Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Juliet the First

Juliet's brother was getting married at Tower Bridge in London. The wearing of fascinators was mandated. Fortunately, the piece about my big day at the races had just been published in the Beach Metro Community News, so she now knew of a local milliner within walking distance.

Duly she emailed me photos of her dress and accessories, and the sort of fascinator she was thinking of, which was made from sinamay. Silver sinamay.

There is such a thing, but do you think I could source any? No. My suppliers were out of stock. Quel worrisome development.

You can dye sinamay, of course, but I don't know any milliner who knows how to dye it a shiny colour. If they do know, they're not sharing that secret, anyway. My only option was to paint it. Other milliners do it when necessary; I just never had before. So that's what I did.

Juliet liked the idea of a slightly scaled-down version of my Queen's Plate competition hat, slightly modified. So I created a new block for it. The new shape is more defined, and the fascinator blocked on it sits on the head better. Yay!

I made the fascinator base, and conducted paint tests with scraps of sinamay and feathers. Then I was ready to paint the blocked base and the sinamay trim elements and feathers. Nothing bad happened. Yay again!

Then the fascinator came together -- blingy with crystals, shimmery with silk charmeuse, shivery with oblong silver paillettes, spiky with feathers and loopy with, um, loops.

Juliet came to pick it up, with her mother and daughter, the day before their flight to London. Fortunately, the big reveal was a success. Quel relief! I just hoped I had packed it well enough into its hat box to survive the flight.

Juliet had kindly promised photos, and she didn't keep me waiting long for them. The piece survived the flight and did its job for Juliet with flying colours. "It got a ton of compliments" is always music to my milliner's ears!

Her Majesty was so pleased she sent me this collage of herself in flying colours. (Well, no she didn't, but I like this collage and I'm still going to use it.)

Juliet's commission did represent several firsts: my first reinterpretation of my winning hat, my first attempt at painting sinamay, my first piece for a London wedding. And my first local client post-local-news-story!

Herewith the photos:

Photo par moi.

Juliet at Tower Bridge

Juliet and her family.

Another family group. Her mother is on Juliet's left.

The End!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Meeting Sharilene Over Tea

Tea has loomed large in my hat life this year. I named my bridal collection "Tea and Iced Cakes". I use tea as dye sometimes. And several clients found me to make fascinators for their tea-themed showers.

It was one such client who brought me to the attention of Sharilene Rowland, and vice versa. Sharilene's business, Tea Celebrations, catered Chandra's shower. I made fascinators for Chandra and several members of her family, and Sharilene took care of the festivities.

She was among the very first to specialize in tea catering in the GTA. The photos Chandra shared after her shower showed the work of someone who knew what they were about.

What I didn't realize was that there are so many other occasions beyond wedding or baby showers that can and do choose afternoon tea as their theme. Tea Celebrations' website will tell you its own story quite nicely, as does this great blog post Sharilene just shared with me.

Two things I loved about Sharilene before I met her: She says "afternoon tea", not the frequently misunderstood and misused "high tea." (One of my favourite pet peeves.) And she gets her teas from Pippins, a lovely shop in my own Beaches neighbourhood. Sharilene used to be a Beacher, too. It's so great to support local businesses. One thing I loved upon meeting her: Devonshire cream is a must at her events. I share that priority. (Without Devonshire cream, a scone is underdressed. Like it's missing its hat.)

It took a while for Sharilene and me to meet face to face. When we finally did, she took me to the Toronto Antique & Vintage Market, where she was blogging for Torontonicity. I am such a sucker for vintage shows! And, amazingly, I had never been to the Queen Elizabeth Building in the Exhibition grounds! It's mid-century cool, full of light, and, appropriately, it's wearing a crown.

Cool vintage photo of cool vintage building care of Robert Moffat/Toronto Modern

Sharilene worked the room, chatting up various vendors in her easy-going, friendly way, and I mooched for jewels for fascinators and whatever eye candy came my way.

From the iconic Lock & Co. hatters in London. Mysterious Mr. J.E.B.'s loss will be someone's gain.

I loved this charming painted straw cloche.

My haul. Fascinator bling!

I took lots of photos, in case Sharilene could use them for her blog post -- call it a hostess present.

After a thorough scrounge, on our way out I ran into an artist acquaintance. Patricia was there with Toronto Urban Sketchers, well, sketching. No sooner had I introduced her to Sharilene than they found they had much in common and would be in touch with each other about all of it. I love helping people connect, especially when it's with such serendipity!

I also met Patricia's sketching colleague, Helen Wilkie, who allowed me to take this photo of herself and her à propos sketch:

That's Patricia behind her, deep in conversation with Sharilene.

So I hope that Sharilene and I will be much in touch from now on. And look no further if her kind of celebration is just your cup of tea.