I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all

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I'm a costume designer, makeup artist, teacher, mom, sewer, knitter, baker, want-to-learn-how-to-do-it-all, blogging, Costumed Beagle enthusiast. I am not always pleasant, although through intensive cupcake therapy I have learned not to throw knives at people anymore.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Carbs That Will Change Your Life

A couple of weeks ago The Citizens and I went up to Park City to ski at Canyons.  We don't really ski there because it is freakin' expensive.  But I won tickets by exploiting my skiing kids on a Facebook contest and so we went.  FOR FREE.  Which is pretty much the only way to get us up there.

But anyway, we're up there, there was a bit of a fiasco with a dropped pole, a bit of drama, and everyone wanted to pack it up for the day...but I didn't get us up at the crack of dawn and haul everybody and all their gear up the mountain to call it quits by 10:30 in the morning.  So I did what all good moms do in this sort of situation...I buy their good humor with treats.

It works and we head on out and that's when we noticed a delicious smell wafting out of a nearby hut. Sweet heavenly waffles up on the mountain! That apparently they stuff with dark Belgian Chocolate.

Well, we got waffles on the brain, so when we got home we got on Pinterest and starting looking at Waffle recipes.  And that's when our lives changes forever.  Because that's when we discovered Churro waffles.

I can't take credit for the idea, but I doubt you could really pin down the person who did.  I didn't use the recipe on the blog, I used my own, very favorite waffle recipe, but added about a tsp. of cinnamon to the batter and then when you fling those hot babies off the griddle, brush it with butter and then toss with cinnamon and sugar.

Holy Mother of Waffles.  You may never eat regular waffles again.

My people decided to still pour syrup on them (and lets be honest, they didn't start out all that nutritious...) as well as whip cream and at one point a drizzle of chocolate syrup too.

I'm not kidding, a whole heckalot easier than churros and so so so so so tasty.  Maybe not the friendliest of diet foods, but who cares when you're this happy?

If you'd like my waffle recipe, go here.

We could attain world peace with these waffles y'all.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Whatcha Up to La? Seussical & Opera & Sundance & Cristo, OH MY!

I realized I haven't posted much on my projects that I've been working on lately....so here you go!

I've got 4 shows in the mix right now.  Two are deep in the throes of "creativity" (or something like that).
ALL the things!

You may have seen a few pics from my final group fittings of Seussical the other day.  This is my kids group.  Center Stage Youth Performers.  Kids ages 7-17...and 89 of them.  This is the smallest show I've done for them at just about 200 costumes.

Gertrude and her tail

We buy a LOT of stuff for this group.  Its the only way you can make numbers like this work.  But parents are also required to donate some time and I get a group of moms who range in ability from "can handle glue gun" to some pretty excellent sewers.  That complicates what I can design...this is my 4th year with this group.  They're pretty cute, and since my own Citizen is part of it, makes it pretty fun too.  Crazy.  But fun.

Amazing Mayzie!

If you'd like to come see the show, it is April 15-19 over at the Covey in Provo.  If you call in and order your tickets and tell them you are buying your tickets from Anna B.  I'd be ever so grateful.

I'm also right in the middle of fittings for Elixir of Love (an opera) over at BYU.  This is a work by Donizetti, spoken in English, sung in Italian, English subtitles.  French/Italian countryside peasants.

This is a fully pulled show, but I'm having fun putting the different looks together.  Story goes boy loves girl, girl spurns boy for flamboyant solider man, boy buys love potion from traveling salesman, uses it on girl, it doesn't work, but then he inherits money and that does the trick. (It is Pride and Prejudice, guys....but sung in Italian...and NOT Jane Austin).

I also have two other project that are in the early stages:

Fiddler on the Roof, for whom I will do hair and makeup this summer up at Sundance and The Count of Monte Cristo, a new musical by Frank Wildhorn (think Scarlet Pimpernel and Jekyll and Hyde) that will make its US premiere (premier?) at BYU next January.  I had a production meeting this week WITH Mr. Wildhorn this week guys.  This is an amazing project.  I am super excited about this one. You'll definitely want to buy your tickets early for both productions.

I'll keep you posted on those as stuff moves along.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Russia & Ukraine

Today's Throwback Thursday also features me and my humidity hair, but this time in the Ukraine and Russia.  1997.

 Justin worked for a tour company that did these river boat trips and he went to do some sort of work and I just went.  We went to Kiev for about a week before.

I've had the Ukraine on my mind, as of late.  It seemed like such a quiet, peaceful place.  In fact, Kiev was one of the cleanest, quietest big cities I've ever been in.  To see the rioting that occurred last month and the threat from their ever present Russian neighbor looming over them is really sad.

This pic is overlooking the Lavra Monastery or the Kiev Monastery of the Caves.  This is among the most famous (and cool) places in Ukraine.  It is almost 1,000 years old is also one of the largest museums in Ukraine while still being an active monastery.  Women have to wear a skirt and cover their heads before entering and since it is built against a sort of rock hill facing the river Dnieper where there are actually these caves.  There are monks and other religious figures buried here and there along the narrow cave tunnels, and by buried, I mean laying semi covered in open coffins in little cut-out enclaves in the rock.

We then spent 3 weeks (or so) on a boat that traveled up and then back down the Volga river.  You woke every day in a different Russian city.

Here I am on Red Square in Moscow.  I think they copied  a section of the "Its a Small World" ride at Disneyland rather impressively.  Also, Lenin is there, and he is super creepy and not at all looking like a human these days.

We then took a bus to St. Petersburg where I got to spend exactly THREE HOURS in the Hermitage.  Nothing says "I love art" like racing past the great masters of the centuries.
We also went to Catherine's Winter Palace and a small "lesser" palace where Rasputin was put to death eventually.  He has to be one of the creepier characters in all of history, and this is Russia we're talking about.  You know, the Russia with Putin, so we've got plenty of people to choose from. (Although now that I write that, notice the similarities in their names...)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

And That's When I Remembered I Don't Do Well In Humidity

Its Throwback Thursday!

I think I'm going through travel nostalgia because today's pic is from 2000.  

Just after college I worked for Lands' End in their home division and through a series of odd events, after about a year I somehow ended up as the only designer and then the one that that knew the most about LE business and the design plans.  I was in charge of designing sheet print patterns and picking color palettes and kids stuff and quilts.  And the quilts were made in India.  So to India I went.

Yup, that's the Taj Mahal.  Do not be jealous.  You can get a better look at stuff by watching a documentary on it.  But I guess it is cool.

What is not cool in this pic?  Me.  I am clearly not cool.  And that  hair?  That is humidity hair.  And humidity face.

And also you can't drink the water or eat any fruit.  But i, somehow thought I could escape the madness and ate a whole buncha super delicious hors devours at a party and got what is fondly referred to as "Delhi-belly."  Did you know they have Indian MTV and that Turner Classics plays around the clock in India?  Well they do.  I know this because I couldn't leave my room for almost 3 days.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Death Comes To Frosty

A few weeks ago all the snow finally melted.  This is snow we got in early December.  It is actually pretty rare for snow to stick around quite that long.  I was kinda holding out for a few more weeks, because without the bank of snow up against my north facing house, I really have no excuse to still have my Christmas decorations up.  They were looking sad too...the garland had fallen down in places and a couple of my window wreaths had just given up...but anyway, I digress.  I took them down.  Whatever...yeah, I'm that neighbor.

This weekend I went out to talk to the kid in our neighborhood who runs the lawn racket doing everyone's lawns and stuff and he was out with his aerating machine, trying to talk me into not killing my lawn (USELESS CROP PEOPLE) when I noticed a little scene over in the corner of the yard.

It was the remnants of what, at some point, had been a snowman.  Built before anyone wanted "to build a snowman."

It kind of made me sad...until I remembered that spring was coming and also noticed my crocus and daffodils and tulips poking up.


death to snowmen

Friday, March 14, 2014

Weekend Plans

It's Friday!

Huck is putting on his dapper duds and getting ready to let loose this weekend.
And so should we.

Happy Weekend All!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ye Olde Time Photographs of London Towne

At Trafalgar Square.  We tried to feed the pigeons.
This one got caught in my hair.  And yes,
I AM wearing jean short overalls, with a sweatshirt
tied around my waist.
So I guess there's this thing with the youths called Throw-back Thursdays or some such nonsense, but I LOVE OLD PHOTOS, so I'm totally going to do this thing.

Today, I bring to ye pictures from my study abroad in London.

We actually carried cameras with us the whole time; the kind with FILM in them (were the digital kind even invented yet??) and I bought several rolls of B &W because: LONDON.

This was 1996 folks, which only partially explains why I am wearing a plaid sack at Stonehenge.  Yeah, that's right, I've been to Stonehenge.  I had such a marvelous experience that summer.  It was my last summer before I came home and did what all good Mormon girls were supposed to do: Get Married.  And we all know how that ended.

I have never once been accused of being "dramatic"  even when
rowing on the Serpentine.
I went with a whole group of other costume gals and lifelong BFFs.  I took out a student loan (my only as an undergrad) and hardly ate at all while I was there.  It was amazing.  We saw theatre nearly everyday and was my first time seeing big time for reals theatre with big time for reals actors. It was my first time out of the country and I felt so grown up and cosmopolitan.  It was my favorite thing IN THE WORLD when American tourists would stop me on the street and ask directions...like they didn't realize I was one of them.

We sketched in the V&A and got produce on Portobello road on which you had to pass right by George Orwell's house.  We went to castles and cemeteries and museums and traveled by "tube." And were hardly accountable to any adult much of the time.

It was amazing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why do the Mad Men Hate US SO MUCH?

Why do advertisers hate us so much?  Or maybe it is all that illicit marijuana.  Right, wait,  NOT illicit...

And almost as importantly, why do they hate cats?  Because the world is full of commercials that
clearly cater ONLY to crazy cat ladies.  But regular people have cats too, and all of us are influenced by the cat commercials, and because of these commercials I don't want a cat (we can't have cats, but IF we could, I wouldn't want one for fear of people thinking I watch these commercials).

This.  This is the stuff I'm talking about:

And what the hell is this?  "Throw me that litter????"  This is not a catch phrase and also, who needs litter while they are running?  OR playing football?  And that lady at costco?  Wimp.
This commercial is making people hate cats.

And then, I was watching SNL on Hulu and this commercial came on.  I'm not an advertising magician, but I thought this was an SNL spoof...until it came on for the fourth time.

And how exciting does toothpaste really need to be?

And then there is this:  Mr. Clean.  First of all, he runs around cleaning just a swipe of every dirty surface.  Anyone could tell you that is not a good way to clean.  And also, someone needs to tell him that white sweat pants are not at all attractive.

Ok...so I couldn't get this video to upload.  So it you want to see it, go here.

And lastly, this.  Just gross. I don't want to eat this.  I guess maybe a different demographic might, but I buy the groceries...so, no.  I also thought this was a spoof.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Deeper Questions of The Universe: The Balance of Happiness

I'm a Libra.  We like balance.  This is why, as an essentially creative person I also get myself all in tizzy over label makers and color coded folders.  Don't get me started on how to make a spread sheet pretty.
I believe that there needs to be a balance in all things.
Great.  Hold that thought.

And you all KNOW I've claimed this year as my own, right?  And...its working.  I'm having a freaking awesome year so far.
Want to hear it?

  • Suddenly started having universities WANT to talk to me about full time jobs.
  • Got asked to design a killer show
  • Won a teaching award for being awesome
  • Figured out how to carve out a few minutes a week to exercise
  • My house isn't a total disaster (I did have that one rodent problem in my garage, but it didn't come in my house...)
  • Have finally let go of some the anger that has been slowly killing me the last TEN years
  • Discovered Churro Waffles (seriously, this is going to rank as one of the best things ever with my family)
  • Get to meet Ira Glass in a couple of weeks
  • AND as far as I can tell haven't made anyone new hate me
  • **I almost forgot: I have two book publishers I am working with on a textbook.  Geesh.  So much awesome, I can't even remember all of it.

So here's my Deeper Question of the Universe (actually it is two-part, so bear with me):

1.  Do we make our own luck?  Now don't get me wrong, I work really hard.  But I've been working really hard for years.  Has it just taken that long for the hard work to start paying off?  I also know people who work REALLY hard...and they have sucky lives.  So has their hard work not just yet paid off, or is there something else at work here?  And WHY that as soon as I stated that I was sick of having crappy years, and I demanded a good one, I got it?  It wasn't prayer.  Trust me, I don't go that route.

2.  AND if there is something else at work here, and there needs be balance in all things, and IF I am getting an unusual amount of awesome in my life, in order to restore balance to the universe, does someone else's life have to suck more?  In order for me to be above average happy and to have good things happen, do I rob someone else of that happiness?

Can you tell I've actually been feeling guilty about my awesomeness lately?  It could be that it is just an unfamiliar feeling, but I've witnessed some really crummy things happening to people around me recently, and I feel bad that I may have taken more than my fair share of the good news.

What do you think?  Discuss.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mouse-a-rama Beene House Drama!

Or mouse-capades as we've been calling them.  So before you go judging me about this story I'm about to tell you, I want you to know that I cleaned out my garage last October.  As in, took EVERYTHING out (I like to hose down the walls to remove dust) cleaned it all out, sorted, blah blah blah and then put it all back.

About a month ago I stepped out into the garage and there was a smell.  A kind of wet dog smell. Definitely animal something.  But we have a dog and horses back behind our house and once in awhile strange smells sort of waft through the air....

And then about a week later, I thought I heard scurrying.

And then a few days later, I had pulled into the garage, but I was listening to a story on the radio and I really wanted to finish it, so I just sat in the car in the garage listening, but the story wasn't nearly done and I was there about ten minutes just staring ahead...when I saw it.  Running along one of the shelves.

A mouse.

Of course, the smell and the scurrying had me wondering, but there was the proof.  And as I sat there a little while longer I saw another.  I know it wasn't the same one because I saw two at a time.  And the thing about mice is that whatever it is you see...well there are several more times that amount that you don't.

So I started poking around the garage, which is typically a mess right about this time of year, and moved some stuff on the shelves and sure enough, there was a LOT of evidence that a family was habitating in there.


By last week, we couldn't go out in the garage without practically stepping on one.  There were some serious near misses and nearly peed pants going on.

But here's the thing.  I'm so stinkin' busy.  I know, you're busy too...whatever.  So I couldn't get to my little problem right away. I did stop by Lowe's and buy some traps, but I'm such a wimp.  I don't like to use poison on anything (dogs and kids, folks) and I also don't like to see dead things, so I opted for the trap that concealed the trapped rodent completely and you just throw the whole thing away.  I know this does not ease their suffering in any way, but I don't have to look at it, so it helps me.  We had a couple of mice a few years back and we did the whole live catch and release thing...but that only takes care of one at a time and based on the evidence at hand I knew we had a bigger problem than that.

My traps were out there almost a week with no action, but on Monday,  I noticed that all four had been triggered.  But the thing about traps where you can't see what you caught also means you can't tell if there is anything in there....I listened, I gently shook them, I tried to weight them against new unfilled traps in my hands.  I finally had to get the kitchen scale ( disinfected it afterward...) and they all came in about an ounce heavier, so I took it as a sign, threw them out and set new ones.

 But Monday, after all the funeral business I had the rest of the afternoon and had already bathed the demon dog and mopped the floor and had time heavy on my hands, so decided to tackle some of those shelves since I had had so much luck catching some already that day. And that's when I discovered why my garage was so popular.   Last year when I was busy being soooo awesome at activity days we made pumpkin bird feeders and I put the remaining bird seed on a shelf and then promptly forgot about it.  Not so with my mouse friends.  They had chewed open the bag and proceed to Mardi Gras that bird seed all over the place.

I then also discovered their homes.  Plural.  You know what makes a really great place to live?  Rollerblades.  Hiking boots.  Bike helmets. Snorkeling fins. Emergency Evacuation backpacks. You know what makes really great stuff to make your nice soft bed out of?  The foam on the inner part of a boogie board, knee and elbow pads and plastic kites (I kid you not about that one...A KITE).  I was amazed at the destruction that was going on out there.


This one had a tiny crack that this guy managed to enlarge
incredibly fast.
So I put on gloves and  I swept up bird seed, and basically chucked everything they had chewed up or nested in (which is a great way to get to move supposing you wanted to move), in the process uprooting and scaring the bejezus out of several mice.  While doing this, several others came out to watch.  They sat on shelves EATING A SNACK watching me clean.

So then I took a break and in less than ten minutes my second round of traps sprung.

While throwing those away I saw a little guy running around at the bottom of the trash can, so he must have been asleep in some of the boots I threw away.  I also found one at the bottom of a bucket desperately trying to leap high enough to get out.!

In all I caught 14 mice.  FOURTEEN.  Fourteen, guys. *sigh*

I still have a couple more traps out there, but haven't caught anymore since Monday.  I'm not sure we're totally clean yet, but I have to have made a significant dent.  I hope.  Please.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Other People's Grief

A large part of my day today was taken up with the funeral for a friend's husband.  It was an unexpected and tragic death and left four young children without a father.

I attend very few funerals, but this one was probably the saddest of them all.  Since hearing the new last week, I have been overcome with sadness for my friend and her children.  I am not without grief in my own life, but I do not know the pain and loss she must feel. I know it must be great.  Had it been me, I think I would be overwhelmed by it.

As a friend, I so much want to help, but do not know how to be helpful or to be a comfort.  She has lots of family around her right now, but in a few days most of them will be gone and I suppose that's when it will be time to get practical and figure stuff out.  I hope I can be helpful and that she know that my offers to help in any possible way are genuine.

I offered to bring food to the family luncheon after and was given a few choices.  "I'll take cookies.  We know how to do cookies at our house."  So yesterday I spent most of the day baking.  One plate of cookies seemed so small against so much sadness, so I just kept on.  Eventually I had to stop because I ran out of platters to put them on.  They may seem trivial, but they were all I had to offer. I'm not really good at this sort of thing.

I'm not even going to get into the Why did this have to happen questions or crap like Trials help us grow, because NONE of that is helpful.  And really, that's what I wish I could be for her.  Helpful.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Book Report: Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Come to Pemberley
by P.D. James

If you are a Jane Austen aficionado and love yourself some Lizzy and Mr. Darcy AND aren't a purist, then this is probably a good fit for you.
Totally indulgent, this book combines all your favorite characters with a murder mystery, and of course, the main suspect?  Our favorite lovable and thoroughly without moral character: Wickham.
Five years past Pride & Prejudice, Wickham is thrust back into the Darcy's life with the death of a friend.  Without profession or pride, it would seem (and did we ever think things would turn out otherwise??) and married to Lydia who is as hysterical and unreasonable as ever.

Perfect for an frivolous weekend or vacation read.

There is also, apparently a new BBC series...AND WHO DOESN'T WANT THAT??

Here's a trailer to wet your appetite.