Monday, April 28, 2014

Crazy Crafty: Return of The Mad Hatter

I have earned the dubious reputation amongst the wacky tacky inner circle for having "visions."  I'll concede that where others might see the ephemeral essence of a dollar-store decoration, I see a vision of a Halloween heirloom.  Where others see the only the utilitarian use of the lid to a candy jar, I see visions of magnolia magic.  Where others see the limitations of an ordinary, household placemat, I see visions of the Land of Oz.  Far be it from me to refer to myself as a visionary, but when it comes to DIY hat crafting, the vision is clear - ignorance to proper millinery procedure is bliss!

The Bat Hat (reworked from a few 99¢ Only Store decorations).
The Sweet Magnolia Blossom (built on the lid of a candy container).
The World's Biggest Munchkin (a manipulated, clearance-aisle placemat). 

For once in my hat-making/trimming career (a resumé line item yet to be fully exploited), I decided to go a completely conventional route by starting with an actual and properly-constructed hat base.  This time, where others would see a souvenir sunhat from Chinatown, I too would see a souvenir sunhat from Chinatown.  I's a hat.  But in this simple souvenir sunhat, I would also envision a blank canvas just dying for a bit of wacky tacky adornment.  It was time to fire up every man's favorite power tool - the old hot glue gun!

One of the most life-affirming moments one can ever experience comes when all of the supplies required to accomplish a project are already on hand.  One time (more than a decade ago) a friend tried unsuccessfully to teach me elementary crochet, so naturally, I still had a million colors of yarn poised at the ready; the green coordinated well with the fabric I was using to make Mary a playsuit.  Knowing that a giant pom pom was unquestionably the icing on this conical cake, I set about to bind the edge of the hat and make a scarf tie with floral appliqués from the fashion fabric.

When one pom pom won't suffice, opt for pom pom trim (some prefer to call it ball fringe but I am not among them).
Using a range of hues from the rich ric rac inheritance bequeathed by my great-grandmother, I applied a combination of my two favorite embellishments.

I guess that there's no escaping the pom pom.  To achieve the pom pom topper on this hat, I cut thin strips of an African-print fabric (China, Africa, America??? How's that for a multicultural headwear?).  I gathered rows of the
same fabric to make the ruffled stripes and the kerchief tie.

I was surprised to derive nearly as much satisfaction from decorating conventional hats as I do from making them from found objects and repurposed materials.  Yes, this turn at conventional hat decorating was definitely rewarding but I still needed to explore my more unconventional roots.

When I came upon this beauty at the thrift store, I was quick to grab it,
 thinking I was the luckiest mock-milliner in the world to find a hat
worthy of Gidget's sun-allergic best friend, LaRue.  It wasn't until
I saw the plastic liner that I realized it was a woven plant pot.

Adhering to the three-poms-are-better-than-one rule, I choose to believe that this is what the
designers at Hot Dog on a Stick were going for before they settled on their best design effort.

Have you tried your hand at hat making or hat trimming?  Have you found the joy available to you in home pom-pom making?  I have at least one hundred more ideas but I need to wait for Chinatown to replenish their hat supply.  I guess I'll use that time to put the finishing touches on all the matching outfits.  Stay tuned!


Mr. Tiny


  1. You know I love these. There is no need to coment further. Hat envy.

    1. Thanks pal! You won't have to be envious for too long!!!

  2. Simply fantastic, and wacky tacky in every way! (Said to the tune of Mary Poppins "practically perfect in every way!)

  3. LOVE!!!!
    I loved the VLV outfit that you made for Mary... one more time, you are the best!!!!
    I loved to make pom pom when I was at elementary school... long, long time ago....

    1. THANKS!!!! You Europeans are always ahead of us; I didn't get to make a pompom until high school. Hahaha!!! Seeing you guys once wasn't enough! Come back and visit soon!

  4. a hat is not a hat until it has rick rack and pom pom trim. I think that's a biblical truth.

    1. True, the unabridged version it says that on the eighth day, Pom Pom trim was created.

  5. i love those chinatown creations! i have been on the lookout for a beach hat and can't find any i like, maybe i need to decorate my own!

    1. Thanks! Yes, DIY it and show us what you make; you probably have all kinds of awesome bits and bobs to use as decorations!

  6. Oh Ma Lurd! I want all your hats amor!