Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Hello world! Here comes my hats

Few of us are blessed with the hat head. Hat HEAD, not hat hair. Yes, when you have a hat head, practically any hat looks great on your head. At an early age I fell in love with hats. The Easter bonnet that we would by every year. The sun bonnets that became so popular with Little House on the Prairie and Holly Hobby. Shopping at Harold's for wedding hats, an entire floor of hats! I would choose a hat & pick an outfit to go with it.

I love watching vintage movies just for the hat design. I love walking through markets & having stall owners go into their special stash for hats that work only on me. It was only nature that I would be drawn to make my own. I exhausted myself in trying to find instruction or workshops or even a textbook. Bless old ladies that pass on information. Eventually I got the knack of it started wearing them out and the weirdest thing happened- people liked them. My most memorable experience was at the Cherry Creek Art Festival. I went into a milliner's stall to look at her hats, put mine down on the table to try one on, a lady came up next to me, tried on my hat & asked the milliner's price! I was overjoyed and embarrassed at the same time.

My year of 'why not' all came with direction this summer. A thirty requests for my hats plus a friend lending me free studio space plus the Holiday Handmade equals action. I started with a few proto-types that I thought the general public would like. This way I would have something to muddle around in my mind while I worked on the Pret-a-Porter outfit. Once that was done I would do final designs for the Holiday Handmade submission...it was in the end of October like the last year.

Pret show was September 16th; September 17th I downloaded the prospectus for the show & I was in shock- the submission date was moved up to September 26th!! I spent every night in the studio working, not on final hats but mustering the proto-types to be presentable for photos. Good photos were a must, the prospectus laid out that the submission would be better if I had an Etsy site. So I hired a photographer & started searching for models. Oh models....I could only get one scheduled by the deadline...so we got creative and I too had to do some modeling:) These are some of the proto-types that are on my Etsy shop. My sister joined me & created some knitted baby hats that are adorable!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Pret-a-Porter 2011

Third year on the Women In Design team for the IIDA (International Interior Designers Association) Pret-a-Porter competition. Each year has been a different experience. The first year I was part of the team through a proxy. We discussed the design over phone & visit. I came up with sketches for the headdress & the team chose which one I would make. Then I worked in my cabin in Estes Park. Didn't see the final couture outfit until it was coming down the runway to win Best in Show.
2010 year was a devistating year. I was one foot in the team and one foot out. The outfit was in constant flux. I made some paper flowers but that was all for that year. The show was two weeks after my father's death. We didn't place that year.
2011 is my year to be involved. Its my 'what worse can happen' year. I'm glad that I did because this year the IIDA upped the anti. The competition still only allowed 25 teams but the attendance to the show has increased so it had to be moved from the Exdo Center in the warehouse district to the Denver Center of Performing Arts (DCPA) Ellie Caukins Opera House. We were expected to create outfits that would fit the bill of an opera house. On top of that, the IIDA wanted 70% of the outfit to be in the Pantone colour of the year- Honeysuckle. I love designing in warm colours...but the Pantone colour Honeysuckle is not honely-like at all- its hot pink!
Our distributor was Kimball Office Furniture. Hot pink office furniture! Tough but the WiD team figured it out. We did our digging and not many operas have good female role models, not something that WiD wanted to put our name on. So we did some reinvisioning in our design Steel Awakening as Madame Butterfly with empowerment. A form exposing dress with stylistic kimono sleeves. The base of the dress was representative of female sexuallity in Japan. Only female ghosts got to have a libido (as a demon) ancient Japanese could only tell these women were ghosts by the lack of feet; they moved around on a cloud. The obi belt made from braided macrame was to be holding a torso encompassing lotus that was formed from wood veneer. My headdress was formed out of task chair seat cushions.
Six weeks before the show the materials we chose for the outfit were still coming in. The main piece was the lotus cage that needed two 4ft x 8th sheets of veneer. What showed up us a stack of 8in x 10in sheets of veneer. A phone call was made to the IIDA & they allowed us to come up with an adjusted design & sketch. A couple days later we had a new design and we won the bronze.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day Three A Day at Home

I now understand all the complaints about teenagers. They really do only think about themselves. I had plans for Friday, but on no, they went by the wayside when they informed me that there was no school today. (Yes I did check with the school. I'm no substitute teacher!)

Thank goddess for the track coach. He still had practice at 7:30am. Which meant after picking up the girl from practice I raised the dead (the boy) and we went out to brunch at IHOP. Then to the DMV to get the driver's examination manual then back to the house.....for the boyfriend's arrival. Yup, the 15 yr old girl is dating...a senior. My first thoughts as he came through the door- I can take him down.

So while the big brother chaperoned them watching the LOTR. I got to spend my afternoon going from my perch in the kitchen to checking on them to make sure no hanky panky was taking place. It was miserable!

Atleast by 6pm their father came to pick them up and take them for the weekend. A whole weekend free to wander the state!

Day Two Downtown

After the kids went to school I hung around the house for a little bit. To my discovery, its good to do this because the sun comes out around 10 and it puts you in a cheerful mind to start the day.

For some reason I remembered something being in Bellevue. So with my trusty Prius and GPS, off I went. There is the Museum of Doll Art in Bellevue but I had already been. Then there's the high end mall- not my bag. The only place that I would go into would be the Din Tai Fung restaurant, pricey though. I was hungry & this excursion was seeming meaningless when I saw the smoke billowing out of a nearby Airstream.

The Skillet Street Food is yummy. It travels around to different parking lots daily. Edgar & I argue weither or not these are just gentrified roach-coaches but I liked Skillet. They serve Duck Burgers!....but I just wanted the Poutine. Poutine for those have never had it is Cheese Fries Canadian style. This was the first place that I had seen it in the lower 48. What you get is hand cut fries; herbs; a gravy that has chedder & parmasean tossed over it. You have to wait a bit for the fries to cool down so the cheese can melt into the gravy. YUM! I also bought a gift for my brother-in-law from them, Bacon Jam. You can see where they are at daily at their website: www.skilletstreetfood.com

Next on to SAM! I had never been to the Seattle Art Museum. Mainly because my visits were short or business related or with friends and those situations don't coexist with long, quiet strolls through museums. The SAM though is not really a big museum so what takes the longest is trying to find parking. Its really near the Pikes Place Market so there's plenty of lots. The old GPS lost my confidence when it told me to go right onto a one way street!

The exhibit to go see is the Nick Cave: Meet me at the Center of the Earth. Its not THAT Nick Cave of the Bad Seeds legend. Its the sculptor/performance artist that made costumes that represent the sounds that they made when dancers moved in them.

I loved the fur suits. They were the coolest ones in motion.

But I have to agree with the remainder of the visitors. The sweater bear was awesome! I got this picture shot done right as the guard told me, "No photos in the special exhibition."

This exhibit had an adult colouring book that I wanted to get for a friend who was just diagnosed with cancer, but $36 is too much for a COLOURING BOOK. So I went across the street to a little paper store call de Medici Ming. A awesome fine paper store where I got her (and myself ofcourse) some brillant metallic watercolours. On the walk back to my car, I popped into another new store called Paper Hammer which is an independant printing press shop.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wish Trip to Seattle came True

I've been desperately missing the Pacific Northwest with my only way of quenching would be a walk outside with wet hair followed by a viewing of Twilight or Northern Exposure. Simply LAME. I have no options to go on a vacation in this economy unless by a miracle......and one happened.

My friend Jessica's husband works as an audio engineer for a radio station. The station decided to broadcast from Ireland for St. Patrick's day. They paid for the two of them to go & needed someone to watch their teenagers to make sure they didn't go feral. Someone with no ties, that could up and come at a moments notice, that LIKE their children.....me.

I've never lived the mommy lifestyle but aparently from 7am til 3pm I have all the time on my hands to do whatever I want. With a Prius and a GPS I have the chance to see the sights that I wanted to see that never had the chance to in previous visits & to visit old favorites.

I'm in part blogging & also listing some things plus places for my friends that will be coming to Seattle in the weeks following. This is recon baby!

Day ONE:

I would fly into Seattle just to go to their International Market. A Nipponophile like me goes gaga over Uwajimaya. A supermarket focused on Japanese products. Most 'asian' markets are Korean so this is special. Based downtown, near the King Train Station, it is centrally located and near to Pioneer Square. If you are going over to the Underground Tour. Walk a couple blocks for lunch in their market. You know when you are in the neighborhood when you see the dragons climbing the telephone polls.


You don’t have to eat there or buy any of their cool bento goodies (like I did). You could go just to spend hours in the attached bookstore- KINOKUNIYA!!!! I wanted to buy so many books. But I bought the Christmas issure of Gothic & Lolita Bible…was tempted by a wall of fashion & music magazines…then theres the tons of craft books! Sigh, the temptation is great there.


Pioneer Park is not as interesting as it used to be. Most of the stores have closed due to the economy. There are two together that I worth popping into. On the corner is Diva Dollz. You can’t miss the great windows. www.thedivadollz.com

The inside is a scrumpsious as the windows.

Inside they sell vintage inspired shoes & dresses with fabulous corsets to put over them. I didn't have over $128 to spend on a pair or a dress but I did have the amount for a fantastic Burlesque inspired cocktail hat. Its a heart with an arrow through it. Ofcourse my battery died when I went to take a picture:( Another time I presume when I have the entire outfit done.

Next door to them is Utilikilts. Kilts for the construction work. Or like their motto goes, "We sell Freedom."


What caught my attention is the New Rocks. Every goth man this day owns a pair but I had never seen them in brown & tan. Apparently you'll never see them either unless you shop at their store. The owner knows the owner of New Rock & only makes them for Utilikilts. Their like the usual New Rocks but with a suede like on construction boots.

That was my couple of hours. Until tomorrow!