Sunday 15 January 2017

National Hat Day Block Party

It's National Hat Day!

In honour of this august occasion, you wear a hat.

Here's me doing that with a special one I finished recently.

I'm extra proud of this one, because I also made the blocks on which the steamed felt is molded.

I taught myself, too, using glued, stacked layers of styrofoam sheet insulation, and carving them. Real block makers use wood. Would that I had a wood shop, I would, too.

The blocks performed very well!

Millinery is so much better when power tools enter into it somehow. Or at least setting up the Workmate bench. Preferably both. Can't wait to make more!

Grrrr... (power-tool-using growl)

Saturday 7 January 2017

Ada's Wedding

The other day I received an email from a bridal client of last summer. It was the long-awaited professional photos from her wedding. It was like opening a present. Because that's really what it was.

Ada had a distinctive vision for her wedding, bright and colourful. She loves blue and peacock, and that was the theme of the day. The headpiece we imagined together exemplifies this - feathered, layered, bejeweled, and elegant.

Ada brought her friend and attendant-to-be, Cheryln, when we met. We played with some mock-ups I had prepared based on Ada's preferences and together came up with a design concept. It was something I had never quite done before. I just needed to figure out how to construct it.

This is the scary-fun part!

There is truly nothing like an expectant client with an immutable deadline to galvanize me into creative problem-solving. Good thing I have a tambour embroidery frame. Who knew that would come in handy? I didn't, until it did. Putting it to work solved my construction issue beautifully.

Ada was pleased with the result. She also asked me to make pieces for her two bridesmaids, contributing the brooches I used.

Wedding photos featuring Ada's fascinator were promised, but of course that takes time. (Lots of time. It's a wedding photography thing.)

But this compassionate client was thoughtful enough to send a couple of "sneak peek" candid photos shortly after the big day, along with gratifying comments on the impression my contributions made on her guests. Seeing the fascinator on the bride would still have to wait, though.

Fast forward to this cold week. Out of the blue (toes and fingers) I open my email and -- "Oh!" I gasp with delight because Ada has sent her photos. And the morning suddenly seems warmer.

Bride photos by Henry Park.

Ada's makeup by Jazmin Veliov.

Clients don't have to share their photos of the events they hire me to dress their heads for. So it's a delight when, months later, they do. In the dead of winter, it warms my heart to see these souvenirs of someone's happy day, wearing a headpiece I made. It's a proud and humbling feeling I hope I can look forward to experiencing many times to come.

Thanks, Ada! It's been a pleasure.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Cropping Up Again

HATalk magazine has done a story about the Thinking Outside the Hatbox competition on Facebook. They sent me this to share with you.

This is the second time I've been mentioned in HATalk. I hope it won't be the last!

Sunday 11 September 2016

Is the Photo Too Grainy?

A Facebook group called Mad Hatters Society sponsored a competition among its members this summer, called "Thinking Outside the Hatbox." The challenge was to create a hat out of non-millinery materials. Stuff you might have around the house, outdoors, hardware stores, or in nature. Sounded like fun, so I participated.

I entered one I made with natural wheat and cardboard. It got a bunch of likes, which was very gratifying, considering there were several excellent entries. And much to my surprise, it was a winner! It came third!

What a great way to start the weekend!

And this is what the indispensable Scott and I saw in a parking garage downtown two days later:


Tuesday 5 July 2016

Hats and Horseshoes 2016

It was another gorgeous summer day on Sunday for the 157th running of the Queen's Plate. People who love horses and hats were out in force for Hats & Horseshoes, the party part of it. Attendance was record-setting, and everyone was having a lovely time noshing, imbibing, and swanning about in grand sartorial style.

Competition wasn't exclusive to the race course. The third annual Millinery Design Competition took place, with five lucky students from George Brown College's Millinery program finishing with bragging rights, and the top three with cash prizes. And Vaughan Mills sponsored best-dressed contests for men and women, winners pocketing gift certificates for serious shopping sprees.

I was the lucky winner of the first Millinery Design Competition in 2014. Now I just make myself another hat I'd be proud to enter in the competition and wear it to mill about and take photos to share with you. All the fun, none of the pressure!

On with the show.

Me and the indispensable Scott on our way. In our Anne-made hats, of course.

Pants, actually.

The view from the back.

Scott, cowboy deluxe.

Carolyn in the fascinator she bought from me! Looking just as lovely as she did on my porch in my last post. Thanks again, Carolyn!

Okay, now for some other people.

It's all there in black and white.

Blues and Greens

Pink and Peach and Red and Orange

Team Colours

Group Efforts


Two of the competition judges

David Dunkley, official milliner to the Queen's Plate and millinery contest judge, with a competitor in the best-dressed ladies' contest. She finished in the top three. Yes, that's a doll on her head.

Winners of the millinery design competition. The grand prize winner is in the centre.

Best-dressed men competitors

The best-dressed man winner

The best-dressed ladies finalists and winners. The first-place winner is in the centre, wearing a red sash.

A retro-licious best-dressed competitor. I'd have voted for her.

This one, too.

Random and Uncategorized

Lineup for the red carpet photo

Scott loves Northern Dancer.

And that's a wrap for this year's Hats & Horseshoes. Thanks for joining me!