Saturday, 9 August 2014

the costumes are finished. finally.

The good news is that the costumes and props are almost entirely sorted. I managed to finish the costumes this week and will have all the props ready by the end of next week. We won't start filming till the end of August due to program staffing changes, but here's hoping!

So here are the costumes. I put them together for each character so that everything a person needs is on one hanger.

Before looking, please remember I'm not a great sewer, not very neat and I make tons of mistakes. Plus I shortcut where I can. I made all costumes using fabrics, clothes, beads etc from op shops and donations from friends (and my own stash). Ditto for trims, lace and props.

Having warned you, this is the cook's costume. This comprises a plain white apron, a frilly white cap, a beige tunic and skirt. The tunic is one I made myself. The skirt is a tiered skirt I bought at an op shop. It was white so I dyed it using coffee so it matches the colour of the tunic. The point was to make the clothing darker than the apron and cap so they would stand out.

No cook would be complete without a rolling pin so I'm lending one from my collection for the film. The cook is only in one brief scene at the beginning of the movie.

Another small part is that of the guard. He'll be wearing the grey tunic, black leggings, puffy pants, 'boots' and a blue cape we already had in wardrobe.

The guard will also be holding a staff when he guards the King's chambers.

Note: the kingdom where our story is set is a peaceful one (till evil makes an appearance) so there's no need for weapons. Therefore the guard holds a glorified feather duster instead of a sword.

Wayne made the staff for another production and I repurposed it for ours. I created the feather puff ball using a styrofoam ball and used hot glue to stick feathers into it. I then glued it to the brass bell Wayne had attached to the large stick.

All self respecting guards need a helmet, so our guard has one I made using a very thin foam sheet I found in the bottom of a shopping bag. I was about to throw it away when I realized it was the perfect material to make the helmet out of.

I used some metal beads used for hanging multiple strands together - they look like military insignia, and finished it off with a gold button on the top.

There are 3 kings in our movie so I gave them each a colour to keep things easy to sort. The first king is King George. His main colour is brown. For his tunic I used a black top with gold strands through it and added a fur collar and a couple of gold buttons with a chain.

The shawl (a table runner!) adds a dash of 'je sais quoi'... although when he's being more formal he'll wear his cloak made of a shiny heavy brown fabric with a wide dalmation collar.

The costume is completed with brown leggings, brown 'boots', a crown and the 'good magic crystal'.

The crown is papier mache and rhinestones. The 'good magic crystal' is 3 chandelier crystals wired together with silver beads on a leather thong.

Next we have Prince Oscar... before he becomes a king, Prince Oscar wears a puffy sleeve tunic in 2 tones of grey. I used an old shirt and puffed the sleeves by adding in slices of extra fabric. I made some changes to the trim on the front of the shirt since I first posted about it. I removed the black laces and added silver decorations. It looks much better.

Prince Oscar wears a silver cap with black and purple feathers, matching puffy pants, grey tights and black 'boots'.

When Prince Oscar becomes king he replaces the cap for the crown and wears his fur lined cape.

Plus the 'good magic crystal'. Of course.

Lucy is a mermaid. Her costume couldn't be blues and greens cause we're using a green screen so I had to be imaginative. The top is something I found in an op shop. I added pink sequins to make it match the tail a bit. Since its too small I've added lacing at the back so we can adjust it to fit. The mermaid will only be seen from the front in our film.

I'm the director. I decide how to film it!

The tail was a bit of a challenge. I had to make something which was easy to make, easy to put on, easy to move around in, yet still look like a mermaid tail.

What I ended up doing is cutting red and pink fabric into scalloped strips to give them the look of fish scales. I then attached these to a black 'apron' of fabric. The apron tapers in towards the feet where it joins onto a tail which is stuffed with filling to give it body. The tail ties on at the waist and has 2 large elastic loops which hold it in place against the legs. There is no back to the tail and will be worn with black leggings.

The mermaid has a great crown I made with brown florist wire, crystals, silver wire and starfish I made using a porcelain clay recipe I found on Pinterest.

Sorry about the blurry photos.

She'll also have a magic wand (cause mermaids are magical creatures, at least in our story!). I made the want using a plastic seahorse, a bamboo stick, some wire and crystals.

When Lucy the mermaid becomes human she'll be wearing a gorgeous blue dress. I made this dress using the easy pattern I found on Pinterest, with the smoother armpit cuts. I absolutely love this dress, the colour is just beautiful and the lace and pearls on the sleeve are so pretty.

When she's human Lucy will still wear her mermaid crown, though she'll add some pearl necklaces to her outfit.

Another character who only appears briefly in the film is the peasant who leaves a baby at the castle gates. The peasant will be sharing the cook's costume but, instead of an apron and cap, will be wearing a scarf I brought back from Greece wrapped around her head and partly covering her face and will carry a baby in a basket.


There are two queens in the movie. The first is Queen Mary who'll be wearing a burgundy and gold dress trimmed with gold braid and gold beads. Made from an old doona cover.

This dress wasn't made the easy way. I didn't have enough fabric to make this dress using the simple fold over and cut pattern. I had to make it the normal way which involves cutting a bodice, sleeves and skirt all separately and joining them together.

It turned out quite well considering.

Queen Mary will be wearing a gold necklace given to me by my friend Merrill. Only borrowing Merrill!

And of course she'll be wearing a crown. The wiring for the crown was done by Wayne. I finished it with the black and gold band and the gold beads.

Queen Sophie will be wearing this gold dress with black and gold trim, also made from a doona cover. Since Queen Sophie is being played by a guy this dress has a lace bit in front to hide chest hair...

Queen Sophie's dress was the first one I made so its made with the same easy dress pattern which involves cutting two pieces and sewing them together. None of the dresses have zips or buttons... Given that the waist measurements are wide enough to go over the shoulders there's no need for them.

Queen Sophie spends a lot of time crying so I made her a fine lacey hanky out of a scrap of white cotton and some lace.

Then there's the bad guy... He doesn't start out bad. At first he's just a normal guy. When he's normal he wears an off-white gathered sleeve tunic with a red velvet vest.

The tunic is made in the same simple way as the dresses but I didn't have enough fabric to make the sleeves long so I added bits to it, hence the gathered sleeves. I made the vest without a pattern. I used a singlet to figure out the size and where to cut the arm holes and then just winged it. It actually looks great on.

He'll be wearing black leggings and black 'boots' both as a good guy and then as a bad guy. When he turns bad though he'll wear a black tunic made from a black pin stripe shirt and a black cape.

And he'll have the 'bad magic crystal'. Of course.

Since the 'bad magic crystal' and the 'good magic crystal' are related they're made in the same way using chandelier crystals, wire and beads, but whereas the good crystal is pink and silver, the bad crystal is black and silver.

Then there's Wallace. He starts out as a prince and wears a burgundy tunic trimmed with gold braid made from a velvet-look shirt.

With this he wears burgundy leggings and black and purple 'boots'.

In case you're wondering, the 'boots' I keep referring to in quotation marks are obviously not real boots. I've made these to be worn over the leggings and sit over the top of the shoes. The guys will wear black shoes and the boot tops should make it look like they're wearing proper boots.

I made the first pair by cutting out fabric and folding it over at the top and adding velcro for attaching it.

Too hard. For me. I kept attaching things to the wrong side and having to unpick them...

Instead, I bought stretchy pants from the op shop clearance rack, cut the legs off around knee high, added tops to them and voila... boots!

Back to Wallace though. When he becomes king he'll wear a shorter burgundy tunic (another velvet look shirt) and puffy pants.

Only they're not puffy pants... its a puffy skirt I found at the op shop which makes perfect puffy pants!

King Wallace will also wear the crown and have the 'good magic crystal'.

Lastly there's the rabbit, Robert. When Robert is a human he'll be wearing a white tunic, white pants and white shoes. He's the cook's son after all, a commoner, so nothing fancy for him.

I made the tunic out of an old flat sheet and added a bit of lace and a black shoe lace to tie it at the neck. There wasn't enough width to the fabric using the simplest pattern, so I had to add extra bits to the sleeves.

When Robert becomes The Wonder Rabbit he'll be wearing the white pants and shoes, a frilly white shirt, a red jacket with lace at the sleeves, a large bow tie and rabbit ears.

I have the wigs organised. Robert will be wearing the red wig. The short brown one will be shared by Prince Oscar and Prince Wallace as they're not in any scenes together.

King George and Oscar, when he's older, will be sharing the white wig. The blonde wig will be worn by Lucy and the long brown wig will be worn by Queen Mary. The short black wig will be the bad guy's wig.

We have a couple more wigs which will be worn by Queen Sophie, the cook and the peasant.

I'd say we're ready!


Friday, 1 August 2014

the kitty cat project

Thought I'd share a project made at work by one of our participants, with help from staff and myself. Who is also staff...

Meet The Great Hunters.

These cats were out from patterns made by myself and another staff member, then stitched together by one of our participants who loves sewing projects using recycled curtain fabric.

On their own, each cat is just a cat. But as a group they're more interesting. Especially when they each have a dead animal they hunted in front of them. Especially when two of the three dead animals are endangered... cause then you have artwork with a message and a twisted sense of humour.

I made the dead animals to go with the cats. They're needle felted wool and the bird and mouse have wire legs.

Here's the mouse. I love him. In fact I wore him as a broach when I first made him. He makes a great broach. How often do you see a dead mouse broach really? Not enough I say.

Gotta love that sticky-out tongue!

The bird is a many spotted pardalotte. We have a few of them around here and they're not nearly as chunky as the one I made...

Lastly there's the eastern quoll. Complete with its own sticky-out tongue.

Here they all are, looking pretty pleased with themselves.

Sometimes I really love my job. The participant who made the cats is thrilled with her work and its great to assist with something like this.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

we're gonna need a (bigger) boat

Its only rained twice this week.

Once for 3 days and once for 4 days.

Ok. Its been raining a lot.

This morning we had pools of water all over the paddocks. At lunchtime we had a lake.

It all starts up here, where the creek overflows near the ford.

The problem is ongoing and we've been trying to fix things since we bought the farm. First thing we did was hire someone with an excavator who swore he knew exactly what needed to be done, then went ahead and did what he wanted even when we and the neighbour behind us jumped up and down and told him not to.

See, it all began way before our time here with a combination of things.

First the landowner up the hill sold off blocks but kept the road/driveway as a private road. And didn't put in culverts. 

And the council allowed that to happen.

Next, the creek that runs down from the hills behind us was redirected by the guy who owned our property before us. The creek used to run through the middle of the top paddock and he moved it to where the ford is now.

This resulted in an unnatural sharp bend on the creek which overflows every time we get more than a light rain. Add to that the fact that there are no culverts on the road above, so we also get sand washing down in the stream. The sand fills up the creek bed and, when it rains heavily, the water overflows the creek sides and floods our paddocks.

For the first two years we lived here we couldn't get up to the top of our property in winter cause we couldn't get over the ford. It was under water.

Enter our amazing excavator man who decided we needed a 'secondary creek' for overflow and this is what we have now:

See where the water runs into the creek at the top of the pic? Now notice where the sand filled 'overflow' has overflowed into the paddock.

This is the result:

The creek is on the other side of the fence on our next door neighbour's land at this point... the lake is ours. It follows the line of the creek, not IN it, all the way down our property.

In case you're wondering, the water at the bottom of the pic is dam overflow...  that joins the creek overflow at the bottom of the middle paddock and forms a bigger lake in the bottom paddock.


Then it breaks out and flows onto the road...

Both at the side of the creek in a small waterfall:

And over our driveway:

Down past our gate:

Where the two rivers happily join together:

Rushing down the road and eventually crossing it in a couple of places:

Straight down into our neighbour's property opposite:

Almost to his doorstep. This is his driveway outside his house and shed.

It then runs off over his paddock, joins another river coming down from the road and runs down to the river beyond.

Needless to say, our neighbours love us.

This is our dam. Its pretty full. Note the overflow spot our newest excavator man put in? (near the top middle of the dam about where the geese are.) He did a better job than 'amazing excavator man'. Only one problem... the overflow doesn't go down into the paddock as planned (where it would just add itself to our lake and the river flowing into the road)... it just follows the side of the dam and floods the areas just below our house.



Meanwhile, this the side of the shed... my poor plants. That's a very sickly mexican orange blossom near the corregated iron. Not looking happy at all. Lucky I put the hardenbergia in a pot!

The good news is the hardenbergia is flowering!

The bad news is the grooming room is flooded. And at this stage I'm not sure if its come in from the slightly opened window or through the floor!

If its from the window, how come there's no water near the other window??? 

If its from the floor, how come this has never happened before? Sure its damp in there when it rains, but never so damp you could swim in it!

Then again, the casita in that section has concrete floors... I bet they weren't built to withstand this much water. 

I'm seriously considering making some major alterations to the casita - namely removing the flat roofed sections of the building, leaving only the older/original part. It would mean some knocking down and a lot of rearranging the spaces that are left. Doable... but I think Wayne will kill me if I mention it...

Maybe I'll get him drunk, then tell him...