Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Last Saturday

Last Saturday was my last Saturday at St. Lawrence Market for the summer season, which starts in mid-spring and goes to early autumn. And what a gorgeous day it was! We were expecting all kinds of "meh" or worse weather, and instead were treated to warm and sunny. Lots of relieved-looking people were about, browsing and shopping.

Someone was giving away these cool burlap bags, so I nabbed one.

This week's musicians noticed I was aiming my camera at them and obliging smiled for me.

Salome had the nerve to be absent for my last day. Instead, her lovely daughter, Adrian, filled in for her. We fed her big, soft pretzels, as was only fitting, as her mother usually shares hers with us and many others. (We get them at the farmers' market at Oodles of Strudels. You should, too.)

Steve was around again, so I put him to work as a hat model. Look for him in weekends to come, with his high-tech fabric active wear.

I had made some new hat pins, which were well received. Here's Marg, who plans on wearing hers on a scarf.

Raelene from Perth, Australia bought a hat. It's always extra flattering to have one of my pieces chosen by someone who lives in a millinery hotspot.

And speaking of travelers, here is Marlin, from the U.S.A., in his new poorboy cap.

And speaking of poorboy caps, Jill made an inspired choice with this one.

Charlie in a pink hairband.

Charlene in her new hat. Clearly, ladies whose names begin "Char" know how to flatter their outfits and complexions with headwear.

Roberto and Stephen pointed out their new "Open" sign, which was tres amusant.

A small child on a Winnie the Pooh leash came by, too cute to miss capturing.

This lady demonstrated why she looks good in headwear -- her head could have been the model for the ubiquitous styrofoam ones. And that girl can wear anything.

Three disparate examples of Market style. The bike looks like it belongs to a resident of Ward's Island. For non-Torontonians, Ward's is one of the islands in our harbour, and the last one with homes. There are no cars allowed, so the residents have these nifty, tricked-out bikes of impressive variety to do as much duty as possible, like lugging home groceries. And, apparently, tiny canoes, like on the back of this one.

And, finally, the lovely Ms. Gail, who celebrated her birthday with a sinamay swirl and feathers. A career ballerina, she was also quite taken with a white feather fascinator she dubbed "Swan Lake". The one she chose didn't require pointe shoes, however.

Well, that's a season. And a glorious one it was, too, after the first few wet weeks. Lovely weather, people and sales. Thank you, one and all, and a big thank you to you, universe!

I'm now in major production mode, getting ready for my holiday season craft sales. So stay tuned for news about those.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Second-Last Saturday

Another pretty day at St. Lawrence Market was enjoyed by all last Saturday. Foot traffic wasn't what it could have been, but it had a lot to contend with -- the Don Valley Parkway was out of commission all weekend, as was the Yonge Street subway line. The traffic congestion that resulted was a thing to be reckoned with. I'm thinking maybe some people were staying close to home to avoid the mess. Ah, Toronto, such scheduling genius...

We were kept entertained by a guitarist on the sidewalk in front of us and a blue-ish grass duo behind us in the park. A large jelly bean was giving out freebies and getting his picture taken a lot. A large wedding party in a bus pulled up later in the afternoon looking for photo ops of their own. Steve hung out with us, Bluetooth in place, occasionally taking calls. He does things with limos during the week, but is looking for just the right thing to sell at the Market on weekends. He's around a lot, so maybe it will happen by osmosis.

Salome's sister was visiting from Vancouver. Roberto's son was visiting from home. His name is Severus and he was an internet sensation a few years ago, narrating (and making inadvertent appearances in) an adorable stop-motion video his dad made. He's quite modest for one so famous. He also likes hats and has a fedora, so he's one of my tribe.

Next Saturday is my last for the St. Lawrence Market season. The tents will be up until the end of October, I believe, and there are always vendors outside on the weekends, tents or not. Salome is among them. Well, not this very second...

But I will be posting my holiday show schedule here, so stay tuned!

Jessica test-driving the sinamay rose band.

Judy, who likes this hat. So do I. It was having a moment that day.

See what I mean? That's Steve with Salome. Don't call him Charles.

The blue-ish grass band. I am such a sucker for a banjo. So is the small child.

The guitar player. Another lovely instrument.

Cordeiros squared. Joao and Salome.

Lisa chose this little bow band. And I thank her for doing so once again.

The large wedding party and the large bus.

The littlest bridesmaid, living my childhood fantasy. How I longed to be dolled up as a tiny bride in a wedding party. But the universe thought otherwise and it was not to be. I'm sure it knew best.

Ruth, who came back and bought this two-tone cap. Many thanks, Ruth!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Grace Notes

Saturday was another gorgeous one at St. Lawrence Market. This time we were graced with a performance by a high school chamber quartet, who departed before I could take their picture. They were very pleasant company, however briefly.

Although the film festival was in full swing across town, no major movie stars stopped by. How like them...

It was a good day for sales, but almost no one wanted to have their picture taken, not even the young and very cute among my visitors. Go figure.

Anyhoo, that makes an extra big star this week of Deb, who bought a different band than the one she's modeling here, but this is the better photo.

There are only two more Saturdays in September, then I'm done at the Market for the season. Where does the time go? I'm thinking Newark. Don't ask me why.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Labour Daze

Labour Day weekend and I'm back at my post from my sojourn on the Detroit River. Saturday was the best weather of the weekend, which as I type is overcast and chilly. Mournful, even. As if sad and downcast over the prospect of school starting again tomorrow, the Ex closing for another year, summer being all but officially over. Pathetic fallacy for you English majors.

Despite the hoards cleaning out the farmers' stalls inside (note to self: buy haricots verts early to avoid disappointment), it was a slow day for me. The low vendor turnout should have been a clue. If I had checked last year's records in advance, I would have been reminded that it was the same this weekend last year. Just so long as I don't have to take it personally, I'm fine.

The highlight of the morning was the young bluegrass band that parked itself beside me, by the fountain, and played for too brief a time. They were really good! I'm sorry I didn't catch the band's name and I hope they'll be back soon.

A little dog at the fountain jumped repeatedly and exuberantly when his people splashed water on him, to the delight of all assembled. This photo doesn't really do him justice.

Karina took home a new hairband, but didn't want to try on the green sinamay disc hat, because it was "too weird." (Love!)

This feathered sinamay swirl
found a new home with this lovely lady.

I thought I'd use this lull to tell you a bit about my tent neighbours of the past several weeks. Roberto Riveros takes great photos of local landmarks and sells framed prints of them. Some of them include his friend Stephen Zaitsov, who helps him at the Market.

That's Stephen at Grossman's door.

Roberto is originally from Edmonton. He met Stephen, from Toronto, at a flop house in Vancouver. They don't seem very floppy these days. They've known each other for some twenty years now and have worked together before, like when Roberto ran a trucking business. They'd haul just about anything -- metal, fine furniture, computers, frozen goats, sometimes all at once. Roberto says he racked up almost a million miles, personally, during this time. Stephen adds that he himself got into some interesting accidents and hasn't driven since. Despite the memories that were sparked and the stories that poured forth too fast to record, neither misses this episode of their lives.

Stephen has fabulous style and a great love of hats. He has quite a collection, so I am honoured that he likes Mean Mr. Mustard, too.

For Roberto, photography is his hobby. He has a portfolio career; he does lots of things for a living, like building websites. Perhaps his most important job these days is taking care of his young son. With his wife at nursing school by night and working by day, Roberto's getting his little guy ready for his very first day of school tomorrow.

Roberto's photos,in black and white and colour, are attracting lots of close looks by lots of Market visitors. His framed prints are priced from $25 to $110. Take a look for yourself.

It's been (and still is) great having these guys sharing my tent this summer and I hope we'll get to do it again next season.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Last weekend I was in Amherstburg, near Windsor, selling my hats at ART by the River. It's an annual craft sale at historic Fort Malden, on the Detroit River, benefiting the local Gibson Gallery.

I was invited by my friend Jacqui Uza, who makes gorgeous vintage-style beaded purses. She and her husband, George, travel the world and sell the purses at all kinds of events as they go. Cool or what?

Never having sold my hats outside my major metropolitan area, and hardly ever getting out of it, period, I was excited and a bit nervous about my late summer adventure. The indispensable Scott stayed home to take care of our two cats. But he did handsomely have the car serviced pre-road trip and taught me how he loads it with my gear, which was great.

Thanks to Google Maps and our own map book, I got there without much trouble. Jacqui and George live in nearby LaSalle, where I was their guest for the weekend. We went to set up our tent and big display items as soon as I arrived.

What a pretty place Fort Malden is! It was pretty important during the War of 1812 and has had a varied career in its history. Vendor tents covered much of its grounds, which were looking terribly spruce after 200 years.
Remember this guy, from St. Lawrence Market in July? He sure gets around.

The weather was fabulous! We were so lucky, since it was a rain-or-shine deal. (Thanks a lot, sun, eh?)

Our tent site was in a lovely part of the park, near the riverbank. We couldn't have loved it more. On Saturday a tall ship flying Old Glory cheekily sailed past and boomed cannon at us, delighting the humans and frightening the dogs.

A sheltie panting post-boom.

I spent a lot of time looking at the river and wishing I could get in it.

That's Boblo Island, now a tony residential enclave, previously an amusement park where George worked summers in his youth. I understand there were hijinks. Or possibly high jinx.

Saturday began on a peckish note as we arrived to finish setting up before we had eaten anything. There was no handy eatery near enough to come back with hot coffee, and, amazingly, none of the food vendors had any. I need my caffeine in the morning, people! And something to eat, too! The morning was saved by the lovely and talented Wafa and her hubby Rusty, of Sun Sweet Catering, who make the most fantastic hummus dips. They very kindly fed me a toasted bagel shmeered with their awesome garlic spread and instant coffee with honey. Bless them both! (Yes, I had breath mints with me.)

The weekend sales started slowly each day, but progressed nicely as the days went on. Jacqui's purses are like catnip to the local ladies, who are no fools. My hats were well received, too. I was flattered to be invited to a hatty event nearby next winter.

It was difficult peeling myself away on Monday morning to head back home, but it was lovely to see my darlings again. Apparently I was missed! I'm lucky. (Have I mentioned that before?)

And now, photographic souvenirs of my millinery road trip:
The set-up tents all tucked in for the night, Friday.

Open for business, Saturday.

Our tent with hats and purses.

Our teeny table, with George just visible on the right.

Barb strikes a pensive pose in Mean Mr. Mustard.

Jalyn and Peyton, who indulged me by posing in their outfits that matched a couple of my pieces.

Shirley. Ditto.

Angel-Lee in her new gold linen band.

This lady took home a different hat than this one, leaving this one free to be chosen by someone else.

For when you need a safety pin.

A beauty models "Mood Indigo."

I missed Hannah's dance performance, but not her aqua braces, which matched this band.

Solange continues the colour theme.

And so does Emily.

A drum sergeant of the fife and drum corps.

A soldier's wife about to open a building and lead a tour. Her costume looked very authentically historical as she called us "guys" and worked on the computer.

Ballerina Megan strikes a pose in a purse by Jacqui and a band by me.

And she didn't think she looked fabulous in this. Tsk. But a chorus of "Yes, you do's" convinced her, and now the hat is hers.

Elise, left, knew she had to have this pink slouch cloche. Kelly is on the right. But I believe she was wrong not to have bought the cap she's rocking here.

Two silly ladies. The one who isn't me (in green) is Jacqui Uza, modeling "Eliza".

Another "Eliza" fan.

And, finally, Judy, who loved it so much she made it her own. It's crossing the river to live in the U.S. Godspeed, Judy and "Eliza"!