Sunday, December 8, 2013

Long Dark Days of winter are here

No more excuses

Here in North Western Washington it is getting very cold, today it didn't get above freezing, it was 18 degrees list night. I spent the day trying to get organized so that I can seriously start on my spring line. I wrapped my gifts for the care center and for my Red Hat party, read the Sunday paper, copied down a cookie recipe from the internet, and that's about it. 

Tomorrow, I have my aerobics class in the morning, then to the grocery store to pick up some cookie supplies and then I will get started on my new fascinators.  The first group are a wheat colored yellow using the new hat blocks from
Guy Morse-Brown Hat Blocks in England, I have a really lovely pillbox shape, and a new saucer shape that I am anxious to try. I will also try to take a couple of pictures of some of the Gatsby style Wedding Fascinators I made a couple of months ago, and go through my flowers and ribbons for inspiration.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fascinator for Women's Professional Network

Thursday, November 21, 2013,  the Women's Professional Network of Bellingham held it's annual Raffle Dash. I donated a marine blue, large saucer shaped fascinator with a grey rose and a cream colored wedding fascinator for the event. Here is a picture of the fascinators and the lovely lady who won the blue saucer fascinator.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New hat blocks from England

I recently received 3 new hat blocks from England. They are the very latest styles and I am so anxious to start working with them.  They are a pill box, a large saucer and a medium saucer.  The large one is like Kate Middleton's "potato chip hat" To see the what the "potato chip hat" looks like see the July 16th post.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yule Boutique

Assistance League's Yule Boutique was last Saturday, it was well attended and we all had a good time greeting many of our old friends and made some new ones.  Every one in the League contributed, lots of beautiful handmade items and lots of baked goods, many volunteered their time to greet, cashier, work the cookie table, manage the kitchen or just be on hand to help. I made 22 rag dolls, chocolate lip balm, soap and a lot of cookies.

Time to get busy on my new spring line.  I have 3 brand new hat forms from England and many colors of Sinamay, flowers, ribbon and fabrics. I am sure this year's creations are going to be my best yet.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dragon Lady

In my last post I showed you my Dragon still in pieces on my worktable, now here he is complete and one with me. Isn't he wickedly beautiful?

Friday, October 18, 2013


Halloween is just around the corner and I am going to a luncheon where I need to dress in costume. I have decided to dress as the "Dragon Lady". Which to me means dressing in black, wearing creepy make up and wearing Dragons. What did I get myself into? The Dragon pattern I am using is a masterpiece but so very intricate and time consuming I have been making this Dragon for days. Here is a picture of my worktable covered with Dragon parts. If I get the little sucker done I will post his picture.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wedding fascinators

My wedding fascinators are simply the best

I have been looking through the bridal magazines, on the internet and watching "Say yes to the Dress" and I have not seen anything made in America or imported to America that can hold a candle to my wedding fascinators.  I am going to concentrate on making them even better this year and doing some creative marketing.  I have started a little early making a custom wedding fascinator for a beautiful young lady who is getting married next summer.

As soon as I have finished with my Yule Boutique commitment, I will get started on my new line for spring and I will give special attention to making the most beautiful, original and upscale wedding fascinators in the world!

Here is a little of what I did last year.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Halloween Fascinators

Since Halloween is just around the corner I have selected three of my favorite designs to put up on my Etsy site.  If you want a pretty hat instead of a scary one take a look at these beauties.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

I have been so busy I haven't had time to post. Had a broken hose in my kitchen, flooded 2/3 of my house and I am living in my workroom, bedroom, bath and my garage is now my kitchen. Also, as the chair of ALB's Yule Boutique, that has been about all I could handle.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sinamay Fascinators and Hats

Sinamay Fabric

Sinamay is straw like fiber from a plant that grows mainly in the Philippine Islands.

Many of the hats and fascinators you will see are made of Sinamay. I purchase some of my Sinamay bases from England or Australia.

Last year I decided that I wanted to be able to make shapes that were not available in ready made shapes, to choose my own colors and to experiment a little. I took some classes on how to work with Sinamay, ordered Sinamay fabric, some new hat blocks and had a very good time learning how to make my very own shapes in colors that I wasn't able to get in ready-mades.

This is what some of my new creations look like.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

How I started designing Fascinators

I would like to write a little about how I started making fascinators.  Many years ago, when I was a young woman living in Portland Oregon, after taking some millinery courses, I made hats for my friends and for myself because we all wanted hats that matched our suits and dresses.

Forward many years, after retiring from my job as an Occupational Therapy Assistant I wanted something new and creative to do. I had spent over twenty years designing and making patterns for cloth dolls and various crafts, everything from ribbon embroidery to fragrance crafting and cloth dolls. I sold my designs to magazines such as: Better Homes and Gardens, Crafts and Things and Soft Dolls and Animals. I did this as a part time occupation simply because I love designing and experimenting. When I retired I decided I wanted to make hats again, not regular boring hats, but cute little hats that could be worn for Lunch, Tea or as a Cocktail hat, more a decoration than a hat, I was calling them hatlets because they weren't quite hats.

 While searching the Internet for materials I found that in England, they were wearing the type hat I was making but they were calling them "Fascinators", OK, I will call my little hats "Fascinators". I set up a website  and then an Etsy site  and since then I have had the pleasure of selling my fascinators all over the world. I was very impressed when I sold one in Paris, France. Please take a look at my websites and drop me a line, I would love to hear from you.

Here are a couple of the new styles I designed for this Summer. You can see more at

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Why is it that I follow English Milliners?

Why would I follow the English designers when we have perfectly good milliners here in the good old USA? Because, I started out wanting to design what I considered "cocktail hats" or "hatlets", cute little, attention getting, hair ornaments, not really hats.
I was designing for the young women who wanted to get noticed, so nothing that I started out doing was what I would call an "serious hat". It was later that I found the English and Australian designers were making hats similar to mine and they were called Fascinators, it was love at first sight. So from then on I went to their websites for inspiration and to see what their new trends were.

Right now it is summer and I am serving as the chairman of one of my favorite fundraisers, the Yule Boutique for the Assistance League of Bellingham. I am very busy making, soap, lip balm, strawberry vinegar and Raggedy Ann dolls as well as trying to keep everything organized as we count down to our holiday boutique.

That said my mind is constantly thinking about what I will make when the boutique is over the first of November. That is when I will spend the long, dark, winter days working on my Spring collection.  I do tend to get a little (a lot actually) obsessed with my fascinator designs. I went to see the movie "The Great Gatsby" and had to spend a couple weeks putting together some FABULOUS 1920's wedding designs. Some evening 20's style fascinators will be part of the collection also, I can feel them brewing my brain right now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Princess Kate's Fascinators

Kate Middleton's Fascinators

We all love the beautiful fascinators that Kate wears, she is fortunate to have her pick of England's best milliners. Some of the milliners who design for Kate, for Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Cornwall are.............Philip Treacy, Gina Foster and Rachael Morgan.

Take a computer trip to England and see what they are doing this year..........

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What is a Fascinator?

What is a Fascinator?

How does a Fascinator differ from a hat?

The answer to this question is rather nebulous. The dictionary definition is "A lacy shawl or head covering" but, today's definition is quite different and there are several opinions as to just what a fascinator is. To me, a fascinator can be anything from a fancy hair decoration to a cute hat with attitude.  A hat is a serious fashion statement while a fascinator is a cuter more frivolous version. A fascinator can be worn on most occasions where you would wear a hat but I would not wear a fascinator to a very serious function such as a funeral.

Monday, June 24, 2013

How do Fascinators stay on?

Fascinator attachments

Fascinators are worn a little different from the hats in the past. Today many women have short hair so how is that little disk staying perched on the side of her head? Many fascinators are set on a headband, some have elastic that goes around the back of the head and some are set on a comb.  If a woman has short hair and the fascinator has a comb she would need to back comb and spray her hair, let it dry and insert the comb in this spot.

Yellow Fascinator by Arlene Cano

Arlene's first post

This is where we will discuss and learn about Fascinators

We will talk about the most prominent English and Australian designers and what they are doing this season. Among my favorites are Rachael Morgan, Gina Foster and Pip Hackett, all English designers with beautiful designs. Take a minute and look at their websites and see what they are doing.