Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Three Muses

This adorable photo comes to you from Chicago.  I received one of those hat emergency calls some weeks back that these three ladies had all purchased  polar fleece coats and now needed the matching hats.  The coat company had told them the color name and since we both use the same polartec fleece, I was able to match it up.  This is my Matta Hari hat and I love that it is being worn in three different ways. 
They originally purchased my hats at Beauchapeau hat shop in Niagara on The Lake.   
I was hoping for the Chicago skyline in the background, but they assure me that it is right behind the wall.  I do most of my traveling vicariously through my hats, so this is important to me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A sweet success of a day.

Happy to report that our Drift show in Halifax was a super success, largely in part to the plethora of cookies.  It was really fun spending the day with some talented and fun ladies and force feeding our customers homemade goodies.  I baked these Rugelach, which if I may say so myself were quite the hit.  It was my little way of bringing a touch of Hannukah to the celebration.
My absolute favourite part of the day was acquiring a new treasure from the ridiculously talented Mariko Paterson.    Head to forage studio to see her amazing work.  I had no business shopping, but I could not seem to put it down and when I thought of someone else walking in and buying it, murderous thoughts flashed through my mind.  And then there were too little devil fellow craftspeople whispering,  "just get it, just get it."  in my ears.  So, what's a girl to do?  It was a hit with Dustin and Tony and I can't wait to use it for Maple Syrup. 
Also got myself one of Jennifer Harrison's calendars.  When a wad of cash falls from the sky, I will buy one of her originals, but until then, I will be staring at this one.  She is having a sale right now, so head over there if you are in the market for a beautiful painting.
But fear not, I did actually make more than I spent.  Had some of my favourite customers show up.  Randi is at the top of the list.  This isn't the one she went home with, but I love the photo.
Also met some new Hat Junkies, so all in all, it was a perfect day.
I will leave you with this photo of one of Mariko's three weiner dogs who adopted the Sea Dog bag that I use to carry everything.    My coat was in there to make it the perfect chill out spot.  I really didn't have the heart not to share.  My thoughts weren't quite as generous when he ate my lunch, but cuteness comes with a cost. 
Now, it's back to the sweatshop for me, so that I can take a well deserved break on Friday, when I will hang my closed sign up for a week.  That's my goal anyways.  See you soon.

Monday, December 8, 2014

There's No Place Like Work

This is where you can find me these days.  All day and into the night.  I have been filling orders up to my eyebrows.   This is the time of year when people order Christmas presents and boutiques need those hats to arrive in time for Holiday shopping.  So, the one woman sweat shop sweats on.
While I may have the aura of a martyr, doing what she needs to do to put food on the table for her family, the truth is, there is no place I'd rather be.  Tony  (that be the husband)  created this beautiful little doll house for me and now he is paying the price.  I have a hard time leaving it.
With a hat maker for a mother and a furniture maker for a father, our son has grown up believing that everyone loves their work.  Perhaps a bit of a warped reality, but, hopefully, it will wear off on him and he will know no other way to get through life.  Of course, there is a part of me that laughs at myself saying, "Just you wait, Anna.  The kid will be a banker, insurance agent, government employee, anything that makes a regular income and guarantees the steady supply of Lego sets."
While I sew away, I listen to podcasts, the news or Audio books.  Knowing my current deadlines, I had to download something really long.  So, right now I am listening to Les Miserables.  Sixty hours of unabridged misery.  I couldn't be happier.  I have not put the news on for days.  Also a good thing.  Let me know if I missed anything important.  Have you heard about the battle of Waterloo?
Like these photos?  Be sure to check out Heidi Jirotka's web site.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Crap, Evil Pirates and a Middle aged Mom.

Last night my friend and mother to Dustin's friend sent me this screen shot and suggested that I might want to get Dustin his own YouTube account.  We do have a few internet rules, like he is not allowed to write comments on videos.  I did actually put those parental controls on my account, but controlling something that your child knows way more about is rather challenging.  He, apparently,  just turned the parental controls off.  I have since learned how to lock them on, but I imagine I will always be two steps behind him, at the very least.

We had a little family "scene" last night where I gracelessly flew off the handle and lectured him about lying and the internet and blah, blah, blah....But this morning I woke up laughing and am still laughing, imagining the adolescent boys reading his comments and wondering, whose mom is that?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Puttin' on the Glitz

You may not know this, but twelve years of my life were spent in Marblehead, MA.  Portsmouth NH is just a hop, skip and a jump away.  Such a great little town and I spent many days there.  So, I'm particularly excited that Puttin' on the Glitz at 40 Market st.  is carrying my hats.  
If you live in the area please go check out this beautiful shop and then go have a cup of coffee in a local cafe and tell me about it, so that I can live vicariously through you.
This fresh batch of Madeline headbands are about to embark on their journey there today. 

Amelia Rose

Amelia Rose is one of my sillier hats, but I love her.  You can't quite see it in this photo, but the flower is enormous.  As in, stands out a couple of inches away from the head.  I had started by trying to make a polar fleece fascinator, which is quite a silly concept in itself.  But then I felt that if it was polar fleece, it really needed to be warm, so I added in a hat as an after thought.  Love watching women try this one on.  The reactions range from horror, to hysterical laughing to love.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I have a confession to make.  I hate doing craft shows.  I'm not a fan of crowds and being something of a control freak, I find it difficult to control my hats when faced with thousands of curious people. Children with food, adults with coffee, free chocolate samples at the next booth over before reaching for a $200 hat...  The list goes on.  So, before I allow myself to sink too far into a rant, let me say that I am so happy to be doing this show in a couple of weeks.  The other four artists do great work and they are all friends, so if no one shows up we will just eat all the cookies that we are going to bake and have a great day.  That said, PLEASE show up!  I love my Halifax customers and I miss you and if you love me too, you won't let me eat all the cookies.  Keep scrolling down for the many reasons to come to this wonderful little show hosted by Mariko.
First there is Mariko.  Mariko Patterson is a wonderful, warm force of nature.  Her work is witty and fun and gorgeous.  She does functional pottery as well as these incredible sculptures.  I have a little shoe problem.  I want these so badly.
Dannette Eden, the mastermind behind Seadog bags also has a little shoe problem.  I'm not sure she would want me to share this information with the blogosphere, but she could give Imelda Marcos a run for her money.   Maybe people with shoe problems make other accessories.  Dannette makes her bags from recycled sail cloth and other industrial fabrics and they are great.  I have three of her bags myself.  They are so well made and functional.
Then there is Jennifer Harrison.  I don't know if she has a shoe problem.  I'll have to ask her.  I know she has some nice shoes.  Am I getting off track here?  Jennifer's paintings are available in galleries all over the place and I'm sure you can see why.  One day I will get me one, but until then, I'm going to have to be satisfied with her calendar that she is putting out this year.  She will also have original paintings available.
Last but not least is Allyson Symmie.   I'm generally not a jewelry person.  I'm not lying.  I have two rings that I wear all the time and that is it.   One is my wedding ring and the other is my Allyson Simmie ring that I made Tony buy me for our seventh wedding anniversary.  I have since treated myself to one of her necklaces and a pair of earrings.  I think of her as my personal jeweler.
So, you have probably by now figured out that my choice of artist buddies to join me has been entirely selfish, but I think you will also love all their work.

Oh wait, I forgot about me.  I'll be there, too, with lots of new creations.
 Please come join us on December 13th.   Request for specific cookies can be left in the comments, but I probably will just bake what I want anyways.  Don't worry, you will like them.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


This little charmer here is Annique.  I can make her in so many different colours.

You'll be hearing from me a little more often now.

Just made the crazy discovery that so many of the photos I have uploaded onto facebook have just plum disappeared.  So, I will be posting lots of my creations here from now on.  This is my latest wet felted hat and was photographed by the ever so talented Maddy Kendall.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

More Talent in Lunenburg

Fall is in its full splendor in Lunenburg.  Every morning I walk the dog and marvel at the beauty of this amazing town I live in.  I also marvel at my inability to capture it in my photos.  Well, lucky me.  I have joined forces with one talented lady that lives right here.  Her name is Madeleine Kendall and she sure knows how to capture beauty.  Please visit her web site and consider her for when you might need a photographer, if you live in Nova Scotia.  Aside from being talented, she's also a wonderful person, a mom of two extremely adorable little girls and why not support someone like that.  Her web site is

This photo was taken on the back harbour trail of Lunenburg.  It was once the railroad track.  Almost looks like there is a train coming in the distance.  You can actually bike or walk for miles and miles on these trails, as they connect from town to town.    This hat is my Organic Charlotte hat, made from organic cotton and hemp fleece and hand dyed by me, just so that I can be sure to make things as time consuming as possible.

I think of this as polar fleece meets 1910.  This is my wide brim Margaret hat. Do you like my coat?  I found it in a local thrift shop for $12. It was just sitting there waiting for me.

I just love the reds in the background matching the red of my Organic Madeline headband.  I live in these headbands.  Some people dye their hair. I dye pretty fabric and put it in my hair.

Here Maddy (Madeleine) played with a photoshop technique where all but the hat is black and white.  This hat is Mabel Rose and is made from hand dyed organic cotton and hemp stretch jersey.

For quite some time, I have been wanting to photograph an older woman in my hats.  I strongly believe that there is beauty at every stage of the game and it drives me nuts when 17 year olds are used to sell clothing to 50 year olds.  Well, looks like I waited long enough to have become that older woman myself.  Now I need to go find a younger woman to photograph, so that people don't think my hats are only meant for senior citizens.  Don't take me too  seriously.  I'm not fishing for compliments here.  I'm just right there in the middle of life.  (I hope)  I'm actually enjoying my grey hair.

I'll leave you with this photo which was taken next to the lesser seen exterior of our Town Hall.  Aside from loving the composition of this shot,  I am also amused by how closely I ride the line between fashionable and bag lady.  To me it is a preview of a possible future self feeding pigeons in the park, calling tuppins, tuppins a bag.  But I'm not there yet.  Enjoy this beautiful season and if you can't capture it with a photo like Maddy does, you can always capture it with your eyes.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

My Aimless Walk

I will begin this blog post with a hat and the adorable Andrienne from Quebec City who bought it from me, but that is just because she is so damn cute and I had to put her on here, somewhere. The real reason I am writing this post is to tell you about the great revelation I had and how one little radio show has set me back on my wandering way. While I sew, I listen to podcasts and try to make up for all those years in school where I stared into space and learned nothing. The radio show is CBC's Maritime Noon, which is a local call in show and the subject was the purposeless walk. Many of the callers had trouble saying that properly, so I'm going with "aimless" Click here to listen to the show. The guest wrote a book called, The Slow Death of the Purposeless Walk. It really got me thinking. Aimless walking has always been one of my favourite past times. I have done it all my life and I have had many wonderful conversations with myself, possibly out loud, and I have discovered so many great little neighbourhoods or sites by just following my feet. Then one day a horrible thing happened. It's called, Busy. I hate that word and I use it constantly. While listening to the show, I realized I was doing what I never in my life thought I would do, (there's actually a long list of things like that) I was walking the same 45 minute route every morning. Blech, how did this happen? Well, I won't answer that boring question. I'm just going to tell you that I have mended my ways and I vow to stray from the path whenever the opportunity presents itself. So, here are a few photos from my first walk of redemption.
This is a view that I pass often, but don't often stop to enjoy. Lunenburg is eye candy. I really never get tired of it.
This gets the Best Driveway in Lunenburg award.
The house is not too shabby either. It's at the corner of Pelham st. and Sawpitt incase you would like to see it for yourself.
I headed off Pelham st. on to Bayview, which is a dead end road with only a few houses. This is the view onto Garden Lots, just past the Lunenburg town line. One of the people that called in to the show, suggested always having a camera with you on your walk. It helps you slow down and consciously see what's in front of you. Great advice. I forgot to do it today and I really regretted it, but tomorrow's another day.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Taking a Breath

Today I did something I have been dreaming of doing for months. I hung the closed sign up in my brain. I have been filling non stop orders and I finally got to the end of a list. These hats were part of a 62 hat order heading out to Beauchapeau Hat Shop in Niagara on the Lake. This was my fourth large order in a row, with etsy orders coming in between, selling from my shop and doing the Halifax and Lunenburg Farmers Markets. I'd like to say I did it all with Grace, sort of Jacqueline Kennedy style, but I'm afraid I turned into a pretty impressive basket case by the end of it. I put my back out for a week, came down with a cough that sounded like I had the Plague and was generally grumpy. That's not the word that came to mind, but I'm keeping it family style.
So, as I was making a few of my new Suitcase Sarah travel hats, it occurred to me that for someone who makes a whole lot of packable hats, I don't actually go anywhere.
I need to show you the folded version before I go on with my tale.
One excuse for not going anywhere is that I really love being at home. Especially on these glorious days of summer where I can just take my sewing out in the yard, but what tends to happen when you stick around the homestead is you notice that pile of laundry that hasn't been folded in months, or the dog hair on the floor that is turning itself into a second dog, so I resolved to get the heck out of town.
I took the bike out of the shed, pumped air in the tire, (this is significant information) looked at the rain and decided I was tough enough to handle it. I hit the back harbour trail and then onto Second Peninsula. I did get soaked, but I was so damn happy.
It took me about an hour and a quarter to reach my destination of Bachman's Beach. As you can see by my bicycle, speed is not my priority. One of the most amazing thing about living in Nova Scotia is that you can be all alone at a beautiful beach. I sat down, had a picnic and then ...
I collected a bag of seaweed to use as mulch in my garden. Sometimes, I need a sort of fake work goal to justify some time off. Anyways, it did the trick. I got back on my bike and began the ride home.
I'm always struck by what you see when you slow down. We drive this road quite often and I never would have noticed the Lilly pads.
Or this guy. I was at my absolute happiest when, you guessed it, I got a flat tire. It's been on my mind that I should really learn how to fix a flat, but that's as far as that thought got. I did bring my cell phone with me, so I called my knight in Shining Armour. His first question was whether I had tried standing on the side of the road and crying. I told him that was plan B. Tony came to the rescue and here I am... relaxed, happy, and ready to tackle the next round of orders. Well, almost.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Customer Appreciation Day

I'm having one of those female highly emotional days. Ya, you know what I mean. I'm just sitting here blubbering and thinking about how much I love my customers. I have also been crying over dog food commercials, but still, the feeling is real. The thing is, sometimes I get these great little pats on the back from some lucky newspaper feature or video and it's wonderful when it happens and sometimes I run into various brick walls and it's not so wonderful, but in the end the only thing that matters are these beautiful women of all ages that come and buy my hats. They are the ones that have made me one of the lucky craftspeople that actually gets to do this for a living. They are women from all walks of life and they all have stories and I love to hear them. Oh, good lord, I'm blubbering again. I'll get on with it. These three ladies didn't actually know each other, but you see the kind of love that hats inspire. Pictured here are Randi on the left (professor extraordinaire), Ruthie on the right and Judy in the middle.
One of my most colourful customers, Regina is a public service. In a town like Halifax where one discusses what shade of grey the sky is today, a woman who makes it her mission to dress as creatively and colourfully as she does is a site for sore eyes.
This is Evgenia. Really she is the daughter part of a mother and daughter hat team. Gali, the mom is just as beautiful and there are also two mini hat junkies in the group.
Anne is one of those inspiring ladies that always sees the bright side. Women like that are a beacon for me. I'm definitely a glass half empty kind of girl and when you meet ladies like Anne that are committed to milking every last bit of joy out of this life it puts the little things into perspective.
And then there are the countless women like Judy who I have never actually met, but have sold hats to over the internet or through a boutique that carries my hats and by way of back and forth messages and photos, our lives briefly cross. Judy contacted me because she works in her son's butcher shop in Ottawa and needs to keep her hair covered. You have to love a woman that wants to add a touch of beauty to the walk in fridge. I have just hit the bottom of my box of hat labels and by these calculations I have sold about 5000 hats in my Hat Junkie life, so to all those inspiring and beautiful women out there who have supported me over these last 20 year...I love you. This post has been brought to you by a serious hormonal imbalance and fueled by a pint of cookie dough ice cream.