Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sneak preview

From "cry uncle" to "this might work."
I got messing around with it last night, so this is just pin based.
I think I'm getting there.
Millinery Inspiration abounds as it so often does on misty humid days.
But Information trumps Inspiration, so off to work I go.
Have a fun Saturday. See you later!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Quick! Let's see a flick!

Quickflicks is a cool site where people who made movies posted (or exerps from them) for the public to enjoy free of charge. The project started a few years ago, before Youtube and Google Video and all that came on the scene.

I am recommending a ten minute "flick" from the Quickflicks page, called:
"What is it about Hats?: A documentary about life under the brim" by film maker and hat lover Andee Kinsey.

Andee filmed the documentary a few years back, in 2001, just before I "hooked up" with the Houston Hat Net and the Dallas Hat Band. The entire documentary is thirty minutes long and available from I think the ten minute version is just wonderful, and the music is terrific!

Some of it is filmed in Houston, during a massive flooding tropical storm. New York and Dallas locations filled up the rest of the film.
I am proud to admit I know most of the Houston and Dallas folk.
The woman after the opening who talks is Nicole La Blanc, the millinery whose hat creations got me hooked on hats. She's the one who says "There is a hat for you."
The lady standing next to the woman in the gold and black hat, is Kate Pernia, my instructor. She's wearing a red hat.
Then there's the irrepressible Suzanne Silverman in the lavender hat, talking about her "chicken butt" hat. Suzanne is non-stop fun to be with.
The lady in a white hat with a black veil is Suzanne Larson. She is also a milliner. Her cousin, Bonita, the one I had lunch with at Victorian Elegance, is seen walking in a strapless sundress.

I know a few of the other ladies, but my poor feeble brain is wimping out on me in terms of matching a face with a name. I hope if they read this, they will understand.

To see the flick, just click on the icon that matches the hat at the beginning of this post on the Quickflicks site.


PS: The flick "Angel's Day Off" is adorable too.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Let's get this party going!

Sometimes the fun never stops around here!
Rodeo Houston starts Friday, which means the Trail Riders are arriving today from all over the southwest. (Love the picture in that link of downtown Houston skyline!)

People yearly ride the old cattle drive trails throughout Texas, in covered wagons or horse back, RIGHT DOWN THE FREEWAY when needed.

The first time I was zooming along, late as usual to work, and was blocked by a bunch of horses and wagons, I thought I had lost my mind. Now I just know it's Rodeo season. All the trail riders wind up at Memorial Park, where they camp with their horses, and all attend Cowboy Church on Sunday, seated on bales of hay as they all sing "Shall we Gather at the River."

Time to dust off my pink cowgirl princess hat.
Last year I promised myself I would shop for pink cowgirl boot to go with my hat. Guess I'll have to get going on that, if I mean to keep my promise. Friday everyone in every office building downtown will be clad in western wear.
"Go Texas Day" is an official edict to wear western wear the first Friday of Rodeo season.
And let me tell you, some folks are not adverse to dropping a bundle on their attire.

And the menfolk in their boots, hats, western cut suits and black ribbon ties look mighty smart too.

Oh come on...every little girl had a crush on some cowboy at some time, right? My first crush was on Michael Landon, playing Little Joe Cartwright on the television series "Bonanza."

I was five years old, and was devastated when the program was moved to a time slot past my bedtime. It was on Sunday night, and I had to go to bed because I was now in Kindergarten.

(You know, Michael Landon still made my eyes twinkle when I was a great big grown up married lady. He was just cute, cute, cute, even playing "Pa" Engels, and a blooming Angel, for crying out loud!)

My mom never bought me a Princess outfit as a child. All my dress up play clothes were the clothes my great Aunt had worn to society event. Auntie Lorraine went to Columbia and USC, and later got a Master's degree. She was born in the late 1800's, and the clothes that I played in were her best velvet gowns from the 1930's. Explains a lot, don't you think?

I did receive one child size dress up outfit: A red cowgirl vest and skirt, complete with white fringe. Boy howdy, now there was fun! Packing a six shooter and running around La Jolla blowing bad guys away with a loud pop from the cap, creating realistic smoke and that tantalizing firecracker smell. The cap roll always ran out before the fun.

I might just have to go see if I can buy me a cap gun and caps today too. A little shot 'em up around the neighborhood might be fun. I could probably even enlist the "Our Gang Comedy" neighborhood boys, and Sunny the Dog to join in a little cowboy gun play.

Yee Haw! Post bail for me, would ya, if I get arrested?

Now all of you out there need to head on over to visit with another good cowgirl at heart. Drop by her place and say "howdy" tomorrow. Lovella's done gone and had herself another year, and she's fixin' to have her birthday on Friday. Y'all be sure to wish her a Happy Birthday when you stop on by her blogplace for a visit, ya hear?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Millinery: Eric Javits

Last Thursday it froze here. Today, it is in the low eighties.
Too hot to wear felt. Too soon to wear straw.
A felt hat, or a straw hat that is.

My mom had brought me a stunning black felt large upturned brim hat by millinery designer Eric Javits.

The brim is accented with velvet scroll work. Yummy...and sadly, oh so too hot to wear to work today.

It looked really wonderful with my new charcoal pantsuit. I decided to take it along anyway, as I had called in to work, and was informed that, as usual, that since it was hot outside, it was colder than a witch's er, um, mitt, in the library building.

I walked out of house, on time for once, to drive to the library. A forty five minute drive. The car was in the driveway, and baking hot inside. My husband had driven my car to the airport, as it was filthy, and I was using his nice clean sedan for squiring the ladies about during their visit.

I tossed my jacket and Eric Javits hat onto the passenger seat, turned the key in the ignition, and surprise, nothing happened.

Dead battery.

Normally Bernie is home, but of course not this time. Our Triple A renew form was sitting on my desk. Our auto repair shop could assist me in about an hour.

Next door there was some construction work being done. English language radio blaring from the driveway gave me hope that I would find men who I could communicate with, who would help rescue me, the damsel in distress.

They would, but they didn't have a jumper cable. Just then the neighbor at the end of the street drove by, giving me a friendly wave. I flagged her down, and she graciously drove back to her home to retrieve some jumper cables from her garage.
The construction guy, (wearing an AWANA belt buckle no less, a para church organization that our family participates in) came over with his truck and we gave the jumper cables a go.
And it was a No-Go.
So I had to call the library and let them know I wouldn't be coming in to cover the shift of the woman who had colon cancer surgery.
The shift that I don't normally work, and that I agreed to work BEFORE I found out that today would have been the day that my millinery instructor/friend Kate would be visiting from Switzerland, and could work me in for a visit.
Doesn't that just kill ya?
Doesn't that fall under the category of "No good deed shall go unpunished"?
On the bright side: At least this didn't happen while we were up in Dallas!
So now I am changed into a tee shirt and casual, and awaiting Bernie to arrive home so we can decide what to do. I'm hoping a new battery will fix it, he suspects the alternator.
We'll see.
Either way, Eric Javits is going to have to wait for a more stylish occasion to be worn than a trip to the car repair shop.
At least while it is this hot.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

June, June, and Victorian Elegance

What a lovely time we had!

My mom, June, (in the blue), and her friend June, (in the rust) flew from San Diego to Houston last Thursday, Feb. 15. I had to dash off to work almost immediately afterwards, but we did manage to dine on King Ranch Chicken (a chicken layered dish served all over Texas by fine cooks to the favorite guests.) Bernie had created a wonderful Sweet Potato pie for Valentine's Day, and I had picked up a King's Cake as well for their "Welcome to Texas" this visit dessert.

Friday morning we loaded up the car and drove to Dallas area, stopping on the way for barbecue beef sandwiches and a glass of sweet tea. I wanted to take them to
"The Ribbon Gardner"

in Arlington, a town outside of Dallas. Please take a look at their web link, especially the classes, as I didn't take pictures there.

It is an amazing ribbon shop, and it is up for sale.

The inventory is worth 1.3 million dollars, so if you have the cash and love ribbons, this might be your little slice of heaven on earth.

We pulled into Richardson, north of Dallas around six, and had dinner at the hotel with my cousin Pam, her husband Ellis, their daughter Kim and her husband Paul. Paul is currently enrolled at Dallas Theological Seminary, and I had not seen the couple since their wedding about four years ago.
The drive took us seven hours, so we were tuckered out and went to bed shortly afterward, in order to be up and ready for the Victorian Elegance 1930's era Style Show the next morning.

The show was FABULOUS!!!!
All of the dresses in the show, and the accessories were authentic 1930 era, and all were available for sale.

Oh to be a size {something tiny}

I took over seventy pictures of the Style show, and the Victorian Elegance show itself.

I can not bring myself to attempt to put that many pictures into this post, knowing how cantankerous posting pictures can be in my world for some inexplicable reason.


what I've done is put all the pictures into a web album!

Yes! You can see them all, one by one or in slide show format, and I have added comments to the pictures as well.

Just click HERE

(And yes, you SHOULD be envious of me and my mom and June.)
As I said earlier: It was fabulous!

(Make plans now to come visit me and go with me to the next show!)

After the style show was over we wandered around the Richardson Convention center looking at all the wonderful antiques.

For seven more hours.

Didn't see it all.


At lunch Bonita, a dear friend who is part of the Dallas Hat Band (a sister organization to the Houston Hat Net) was able to join us. Bonita (the seated blond in the black hat in the picture in the previous link) is a treasure, and this is the third time we have wandered this twice yearly show together. Words fail me, really, to describe Bonita. The best I can do is to say she is a one of a kind fun gal, who enjoys life to the fullest. You may enjoying peeking around the Dallas Hat Band pictures from other events, some of which I attended as well.

After lunch there was another presentation, this time about the costume designer Edith Head, and "The Celluloid Crepe Scandals", a paper being presented about costume forgery and authenticating costumes from motion pictures after the designer had pulled some rather sly moves back in the 1960's. A very authoritative and interesting lecture and power point presentation.
You know, for five dollars to get into the Victorian Elegance show, and a five dollar donation to charity to see the style show, I got more education about historic costuming than I did in college when for each HOUR I figured I was paying about $40 to attend.

That evening Mom, June and I headed over to "The Black Eyed Pea", a Texas based restaurant chain, where the mash potatoes are cooked fresh every hour, corn bread and honey comes with your meal, and June could get Black Eyed Peas AND Fried Okra AND Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers just like she enjoyed as a child as part of her heritage from her southern born father.
When we first moved to Texas, this local chain was visited weekly by us as we worked our way through Texas traditional foods. You might enjoy looking at the menu items on their web link. (Gosh, now I'm hungry again!)

All I can say is:
Good Food.
Go there if ever and whenever you can.

Sunday morning we slept in, then returned to the show. With a stamped card, we were able to attend the second day for free. June was smitten by the crazy quilt, while I succumbed to a book and an apron.
Mostly we had returned to the show on
Sunday in order to attend the Tasha Tudor presentation. Tasha Tudor has illustrated over seventy books, and is now 93 years old. She has released her collection of 1830 era dresses for auction this upcoming fall, and selected pieces of the collection was on display. Additionally there was a DVD presentation of her life.

Mom, June and I sat through the hour long presentation with our jaws dropped. What an amazing woman, what an amazing life, and what a unique individual.

May I recommend that if you have an opportunity, suggest to your local librarian that the first DVD on that above link be purchased for your local library collection. I can almost promise you that your library owns Tasha Tudor books, as she has won so many awards for her illustrations.

We finally pulled ourselves away from the Victorian Elegance show to attend an exhibit at Southern Methodist University in Dallas of Spanish fashion designer
Christobal Balenciaga designs, and other designers who were inspired by him. Be sure to click on each of the fours groupings when the link opens to see a representative collection of his works, as there were fifty dresses in the show, and at least that way you will get to see sixteen of them.
What a fantastic designer. The show goes through May, so if you are in Dallas, BE SURE to head over to SMU's Meadow Museum Gallery.

Then we drove three hours home.
Monday we lingered around the breakfast table, and enjoyed looking at the garden, then took a spin around Kingwood, exploring our garden center's pansy collection, (curly pansies!)

the local shops and the HEB grocery store, where the ladies enjoyed sampling MORE of our local cooking, as demonstrated in the in-store kitchen. Texas Pecans and King Cake was purchased to tote home to Southern California.

I had to work that evening (again....), but Tuesday morning we shared a nice breakfast and talked about life as it was when I was growing up and they were becoming friends.

Someday I hope to write a book about Mom and her friends, some of whom have been dear friends for almost fifty years now. The stories they have, and the times they have experienced as first young mothers, then grandmothers, and now some are even great grandmothers.

Wonderful stories so very worth telling.

I took Mom and June through a new model home a few miles from my house. It was so beautiful, with a formal area, dining room, breakfast room, huge kitchen, family room, game room, office, master suite, three upstairs bedrooms, AND a theater.

June thought it would have cost about 2 million USD.

She's lives in San Diego, and she is right, that house WOULD sell for 2 million there.



Oh yeah.

Sometimes it's fun to be here in Texas.
If I didn't have to say good bye to them at the airport, and know it will be months before we see each other again, living in Texas could almost be said to be perfect.
What a time we had.

Monday, February 19, 2007

June and Tiggie

My mom's friend June is a retired hairdresser to the most elegant people in La Jolla Society.
So of course, Tiggie of Kingwood requested her services.
June was willing to come out of retirement to meet this urgent request.
I don't believe I've ever seen Tiggie look so good.
Posted by Picasa