La Boheme

La Boheme holds a very special place in my heart, of ALL the fabulous operas out there!

In 1991 I spent my first ever date with my (now) husband sitting next to him during the last act of La Boheme at the English National Opera. Wow, that was really special…

During my time at the English National Opera i did work on a production of L B sometime between 1992 and 1994. It was a beautiful show designed by a very nice German designer, who I work with later in Hamburg on Macbeth. 

More importantly – I saw L B during the Sydney Festival in 2015 with my brother in law, Matthew and it was such a moving performance, during which both of us cried through the entire show, that I decided to quit academia and return to costume work!

Thursday night Patrick and I attended the dress rehearsal for L B on Sydney Harbour. It was raining cats and dogs… but the show just went on. My costumes were in Act I… so we admired the acrobat that was flown in on a hot air balloon and the accordion player… and went home to enjoy a cup of tea in a hot bubble bath… brrrr.




In the City

I have had such a long summer, surrounded by bird sounds, sun, fresh air, beautiful light AND solitude… it is a bit of a shock to the system to catch the train every morning in the dark and being surrounded by people at close proximity all day.

But hey, it’s all worth it and I managed the transition just fine. One person who is very nice to have around me is Beryl, a lady I worked with at the English National Opera 26 years ago, oh what a puny world we live in… to find ourselves here in Sydney in the wardrobe department -after so many years – is a bit of a hoot!

I have been making stuff for Opera on the Harbour, a production of La Boheme, which I just love! There is this coat for an accordion player.


There also have been a vast amount of alterations to existing jackets and finally, I am making the Toyseller Parpigol, who always gets a wacky costume and this production makes no exeption! The role is played by a lady acrobat, just saying… it is fairly wacky, here is just a tiny sneaky preview…

It is nice to catch up with the tribe over lunch, all the other freelancers who are floating from show to show, finding out who works currently where and where the next gig might be.

It feels like most nights I have stayed in town after work for various events, making the days rather  long. I continue with my life drawing at the Django Bar on Wednesday nights (and will treat myself to some decent art supplies today).  









There is beautiful light here in the city, too! 

And moments of reflection, if one walks around with open eyes…

It was fun to visit the opening night of Charlie and Issy’s exhibition – a great way for people to come together…




The Summer is coming to an End…

I am starting a contract at Opera Australia today, it feels a bit like my first day at Kindergarten. Toolbox and lunch packed the night before, anticipating problems focusing in a new work environment and being surrounded by people all day. 

Luckily i finished my major renovation project in the nick of Time, I actually painted all the wood and cupboard doors in the bedroom… oh so seventies. I absolutely love it! 

Lions ready to roar

Let he story about he lions continue… I finished the last post with four finished lion faces.

I had the shapes of the individual mane pieces cut only roughly, as I sewed them, I used the pattern piece for a template. And I tried not not muddle them all up…

Shapes cut with a tiny seam allowance and turned to the right side.

Then I turned my attention to the ears! White patch pinned to ear pieces.

Zigzagged all patches to the ears. Cut brown away from the back.

Ears sew, turned, stitched to face: Mark with pins, then machine.

All the mane pieces tacked to the face before machining – it was all too thick to use pins.

The seam that joins front and back of the hood marked and sewn.

Edges overlocked and front hem turned and machined.

Face pinned to finished hood and attached by hand.

Neckline marked, cut, overlocked, machined.

Hood pinned and machined to body.

Tail and belt sewn, turned, tip of tail stitched to tail, tail machined to body.

This shot is great: lions neatly folded and packed up, ready to go!!!

And on a quiet suburban street, in the garage of the house in front of which all the trucks are parked, I set up a mobile workshop to finish the size of the bodies after a quick fitting on the starlets.

It seems to work! Cut, overlock and hem!

On my way home, a quick stop at Bilgola Beach, washing off all that preoccupation with work and looking forward to some quiet time.



Proudly Presenting: Field Study

I am not sure when I started knitting this jumper, not that long ago. It was daunting to follow the instructions, it is so complicated at first sight, but since Ann Kingstone has done a marvellous job at writing them with clarity – I managed! 

One of the very daunting steps was the steek for the neckline on the front, dooohhh, it was really simple actually. The steek allowed me to keep knitting the colorwork pattern in the round.

I will love wearing this jumper…

Lions on the lose

I have had a huge amount of work. It will be nice to get a day off soon. Each time a job comes to an end, the phone rings with another job and I just keep going. It is great that it runs so smoothly, since I have not been working for myself very long. There have been sexy neoprene suits for a horror movie, alterations for Mamma Mia the musical, suit alterations… and now LIONS!

I did not have much time at all to work this out. In fact I got the fabrics and design one day and by close of business the next day (yesterday) I had to show the first finished lion… yes, the first, there will be FOUR. And they all will be roaring on set early Wednesday morning.

I found a small person to fit the lion on this morning, that was reassuring!

The producers love the result and the designer has been kind in forwarding enthusiastic emails and texts. I am looking forward to working on set on Wednesday!

Today I got the okay to charge ahead with the remaining lions and I thought it might be nice to document the process. This is so much faster, producing them in a little production line!

I cut all the pieces out!

Then I started the faces, marking where the mouth ought to go on the snout.

Three mouths embroidered on my ancient domestic sewing machine.

Three noses pinned in place.

Here are the snouts in different stages. The sides of the noses have been attached to the snouts. I have cut away excess fabric under the nose. A facing has been attached to the bottom of the  snout.D8626094-0F83-40B1-9D85-10B44625A4A0

Three faces: I markstitched the shape of the face and the placement of the snout. Overlocked and turned the hem. The space under the snout was cut away and overlocked.

Snouts placed and zig zaged to faces. First the top of the nose with orange thread then the sides with white thread. Eyes marked.

Eyes Hand embroidered and edge of the turned.

I think it will be one long day to make the ears, the mane and to attach the heads to the body. I will finish the width and length of the body on the set on Wednesday morning, since… ahem… I do ‘t really have any measurements. Oh, I almost forgot – they also want tails and belts…





Black and White Challenge

A friend nominated me for a Black and White photo challenge on Facebook, documenting 7 moments over 7 days – no people, no commentary. It was actually good fun and made me aware of so many nice things I see everyday. Here are the images, this time with commentary!

Day 1



This is what my kitchen looks like every Saturday, when I return from the shops. I cook, bake, make stock – make a big mess, generally. And you can also spot a dog’s tail, somebody who always likes to be in on the action!

Day 2

This is my workbench. One of my favorite places in the house!

Day 3

On Monday morning I had to deliver a costume at Fox, so I left early and caught Sculpture by the Sea in the early morning light. No crowds, either! It was a great treat! I love this installation.

Day 4

This is our fridge. Jo’s HSC timetable, my travel bucket list, a lovely old photo of my granny and her first 3 children (…and grandad) and Mumentrolls from Finland…

Day 5

When I was dusting the other day, I thought our bar is actually such a cool feature of the house, especially when dust free…

Day 6

One of the perks of working from home is walking the dogs every morning. I go down these steps and get to a path that takes us around the golf course to a big oval where the pooches can run and play.

Day 7

Fairylights on our balcony…

There has been a lot of knitting been knitted on a particular and beautiful jumper (no photo yet, no spoilers) for myself. I have been sitting next to Jo whilst she studied for her exams to help her keep focus. But I have also started socks for Patrick. I think Vincent is also going to get a pair, since the second sock is also a left one – good job he also plays bass, and also a red bass! 

Finally, this little cutie has been spotted in a friend’s garden not far from here, not long ago… summer has arrived!

All of a sudden there is a lot of work, which is actually really fun. Some very tricky and challenging jobs, some numbingly boring. It’s cool…