A Pirate Hat with Style

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Every year the Jackson Hole Community band performs a Halloween Concert and the whole band wears a Halloween costume. The concert is for the children but adults enjoy it as well. In 2014 I decided to be a pirate.

When I started planning my pirate costume, [future post],  I knew I wanted a unique pirate hat to bring it together. I browsed Pintrest for ideas, adding the word “steampunk” to the search terms to find that swashbuckling look I wanted.

Once I had an idea in my brain of what I wanted my hat to look like, I dug through my craft supplies, and shopped dollar stores, craft stores, and yard sales for unique bobbles and scraps that would work in my color scheme.

 


 

 

I needed a plain pirate hat that would fit my head and I could glue and hand sew things onto. I found this hat on Amazon.com, I would not recommend this hat for someone with a small hat size, but it worked perfectly on my medium to large hat size head and it is very comfortable. The price is well worth it.  I gathered my supplies and spread them out to see my palette and went to work.

Junk and broken jewelry and some perfectly good pieces from the 80’s. Funny how the jewelry I wore in the 80’s is now appropriate for a Halloween costume!

Sewing box, buttons, tools, craft flowers, doilies, and some fabric scraps to get me started.

 

The first thing I wanted to do to the plain hat was dress up the smooth top into something more feminine. I had a few lace and crocheted scraps I picked up at garage sales. I dyed them brown to use in various places on the pirate costume, [future post]. Learning from the mess I made dying some things black for my Gray Lady Costume, I used the liquid, not the powdered Rit dye. 

 

I used the crochet scrap with the peacock design and some Tacky Glue to glue the doily to the top of the hat and let it dry completely before doing anything else. I dry brushed the scrap with some gold craft acrylic paint to give it some depth and sewed some old looking buttons to the front to give it a finished look.


For a really great costume remember to add detail as many places as possible. With this in mind, I added bobbles to all three sides of the brim.

On the left brim I stacked some doilies with parts of a burlap flower I took apart. I added an old broken broach to the center and used my jewelry tools to add some dangles. When I sewed it all together I added a couple peacock feathers behind the flowers. Later I added some felt to the back of the dangles because it was making sounds while I was playing my flute.

 

On the right brim I sewed on an old broken bracelet with coins, added a trio of buttons near the front, and a skull and cross bone button above the bracelet.

Fot the back brim I used a fancy Gothic black lace choker i had purchased for another costume but didn’t use. I used a needle and thread to tack the ends down, allowing it some movement. 

To finish it up I added a big set of pink ostrich plumes behind the brim, by the peacock feathers, and secured it by sewing it on with a heavy duty needle and thread, (a thimble on my thumb and finger was a life finger saver for this project). The bottom of the set of plumes is tied with a leather strip so if seen it looks finished, and the plumes stay in place. I found the plume at a garage sale back the 80’s and had used it on a couple other costumes and for decoration over the years.

 



In 2015 I brought the pirate costume, [future post], with me on a trip to to Cabo San Lucas, we planned to attend a Halloween event on the marina. I had to wear the hat on the plane because it would not pack, it made for an interesting flight. While there I was given this mask that gave the costume a less kid friendly look. And when I returned… I was wearing the hat when customs took my photo.




I took the photos with the black background with my new iPhone 8.


Milk the Cow Theory

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

Valued Advice from an Old Cowhand

Always take a good look at what you’re about to eat. It’s not so important to know what it is, but it’s critical to know what it was.When I was 16  my family moved from Southern California to Bishop, a small town 40 miles south of Mammoth Mountain. It was there that I first learned to ski and love the mountain life. Just after graduation met a cowboy and I traded in my city slick’n lifestyle for good. We traveled the western states with everything we owned in the back of an old 70’s ford station wagon complete with the classic faux wood stripe. As short lived as my life in that world was, I learned a lot about ranch life, it was quite the education. Since then I never looked at a piece of beef, or a gallon of milk the same again.

Ranch jobs were generally in the middle of nowhere and included housing, beef, fresh rocky mountain oysters, and sometimes fresh milk. The women stayed home, cared for the house, the cooking, the dogs, and the men. Sometimes we got paid $20 a day to work the ground crew during brandings. And if we were lucky, housing was close enough together for us “Women Folk” to visit over a pot of coffee and a game of Gin Rummy, after the chores were done of course. My particular Cowboy, or as he like to be called “Buckaroo”, went through jobs (and wives) like scours through a calf, I got to sample a variety of ranches in a short amount of time. I could write a blog on the ranch in Lida, Nevada alone, but that’s another story.



One of the most valuable pieces of advice I was handed is one I use to this day. In 1980 we started a job on a JR Simplot feed lot in Mountain Home, Idaho. The housing was one of the better houses we lived in, except the fact that it was unfurnished. Remember I told you every thing we owned fit in the back of a station wagon. COW BOSS: In charge of the cattle operation on a ranch. They choose where the cowboys will ride and hire and fire cowboys. Answer to the general manager.After our first day on the ranch we were invited to dinner at the Cow Bosses house. He was a rugged old cowboy, like you might see on a painting of the old west. I was about 120 lbs soaking wet and had that city girl look, I felt small, out of place, and painfully shy. The Cow Boss’s wife was in the kitchen cooking like a pro, I was in the living room trying not to say something stupid. After a bit he asked me, in his natural bellowing voice, “Do you know how to mike a cow?”. Afraid of what he may say when he heard my answer, I very meekly said “no”. He replied in a very authoritative tone “Well don’t learn! Or you will be out there early every morning milking the cows.”.

“Milk the Cow Theory” was born.

I never learned how to mend fence either, spouting off my “Milk the Cow” theory as a reason not to help. “Nope, I don’t want to learn to milk that cow”. As a matter of fact, I can’t even be fooled into mending fence. (You know who you are 🙂 )


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