Hats, hats, hats

This post is inspired by two things.
One is a blog post about the hats of my friend Michelle from My Bijou Life. I couldn't join in this link party because I don't do selfies, but I thought I could still blog about my very small collection of hats.
The other is that this enabler made me buy a new hat with her post ;-)
I got it for a new project, but don't know yet when I'll be starting working on it - in fact I have a problem at the moment deciding what I want to make next because there are a few things on the list.

Let's get back to my collection.
Although I only wear hats if it's raining, I love especially vintage ones. I love netting, I love sequins, I love velvet and felt.
Unfortunately my long hair doesn't go well with most of the hats I own because it keeps getting caught at the back of collars, pushes the hats up and into my eyes which doesn't work with my glasses. I would probably have to try making a chignon at the nape of my neck, but the best I manage is a wonky braid.
The bigger problem, however, is that I am a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers woman, partly because it's the easiest outfit for me that I also feel most comfortable with, partly because cute shoes are out of the question for me, I simply can't walk in them anymore. T-shirt and jeans don't go very well with elegant vintage hats which is an absolute shame.

I got most of my hats during antiquing in the USA. My sister went on that particular trip with us and she loves vintage hats just as much as I do. We had so much fun because hats were not in abundance at the German fleamarkets or shops we went to, so this was quite new to us.
Now to the hats, though!
As you can see, I prefer mostly dark colors.

What I love most, however, are bowler or, as they are called in the USA, derby hats. Who knows, maybe it has to do with being a fan of Emma Peel and John Steed at a young age? Actually the show is called "Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone". Yes, in German we call bowlers "melons".
A bowler started it all at a huge fleamarket in the Bay Area our friend took us to. It was love at first sight.

Then I got this ladies' bowler at an antique shop in Santa Rosa. I don't remember the name of the shop, but I still know
that "Man's Favorite Sport?" was running on the small TV there. Isn't it funny which things stick in your mind?

Let's end this with the two hats I'm actually wearing.
One of them is my beloved Harris Tweed Baker Boy cap. It's one of my more colorful items, and by now I wish I had got more than just one when they still had different sizes instead of just one size with an elastic band.
Its best feature is that it fits just perfectly with all my hair stuffed inside.

The other one is a hat that has a bit of a cloche feel to it. I crocheted it myself from a few balls of "wash and felt" yarn that were on sale in a bowl in front of a shop. Felting in a washing machine was a completely new experience for me, so I felt (no pun intended ;-)) very lucky to get the size just right - you've probably guessed it, with all my hair stuffed inside.
Actually it's so perfect that I even refused stubbornly to give it to my mother when she admired it. I'm usually generous with stuff like that, but not only was I out of yarn, I was also sure that there was no chance of performing such a miracle again!

And a P.S. I forgot to add the hat that the cat on the stairs is wearing!


Fall is here

Fall is my favorite season, but this year it seemed that as if instead of going for a gentle change, Summer packed his briefcase at 5 p.m. and left for home, and the morning after Fall came into work, laughed and turned the thermostat down.
Other than in previous years, I'm taking this with a grain of salt. Given the current energy situation, should or can I turn the heat on? Will I have to look for the perfect cardigan yet again (I have very specific requirements and only ever found one that I gave away as a gift, something I still regret to this day)? Will I have to spend fall and winter in bed, covered by Gundel and dem Dekan, and how will I get them to stay there?

I decided to cuddle up in a blanket for now and concentrate on something else - fall colors.
Since der Dekan made his entrance in this house, I haven't got out my loom and only used Delicas for peyote bezels, but now I dug into my stash and made a bead mix from silver lined and transparent AB amber, a bit of silver lined marigold, and two kinds of red to make a pair of fall leaves. Who doesn't love fall leaves?
I made them in brick stitch and then thought about adding some beads from my mookaite stash, but then I remembered - once again - collecting leaves for a school project on a walk in the woods with my grandmother and how some of the leaves were rolled up at the sides. After trying out a few variations, I ended up with these here and topped them with a few dark red firepolished crystals.

My second pair of fall earrings is from the same bead mix, but this time I was determined to use mookaite which has the perfect colors for it.
At first, I wanted to make just one peyote tube for each earring, but as you can see, there was no stopping me! Copper goes beautifully with this color combination, oxidized or not, so I used copper wires to hold the tubes and beads together and to hang them on my own copper components and earwires.
This pair was really fun to make and I can see it in many other color combinations as well!

A bit of fun for the end. Changing of the seasons always makes me think of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" ;-)


Nostalgia - Ruscha plate "Paris"

Some years ago when I still did the "Finds of the week" posts, I had some called "I'm a collector" in which I shared vintage items. Over time my collections have mostly stopped growing due to different reasons, but they are still there and still loved. I also have single vintage items that don't belong to a particular collection, some inherited, some gifts, some from fleamarkets, some more interesting than others. So I thought it could be fun to share some of them every, now and then and tell their story.

Years ago our place was like a weird little museum separated into different decades. One of them were the 50s. On one wall was my ex's Ruscha collection. Given just the number of decorative plates Ruscha made - not counting all the vases or sculptures - it could have been much bigger.
All I wanted to keep from it was one tiny plate with a cat, what else? It now resides in one of my book cabinets, category cat books.
But wait, who or what is Ruscha?

Ruscha was a ceramic factory founded in 1905 as the Rheinbacher Tonwaren Ruscha-Keramik GmbH & Co. KG.
The name Ruscha is a combination of the first letters in the founder's name, Rudolph Schardt. The company existed until 1996 when it was taken over by the Scheurich company which also bought the name and designs. For a while, they kept producing the Ruscha designs under the name "Ruscha Art", in 2006 the name was deleted for good.

The decorative wall plates came in all shapes, sizes, and designs.
Some were partially glazed, but I also remember that we had a small vase in the same manner as the plates, the design was a little fawn that looked as if it had been scratched into the vase.
Some designs were really popular like herons, but there were also people, masks, flowers, and other animals such as penguins, fish, deer, ... and cats. I can't even imagine how many walls you'd need to collect all of them.

Next question - why is this design called "Paris" if there's only a cat?
The "Paris" designs could look very different. There could be houses in the background or a tree and they never looked the same, but there was always a street lamp and usually a young lady wearing a striped top, capris, and very high heels that remind me of the sought after vintage Barbie spikes. Sometimes she had company, I've seen one plate in which the young lady were different clothes and was talking to a young man wearing a beret, and the trash can next to the street lamp that had fallen over gave it a very realistic touch. Often there was a white glazed cat with tabby stripes.
I guess my little plate didn't have enough space to include the young lady, so there's only the lamp, the stars, and the cat.

These plates are handmade which means the design never looks exactly the same. As you can see, my cat is looking if it's ready to fall asleep during walking through the Paris night because the eyes are set so low.
There are also different positions and I've even seen a cat whose tail looked more spotted than tabby.

The back of a plate also doesn't always look the same. I have seen plates with or without marking, stamped or written in German, but also English (for the abroad market, I'd guess), with the design number or without.
"Ruscha Handarbeit" = "Ruscha handmade" has been written very carefully on this one. I would date it to the 50s, simply because some of the old letters still remind of Sütterlin writing, like the small "r" in "Handarbeit".
You can't really see that here, but the number at the top is 712 which stands for the "Paris" design.
I couldn't find out what the marking at the bottom means because unfortunately I can't even read it clearly.

I hope you had a bit fun with our trip into the 50s!



When I order beads, I sometimes throw something into the cart spontaneously, not even because I think it's drop dead gorgeous or because it immediately gave me an idea although that happens as well of course.
Actually it's meant to be a challenge for myself, and as I never know if I'll be up to the challenge, those are often sale items or small baggies.
A while ago I added four red resin roses to my cart. Four sounded like a small enough number for me to manage.

What I don't like much about bead embroidery is just glueing a cab on without giving it an extra bezel to keep it there safely. Blame that on my complicated relationship with glue. If I use a bead, I like to sew through the bead holes and immediately feel better about it.
Obviously a bezel didn't work for the roses and there were no holes, either, so I just have to trust the glue to be as sticky for them as it is for my hands.

Red always makes me think of black, and black and red together always make me think vampires and gothic vibes, so it wasn't a surprise that I chose black seed beads and matte black firepolished crystals along with the roses.
I tried around for a while, but finally found that I liked the flat background best. I couldn't resist adding skulls. I picked the grey instead of the black ones that I have because they sparkle a little more.
Voilà, my "Gothic Roses"!

A few days later, I thought about making another pair right away, not dark this time, but light and sparkly. I would have liked to make the exact same design, but the only other firepolished crystals that I had in the right size were purple/blue which definitely didn't work with red.
What I found instead were some crystal rondelles that I had bought at the craft department of a local shop for their sparkle - magpie alarm! ;-) They were in my drawer for years, but now their time had come.
Luckily I also still have some of the crystal AB skulls and don't they fit perfectly for my "Ice Roses"?

If you want to see the sparkle even better, you can check out my very small YouTube channel which I only have because I seem to be unable to convert the videos from my old camera, so not just the sound will upload on my Instagram.
I'm such a technology freak sometimes ;-)


Bat Cat

I have shown you this winged creature before, my all time favorite among my friend Heather's paintings. It makes me think of Ponder and I love it so much.

It also inspired the different winged cats that I made over the years. They had wire wings in copper or silver, but after discovering bead embroidery and sequins which is easier on my hands than wire at the moment, I have fallen in love with making wings like that. I guess it was just a matter of time for a cat with bat wings to materialize.

This black cat bead came to me with a problem. The tail curling up in front was mostly missing, it looked as if it had just snapped off. I couldn't get myself to throw it away, but also didn't have an idea for it for a long time.
However, after making the Demon Guardians, bat winged skull earrings, I looked at my black cats and thought that would be perfect for them, but I would try it out with the flawed bead first.

When glueing him to the backing, I noticed a fine line across his neck, at the top of the horizontal hole. Uh-oh. Was this what I thought it was? Yup, just a tiny tug and the head broke off.
I still wasn't prepared to throw it away, though.
I glued him thoroughly, even filling the bead hole, which I didn't really need, with glue.  Then I made him a "fuzzy" little bat body to hide the missing tail and making him sit on the backing even more safely by sewing through the hardened glue in the bead hole.

Next were the wings.
I chose shiny black and black AB sequins for them. I had to make them smaller than I would have usually done because I hadn't left enough backing on one side, an all too familiar mistake of mine, but it's nice to have a challenge ;-)
Last I added some matte black firepolished crystals - which I had also used to cover the bead holes - at the loops for the chain and to the black crystal drop dangle.
What kind of chain or rope I will use, I haven't decided yet.

So here he is, Mister Cat Bat.
I think it was a pretty good save. Of course he won't be for sale, but I'll happily wear him myself.

Inspired by him, I made a vampire cat necklace (with bigger wings ;-)).
Meet Count Catula who will be flying across the seas soon.