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Hat Class Success

The cream tea aftermath

The cream tea aftermath

Our fascinator class, hosted at English & Miller went marvelously. All of our expected students showed up and had a great time. They pillaged the supplies just as we hoped they would and asked when the next class would be.

At the end of the day everyone came away with at least one lovely fascinator and in some cases two. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get a group photo but we have got photographs of everyone.

the Girls Working Away

Work In Progress

Almost Finished

Finished Piece

Finished Piece

We will be doing this class again in the warmer months with a whole new selection of colours to choose from. As for the second class it is in the works I promise, we’ve just been busy with all new hat designs for spring and summer.

Cheers,
Meaghan and Sara.

“Fascinator” Hat Class

After years of being asked about classes, we are finally doing one! I’m working on class #2 right now (no, that’s not a ‘hashtag’ it’s the number symbol)

Hat Class Poster

Hat Class Poster

What you may or may not be able to read beside the dates and times for the class is that there is no lunch provided. It will be plenty of fun though, and I’m sure if you’re hungry the lovely ladies at English & Miller will sell you something tasty.

Cheers,
Sara.

You want a little more of a hat..?

What exactly does “a little more of a hat” mean?

More times than I can count, we get a last minute, “I need some thing for tomorrow, I’m going to a ______.”

There is nothing wrong with a last minute need for a hat, unless of course you call on a day the shop is closed and demand we open it for you (true story). I have these moments too. Believe it or not, as a milliner’s apprentice I even forget until last minute that I need a hat for that wedding, to go with that impossibly coloured dress, which doesn’t look impossibly coloured until you try to put anything other than a vintage purse and pair of vintages shoes with it. Even the milliner herself does it.

Often, there are no difficulties helping our last minute customers find the right thing for their event. Alas, there are always the difficult few. The customers who come in and say that they don’t know what they want but won’t try anything on, exclaim while feigning coy that things are just horrid on them, talk around the phrase “I’d like it if it wasn’t this.” or came in expecting us to have the perfect thing, which is something they can’t explain, and nothing else other than this unspoken mystery will do. Often times they were thinking that they want “a little more of a hat.” I take that to mean something between fascinator or cocktail and full hat. Not so my friends, not so. “A little more of a hat.” seems to be something completely different person to person. Occasionally “a little more of a hat” means that they would actually like a full hat. More often then not it is a cocktail hat that covers at least a third of their head. Then sometimes it is an excuse to not buy anything because said customer is under the impression that we are over priced.
On that note we send them off to Lilliput Hats in Toronto and into Karyn’s more than capable hands. Her work is beautiful, completely different from ours and the last time I was in her shop, started at $150. Which is still pennies for a well made piece of art seeing as Philip Tracy’s average price is more around $1500. But I’ll save the over priced woman’s work rant for another day.

Really what I am getting at here is that instead of asking Meaghan and I for “a little more of a hat” could you, any of you about to say, “I was thinking that I wanted a little more of a hat.” say instead just how much more of a hat you were thinking?

Cheers,
Sara.

Meet Beefcake.

Back in December Meaghan and her boyfriend agreed to dog sit one of Chris’s co-worker’s dogs while his co-workers went to the Dominican Republic to get hitched. During the work days, Beefy (full name Beefcake, aka Ginger Beef, aka Beef Balls, aka Gateau Beouf, aka Beef.) came to the shop. What Chris’s co-workers failed to mention is that no one else would dog sit this dog, he was apparently impossible.

Beefcake

Beefy in “doggy jail”

Beefy is a sweet boy with all bark and no bite, but it is still a startlingly loud bark. We appreciated our customers understanding that Beefy was learning how to be around people, and gave him pets for being a good dog, and cookies. How it worked at the shop is that Beefy could roam the shop as he would, but the moment he started barking he was banished to “doggy jail”. In three days I broke Beefy and he understood that I was “the boss”.
After Beefy had gone back home, his parents called Chris and asked what we had done to the dog. He is now so well trained that if he barks, he drops his tail between his legs, hangs his head and walks himself to his blanket to lay down. We have yet to understand how Beefcake was impossible.

Cheers,
Sara.

Yo-yo’s Anyone?

Meaghan and I sorting out a ‘facinator’ class to teach in the late winter/early spring. We’re thinking we might just take over the “tea room” at English & Miller to teach it. We also have an idea to make kits to sell at the shop for the same ‘facinator’.
As far as we’ve worked out, the class will involve cream tea and hot glue, and we’ve priced it out to somewhere between $50 and $100. We still need to confirm everything with Jean at English & Miller.
I’m pretty excited about it.

Cheers,
Sara.

English & Miller

Meaghan and I have a new problem. Cream tea. I would imagine that it wouldn’t be such a problem if it wasn’t so close to work, but the new tea and gift shop is just at the other end of Lakeshore Mews. Now on quiet, cold days we seriously consider playing hookey for an hour in the afternoon.

image

Today is an office day, and I have just learned that they do indeed have wifi at English & Miller. I strongly suggested to Meaghan that we should conduct office days at the tea shop in the future.
Cream tea is something everyone should try at least once. It consists of a pot of excellent tea, an english scone with or with out raisins, butter, double devonshire cream and jam.

You can find shop hours for English & Miller online at English & Miller and you can find the shop at 89 Dunlop St. E, Barrie, Ontario

Cheers,
Sara.

Photo Shoot!

Sara, Shot by Anton Volek 2011

Sara, Shot by Anton Volek 2011

I have had the privilege to have Anton Volek shoot some of my work. With our tiny studio I don’t have the budget to hire the big models and really, no one really looks like them anyway. I am lucky to have a beautiful apprentice who takes a picture much

better than I so I throw her in front of the camera often.

We had great fun using a collection of old lamps and a heating lamp.

Sara

Sara

Anton’s camera is, however, better than mine as the following picture will attest.

Sara, wedding.

Sara, wedding.

The following picture is Anton’s of the same section.

                                                                                                        Sara shot by Anton Volek, wedding dress
                                                                                  Sara shot by Anton Volek, wedding dress

I think I’ll ask him to shoot everything from now on.

Cheers

Meaghan

 

Tricorn, the other affair.

Brown velvet tricorn

Brown velvet tricorn

I imagine you might be realizing that a baseball cap just isn’t my thing by now. I love the way a tricorn looks.

For those of you who aren’t sure what a tricorn is it’s a round crown hat with its brim folded up on three sides to make a triangle shape when looking at it from the plan view. Tri-corn, three horns. get it?

Green silk

Green silk

Tiny wool tricorn

Tiny wool tricorn.

I have made several cocktail tricorns. These are fun and look great when one point sits jauntily over one eye.

It has to have a skull.

It has to have a skull.

I’m not sure a hat like this could have been made without at least one with a skull.

A little more french.

A little more french.

I decided to go for a more traditional french look with this and the next one.

minitricornerblackredI love the way these look and when I have a bit of time to play I will definitely make a few more. I think I’ll make one in embroidered silk next time.

Cheers

Meaghan

 

 

Top Hats, my love affair.

A grey Velvet Top Hat made about 5 years ago

A grey Velvet Top Hat made about 5 years ago

I love top hats. I always have. It might be I was the kid in dance class and took any opportunity to be on stage.  I have a soft spot for the theatrical and vintage circus things so top hats just fall right into that space. I have made quite a few and this past spring finally created a pattern that only takes a few hours to execute a finished hat as opposed to days as this one above did. I loved this one. Unfortunately I loaned it out to a stylist, it was destroyed and somehow I never was reimbursed. Oh well. Lesson learned.

A reproduction of Alice in Wonderlands Mad Hatter Hat

A reproduction of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Hat

Of course I had to figure out how to make this one. Yes I have the pattern and yes I will make you one. Although this fabric proved to be too flimsy and I would make the next one out of a heavier weight. It was more important that I was true to the original drawing since I made it for a fundraiser. It really is a 10/6.

Sara at a bridal show in a vintage pop up top hat.

Sara at a bridal show in a vintage pop up top hat.

Yes we really do wear them. This is a vintage one that is my baby. I rescued it from a damp costume storage from a different life before I was a milliner full-time.

The new design

The new design

New design in flocked zebra taffeta

New design in flocked zebra taffeta

I will keep making them, all one of a kind. If not the fabric then the decoration. I just made embroidered taffeta in cranberry red with olive sash and black embroidered with tan cockade.

I think I will make another mad hatter 10/6. I’m not sure what I’ll wear it with though.

Cheers

Meaghan

 

 

I grew up with a “Santa from Santa Fe”

I love a strange Christmas song. Not a heavy metal version of something or that Beastie Boys thing, I mean something from the swing era. I grew up with a Santa Fe Santa. I accidentally sent it off to the charity shop with a bunch of other cassette tapes I no longer wanted and now I think that song is lost forever. I have heard it outside of growing up only once while listening to a jazz Christmas station. It isn’t the only weird little song I like but when I hear it I always smile. The words are as follows:
Corus:

Santa from Santa Fe
Swingin’ his merry way
Singin’ on Christmas day
jingle li jingle li jingle lingle lay

Verse:
Got a peppermint pony
and a bundle of toys
with his chocolate pup
he’s roundin’ up
all the good little girls and boys.

There are other verses but that all I can think of. I’ve tried searching this but am having no luck. It’s three women that sing it but it’s not anyone I recognize. If anyone out there has heard this song, can lead me to it or knows where to look I’d love to know. It really isn’t Christmas until I hear it.

(I suppose I can make Sara crazy by singing the only verse I remember until she begs me to stop.) As an aside, I’m Canadian and I’ve never been to Santa Fe so although for all you southern states folks it doesn’t seem weird you’ll have to trust me when I say it’s a bit strange here.

Here’s hoping for a Santa Fe Christmas to start the season!

Meaghan

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