Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

There are just a couple of hours left in the year. I would like to take this opportunity to send out one last big thank you to all who supported me in my millinery endeavours in 2012.

Customers and clients, fellow creators, table and tent neighbours -- whether you came just to play, or stay and pay, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You make what I do worthwhile and so much fun!

Especial gratitude is due to repeat customers, who have come back through the years. It's an honour to serve you. Long may I be able to!

As the old adage says, new friends are like silver, and old are like gold. You are all precious, no doubt about it.

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2013 bring you peace, love, prosperity and all good things!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Holiday Season Begins for Local Milliner!

That would be me, now that my last sale for the year has come and gone.  I'm pooped!  I need my holiday!  I can't wait to start decking these halls and baking and gift shopping and watching Charlie Brown and the Grinch and George Bailey and the gang on DVD!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Last Sunday I was at Artscape's Wychwood Barns art and craft sale.  It's such a cool venue --  the old TTC streetcar barns near St. Clair and Christie converted into a live/work artists' colony and public space.  I'm glad the barns escaped the wreckers' ball and got a new lease on life for such a creative endeavour.

It was my first time at this sale, which has been happening for just a few seasons now.  A small, select group of talent was present on Sunday, December 9 offering their works for the first sale.  A different group will be there on Sunday, December 16.  If I could have chosen to do both dates, I would have, but they keep it fresh by having vendors choose one or the other, not both.

My neighbour to my left was Leftovers -- painted lobster claws and casts of teeth, some wearing braces, as jewelry.  Truly unique.  But Elaine, the artist's mom, told me that her family's business back in the day was making hat boxes!  They were called Progress Paper Box.  The company still exists, under another name and run by new people.  And they still make hat boxes, probably the same ones we can buy locally.

My buddy Yolanda of Poetic Designs was there, as well, with her lovely steampunky jewelry, surrounded at all times by an admiring crowd.  I had to try a couple of times before she had  breathing space for a quick hello.  She's no stranger to the Wychwood Barns sales.  She's there in the summer, too, when they have monthly crafty events.

It was a fast, busy day, just noon to 5:00 p.m., but it was action-packed.  I was kept very busy in a very jolly atmosphere -- happy shoppers, friendly, talented vendors, well-selected seasonal music on the P.A. and a great big Christmas tree at the entrance.  And to top it off, a sprinkling of snow as we were leaving.  Magical.

Herewith some souvenir photos:

My table.  I wish our little car could accommodate one that's bigger than five feet.  It gets mighty crowded this time of year.

My first customer of the day, in her new charcoal flannel bucket with the safety pin flowers.  Tres chic!

Kate!  She was having her face painted by Tharmila Rajasingam, in the booth behind me, when she noticed my hairbands.  She interrupted her makeover, came and chose this band, price being no object (so of course I gave her a deal), and then returned to Tharmila to complete her maquillage.

If only she could come out of her shell just a little bit...

Nicole considered this cloche-y toque...
...but Joelle made it hers.  This photo does not convey how adorably flapper-ish she looks in it.  Her friend, Sharry, is on her left in her juicy new felt clusters band.  Thank, ladies!

Elaine, of the hat boxes, and mother of Lisa Carrie Goldberg, of Leftovers.

Sheryl, absolutely rocking this pink and red toque.

This saucy peacock fascinator has found its forever home with lovely Karen.

Jenna in a beaded straw bow band.

Leah, in her new grey tweedy toque with the velvet brim.  As one with a lifetime fear and loathing of hats, but who needed one for warmth, it took some time for her daughter and me to convince her that she really did look nice in this.


Last Thursday I was at the Barbara Frum Atrium in the CBC building on Front Street at the ungodly hour of 8:30 a.m. for their 13th annual employee's charity craft sale, benefiting Unicef.  Much bigger than the Artscape sale.  Despite being situated under a (very high) skylight on a sunny day, my table was mired in gloom.  I've been to that space many times before, for other events, and it was always well-lit, even on overcast days.  Hence my assumption that light wouldn't be a problem, and didn't ask for access to electricity, which I was told was scarce.  Wrong assumption!

I saw my jewelry-making friend Joanne there, of JET Designs, but not until close to the end of the day.  The sale was so big that she was hard to make out, even though she was only a few yards away.  Other familiar faces from craft shows past were there, too, as is usually the case.  It's really nice to have that sense of community, however casually.

I met some super folks, too.  Julia Carslake came over first thing to say nice things about my work, which is a lovely way to start a show.  She makes fantastic aprons under the banner My Grandmothers Apron in fabulous fabrics she imports from her native England, and cozy feather-filled travel pillows and cases.  Really, really nice work and great prices.  If only she had any laminated ones I'd have scooped one up, because I really need one.

Julia was there with her friend, Chantal Larocque, who makes astonishingly beautiful handmade paper flowers.  Her company name is Dragonfly Expression  The detail!  The colours!  Just.  Mesmerizing.  She liked me and I liked her and I hope there will be more news to share about all that before too long.

My table.  Lighting courtesy of my camera's flash.

Julia (left) and Chantal's table, just across from mine.

Chantal's flowers made into a piece of wall art.  I met this piece "in person".  Wow.  Just wow.

Rebecca playing dress-up in my sinamay creased beret with the peacock sword.

Beth, channeling Zoe Deschanel in this cheeky pink felt frou-frou.

A mere slice of the floor, showing just a smattering of the many tables at the sale.  Truly a crafty shopper's bonanza.
Sonja, in her new black felt with the peacock trim.  Thanks, Sonja, and Sonja's fiance who told her she HAD to buy this hat!

So that's the season!  I'm looking forward to a rest and a renewal and coming back recharged in the new year!  Speaking of which, if you need a fascinator for New Year's or for any occasion at all, please contact me!   

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Vaughan of a Kind

The hats, the indispensable Scott and I made our first appearance at the annual Vaughan of a Kind art + craft show last Saturday.  It's been going on for a few years now.  The lovely and talented Yolanda Pang of Poetic Designs (modern vintage jewelry) recommended it.

It was a lovely day and the Vellore Village Community Centre was a bright, sunny place to spend it.  The new-ish centre (opened in 2005) certainly seems to be a community hub.  Lots of kids and parents coming and going to dance classes, swimming, karate and so on.  We had an adorable view of little girls in dance classes all day, right in front of our display.  How I wanted to dress their cute little heads..


The main floor was filled with crafters and artists of many ilks. The show is growing every year.  We each had a neat L-shaped space formed by two tables, which made a nice change from a single, long table.

It was also nice to be just around the corner from their wee snack bar.  A freshly baked pretzel with mustard hit the spot mid-morning.

The day started out quite slowly, with plenty of time to take a look at the other vendors.  It was delightful to run into Joanna of JET Designs, another jeweler I met at St.Lawrence Market when I was a newby there.  Joanna's so nice, and  her jewelry seems to be very popular.  She really gets around, too.   She's in shows all over the place, usually with her supportive mum helping her, as was the case Saturday.

Of course I saw Yolanda.  I love her pretty steampunky work.

I also saw someone whose name I did not catch, who makes vintage style porcelain dolls.  They are quite exquisite.  It's not just assembling parts;  she moulds the porcelain herself, and sews on the mohair wigs, and makes the costumes.  Quite the esoteric art!  She also teaches this craft.  How fun would that be?

She was right beside someone making equally exquisite Victorian style crazy quilt cushions and Christmas stockings.  I love crazy quilts.  I made myself a crazy quilt Christmas stocking a few years ago that still delights me when I hang it "by the chimney with care" each year.

Another vendor whose name I utterly neglected to catch makes adorable knitted caps.  Some were plain with simple decorations and others were like cute animals with ears.  She said that she knows David Dunkley, who I do some work for, and told me how he once bought a bunny cap with ears from her, for himself to wear to take his niece and nephew tobogganing one year!  That didn't surprise me.  Last time we worked together he was wearing his cheesy souvenir Will and Kate cuff links.  I love a milliner who doesn't take himself too seriously.

Our vendor neighbours was on our right was Suetables, a very nice couple, Pamela and Jesse, selling Pamela's beautiful silver jewelry.  They have three little kids at home, so her creations must be an important outlet for Pamela.  They were very helpful to one of my customers, offering insightful advice on making her selection.  Thanks again, guys!

Kendall loves peacock!  I thought she was all dolled up for a dance performance, but instead she was modeling tutus for one of the vendors.
Musicians in Victorian costumes.  Very pretty accompaniment to our show.  (No, I didn't make their hat and fascinator.)
Teresa was in Italy and could not find a hat she liked there.  She saw mine and loved it immediately.  So remember, if Italy can't help, contact me.
Sunder chose one of my cozy new toques, which she can tuck or pull down deep over her ears.
And this lady came by just at the very end to scoop up this jaunty poorboy cap.  I think she made a great choice.

And here endeth the tale.  I will post a new entry about the other shows I'll be doing this season.  And if I can make you anything special for your holiday occasions, please don't hesitate to ask!  I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sarah's Fascinator

I was scrolling through my email inbox in search of something when I came across one I had completely missed when it first arrived.  It was particularly vexing because I had been looking forward to it for months.  A client had promised to send me a photo of herself at her bridal shower, wearing the bespoke fascinator I had made for her.  It started with a blob of nail polish for colour matching, continued with a flurry of emails and photos of the work in progress, and this photo shows the result.

Here I was thinking she had forgotten all about it, when it was me who was the knucklehead.  Of course I apologized and thanked her as soon as I found this.  Here, I'll do it again:  Thanks again, Sarah, and sorry!

It was worth the wait.  I love this piece, and Sarah rocks it.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Last Market Absence Alert for 2012

This was supposed to me my last Saturday at St. Lawrence Market for the season.  Well, due to the bad weather, I won't be there today.  It's raining as I type this and the forecast for the day is not good. Hats being fibre and textile and feathers, they are not fond of damp weather, and people are not fond of trying on damp hats.  So that's that.

Stay tuned for further news like holiday craft sale dates and locations!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Apple Day

Yesterday was the day Scouts and their ilk sold apples to the St. Lawrence Market crowds, wherever they were.  They sure weren't hanging around the craft vendors.  I can't blame them.  It was cold and gloomy and threatening rain all day, before it really did mid-afternoon.  It was the post-Thanksgiving slump.  Also, the  traffic barricades were beginning to be put up for Sunday's Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which makes traffic stay away before it really has to.

Speaking of which, we saw the runner who is over 100 years old go by!  Fauja Singh, the Turbaned Tornado!  I guess he was getting in some last-minute training.  If that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is.

The farmers inside the north market seemed to be as busy as usual, so that was good.  Smart shoppers stuck to the indoors.

We craft vendors spent a lot of time visiting each other, commiserating and blowing on our fingers.  Did I mention it was cold?

Very quiet sales day.  Many vendors stayed home, which was a wise move.

I'm still glad I went, though.  It's still a high point of the week to see our friends and see what kind of reaction new creations get, from them and from visitors.  Very helpful.

My friend Janet came by, too!  I hadn't seen her in quite some time, and that was probably at the Market, too, when she said admiringly "Cool gig!"   A person of keen discernment.  She also has one of my hats, so she is also a person of taste.  (!)

And if I had stayed home, I wouldn't have met the nice people who came by my table and who don't live in Toronto.

Like Dianne, who liked my new tucked toque in creamy brocades so much that she decided to take it to live with her in New Jersey.  Just the thing to go with everything, especially this lovely lace jacket.  Thanks, Dianne!
 And Izzy, the almost five months old poodle/bichon mix, who was absolutely irresistible, as Salome's face will attest.  So friendly!  I had my own special moment with him too, I'm happy to report.
Did I mention it was a quiet day?  The park is practically a bowling alley.
Parker!  A very sweet, very trembly Yorkie.
With his "mom", Dana, and her new felt circles band.  I transferred the discs to a band to blend in with her hair.  I aim to please.

That's Roberto in the background in the grey felt I made him earlier this year.

Just after this it started to rain, which was a clear sign from the universe to pack it in already, go home and eat tomato soup.  So we did.

Thank you to all the brave souls who made it as far as my table Saturday!  I appreciate it very much.  Let's hope next Saturday's weather  is much better.

Second-last Saturday

The second-to-last Saturday of the season came and went.  Of course it was chilly and of course rained, but it was sunny first thing.  Just enough to make a few sales before we had to dive for cover for an initial cloud burst.  After that, it looked like it was going to be clear again, but the clouds came back and the rain with them.  We packed it up early and went to a movie studio wardrobe sale instead.  (I got some excellent unblocked hat bodies for a fabulous price!  Thanks, universe!)

Sachi in her cozy new tucked toque.
The Lemon Bucket Orkestre has bookended my Market season:  there at the beginning and again at the end; not so much in between.
The two members who came, and their lady clown.
A Schnauzer and his friend.
Another bearded terrier.
Hat by Anne, bling by Salome.
Rain on my iridescent tablecloth.  And so farewell.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Thanks, Thanksgiving!

It was my first Thanksgiving weekend selling at St. Lawrence Market last Saturday.  They tell me it's traditionally the busiest day of the year for the farmers and food sellers, even bigger than the festive season.  If it was, the extra crowds were sticking to the farmers' stalls, inside the building and outside, hidden around the corner from us.  Inside the north market building they had hung jolly banners from the ceiling, which gave the place a jolly holiday atmosphere.  Fall harvest was abundant, and there were still strawberries and haricots verts, which was fantastic.  How lucky we are to have such bounty to choose from for our Thanksgiving feasts.  Thank you, kind universe!

Outside it was darn chilly!  But you wouldn't know it from some of the people passing by, of which there were still a goodly number.  Sensible folk were wearing jackets and scarves and,yes, hats and caps, but there was a contingent wearing shorts and flip flops and T-shirts.  Even little kids!  Either they came from arctic regions, or they were in deep denial about the season.  Looking at them made me feel so much colder!  Brrrr....

Anyhoo, it was a really good day for me!  (Better than the photographic evidence would suggest.  Lots of my customers are camera shy.)  It was fun, too.  People were in a good mood.  That busker was back, and this time I made sure to get his card so I could mention his name, which is Jaffa.  He's from Haiti.  His real name is Dieufaite, which means, if my French isn't too rusty, God made.  Isn't that lovely?  We like his music, and he's a good sport, too.

I met another musician, who came by with a friend to admire my work.  He just looked like a musician.  His name is fiZ.  His name suits his pretty music.  Pop!  Bet he was sorry he chose that chilly weekend to be away from his steady gig oceanside in California.

It was a good day to eat pretzels from Oodles of Strudels, whose creations I can wholeheartedly endorse.  So I did, and shared them around.  They come in handy for harried moms who don't always get breakfast, like my vendor neighbour, Maria.

On with the show:

.My table in the pretty early morning light.
The banners inside the farmers' market building.

Julieta's family bought her this hat as an early Christmas present, and a bracelet from Salome, too.  They were so nice!  It was a great start to the day.  Thanks, everyone!
Here's a photo of all of us that Julieta's daughter Jaquie sent me afterwards.  Tha's their friend Becky on the right.
Just look at him!  What a sweetheart.
Jaffa, playing his recorder and giving his singing voice a rest....
...and later with an appreciative audience.
Elana, so pretty in her new felt disc band.
Revy, short for Revelstoke, waiting for his mom to stop talking to Salome.
Different dog, same story
Karena, looking fab in her new purple bucket.
One of a handful of wedding parties who came by.  Oh sure, it looks all warm and stuff, but no!  It was darn cold!  Every bride said through chattering teeth, "It's not so bad!"  Brave, deluded souls.
Lucy, in her new cap.  Very cozy!