Monday, 19 November 2012

Where did November go!?

Whoops! Nearly a month since my last post! Needless to say I have been rather busy over the past few weeks, which makes for rather a lot of photos! Get yourself a cuppa and enjoy!

My amazing birthday cake!
Birthday treats
I'm a big fan of self-given birthday presents (if you can't treat yourself on your birthday, when can you!?), so during another glorious two days with Rose, I gifted myself this amazing Mary Poppins style tierred black felt hat with some fantastic and very inspiring feedback from Rose - amazing! I wore it to champagne high tea (another fab present from a truly fab friend) at the Wallace Collection this weekend (it's marvellous: if you can - go!) and felt a million dollars - there's something about being hatted that makes one stand slightly taller I think :)

'Mary Poppins': Black velour felt with petersham piping and bow

Loose ends
The trouble with having so many ideas is that it's very tempting to start new things all the time without finishing off what you've started - bad practice! The ongoing labour of love that is the Hummingbird Project is nearly done - check out the Skullduggery page for the latest pictures! I also finally finished this little pink felt button, which I love!
Cute as a button: Cerise wool felt, with spiral cascade
I've made some progress on this extravagant black sinamay hat, which is to be adorned with two huge black roses under the left side of the brim (the right side will dip down...once Rose has shown me how!)

The Monster Brim: Black sinamay with shallow crown
The roses are a fair amount of work (they take a couple of hours each) but wholly worth it, and I now have a full blown 'full blown rose' addicition! In my defence, there are definitely worse things to be obsessed by!
And to the addict, the spoils...

Two weddings, four heads
Early November was the busiest week of my millinery adventures so far - luckily, 14 hour days making hats are a lot more fun than my long (and thankfully long gone!) corporate marathon days, and the results infinitely more rewarding! Thanks again to my friends for investing in / borrowing and modelling my creations!
Barbara: Sinamay tipped percher on tulle covered headband with silk dupion folded roses
Basking butterfly: Silk dupion butterfly with hackle feather antennae, mounted on tulle covered headband

Double rose: Large and medium silk dupion roses on tulle covered headband

Three for a wedding: Sequined tulle cloud with three magpies, mounted on tulle covered headband

Block party
My dad's one of those people who is brilliant at everything he turns his hand to (apart from Just Dance on the Wii, but we like it that way - much more entertaining!) He's a very talented wood turner, and gave me this handmade button block for my birthday!
Handmade block: African Obeche button block by Martin Johnson. Thanks Dad!!
As soon as I've finished this post, I'll be starting its first canvas foundation for a luxurious silk velvet button in the grape coloured velvet below.

Add silk addiction to my rose addition: The silk velvets and dupions (middle and bottom left and centre) are from Broadwick Silks (I seriously need to STOP going to this shop - it's not cheap but working with good quality fabric is a joy - everything's too beautiful and I keep buying it all!) I also picked up a piece of loose weave wool fabric (too good to leave behind!) and navy wool hood for the tricorn block below)

The only problem with turning blocks on a lathe is that they have to be round, or oval at a push. More complex shapes require carving and a whole different kind of patience, and so this week I've been learning to make buckram blocks. There's something very special about making your own blocks - it pretty much means anything is possible, and the feeling of holding a solid, and most importantly unique, shape that you've made yourself from a flat piece of fabric is worth the raw hands and scorched fingers!

Cushioned tricorn: Bespoke buckram block

I'm going to make a deep navy felt with pearl bead decoration for its maiden voyage, inspired by the traditional pin up sailor girls.

Watercolour wanderlust
Old fashioned it may be, but I like to draw my designs by hand before I start (and before I forget them!) I was originally going to leave them as line drawings in the 'time is money' mantra, but they look so much better watercoloured that I've decided an extra 5 mins is time well spent. the silk leaves below are to creep across the asymetric green percher (top middle design).

Feeling sketchy: Better out than in!

Winter ivy: Stiffened silk dupion

Handmade Monday
If you haven't finished that cup of tea quite yet (or even if you have) brighten up your day by checking out what the creative types at Handmade Monday have been up to - personal favourites so far this week are Handmade Harbour's blackboard teapot; the super human sized cat by Extreme Crochet; Highland Monkeys' felted mice and suitcases (too cute!); and Big Purple Sofa's vinyl record bowls.

I will be super disciplined and see you next week! Now I'm off to canvas foundation it up! Woop!


  1. I have to say your hats are both beautiful and amazing. Your Dad's obviously not the only talented person in your family. Love the birthday hat.
    Ali x

    1. Ah thanks Ali! I've really enjoyed making them! Just working on modelling some liquorice allsorts to top another hat, I think you'll like them! ;) x

  2. Enjoyed reading your blog Ellie - my you have been busy. Love to know what the "inspiring feedback" from Rose was. Bet you're her star pupil!

    Jane xx

    1. Glad you're enjoying it Jane, I must be more displined in my updates though - that one took a while! I'll send you a message with her feedback - don't want to be blowing my own trumpet so publicly lol - but the gist was that I'm a natural...SUPER EXCXITING!! x

  3. Wow - your hats are absolutely amazing - I love them! Oh, and the birthday presents to self seem to be the only way to get exactly what you want! Enjoy x

    1. Thanks Wendy! Loving your work this week too! :)

      Totally, and when you can make it yourself it really is exactly what you want ha!

      See you next week! :) x

  4. What beautiful hats! I love the fuschia pink model too.
    I know exactly how you feel about November...have no idea where it's gone!

    1. Thank you! The model is just a standard (read: boring) white polystyrene one - so I put the leg from a pair of funky tights of her head! ;)x