Sunday, March 31, 2013

2nd Chances...

Quite a while back, as I was trolling the internet for hats, I came across an old Ebay listing for a Frank Palma hat (with original hat box!) that had sold a mere month before I purchased my first FP hat!  Talk about breaking my heart - this amazing faux bird tilt hat sold with only 3 bids for a grand total of $28+shipping.  I can't believe I missed this!!  I bookmarked the page, and occasionally went back to the link so I could drool over the picture.

There are two interesting points about this hat:

(1) It is unique in that it reflects something I've never seen before: a "Frank Palma Original" on a white feathered, gilded double faux bird hat.  The only other examples I have seen of this style of FP faux bird hats have always been under the higher-end "Art Bern Hats by Frank Palma" label.  Based on my experience, the "Frank Palma Original" label is earlier than the "Art Bern" label.  So, to me this demonstrates the interesting idea that perhaps Frank Palma began designing these higher end double faux bird hats under his own label first, and then was picked up by Art Bern to continue the design under the more "couture" label later...

(2) The original selling price of this hat reflects the trend of how sometimes being an open source of pictures and information can come back to bite you in the wallet!  When I first began collecting Frank Palma hats, I paid anywhere from $28-$75 for them.  After my first few hats, I began blogging heavily about them, sharing pictures on vintage hat enthusiast forums, and trying to share what limited knowledge I had on this milliner.  Suddenly, the prices began climbing, and some of the hats began slipping through my hands because competition grew fierce and prices even fiercer.   From July 2011, general Frank Palma prices went from under $100 to on average $250 in 2012 to $361 in 2013.  While I am thrilled to share my love of this milliner with others, and provide a base of knowledge for those researching him, I have to say another part of me is a tad annoyed at how it's made it actually more difficult for me to continue collecting the hats.  Ah well...

 When this particular hat came up for auction a 2nd time, I stumbled upon it through mere chance, and my gasp of shocked delight was loud enough to bring my husband over to investigate!  I knew this hat was meant to be mine!  But I also knew it was going to cost me dearly...

I did end up winning it (ironic side note: the seller actually used my blog/webpages as a source of information for the listing's description of the hat!), and the hat came with the original hat box as well!  Unfortunately, this hat is in the worst shape of any of my Frank Palmas.  It's in the worst shape of pretty much all of my other faux bird hats, to be exact.  It was obviously well-loved and very improperly stored in high temperatures.  The hat is incredibly soiled on the inside, and will need a gentle cleaning.  The glue has yellowed all over (and therefore yellowed the feathers), and ALL feathers on the hat body were loose.  Due to the high-temp storage, touching the feathers caused them to begin to disintegrate.  I do believe that I will eventually end up having to remove them all and replace them at some point, which absolutely breaks my heart.  The only positive is that, for whatever reason, the birds and feathers covering the birds are all in excellent condition (now explain that to me?!).  All that being said, I feel that I have the ability to restore this hat to its former glory.  I have logged hours and hours of experience repairing/restoring vintage faux bird hats, so I feel pretty confident at this point that I can do a good job.  This hat demands nothing less than perfection in restoration!

Long story short: in spite of its many flaws & ridiculously high price, this hat is absolutely amazing!  It is stunning in an over-the-top manner I had yet to see achieved by a "Frank Palma Original" label.  I love it, and I do not regret for a moment purchasing it!  It was meant to be mine.  I was given a 2nd chance...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Antique Store Scores!

There hasn't been anything in the way of decent thrifting/estate sale scores lately, but I did manage to come across some really fabulous finds at a local antiques store earlier this week...

A vintage 1940s/1950s juniors grey wool suit by "Burelsons" of Medford, Oregon.  I love the detailing on the pockets, and the way that the skirt flares out.  The lining of the jacket is black and white polka dots - how much more awesome can you get?!  

This suit fits me perfectly, and is so comfortable that I think I could pretty much live in it...

I'm wearing another awesome find (from that same store) on the jacket - a Juliana pink rhinestone brooch!  When I was standing at the cash register paying for my suit, I looked over and saw the most gorgeous pink rhinestone necklace-earrings-brooch set.  I knew from the moment I saw it that it had to be a Juliana, and this suspicion was confirmed after checking my reference book.  

The even better news?: I paid a mere $49 for the entire set!

This is another dress that I got from that same store (can you tell this was a very good day?!), and I am absolutely in love with the gorgeous coloring!  1950s cotton day dress with pretty sleeve detailing and matching belt...

I feel that I should be holding a cocktail in this!

And finally, I just had to share some more pictures of my amazing late-1940s kitty fur coat!  This coat fits me perfectly (which is hard to do, as I am so tiny, and most of the vintage fur coats you find for sale are so huge that I end up swimming in them).  

I'm not certain the fur type - it's not Geoffrey Cat, but I don't think it's Ocelot.  I don't know, but I do know that I adore it!  It's a bit worse for wear than I would have liked (repaired tears, some new tears, lots of worn spots), but in a way that makes me more comfortable about wearing it out and about - I don't have to worry about damaging a pristine coat!  This coat has been loved and lived in, and will continue to be so under my ownership.  

The hat I'm wearing is the first Frank Palma (Original) hat that I ever purchased - the one that began my life-long love affair with this milliner's designs.  I dubbed this hat "Frankie" in honor of the elusive Frank Palma.

I'm a ferocious cat woman!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coffee Date & A Photoshoot

Ryan and I frolicked around downtown Jacksonville this weekend, trying to get some pictures for the annual Mad Hatter Hat-making Contest.  I had just finished my first attempt at a vintage-style fedora (using the two-piece antique wooden hat block that Ryan had bought for me for Yule!), so we wanted to get some pictures of that, as well as my crazy whimsical felt tilt topper with vintage faux hummingbirds.  I had recently received the most amazing vintage 1940s rainbow plaid two-piece suit set from the awesome folks over at FabGabs.  Not only was this suit perfectly in my taste, but it matched my birdie hat!  So of course I had to wear it for the hat contest photos...

Unfortunately, lack of time and a plentiful amount of stress have resulted in a mental block on awesome photoshoot ideas.  Not to mention, it's going to be difficult to top last year's photoshoot of me playing chess against the statue in downtown Medford.  So, we settled for a rather bland set of pictures around downtown.  I have until April 1st, 2013 to come up with something better for pictures, so maybe inspiration will hit...

In the meantime, I think some of these turned out pretty well!

In the middle of the photo session, Ryan and I stepped into my favorite local coffee shop - the Goodbean - for some early afternoon lattes and panini's. 

It was so nice to hang out with my handsome husband (who also happens to be my best friend), play in the lovely sunshine, and spend the day being young and in love.  I'm a lucky, lucky girl...

And might I just say that my lovely gentleman has the BEST WORKSHOP EVER!!!!!!!  (He's handsome and handy!)

You've Got Mail!

Talk about one of the best mail days EVER: After running errands in town, I came back home and found this lovely pile of packages in front of my door...

The little box contained a fabulously-wild vintage felt tilt hat with multiple pink faux birdies and a vintage veil!  This hat operates under my personal philosophy of "the more birds, the better."  I had to do a massive repair job on the birds using glue, but the hat is now fixed and looks wonderful!

The larger package contained my early-birthday-present-to-myself vintage late-1940s kitty coat!  It's in a bit rougher shape than I would have liked (lots of small tears and worn spots), but it fits me perfectly and I love the style!  I have always wanted to own a vintage kitty coat, and while I cherish my cape, it's too light to wear on chilly winter evenings.  Now I can choose between a cape and a coat!

Finished Fedora!

Gentlemen, may I please have your attention?  
(And Ladies, go ahead and enjoy the "eye candy!")

I present to you my finished vintage-style fedora, shown here in a lovely navy blue felt!  

This is a two-piece hat, with a wired and bound brim, and black satin ribbon (with light blue soutache braid detailing) on the sides of the crown.

Coming soon, as a custom order, to your favorite Etsy store...*wink*

Monday, March 18, 2013

Free Advertising

This weekend was the spring antiques show at the Medford Armory.  We decided to go browse, and I figured that this was the perfect excuse to get dressed up in vintage!  I decided to wear one of my newer creations (1940s style felt tilt topper hat with whimsical faux bird scene), since it matched my adorable 1940s wool suit.  I have come to realize that I desperately need business cards to hand out whenever I wear my hats, since I always have people coming up and complimenting me on them.  Wearing my creations is apparently the best form of free advertising EVER!  I was mobbed at the antiques show over my outfit and hat (I even have several older gals politely cat call me from a table)!

Speaking of my hats, there is currently a "secret" sale going on in my Jillian Garrett Originals Etsy store: 15% off any item now through March 31st.  Just use the coupon code "EASTER15" at checkout.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Fabulous Weekend!

For pretty much the first time since 2013 began, Ryan and I managed to have a completely fun and stress-free weekend!  It was like a miracle on the farm...

We managed to be both insanely productive on our farm/garden To-Do List, yet at the same time make sure to have lots of "us" time and mini-dates.  This is a great deal more difficult than you'd think!  One of the hardest parts about being 20-something and running a full-time farm & home business is that it is incredibly difficult to find a way to balance work and pleasure.  There are months (especially in the spring, summer, and fall) where all we seem to do is work-Work-WORK, and never manage to find much time to enjoy being young and in love.  We are constantly attempting to strike a balance, and this weekend we succeeded rather spectacularly!

On Saturday, we went out on a coffee date to our favorite coffee shop - the Goodbean, in Jacksonville.  Then, my dear and patient husband let me drag him around town to all of the major thrift stores in my hunt for vintage scores.  We headed back home, changed into our grungies, and spent a few hours working on the farm, garden, or in the workshop.  Then, we did evening chores, and got changed for a fabulous night out at the Peerless Restaurant & Bar in Ashland!  I wore my "signature" look: a breathtakingly lovely 1930s black rayon crepe dress with gold sequins and peplum detail, my favorite pair of 1930s black leather heels ($28 at a local antiques store), 1960s silver fox fur convertible coat/cape by "Joseph Magnin" (gift from my grandmother), and my favorite "Jillian Garrett Original" green faux bird tilt hat.

Unfortunately, getting home late and then having to set all of our clocks forward for Daylight Savings made Sunday morning a little brutal, but we got through it!  Ryan and Grandpa did some tractor work - refilling the raised beds with fresh compost, putting the remaining finished compost on the garden, etc.  I thinned and replanted the walking onion bed, replanted my pea bed (the raccoons dug up and ate my previous planting) and covered it with chicken wire, planted more tulip bulbs, pruned the final raspberries, and rejoiced over the fact that my turnips and arugula seeds were germinating in the raised beds!

A little after the noon hour, we stopped work for the day, got cleaned up, and headed into town.  Since it was so pleasantly (and might I say unseasonably) warm out, I decided to get dressed up in my favorite red cotton vintage 1950s dress.  I also wore a necklace and earrings set that I had made myself out of vintage plastic fruit/leaf beads that I got at the thrift store for a $1 for all of them.

We hit one of the local antiques store, where I found the most wonderful 1940s straw tilt hat with crazy leatherwork detailing by "Gimbel Brothers" for $15, along with a 1940s green wool uniform (which I am told may be an old Girl Scouts uniform) for a grand total of $8.  The uniform and hat matched perfectly, so I was pretty pleased to have found an entire outfit for under $30!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

2nd Whimsical Faux Bird Tilt Topper

Well, here's round #2 on the whimsical faux bird tilt topper hats!  The hat is constructed using a piece of delicious chocolate brown velour felt (~late 1940s), two vintage yellow faux birds, the most lovely ~1930s vintage plastic cherries & flowers, and vintage dark brown fancy patterned veiling.  I made the veiling nose-length this time, as some folks may not be ready for the full face/chin-length veiling.  Plus, nose-length veiling means you can wear the hat out to dinner and not have to mess around with tucking the veiling up and onto the hat when you want to actually eat something.

I'm doing everything in my power not to fall in love with the hat and pull the Etsy listing (like I did last time)!