Thursday, 19 December 2013

Different Hats and Holidays

It's been quiet on the blogging front lately. I've been too busy in the real world to keep you posted as I should have. You may have heard me tweet, though, if you follow me (@hattierthanthou).

My Twitter profile pic

First, as I've mentioned before, I moved my hats and hair toys into the Arts Market on College at Ossington last month. So exciting to be among the local talent of makers of so many kinds, and vintage wallahs, too. My St. Lawrence Market friends, jewelry maker Maria Lopez and photographer Roberto Rivieros are there, too! It's a fantastic place to do your gift shopping, because there is something there bound to please most people on your list, and wonderful prices. Everyone shopping there looks like a kid in a toy store! Smiles, wide eyes, a palpable sense of delight. I'm not kidding. Go and be among those happy shoppers!

BlogTO shot of Arts Market, College Street exterior

Scott and me moving in

As soon as I was set up at the Arts Market, from late November through early December I was wearing my minion hat (not literally), working for Joanna of Belle Boutique at the One of A Kind Show. It's the second year I've helped her sell her beautiful and popular jewelry belts at the biggest craft sale of the year. Over 800 vendors stuff the space inside the Direct Energy Centre at the Exhibition grounds. Good thing they let patrons come back a second day for free. You need at least two days to see everything. I had nine days, which was great. So much talent in one place at one time. Awe-inspiring is an understatement.

(And so much noshiness to sample, too! My favourite new discovery there was Smoke Fine Foods, of Quebec. They do wonderful things with smoked herb mixtures that make fantastic dips, and smoked roast garlic which I put in almost everything. To. Die. For. Word.)

No sooner had I recovered from that marathon, than the indispensable Scott had his long-awaited book launch! "Willowdale: Yesterday's Farms, Today's Legacy", published by Dundurn and released November 23, was officially launched at the offices of the Ontario Historical Society on December 10. It was the Society's 125th anniversary, and their offices are in a historic house in Willowdale, so it was a match made in heaven. So many people came to congratulate Scott on the fruition of years of labour of love, nibbling delicious scones, sipping tea and punch, and buying lots of books which Scott signed. I couldn't have been prouder of him.

Me (in a Belle Boutique belt, btw) and Scott, newly minted author, at his book launch

And now we're in the countdown to Christmas! I have been fluffing my little spot at the Arts Market, dressing it for the holidays and adding cozy cloches and wee hats for the tree. Just added some more today, as it happens. The store is open late, until 9 p.m. tonight through Monday, so get yourself there if you can and browse and shop and be mighty impressed by your local makers of all things.

Wee hats for tree (or anything, for that matter) ornaments

Cardinal cloche

I've also been booking a bunch of appointments chez moi for bespoke hats and fascinators. Finding time to do any Christmas baking (my favourite seasonal activity) is becoming a bit of a challenge. But I have made one batch of shortbread, so that's good. Mince tarts and egg nog (really, really good egg nog) are yet to come. And they will, so help me St. Nick!

If I don't blog again soon, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone! Thanks for all your support in 2013!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

My Store! All Forty-Six Glorious Inches of It!

My big news of the season is that I have a space in the Arts Market's 846 College Street location!

Have you heard about the Arts Market yet? It's like a permanent, indoor craft sale! Indoors! No boiling, freezing or getting drenched! No dreary schlepping of the display every time! Not even having to be there in person, because someone wonderful is minding the store, five days a week! How liberating....

Daniel Cohen dreamed it up and was musing about it when he was a fellow vendor (selling his photography) at St. Lawrence Market two years ago. He thought it would be great to have a store where makers of various arts and crafts, and purveyors of vintage goods, could rent a space, do it up the way they like, and not be subject to the vagaries of weather. He opened the Leslieville store that very year. It really took off, and earlier this year he opened the College Street location, at the corner of Ossington.

I have been watching the Arts Market blossom since its inception. I'm so impressed by the level and mix of talent Daniel has curated. I'm not alone; it won Now Magazine's Best Unique Gift Store for 2013! I like being among the best. I do that in the summer, too.

So I applied, waited for a spot, one opened up at College Street and I grabbed it. Forty-six inches of wall, plus a tiny corner. Now all I had to do was think of it a teeny store, and furnish it accordingly. First concept to jettison was grid wall. I had walls I could have my way with!

I must thank whoever threw out the dresser I spotted on a neighbourhood walk shortly after signing my lease. That became the major piece. I also thank the other neighbour who discarded a folding plant stand two years ago. That was brought into play, too. I thought I might squeeze in a new hat stand I got a great deal on very recently, but it wouldn't fit. Mercifully, I had a eureka moment and found a way to put at least some of it to work....

It also helps to have an indispensable Scott around. He is literally indispensable to my millinery business. I couldn't do what I do without him "roadie-ing" (his expression, recovering musician that he is), or his handiness with paint and hammer, or his unfailing patience and easy-going nature. He is the one who made the space come together. All this, while waiting for his very first book, written or published, to be released this Saturday! I am one lucky cuss, I'm telling you. Thank you, Scott and kind universe.

So I'm in! Please come to the Arts Market at 846 College at Ossington, see my little retail space and buy a hat or hair toy! It's a very fun place to shop, you'll see!

On with the show:

We begin with a freshly patched and painted wall, courtesy of Scott.

Scott in the Vendors' Hang area in the back of the store, waiting for paint to dry, looking at a vintage magazine ad on how to cope with orangutan hair. (They must have eradicated it. I never hear about it, at any rate. Well done, advertiser!)

My hero!

At the end of our move-in day, last week, a rudimentary set-up. Other commitments interrupted, then we were back yesterday to continue.

Scott and me at work yesterday.

Scott putting up shelves. Not only that, but he sourced them too. Little rounded corner shelves, dusty and forgotten on the bottom shelf of a hardware store. Just as I had imagined. Probably the last to be had. What a guy!

As Scott hammered, leveled and painted, I attached grey corduroy liners I had sewn at home inside the dresser's drawers.

Here's the top drawer, nestling my fascinators.

...and the second drawer, with clips...

...and the third drawer, with cozy toques. I'm strangely proud of these liners. Okay, I'm proud of the work inside them, too.

We weren't the only newbies moving. Bev Pines was painting her new space, which she will stock with her homeopathic skin products. She had me try a hand cream, which was lovely. I do love handmade skin products.

An Ikea star Scott dusted with gold paint to hold my hair bands.

My neighbour's ex-plant stand, painted white and gold by Scott, now a hat stand. I papier mache'd these "girls" with tissue paper flecked with gold and silver.

I never noticed before today the little A's on the feet! Kismet!

Told you I had a eureka moment about the new hat stand! The nice man at the hardware store a few doors east found us what we needed to mount it and make it spin.

Spin, but spin slowly, friends. I thank you.

I'm among friends here, and I didn't even know it until we moved in. This is Roberto Riveros's space, our photographer buddy from St. Lawrence Market...

...and here is a snippet of Maria's space, another Market friend. She and Salome are sharing the window at the Leslieville Arts Market location. And it looks stunning, as is their work.

Danielle, on the left, on her way out, after primping her wonderful space full of vintage clothing and furniture. Stephanie, on the right, is the cheerful staffer who minds the store>. She also makes whimsical accessories using keyboard keys and other for her own space, right beside the awesome big front desk.

The big reveal! All done!

Once more, for emphasis.

And just as I was leaving, Barbara Ann came by my space. She loves hats, and looks great in this one! I do hope she comes back with her wallet....

So there you go, my mini retail saga. With your help it will be an ongoing story! Thanks for reading this far!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Vaughan of A Kind 2013

Tomorrow is Vaughan of A Kind. I'll be there. I hope you will be, too.

But it's not the end of my holiday sales. I've moved into the Arts Market, 846 College Street at Ossington! I'll tell you all about it next week.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Holiday Season Begins at Heintzman House

Heintzman House in Thornhill was buzzing this past weekend. The historical property and popular event venue was all dressed for the holiday season, and for the 42nd (!) annual Artisans Gift Sale. There were vendors on three floors. My hat display was there once again, also in holiday festive mode.

This time, I was in the Bride's Room. I've always coveted this space, on the second floor, overlooking the conservatory below. Helen Tucker, one of my crafty colleagues from St. Lawrence Market, was installed in its boudoir, selling her jewelry. Nice to have a comrade nearby.

Another Market-esque feature was a complement of costumed characters, representing United Empire Loyalists and reminding us that Heintzman House began as a UEL house. (The Heintzman family, of piano-making fame, were the last people who lived in it as a private residence.) These people were descendants of UEL ancestors, and represented various sectors of these antecedents' society. The most detailed story was that of the descendant of Lieutenant John Young, wearing the uniform of the British Army's "Indian Department." He had a great tale to tell of mutual respect and service between his ancestor and the Mohawk community he lived near.

I also learned a lot about bees and beekeeping, thanks to my neighbour, Hugh Simpson and his Osprey Bluffs Honey Company. His stock of jars and cartons of golden or creamy yumminess dwindled steadily over the weekend. (I bought some, and can vouch for its particular deliciousness.) It was really interesting listening to him tell his visitors about the bees, their diet, their stresses, and so on. He brought a beekeeper's smoker with him. It smelled amazing! (I'm a sucker for the smell of wood smoke.) Takeaway lesson: If you care about honey bees, don't kill the dandelions! They are the bee's first food of the season.

(Millinery has a relationship with apiaries because we sometimes use thread reinforced with beeswax. So there you go, your millinery nerdy factoid of the day. You're welcome.)

On with the show!

My pretty table in the pretty Bride's Room.

"Lieutenant John Young." Actually, his descendant.

Diane is in the costume of a lady, You can tell because her binding corset doesn't permit her to do much real work.

Unlike the farmer's wife, in her calico print short gown, but no corset. This UEL descendant made her own costume from period-correct patterns and fabrics. Very nice work!

Melissa, a.k.a. Mrs. Simpson, the beekeeper's wife, bought this black and white cloche, in which she looks a treat and will stay stylish and warm. She was the only non-camera-shy customer of the day. Thanks, Melissa!

Karen Pasieka, a fellow vendor in previous years, whose medium is polymer clay, bought this tucked toque, a rare self-indulgence. Her own work is just lovely.

Brigitte just had to have this red diskette fascinator with embellished fabric applique. They make a very happy couple. Thanks, Brigitte!

Among friends, at left Sabina Margitta, the chief organizer of the event.

Alyssa looks adorable in her new cobalt blue felt roses band. Thanks, Alyssa!

But my weekend was truly made when Jeannie came by. She was one of my first customers at Heintzman House, and she came by especially to see me! She loves red, and she chose this cozy, soft red cloche...

...and this red tapestry trilby. Great choices, Jeannie! Thank you very much

Customers like Jeannie, who make a point of coming back, are treasures. Having customers return is so validating. It's the best feeling in the world, and I couldn't be more grateful. Thank you again, Jeannie!

Well, that's a wonderful note to close this post!

Next: Big week! Stay tuned!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Hark! It's Historic Heintzman House's Holiday Happening! Hooray!

(Oooh, look, that's my Pink Kiss on the top left photo on the flyer!)

It's that happy time of year again! This weekend Heintzman House brings you another year of wonderful vendors and their lovingly crafted creations. After forty-something years, they know how to throw a craft sale. The ladies of the Auxiliary are behind it. They are very gracious and it's always a pleasure to see them again. Today, for example, for the vendor set-up they had coffee and cookies one of the volunteers had baked fresh that morning. So thoughtful and so yummy.

Heintzman House is really a beautiful place to visit, especially if you like historic houses, as I certainly do. For a teeny toonie donation to the Auxiliary, who keep the house maintained and restored, you can peruse three floors of artistry and comestibles and the house itself. Just the thing to get your holiday gears in motion. They also have a charming tea room set up, so you can have a refreshing cuppa and snack without having to leave.

I've just come from setting up my millinery display, and this year they have me in the Bride's Room! I feel like I've been promoted! It's so beautiful. I've always coveted that space.

And speaking of brides, Heintzman House is a beautiful venue for weddings! You may recall my client Jess, the local girl who moved to Hawaii with her handsome husband, whom I've blogged about before. I also named my line of seagrass and raffia and lace head bands after her because she's such a fan of them. When I sent her my client newsletter about my holiday sales, she sent me a photo of her own Heintzman House wedding that I want to share with you.

Quel fairy tale!

So I hope you'll come to Heintzman House this weekend to see what's new from me, enjoy the lovely venue and, perhaps,dream your dreamy wedding dreams.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Holiday Season Begins!

Happy Hallowe'en! Let's hope this rain departs before the little ghosts and goblins begin their annual candy crawl. Can't wait to see what our Jack O'Lantern will look like once the indispensable Scott has carved it. Bless his pumpkin-gutsy hands! I'm up to my elbows in felt, fabric and feathers, so I'm very grateful that Scott takes the Hallowe'en duties upon himself.

Also, when your book is about to come out, having your hands immersed in pumpkin keeps you from biting your nails to the quick.

But I digress. I want to tell you about my holiday craft shows.

They begin at the Heintzman House Artisans Craft Sale in Thornhill, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturday, November 9 and Sunday, November 10. I missed this one last year, but I'm back again. It's such a lovely and interesting historic house (adobe! You'd never guess), once belonging to the family who manufactured Heintzman pianos, so it's worth a trip for that alone. The $2 admission goes to the auxiliary who use it to maintain the property. And it's a real bargain, for you get to see the house and see the work of three floors worth of fabulous makers of swoon-worthy creations, to give our to indulge yourself with.

The next one is Vaughan of A Kind, in Woodbridge, On Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I'm looking forward to Hats by Anne's second appearance there, after an enthusiastic reception last year. It's another sale full to bursting with lots of crafty talent, in a bright, new community centre. Free admission and parking!

And in between those two events, I am making my debut at the Arts Market at 846 College Street, just west of Ossington. Have you heard about it yet? It's a very cool, year-round, indoor craft market for makers of all kinds of arts and crafts. It's the brain child of Daniel Cohen, whom I met at St. Lawrence Market a couple of years ago. Daniel is a photographer, who traveled the world and sold photos of his discoveries. He thought it would be a good idea to have a year-round craft sale where the creations gets to stay warm and dry, no matter what it's doing outside, and you get to keep making things and someone else (Daniel) minds the store. Daniel looked at examples of such places on his international travels, honing his concept with the best examples out there, came home and got to work. He opened the Arts Market at its original location in Leslieville in the summer of 2011, and it's been such a success that he's more recently been able to open the College Street location! He's such a friendly, warm person and he's worked very hard to make the Arts Market a viable concern. Salome and Maria, my jewelry-making friends at St. Lawrence Market, are currently sharing the front window at the Leslieville location at 1114 Queen St. East, and Maria also has a spot in the window at 846 College Street. So it's nice to be among friends.

I move into the Arts Market on Wednesday, November 13. Like the other makers, I get a swath of wall space to decorate and furnish and stock with my millinery goodness. I'll make another announcement about it when I'm in there and all stocked up.

Beyond these happenings, I'm also on the waiting list for a spot at the Wychwood Barns holiday craft shows, so I'll update you here if I get in.

So there you have it! My hats, toques, cozy cloches, fascinators and more and I will be delighted to see you at one or more of these great shopping opportunities.

Thank you for your support and for reading this far! Wishing you a dry evening and the very best of the leftover Hallowe'en candy.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Rain, Fall, Farewell

Last Saturday at St. Lawrence Market was a great one for me! By 10:30 a.m. I had sold three hats, plus a hair toy or two. Pretty fast out of the gate for moi. I thank the universe for kindly listening when I asked as nicely as possible for a good day.

I mostly thank the individuals who made it so, especially Dionne from Washington, up for a bit of R & R. She wisely invested in Salome's fabulous jewelry, then cast her eyes to the right and favoured my wares with her attention. She liked what she saw, and chose not one but two of my pieces! And she's a very stylin' lady, so I am delighted that two of my chapeaux will be spending their days in the capital of the U.S.A. on the capital of Dionne.

My tent neighbour, Mark, teaches ESL when he's not selling jewelry made by the Miaow people of south China. Ever the innovator, he was making little videos to explain English idioms to his students. He asked me for one, explaining a few hat-related examples, like "Keep it under your hat" and "Mad as a hatter". It was fun! So who knows, maybe you'll see me if you take one of Mark's classes.

Deborah bought the very first of my new sewn cloches! I'm so glad she did, because she looks wonderful in it, with her mass of curls. It's always a happy day when a new design finds its first home. I'll be making more for the holiday season and winter.

Mean Mr. Mustard also found its forever home! Thanks to Edwin, who can rock a chartreuse felt like few others. Atmospheric conditions prevented any hat-modeling photographs at that moment, sadly. It would have been a good one.

The rain came early. We weren't expecting any until 1-ish, but the it clearly had a packed schedule and didn't stand on ceremony regarding its previously announced start time. It came, and it was good and wet. There is only so much you can do with flimsy sheets of plastic and clamps, and pretty soon it was apparent that the day was over. We packed up and beat a hasty retreat.

Last Saturday at St. Lawrence Market was just that -- my last Saturday, at least until next May, when the tents go up again. On to the holiday season! Remember, you can subscribe to my blog to make sure you don't miss any announcements about holiday sales, or any other post. The button is at the top of the right sidebar.

On with the show!

Deborah in the very first sewn cloche! I think they suit each other perfectly.

The stylin' Ms. Dionne from DC in the red bucket she bought...

...and again, in her new green toque! She looks great, and she'll keep cozy and warm until the cherry blossoms return. Many thanks, Dionne!

Liz, looking lovely in her new emerald band. Thanks, Liz!

Dog break!

Sticky Toffee, the habitué with his own website.

And again, from above, so you can read his t-shirt.

Two little wrestlers.

Meeting and greeting.

Dog break over! Back to people, or at least, not-dogs.

My flimsy tarp doing its best to keep the merch dry.

Salome returning borrowed scissors. I love this photo. Almost as much as I love....

....this one!

And so, adieu, Market of 2013! Thanks for the memories. See you next May!

The hattiness continues, even though the Market season has ended. Check back regularly for news, or better yet, subscribe!