Thursday, June 19, 2014


Finale time at dance school.  "Finale" is a fancy way of saying "recital" without actually using the word.  It nicely conveys the sentiment that we're wrapping things up for the year.

Annabeth performed in beginning pointe and regular ballet:

And also in an advanced tap number that was a medley of Star Wars music, and one of the most creative things I've seen in a while:

In other endings, we've finished up the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  It's time to bid goodbye to middle school.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

And, of course, there was a costume to make.

Wrapping up OTSL Spring Training, for the little recital on the final day the kids were divided into groups and asked to stage a scene from The Mikado.  Annabeth ended up with the geekier set, and they chose to stage it as The Avengers.  Annabeth decided to portray Peter Parker -- she's fascinated with Andrew Garfield's portrayal of the role, and has spent quite a bit of time analyzing his character choices and movement patterns.

The kids whipped up some simple costumes for the occasion.  Annabeth had visions of making a stencil and painting an old sweatshirt, but what actually worked was printing out a picture of the logo, applying shiny red Duck Tape to the back of the printout, cutting it out, and then gluing it to the sweatshirt.

Here she is with some of her fellow Avengers.  The guy playing Iron Man found an app that looked like an arc reactor, and taped his phone to his chest under a tshirt -- very creative.

It was a cute performance.  Interestingly, they had the less talented group overall (which isn't to say they weren't talented -- it's just that the other group had some kids who were off-the-charts AMAZING) but their rendition held together better as a story.  The other group set the scene in a school, had fine characterizations, wonderful singing, but somehow didn't manage to convey the story as well.  (Annabeth and I discussed how this is rather like  theater groups who attract talented people but have crappy directing that leave the whole less than the sum of the parts. Not that we're admitting we know any groups like that.  Ahem.)

Everyone also sang a solo.  As I mentioned, there were some performances that were absolutely stunning.  Annabeth had a falling out with her voice coach by that point, which said person probably didn't even realize had occurred. Her performance was ... interesting ....  I don't think I've ever seen her sing an entire song with that "I'm smiling while I'm thinking about how I'd like to murder someone" expression on her face.  There's a good chance Annabeth will refuse to attend another of the OTSL camps in the future due to preference of not dealing with that person again.  Oh well.

Final bento -- tiny twice baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, grapes and blueberries:

So the Annabeth's singing camp is done.  Still to come for her are a dance camp and and theater camp.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

First Summer Camp 2014

Annabeth is in her first summer camp of 2014 this week, Spring Training with Opera Theater St. Louis.

She's just doing this week, which is a four day week due to the Memorial Day holiday.  The camp runs for 2 weeks, and campers have the option of taking either or both weeks.  The price in incredibly reasonable for a camp of this type and length, especially considering it includes a ticket to an opera performance.

This is a new experience for us.  A mom from a theater group said her daughter really liked the camp, so that was part of the impetus (her daughter has an amazing voice).  Also, attending a performance of The Magic Flute was part of the deal, so that was pretty attractive.  Annabeth used to listen to the CD version for young children just about every day when she was a toddler -- we all had it memorized.  It's pretty much the soundtrack of her childhood.

So far Annabeth has found the people running the workshops to be excellent, BUT she feels like there's too much "dead" time -- in her view they could've tightened up the schedule and made the camp shorter each day.  I pointed out that maybe public school kids are used to more lulls in the day (plus, honestly, she is too, but she chooses for herself when to do those more mindless things). 

After 2 days I could hear a difference in her singing (she had a voice lesson with her regular teacher after the camp yesterday ... also hours of dance lessons in the evenings, which is pretty much a dumb thing to do during a camp like this, for the record, and probably adds to her feeling that they should cut the days short).  At the camp they have private voice lessons during the day, and she's really enjoyed having a different perspective from the teacher there.  They've also had acting lessons, which, frankly, she was disappointed in -- she said the instructor was really good, but she'd already learned or figured out everything they covered.  The movement classes were pretty simple, too, due to all of her dancing.

So, some of the bits have been sort of "meh". However, last night's OTSL performance of The Magic Flute was AMAZING!  I can't emphasize that enough.  It was the best thing I've seen live on stage in ages and ages.  That thing we do around the house with our voices that's sort of musical?  It bears no relation to the singing we heard last night.  The costuming was fabulous, the blocking was great, the casting was inspired.  I would love to go see it again.  

Every day she takes a lunch, so I've been making bento boxes.  One of the uses of my blog is to have a record of these for myself so that during a future camp I can easily whip these off.  This is what we've served so far this week:  

Tiny burgers from the recipe in The Just Bento Cookbook, cheese slices, cucumber carrots, blueberries and raspberries, and totally amazing mini corn muffins from the recipe I pinned (I only made 24 of them so I didn't have them hanging around, and I deeply regret that decision since I want to eat a dozen right now).

Saffron Road chicken nuggets, blueberries, carrots, Amy's mac and cheese, Marzetti Ranch dip.  With a fork and spoon since mac and cheese with chopsticks seemed dicey.

Almond butter and jelly sandwiches on the super thin Pepperidge Farm bread, cut into butterflies, celery, carrots, and cucumber, grapes and blueberries, tiny cheese cubes.

Tomorrow will be miniature baked potatoes with bacon and cheese slices, and ... something or other.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Since last time ...

Let's see ... lots has happened.

Driveways and walks were shoveled repeatedly.  Cold was survived.

Braces came off.

Another show, which probably deserves another post.  

More colleges were visited, and some colleges were visited more.  Auditions and portfolio reviews happened.  A final choice was made, and deposit deposited.  Plus a graduation.

Co-op came to an end, and disbanded.  We were really done with it this year.

Family members got sick and got better.  A fender was bent, then repaired.  A filling flew out of a mouth while flossing.  People came to visit; some spent a night or two.

And other stuff.  Life went on.  Homeschooling was accomplished.

Which brings us up to date.  Sort of. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas crafting

In spite of the busy-ness of preparing for White Christmas, we managed to put together a few handmade Christmas gifts.

I made a moebius scarf for Thalia.  Since it was truly infinite, being a moebius,  I thought Tardis blue was appropriate.

I got some Sherlock-themed fabric from Spoonflower, and made both girls regular infinity scarves:

I also got ratty knit fabric from Spoonflower, and made a skirt for Annabeth:

Continuing to celebrate Annabeth's role of Theda the Turtle back in October, Thalia got a purse from Goodwill and stenciled a design on it for Annabeth.  She cut the stencil herself. 

And my personal favorite -- the combo of this quote (Loki in The Avengers) and the picture of Theda makes me giggle:

Thalia also cut stencils of Sherlock and John to decorate another Goodwill purse

More Christmas gifts that celebrated Legend of Sleeping Beauty -- Christmas ornaments were in their stockings from Santa:

And Santa also left a giant stuffed sea turtle, shown here with the turtle ornament on its back:

It's worth noting that the role of Theda the Turtle was a small role in a musical that wasn't that big of deal, but one day we decided (or else we realized) that Theda is THE role in ALL the musicals.   Coincidentally, people were coming up to Annabeth after White Christmas and asking if she was the one who played the turtle -- they get it!  That Theda is really meant to rule the world!  Burdened with glorious purpose, indeed.

Really, my memories of this entire Christmas are fairly hazy.  I was sick, and somewhat incoherent.  We had also made some things to take to a Christmas celebration with the extended family, but by the time we were supposed to leave for that Annabeth and MrV were sick.  So those are still around here, and may be delivered eventually.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

More White Christmas Sewing

The weekend before the show opened all the tickets sold out (4 shows at about 400 tickets each), and the Powers That Be decided to open up the dress rehearsal for anyone else who didn't get a chance to get a ticket -- reduced price, no programs, no concessions, some orchestra members missing, etc.  But it was a great idea, since some of the cast members' families hadn't yet purchased tickets.

In the meantime, backstage a discussion was taking place that Judy Haynes had nothing to wear for that one scene in Act 1 where they go out to the barn.  Oops!  Since I'd been cranking out outfits for Susan Waverly with wild abandon, they asked it I could come up with something. 

I hit up the Simplicity pattern catalog since Simplicity patterns were on sale.  Simplicity 1882 has princess seams, which the actress likes, and looked like it could have a circle skirt put on it, which the actress also likes.  We had decided that the dress should be blue, although not navy blue.  A trip through the store for cheap, appropriate fabric revealed some quilting cotton that looked the right color.

I only had the high bust and waist measurements to go with, so I sewed the bodice front to the skirt front, then the bodice backs to the skirt backs, then sewed all the way up the side seams to the armscye.  I reasoned that would make alterations easier.  I also didn't actually hem the circle skirt, partially because I didn't know how long to make it -- I just serged around it.  In spite of the wonky bow, the actress LOVED the dress, and the lack of hem wasn't apparent from the audience.  It also fit amazingly well, considering it was straight out of the envelope with no alterations.

That dress was a twinkle in our eyes on Sunday afternoon, delivered to the theater for the Wednesday rehearsal, and the open-to-public dress rehearsal was Thursday.  Fun times.

I also made a dress for Susan for the finale.  In the stage play Susan is supposed to be about 9 years old, so something dressy yet age appropriate.  I used Simplicity 1873 in a dull satin from Hancock fabrics.  I added a taffeta sash and bow to give it some interest.  The sash is bias in the front, but not in the back; the back isn't bias mostly because I didn't want to purchase that much of the plaid taffeta.  Shown here after a show with General Waverly, her grandfather:

I love this dress, and dearly wish it had been done in time for our church's Christmas concert.

And a couple of shots of the finale (actually, these was taken before the Saturday matinee, which is why Susan's hair isn't curled yet.  Also, the general isn't in the shots because he was taking the make-up ACT from when the ACT was snowed out the Saturday before -- he arrived during the photo shoot, ate lunch in the green room, then did 2 shows AFTER taking the ACT, which he took AFTER doing a show on Friday night -- YIKES!):

Behind the Christmas tree you can see the barn door they open in the final scene to reveal the snow -- and, yes, they did fake snow back there.  Which ended up all over the building during strike.  And, lo, there was much vacuuming.

The cast was about 50 kids.  They all tap danced in the finale.  

Thalia was in the chorus.  I was thankful to have nothing to do with these dresses, as they involved much angst:

Overall a fun show!  But really a big show to put on the weekend before Christmas.