Saturday, September 01, 2007

Millinery: Millinery School, Houston Tx

I'm just posting the wild passion flower shot that I took on my walk in the woods the other day because:

1. It is so pretty


2. Because I have a passion.
I am passionate about millinery.
In case you hadn't guessed by the title of this blog, I think millinery is absolutely fascinating.

Two days ago I blogged about the various advanced millinery schools that I daydream about.
Millinery school in the Cotswold's....oh, my.
Seriously, every cell in my body is in happy hum mode just thinking about that idea.

One of my favorite parts about hat making is designing new hats and sewing ribbon flowers.
A few of my friends have been nagging me to teach a millinery class. They asked me to show them how to make ribbon flowers, and how to make some of my easy-breezy creatively blocked hats.

In a weak moment, I agreed to teach a workshop on those two subjects in my home.
I even charged them, figuring that would shut them up. Not as much as a class in the Cotswolds though. Remember, this would be a class in no big deal Houston Texas.

It didn't shut them up.
They wanted to learn.
They came, they paid.

Five ladies,they who signed up for the class which was held today, on the Saturday of the three day Labor Day weekend.
Guess they really, really wanted to learn.

(The hat on the ironing board in the background is being shaped with clothespins. You can see the finished hat further down in this post.)
Two styles of hats were offered...a flat packing travel hat and a ruffled hat.
Two of the ladies promptly decided minutes after arriving to make a totally different hat than the one I intended, because they liked one of my other hats.

Like I said, easy-breezy hats are my specialty.
No problem-o.

(Sue blocked the pink hat on the ledge behind her.)
Sue loves feathers! Her first flower was immediately jazzed up with not only stamen, but a fluffy splash of feathers as well.

Marie blocked the third option, a hat created using a wooden salad bowl.
Then she ran out of the class half way through to catch a jet to Vegas.

Yeah, Vegas baby...she has something like six Red Hat events in three days.

The life of a Red Hat Queen Mother is always lively!
Places to go and things to do...
Sue had at this point learned two different kinds of leaves, and three types of flowers.
She stacked them all together to make this whimsical blossom.

How about this hat?
It's the one that was on the ironing board in the first picture.
The hat isn't trimmed yet; it likely will have a fuchsia cluster hanging on one side.
I hadn't expected anyone to show up to the class with a capeline to block instead of a hood.

No problem-o again.

I pulled out a basic crown block and let her pinch and pleat the crown and brim.
She may later choose to smooth out some of the design, or maybe even intensify it.
It's all good....

Lady of mystery.... wearing her new hat that she blocked this afternoon on a salad bowl.
Sue jumped right in with the traditional flat pack travel hat.
Half way into making it she decided she wanted the crown to be rounded rather than flat, and the fold on the top to be soft.

All good Sue. Great designing!
(The blue hat at the top of the side bar is the flat pack travel hat, one of the hats that everyone wanted to learn how to make.)

Sue: Hippo Lady, Grandmother of five weeks, and now a milliner too!

Didn't we have fun?

Yes we did!

(The post below this one is a photo tutorial of some of the leaves and flowers that were covered in the class. Feel free to give some of them a try. Maybe you will discover that you want to be a millinery too!)

Folded leaf

Boat Leaf

House Leaf

Rosette Flower (Tube)

Multi Petal Flower

Friday, August 31, 2007

Canada Adventure: Day Four

Sunday August 19

Lest you think I had forsaken Godly ways as practiced regularly in the southern Bible Belt, FYI: we did go to church Saturday evening and the dinner with Becky and Ray was served after a lively and inspiring Mennonite Church service. It was very modern; you would have to have looked closely at the building to catch that the service was Mennonite.

Isn't it funny how most of us never move on with cultural images? Like we would expect Quakers to be dressed like the guy on the oatmeal box.
Well, I do have to admit an Amish service would most likely still be exactly as you would imagine.

Terry and Lovella have a standing reservation at Starbucks each Sunday morning to meet with their care group (read: friends who also drink coffee.) The gals had lots to talk about, weddings and so forth. It was fun to listen in. I don't know what the other end of the table was chatting about, boy talk I think, cars and work and so forth.

We swung by this window, and I had to take a picture. A toonie is not an abbreviation for cartoon, rather it is what the Canadian two dollar coin is called. I'll have to check to see if we have similar two dollar Tuesdays in Texas.

Bernie and I have a custom of offering our two ridiculous boy cats a special treat every Sunday morning. Usually it is a can of what we call "stinky food", a gourmet wet cat food instead of their usual dry kibbles.
I had purposefully held back two of the four doggie lollipops for Sunday morning. After we got back from Starbucks, I offered on to Indee, hoping that by now she *might* be willing to be friends.
You can see her reaction to this attempt by clicking here. Be sure your sound is turned on!
(Maybe it was the singing that scared her...ya think???)

Otis was much more into the treat. You can see him enjoying his lollipop, about three minutes into it, here.
By the time the hounds had finished their treats, we ourselves had gone almost an hour and a half without getting something to eat, so of course the only thing to do was to go get lunch at the famous Tim Horton's (not Morton's as I erroneously reported in an earlier post...)

The treat that made BC famous: Nanaimo bars. Apparently it was named for the British Columbia city from which is was offered in a recipe contest back in the 1930's. Lovella and Becky both groaned and were most sorrowful that I did not have an opportunity to sample Lovella's Nanimo's recipe, which would have put Tim Horton's treats to shame.

I think I will give the City of Nanaimo's OFFICIAL Nanaimo Recipe a whirl some time soon. I thinking a splash of Kahula might be interesting as an addition somewhere in the mix though. Or maybe just next to the a shot glass.....

Anyway, back to the Adventure....

We picked up Ray and Becky and headed off to Vancouver.
It was such a nice day, great weather, and loads to look at out the windows as we drove.
It was even interesting to see the "bad" side of Vancouver, and I was interested in the billboards that flipped images every few moments.

BC is doing everything in its power to doll up for the 2010 Winter Olympics, so it will be interesting to see what will be shown on television three years from now.

While Toronto is arguably THE fashion center of Canada (I know because I've been there. Fabulous! Their textile museum was awesome! Not what you would think entire show on black and white symbolism, and fetish wear. Oh my!)

Vancouver has some worthwhile fashion window peeping though.

Not that I was in the running for Ms. Fashionable. I dressed for a long day and a play outdoors at the beach. More about that later.
The Mountie red serge is ALWAYS in fashion.
(It was vaguely disturbing to learn that Disney bought the rights to the image. I'm still thinking about what that would mean. I'd wonder if Disney would next make a grab for the tall bear hatted guard uniforms at Buckingham Palace. I am happy to report that after a little...ahem... research, that the image contract with Disney expired in 2000.)
Downtown Vancouver high rises...

Street scene (proof that the Canadian readers have fibbed about no one up there wearing hats...)

The fabulous hanging baskets...each one just glorious.

And the standard-issue-to-be-expected American policy critic.

Just was AMERICA that was the first country in the world to make Freedom of Speech a national right.
Chat it up, speak up, protest all you want, but be sure to give credit where credit is due.

And don't try this (pictured above) about certain groups that rule the Middle East. Those folks will stab you dead while you ride your bicycle if you try putting something up like this about them.
If the USA and Canadian troops fail in the Middle East, it might become necessary to start practicing censorship of speech, lest the experience of freedom of speech be available only at the cost of pain of death.

While I am not saying that I am positive that the way we are going about this task in the Middle East is flawless, I am definitely saying there is a threat out there, and it may already be too late to do much about it.

Librarians: On the front lines for freedom of speech, freedom of information and your right to view pornography in every public library.
(Um, for the record...I am only willing to fight for those first two things. That's why I work in a college library where we filter our computers. Thank God.)
Vacouver has caught on to the Orange everything movement that is sweeping Europe....

It was great to see the Hudson's Bay Company acknowledged via this placque. Lovella, Becky and I had several conversations about how Americans view Canada, and what we teach about Canada in our schools. I assured them that we were all really glad that Canada had so few providences to memorize (I feel for them memorizing our fifty states...) but I forgot to tell them that we all learn about the Hudson's Bay Company. My first visit to Canada back in the 1960 had us visiting a Hudson's Bay Company store, and purchasing one of the famous striped blankets and oogling the furs.
I wonder how many Canadians know what their country's fossil gemstone is?
(It is gorgeous. I'd be happy to accept a piece Ammolite jewelry as a gift anytime, from any country.)

Pop quiz:

What is Canada's Gemstone? (not fossil gemstone.)
What is America's Fossil gemstone?
What is America's Gemstone?
How many people in the world know that Canada and America had official fossil gemstones?

Lovella will be sending the large green necklace to the first person who gets all four questions correct.

On to another wonder of British Columbia: A steam powered clock!
(See the steam coming out of the top?)
Pretty interesting invention. There is a series of sci-fi novels that feature a steam powered computer. Now wouldn't that be messy as a lap top?

The customized motorcycle show in Gastown featured at least one "girly-girl" bike.
Pretty in pink?

Lovella was feeling pretty as she posed in front of the John Casablanca modeling studio.
One person was obviously excited to see her pose
Oh wait...I think that person was pointing at the bike.
I think it is so funny how many people walk along with the cell phone glue to their ears.
Lovella, Becky and I kept noticing these two guys were following us every where.
They said they thought the guys were cute, and that they had great legs.

There were a LOT Of bikes, and the custom designs were pretty trick.

This one mystified me. It just doesn't seem possible that it would hold together when in motion. It reminded me of a wasp!
The exposed chain just seemed dangerous to me.
The chrome work was gorgeous though.

The crowds were pretty intense, but one of those two guys managed to keep up with us.
I know I was supposed to be looking at the cycles, but hey, weren't these just the cutest shoes passing by?

I do love kilts.
Just not this one.
It does look like a comfortable outfit however, and leggings under dresses and skirts are supposedly in vogue right now....

Lovella suggested I bring my darlin' Mr. B. a Cuban cigar back from Canada as a gift.
Since I am a law abiding citizen, I declined the suggestion, but it did get me thinking.
It seems so ridiculous that we ban Cuban imports when there are other countries of the world that are so very much more threatening to the security of the USA.
On the other hand, smoking one cigar is like smoking a whole pack of cigarettes, so perhaps if Cuba was free to start shipping their cigars to us, more people would engage in the unhealthy habit, smoking related cancers would rise, and that would be pretty awful too.
On the other other hand, we let people smoke cigars from other places, and let them decide if they want to risk cancer.
Oh shoot. I'm out of hands.
Discuss among yourselves while I figure out how I managed to have three hands there for awhile.

Lovella decided the guy following her was a keeper.
I think she gave him her number.
I think she gave him her number a few decades ago!

Now there's something you don't see much in Texas.

What do you suppose these things are?

That's what Lovella and I both wondered.

They are hard plastic shells with two holes. They are for children to play with.

I had to read the little booklet to figure out how to play with them.

Apparently you need a child like imagination to figure out that you can scoop water with them, sit in them, stand in them, put things inside of them, put them on your head as a hat, and on your back as a turtle shell.

I'm unconvinced that any child would squeal with delight upon receiving one of these things for Christmas.
(While I was studying up on these, Lovella was taking pictures of all the really really cute kids stuff in the rest of the shop.)

There has to be a lot more to the story about this building. I want to know the who, what, when and why.
(I'll research it some other day...)

The Christian motorcycle riders were also present. It was interesting to me that you really didn't need to look at the jacket to tell.
Some of the bikers just looked angry, or threatening while others looked relaxed and approachable.

I'd love to read a sociological survey done on the two groups, via pictures and reactions.
Parts of Vancouver are under serious construction. There were cranes everywhere.

Back to fashions....

Once we finished roaming through Gastown, we headed to the wharf area. I remember this place; I caught a cruise ship from here for my 25th wedding anniversary.

Another hanging basket. Lovella told me these baskets are VERY expensive to create and maintain.
The fuchia and lobelia were especially nice in this one.
Next we headed for Granville Island. Traffic was heavy, so we girls bailed out of the car on the fly, leaving the menfolk to find a parking place.
A mermaid!
Love you Laura!
(My daughter loves mermaids.)

We girls were heading to Mecca....

a hat shop!

Becky got right into the spirit of the occasion. Who would of guessed she was a veiled cocktail hat type?

I caught myself in the mirror. The black cloche had no trim nor did it have a sizing band! Lovella fell in love with the style done in red.
Lovella caught all of us trying on the hats, and blogged it on her post much better than I did.

Needed a picture to remember the brim design on this hat. Sort of a triangle, with the crown slightly offset. Very different, looked great on.

A very busy, very hot store, with so many people and so many lights. The menfolk chose to stay outside and watch a magic/comedy act.
The shop had really beautiful display items, wood work, and what most people would not have noticed, a great selection of hat blocks all over the place. I seriously doubt that the owner actually uses any of them to block hats, but if I lived nearby I would certainly be asking if I could use some of them.
Or do a demonstration with some of them.
Wouldn't that be interesting out front of the shop?
It felt really good to get out the heat of the shop and head over to the open market. We walked through the flower market entry, and I just fell in love with all the colors and varieties of the hydrangea flowers above.

A close up of the subtle coloring of another hydrangea.

Inside the open market was a feast of color, fragrances, and textures.
Oh to have been able to taste just one of each kind of berry!
Another crowd shot. It was a very pretty Sunday, and I don't blame people for wanting to come out and enjoy.

Butter Tarts...mentioned as one of the signature foods of Canada in international cookbooks.
This was news to Becky and Lovella.

I'm not sure if Princess Cake is more of a UK invention that is found world wide, or just here, but they were pretty. I have no idea what kind of cake or filling is inside the rolled fondant icing.
Isn't it fun that bell peppers come in so many colors?
By the time we had walked through the market admiring all the food (and puzzling over how turkey sausage from a non-Mennonite area could possible be declared to be "Mennonite Sausage) we were famished and ready for dinner.

Dining on the waterfront is always a good idea. The salmon with blueberries and asparagus was delicious! Thank you Ray and Becky, for treating me to such a delicious meal in such a lovely location!

As soon as we finished our meal we headed over to the big event:

The Bard on the Beach: A production of Shakespear's Taming of the Shrew, done western style.

It was such fun, and I could just imagine the Bard himself laughing along with us, and thinking "Now this was exactly what I had in mind, except that I wrote the play a few hundred years too soon. Western style is just the thing for this play!"

If you have Windows Media or Quicktime installed, you can watch the high points of the play here.

What a day! Aside from missing Bernie, and thinking that this is what it must feel like to be a widow as I trailed behind the two happy couples escorting me about, it was absolutely wonderful.
Thanks Terry for driving, Lovella and Becky for planning, Ray and Becky for dinner, and fleetfooted Ray for coffee at intermission!

Ya'll are just the best!