Dancing in the Moulin Rouge

Can Can anyone?  Learning the ‘Can Can’, surviving the Paris street bombing, living away from home and learning the French language was all part of the journey for our Coastal Framing customer, Holly.


I did a double take when I rolled Holly’s signed poster out on the Framing Table.  Moulin Rouge?  Sydney?  No.  Paris of course.  This vivacious young lady had just returned from Paris for a home visit between jobs as a dancer at the real, totally authentic and exciting, Moulin Rouge.

A farewell gift from her dancing colleagues in Paris, Holly was having it framed up so memories could be fresh and relived.  I had so many questions to ask Holly as we designed the simple frame that she agreed to email me her story.


So read on, imagine the colour, the music, the shapely long legs and the stage as you share her experience and indulge yourself in a real life story of a young, local girl, her travel, working life and adventure.


My first impression of Paris wasn’t a nice one. I didn’t start to fall in love with the city until I learnt my way around and found the shops I would like and use. I didn’t get use to that until after the rehearsal period. Moulin Rouge on the other hand I loved. The building was so much bigger then I thought… actually everything in Paris was so much bigger, especially the Eiffel Tower, which was by far my favourite place. I watched the show for the first time on my 2nd day of rehearsal and I fell in love instantly.


The first month or so was just a giant blur. Everything went so quickly and before I knew it, I was performing with the other 40 people in the cast. I was the youngest by about 3 years. There were dancers there old enough to be my parents. That was strange. I was very lucky in the fact that about 45% of the cast were Australian so I was surrounded by people who were also so far away from home and understood the struggles. It does take a little while to settle in with the cast. Some people have been in the show for 20 years so they just get in a do their job. But its just like a huge family. Every birthday they throw a little party and all holidays are celebrated to the fullest even though most of the time you are working.


I have been training hard core since I was 3 years old, In all styles and all around Australia. So I was so ready for this adventure. It was the next step.  It made sense. Performing on stage feels like home. So just moving onto the Moulin stage felt comfortable and a little surreal.


A typical day for me was waking up around 12pm. We wouldn’t finish our shows till 2am so that’s why our days start then haha, no judging. If we didn’t have rehearsals that day I would do the daily chores like anyone would- like grocery shopping, cleaning and just hanging out with friends. At 7:30pm I would go into work and begin my makeup and warm up. At 9pm the show would start. At 11pm the 2nd show would start. We would have around a 20min break in between while the audiences swapped over. Sometimes my friends and I, after we finished, would go out for drinks or a late snack. We needed to wind down, always high on adrenaline at 2am. And Paris is a night life city which was lucky for us with our schedule. Then would have a nice long sleep to get ready and do it all over again.


Learning the Can Can and all the technique has been the hardest thing stamina wise I have done in my career so far. Every kick and jump spilt is so precise and the movement is so fast. Also having a group of 14 girls staying together with correct timing requires lots of rehearsals. Your body obviously gets tired and sore and things snap and break but its just part of the job. Most professionals have been working at this their entire lives so its nothing new to us. Just have to keep your body strong and make sure you look after yourself. That alone is a job in itself.


There are over 30 different costume changes among us during each show. Each costume is hand made by dressers that work around the clock and are worth a fortune. Most are covered in real Swarovski crystals. Also all the hair/head pieces and big feathers we wear on our backs for most numbers which weigh around 5kgs each.


The hardest thing for me living in Paris was the language. Trying to sort out apartments, bills, banking, tax etc., all in a foreign country was hard. Let alone doing it for the first time ever in my life. For the first year I lived on my own and in my 2nd year I moved in with one of the Male dancers in the show. Also the winter time is just miserable.


The best thing about living in Paris besides having my dream job and being surrounded by amazing people and friends I have for life, is that everything in Europe is so close so I got to see a lot of different countries as well. I loved travelling and having little holidays with friends.


This didn’t happen often but the greatest nights at work were when things went wrong. When music stuffs up and everyone is on stage not knowing what to do, when people don’t make it on stage in time and everyone is in the wrong positions, When the lighting goes all wrong. Little things like that make it very entertaining for the dancers on stage. Doing the same show two times a night does get a little boring so we like to play little games onstage just to keep it interesting and for a laugh. But the best fun always happens back stage. I always say it should be a reality TV show. What happens in the dressings rooms is always so entertaining with millions of pranks and really bad singing?


Next I am travelling on a cruise ship with my Sister, ready to dance our way around the ocean.


I’m looking forward to this and will give you an update at a later stage.



The Power of Papyrus


FROM AROUND THE FRAMING TABLE  I’ve always been fascinated by papyrus which is an ancient version of what we know as paper.  It’s made form the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyprus Papyrus and is first known to have been used in Ancient Egypt. It’s a wetland plant that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt.  The Ancient Egyptians used papyrus as a writing material as well as in the construction of other artifacts such as reed boats, mats, rope, sandals and baskets.

Due to what’s been happening in the Middle East over the last few years, framing papyrus has been few and far between.  However, last week I was excited to have the most exquisite piece brought in by Carmel Glenane, a local spiritual, tour guide leader who takes groups of people into Egypt so they can experience this ancient civilisation and hopefully, bring back their memories in a beautiful papyrus to frame.  Carmel’s business is ‘Atlantis Rising Healing Centre” in Coolangatta, where you can experience her work, along with viewing other papyrus framed by us in previous years.

I welcomed the opportunity to ask Carmel to explain to me the significance of the art work, entitled “The Last Judgment” and here is Carmel’s explanation.


“The Last Judgment” is considered the most important belief in Ancient Egypt. It follows the journey of the deceased, who is to be finally judged by the great God Osiris.

Ancient Egyptians believed in the sacred “Law of Maat” where the deceased weight of his/her heart was considered the final verdict of how an Egyptian life was lived.

The heart is the oracle and its measurements carefully and precisely weighed. Paradise was available if the heart was as “light as a feather,” (you can see the feather on the scales).

For the ancient Egyptians, living a balanced life was essential to remind them to keep their hearts “feather light” for the weighing.

I feel today we must remember what the ancients teach us. The mind wasn’t weighed, only the heart.

Feed your heart love, every day. Remind yourself to be truthful, and say “Heart I Love You”.


Read more from Carmel about her enlightening, spiritual tours and what she can offer you with your own Egyptian journey…In her own words…..


Blessings Jen and thank you for inviting me to share the story of the Ancient Egyptian Papyrus.    Here is more to the story.




Witnessing exquisite Egyptian artwork on papyrus as it demonstrates the extraordinary precision in nature, architecture, every day and Temple life of the Ancient Egyptians, becomes reborn again as the detailed, hand painted papyrus is carefully rolled and brought home from its land of birth.

I am a spiritual tour leader, and have lead fourteen journey with groups to Egypt next since 2001.


I am grateful to draw on the journey and relive my transformative experiences when Jen patiently and lovingly delves into her treasure trove of glorious frames and mouldings, breathing new life into the exquisite artwork.


We replicate the detailed, geometrically perfect artwork as our papyrus reveals even more magic when hung in our homes, and in my case, my business.

Immortal art deserves the best, as it reflects a civilisation which creates peace, order, and balance in all of life.  This philosophy is called the Law of Maat.  Meaning a system of justice bringing order and harmony in all of life.

Ancient Egyptian art was an honoured craft. Highly trained scribes, Priestesses and Priests gave instructions to artisans to relive the vision of a civilisation, which was known as the mightiest in the ancient world.

When you gaze lovingly on a Temple masterpiece papyrus, its meaning can effect a profound shift in consciousness.  For myself, just reflecting on the symmetry, the balance between the masculine and feminine, brings me peace. There is a feeling of awe, tranquility and belief that a society was able to create a vision of such “Justice”.

Our relationship with art is personal as it reflects our heart’s message to us through the visual medium.

Reflecting on artwork in a person’s environment, lovingly framed, enables you to get to know the person intimately, and how they bring to their world what is important to them. You understand their world and make the energetic shift to a shared consciousness.


Earthing our art with inspirational framing brings joy not only to ourselves, but others.

In November, as I prepare for my next tour taking groups into the mysteries of this ancient civilisation, I know the power of witnessing this civilization. It reveals itself again and again bringing the miracle of the mysteries alive in my heart, and in the hearts of those who travel with me.

Feel the surrender as you relive the power of ancient Egypt in her transformative healing artwork.

Join me in November to see and feel this ancient civilisation.

Full details on my web site:http://www.carmelglenane.com/egypt-tours/


Carmel Glenane

Atlantis Rising Healing Centre

Coolangatta Queensland Australia



African Gallery Wall for Casuarina Home


How exciting and rewarding was it to create this collection of photos for Jeanette’s African Gallery, now hanging in her entrance lobby in Casuarina.  It was such a pleasure to hear Jeanette’s stories of adventure and create her African photo wall with her.


A photo wall is a fabulous way to relive memories of special events, holidays, family occasions, baby and children photos and even your favourite landscape images.

I’ve done a few now and every one is unique, exciting and rewarding.  Read on to relive her African adventure story in her own words.  It’s fascinating and it makes me want to go to Africa.


Jeanette’s Story as told by her……..From around the Framing Table. 

My trip to Africa was eighteen months in the planning.  My cousin and his mate worked in Africa for three years after completing their engineering degree in the early 70’s.  They decided to put together their tailor- made tour of Africa.  They contacted a travel agent in Sydney who specialised in custom made tours.  After much deliberation, they came up with the trip of a lifetime. There were only eight of us in the group. When my cousin Bob told me about the trip he was planning, I was so envious and then he told me, there is one spot left.  So there I was…on my way to Africa.


We flew from Sydney to Perth to Johannesburg to Kigali, the capital of Rwanada.  Kigali was totally different to what I imagined as it was so clean, no graffiti and no rubbish on the street. We then travelled to the Virunga Mountains.  We hiked for a day into the Mountains to find the Silverback Gorilla family.  As they are endangered, only 8 people per day are able to visit a family.  We had guides who led us through the bush for two hours before we found a family of about twenty gorillas, led by a magnificent Silverback.  They were having a rest in a clearing and we joined their party.  We had strict instructions as to what to do when approaching.  I found them totally overwhelming as they are so human- like and so peaceful. an unbelievable experience. We were only able to spend one hour with them.


A three week old baby gorilla, (which is one of my favourite photos, Jen popped into the second row of my collage), was being watched very closely by his older brother. The baby is fascinated with my shoe laces and every time he gets close to my shoe, his brother pulls him back. When the hour is almost up, our guide tells us quietly that we only have two more minutes.  The largest Silverback seems like he has a time watch.  He gets up, stretches, beats his chest and runs off into the bush and the others follow.

In my collection, I have one of the Silverback, and two of the baby.  Jen recaptured the Silverback’s magnificence by placing this image in a larger box frame.  He sits in the top row holding court and overlooking to the other animals in the collage.

The next day, another hike into the area of the Virunga mountains to discover the Golden Monkeys.  These are even more endangered than the Silverbacks. They are here in the hundreds and are much more difficult to photograph on my old Canon 1300D,  as they are moving so quickly.

From Kigali we caught a small plane via Mwanza to Kogatende airstrip in Serengeti.  Most of my photos are taken in the northern part of Serengeti when we went on a Game Safari.

We witnessed the gathering of the herds of wilderbeast on the banks of the Masai Mara and the experience of seeing nearly every other African species was spectacular.  We stayed in a ‘tent’ camp on the edge of the Mara River and went to sleep with the sound of the wilderbeast.

We visited Ngorongoro Crater which hosts nearly every African species, then onto the Tarangire National Park where my favourite of favourites, the photos of the leopards were taken.

The trip also took me to Zanzibar, Okavango Delta, Zambia, Livingstone and Victoria Falls.  We finished our trip in Capetown where I purchased a large canvas painting of a leopard.

On my return to Casuarina, I needed a good framer.  Coastal Framing and Design was recommended by a friend.  Good Choice. The leopard hangs in my stair well, and this was when I decided to make my entrance hall below it, my African Wall Gallery.

Jen listened to my stories, designed my wall with care and imagination. She has made my average photos into a work of art.  The framing is superbly crafted and I’m so happy with the finished job. I can look at the wall of photos and relive every moment of my time in Africa. My theory is proven.  If you take enough photos, some of them have to turn out alright!

Thanks Jeanette for sharing this wonderful adventure.  I look forward to the next story from Around the Framing Table. 


Around the Framing Table – Stories to be Told

The framing table in our showroom is a table full of stories, memories and adventures that are shared by those who come in to frame up their art works, travel pieces, memorabilia and keepsakes.  The timber is not only scratched, etched and marked with time, but holds stories

and memories of days gone by, local history and exciting adventures.  Each day we learn something new about the world as people come in to chat, share their favourite holiday places, family events, family history or something exciting they want to preserve.

Today an upbeat, baby boomer couple came in to collect their refurbished, magnificent limited edition print of Brett Whitely’s.  It was a gift from Whitely to his father many years ago. The customer shared the story of how, as a young lad, he went around in a van selling cigarettes.  One of his regular customers was Brett Whitley.  Needless to say, the couple were ecstatic with the ‘make over’ as Brett was transformed and preserved in deep Mahogany and beautiful Museum glass.  That art work was going ‘straight to the Pool Room…”

An incredible link in this Sydney based story was that in the same week, we were treated to the opening night of the Sydney Opera House.  A very ‘stately’, elderly couple came in with two pieces of memorabilia showcasing a series of black and white photos and newspaper clippings featuring themselves performing at the Opera House Theatre. Hawaiian shirts and sombreros were a feature, along with sailors and minstral themes.   Here’s a little of the headlines:

“Opera House Lights up for a Party”… “Gala at the Opera House”….”Ladies and Gentlemen, please take your seats, the show is about to commence…”  “The ceremony began with a fanfare of trumpets and ended seven glittering hours later with ‘cheek to cheek” dancing on rich, purple pile…”    (The SUN Wednesday July 18, 1973).

We are constantly reminded of how unique our business is as it contributes to the preservation of memories, the sharing of knowledge and experiences that make up the lives of people from all walks of life who come into our shop every single day. We connect people, and in a place like Tweed Heads, so close to the Airport where people come and go as they travel near and far, connections have proven to be sometimes surprising.  Conversations strike up as people chat and compare their art works making our showroom a happy place.


Art can be many forms, but to surround the art you love with a well designed custom frame that becomes part of the story is the BEST art you could possibly have.


So on that note, we welcome you to our first blog and hope you hang around for the next story shared at our framing table.  Maybe it will be yours!


Photo:  The old Brett Whitely ready for a make over.  The same day…A Ken Done ready for a make over.  It was definitely our ‘Sydney’ artist week! 


From Around the Framing Table

Jen and Rex

Feature Work Samples

We are excited to showcase our custom framing that is designed at our framing table and created in our workshop.

Look for inspiration.  We can recreate, alter and design similar for you.

This is a collection of art work brought back from India framed with colours to reflect the indian culture displayed in the art works.

Matching the frame theme with the culture travelled is an advantage of a custom frame.