Saturday, August 11, 2007

Early morning whirlwind, and Jane.

Five a.m., Bush International Airport, Houston Texas.
We seem to have a habit of going to the airport in the wee hours whenever visiting family members are leaving.
We just want to squeeze in every minute of time together possible.
So this morning we took Laura to the airport in the dark so she could fly back to Denver, pick up her car and drive to Salt Lake City for her next assignment. She'll be working at the University of Utah Medical Center, and living with her brother Jeff for three months. They have not lived under the same roof for over ten years; a lot of growing up has been going on since then so this will be a chance to for them to get to know each other again as grown up professional people.
Pretty cool.
I mentioned that we were planning on seeing the movie "Becoming Jane" the story of Jane Austen.
We did make it to see the movie yesterday afternoon.
Bernie requested a knife to stab himself midway through the film. Better a painful death than to suffer another moment of the film.
Laura groaned that it was soooo boring!
I complained that the costuming seemed to be sewn up by jr. high school students.
"Jane" is played by Anne Hathaway, she with just a tad too much winsomeness in her toothy smiles.
Mrs. Austen was played by the actress who played Mrs. Weasly in the Harry Potter movies.
Mrs. Weasly chewing out Jane Austen....weird.
Jane's love/lust interests was quite good, however there was another suitor with money and a solid temperament that Laura thought actually had more going for him than Mr. Love Interest.
(I can't even remember what his name was!)
The other suitor's aunt was played by another Harry Potter actress.
So confusing!
Bernie nailed it when he noted that the movie had THREE directors/producers, and apparently each of them had a different take on how the movie should come together.
You know the expression "Too many cooks spoil the broth?"
Spoiled indeed.
I do wish I knew a fellow novelist/Austen fan/movie critic so I could to discuss the highs and lows of the movie. Maybe someone out there will see it too and post a nice in depth review.
We had great Thai food for dinner after the movie.
Jane Austen and Thai food.
That makes about as much sense as anything else did in the movie!
Congrats go to Sara for correctly identifying yesterday's picture of fried food.
(The hint was that I didn't want to jar you...)
The food was Fried Pickles.
Get it?
Pickle Jar?
One deep fried dill pickle dipped in Ranch dressing is quite tasty.
Three is too many.
A few years back when we first moved to Houston I actually ordered a side dish of Deep Fried Sauerkraut.
One Deep Fried Sauerkraut ball is exactly one too many.
My stomach is bunching up again just thinking about that one sample.
What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten that was deep fried?
Have you seen "Becoming Jane"?
What did you think about it?
Tell me all about it!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ahhh...a ho-hum Friday!

Ahhh...a nice "ho-hum" Friday!

Some random shots: The temperature is finally soaring to typical Texas levels of high 90's; the fountain picture was shot down by the bride's office in southwest Houston. Funny thing about fountains; I always think they are beautiful, but they always actually make me feel hotter when I see them in hot weather. I'm thinking I am going to make a point to take more pictures of all the Houston fountains. There are some really terrific ones and I think they would make a great blog post!

The fried food was ordered by B. last night at "The Black-eyed Pea" restaurant. It was an appetizer. Can you guess what it was?
Hint: I don't want to jar you, but you probably have some of this food in your own home, and have just never thought of frying it.
In Texas EVERYTHING can and will be fried.

Lastly: My new Mary Jane Crocs! Hurray! Nurses swear by these ugly things, and Laura says they are the only shoes that you can wear for a 12 hour shift and still have feet that feel great. I decided last spring to try them, and decided I wanted the sea foam colored ones. Of course NO ONE seemed to ever have the sea foam colored ones in my size. Laura finally spotted a pair and got them for me. So far I really like them, and am surprised to find that I don't kick them off. My whole family kicks off shoes everywhere they go. Our kid's candid pictures at school included pictures of teachers putting their shoes back on. I routinely round up my shoes from everywhere, under the desk, under the kitchen table, beside the bed, next to the bathtub, by the back door, on the passenger side of the is really frustrating to be getting ready to go somewhere and the shoes I want to wear are not in my closet so I have to go on a hunt to find them.

I think most people who grew up anytime after 1960 in San Diego have shoe wearing issues. The velvet thong sandals came in about then, and schools allowed us to wear them, so bye-bye shoes. I also suspect that about the same time the shoe industry decided to go with a "One Size Fits All" philosophy: Everyone who wants to wear shoes will need to have a medium width foot, and preferably wear no size larger than 8. At size 9 Narrow, shoes shopping for me is more like visiting an art museum.

For whatever reason, I wore my Crocs yesterday all day and took them off only to go to bed. Wonder if I can bring myself to wear them with socks when it gets colder? Wonder if everyone in the universe could be struck Croc blind so they won't see that and think I look like a geek. Wonder if I won't care if they do?

If the hat is impressive enough, no one will notice my feet! Bring on the hats!

After a week of projects and creativity I'm kicking back today with daughter LauraRN, who is concluding a two week birthday celebration whirlwind tour of seven states: she started in Colorado, then she went to Nevada, ,Texas, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and will end up in Utah on Sunday. The tour made her "Visited States" count now stand at 49. She'll visit Kentucky later and wrap up her project to visit all 50 states before she hits age 30 with months to spare.

She's only in H-town with us for less than 48 hours, so we are kicking back and catching some flicks. We started with the movie of her jumping out of an airplane on her actual 29th birthday, then we watched movies of her friend's new kitten and another friend's baby (Paige is ADORABLE!), and we watched Laws of Attractions on DVD, especially enjoying the Ireland parts. "I was there!" she kept exclaiming.
Later today we will either see "Becoming Jane" or "Hairspray" (at a sing-a-long showing), or possibly something else.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend too, and remember, stay cool out there!
And wear a hat!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Millinery: Bridal Headpiece

Occasionally the Houston Hat Net website will receive an email asking if one of us could make a hat. Now that Kate has blow off the continent, there are only three of us HHNers that would possibly be up to creating a chapeau, and usually we tend to pass on the request. People are picky. By the time you charge an amount of money that is fitting and appropriate for the amount of time that custom design and hand work takes, people then feel like they have the right to be demanding.

I understand.

I make hats for fun, not for a living. If I make a hat for someone for pay I try to make sure I know person well enough so that I won't have to deal with a headache causing customer. If someone wants to buy a hat I have already made, well, that's fine. I'll even make one for a friend or customer that I have made before in a different color or adding a slight change in details.

Designing something from scratch for someone you have never met? Ohhh, tricky for me! I create with a person in mind, considering their height, style and personality as I design.

One thing I have never created in the past is a bridal headpiece. Modern brides are notoriously demanding, and while many of my friends have threatened to kidnap me and haul me off to bridal shops to peddle my wares, I have so far been successful in dodging their schemes.

But...the other day an email came to the HHN site, and Marie, the HHN webmistress forwarded the request to me.

Was I interested in creating a bridal headpiece for a local bride?

It must have been fate: I said yes, and dialed up the most polite and charming bride I have EVER spoken to in my whole life. She called me Ma'm and sent me a picture of what she had in mind, adding that it just needed to be something like the one in the picture, but she was open to other ideas.

Did I mention this bride as an ATTORNEY???

Her voice mail began with a Scripture about how God give increase to His faithful people, without adding sorrow, and wished me a blessed day.

I truly have been blessed to work on her bridal headpiece which will go with a simple silk sundress style bridal gown.

I learned a lot on the way:

Make sure the veil is gathered evenly before adding anything on top of it.
Feathers are easier to glue than sew (I never use glue on any of my hats, but I will make an exception for flues and goose boits.)
Have velvet cording available for the trim around the bias of the base.

I still have to determine the best way to attach the piece to the bride: Comb, elastic strap, hat pin or bobby pins. (Update: I went with a comb. Thanks Julie for the advice! And also created a pearl, crystal and small blue crystal hat pin for the hat as well.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

White Linen Night, 2007

A few years back the Houston Hat Net and the Dallas Hat Band took a trip down to New Orleans to tour the New Orleans millinery shops and to attend White Linen Night.
White Linen Night occurs the first Saturday night in August, when the New Orleans art galleries all stay open late, with new pieces on display.
Since it is ALWAYS unbearably hot in New Orleans in August, everyone knows that the coolest garments to wear to an event will be made from white linen. And so that was how the event was named; everyone who attends wears their best white linen attire.
It was a popular event to the degree that I'm talking streets that are in gridlock with humans, not cars!
After the hurricane destroyed much of New Orleans many New Orleans customs were adapted to Houston as a means of making our temporary guest feel more at home. Many of the displaced New Orleans residents have permanently moved to Houston, and now call Houston their home.

Two years ago White Linen Night was held in Houston in an area known as simply "The Heights." It is an area of Houston just slightly above sea level, so the name must have seemed fitting when the area was developed at the turn of the last century. Since the Hat Net had attended the New Orleans White Linen Night, it was only fitting we attend the first WLN in Houston.
It was unbelievably hot, and fun. We knew we would make it an annual event!

Last night was the second White Linen Night in The Heights.
We were a very small group this time; Marie, her great granddaughter Zoe, Diane, Bernie and myself.
WLN, however, had gotten much bigger. The celebration had caught on.




Marie and Zoe. I had taken a picture of Zoe up close earlier, and the picture disappeared! She is a gorgeous young lady, and her Madeline hat was a perfect choice for the evening.
Yeah, I know, WHITE Linen Night, not orange, for heaven's sake. Each year I look for a great little white linen dress, and never yet have I found one I liked. I had just got the cute little cellophane straw topper off of eBay (a steal at $2.99!) so I decided to add one of my grandmother's pins to the bow and just go with a citrus mood instead.
Stand out from the crowd, you know what I mean?
The first store we hit was called "Wear It Again Sam" which was all vintage clothes.
I had no problems finding a store with loads of great little hats! I just looked though, most of them were tiny sized.

I understand why some women get into collecting purses. It doesn't matter what size you are currently wearing, your purse will still fit just fine!
Orange seems to be making an appearance here too...I liked the multicolored clutch purse, what a fun piece!
How many purses did they have?
Lord have mercy, that there's a lot of purses!
I was tempted to get this fun sack purse with plastic beads.
There were tables of jewelry everywhere.
And retro fashion modeling! How adorable, modest, and sensible. Love the curved bangs and earrings!
Bernie had left me inside of "Wear It Again Sam", and caught some of the street modeling. He watched these two girls in other vintage swim wear and snapped a picture. The lady next to him gave him flack for taking a embarrassing. She didn't realize it was a scheduled fashion show I guess.

The shops in The Heights always have kooky fun stuff like this clock.
The Houston Art Car Association was in attendance as well. They treated us with an impromptu Car Parade later; Sue was merrily rolling around the corner in her Hippo car as we left. My personal favorite was the dragon car with double dragon wings, and a great tail as well.

I did mention the shops all had food, didn't I? This shop had home-made tamales and nachos. The sangria punch was the perfect drink with the mini-Mexican buffet.
Most of the shops had wine or champaigne or punch. I think that is funny, because The Heights is a "dry" location. It is not possible to buy wine or beer, nor may it be served in a restaurant unless you bring your own and they uncork it.
But...on White Linen Night?
Free drinks and drinking on the streets!
Very New Orleans style wouldn't you say?
Six kinds of fudge was offered at Lovejoy's Antiques. The raspberry fudge was awesome!
And we found a great print of bluebonnet meadows in the Hill Country at 30% off!

Not bad for $27, including the frame.
Lovejoy's hands out these old fashion style paddle fans; believe me, I sure used mine to keep cool year around.
I never did get a street scene shot to my liking; the crowds would just press in, and by the time I got my camera up, everyone had pushed on. This was a sample of the white look, though there were plenty of women who "kicked it up a notch" walking along in elegant dresses and high high heels.
Good for them I say.
And here's a card to my podiatrist, keep it up, you'll be needing him soon!
Bonnie Blue was out front of one shop.
She is The Woman who Rocks, that is, paints portraits on rocks and has painted pictures of many famous folks. She came to one of our Hat Net events last year and painted a rock with me on it. Naturally I wanted one of Bernie in his hat...
A lot of the stores were antiques shops and art galleries, but the scooter shop had their wares out as well. I think I want a pink Schwinn bike like this one for Christmas.
I'll be good, Santa, I promise!
Harold's in the Heights is an upscale men's clothing store that now also has women's clothes. They had models modeling in the window. Bernie asked me to strike a pose as well.
The evening was just lovely, very warm but not hot, and the sky which had produced a deluge earlier in the day was now filled with strawberry pink clouds. We had to walk around puddles, and this one served admirably to reflect the beauty above up.
White Linen Night 2007: It rocked our world.
Wish you could have been there too!