Friday, August 31, 2012

Parrots Revitalized!

I finally finished my double-parrot hat! I had originally purchased this massively-in-need-of-TLC fixer-upper hat from Tarnished Past on Etsy.  The seller knew I loved birdie hats, dabbled in millinery, and can't resist "project" hats.  I love being given the chance to restore hats to their former glory, and I believe that this double faux parrot hat is a shining example of that!

When I first received that hat, the birdies were just a mess.  The hat body, while dented and a little stained, was structurally sound, and could be left as-is (I think the dents add character!).  The veil had a few minor tears in it, but not so much or so badly that it needed to be replaced.  Plus, it's a GORGEOUS high-end veil, so I wanted to keep it if at all possible.

 Photos courtesy Tarnished Past
The birdies were was missing its beak entirely, and both were practically devoid of feathers!  What feathers remained were so old that a mere touch was enough to disintegrate them. I could tell I had one heck of a rebuilding project in front of me!  I didn't like the original feather colors of yellow and grey - I felt that they too closely matched the color of the straw hat, and made the birds blend in.  They were supposed to be parrots, so shouldn't they be colorful like parrots?!  I started researching real parrot feather prices, and quickly realized that this option was way out of my budget.  So, I went into my millinery trunk (yes, I have an old steamer trunk I have converted into storage for my millinery supplies!), and came across a vintage 1950s feathered bandeau.  I had been given the bandeau for free from a woman who knew I enjoyed hats and millinery.  The bandeau was in shambles, but the feathers were intact, easily removed, and therefore still useable for other projects.  I had definitely found their "other project!"  I also had some red duck wing feathers that I had been given earlier in the year, and two of the original yellow feathers off of the hat were still useable.  These feathers became the parrot tail feathers!

I tried my hand at clay sculpting for the first time, and fashioned a little beak for the 2nd parrot. I was worried that the clay would end up being too heavy, but I did my best to make the beak hollow, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that - once dry - the weight wasn't too much for the glue to hold. 

So there you have it!  A finished hat - revamped and revitalized, while still staying true to its original vintage style.  I LOVE the feathers I used for the parrots! They really catch your attention and make the hat pop! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Escape to Red Lily!

We finally managed to escape off of the farm last night, and headed over to Red Lily Vineyard's weekly "Music on the Beach" event! (It was strange to go there and NOT load hay...)

If you are in the area this summer, I can highly recommend it (though arrive early - it's very popular and parking is somewhat limited). 

Pair it with a glass of their '05 Tempranillo, sit back, and listen to music by the river...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Caspar Davis Creates A Bird (Hat)

My Caspar-Davis hat arrived today!  I'm so excited!!  

I love the green color of the felt and the wild colors of the faux parrot feathers!  

They even painted an eye on the parrot - too cute!  

Caspar Davis was apparently a high-end milliner who designed hats for the movie stars!

Mid-Week Thrifting!

Oh, how I do love the late summer/early fall thrifting season.  I pretty much think that this is the most wonderful time of the year!  I found two lovely vintage hats - one an adorable yellow rose cocktail hat, the other a black straw from the 1940s.  

I also picked up an adorable 1950s cotton dress!  

Unfortunately, the dress had been abused at some point, and had two enormous tears in the back.  One had been decently patched, the other (the larger of the two) had just been left.  The tear was too big to dart without it looking odd, so I closed it up with some matching thread, and used an iron-on interfacing for the other side.  Now, good as new!  

My final score was a gorgeous 1950s grey fox fur wrap by Michael Henri.  

The fur is in pristine condition, with no tears or shedding, and it is so luxuriously soft!  It was originally priced at $30, but since I happened to be with my grandmother that day, I was able to get the 20% senior discount.  Yay!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pin-Up Girl


Just finished my latest millinery project!: a 1940s-inspired feathered felt tilt hat with a Burlesque flair! Hopefully will match my fabulous red & white striped "circus" dress from the lovely FabGabs!

If the hat design looks familiar - sans feather - it's because I made a similar one in brown felt several months ago.  Both hats were made using my amazing husband's handmade hat block!

Not "Just Another Monday" Breakfast!

Today's Breakfast: fresh sourdough rolls hot out of the oven, with choice of butter, blackberry-basil, peach-rosemary, or strawberry-tarragon jam (made with locally grown ingredients!); Healthy Citrus-Blueberry Breakfast Muffins topped with Apricot Jam; Lemony Quinoa (made using our own apple cider!) with Maple-Cinnamon-Sauteed Apples!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Breakfast

Today's Breakfast: fresh sourdough rolls hot out of the oven, with choice of butter, blackberry-basil, peach-rosemary, or strawberry-tarragon jam (made with locally grown ingredients!); farm fresh scrambled eggs with brown butter-fried sage & chives; maple-ginger waffles with yellow dock seed flour, & topped with fresh blackberries (picked by yours truly!).

Definitely our best batch of waffles yet!: Maple-Ginger Waffles made with our own wild yellow dock seed flour (sustainably harvested from our own pastures, and painstakingly-cleaned by yours truly) and apple cider from our own trees! To top everything off, we poured a generous handful of freshly-picked local blackberries to add a hint of sweetness to balance out and compliment the buckwheat flavor of the yellow dock. Finally, the waffles are decorated with a fig off our one of our trees, quartered, and crowned with an evening primrose blossom!

2 Months & A Date

Even though we had B&B guests staying here, Ryan and I decided that we needed to go out for a night of wine, fine dining, and cigars over at Porter's in Medford.  I had never been to Porter's before, and really enjoyed my evening there!  It's the old train depot, and they have kept many of the original features of the building.  We got a private booth, and had a wonderful romantic evening!

In any event, it was nice to get dressed up and go out with my husband.  We haven't been out to dinner since our anniversary two months ago!  YIKES!  I wore a chocolate brown R&K Original 1950s wiggle dress that I snagged for $20 on Etsy recently.  I paired this with brown 1960s mary jane heels, a chunky necklace (that I made myself) of polished blue chrysocolla beads, and finally my breathtakingly lovely couture-label Lilly Dache hat.  I am not normally a fan of the cocktail-style of hats, but this Dache hat is quickly becoming my new favorite!  In any event, people were coming up to me on the street to compliment my hat!  Normally, I just get weird looks from women in tight pants, tunic shirts, and boots - something akin to, "Wow, what a FREAK!"  This time, however, the Dache hat was an enormous hit!  

Maybe it's a magical hat?

Friday, August 17, 2012

(Almost) As Good As New!

I should be cleaning B&B guest rooms, but repairing my $25 double-faux-birdie 1940s tilt hat sounded like SO much more fun! ;) 

This poor hat was in desperate need of some TLC when I found it: the original veil was torn, the birds (what was left!) were practically disintegrated, and the hat was dirty and needed to spend a week in an airtight container with a handful of moth balls. After its period in quarantine, I removed the torn veil and got to work on the birds. A good portion of the tail feathers were delicate but still intact. I re-glued what tail feathers I could, and the other feathers (which had fallen out and were so delicate that a mere touch made them fall apart) I salvaged and used to cover the bald foam heads of the birdies (therefore eliminating the need to spend hours trying to search out new matching feathers). 

 I always save my veils from old hats, so I went through my collection and found another vintage brown veil to use on this hat. Originally, the old veil had actually been attached to the tilt band that went around the back of the head, but I didn't like the way that looked, so I attached the new veil around the (inside) sides of the crown. 

The poor hat definitely needs a veil! - Due to how beat up it still is (some moth chews, etc.), it needs the distraction that a veil provides for the eyes. Also, I thought a veil might help protect the remaining delicate tail feathers from being blown around too much and further damaged.   Voila!


For comparison, here is a picture of the hat when I first purchased it.