Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday. Here’s your tip!

Zipper sewing needs a zipper foot.

I have heard people insist that one can sew a zipper using a regular machine foot, and while it is not impossible, it is also not recommended. A zipper foot is like half a regular foot, so you can sew close to the zipper without actually going over the teeth (a bumpy situation) while still keeping proper tension on the fabric.

The foot on my machine (pictured) can slide to either side of the needle, to easily stitch on both sides of the zipper. It’s also a great foot for sewing piping and beaded fringe. If you don’t have one for your machine, it’s a worthwhile addition to your arsenal!

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

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Published in: on 22 September 2017 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Zip!

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m bringing back an old number (one of my first!) for Cover Girls on September 30th and the costume needed a little upgrade. This is an unusual act for me in that I wear trousers. In the past, I just took them off, which can be kind of awkward, so I wanted to get a new pair that I could make break-away.

In the past I’ve used Velcro and snap tape, which require a sharp pull and I wanted a slower remove. Clearly, it was time for zippers. I’ve probably told you this before, but when you’re stripping, you don’t want just any kind of zipper. Forget about metal teeth or those “invisible” zippers. You want chunky plastic teeth — the kind of zippers found on winter jackets.

I was fortunate in my shopping. The black pants I found at Primark rang in at three bucks and my local fabric store had two (and only two) yard-long separating zippers in black. The store has an amazing selection of stuff when you go in with an open mind, but if you’re looking for something in particular, it’s hit or miss, so I lucked out. They’re two-way zippers, which is a feature I didn’t need, but shouldn’t get in my way.

I started by opening the seam on the outside of the legs (someday I’ll tell you about my amazing seam ripper) from cuff to waist. Before buying the pants, I had made sure that they had a seam which went all the way up through the waistband. Then I laboriously pinned the zippers in place and carefully tried on the trousers. Then I realized I had put the zippers in upside down and redid all my work. Just keeping it real, folks.

My vintage Singer made short work of sewing the zippers in place. Because the fabric had a lot of stretch, the zippers kind of undulate, but it’s not noticeable from stage. But I tell you these things, Constant Reader, so you know I’m not as perfect as I look. : )

I tested the zippers at rehearsal last night and they work very nicely. The only thing left to do is add an extension to the waistband at each side so I can put in a single closure at each hip. I don’t want the unzipped pants falling off until I’m ready!

You can see them on and off me at the end of the month!

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 18 September 2017 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip!

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

Carry some cash.

…at least a little.

It’s so easy these days to pay for things with cards and apps that it almost seems silly have cash on you. Nevertheless, there are times when you want some good old-fashioned greenbacks (or whatever you call your local currency).

If you pay cash, no one knows what you bought. You can’t say “keep the change” when you’ve used a credit card. It’s easier to stick to your budget when you have to haul out your wallet to pay. It’s hard to storm out of a bar if you have to wait to sign the credit slip instead of flinging down a handful of bills. How else are you going to tip the go-go dancers?

I recommend the emergency twenty (or fifty or hundred, depending on how you roll). Stash a spare bill in the back of your wallet for those desperate occasions when there is no other option but cold hard cash.

When there was a possibility that I could be breaking a local ordinance with my g-string-clad behind at the first Vermont Burlesque Festival, I showed up with a $50 bill in my wallet to pay the fine on the spot. (Fortunately, it turned out to be a non-issue.)

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 15 September 2017 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A New Teaser

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m so excited to announce the The Boston BeauTease have a new troupe member!

Meet the devastating Devastasia!

Devastasia started as a student at B.A.B.E.. She completed three of our advanced act creation courses and performed in student showcases and The Newcomers Showcase at The Expo. She also volunteered her impressive artistic skills during The Wrathskellar in 2015.

In 2016 she was cast as a maid (like a stage kitten, only creepier and with more responsibilities) in Wrathskellar Tales and she was a major part of making our set as weird and fabulous as it was.

Here’s some of her fine work!

Summoning Circle

Wall in the Contessa’s Seraglio

Left Luggage Room Sign

The Lost Girl’s Doll House

At the end of last year, she auditioned for and was invited to join our first crop of apprentices, dubbed The Irregulars, and appeared in Twenty Seven-Tease, The Great Burlesque Exposition, and The Big Time. She proved to be invaluable as an artist, a costumer, and a performer. We all had such a great time working together that we mutually decided to extend her time as an apprentice into the next term.

Since then she appeared at the Mini BurlExpo, in a group number with The BeauTease at The Pennsylvania Burlesque Festival, and in Cover Girls on tour. In light of her hard-work, dedication, and skill, and that we like hanging out with her an awful lot, it only seemed natural to invite her to join the troupe.

We’re so delighted to have such a multi-talented performer and all-around lovely person join our ranks!

See her on stage in Cover Girls in Cambridge on Saturday, September 30th and Bad Luck Burlesque on Friday, October 13th in Salem.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 14 September 2017 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More Vintage Cooking

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I shared a recipe with you. Last month was kind of a crazy one and I was barely in the kitchen. However, there should be more cooking in the near future.

You know I love old cookbooks of any kind, but when it comes to 20th century cooking I have a particular fondness for the recipe pamphlet. My collection includes “100 Delicious Walnut Recipes” by the California Walnut Growers Association and “The Exciting World of Rice Dishes” from Minute Rice.

A couple of years ago Scratch bought me two pamphlets that were clearly part of a series, created by the Culinary Arts Institute. Earlier this year I found two more. And now, thanks to eBay…


I have them all. 24 pamphlets to add to my cookbook project. In this project, which has been going on for years, I need to cook one recipe, which I’ve never made before, out of every cookbook in my collection. This project brought you such delights as Frozen Fruit Salad, Cashew Chicken, and Peach Mousse.

As of last week, I had 130 cookbooks in the project and I only needed to cook from 2 more of them to have completed the project (for now)! Then I added these pamphlets to the collection…

Fortunately, I’ve already cooked from three of them and two of them have no recipes (one has menus, the other food facts), but that still means I’ve got a lot of recipes to make. Perhaps some of them will even make it onto these pages. Perhaps some Luscious Refrigerator Desserts or Superb Pies and Pastries. So many possibilities!

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 12 September 2017 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Would you look at that? It’s Friday again! Today’s tip is inspired by some recent events in the burlesque scene*.

Knocking someone else down is not the way to build yourself up.

Instead, work on improving your skills and your attitude. You won’t have to make yourself feel better about yourself at the expense of someone else — you really will be better.

I spoke about horrible behavior in a previous Friday Tip, but it seemed worth mentioning again.

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

* There are those who call it “the burlesque community”, but it’s not a community, as events demonstrate, so I won’t.

Published in: on 8 September 2017 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

From my Closet

Dear Constant Reader,

Summer is winding down here in New England and it never got terribly summery, but I’m glad I made these shorts.

They’re 1940’s-style high-waisted chorus girl shorts in crisp linen, like these I made years ago.

The big difference is that I put in pockets. It really makes me crazy when women’s clothing lacks pockets and they’re pretty easy to add. Such a big improvement!

Also, the originals have a button closure in the back. I was too impatient to try out the buttonhole attachment for my vintage sewing machine, so I just added a flat hook & bar. I’ll replace it with a proper button and buttonhole eventually. Yeah. Eventually.

I’m particularly pleased with these because it’s been quite a while since I sewed any everyday clothes for myself. I really should change that. maybe I’ll have another Dress Me contest (although the previous two have not had the most stellar results on my part).

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 5 September 2017 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

I know you have a big heart and a generous nature and that’s the topic of this week’s tip:

Give to those in need… and make sure they are going to get it.

I know we were all devastated by the news from Texas. Donate or volunteer if you can, but be wary of scams. Disasters do seem to bring out the best and worst in people. It’s worth it check out an organization on Charity Navigator before giving.

Here are some reputable organizations, as recommended by the New York Times:

Food Banks: Houston Food Bank and Food Bank of Corpus Christi.

Animal Aid: Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Houston Humane Society, and San Antonio Humane Society.

Medical and Health Supplies: Direct Relief, AmeriCares, and Texas Diaper Bank. Also, blood donors are needed nationally.

LGBTQ Community Support: The Montrose Center

General Relief: United Way and Catholic Charities.

Thank you.

M2

Published in: on 1 September 2017 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Lack of Motivation

Dear Constant Reader,

I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted something other than a tip. The past 6 weeks were full of travel, performing, and recovering from the same. Unfortunately, my desire to sit at my writing desk has not yet recovered. I have so much to tell you about my recent adventures, not to mention more reviews and retro recipes, but putting pen to paper has seemed such a chore of late.

Here’s hoping I find my motivation soon. I think it’s at the bottom of my suitcase with the last of my dirty clothes.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 30 August 2017 at 2:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Here’s your tip!

When sending large files, like music or photographs or video, use file sharing, not email.

There are so many ways to share files (for free!) these days that there’s no reason not to. You don’t always know the recipient’s email situation or what device they might be using. Sending a link instead of a massive file is just more courteous. Thinks of it as delivering a note to pick up a parcel at their leisure instead of thrusting said parcel, which may be too heavy, into their arms without warning. (How’s that for an overly extended metaphor?)

M2Like this tip? There are lots more in Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque.

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 25 August 2017 at 3:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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