- Huh? I have that little note taped to the file cabinet where I can see it when I write. It’s intended to be a reminder: is what I’m “saving,” bringing home, rescuing, stashing, thinking I could use someday, really “that toilet that sat in the backyard for a year before I decided I would NEVER use it as a planter, not even the tank which has a certain elegance but I don’t like white in the garden,” or, “that blue porcelain tile I hauled home from Habitat for $1/SF, list price $20/SF, and moved around the house for three years before I used it to trim the edge of my front porch slab, giving my house a fabulous Latin feel?”
So I applied the question to a bolt of fabric I saw at the thrift shop last week: Open mesh with a ribbon of rainbow-sparkly gold mylar. Beautiful. But not for rugs, or hoops, or hooping costumes, and what would I do with it? Somewhat reluctantly but feeling secure in my stash/packrat frugality and resistance (even though I spent $52 on other items that trip, including ironing board #24 and a goldfish pond liner), I left it at the store.
The very next night, John and I went to hear Dr. Lonnie Smith at the Triangle Jazz Society’s first concert of the year, a benefit to raise funds for their music scholarship program. (John had been asked to make balloon animals for the children attending; I carried hoops.) The woman who met us at the gate was wearing a fabulous yellow hat made out of the same fabric I had just seen at the Chatham PTA, in yellow, without the sparkly bits. Pow! THAT’S what that fabric was made for!
Turned out, the lady was modelling hats; she wore several others over the course of the evening. Part of the fund-raising was a silent auction; someone had brought five similarly-fabulous hats made by a small business millinery workshop in Nigeria. The minumum bid on each of the hats was $325. John was working for tips and parents in Cary are generous when someone can entertain young children who don’t appreciate jazz, but even Cary parents aren’t THAT generous. Bidding on any of the hats was out of the question, and besides, they didn’t quite fit me.
I’m not an artist for nothing. I studied the hat and took notes. The brim was easy enough; a big doughnut shape with wire around the outside edge for shape, stiffened with matching braid that conceals the wire. Check. Crown sides, easy–loosely pleated fabric sewn to an internal hat band; seam concealed with a flower. It took me a bit of thinking to realize I hadn’t noted how they did the crown itself. Back to the hat table: shaped over a head model (is there a word for this tool?), sewn into a band which was in turn concealed by the pleated crown sides. OK. I can do this.
Then I had to hope that the fabric was still at the thrift shop, always risky. (Somehow, the idea of going to a fabric store and paying retail just isn’t the same at all, even if I might find a color that’s better for me. I’ll play with an idea for free or thrift-shop-prices, but not if I have to pay retail.) Check my schedule; I can make a run late Monday afternoon along with some other “in town” errands, esp. as my Mondays start very early with a global conference call. Put “thrift shop” on my schedule, and make sure I arrange the late afternoon to get there before it closes.
Monday 4:45 pm finds me pulling into the PTA parking lot; walk in, look to the fabric racks in the opposite corner. The roll had been on top of the racks and now it’s gone. Dash it!! That’s the lesson for not acting on the original impulse… But be thorough, maybe it was moved; go look at the actual racks. And yes, there it is!! Someone has moved it onto a lower shelf, where people shorter than me might have be able to see it. Snag, up to the register as they give the “store is closing in 15 minutes warning,” and away. Mine!
Whether, or when, I will actually make this hat is an entirely different story. I don’t have a hat form to do the crown shaping or size the band, and those steps are critical. I need to go to the fabric store and see about braid, or at least check my own inventory of gold trims and fabrics. (Retail is ok when it’s for “parts,” just not for the main component.) I’ll be near JoAnne fabrics later this week. Nigel needs a new chew toy. Even the softest-mouth Labrador mix will destroy a fuzzy toy eventually (18 months on this one, and one squeaker still squeaks).
So I don’t know what the answer’s going to be on the fabric: toilet or tile? (Let alone the goldfish pond liner…) The fabric sits on the living room bookcase, on top of my library books-on-tape, reminding me to take some kind of action. Will advise on any progress.