seen.

I originally planned only to watch contemporary videos, but I stumbled upon a vintage act I’d heard of, but hadn’t known had ever been filmed. I still don’t know what it looked like on stage, since this is full of sooper-high-tech camera trickery.

I’m trying to break out of the classic rut and watch a little neo-burlesque too. I’m unlikely to do a neo-style act, but that doesn’t mean there’s not inspiration there too.

Sometimes I don’t know what the camera person/video editor was thinking!

The biggest thing I’m taking away is that I have got to up my game!

  • Miss Cherry Delight – The Evil Queen
  • Lady Shanime – Bombshell Betty Bump
  • Lili VonSchtupp – Vampire
  • Wham Bam Pam – Pam’s Magic Wand
  • Lili St Cyr – Cinderella’s Love Lesson
  • Medianoche’s winning performance at the New Orleans Burlesque Festival
  • Flora Gattina – Shoe Love
  • M2

    Published in: on 21 July 2015 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  

    Friday Tip!

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

    If you frequently cut sticky things, like, say, pastie tape, invest in a pair of scissors with Teflon-coated blades.

    I love these little scissors and always carry them in my makeup kit. On the rare occasions I’ve had to cut my pastie tape with regular scissors, I’m always surprised at how quickly they get gummy.


    Published in: on 17 July 2015 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  


    Dear Constant Reader,

    My Constant Critic complained yesterday that my post was less than interesting. I confess I was pressed for time and only sent out the list of videos I had watched over the past week.

    So, as it is now half way through the month, what have I learned? Let’s see…

  • Some days it’s hard to find something I want to watch. Suggestions, please!
  • True love of music and concept comes through in the performance.
  • If you are going to have a really big prop, really work it.
  • Simplicity can be mesmerizing.
  • I need to continue to work on my core strength.
  • Cheap magic really does work.
  • Atmospheric lighting doesn’t always film well. (I knew this, but there were some clear reminders)
  • I should do more floor work and stocking removes.
  • Plus some intangible inspiration that I hope colors my upcoming performances.


    Published in: on 15 July 2015 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Video Project Week 2

    Dear Constant Reader,

    I’m sticking to my resolution to watch one burlesque video a day for the month of July. Here’s what tickled my fancy over the past week:

  • Imogen Kelly’s Step-Down Performance at BHoF
  • Mr. Gorgeous – Ice Cream
  • Ray Gunn – Morpheus
  • Kalani Kokonuts – The Geisha
  • Catherine D’lish – World’s Largest Feather Fans
  • Vicky Butterfly – The Imperial Faberge Swan’s Egg
  • Inga Ingenue at Viva Las Vegas #14
  • In case you’ve just joined us, the Week 1 videos are here.


    Published in: on 14 July 2015 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

    Even More Cherries

    Dear Constant Reader,

    First of all, I’ve been sending out missives for 4 years now (as of yesterday). Thank you for being my constant reader!

    The orchards at Stately Babydoll Manor continue to produce cherries, so I continue to make stuff. There’s a reason I was dubbed The Martha Stewart of Burlesque…

    Cobbler, from a recipe from 1934





    And then there was this…

    That was roasted pork loin in a Pyrex dish, after pouring in Scratch’s lovely Russian sauce of sour cherries, orange zest, and fine Madeira. There was an earth-shattering kaboom that scared the heck out of me and shrapnel scattered around the stove. Fortunately, no one was hurt, the pork and the unpoured sauce was salvaged, and the oven hasn’t been this clean in years.


    Published in: on 13 July 2015 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Friday Tip!

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

    When rehearsing an oft-performed number, do something new to keep it fresh.

    Rather than sleepwalking through the same moves, change things up. A fun way to do this is change your character. If you’re usually sexy, try being goofy. If it’s a light-hearted number, do it with drama. Just something different to shake things up. This doesn’t mean you can be sloppy!

    Once, after the umpteenth rehearsal of “Is You Is“, Scratch told half The Boston Babydolls to do the dance as though we were pirates, the other half were zombies. It was silly fun and the next time we ran it seriously, we were all a little more focused.


    Published in: on 10 July 2015 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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