Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Colour Confusion

This painting thing is kind of overwhelming. I'm not even doing any work, but choosing these colours is quite the workout. I thought I had it down. Summer Lime in the dining room/living room and butter in the kitchen, but I went to look at it today and for one it seems that they are both the same colour. I am quite happy with the two bedrooms upstairs which are an avocado green and a sort of sky blue. (background for a future castle to be painted by my friend Aimee after she gives birth to her third child. I know Dusty might be waiting a while) So, do I put another coat of summer lime on only to decide that it's too limey or do I chicken out and pick something more subdued. I've never been like this before. I've always painted our places orange and bright green and fuschias. Is this what happens at middle age. Have I become a neutral lover? Help? Anybody out there have some advice. I know there are hungry children in the world. This is ridiculous. I better start making hats again. Maybe I have too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Getting Out

Only nine more days left of winter vacation. Not that I'm counting or anything like that. For some reason the french school has an extra two days of break. Well, maybe I do have a bit of cabin fever. It looks similar to PMS. On Sunday I realized I had not been outdoors in 48 hours and it was not a pretty picture. So, I gathered up the troops and drove the five minutes it takes to get to the ocean. The amazing thing was that as soon as Dusty got out of the car he leaped and bounded like a little animal, yelping with pure joy. In hat land, Our plasterer/friend brought his daughter Rebbeca over with her friend Kylie to look at hats. Someone sure new how to work Daddy. She even managed to get a headband for her buddy. In fairness to Russell, it's pretty hard to fight this kind of adorableness. I'm also posting a photo of one of my plaid Olivias for my sister in law, Amy and a special order for one of my best store, Beauchapeau, in Niagara on the Lake.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gingerbread houses and other frivolities

My days have been filled with joyful uselessness. I had big plans of painting our new house, but every time I was just about to head over there it seemed crucial that I make a felted pumpkin or something like that. Dusty and I and my friend Katja with her daughter Lilly spent a day making gingerbread houses from scratch. It seemed like a really simple concept. My other friend Aimee tried to convince me to just buy a kit with all the pieces cut out, but I tend to be ambitious. The project began in the morning with a trip to the candy store. The children were armed with plastic scoops and attacked the bulk bins with fervor. When we got home with all of our ingredients we began to mix the dough. As Dusty poured in the first cup of flour he asked if he could decorate the house yet. I should have clued in at that point, but we were still relatively fresh. Once the dough is made it needs to be refrigerated for atleast an hour. Feed the kids, break up a couple of fights, clean up the flour from the floor. Then it's time to roll the dough and cut out the shapes. I downloaded some templates from the internet. If any of you read this and decide they would like to try this at home with their kids despite my warning, try a square house and not rectangular. We cut out the shapes and baked them. So far so good. By the time we got the pieces out of the oven it was about 4 o'clock and we had two five year olds who had used up all their patience. Now we are trying to give them snacks, help them roll out the leftover dough to make cookies, while finding places for the twelve parts of the 2 houses to cool off. Through out there are constant pleas to decorate the house which hasn't even been built yet. Because of the stretched attention spans I decided it was probably O.K to assemble the houses even though the parts weren't completely cooled down. After mixing 6 egg whites and 9 cups of powdered sugar we had a glue that would hold together any gingerbread house or anything else it might come in contact with. I put the glue in the pasty squeezy thingy and found there was no way to make it come out of that little hole, instead it seemed to only come out the top opening. After several attempts we ditched it and just used out hands. After assembling all the walls we began to put the roof on. Here's where things headed south. The big rectangular roof pieces were just too much for the fragile rectangular house and the whole thing started to cave in. At this point I yelled, Toooonnnyyyy! Seeing as he's a woodworker I figured he could rescue this operation. I should mention that this was Katja and Lilly's house. Not really an accident on my part to let them go first. After several failed attempts we had to remove the roof from their house. Fortunately, Lilly, who is definitely the easy going one of the two children announced that she didn't want a roof. It did have some charm and looked a little like a medieval castle ruin. Thinking that we had learned from our mistakes we began assembling our house. I guess we really didn't know what our mistakes were, so we basically just repeated them. While Katja's house was an example of convex ours was an example of concave and despite our attempt to prop the thing up with olive oil bottles, spoons, and orange juice cartons we had to abort our mission and take the thing apart. We put the pieces back on the rack and decided to let them dry for another day. On day two I reassembled the house, solo this time, but as soon as that blasted roof went on it began to fail. I valiantly tried to keep the thing upright by holding it in place with my hand for over an hour, but when I began to imagine Dusty's reaction to me destroying the whole house because I was adamant that this blasted thing would have a roof I conceded and took the roof down again. On day three I was able to put the roof pieces on. I got to take a picture (not a very good one) and ten minutes later Dusty wanted to break off the first piece to eat. Next year I buy the kit. Thanks for trying to worn me, Aimee, but some people just need to make their own mistakes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A perfect ending

Today was the perfect ending to a wonderful hat season. The Hubbards Market was super busy and I sold lots of hats. It was beyond cold in that beautiful barn, but people came out to support their local market. I'm a terrible chicken when it comes to driving in the snow, so when I woke at 5 this morning to find the world covered in snow I really wanted to hide under the covers. But all went well. I do have more grey hairs from the drive, but at this point it doesn't make much difference. Now I get to look forward to playing with new designs and some really awesome new fabric. I also get to paint our new house and make curtains. Hopefully I won't have to get back in the car till the spring. Thanks to all my great customers for your support. I couldn't do this without you. Happy Hatting, Anna

Thursday, December 10, 2009


This is the time of year where I have all these things to do, but I find I can't quite focus on them. I just find myself wanting to make new pretty things for next season. This is my new headband fascinator. Her name is Olivia. I have a few posted up on my etsy site. She has no practical functionality whatsoever, other than to beautify to world. I'll be at the Hubbards market this Saturday from 8-12. Come meet Olivia and me too.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hubbards Market

If you happen to live in the area or feel like hopping on a plane, please come visit me this Saturday from 8-12 at the Hubbard's Christmas Market at the Hubbards Barn. On December 5th I'll be at the Lunenburg Christmas market at the laughing whale cafe on Lincoln street and then on the 12th I'll be back for the second Hubbard's Christmas market. I'm pretty excited to do the market because I get to start my morning off with the best latte in Nova Scotia from the Laughing Whale Coffee Roasters. A pound or two of their freshly roasted, fair trade organic coffee would make a great gift. I'm really a terrible coffee snob and theirs is just great coffee. Allyson Symmie will also be there with her amazing jewelry. I'm not usually that attracted to jewelry, but hers is a different story. I have one of her beautiful rings and I'm hinting my way to a gorgeous pendant. Sea Dog Bag co. will be selling their super fun bags made from recycled sails. The market always has great musicians, so between good coffee, good music, and amazing crafts you just can't go wrong. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Salvation Army Pirates

Poor Dusty. My little 5 year old warrior is trapped with pacifist parents. Over the years Dusty has taught me that resistance is useless and that there is no way to stop him from expressing his desire to shoot. Although I have given in to various evil toys like Bionicles and Transformers only because they are not human, I have never mentioned the word Army and there are no little toy soldiers lying about. We do have Pirates that rape and plunder, but they have nice clothes so that makes it O.K. as well. So, the other day Dusty and I went to the Salvation Army to drop off some old toys and Dusty immediately felt connected to the place because of the word Army. He demanded to know exactly what kind of an army they were. I muttered some incomplete, inept answer about it not being a real army, but that they were fighting for good things so they called themselves an army . What my child heard was Blah blah, blah, blah, blah....fight. Yesterday he was playing with his pirate ship and pirates and I overheard him explaining to his friend that these were the Salvation Army Pirates. Like I said, resistance is useless. I didn't manage to capture a picture of the army, but I did finally get some shots of his dragon costume that I made him for Halloween. So glad to see that it is at least being worn one other time. The house is looking great, but I am waiting for a dramatic change before I post some new photos. I also wanted to post this wonderful photo that a customer sent me of her friend wearing her new Priscilla fascinator at her 40th birthday party. A perfect opportunity to wear a floral tiara.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy 100 to me

In January it will be 2 years since I posted my first item on etsy. I never thought it was possible to sell a hat over the internet. Well, today I sold my 100th hat on etsy. I guess I was wrong. At the risk of sounding like a walking advertisement. I LOVE ETSY. It's amazing to me that all these artists from around the world can potentially reach anyone. It's a level playing field where I have sold to people in Romania, Australia, Denmark, Wales, The U.S, and Canada. So, thanks etsy for being an amazing phenomena.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Outside

The house is coming along great (other than the shock of the price of faucets). Thought you might like to see some photos of the outside. The condition of the paint is a little scary and because we have decided that the inside comes first it might look like this for a while. We have a wonderful double lot which is great because I love gardening. (one more thing to neglect) I'll post more soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Little Fun

With a sick child (who is much better by the way) and after finishing what felt like a gazillion wholesale orders (no complaints here) a girl needs to do something just plain fun. That's what felting is for me. Yesterday I made a new fascinator/cocktail hat. I'm off to post it on etsy. The next one is going to be orange. I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bad Mommy

Yesterday I was called to pick up Dusty early from school. He had told the teacher that he had a headache and he apparently had his head on his desk a lot. With several children in the class out sick his teacher erred on the side of caution. I would have done the same. The only thing is that Dusty often has headaches when he is not in the mood to do something. They disappear when he is reunited with his lego and his T.V. When I got him home he spent the rest of the day jumping on my bolts of fabric and zooming up and down the hall. We played tag outside and he ate voraciously. This morning he announced that he didn't feel well, but would probably feel well when school was over. In the midst of a lecture about faking being sick and me trying to figure out how to get him on the school bus in 10 minutes Dusty threw up all over me. I felt terrible. Last night I had written a letter to his teacher explaining Dusty's great acting skills. After I cleaned us up I told him how I was sorry and I felt so bad. He asked why and I told him because I didn't believe him. That's O.K., Mommy, he said and gave me a hug. Poor little bugger has been throwing up all day. 2 minutes after this photo was taken he was jolted out of his peaceful rest to throw up all over the living room. Well at least he gets to stay home with his lego and T.V.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Down Come the Walls

Tony has been very busy with his sledge hammer.B oy, take down a couple of walls and it makes all the difference in the world. Now we get to look at our beautiful staircase from the living room and the living room just got a whole lot bigger. Don't I look ready to work hard in these photos? I'll be the supervisor. Here are a couple of views out the windows. The back of the house faces the back harbour of Lunenburg which is very pastoral. I had to take this photo from a side angle. Amazingly there are no windows in the back of the house, but this will change soon. The other view is out the window of my future studio. Tony says that's the master bedroom, but he's mistaken.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


When we first came to Lunenburg a bit over a year ago we moved to the bottom floor of a house site unseen. Turned out to be the most perfect little neighbourhood. Dusty would sit on the stoop and chat with all the neighbours, greet every passerby and enjoyed the thrill of crossing the street by himself, stopping halfway to look both ways a few more times. The house next door was vacant. The old man who had lived there with his mother had died before we moved to town. That fall, the heirs to the property came to clean out the house and we got a sneak preview. It was filthy, dilapidated, moldy, and smelly. There was no bathtub or shower in the house and had never been one. The house was built in 1890 and it's safe to say it was never painted. We knew this was the house for us. We spent a year trying to talk ourselves out of it, but the darn house refused to leave our thoughts. In August we resolved to try everything in our power to buy the house. For the record, Tony is an amazing carpenter, so we are only mildly insane. I will spare you the gory details of the actual house purchase other than to say that we are eternally grateful to my parents for their help. The whole experience was beyond stressful, but as of one week ago the house has been ours. At the moment it only needs heat, electricity, plumbing, a kitchen, a bathroom and a few walls knocked down, but love is blind. Tony is working there everyday and we hope to be in there early in the new year. I wish I could do before and after pictures, but right now the after pictures are only in our brains. I guess we'll start with before. Some of the walls in the photos are already gone. I'll have some better photos soon, but it's a beginning. Wish us luck. Anna

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Customer of the Year

Things are calming down around here. I am now finishing up some small, manageable orders and going into hyper mommy mode. My evenings are spent making a dragon costume for Dusty. Oh, sorry, that's FIRE BREATHING DRAGON costume. The tail is really impressive. Now that I actually have time to think I have started thinking. My thoughts keep going back to what I would have to say was my favourite customer this year. I do appreciate all my customers, but I met Carol selling outside of Bus Stop in Marblehead, MA. She is a very beautiful older woman with the brightest eyes. She tried on one of my travel hats and asked me how much it was. I told her $85. She said, Oh I love it, but I'm 91 years old and that's a little much to pay for with social security benefits. I said, O.K $50 and she bought the hat. She stood so tall and was so bright and positive. I asked her what her secret was (being a professional grump myself) and she told me I should read her book- Yoga in The Morning, Martini at Night. The title says it all. She walked away and fifteen minutes later came back to tell me how happy the hat made her. In that moment I knew why I made hats.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Front Page

Two nights ago I clicked on etsy to check in and there was my darling Priscilla fascinator on the front page. It's such a thrill. Feels like winning the lottery. The amazing thing was, though, that I had that day randomnly found this other talented milliner's blog. Her blog is called Glorious Hats. It was so cute that I left a comment. Turns out that she was the person who created the treasury on etsy that made it to the front page. Amazing when even the internet becomes a small world.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Light at the end of the Tunnel

I am actually seeing an end to the orders. Well, hopefully not the end end, but an end to the complete madness. I am really looking forward to cleaning my studio. I will have to photograph it before I do so that I can shatter any ideas of being a together person. Every time I move something falls on the floor. It's like a sign from above yelling at me to clean up this mess. There are tubs of hats everywhere. Ribbon and feathers all over the place and lists that I make and then lose. I am actually nearing the end of another box of labels. When I run out it means I have made another 1000 hats. I realize this is not a reliable inventory system, but it's the best I have right now. On Thursday I worked till 11 p.m. so that I would be able to go with my husband and child to Maine to visit Grammy. (Dusty's Grammy) It was great. Sometimes you just have to physically leave the chaos. I actually had 3 days without worrying. So, as you may have deduced, I have not had much time for photo taking. That's Dusty and Tony in the carriage. Dusty's friend Lilly had a birthday and the ride was the entertainment. The carriages ride through Lunenburg through the summer and fall.

Friday, October 2, 2009

LivingThrough the Hats

I often dream of travelling, but my life at this point is not conducive to hopping on a plane to Europe. It's hard enough to get Dusty to leave his house to go to the playground. When I finally make it to France I don't want any whining involved. I can wait, but until then I get to live through the hats. A few weeks ago one went to Italy. (Big sigh) And now another saw the streets of London. This one was chaperoned by the lovely Clare at her friend's wedding. Yep, I'm just a few steps behind them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Buried Under Hats

I've been thinking about writing in my blog. Really. In the same way I have been thinking of doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning my studio, going for a walk, getting a massage. I try to remind myself that this is a really good thing, but I am buried under a pile of hats. The orders have been pouring in and everyone wants it at the same time. I think the answer is more help and I'll work on that one in the future, but for now it's mostly been little ol' me as designer, sewer, negligent bookkeeper and janitor. Oh, right...and Mom. Forgot about that poor little guy who has been expressing his desire for me to never leave the house and if I do for him to come with me anywhere and everywhere. I have actually been forcing myself to go for a walk most days and this is my saving grace. The walk that keeps me out of the funny farm. It's so great to look outwards once a day. I am constantly awed by the beauty of this town. Fall is the most glorious season here. The light has a quality that I can't express in words. So, this was it. My breaks over. Back to the cutting table. Until next time. Happy Hatting. Anna

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Come September

Fall has arrived in Nova Scotia. My friend insists that if you don't leave the house till noon and you are in by 5 then you can pretend it's summer, but really it's fall. The good news is that fall is the most incredible season here. The sky is so blue, the light is intense and it's sunny and slightly cool.
The even better news (and now I take the risk of sounding like the evil mother that I really am) is that Dusty is back in school. Six hours in the house by myself. It's heavenly. Amazing how much work I can get done alone. Our last days of summer have been filled with visits from good friends and some dips in the ocean and one of the many incredible lakes in this area. The photo of this lake is in Port Mouton. Pronounced Port m'toon. Terrible, I know, but try to pronounce it correctly and you will forever brand yourself as an outsider. In hat land I finally finished a wet felted merino wool hat for a lovely woman in Montreal. These hats are my absolute favourite things to make. They have nothing to do with the word production. I begin with the wool and create the actual felt. This allows me to do anything my imagination can dream of. I am posting some photos of the hat in progress. I am always amazed when felting works. It seems like magic.