Misery and millinery.

Hello again, if you missed me.  You would think after the aftermath of my mother that all would be well, long rest, get on with spring, wouldn’t you?

Theory is a wonderful thing, not always linked to events.  The OH is awaiting a liver scan.  Several alarming physical events occurred, which he completely denied after being terrified by them, so I wrote to a doctor, arranged a visit to the doctor together and here we are, the OH is going in and out of denial like a crocodile on a sandbank

While we wait…….when the going gets really tough the tough make dolls.  The exercise is left undone, the weeds proliferate in the garden, shopping gets done sporadically whilst I do the one thing that can always help.  I pour porcelain.  24th scale articulated because I love them most, as each doll is ten pieces of porcelain and I have poured about 60 dolls that’s 600 porcelain pieces, give or take.  Give plenty because when I get cross, dry rubbing them down, they break, so how many dolls I end up with is anyone’s guess, not 60 that’s for sure.

But first hats.

Sensing that trouble was on the way I began making hats, as you do.  I realised at Miniatura that the hats were letting my dolls down.  Dolls of the past do need hats.  No one nowadays would opine that if you want to get ahead get a hat but in the past it was such a regular occurrence that my grandmother trained as a milliner, it being considered a rock-solid reliable job because people would always need hats.  Even today in troubled times we see world leaders who want to look impressive either wearing hats, crowns, caps, or in extreme cases of major insecurity, vast hair and gigantic ties.

As usual in smaller scales, first you have to invent the tools.  I made a handful of hat formers by carving dowels.  To do this the overwrought should stab the sharp scalpel into the dowel, drag the knife up to the end and flick the bit of wood off the end across the dining room with contempt and loathing.  Repeat until you feel better or until you have six hat forms.  Then rip assorted ball point pens and other plastic doodads to bits until you have caps that will fit on top.

All better now, sand the hat forms as violently as you like until they are smooth and varnish a few times.  Then cut out an assortment of circles from different materials plunge them into dilute glue, squeeze and beat the glue out and attach them to the formers. Ta da la da ta da daaaaaa!


Hats!  As you can see from the pen in the picture they are quite small, well they would be, they’re to fit on 24th scale heads.  Closer look?


I should probably not have expanded the picture so much, you can see all the faults, these experimental hats are made of leather, which is what I had handy but they still do look like hats and I am happyish with them.  Or possibly, hattyish with them.

Hats were such a thing to my mother.  I’ve been sticking all the old photos in a scrapbook album, prior to hurling it off a cliff, and I find numerous pictures of her in hats.  She had hats for gardening in, mostly berets, nothing too ostentatious.  She had hats for going to church in, rarely, though if there had been a wedding requiring  a new hat every week she’d have been there, with a hat on.  Hats for  garden parties, hats for shopping, hats for days out, holiday hats and a sun visor for seeing, when it was sunny.

I recall a conversation she had with her sister:

The sister:  You are so lucky, you have a hatty face.

Mother (modestly): Yes, I know.  I do suit a hat.  They frame my face.  You’re not so lucky, you have a small head.

Sister:  Yes but it’s better than having a big head.

Mother:  Like (names sister-in-law) remember that tiny pill box hat, she had, the yellow one?

Sister:  Like a pea on a drum!  (Both laugh hysterically)

My cousin’s grandfather never went out without a fedora.  He was at the peak of his gorgeousness in the Thirties and wore this very dark brown hat with utter glamour and a tan trenchcoat that whipped around him like a cape on a superhero.  His  two tone brown brogues were always shiny in the polished bits and suede elsewhere and he smoked cigarettes like a film star.  The hat he had more facility with than any eighteenth century lady with a fan.  He could tip it, reseat it, smooth it, and use it to frighten flies.  When he tipped his hat to a lady you could see her feeling a frisson from fifty paces.  When he put his hat back on after a disagreement, the altercation was settled forever.   He could do hat.  When he waved goodbye with his hat you could hear the music, when he took it off and hung it on the peg, he was home.

My first lot of hats were experimental to see if the hat formers would work.  As they do, I have now acquired assorted felt and I’ll have a go with that just as soon as I’ve finished being very busy with the dolls.

If you want to make a change see a doc.  If you want to get ahead get a hat.  If you want to keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you


make dolls.


Only 24 weeks to the next Miniatura.

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