Monday, May 28, 2012


So, like the true hat addict that I am (why deny it?), I bought myself 3 different chapeaus for my birthday!  Ebay is a bit like the devil for my pocket book, but I have allowed it to steal my soul - putting up only a minimal amount of fighting.  Sometimes, it's easier being bad.  In any event, I purchased two AMAZING Frank Palma hats off of Ebay (one is a "Frank Palma Original" label, the other "Art Bern Hats by Frank Palma"), as well as another 1940s faux birdie tilt hat (this I won by default - since no one else bid against me - for the $26 starting bid!  Some of my favorite vintage hats have been won this way off of Ebay).  My birthday was Saturday, and my family is famous for only giving practical gifts, so I figured that if I wanted some ridiculous hats for my birthday, I needed to purchase them myself (I even bought an adorable vintage polka dot "birthday hat box" to keep them in)!  Frank Palma is "my main man" when it comes to vintage milliners, and to be able to purchase not only one but TWO of his hats was a real birthday wish come true!  I of course decided that I needed multiple birthday outfits to compliment my hats...

This is the first of my birthday ensembles:


I have dubbed this hat "Artie."

The dress is a gold brocade that my grandmother and I worked on.  It is made using a vintage 1960s pattern.  The dress actually has a removable overskirt, but I didn't have time to complete it before my birthday.  I actually almost like the dress better without the overskirt...

The "Art Bern Hats by Frank Palma" is breathtaking!  This hat is a near replica - with the exception of the color - to one that sold on for over $800!  You can see why I squealed with happiness when I purchased it on Ebay for $99+shipping.  This will always be one of my most treasured hats, I can tell you right now.  It is both incredibly beautiful, and incredibly unique in its design!

 For my birthday, I went to my favorite hairstylist in Ashland for a vintage 1930s cut & style (if you need your hair cut, I HIGHLY recommend Salon Selah V in Ashland, Oregon!).  Then, my darling husband took me out to a lovely Indian restaurant for a buffet-style lunch (yum!).  We went to a couple of antique stores, and then headed home to get ready for the lovely outdoor soiree he was throwing for me on our new deck.  We set up tables, chairs, and tea lights, and had a lovely BBQ (and wine!) with friends.  I could not have asked for a better birthday, and say many, MANY thank you's to all who showed up!  You certainly know how to make a girl feel loved!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Complete Set

A couple of months ago, I purchased the most beautiful late-1940s vintage 2-piece suit, done in metallic green and gold thread.  It was labeled a "Paula Brooks Original," and was absolutely GORGEOUS!  

I wanted to keep it, but it was a bit too big for me.  Just a few days later, I ended up - through pure serendipity! - selling it to a friend, who fit into the suit as though it was made for her!  The problem was that this lovely lady - *GASP* - didn't have a hat to match!  


Well, the Mad Hattress came to the rescue...

I was rushing to finish this hat by Memorial Weekend, so it's not has "professional" as my others, but I think it's still a lovely little chapeau!  The felt base was originally a hideous wannabe flapper hat put out about 6 years ago by the GAP.  I think it's much prettier now.  The felt was difficult to work with, since it wanted to pill out on me every time I tried to shape it.  In an effort to avoid this, I quickly shaped the crown over an overturned terracotta flower pot, and then ran a quick gathering stitch around the sides of the crown, tucking the largest of the gathers in the back for a cool, tilted affect.  The hat is decorated with iridescent green rooster feathers that curl forward as a fun cat toy!

I think this turned out to be an adorable little chapeau!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ex-Sta-TICK Adventures!

Our tick-filled hiking adventures out at Applegate Lake on Sunday, May 20th. We hiked 7 miles on the rather difficult Collings Mountain Trail, then detoured for another 4 miles via the Dakubetede trail around Applegate Lake & back to the car. 5 hours of hiking and 2 tick bites (plus dozens of tick passengers! Ick...), here is photo-documentation of our adventures.

Here is the description of this difficult hike, per the gorp website: 

"Leaving Grouse Creek, the trail climbs steeply for one mile to the ridge top, gaining 1,000' elevation, and begins a long traverse of the western slope of Collings Mountain summit. Excellent panoramic views of the Applegate Lake and surrounding mountains are seen at several locations along the trail.  After following the ridge line for 2 miles, the trail then descends at a moderate rate for 3 miles to Watkins Campground, The last 1/2 mile of trail passes through the 62 acre Watkins fire that burned in 1981."

Collings Mountain definitely kicked our butts, and I would never, EVER, go again during this time of year due to the EXTREME number of ticks!  *shiver*  However, it was a gorgeous hike, blood-suckers aside.  Most of the trail is shaded, so you are protected from the hot summer sun, and you get the awful insanely steep portion of the trail over with in the first ~2 miles (while you're still "fresh").  BRING LOTS OF WATER!  We went through 2 liters on Collings Mountain, and another liter on Dakubetede trail.

The start of the hiking (Collings Mountain Trail)! Note the spring in our step and the twinkle in our eyes! This faded tick at a time...
A pretty babbling brook at the start of the trail. 

The first mile or so of the trail offers three sets of points-of-interest: an old miners' cabin (which has since collapsed), the notorious Big Foot trap, and several mine adits.

Stroud-style, I helpfully point out necessary survival tools at the Big Foot Trap: an abandoned pair of sunglasses and a (definitely used) jock strap. These tools could be vital in a survival situation, but what kind of survival situation remains to be seen...

Fierce and ready to scare off the elusive Big Foot!  GRRRRR!

Ryan's WTF expression upon first seeing the trap is rather priceless... 

Gamely posing for the camera...

"What kind of Big Foot would be STUPID enough to get caught in there?!" Now you understand why the trap was abandoned after 2 fruitless years...God Bless the 1970s!

Gaining elevation as we work our way towards the ridge...that was some intense climbing! We gained 1,024 feet in about 1 mile or so...


A peek at the lake to strengthen our weakened resolve as we climb ever upwards along the forested path...


California Ground Cone - one of the most fascinating things I have ever seen! These were everywhere, and so cool!


Gorgeous view of the lake from the trail!

Trail's end after 11 miles of hiking. Smiling but tired...and definitely itchy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Trip Back In Time...

The new deck is nearly complete!  All that remains (besides landscaping the immediate area surrounding it, and pouring the concrete patio area) to be finished is the roof over the pergola!  The deck, as we discovered yesterday, makes an absolutely wonderful area to take pictures at!  FINALLY!  I have somewhere photogenic!


Ryan asleep on the job!


My grandmother and I went to a yard sale in Medford on Saturday morning, braving the holiday crazies.  There is only one thing that would make me venture out into the world on the Saturday morning of Mother's Day Weekend - cheap vintage dresses!  While they ended up not being quite as cheap as I hoped, they were still an economical alternative to Etsy or Ebay.  The woman selling them had quite a few, but at $40 a pop, I could only afford two (she did give me a price break though in the end).  The two that I ended up getting were the first two that I saw, and it was definitely love at first sight!  They are both 1930s era - the bronze one is later, the black and white one is early- to mid-1930s.  Both are breathtakingly lovely!  I think the bronze one is going to be my birthday dress (it will beautifully match both of my Frank Palma birthday hats! - pics of those coming after my actual birthday).  As you can see from the pictures, I have to take the hem up on the bronze one, since I'm such a short little thing, but otherwise it fits perfectly and is in amazing condition.  The black and white one needed some repair work (which is why there aren't any pics of me wearing it yet), and I have to delicately add some extra gathers at the sides of the bust too, since I'm an A-cup and it was definitely made for a "busty lady."

The bronze dress is a two-piece ensemble: practically strapless (the straps are teeny tiny) dress with a matching bolero.  There is black lace detailing on the dress bodice and all over the bolero.  The dress zips up the side with a metal zipper.

The earlier 1930s dress is a sheer black and white floral pattern with black lace.  It is closer to the roaring 20s!  It is a three-piece outfit: slip (the straps are made with matching black and white fabric!), dress, and cape.  The dress closes on the side with metal snaps, has a rear "belt" that is attached at one side and circles the back of the dress to attach to the other side via metal snaps.  The dress is stained lightly in several areas, and could use a gentle washing, which I will do after alterations.  The hem line and cape contain a BEAUTIFUL and delicate black lace...just breathtaking!

Monday, May 07, 2012


We worked hard this weekend, rushing to get the B&B/property ready for the first booking(s) of the year.  It's always a great deal of work to prepare the inn for the tourist season, but when the first bookings also coincide with the gardening-planting rush, it really equals chaos!  In any event, we got the room ready, the hot tub cleaned out and running, the fountain in the Memorial Garden (in the center of the driveway) cleaned out and running), the remaining mulch moved, and many more numerous chores.  Ryan and I were exhausted by Saturday evening, but happy to have had such a productive day!  On Sunday, we were told that we needed to get out of the house and go do something fun "or else!"  Though I know my family was correct, I still felt like an ornery donkey about to be trailer-loaded (signs that I may be a workaholic).  But, Ryan and I packed a picnic lunch, stopped by Cowhorn for a bottle of amazing Syrah and fresh asparagus, and drove out to Applegate Lake.  
We had a picnic in the forest by the far edge of the lake, and then took a lovely amble up the mountain side.  We hadn't taken our backpacks or nearly enough water for a true hike in the 80 degree heat, but the walk was very nice.  Next weekend, we'll be heading out again on Sunday - this time for a TRUE hike!  I told Ryan that we need to get all of the "fun stuff" in before tourist season really takes off!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Coming Along...

We've been hard at work here on the farm, getting the inn & grounds ready for another (hopefully great) tourist season!  To that end, we had two enormous truckloads of mulch delivered last week - one for the Herb Garden, and one to complete the front patio area.


We also began construction on the new outdoor deck.  We demolished part of the old deck, and are in the process of building a new, tri-level deck with a pergola over the Apothecary Suite's hot tub.  There is also a 6' tall cedar privacy fence being put up to separate the guest area from our private "Innkeepers' Backyard."  The new tri-level deck will be open on the two lower levels to all guests, with the upper level (containing the hot tub and pergola) reserved for guests of the Apothecary Suite only.  The pergola adds a measure of privacy to the hot tub area, and will also help shade it, and the guest room, from the hot afternoon sun.