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.

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Published in: on 5 September 2017 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Wigs

Dear Constant Reader,

I don’t have great hair. I love the color and the way it curls, but it’s very fine and rather thin and doesn’t grow very long before it starts looking straggly. I rarely seem to have time to go to the salon to keep it nicely trimmed and besides, my favorite stylist, Diamond DeVille, works in a different state. This is why I generally have my hair pulled back in a simple twist. When Scratch suggested I try wigs, I was resistant. It was like admitting I had terrible hair.

I had worn a wig before, at BettySioux Taylor’s first Salute to Bettie Page. Everyone wore Bettie wigs, so I was okay with that. Several people commented how different (and good I looked), but I was still sure wigs were not for me.

My first real wig wearing was because I was doing a tribute to a Legend who had a black pageboy in her heyday and my red head just would not do. Fortunately for this wig novice, I had the expertise of Sydney Lauren Robinson to help out. She took me wig shopping, styled the wig, put it on me the first time, and made me helpful videos demonstrating how to wear it.

Having seen me do the same act with the wig and without, Betty Blaize commented that I moved differently when I was wearing the wig. It did help get me into character to be wearing the wig and I became a little more of a convert. But not completely.

I ended up getting a couple of wigs to wear as The Diva in The Wrathskellar, which was okay, because she wasn’t me. Like in the above tribute, I was playing a character.

Somehow I realized I wasn’t sacrificing my personal integrity or anything if I wore a wig on stage. In fact, I began to embrace wigs. I could change my look for each act. I didn’t have to spend the time curling and pinning my hair. I didn’t have to worry if I was having a bad hair day. All good reasons for going with a wig.

A couple things I’ve learned about wearing wigs.

  • Use the right pin for the job
  • Net wig caps are easier to pin into than the stocking-type ones
  • A folding wig stand is a life saver
  • Get a good wig brush
  • And here are some backstage selfies (and one on-stage shot) of my different looks:

    My standard wig — taken backstage at The Teaseday Club last night

    Another standard, usually worn for French Champagne, although The Diva borrowed it for this picture

    The Diva again

    Yet another look for The Diva, worn with a smashing black coat & tall boots

    The Faerie Queene

    These days I am completely sold on wigs, although I still can be found with my real hair on many an occasion. How about you, Dear Reader? Are you a fan of wigs?

    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 3 May 2017 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip!

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! I’m exhausted. Wrathskellar Tales opened last night and hopefully I’ll be coherent enough later to write about it. For now, here’s your tip!

    Remember to pack a robe.

    Sometimes it gets cold backstage. Or you have to go through a public space to get to the bathroom. A robe is more comfortable for hanging out in the dressing room than your street clothes and more elegant than sweats.

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

    Published in: on 21 October 2016 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  

    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! And best of luck to everyone performing at the Burlesque Hall of Fame this weekend!

    Here’s your tip!

    Clean your false lashes.

    It’s better for them and for your eyes to give them the occasional cleansing. It’s easy and you only need a couple of items, which you already have (or should).

    1. Take off your lashes.
    I know that sounds dumb, but falling asleep while still wearing lashes is not unheard of… When removing them, grab the edge of the band, not the lashes themselves!

    2. Peel off excess adhesive.
    A little old glue can help the lashes stick better, but you don’t want a thick layer. Some recommend using tweezers, but I just use my fingernails to peel it off. Remember to hold the band, not the lashes when you pull off the glue residue. I’ve found latex-based glue comes off more easily than the non-rubbery stuff I use these days.

    3. Put the lashes back on their plastic thingy.
    It will help them keep their shape during cleaning.

    4. Dampen a cotton swab with a gentle eye makeup remover and gently brush it over the lashes from band to tip to take off the accumulated gunk.
    I like this remover from Atomic Cosmetics (of course).

    5. Dampen a second swab with a little water and repeat the process to rinse the lashes.

    6. Let them air dry on the plastic form.

    That’s it! You don’t need to do this every time you wear your lashes, but occasional cleaning will keep your lashes looking good longer. And it’s got to be healthier for your eyes!

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

    Published in: on 3 June 2016 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday (and long weekend for many)! Here’s another travel tip:

    When traveling, bring your own makeup towel. The hotel/your hosts will thank you.

    I bought a bunch of inexpensive and cheerfully-colored washcloths at Ikea and it’s no trouble to toss a couple into my suitcase.

    Hat tip to those who reminded me of this tip: Iva Handfull, the staff at BurlyCon, and Rae Bradbury-Enslin, who hosts dozens of haunt actors every October and is tired of having her guest towels ruined.

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

    Published in: on 27 May 2016 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Friday Tip!

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Happy Friday! I’ve got some really exciting news before we get to your tip!

    For more than four years, I’m been writing these tips here for you. Now I’ve collected some of my favorites (and winnowing them down was so painful!) into an attractive volume. That’s right, I’m publishing a book! Miss Mina Murray’s Little Book of Better Burlesque will be available in March! I’m so excited!

    You can preorder your copy by backing me on Kickstarter. If the project is funded, I’ll be producing a lovely book. If it’s over-funded, I’ll be able to include even more tips!

    And speaking of tips, here’s today’s:

    Oil will remove lipstick.

    If you run out of makeup remover, you can use an oil that you might have in your kitchen cabinet, like olive or coconut. However, oils in food will also take off and smear around your lipstick. So avoid eating greasy foods when you’re wearing lipstick! (You can chow down on the fried chicken or BLT in the privacy of your own home — that’s what I do.)

    M2

    Published in: on 8 January 2016 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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    How did I not know about this?

    Dear Constant Reader,

    I will confess, I came late to the false eyelash game. I didn’t like them the first time I wore them because no one had taught me how to properly fit and wear them. And that was that. No lashes for me.

    It wasn’t until I had my face done by the lovely Dana at the Shu Uemura counter at Barney’s that I embraced the lash. She gave me demi-lashes, which are perfect for my eyes. These are my go-to lashes these days:

    But I didn’t actually want to talk about lashes, I wanted to talk about glue. I used to get adhesive in a tube. I suppose some dexterous people can squeeze the glue directly onto the lash band without making a huge mess, but I’m not one of them. I would squirt some out, either too much or too little, into the lid of the tin where I store my lash paraphernalia, and then apply it to the lash with my sophisticated adhesive applicator — that is, the tip of a hair pin. It was messy & wasteful.

    Recently I ran out of lash adhesive and discovered that…

    Duo comes with a brush!

    This has made my life so much easier! I can brush exactly the right amount on without any waste. Bonus — the tube exactly fits in the above-mentioned lash storage tin.

    M2

    Published in: on 14 October 2015 at 10:48 am  Comments (1)  
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    New Hanky

    Dear Constant Reader,

    Last month I advised you to carry a handkerchief and shared a few from my collection. Here is the newest acquisition:
    Or at least one corner of it (plus my shadow…).

    It’s shadow work embroidery on fine cotton batiste. Shadow embroidery is done on the wrong side of the fabric with a herringbone stitch, so on the right side all you see is an outline and the mere shadow of the stitches underneath. It doesn’t photograph so well, so you’ll have to trust me that it’s lovely and delicate.

    I’m particularly pleased because I made it myself and it’s been a long time since I finished a piece of embroidery. My Unfinished Projects drawer is fuller than I care to admit and I’m working it down. In between rehearsing and working on costumes for The Wrathskellar, of course.

    M2

    Published in: on 18 August 2015 at 2:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

    Friday Tip!

    Dear Constant Reader,

    This has been a crazy busy week for me: Sunday we performed at the “Pasties for Parkinson’s” benefit, Monday Brigitte & I rehearsed for The Teaseday Club, then of course, The Teaseday Club itself, Wednesday was usual Babydoll rehearsal. Tonight I believe you can find me in the hot tub.

    But I wouldn’t forget your Friday Tip!

    Don’t get too attached your eye makeup.

    Eye makeup, particularly liquidy stuff like mascara and eyeliner, make a great environment for nasty crud to grow. Replace it every three to six months (more often the more frequently you use it). Powdered eyeshadow will last much longer, but creams need to be replaced as above. Regularly sharpening your pencils will help keep the nasties off. Toss it all immediately if you get an eye infection.

    Never share eye makeup. Clean your brushes often. Disinfect your makeup. Wash your hands a lot. This is where I plug Dr. Jen’s makeup disinfectant, brush cleaner, and hand sanitizer. Again I swear I’m not a spokesperson for her, just a satisfied customer.

    I’m sadly a veteran of an epic eye infection (nothing to do with bad makeup, just bad luck) and it’s left me paranoid. If I even suspect anything is amiss, I disinfect what I can, toss what I can’t, chuck my contacts and lens case, and if I must wear makeup, use only disposable brushes (from makeup to eye, then discard) until I get the all-clear.

    Here’s wishing you healthy and beautifully made-up eyes!

    M2

    *

    Published in: on 6 June 2014 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    Best Present

    Dear Constant Reader,

    I have mentioned here and elsewhere that Scratch gave me an amazing present, but I haven’t actually spilled as to what it was. Your wait is over!

    When I unwrapped it, I saw…
    a small suitcase with the handle moved to make it more of a train case. When I unlatched it and lifted the lid, I saw…

    a jewelry tray, which lifted out, revealing a second one.

    The lower one is affixed to the inside of the case and the upper one is held to the lower one with magnets, so nothing shifts in transit.

    And what it the purpose of this lovely case?

    To store my pasties! Aren’t they pretty?

    Here’s a closer look.
    Just in case you were wondering, I made all the ones in the top two rows myself. The bottom row is, from left to right, pasties by: Betty Blaize, Holly Dai, Bonnie Dunn, Red Snapper, Twirly Girl, & Penny Starr Jr.

    The whole fabulous pastie storage and transport case was designed and made by Scratch. He’s pretty freaking awesome.

    M2

    Published in: on 13 January 2014 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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