Friday, 28 February 2014

Tea and Iced Cakes

I have a box of old papers and photos that belonged to my late grandmother and aunt. It's a source of instant nostalgia. Many studio photo portraits of members of my father's family are in there, which are wonderful; lockets, trinkets, recipe collections and more. (Looking at the way people used to eat always astonishes me. It's a wonder anyone's arteries functioned at all!) My aunt's teenage diary faithfully lists the songs and bands in the weekly Hit Parade. When I hear them on our own weekly big bands radio program, I think of her, and imagine her as a high school student in Montreal during the war years.

This treasure trove also contains newspaper clippings, mostly obituaries and social notices. Despite the view within a certain sector that a lady should never be mentioned in a newspaper, save when she was born, married or died ("bred, wed and dead"), back then there were apparently many respectable opportunities for seeing your name in print. There are columns mentioning the family simply for checking into a summer resort. Or when when there was a tea party, always mentioning the occasion being celebrated, and who poured (or who was "Mother", an English colloquialism).*

Social notices in newspapers aren't what they used to be. Of course, our internet age renders them redundant. While the social notices describing them may be no more, I'm glad that there are still such things as bridal teas. What a charming way to celebrate an upcoming wedding, perhaps even as a charming wedding itself.

This is the inspiration behind my nostalgic, new bridal collection, "Tea and Iced Cakes." I hope it whets your appetite!

Silk callas, sinamay leaves and ostrich

Peau de soie gardenia with beads and crystals, sinamay leaves, hackles and shaved coq feathers

Organza rose with beaded centre, hackle feather pad and beaded wire spray

Ostrich, sinamay leaves and filigree jewel

Sinamay filigree, ostrich quill and vintage jeweled button

White sinamay diskette with lacy cornucopia, ostrich and sequined spray

White peau de soie rose with beads and crystals, goose and ostrich mount

Each piece is created afresh and customized for each individual bride. Please email me for prices and further enquiries.

* Rant alert: You will notice in these social columns that the term "high tea" is never used. That's because the term was unknown in North America, because it was a substantial meal belonging to the working class British. It still is, people! Please stop misusing that expression when you're thinking of tea in Downton Abbey-esque settings! Say "afternoon tea" instead! The cognoscenti will thank you for it, and so will I. Rant over. I thank you.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Sharing the Love

I love my customers, fans and followers. I want you to be warm, cozy and stylish this brutally cold winter. And since it's Valentine's season, I've cooked up a special little promotion.

If you buy one of my women's hats at the Arts Market, 846 College at Ossington, ask at the checkout counter for my Sweetheart Deal and you'll get 50% off!*

A customer emailed me recently and said "I have received many compliments for the red hat you made. It is among my favourite hats this season." It's the same style as the photos below of (some of) the ones at the Arts Market.

*Just to be clear, this only applies to hats.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Hearts and Flowers

Love is in the air, and it looks a lot like snow. I'm telling myself that so I think of all the snowdrifts as accumulations of affection. Because otherwise, it's just a whole lot of street-clogging inconvenience beyond our control.

The calendar proceeds regardless of atmospheric conditions, reminding us that Valentine's Day is next week and we'd better get our warm, fuzzy feelings on. Chocolate helps. Special events may, too. Maybe you have one coming up on your personal calendar that warms your heart with sweet anticipation.

In that spirit I've created a mini collection of Valentine fascinators, available now at the Arts Market, 846 College Street at Ossington. It's a sweetheart of a deal, too: just $25 each!

If you have somewhere to go this Cupid-ridden season that's a perfect excuse for millinery folly, maybe one of these confections of felt and sinamay would satisfy that sartorial sweet tooth:

And I'm at your service for custom creations, too. But if it's for Valentine's, better contact me quick!

Sunday, 2 February 2014


It's not all ladies, you know. I do make hats for men, too, mostly bespoke.

So it was with Tim. He needed to replace his best beloved hat and couldn't find one ready-made in the fabric and band colour he wanted. What he did find was me, through an online ad. He brought the hat to meet me, and I knew I could make him a close copy. So I did.

"Oh, yeah," Tim said, as he tried it on. Music to my ears! Thanks, Tim!