Saturday, December 8, 2012

We've Got Shelves

My new hat shop is really coming along. Tony does nothing half way. When I told him I needed a lot of shelving he heard me.
This is one of many counter spaces he is building for me. Stay tuned for more progress photos.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Halifax Crafters Market

The Halifax Crafters Show was an amazing success. From the time the doors opened until they closed, the hall was jam packed with wonderful, supportive customer. It's truly one of the nicest shows I have seen.
And now I feel like I have been run over by a steam roller. Today I am useless. I can hardly lift my hands. Tomorrow is another day and I'll be back at it, filling wholesale orders and getting ready for more markets.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hat Junkie Headquarters

I have been waiting so long to begin blogging about this very exciting development. It's finally beginning to look like a reality. I will soon have a new Hat Junkie headquarters. Tony has been working away in his shop, building all the components of my new studio and he has intelligently refused to show me the progress. In the past week, the room that was once covered in mold and mushrooms is transforming into a beautiful hat shop. I'll keep you updated with photos. Today the floor is going down and it already looks beautiful.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Boots and My Bike

A few months ago I had my bike stolen. It was a beaten up, rusty bike that was given to me new 20 years ago. It was clearly taken by a youngin' needing a ride to Tim Horton's. The bike had no monetary value at all, but I loved that thing like a trusted friend. The police said it was spotted a couple of times in the woods behind said Donut shop and then again at the skate board park, but was then not seen again. The point in all this is that after spending a small amount of time looking for a used bike, I decided that I really deserved a new one. This is my beautiful new bicycle. It makes me very happy. Although I had no business buying a brand new bicycle, I have justified it in many ways.
Speaking of justifying....These are my new boots. It's all about transportation. Plus, you gotta look good when selling hats, right? A few posts back, I mentioned how Tony made fun of me, saying that I would probably blog about my new boots, so I showed a little self control. I have since come to terms with the fact that I really am that shallow. Aren't they pretty?
It's all about being able to get to places like this in style. I took this photo from First Peninsula, which is the other side of back harbour. What you see in the distance is The Lunenburg Academy. The academy was a public school until last year. The rumour about town is that it will become an international music school for professional musicians. Would be nice.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Felt Hat For a Change

My life has been shaped by Downton Abbey these days. We bought the first two seasons on Itunes and when we plowed through the whole thing in a couple of weeks, I went through a small depression and wandered around aimlessly for a few days. I tried watching other fluffy, romantic, British period pieces, but nothing compared. Finally, I decided to just watch the whole thing over again. It's just as good the second time around. I still feel obsessed about this series. This is from a person that almost never watches television or movies. This is different, though. The show just embraces a time when everything was slow. Fashion was slow. Every coat, dress and hat takes my breath away and I find myself wanting to have all the time in the world to make such creations. So, yesterday I pulled out the felt and started to block this hat. On the same day, my neighbour presented me with all these beautiful feather sprays that came off her grandmothers' hats. Now these feathers are having a reincarnation. I don't know how many hours I'll be able to steal to make more felt hats this season, but this one sure was fun.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

In The Studio Then on My Bike

I have been working on several wholesale orders these days. These hats are headed to the Dana Farber Cancer institute in Boston. Making hats for women undergoing chemotherapy is really one of the best parts of this job. So nice to make a woman feel pretty at a difficult time.
Tony takes Dusty to gymnastics on Friday evenings. Usually I work on making supper, but last night I said to heck with it. Let them eat bread. I hopped on my beautiful new bicycle and headed towards Blue Rocks. I'm sure my exhale was heard for miles around.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Must Felt

I'm not sure when I became the polar fleece queen. Don't get me wrong, I do love my fleece hats and I find on a really cold day they are the ones I reach for. I understand how they became the staple of my business because like my customers, I appreciate a pretty hat that is comfortable, that can be sat on in a restaurant, mauled by children or stuffed in a purse and still look pretty at the end of the day, but....I really love to make felt hats and sometimes I want to live in a world where nothing is practical. I think I feel a new felt hat coming on soon.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My Morning Walk

My inner voice that berates me daily for needing to do laundry, clean the bathroom, cut back the raspberry bushes, move that shovel away from the side of the house that has been there for 4 months, has added "write in your blog" to the list. The thing is, I actually like blogging. What happened? I have thunk and thunk and the only thing I can come up with is that Facebook sucked my ability and desire to formulate complete sentences out of my brain. And so... I fight back. I start with my walk this morning around town. While eating dinner, Tony made fun of me and said I'd probably blog about Lunenburg and my new boots. The truth is, I thought about photographing my boots, but I restrained myself. I guess I'm pretty predictable. I just happen to really love this town. (and my boots) The big yellow bus comes every day at 7:20 to take the boy away and then it's me and Lego the dog on our daily jaunt. We headed up the hill. Our first view is the back harbour. I love this view. It's the alternative Lunenburg view. So pastoral. The back of our house faces the back harbour and we would have an amazing view from our bedroom, but there are zero windows on the back of the house. It's on the to do list.
Lego pulls me around Block House hill and while he looks for deer poop, I look out at the town towards the front harbour.
The first majestic view is from Pelham st. There is another sniffing ground here to amuse the dog and a much needed trash barrel.
We turn left down to Montague st. and come to Foodland, one of our two local grocery stores. While I am grateful to have a place to pick up milk, mostly I weep for the memory of well stocked stores with appealing food. This sign says it all. Whole Wheat Bread...A new fangled food from a far away land. I do so love our farmers' market. It makes up for a store that can be out of soda water, apple juice and raisins for two weeks. (That's the other store.)
I love this view of the back of two of Lunenburg's wonderful restaurants. Magnolia's has the best Key Lime Pie ever.
The Picton Castle is still in town, but they are soon headed for the south seas for two years. I say that like it's no big deal, but really, it's mind boggling. I just don't understand how you get there from here.
We begin our homeward climb up King st. I had to put this photo in because this is the sort of thing I love to look at. Mums planted in pumpkins. I'll do that after I cut back the raspberry bushes and fold some laundry.
I pant up the hill along the Town Hall. I love this building. It makes me think of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Then, it's back home for another half cup of coffee and into my little sweat shop to cut and sew and make pretty flowers till the boy gets off that big yellow bus at 3:30. Such is my life. I picked it. I'll write again soon. Really.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Highlights.

It has been two months since my last blog post. That seems to be the way of summer. It just gets away from you. Dusty was home with me this year. He did the occasional week long camp and swim lessons, but I just couldn't bring myself to structure his days. He's eight now and so much better at entertaining himself, but as you can see in this photo, the dog had to pay the price. A knight and his vampire puppy.
Other than torturing the dog and occasionally his mother, Dusty spent most of the summer reading Calving and Hobbes over and over and over. I gave him my camera to play with and the card was filled with hundreds of photos taken from his Calvin and Hobbes books. I decided not to question the logic behind this. Any moment's peace is appreciated.
We took one trip to visit family in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Tony was born in Lynn, MA. The first house he lived in was right on this beach. He has memories of walking up this storm drain, standing, looking for leprechauns. Of course my first thought was where was his mother, but this would have been 1957. Think Madmen. Sort of refreshing, in a way. Makes me want to throw away the bike helmets.
Another one of Tony's old Lynn stomping grounds, The Capitol diner. If you need a good dose of heavy Bawston accent and take no prisoners opinions, then make sure to stop in. It was really fun. They all remembered Tony and although Dusty grumbled the whole way there, he enjoyed himself.
Lynn was a factory town. Hat factory. This neon sign in this abandoned building says it all. I would kill for that sign. At one time Lynn was a major center with a vaudeville theatre, beautiful stores and the most breath taking architecture. It, unfortunately, became a very depressed town taken over by poverty and violence, but so much of the original beauty is still there. Small portions of the town have had a rejuvenation, but if luck would swing the other way for Lynn it could be one of the nicest cities anywhere.
Lastly, we had a couple of wonderful days visiting friends and family. Our friend Davis is a wood worker and quite the artist. He renovated this industrial building in Marblehead. His very civilized living space is separated from his workshop by french doors and a couple of stairs. It really should be in a magazine. And now, I am thinking of school supplies and trying to get my winter hat samples completed. We have had a wonderful, warm summer filled with lots of swimming, beach days and biking. Not too shabby.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Happy Accident

This photo was taken of me by the fabulous photographer, Heidi Jirotka. She did not see my hangtags when she took the photo. This illustration was done for me by my friend, Andrea Dixon of Pomp and Ceremony. Seems to me I am destined to live in a field of yellow flowers.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Heidi's Photos

Yesterday I did a photo shoot with the most talented and delightful photographer. Her name is Heidi Jirotka. click here to see her blog.
This is the first time I have ever been happy to look at a photo of myself. The beautiful setting and the smiling woman behind the camera had a lot to do with me being relaxed.
I'm usually someone that when told to smile feels every facial muscle freeze. I guess I just never worked with a pro before.
Heidi's just going to have to agree to be the official Hat Junkie photographer.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Lego dog and I went out for a little hike this morning. It is so spring out there. After a few days of remarkable gloominess, the sun came out in full force. Haven't seen my shadow in a while. I look like a ghost from 1892.
We walked down to the back harbour trail. It is a hop skip and a jump away from our house. Something about a tree lined path always makes me want to weep from joy.
Here in Nova Scotia, we are a few weeks behind any other place I have lived and I'm sure far behind many others when it comes to spring. There are days when I resent the heat coming on in May, but mostly it's like a slow extension of joy. I love sweater weather. Right now the choke cherries are in bloom. The whole trail is full of these beautiful trees.
Lego and I headed off the trail onto second peninsula. This is what we see. Not too shabby, eh? This is one of those days when I just can't believe I actually get to live here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I have been a busy bee making hats for one of my favourite stores, Luvly in Lunenburg. Luvly is one more great reason to come to Lunenburg, incase you need one. Luvly opened about a year ago on Lincoln st. in the old town. The store is dedicated to showcasing independent Canadian clothing designers. I would have to call our match a perfect fit. When I walk into a store and start having heart palpitations and end up spending my electric bill on a new dress (electricity comes and goes, but I'll always have the dress) I can tell it's the right place for my hats. Tony has built a beautiful hat display for the shop. All these hats are headed that way, so there will be a great selection.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Truth

When people see my hats they often say, "You must be so happy." I hear it all the time and I get it. My hats are happy. I'm happy they are happy hats and mostly I am happy too, but here's a little secret. Sometimes, O.K, a lot of times, I'm a real grouch. Tony and Dusty get to see this side of me more than others and I dare say my parents and anyone else that may have been married to me know this about me as well. One of the things that has made me grouchy lately has been the Halifax Farmers Market. It was a combination of crowds, waking up before 4a.m, children with blueberry smoothies playing with my hats, grown ups setting down oily pastry bags and coffee on my hats, too much noise and not enough money. I realized that I was starting to blow the happy cover. I suddenly heard myself complaining once too often to anybody that would listen. It was time to take a break. That's what I did. I disappeared from the market for a few months and holed up in my beautiful Lunenburg studio and just made hats for wholesale and internet orders. That to me is peace on earth..Quiet, a beautiful window to look out of, beautiful fabrics and small breaks for good coffee and to walk the dog. Last week I decided I would go back to the market on Saturday and I was scared. Scared of waking up before 4am, scared of spilled coffee on my hats, scared of being exhausted, scared of being broke, scared of being invisible in a sea of thousands of people. And so I made a pact with myself. My one goal for the day was to look for every positive experience there was to be found in the day that had nothing to do with money. Kind of like those eye spy books that Dusty loves so much. This is what I found... I laughed with many fellow vendor buddies, I sat down with a cappuccino and cranberry scone, I listened to my favourite podcasts on the drive in, I met a customer who wore my hat after having brain surgery and she told me how her hat made her feel beautiful at a very difficult time in her life, I saw my 76 year old friend Anne, whose 97 year old boyfriend just died and I gave her a hug. I sold this Suitcase Sally travel hat to this woman in the photo and she was lovely and appreciative. I discovered that my new rain hats make everyone smile. And then, someone spilled their coffee on my table. I looked down and there was this filled coffee cup lying horizontally.... and it was fine. Nothing got ruined and I'm here to tell the tale. I can't say I feel the need to rush back there next week, but the day sure was a heck of a lot easier with my new found attitude and maybe even worth it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Colour Crazy

Help I just can't stop! Since my friend, Heather, sold me her lot of procion fabric dyes and her top loading washing machine that she had rigged with a constant agitation cycle, I have found myself spending countless hours in the basement dying up new batches of colour. This is nothing like that box of Rit dye. Each colour takes around two hours, with several trips up and down the stairs mixing 7 lbs of salt, stirring up the soda ash to fix the dye and timing it all perfectly. Tony always marvels at how I need to do everything the hard way, but heck, he's one to talk with his dove tailed joints. I suppose we are two of a kind. Well, despite my belly aching, there is nothing quite as satisfying to me as bold, vivid colour and I am certainly getting my fix these days.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Live Well in Lunenburg

This beautiful film about Lunenburg was commissioned by the Lunenburg Board of Trade and features yours truly, with special appearances by Dusty, Lego the dog and Tony's back. Hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And He's Off!

Today Dusty decided that he could read. We've been reading for a while. Simple books, taking turns, the usual, but this is different. And it's all thanks to Lego. I bought him a guide to Lego Ninjago. The whole inside scoop, a look at the ninjas behind the scenes, what they like to eat, their favorite weapons and their famous quotes. This did the trick. Yesterday we alternated paragraphs and then this morning he brought it with him on the school bus. When he came home he announced that he had read two pages by himself. Now there's no stopping him. He has been sitting on the couch for an hour, every once in a while lifting his head to announce, "You gotta hear this!"
These are the moments that make it all worth while. The world is Dusty's for the taking.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Felting Frenzy

These hats are my babies.They are wet felted merino wool. It's just so much fun to be able to start from the wool, pick any colour in the spectrum and create any shape I like. I call them small acts of insanity because they are so labour intensive, but I love every minute of it.

I have been playing with hand sculpting. This technique is often seen on vintage hats from the twenties and thirties and has had a resurgence in the millinery world. With hand made felt it has a cartoon quality. Sort of a comic book version of a serious hat.

The back of the hat is almost as fun as the front.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Day In The Life

I confess that I have been having too much fun lately. Aside from filling an order for one of the most wonderful hat shops anywhere, Beauchapeau Hat Shop in Niagara on the Lake, I have been in design mode. It is a time of many half made hats being hurled out the window, but also a time of wanton creativity.

Years ago I made rain hats from oil cloth, but stopped because PVC is not the healthiest of fabrics to be working with. On my last trip to Maine, I discovered this wonderful laminated cotton fabric. A fabulous alternative and much nicer to sew. I'm about to order some adorable prints, so stay tuned for more. I had this pattern in my head for a few months and finally sat down and figured it out. I'm pretty pleased.

And for those wondering if I do this all alone or if I have help, I reveal to you my assistants. This is a rare moment of peace in the land. Hope you are all having as much fun as me. I'll be at the Halifax Seaport Market this Saturday.