Life long learning through online programs

I am addicted to learning. Learning how to dance and learning how to make costumes are among my favorite subjects. With an impressive amount of traditional education, working in Education for over a decade and being a teacher myself, learning is sort of my thing. Before the internet I loved learning belly dance through VHS and dvds. As my time is extremely limited these days, I like to learn in the most efficient way possible. That’s why I love learning online.

Learning belly dance online

With regards to belly dance, I have been all over the internet with regards to online classes. I can recommend the following:

Sparkly-Belly-Belly-Dance-Costume-Catalogue-1024x576.png
Check out Sparkly Belly’s costume catalogue for a full overview of available tutorials!

What I wanted to write about though, is that I wanted to learn more about running a business. About how companies work. About finance, accounting. Those are things that I am not good at. And being a belly dance entrepeneur, it sucks that I have so little knowledge of what makes my company tick. I decided to go large and get an MBA. extensive research made me realize that an MBA program at a local university is out of the question for me. With two small kids, a full-time job and a belly dance business, I don’t have enough free time to go back to school. Second, traditional MBA programs are expensive. A traditional MBA costs about as much as 50 custom made Bella costumes. That’s an amount of money that I simply don’t have.  Which brings me to online MBA’s.

Online MBA

26434e2256659f4b082729d1c8a2b3b8.pngAfter comparing several options, like  Harvard Business School — HBX CORe and the iMBA from the University of Illinois  I decided to apply for smart.ly. Due to my work experience I was a candidate for the Executive MBA. After applying I finished the recommended classes, filled out my full pofile, had an interview through Zoom and I got accepted! As this is the Executive program I am paying to follow this course. In return I get to follow classes online, tap into a netweork of Smart.ly alumni and students and there are a couple of neat extra courses for the executive students as well. It also has a strenuous schedule of classes that need to be completed every week. This is good, because I have to focus on finishing courses within the deadlines. I need to stay on track. The whole MBA takes about 1 year and I look forward to getting started!

The reason that I write about it on this blog, is because elearning is getting bigger and bigger. It is valuable to get first hand information about what it is like to follow a course or program in case you want to try it. I also expect that the MBA program will give me inspiration and ideas to improve my belly dance business.

Online learning for you?

I’m going to leave you with on a lighter note. If you haven’t tried elearning yet, here are two super fun places to start taking classes. Both options are comple

tely free!

The Belly Dance Business Academy

There are many, many online classes at the BDBA that you can follow. And a lot of them are free! So get yourself over there and sign up. To get you started, the free courses that I made are:

Playlist Essentials for bellydancers

Costuming during pregnancy

Copy of Kyria's vlog

Google digital learning environment

The nice people at Google headquarters made severl elarning modules that are available for free. Their digital workplace training is accredited and teaches you everything about marketing and promoting. Super handy if you run your own business.

I love to hear about your experiences with online learning. Feel free to reach out to me on facebook or comment in the box below 🙂

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

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Snow queen part 7: Hair and make-up

A costume as dramatic as this one calls for special hair and make up! As blue and silver aren’t what I normally wear, I improvised a bit and I had a good excuse to buy new make-up.

I knew that I was going for dramatic and I started collecting various products in January. I bought some huge black and silver fake lashes from a costume store. Then I found face crystals and I knew that I just had to have them.

These were bought on Aliexpress and they did not disappoint. They are attached to a silicon back and can be put on in one simple step. They are reusable as well.

With all the make-up at home I printed a blank make-up planning paper and got to work. The products that I used didn’t contain much pigment so it came out a bit bland, but this was the general idea.

For my hair I had other plans. I ordered a wig on Aliexpress and it arrived after five weeks. It was exactly as described. Long, white hair with bangs in front. The last time that I had bangs I was in kindergarten! Excited to try this, I put it on.

Yeah, it needed a bit of dressing up! I bought two inexpensive ‘hair extensions’, ripped the wig clips of the extensions and sewed them to the wig. That really helped with keeping the wig more secure on my head. I added the crown and noticed that I needed something to secure the crown to the wig. Found white hairclips that were just the right size. Now I could even shake my head a little without the wig or the crown shifting around. Great!

Everything was ready for the big day! In the next post I’ll (finally) show you the finished costume.

 

 

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

Snow queen part 6: the cloak

Despite not wanting to be a copy of Elsa, I adore her cloak. Makinf a cloak was high in my list as it’s been a while since I made one. My first item of a LARP costume was making a brown elven cloak a couple of decades ago. But I digress.

Not knowing how much I would need, I guestimated about ten meters. The dabric was ordered online: an ice blue organza that was advertised as ‘baby blue’.

I ended up using six meters instead. The cloak became more of a trailing train as it would give me more space to work with on stage. Starting out by laying the fabric out on the floor I cit it on the diagonal. I then sewed the center back seam and the side panel seams.

I sewed it on a band that fastens around my neck. Much like the way isis wings are attached. To make it more comfortable I added elastic to the neck band. The band closes with velcro. I added AB crystals to give it the appearance of a bejeweled choker.

You can imagine that taking a picture of the cloak was hard. There simply wasn’t enough room in our livingroom to show the full splendor of this cloak. I had it finished before our try-out and I got some pictures to show you from that afternoon. In this picture my costume is ‘t completely finished yet. It gives a nice impression of the volume of the cloak.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram. 

Snow queen part 5: the bra

Things are coming along nicely! Only one week to go before this costume needs to be done. The show is sold out so we are all putting in effort to make the show as fabulous as we can! The bra is fairly easy and straighforward. I am still cutting as many corners as I can get away with on this costume due to time and energy restraints. Instead of covering a basic bra, I bought a cheap white bra (about 5 euro) and cut off all straps.

With some tightly woven white cotton fabric I made new side straps and shoulder straps. Covered them with the lurex fabric and stitched everything down with the sewing machine.

I considered adding straps from elastic as it would be very comfortable and a great fit. But this time I want to try a new bra strap constellation and I need the straps to be sturdy so I can place the decoration on the straps and shoulder. The downside is that I  have to check the fit of the bra before every wear as I might have grown or shrunk a bit.

 

Pinned the straps in place and sewed them on by machine, making sure to not sew over the underwire.

 

I then added pleated fabric to the cups, creating a bit of a different shape to the bra. The idea was to go for a Greek draped look but the fabric was too bulky so I toned it down a bit. The shape of the bra is thus less ‘halterneck gathered fabric’and more ‘push-up bra. I connected the fabric to the shoulder straps and basted it down by hand.

On a side note, while working on the bra I watched ‘The Umbrella Academy’ on Netflix. I am not a big fan super hero series, but this one is nice. I also recommend Titans for the same broody looking athmosphere, mysteries that need to be solved and some super hero fighting action in between.

My original plan was to add an appliqué with a snowflake to the bottom of the bra. But I tried out my costume during dress rehearsal, and the mesh bodysuit has some lovely sparkles on the belly that would in that case be covered. Looking at the foto’s and video of the dress rehearsal, I wanted to balance the bra out with the bottom half of the costume. I added appliquées to the shoulderstraps instead. Then added a center appliquée on the chest, that is held in place by felt connector pieces covered in AB Crystals. Here’s a picture of the first fitting. As you can see, the medallions weren’t quite in the right place yet. As I was sewing inbetween feedings, the bra cups are tight because it was almost time for the next feeding.

 

 

I saw something similar in an Aida costume and I loved that idea. You get to sew the necklace/jewelry to the bra and put it all on at the same time. Briljant! The necklace is made by sewing AB Crystals to white felt, then cutting the shape out and sewing it to the straps.

For the shoulder I added shoulder drapes with fabric. While dancing I will ofcourse raise my arms, thus shifting the shoulder drapes a bit. I hope that they will fall back to the intended place when I lower my arms again.

 

I’m leaving it where it is right now, I might come back to it and add a bit of beaded fringe at a later point. In my next post, I’ll show you how I made a huge cape to add some drama.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram. 

Snow queen part 4: the mesh bodysuit

Mesh bodysuits have been around for a while but I never had a chance to wear a costume with one of these. Partly because I haven’t bought a new costume in five years or so, and part because I didn’t find a second hand costume with this feature.

A Dutch dancer offered this mesh bodysuit up for sale for a really good price. Considering that it was worn and had some damage, I thought I give it a try. Worst case scenario is that I couldn’t fix the suit and would not wear it.

It was made by Sufel boutique, a costume designer who makes custom orders. They are affordable (in the 200-350 usd range for a new costume), the costumes are comfortable to wear and look well on stage. This is what the suit looks like laid out on the floor.

The damage to the suit included Crystals that fell off and leaving the backing of the crystal on the fabric in the form of a black mark. Other damage included someone trying to glue stuff back on with the wrong type of glue. I wrote a blog about using glue on costumes a while back and though I changed my opinion and am gluing a lot of stuff for this costume, glue damage sucks. It is ugly and irreparable. Please take care and use the right type of glue!

I used a Dutch type of Gemtac for this and bought non hotfix AB Crystals from a Chinese vendor. To make sure that the suit would not get glued to itself or the table, I put a bottle of Coke in the leg and a placemat in the body part. In this picture you can also see the black marks where crystals fell off.

Using a tiny amont of glue, I reglued Crystals on the places, covering the black marks, snags and some of the glue stains. The trick is to use enough glue to create a strong bond, without spilling too much around the edges. I used a toothpick to get the Crystals into place, avoiding putting pressure on the rhinestone. That would cause the glue to move to the side, instead of glueing the rhinestone back to the mesh.

In this picture you can see the result on the legs. I used slightly larger AB crystals to make sure the new stones would completely cover the marks on the fabric. It was suprisingly comfortable during dress rehearsal.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram.

 

Snow queen part 3: The belt

With the skirt and the crown done, it’s time to make a belt. I am secretly excited about adding a belt to the design, because I could add fringe to the belt if I wanted to. Or maybe some gorgeous beaded swags. My stash still has some heavy white felt left over from the Moon Goddess costume so I was good to go with regards to supplies.

To figure out a nice configuration for the belt, I took some old newspapaers and started making patterns. By rummaging through our cupboards I found that regular mugs were too small for my design. Lucky for me the plastic cup from our bottle warmer was the perfect size 🙂

As I have a considerable booty, my belts need a bit of a curve. I started out by drawing a straight line of the desired belt length, then changing it into a rough V shape by eleveating the end points three centimeters. I then placed the round cup on to of the line, using the center of the cup as a guide for placing it on top, up or over. From there on it was a matter of drawing circles.

 I wasn’t sure what I was going for so I made several options. Initially I thought a straight line would look nice. But when I had it in front of me, it looked a bit boring and predictable.

 

A second option was staggering the circles a bit, alternating between high and low. That would make the belt a bit more interesting. As this costume is meant for a theatre performance, it will be looked at from across a stage and I think this might help make the decorations pop a bit more.

 

Well, I couldn’t decide on the shape I wanted so I made a facebook poll. Thanks to the many responses, I found out that the majority of the voters thought the hi-lo version was the prefered option.

Some commented to try an even more extreme version of hi-lo circles. I drafted it, but that would make the circles alternate quite a bit, introducing two problems. It would be hard to keep the waist of the skirt covered.  and the skirt is the same color, so if it would show above the lowest circles, the shape of the belt would be less defined. The second problem is structural: with circles standing up quite a bit, I would need to sew metal wire to the edge in order to manipulate the circles into following my bodyshape. And I didn’t want to do that because I don’t have the time.

So moderate hi-lo it is!

The next part was a breeze: cutting the belt from white felt.

Recently I bought some quilting clips and they are great for keeping multiple layers of fabric into place. Much easier for this step of the process instead of using pins. I got these on Aliexpress for a couple of euros including shipping. Putting the lurex on top, I covered the belt and hand stitched it in place in the back. Using a sewing machine would have been faster but I didn’t want the stitching to show.

After that I put a snowflake in the center of every circle and tacked it down by hand. I’m leaving it at this right now, got to concentrate on getting the bra done in time.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram.

 

Snow queen part 2: The skirt

The first part that I made for this costume was a crown. But there will be a skirt, bra and belt to go with it as well 🙂 For this costume I am cutting as many corners as I possibly can in order to get it done in time. On with the skirt.

I was going for a sleek look so a circle skirt was out of the question. I found this silver lurex fabric that is perfect. Affordable, slightly stretchy and it is finished on the inside so it won’t scratch my skin. Do not underestimate that danger of scratchy fabric. Nothing as annoying as sporting a red rash for two weeks after wearing a costume for fifteen minutes. This is our dog modelling the fabric for me.

For the sleek look I contemplated making a fitted mermaid skirt, or a straight skirt with a fishtail train. That would look so pretty! But I seemed to have misplaced my trusted pattern folder with already drafted patterns. Drafting a pattern seemed like too much effort right now. So I free cut a half circle skirt. By folding the fabric over and over again, then cutting the end off and a part from the top.

Super fast, super easy and the edge is super straight as well. Only do this if you have enough fabric to fix it in case things go pearshaped.

As the fabric doesn’t fray, I am not finishing the edges. Ideally I’d do that with a lockmachine but I don’t own one. Stitching with a regular sewing machine might cause the edge to curl. Initially I thought I could get away with not adding a waistband to the skirt. Instead of a waistband I would sew the skirt to a pair of briefs and that was that. This is what the skirt looks like with a couple of snowflakes on top of it.

But I soon realized that the weight of the skirt and the decorations would pull the waistband down. So….

Two options:

  1. Add a waistband so the skirt could be decorated
  2. Make a seperate belt that will carry the weight of the decorations and leave the skirt as it is

I’m going for number two: there will be a belt. More about that in the next post!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram.

Snow queen part 1: the crown

At the end of March is a belly dance theater show that follows a storyline of fearies looking for pieces of gold in a magical world. And I get to be the snow queen! No better way to get back into costuming by going all over the top on this one 😉

When I started out searching for inspiration on the internet, I soon found out not to use the word ‘ice queen. Two reasons: the first is that in belly dance land, the song titled ‘ice queen’ has been used so many times that there are many expectations to be met. The second reason is, that since the movie Frozen came out there has been a lot of cosplay for Elsa. I adore the aestethic for Elsa and she has a lovely costume, but that’s not what I am going for.

It did take me down the rabbit hole and I saw some amazing Elsa costumes being made. But there’s no way that I have 80+ hours to spend on this costume, so there will be no hand encrusted snowflake patterned cape for me.

Thus the working title for this costume will be ‘snow queen’. The difference in search reult hits is obvious: Snow queen costumes are mainly white, ice queen costumes are often blueish. Snow queen costumes involve white fluffy fur, ice queen costumes are more about sleek, shiny fabrics.

As I am working with a deadline and have a very limited amount of time, this costume has to be quick and easy. Okay, decorating might take some time, but the costume should at least be wearable when it isn’t bedazzled with hundreds of thousands of crystals (yet). Crystals could also be added at a later time.

One way or another, a queen needs a crown! And as faith has it, there are many tutorials online about using hotglue for making an ice crown. They all promised that it would be really fast and easy to make one. It took some effort to get over my dedain for the hot glue gun. As a costume maker, I have seen irrevertible damage being done by glue. But I got in there and glue gunned like my life depended on it. This is the tutorial I used:

 

Slight changes:

  1. I used non-stick paper laid flat on my cutting mat. If you use a bowl as a base, I would recommend wrapping it in paper. It eliminates the step where you have to cut the glue from the bowl.
  2. I made a curve at the base as I wanted the crown to go outward instead of straight up. I used the raster on my cutting mat to create a symmetric curved line to start from.

It really was easy and fun! Took me an hour or so to create the crown. I hot glued it onto an old wire headband that I had lying around. One of the most daunting tasks was adding the glitter without covering everythign in my vicinity in glitter. Next time I would get modpodge and a brush, mix glitter into the glue and paint it on. For now I sprinkled it all over the hot glue. there were many tragic spills.

To decorate it further I added snowflake decorations and extra AB Crystals to the crown. I got these on Aliexpress and they also shed glitter like crazy.

Lucky for me, the non stick paper did a great job in getting spilled glitter back into it’s container. Once cooled, I tried the crown and found that the weight on the front made the crown easy to fall forward. To prevent this, I added extra hot glue to the back of the crown to balance out the weight, and I added a piece of chain to secure it in my hair with clips.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram.

Making a matching necklace from scratch

In a previous post I wrote about making beaded appliquées to match a white costume. With the appliquées I made a large belly drape for the bra plus a matching necklace. In today’s post I’ll show you the necklace and how it was made.

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The beaded appliqé medallions 

Jewelry is super important for me. It really helps to complete the look and pull everything together. That is why I have a large collection of costume jewelry. A lot of rhinestones and bling to add extra sparkle!  But making matching accessoiries is also a lot of fun. It can save a lot of money and I love matching the jewelry to the costume. Plus it is super easy and fast, compared to creating the bra, belt and skirt. See, I enjoy the end result of making a costume but putting in hours and hours of tedious work can be exhausting. A quick and fast project is Always fun to remind me how much I love making things!

Supplies:

  • Necklace closure (I got a whole bag for one euro at alocal shop)
  • sturdy thread (I used unscented dental floss but synthetic thread also works)
  • Large iridescent and white beads (got several bags at a local shop)
  • Appliquée

The trick to making this fast and easy is using big beads. I originally chose these beads for the belly drape but I had some left over. They look fabulous as swagged fringe on the belt as well.

  1. Start with one side of the necklace closure and secure the thread. Put as many beads as you want (I wanted my necklace to sit on my collarbones). Count your beads so you use the same amount on the other side.
  2. Secure the beaded strand to the appliqué by pushing the needle through the felt base. Make sure the thread is tight enough that the strand doesn’t show the thread, and loose enough to allow the beads to fall naturally.
  3. Repeat the process on the other side and put it around your neck to see if the length is correct. If not, start over.
  4. I added a couple of fringes to the bottom of the appliqué to draw a bit of attention to the bra, and at the same time add an interesting element in the cleavage area.

The end result:

 

Unfortunately I forgot to put my accessoiries on during the photoshoot, so I have no professional picture of this yet. But it sure is pretty and my three year old daughter approves as well 🙂

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I you want to ask me something or comment,  use the box below, or let me know through Facebook.