Saturday, September 23, 2006

Millinery: Autumn begins

Is this not the most perfect Autumn hat? The shape, the perfect curve of the pheasant, that collection of colors and patterns, the buckle on the side all make for a perfect autumn vignette.

I do not know a thing about who made this hat or when, it was just found in Google images during one of my "killing time at work" sessions.

If some one knows who it belongs to and if it is for sale, let me know. It will be a subject of many fantasies until I can get my hands on it.

And no, my dad didn't shoot this particular bird.

And I do apologize if the sight of dead birds on hats offends, but I do maintain that dead birds on hats must be viewed if one is to understand the art and history of millinery. It is interesting, and comforting, to note that the Audubon Society was created in reaction to excessive bird slaughter occuring in response to millinery trim demands. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Signs of the Season

Bernie's japanese maple is valiantly attempting to provide the fall color that is sorely lacking here in Houston for now.

Each of these leaves is about the size of a dime, so I really appreciate the effort put forth.

We have had a nip of fall weather, that is, it has been under 90 degrees a few times this week. Break out the sweaters!

Another sign of the season: Banned Book Week in the library. The head librarian and I worked together on the idea, which is celebrated each year in conjunction with Constitution/Bill of Rights week.

The red "Censored" sign was from other years. My contribution was the idea of having a place to write how you feel about vigilante censorship.

Interestingly enough, students have actually stopped and taken the time to write their feeling.
I came up with the theme: Do books challenge freedom, or do books make you free?

I have hugely mixed feeling about some of the more recently challenged books. It is one thing to fight for books that are politically or religously expressive. Its another thing when the book is just crude and lewd and violent, all at the same time.

Personally, I just gross out at young adult (ages 12-17) targeted books that are about sexual abuse and sexual acting out in extremely graphic language, and yes, pictures.

And books explaining how to do things that are illegal, such as how to raise pot. Heck, why not a book on how to steal cars? Kite checks? Molest children (oops, actually that IS what some of the books are about.)

I had to think a LONG time before I became a librarian about what it would be like to help people find book, and for me to BUY books that I find despicable, or in conflict with my personal values.
Sometimes it is difficult for me. I do it because I would rather have access to all for all, than risk ever having someone else decide for me what I can or can not have access to.

Tough topic. Thomas Jefferson donated his collection of 10,000 books to the US government to begin the library of Congress. I am sure there was not a single "rape is fun" book in the mix, nor any drawings of human excretement as an art form. Yet today books on those topics are available at tax payer expense to one and all.

I'm also sure King George was livid at some of Jefferson's books.

I am also sure that MOST of the objectionable books are objected to because most people feel children shouldn't be exposed to certain topics.

I am personally sure that every parent should their filter their own children's early in life reading, and be their teacher, which means making sure their child knows why some books are not worthy of their time, and are harmful to one's digestive system (re: some reading makes you sick to your stomach. Stephen King makes me sick, but I am a tad sensitive.)

Enough on that.

In other scary news, my neighbor across the street and two doors down has her yard decorated for Halloween. On this day, Sept 20.

I'd like to suggest a ban on Halloween decorating in September.

Boos on any September "Boo!"

It just creeps me out. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Houston Hat Net: "Kate's in Town!" party

The Houston Hat gathered for a "Hurray, Kate's in Town" party. Kate usually is in Switzerland now, but is seen here in the center seated in purple tones, and strangely hatless. I'm right next to her in the short skirt (eeek! well, it was a hot day). Gayle in fatigues, as we had just hauled in after a half day at Victorian Elegance and five hours of driving.
Kate and Marit, in hats by Marit.
Sue lighting up the world with her smile. The lady is an "incomparable", what a sweetie and you should see her is a hippo. Really. Her car is a Toyota RAV made into a hippo.
Maureen takes her turn to try the Victorian Thistle hat.

Notice the PILE of hats on the bed behind her! We were all enjoying a hat try on session, as is our usual amusement at these events. Posted by Picasa

Victorian Elegance: The hats we bought

Gayle acquired this Victorian wire framed museum quality hat. Under the turned up back is a big purple bow. The Scottish thistle was surely a tribute to Queen Victoria and her passion for all things Scottish. Gayle also got a pink silk small brim hat, a brown "Paddington Bear" style hat, and a red tam hat with a white silk pom pom and blue ribbon, by Yves St. Laurent. She plans to liven up the Texan football games with that fashion accessory.
This is a close up of the sleeve detail of the Victorian silk wrapper/tea gown that Gayle also acquired. The back flutters out as she walks and the endless hand made lace and rouching is to swoon over.
My cute little navy straw and cream fabric flowers 1940-50 style hat, with open crown lace work. Can't wait to wear it with my navy pant suit.
The sea anenome/squid hat that troubled some folks. The "feathers" are actually silk with blue and lavender roses tucked in at four points. I still think it is darling! Posted by Picasa

Victorian Elegance continued

Gayle, Suzanne, aka "The Hat Goddess", Rhonda and I met for dinner Friday night. And as Millinery Guru Kate always declares, ladies in chapeaux are seated in the window as it is good for business.
We could scarcely eat for having to receive compliments from other diners.

At the show we went for a group photo. We were amazed to see ourselves on a poster as we entered the show, our group shot from last February's show, at which time there was an ice storm...hence our bundled up appearance.

Bonita is in the pink. Don't we look like we are having fun? You would never guess what serious and business-like professions we ply the rest of the time!

Suzanne hat's are her own creations. I'm in my own newly purchased hat...which later received scathing reviews from one friend and one husband. Can't please everyone...I liked it, bought it, so there! I'm also wearing the peach silk bed jacket, cute, huh?

Our Feb 2006 group photo, no we are NOT more antiques! Posted by Picasa
Victorian Elegance is held twice a year in Richardson Texas, just outside of Dallas. Shall I just say that it is a "must" for lovers of Victorian, Edwardian, Roaring Twenties era items?

This show began with a lecture on "The Jazz Age". My favorite tidbit was seeing the garters with a little compact/powder puff attached, used for applying rouge to the newly revealed knees! There was even a song about this, something along the lines of "roll my stockings, hem my skirt, rouge my knees".
Two days of wandering through the show was only a beginning. I acquired two hats, a peach silk bed jacket (perfect for wearing over a tank top against Houston pervasive air conditioning), a stereo optican slide, a darling book from 1903, Wanted: A Chaperone, teas, five small velvet millinery roses, and longing for a lot more money and time!
These three pictures will give you the idea of what it is like to be there. EVERYTHING on display is available for trying on (should you happen to have a 19 inch waist in some cases...), and for purchase. EVERYTHING is crafty fix ups, reproductions, or cutsie junque allowed.
Buyers for top designers like Ralph Lauren etc. haunt the place for inspiration pieces, as well as private collectors. One woman flew in, swooped in at 3, and in one hour purchased several thousand dollars worth of jazz era clothing.

The lecturer had just published a book, and showed a picture of a Worth gown that had been purchased at Victorian elegance a couple of years ago for $1,500, and resold shortly after for $25,000.

Nice profit, eh?

Now wouldn't that be more fun than watching number rise and fall on the stock market?
Posted by Picasa