Tuesday 30 June 2015

"Strawberry Blossoms" Whimsy

It looks like I'm modelling this month's whimsy design, so we all know what that means!

This time, however, I was a little more organised. It is the school holidays, which means my teacher-husband is around, and I wouldn't have to take eleventy-billion selfies to achieve 4 decent photos. We were heading out on our family-date-day for a picnic, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I dressed up a little, in a casual cold-weather-picnic kind of way, put on a little make-up, brought the whimsy and the good camera. Of course, the camera was out of batteries and my lipstick was long gone by the time lunch was done with, but at least I didn't have to take my own photos! And it turns out that a red whimsy hides a red nose admirably well, if not completely.

We visited the Rhododendron gardens in Blackheath for our picnic, which was really lovely, despite the chill and the fact that not much is flowering in the middle of winter.

June's theme is strawberries. My first gardening success, one of my favourite fruits to eat, and an always-charming vintage millinery trim.

In my ideal imagined world where babies sleep well all night and nap multiple hours a day and someone cleans my house for me, I would have made my own velvet strawberries. In this world, however, I settled (for now) for some lovely ones that I had in my sewing stash. They do the trick nicely!

So now the real question, can I get away with a whimsy and jeans? Probably not, but I was willing to try.

The year is halfway over, and the first six whimsy styles have been up on the blog, including the tutorial. Which has been your favourite so far?

I'm excited to work on the next six designs, especially with Christmas and Halloween themes to explore!

The first email newsletter went out last week, and they will be coming out fortnightly, so sign up here to get on board before the next one!

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Winter Felts and a Vintage Hat Block Addiction

I know that my northern hemisphere friends are enjoying their summer, but here winter is really kicking in. Our fire has been going for months already, and the ground has been frosty many mornings. Consequently, I am going to share some wintry hats today!

The first is one that I made for myself. Today's top tip: don't let anyone else model a hat you made for yourself.

Because of the size (it is quite large) I started off wearing this angled to one side, as shown here. I quite like it this way, but for everyday wear I've now started wearing it on the back of my head.

The beret, and the hat shown below, are both formed on vintage hat blocks I picked up via Ebay last year. As much as I love free-shaping felt hats to my own whim, I have a serious weakness for the cool shapes of old blocks. It is so ridiculously hard to not buy them all. *sigh*

The only downside is not knowing exactly how they were intended to be worn or trimmed. While the beret is fairly straightforward, I wasn't sure about this swirly one at all.

In the end, I just block it and experiment. I'm pretty happy with how this one ended up, and I think it suits Lucy really well.

As you can see, my love of felt feathers is still going strong!

This green and black cloche is one I made last year and finally gave a proper photoshoot outing.

This one, like many of my hats, had me filled with doubt until I saw it worn properly and looking fabulous on a beautiful model.

These last two (and some others from the same blocks) are all currently in The Blackheath Hub, the local bricks-and-mortar that stocks my hats. Meanwhile, the beret is getting a good workout in my own daily wear.

Hat blocks like these are works of art. I just love looking at them! But I'm not going to allow myself to purchase any more until I've blocked more on the ones I own. I have a few others (vintage and new) that I'm only just starting to experiment with!

What's the vintage item or crafting supply that tempts you the most? Do you resist or just go crazy once in a while?

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Changes and Renewals

I've been working on some new projects and some changes lately. The first is that I am starting an email newsletter!

Now, I've been hearing for years that I need to have an email newsletter, and I've been ignoring that advice for all that time. Primarily because I had no idea what I would put in it. I imagined it being like the newsletters I get from big companies that just tell me about new products or sales or other stuff that I only occasionally care about.

This year, I've actually found some newsletters from blogs and small businesses that I enjoy, that I almost always open, that have inherent value to me, and that rise far above being a sales pitch.

Thus inspired, having brainstormed and planned and finally taken action, I am ready to launch!

Naturally, the newsletter will include information about my business offerings, such as new hats for sale or when I am available for custom work.

But it will also include much more. I'm using it as a way of sharing the cool content that isn't enough for a whole blog post, fun and interesting links, and some behind-the-scenes news and images from my work. It will also include links to the latest blog posts, so you can use it as a way of following along here if you want.

If that sounds interesting to you, get signed up!

Subscribe Here...

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The other news is that I've shifted my online shop back to Etsy! I know that some of you already know this, because you were sweethearts and favourited my shop even before it had much (or anything) listed yet!


I've added a bunch of items and will be listing some more soon, both ready-to-send completed items and made-to-order repeats of previous designs. Your support is always appreciated, so if you have an Etsy account, please click on over and give my shop or my items a little "favourite" love. It would make me smile :)

Thank you lovely people, and if you sign up to the newsletter, you will be hearing from me again before long!

Tuesday 9 June 2015

A Pink Straw Boater Hat and Vintage Cherries

One of the reasons I started my "How to Wear..." series with boater hats (along with finding such great inspiring images to use), was that I was working on completing my own boater hat.

I started this hand-sewn straw braid boater an embarrassingly long time ago, at the 2014 International Millinery Forum, in a class with (my favourite) millinery teacher Jan Wutkowski. Indecision about the finishing details and trims meant this one was on the shelf all that while. I'm so glad it's finally done!

And I really love it! It was a lot of work, but totally worth it, and I really want to start another one now. I'll add it to the list...*sigh*

For trims I've gone with some vintage millinery cherries that I've been itching to use, velvet leaves (a current obsession of mine!) and a black braid band.

Modelled by the stunning Lucy at our perfect Blue Mountains lookout location. We had so much fun exploring the many similar-but-subtly-different background options with all the different hats (more to come!).

It was also great to try the hat at different angles. I love the look of the forward tilt, but I think for everyday wearability I would be going with the back of the head. What do you think?

This happy summery number has gone into my etsy shop today.

If I do get to another one anytime soon, I'm thinking of a robin's egg blue. What do you think? What other colours do you think would suit the boater style? I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Hat: Biddy Stanford

Adelaide has been doing a lot of visiting in the UK. She clearly had a lot of fun with Biddy Stanford (and vice versa!).

I met Biddy on instagram, and she was super-keen to be a part of the travelling hat journey, or as she put it, become one of the "elite Hat Sisters." I love that.

I hope you feel special, ladies!

It just brings me such amazing joy to see the joy that Adelaide is spreading with her around the world. I couldn't have predicted how happy with was going to make me.

There is one more UK stop to share with you before Adelaide crosses the great Atlantic!
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