Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Couture Sculptural/Free-Form Millinery: Part 2 - The Tutorial

OK, no excuses....  I've been away for quite some time.  I haven't checked my emails for several months or the comments on my blog.  I've been staying up all night, and taking care of Ms. E' during the day.  You see, there were a couple of things I wanted to do when I retired.  You know about this blog, another thing I wanted to do (and there are many more) was to take piano lessons.  So for the past couple of months I've been taking piano lessons.  I must tell you that I'm not as sharp as I once was.  I played clarinet when I was a youngster, but that was nothing compared to this piano thing.  The two staffs are killing me.  Plus I have no rhythm; I can't even dance. I'm sure my piano teacher would have unlisted her phone number if she had known what a baby I am.

Waite, no, no!  All of that time I was away, piano was not the only thing I was learning.  I was also teaching myself how to crochet beaded ropes.  I could not move forward until I learned how to crochet a strong foundation.  On YouTube it looked easy; well, it wasn't easy for me.  In the end I finally created a strong foundation without the use of any props.  Only then, could I move forward.  As far as aesthetics, I still have a long way to go, but I'll get there with more practice.

So you say you could have done this in less time?  OK, I'll give you that.  But I guarantee you that  I'm probably better at daydreaming than you are, and that takes lots of of time.  Plus, I had my thrift and antique shops to visit.  I've picked up a couple of interesting bowl shapes, so stay tuned for a few interesting hats I plan to make.

Since you've only seen a couple of my utility blocks and maybe a bowl or vase or two, you probably think that I don't have any hat blocks.  Actually I have quite a few beautiful blocks.  I view most of them as sculptures rather than hat blocks, and I usually have most of them stuffed into every available space in my tiny living quarters, with the exception of my daughter's room; she's just not having that.  However, a little over a month ago, I pulled out a few blocks to place a on a vintage or antique (?) game table I purchased from the thrift shop.  I'll talk about this in another post.  Finally, I've always wanted to put one of my Willcox & Gibbs straw braid sewing machine heads on a treadle frame.  Well, I found a W&B treadle at my antique shop, and the rest is history.   So, I have plenty to share with you; it's just a matter of finding the time to do so.  Stick with me and I'm sure you'll find a few things that may be of interest to you.

I promised that I would end the blog if I didn't post in a timely manner.  However, I just couldn't do that.  We all have our ways of sharing our blessings, and this blog is one way I share mine--by sharing my knowledge and love for millinery.  Hopefully you will find something here that you can share with someone also.  Believe me it will not take anything away from you.  Further, time waits for no woman.  I've been making hats for almost three decades, but I still haven't taken a watercolor class, a photography class, a draping class, volunteered to participate in the construction of a Habitat for Humanities home (a high priority), take a young person under my wings and teach them everything I know about millinery (another high priority), learn how to ride a motorcycle, take more belly dancing classes, get back to enjoying the arts, finish those curtains I started a couple of months ago, get back to making jewelry, sit in the sun more often, spend more time with love ones (top priority), teach a few millinery classes, spend less time on Facebook (that started a few months ago), etc., etc., etc.  Now that I've talked your eyes off, on to the tutorial.

Just a little note:  I'll send out passwords when time permits.

Sculptural/Free-Form Millinery: Part 2 - The Tutorial

There are a couple of things you should know that are not clear in the video.  Because the straw I used was soft and pliable, it required no blocking.  All of the shapes were created by twisting the wired edge into various shapes.  Also, I forgot to take images of the frame wiring.  So, if you need to know how to wire the foundation frame, please visit this post.  You can either create a shape and permanently sew it into place, or you can do as I did here and temporarily pin trim (flowers, etc.) into place.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Couture Sculptural/Free-Form Millinery: Part 1--Gallery of Designs

It's been a few weeks since posting, so I thought I'd better bring you something worth reading or seeing.  I've noticed a millinery trend happening around the globe, sculptural/free-form millinery.  As the old saying goes, "What goes around, comes around."  If you are a vintage hat lover of say, the early 1900s through the 1940s you are very much acquainted with the tucks and folds in the millinery of those eras.  If you were making hats in the early 1990s changes are, again, you are familiar with "free-form" millinery.  For me this current trend in sculptural/free-form millinery is so exciting, and it can be extremely creative.

I've prepared a video for you showing some of the designs I created while at play.  All of the hats in the video started and ended with a single pink straw hat body.  Each hat was shaped in the hand--no hat blocks were used.  After each design was  completed, it was reshaped into another shape, then another shape until I became exhausted reshaping and photographing each design.  The color variations of the designs are due to the lighting (day or night light), camera settings,  and in some cases,  the color was manipulated using image processing software. 

Part 2 of this series will show some of the steps I used (stitching, wiring, etc.) to create the support structure for these designs.  As always, I've used an unconventional method.  Did you notice that I said that I would show some of the steps?  That's because I've been trying to figure out some way to reward my site members for taking the time to follow me.  "Page Views" are very important to a Web site; so,  I prefer to concentrate on my current followers first, and continue to work hard to create the type of content that will attract new followers.  I've been experimenting with a password protected page where members can go to pick up extra tips that will not be available to nonmembers.  I don't have everything worked out yet, so please be patient.

Password Protected Page for Site Followers

Please Note!  This is not a membership drive.  Currently I have 309 followers on this site.  Only the current members will be given a password, if requested.  You will have to request a password because not all of my followers make hats.  Some are just here to support me and others just love hats.  My plan is, and this may change, to post the extra tips and information on the password protected page for two to four weeks.  Then it will be taken down.  New followers will have access to new tips and information, but no one will have access to old information because at some point the old information will be taken down.  So please, if you would like to follow me understand that for this post, only current members will have access to additional tips.  You will only be eligible for future tips and information as they come up.

Current Members.   Most of you receive email notices when new posts are published.  If your user name is a part of your email address, just leave a comment asking me to send you a password.  Your user name must be unique for me to identify it.  If you do not get automatic updates, please sign up for them.  See sidebar for "Subscribe Via Email."  I will compile a mass mailing, with each of you receiving a "bcc (blind carbon copy)" so that others will not see your email address.  I figure that it will take me a little over a week to get the passwords to you.  After that time I will have to stop accepting requests because it would just take too much time to be constantly processing passwords.  So, this is new for me and for you also.  If it works I will continue this practice, if not I will discontinue it.  Please leave questions and comments so I can assist you.

I hope you enjoy the movie I have prepared for you.  You will have to view it in full screen to take advantage of the full color effects.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Essie Edwards' May 2012 Annual Fashion Show

I introduced Mrs. Edwards to you last year in my post, "Essie Edwards: A Phenomenal Milliner, Seamstress, Instructor, and Fashionista."  Nothing has changed much.  Mrs. Edwards is still the same phenomenal lady she was last year.  Her beautiful seniors, including the facility director, Toni, and facility caretaker, Dorothy, are still in place and are still wonderful.  Mrs. Edwards is always speaking well of them.  One thing that will be changing is that Mrs. Edwards will be retiring this year.  I'll miss seeing my senior friends at the Rose Garden.  I have been blessed to have friends in my millinery classes (Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. King) that have been so supportive.  I'll miss the support of people that know me, as well as my character.  Nothing will ever replace the presence of warm and caring people.  As for Mrs. Edwards, we'll always keep in touch with each other and hang out together.  When I talked to her this morning, she informed me that she may volunteer a few hours at the senior center.  If she does, I'll make an extra effort to visit my friends at the center, plus Ms. E' would love all of the attention she would receive.

Also, I must mention how much of an inspiration these ladies have been to me.  Some of the ladies that attend the center are over 30 years my senior.  Most of them drive to the center one to three times a week.  The cloths and hats you will see in the following video were made by these wonderful ladies.  If you could see the clothing and hats up close, you would think that they were bought from department stores; that's how well they are made--a wonderful reflection of the instructor.  Thank you Mrs. Edwards.

Also, since all of our millinery classes may be cut, I have to say thank you to Mrs. Eloise King, my millinery instructor, on-and-off, for 28 years.  To Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. King, no matter how many millinery instructors I may have in the future, if I have the chance to study abroad, none of them will top you guys.  I'm good at what I do because of the foundation you gave me.

I'm not going to introduce the following video as Mrs. Edwards final fashion show video because I attended a spectacular fashion show this afternoon that was moderated by Mrs. Edwards.  Some ladies had attended her fashion show and liked it so much that they invited Mrs Edwards to do it again for charity club.  Now on to the video!

Note:  I wasn't home to select the video cover image when it stopped processing on YouTube.  I would have preferred that Mrs. Edwards image appear on the video cover.  Click twice on the video to maximize video screen and to see the text that has been written on the video images.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The "Junk" Contest Winners Are...!

Thank you all for entering my millinery supply giveaway.  Hopefully you will visit me a little more often, because now you'll receive a little message in your email box as soon as I update the Hatstruck site.  When you stop in for a visit, I would greatly appreciate it if you would leave a comment every once in a while just to keep me motivated and inspired to bring you better and more exciting site content.

...and the winners are:

Emily Moe, First Place
Miss Rudolph, Second Place
Kitty, Third Place, Southern California (Free Form Millinery Class)

Please email me your address at

Can you see as well as the blind sees?

In order to be successful at design, you must see as the blind sees.  If you are new to millinery, I'm curious to know what you learned from the following video, if anything.  It does not have to be this video, it could be any video, image, etc., relating to your craft.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hatstruck Couture Millinery's "Take My Junk Please!" Millinery Supply Giveaway Contest

It is so dull around here at the Hatstruck blog; especially after going through that intense Diamond Jubilee millinery contest.  I need some excitement around here.  I think a contest is in order.  Plus I haven't completed processing the photos and videos I took at Mrs. Edwards fashion show that took place on May 19. That post should have followed my previous post.

I have so much millinery junk here in my little place.  I was pulling out some stuff to sell on Ebay, then it came to me, "Why not have a millinery supply contest!"  That would really put some excitement into the mix.

Without going on and on, here are the rules to qualify you for the contest:

The colored text below is being added in real-time (almost).  These are comments I added after my first post for this contest.  Things just come up that I don't expect.  I should have gone back to my last contest to refresh my memory.

Second Try!  Please Read the Entry Rules.   Many of you are not site members and are not email subscribers.  PLEASE READ THE ENTRY RULES and follow them in order to qualify for the contest!  I don't want you to miss out on a chance to win some millinery supplies or a free class.

I just received an anonymous entry.  I don't quite get anonymous comments, etc., on a blog since there are so many free email providers, and it's possible to use any user name wanted.  I really don't know how to enter an anonymous person into this contest.  Actually, there are a few anonymous visitors to my site, some leave a first name.  This is great because I feel that I'm consistently communicating with the same person, regardless of what their real name is.  Please DO NOT LEAVE ANONYMOUS ENTRIES, especially without a name.

Important:  Don't forget to activate your email feed.  I noticed that a number of you have not.  I guess this is done by clicking on a link that was sent to you when you sign up for blog post updates.  Inactive/Unverified email accounts do not count.

The Entry Rules:

1.  You must be a member of this site.  If you are not a member, please "Join this site," by clicking on the button to your right and following the instructions given.

2.  You must be an email subscriber.  If you are not an email subscriber, inter your email address into the text box under "Enter your email address to receive blog updates:" and push "Subscribe."  If you use the site but do not want to participate in the contest, please consider becoming a member.  Membership and comments keep me motivated.

3.  You must leave a comment saying something like, "Enter me into the contest."  If you are already an email subscriber, you must still let me know that you would like to participate in the contest.

4.  Please, only enter once!  IF YOU ENTER MORE THAN ONCE, YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. It is just too much trouble to strip out multiple entries.

Please see additional rules below mixed in with the text.

The winners...did I say winners!  Yes I did!  The first place winner will win a box of supplies and a hat block.  The second place winner will receive supplies only.  Finally, the third place winner, drum roll please, will receive a free, free-form millinery class with me.  OK, the third place prize is not that exciting, and there is a catch to this prize.  You must be a Southern California resident.  Although those living in Southern California will have a chance to win a first or second place prize, he or she is only eligible to win one prize.  So, if you live in Southern California, and would like to take the free, free-form class with me, let me know when you leave your comment.  All supplies will be provided for this free class.  Winners notified June 6, 2012.

How will the winners be chosen?  Each person leaving a comment will be given a number, starting with one.  I will use an Internet random number generator to pick the numbers.  The third place Southern California winner, if he or she did not win a first or second place prize, will be renumbered and the random number generator will be ran again for this group of people.  I WILL SHIP ANYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD.

One purpose of this contest is to ensure that more of you receive email notices when I issue a new post.  I am so guilty of not visiting my favorite blogs lately mainly because, although I receive there update notices in my Google reader, I seldom take the time to go there.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tooling (Shaping) Artificial Fabric Flower Petals Without the Use of Traditional Flower Making Tools

I have been promising you a flower making tutorial for some time now.  So, I finally put something together.  This is a tutorial showing how to tool (shape) fabric flower petals without the use of expensive flower making tools.  Even the method I use for stiffening the material is not traditional, being that the petals are stiffened individually.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on flower making, but it is, I feel, the most important aspect of it.  The rest can be figured out by observing how vintage artificial flowers or flowers founds in crafts stores are assembled.  There are many wonderful flower making books that can be found on Ebay, and other booksellers' sites.  Also, check out the free out-of-print flower making book links to your right under "Speedy Resource Access: Flower Making" on this site.

Please note that the fabric stiffener I used for this project is not the only stiffener that is used to stiffen flowers.  I used this stiffener because it better suited the fabric I was using.

Following my video is a video showing how to assemble an artificial flower. Note again, this is not the only method of assembling a flower.  Experiment, experiment, research, research, and observe.  Have fun!

P.S., Yes the flower above was made with a spoon and awl.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Do the Pretty Hats Always Have to Win?

First Place:  Vlad Straticiuc

Second Place:  Jill Humphries
First, congratulations Diamond Jubilee contest winners!  Actually, I posted my congratulatory remarks earlier on my Facebook wall; I hope all of you saw them; if not, here is another one for you.  Your hats are absolutely lovely.

The second reason for this post is to answer some of the questions I will be receiving--as I did last week-- when I attend class on Thursday night.  Everyone will want to know who won, what did the hats look like, what were the prizes, etc.  So, a picture is worth a thousand words, and hopefully most of their questions will be answered before I return to class.
Third Place:  Marie Hennessey Halewood

Peoples' Choice:  Ama Mbeaba Quarshie
Here is a link to Talenthouse showing all of the participants, and here is a link showing the names, country, and number of votes each contestant received.

Third, for my Facebook friends, with all of the activity on Facebook because of the millinery competition, I saw some Facebook friends' feeds that I have not seen for a long time.  I think how it works is that only the most recent friends show up in the feed.  What this means is that you see a small group of people over and over.  With me these people are mostly in groups.  This is not a bad thing, but what happens is that you miss some really great posts from other friends.  So drop in on me every once in a while, and I will do the same with you.  It was so good seeing all of you creative people again.  If you are not a follower of my blog, stop in, follow me, and sign up for the email updates.  Once again thanks for all of your support and votes.

Why Do the Pretty Hats Always Have to Win?

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11, 20012: Last Day to Vote for Hatstruck Couture Millinery Diamond Jubilee Hat Submission

If you haven't voted for my diamond jubilee hat submission, please follow this Talenthouse link or click on the red hat in the right-hand column.  Today, May 11, is the last day to vote.  So, send me a little love by voting for my hat, "Elegant in Red."

Thanks a million,


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hatstruck Couture Millinery Diamond Jubilee Hat Submission

It is almost 5:00 a.m. and I'm exhausted.  I'm babysitting Ms. E'.  She's a one-year-old teenager, stays up all night and sleeps until midday.  I've danced to  the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song for maybe six times or more, and I've gone  through the basic colors, numbers, and shapes with her.  No she can't talk (except for momma, daddy, no, and a few other words), but she can point.  Anyway, I started this post earlier yesterday, but lost it somehow, and I dreaded doing it over again.  So here I go.

Below are a few details concerning an international millinery contest I entered.  So, if you would please, vote for me by following this Talenthouse link or by clicking on the red hat in the right-hand column.  Your vote will be greatly appreciated.  

The Details

I entered into the the international Dillon Wallwork and HATalk e-magazine millinery competition in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee--her 60 years on the throne.  The contest directive was to create a hat inspired by this wondrous event.  After a few weeks of daydreaming and purchasing materials I would never use for this contest, I finally created "Elegant in Red."

While in London in 1999 I remembered seeing Windsor Castle guards from a distance.  One of the most noticeable things, not including the enormity of the castle, was their red coats and straight backs.  From television and books I saw beautiful jewels, opulence, and elegance, all bundled up into what seemed a fairytale.  So, the hat I wanted to create had to be elegant, rich, and for me, something outside of myself--a fairytale.  I also had to represent 60 years of the Queen's reign on the throne.  I had purchased some rather nice red and blue velvet for this project, but I did not use it because I had thrown out  my original design(s).  I sketched another design and insisted to myself that this final design had to go forward because NOW!

The Final Design

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to represent 60 years of the Queen's reign.  I didn't want to put a big 60 atop my hat because I wanted it to be a bit refined (not that she would even be caught in a dark room with it on).  I remembered from numerology that six and 60 still equaled 6.  So I sketched a stylized six and attached it to my display head.  Yes, yes that's it!  I thought.  From this point I carved a Styrofoam hat block to block my materials on.  The velvet I had purchased would not work for this project, at least not with the ease I would want it to for this shape.  With this design I needed something that was also malleable to accommodate my design.  Well, in walked Ms. Suede.  Actually she had been living with me for months and years.

I collect suede and leather scraps that are large enough to make hats.  Suede and leather are two of my  favorite materials to work with.  They can be easily shaped and manipulated, something that is not easy to do with almost non-stretch velvet.  Just a little note, I learned that leather and suede actually have a grain.  Yes, it stretches in one direction more than the another; try it.  I learned this while researching and making gloves.

I also purchased glass pearls.  Well, in one of my previous designs (I will not say how many I had) my plan was to construct an elaborate crown.  O.K., given the time I had left to make the contest entry deadline, this was just not going to happen.  Given the results of my final project, I'm  happy I didn't have the time.  So I decided to create a wire frame in the form of something.  The reason I say something is because I didn't know what I was going to construct.  All I know is that when my fingers stopped moving, I had an appropriate crown for what was to become a side-mounted cocktail hat, and atop that crown was a big diamond crystal.  Yes, I also purchased a diamond shaped crystal, but it was to be placed in that crevice you see in the bottom center of my Styrofoam block.  In that position the crystal looked horrible, but it looked fantastic atop my wire frame crown.

The Trim and Wire Fram

Although I purchased two strands of pearls in different sizes, if you will notice, I only used one pearl.  With me, less is more; less turns my head.  Actually, I've been known to put one crystal on a hat at a strategic location.  With the richness of the red suede, I had to use Swarovski crystals, but not so many as to overpower the red suede.  I wanted them to stand together equally.  I really need to take a photography class to better capture the details in my images.

For the underside of my hat I used black suede and trimmed it with crystal yardage, the same yardage I used to trim my large diamond crystal.  The crystal was supported by the wire frame crown I created, as mentioned above.  The frame was then wrapped in vintage chenille.  The wide horsehair braid complements the underside view and the outside view of the hat, yielding two themes, sort of like darkness to light.  As a child I feasted on King Arthur and Sir Lancelot novels--medieval times; that was a long time ago.  Thanks to my grandparents and aunt for letting me daydream all day, etc.  I really enjoyed this journey!

 Below is a video I've prepared showing multiple views of my hat. 

Good luck to all contest participants!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vintage Film--Three-Way Hat, Diamond Jubilee Millinery Contest, My TUMBLR Site, Etc.

My New Blog on TUMBLR
I came across this film some time ago and thought I would share it with you. I posted the video on, an interesting Web site I recently discovered. Please follow me there, as well as on my main site here.  TUMBLR is a place where I can post things fast without spending hours processing images, etc.  The content will consists of a little of my stuff and a lot of  others' creative stuff.

Millinery Contest
Wednesday/Thursday (usually if I give a day it's always the next day, since I'm a night person) I started working on a hat for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebration Millinery Contest (visit Talenthouse for more details). The submission day is May 3, I believe.  OK, OK, I work better under pressure.  There is a chance I may not make the deadline, but in case I do I'm asking for your support.  I think how it works is that supporters on my Talenthouse site are notified when it's time to vote, etc.  If it does not work this way, then I'll remind you to vote for me, pleaseeee.  If you are not a Talenthouse subscriber, you can subscribe to the site or you can use your Facebook account to log into the site.  To  support me in advance, visit me at and push the support button, or something.  As you can see, I'm not a Talenthouse expert.  If I don't meet the deadline, then you will be my supporter the next time something comes around--no need to sign up again.  Thanks a million!

I'm So Sorry :(
Something else; I've promised to show you how I made the flower petals seen in my One-Yard-of-Fabric project.  I'm not stringing you along.  I've made a crude video, and director I am not.  Anyway, it's still in the can awaiting editing.  I'm still learning with this blog thing.  I thought that if I would state what post content was coming up next, I would create faster and post more often.  Well, there are 24 hours in the day, and ...well I will not continue this short-lived advance notice.  Ms. E', my granddaughter, demands her time..

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The French Room is Open for Business and I'm Excited Because I'm Taking a Millinery Class There on 28th!

The French Room Grand Opening Celebration
OK, I'm excited because I'm taking a millinery class, more specifically, a
Kentucky derby/fascinator class.  I love taking classes; I've taken some sort of class since forever.  But there is something special about the class I'm taking on Saturday, April 28.  I will be at the The French Room, not only to take the class, but to also support a group of wonderful women.  Although there are other partners, Colleen and Austin are the ladies I know best, friends.

I love to be around passionate, caring people like Austin and Colleen.  Plus, we share a special bond from the past.  Although I've been in California for decades (I'm a Southerner forever!), I still love "good old down to earth, front porch people."  The type of people that are warm and supportive.  Thanks for supporting me ladies, and here is a little bit of support back to you!

The ladies have created the type of business I've been looking for for years, one that offers a variety of classes to satisfy those like myself that not only love millinery, but also many other arts and crafts.  The French Room is located at 3195 Glendale Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

Please visit the Room on Facebook and click on the "Like" button to keep up with all of the wonderful things that will be happening around the Room. To view the list of upcoming classes, visit the Room's Events page also located on Facebook.   Plus, visit Colleen's and Austin's blogs to follow these ladies' and their escapades around town and abroad to get a glimpse of how they live their life.  They have too much fun!  I'm sure The French Room will be a place where you will love to hang out. These ladies love life, and they will bring this love of life to their new venture.

Note:  Over 99.99% of search engine statistics on my site are questions concerning making fascinators and fascinator classes.  Here is your opportunity to sign up for the the April 28th class.  Book your class here, (on Facebook) immediately!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hatstruck Couture Millinery: What If First Lady Michelle Obama Occasionally Wore A Hat?

I thought it would be fun to see how First Lady Michelle Obama would possibly look if she occasionally wore a hat.  I must say, if she would adorn her lovely head with a beautiful hat, it would take nothing away from her classy style.  Not only that, could you imagine the impact she would have on the millinery trade.  Below is a video I playfully put together showing how the First Lady would look in a few of my hats.  Enjoy.

P.S.:  I'm still working on the next post (see bottom of last post); stay tuned.  Also, leave your email in the box to your right to receive notices of new Hatstruck posts sent directly to your email address.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hatstruck Couture Millinery: How Many Hats and Accessories Can You Make From One Yard of Fabric?

As I mentioned in my last post,  I'm constantly purchasing stuff for my millinery projects.  My favorite discount fabric store will only sell a minimum of one yard of fabric.  So yes, I have tons of unused fabrics I've accumulated over the years.  Well, I decided that I would use an entire yard of fabric for one of my millinery projects.  I've created a video to show the results of my labor.  Of course I've used other supplies, but those supplies were already in my stash.

I'm so passionate about couture millinery that I really wanted to show you just how little it costs to create beautiful hats, but you must realize that it is the time and workmanship put into these hats that drive up their cost.  I tend to lean toward the conservative side, but couture millinery can be just as far out and current as you would like it to be.  Plus, you can use an unlimited number of fabrics, including suede and leathers (my favorites), silks, linens, etc.  So have fun, sit back, maximize the video screen and enjoy the movie and wonderful music.


What's Coming Up in My Next Post?
Well for my next post, I am leaning toward demonstrating how I tooled the plaid flower petals in this project using makeshift flower making tools for under one dollar, or maybe how I rhinestone a very, very small cocktail hat.  Which one of these possible posts is of interests you?


Monday, March 5, 2012

Couture Millinery Showstoppers at The Smithsonian Institute: Milliner Extraordinaire Mae Reeves' Hat Collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Let's Play Catch Up
I know, I've been gone for quite some time, so I'll try to catch you up on what has been happening with me--the short version.  OK, my computer crashed and I lost all of Ms. E's birth videos and images.  My camera was stolen from my daughter, containing over 300 of my millinery images for my not-yet posted blog tutorials; now that's a true story and a great excuse.  My hat class turned out to be a very fun event, and I promised the ladies that I would invite them back for a free, even more-fun session.  Time pasts so fast, but I'll get to this as soon as possible.

I told you about my winnings at the county fair, I think, but I didn't tell you that my hand-felted hat was put into the millinery contest and a separate class was created for it, rather than it being put into the division and class I entered it into.  What gave them the right to do this!  I'm still upset about that because my goal was/is to venture out into other county fair divisions, not just the millinery division.  But I must say, I think all of this really had little to do with my sluggish blog postings or lack thereof.  I needed to reevaluate why I created this blog--to promote couture millinery and to share my knowledge with others.  I'm back on track now, and I'll concentrate on what I love to do--couture millinery--and filter out most of the white noise.

I'm sorry that I have not gown into my emails in months.  I'll do so, and I'll also post and answer the comments left on my blog. To Anonymous, regarding your comment, my blog is in English.  Many times blogs are sucked up into other Web sites.  I don't quite get the anonymous thing, but that's OK.  Oh, I've returned to Facebook, or should I say I'm visiting it more often again.  I can't stay away from all of that Millinery Eye Candy.  I'm not very much of a phone person (or an email person), so I'm OK there; however, I needed to hold my immediate friends, family, and acquaintances closer to my heart.  The thought of being addicted to social media more than family, friends, acquaintances, See's Candy and Pepsi frightens me.  There is such freedom in not being connected 24/7 to inanimate objects--and even human, at times.  As much as I really enjoy and love others' company, I also love being in my own company as well.  Try it; disconnect every once in a while.

I'll make this promise; I'll never stay away as long as I did this time, as long as I'm in good health.  Either I'll deliver a consistent flow of quality blog posts (I guess that's subjective.), or I'll close the blog down.

About My Blog Banner

I changed my banner, and I know that it's not the most sophisticated banner, but as my children did, Ms. E' inspires me.  You see, Ms. E' is now one year old.  To watch her grow warms my heart, and when I open this blog, the whole of me smiles when I see her face.

About This Blog Post's Title
Last night while perusing I came across a video of Milliner Extraordinaire Lula Mae Reeves' couture millinery creations.  The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture had acquired a collection of Mrs. Reeves hats from her daughter.  Mrs Reeves was an entrepreneur that made hats for the famous and the not so famous starting in the 1930s.  She was the first black American woman to open her own business in downtown Philadelphia--1934.  She retired in 1977!

Every time I see vintage couture millinery, or just well made couture millinery, I find myself swooning.  Mrs. Reeves' hats are absolutely elegant, timeless, and classy.  Although I also like many of the millinery designs of this era, I absolutely love the designs of Mrs. Reeves, as well as some of the other couture milliners from the past.  Just seeing this video makes me remember why I love couture millinery.  The video is over an hour long; so make sure the dog ha been walked, pop some popcorn, stock up on your favorite candy, soda, or some carrot sticks, and settle back to enjoy the movie.  If you can't watch it in one setting, pause it until you can view the entire thing.  This video is inspirational to all pursuing millinery as a business endeavor or those that are already in the millinery business, including those of us that just love couture millinery.

Oh, someone, anyone, if you know or have access to the elegant First Lady Michael Obama, please ask her to adorn her lovely head at least once with a beautiful couture hat.  It would do wonders for the economy.  Every little bit helps.

...and now to the video!  Please stick around for the fashion show; you will not regret it.

What's Coming Up in My Next Post?
Just as every milliner or hobbyist, I constantly purchase supplies and continuously stuff those supplies into spaces that just can't take any more!  I made a promise to myself:  "I will not purchase more supplies."  OK, so I broke that promise.  So, I made another promise to myself:  "I will at least use the supplies as I purchase them."  OK, once again I broke that promise; I purchased the material at least three years ago.  My favorite fabric store will only sell a minimum of one yard of fabric.  That's too much fabric for one hat, so I vowed to start using the entire yard--this may prove to be too ambitious.  But, in my next post I'll show you exactly what I did with that one yard of material.  A hint:  hats (how many?), shoes?, etc., etc.  Don't miss my next post; sign up for email reminders.  See sidebar to your right.