Tuesday 30 December 2014

Vintage Secret Santa (and Santa in general)

The glow of Christmas is lingering in my house, and the piles of lovely presents I received remain under the Christmas tree, reminding me how spoiled I am and of all the exciting things I have to explore and enjoy. I want to share just some of the fun things that came my way this year, for Christmas and my birthday the week before.

Firstly, there was the "Vintage Secret Santa" organised by Jessica of Chronically Vintage. What a fantastic idea and an amazing amount of fun. I'm feeling a little guilty because I'm not sure my present has arrived yet (or at least, she hasn't posted anything about it on instagram). My present arrived from Norway on Christmas Eve, which was an exciting moment, additionally so because I discovered that my gifter was also a participant in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Hat!

My little gift box included an adorable dog brooch, book on Edward Munch, photo frame, bangles, and a Christmas embroidery. I loved that it was not only vintage-themed, but included some specifically Norwegian things to make it feel even more like being a part of some fun global club.

I am eagerly looking forward to next year, if it happens again! I wish there were a few or I could enter multiple times.

For my birthday, I got a new hat block from my lovely husband. It's a cocktail top hat block from Blocks By Design. The brim actually goes up the other way on the hat, it just sits better this way around on a table. I'm looking forward to showing you the results of this!

I seem to have ended up getting a lot of books this year, which is awesome. (Old Hat, New Hat, was actually a present for the little girl, but I'm enjoying it more than her so far.)

My grandmother gave us all a copy of the Gallipoli book because she provided information that is included, mostly quotes from her grandfather's diary (my great-great-grandfather). He was a prolific and entertaining writer, and being a Chaplain and keen amateur historian/archeologist, saw the war experience in an interesting and unusual light at times.

I've been wooed by all the images of Erstwilder brooches on blogs and instagram lately, so when my Dad asked for present suggestions at the last minute, I mentioned them. As it turns out, there is a stockist in the mountains, and he bought me this cute cat! Yay!

My sister included a fat quarter bundle in my "stocking presents". How cute is this lady with her hat-box luggage? I think it would make a sweet lining on a hat.

This is actually another present for my baby daughter, for her to grow into. 3 pairs of vintage gloves in various child sizes.

It's hard to show the detail of the black ones, the first set that will fit, although we will still be waiting a long time for that! It will be worth it!

My Mum has been stalking her local auction house all year for potential presents for us, and consequently got some quirky and fabulous finds!

A large collection of vintage hat pins, in a storage roll she made to hold them. The idea is that I can give the cute ones away when I sell a hat that needs them. So thanks to my Mum, you may get a bonus if you buy a hat from me!

When I opened this next one, I knew there had to be a story behind it.

These three tiny hat on their miniature hat stands, as it turns out, were part of a doll's house haberdasher's shop. She put on a bid that she considered to be very low, but obviously there wasn't much interest, and she got it. She sent me the hats and my sister the counter. Here are the photos of the complete item before she sent it, and the dolls that go with it.

Adorable, right? There is actually a spare hat stand, so I may have to make my own tiny hat to complete the set. What kind should I make?

Edited to add: My sister gave me permission to share this picture, so I can show you a vintage gift I gave, too. This vintage coat and hat, possibly 1940s (but who even cares, look at him!!), and also a yellow corduroy waistcoat underneath. What a darling! "The smartest dressed man I've ever seen," to quote his great-grandmother.


Tuesday 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas to All

Merry Christmas my lovely blog friends! It has been an amazing and eventful year.

I managed to throw together some Christmas hats. Next year I think a Christmas collection is in order...

I hope you all have a lovely holiday season!

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Millinery Movie Moments: The Bishop's Wife

Many classic movies feature phenomenal examples of the milliner's craft, but despite being visual showstoppers, they are not often relevant to the plot. I love it when the hats are central to the action, and even have a deeper meaning.

The Bishop's Wife is my number one pick for classic movie moments that centre around a hat. Early in the movie we first see the incomparable Loretta Young as Mrs Julia Brougham gaze longingly through the store window at the coveted hat. It sits behind a frame, covered in folds of ribbon, a frivolous but beautiful confection.

Julia's other hats in the movie are simple by contrast, although of course she still looks stunning in them. It helps to have her face.

They are both plain felt hats with no trims beyond simple bands. The first is, in my opinion, the nicer of the two, with a cute short brim at the front and turn up at the back.

The other is even plainer, but she still makes it work!

Nevertheless, there is a big contrast between these reserved styles and the glorious bonnet in the millinery shop.

When Julia sees the hat being removed from the window, Dudley (Cary Grant) pushes her inside and convinces the woman trying it on that it doesn't suit her - against the best efforts of the salesperson.

"Not everyone could wear such a daring hat. But of course it was made for madame."

Julia consequently is able to immediately buy the hat for herself, and wear it in a scene that makes us all want to ice skate, no matter how uncoordinated we are in reality.

This hat is a symbol of one of the movie's messages, and the lessons that Julia and the Bishop are reminded of - living life to the fullest and feeling young again. Being a bit more free and enjoying the experiences of life. As the cab driver Sylvester puts it, "You know your destination, but you're in no hurry to get there."

In fact, the hat isn't the only accessory with meaning in this movie. There is the scarf that Matilda gave to the Bishop, that he never wears, so she encourages Dudley to wear it."I'm sure he'll appreciate it once he sees it one me." That line sums up the whole movie!

I also love how both Matilda and Mildred start wearing flowers in their hair once Dudley has arrived on the scene. I only just noticed that in this last viewing.


There are also hats in the background that are worth checking out. The women in the street scene at the start, the lunch crowd at Michel's, and even the formidable Mrs Hamilton have some appealing looks to be inspired by. Not to mention knitted caps on the skaters and beanies and hoods on the children in the snow battle.

Do you have any favourite hats from classic movies? Can you think of any others where the hats play a role in the action?

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season, whatever that means for you. And remember...

The only people who grow old were born old to begin with. You were born young. You'll remain that way.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

A Vintage Bridal Look

Today I'm sharing the story of a beautiful bride, an elegant vintage-style wedding in the Blue Mountains, and a little hat.

The bride is my friend Mel, and the little hat is my first ever piece of bridal millinery. You may remember Mel as one of my models this year, and on the day of our photoshoot, she asked me to make her a hat for her wedding. The starting point for inspiration was the cherry velvet 1950s style half-hat, to be made in ivory and with beading to match her wedding dress.


These images are taken by Creek Street Photography. Mel and her photographer have exquisite taste and skill at making incredibly elegant photos! Choosing which ones to share here without making this an excessively long post was very tricky. I may have failed!

The ceremony was at the Everglades gardens in Leura, just as mine was two years ago. Mel chose the Cherry Terrace as the setting for her moment, with the blossoms out and making the perfect backdrop.

Being in the mountains, they made sure to get some photos with one of our many breathtaking views from a local lookout. This one is in Blackheath, I believe. Don't I just live in one of the most amazing places in the world?

The reception venue was the Carrington in Katoomba, in its suitably opulent ballroom.

Congratulations Mel and Alex. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your day by creating this headpiece, and for letting me share these photos. I feel privileged to have contributed a part to such a perfect day.

You can see many more of these gorgeous photos from Creek Street Photograpy on their blog entry about this wedding and I recommend you do go and check them out. If you are dreaming of your own vintage wedding, the photos show so much more of Mel's day, and she took great care in every detail.

Mel and Alex also had their wedding featured in Australia's Vintage Bride Magazine. In the article, Mel tells the story of their relationship and engagement, and her design decisions for the wedding day.

If you are planning your own wedding and are looking for a custom handmade vintage-style headpiece, I'd love for you to contact me. I hope to play my small part in many more perfect days.
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