Tuesday, April 29, 2014

RHS Day 2014

On Friday, April 25th Hatters around the world celebrated our 16th Birthday. Photos have been pouring in from around the world, and we are trying to find new and fun ways to show case them. Today, we played with Slidely to create this slideshow, and we put it to one of our favorite songs: "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.

Take a peek! 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Perfect Treat For Our Sweet 16

For the Red Hat Society's 16th Birthday celebration (which is tomorrow), we wanted to give you a little twist on the traditional Red Velvet Cake we’ve come to know and love in our Sisterhood. After conducting a quick poll on Facebook this week, we discovered that many Hatters were interested in a Red Velvet Cinnamon Roll recipe. So, we scanned through several recipes online, and this one shared by Chef Ron Lock looked like it was easy to make and absolutely scrumptious. 
Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls      

1 box of Red Velvet Cake Mix
2 envelopes (1/4 oz each) of Active Dry Yeast
2 ½ cups of warm water
1 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
5 cups of all-purpose flour

Cinnamon Filling:
1 stick of softened butter (you can add another stick of butter if you want them really gooey)
1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
1 cup of granulated white sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting:2 sticks of softened butter
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 pinch of kosher salt
2 packages of softened cream cheese- 8 oz
  • Combine two packages of active dry yeast with warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Stir until dissolved.
  • Add cake mix, flour, vanilla and salt.
  • Use dough hook attachment to knead dough to knead together, just for a minute or two. (Don’t have a dough hook? You can knead it by hand.)
  • Move the dough to a larger bowl, and let it rise for about an hour.
  • Punch dough down after an hour, and let rise again for another hour.
  • Use plenty of flour on a clean surface and turn dough out.
  • Shape into a ball, then roll into a rectangle shape. (Mine measured about 28x17.)
  • Spread softened butter over dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar, white granulated sugar and cinnamon.
  • Start from farthest edge and roll dough tightly into a long skinny log shape.
  • Slice into 24 rolls.
  • Place rolls in two 9x13 pans that have been greased with butter, or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Let them rise a final time in the pan for about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350° F for about 15-20 minutes.
  • While the rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
  • In your stand mixer, combine room temperature butter with the powdered sugar
  • Beat until well combined, then add the vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  • Mix again, then while the mixer is going, drop cubes of softened cream cheese in the bowl one a t a time until the frosting is well mixed.
  • Spread on warm rolls and enjoy!
Doesn't that Red Velvet Cinnamon Roll look divine? If you try it, be sure to let us know how they turn out.

Now, if you're in the market for a sweet treat with a little less guilt, we've got a lighter version of this recipe to share with you. This recipe was shared on a blog called The Skinny Fork.

Skinny Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls    
1 1/4 cups of Red Velvet Cake Mix1 1/4 cups of Bread Flour1 1/4 cups of Whole Wheat White Flour
2 1/4 tsp of Active Dry Yeast
1 1/4 cups of Hot Water
1/2 tsp of Salt
1/4 tsp of Red Food Coloring
1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract1/2 tbsp of Dark Cocoa Powder

Filling:1/4 cup of Softened Light Butter 
1/4 cup of Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup of Sweetener (I used Stevia in the Raw.)1/4 cup of Red Velvet Cake Mix
1/2 tbsp of Dark Cocoa Powder

Cream Cheese Drizzle:3/4 cup Powdered Sugar 
1 oz Cream Cheese Softened
1/4 tsp of Vanilla Extract 
1 tsp - 1 tbsp of Fat Free Milk
  • Combine the hot water and yeast into a bowl and allow the yeast to activate and foam up.
  • Once the yeast is active you can combine the remaining ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment or knead by hand.  
  • Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour until doubled in size.
  • Punch dough down after an hour, and let rise again for another hour.
  • Use plenty of flour on a clean surface and turn dough out.
  • Shape into a ball, then roll into a rectangle shape.
  • Spread softened butter over dough. Mix the dry ingredients of the filling in a bowl and sprinkle over the dough.
  • Start from farthest edge and roll dough tightly into a long skinny log shape.
  • Slice into 16 equal pieces. (Here's a fun trick: You can use floss to cut the pieces by wrapping it around and under the dough and across and over the top, and pulling in opposite directions. Mint floss is okay to use.) 
  • Place rolls in two round 8 in. cake pans or 9x13 pans that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Let them rise a final time in the pan for about 30 minutes. (If you are making these ahead for the next day, you can toss them in the fridge rather than letting them rise for the remaining 30 minutes. In the morning, set them out for the final 30 minute rising prior to baking.) 
  • Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350° F for about 15-20 minutes.
  • While the rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese drizzle.
  • Whisk the ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
  • Remove the cinnamon rolls from the over and allow to cool slightly before drizzling the frosting over the top.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!
There you have it! We hope you enjoy these recipes. If you make them be sure to share your pictures with us. You can send them to Stories@RedHatSociety.com. These recipes were discovered on Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIY Ladder Necklace

This week, Queen Mary Jean O'Keefe of the Reigning Red Hats Chapter from Maryland shared this picture of her Chapter wearing the crocheted necklaces they made at their recent event. Since we know Hatters love a good craft, we asked Queen Mary to share the directions so we could pass them along to you. She was more than happy to post them. Here they are:
DIY Ladder Yarn Necklace
What You Need:
  • Ladder Yarn
  • Crochet Hook J or K
  • Ruler
  • Bobby Pin
  • Beads
  • Scissors
  1. Cut 6 strands of ladder yarn to the lengths listed below:
        2 at 2 yards and 28 inches
        2 at 2 yards and 26 inches
        2 at 2 yards and 24 inches
  2. Measure 10 inches from one end and create a slip stitch.
  3. Using a chain stitch, chain until 10 inches remain of yarn. Pull the yarn through the end to create a knot. Then stitch the 5 remaining pieces of yarn in the same manner.
  4. Line up the strands in size order.
  5. Gather the strands together carefully and tie a knot at the place where all the knots meet. Do this for both sides.
  6. Slip the loose ends of the necklace into the bobby pin close to the ends.
  7. Pull through your bead.
  8. Repeat this step for the other side, pulling through the same bead.
  9. Tie the ends together and you are done.
The necklace is adjustable for different lengths.
There you have it. We have included a chain stitch video for anyone who may be new to crocheting. If you happen to make this necklace, we hope you will share your pictures with us. You can post them on Facebook like Queen Mary did. Or you can send them to Stories@RedHatSociety.com

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest Post from International Partner: HATalk e-magazine

It's almost time to put on your favourite Easter bonnet!

Hats and Easter have gone together for as long as any of us can remember, but have you ever stopped to think about how a traditional Easter bonnet would have been constructed? Many different types and styles of bonnets have been worn over the years and we find it fascinating to research the headwear fashions of days gone by.

Last year, we visited historical milliner Ani Townsend in Bristol, England who showed us how to recreate this 1830s poke bonnet.

                               Ani used a heavy grade buckram to create the base.

                                 Ani used a heavy grade buckram to create the base.

                                      And covered it with a Regency style fabric.

                             Finally, Ani trimmed her bonnet with lovely gold ribbons.

For full, step-by-step instructions on how to make this bonnet at home (in red of course!), check out HATalk Issues 91 and 92. To get these issues and over 100 other downloadable hat making resources, subscribe to HATalk e-magazine today - Red Hatters pay only $19.95 a year!

Happy Easter from all of us at HATalk!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Home Safety While Traveling

Many Hatters love to travel, and with the international convention coming up this summer, we thought we would pass along these safety tips shared by RHS Ambassador, Jan Lukas, of the Divas of Ancaster Chapter (Ontario, Canada). Here is what she had to say:
Are you leaving home for any period of time? Police are reminding residents to crime-proof their homes while they are away.
Here are some tips:
  • Whether you go away for a day or week, use automatic timers that turn lights on and off to give your home the appearance of being occupied.
  • Leave your travel schedule and phone number with a trusted neighbor or relative so that you may be contacted if necessary.
  • Leave a door key and key to your alarm system (if you have one) with a neighbor.
  • Have a neighbor pick up newspapers and mail or discontinue all deliveries.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed or snow shoveled.
  • If you have a second car, leave it in your driveway or arrange to have a neighbor park their car in your driveway.
  • Check all windows and doors to make sure that they are locked.
  • Lock your garage
Other Hatters added some tips to this post as well.

  • Don't post on Facebook that you will be away.
  • Have that neighbor or friend with a key change the curtains to open and closed at varying intervals.
  • Don't set a 'vacation' or 'computer repair' automatic email on your email account.

Join us in San Francisco this August! 
The 2014 Golden Gate Gala is the largest gathering of Hatters that will take place this year. Join us in San Francisco for a Red Hat tribute to the city by the bay. We have a four-day agenda filled with incredible activities, including a Bling Rush Romp (a glitzy evening with Old West twist) and a Chocolate Fantasy Ball (Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate). Click here to read the full agenda. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Marvelous Mitsie's French Toast Muffins

Looking for a recipe to add to your next Sunday Brunch? Don’t miss this amazing recipe for French Toast Breakfast Muffins shared by Marvelous Mitsie from the Yarmouth Seaside Red Hatters Chapter (Nova Scotia, Canada).

 French Toast Breakfast Muffins                                                                                         
1/3 cup butter, melted 
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg (preferably room temperature) 
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
1/2 cup milk
Topping (option: cut topping in half *)
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a med-large bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. 
Add wet ingredients, stir just until combined, but still a bit lumpy. 
Do NOT overmix; overmixing will ruin texture of finished muffins. 
Scoop batter into muffin tins that have sprayed with cooking spray (I used margarine). 
With large spoon = 10 med/large muffins
Bake 20-25 mins, or until they start to turn a bit golden at the edges.
Mini muffins take about 20 minutes.
For the topping, mix sugar & cinnamon in small bowl. 
Place melted butter in another small bowl. 
Dip warm muffins in melted butter (you can dip just the top, but it's even tastier to dip the whole muffin!), then dip/roll the muffin in cinnamon sugar. 
*May have left-over topping; the extra topping can be used for dipping, while eating the muffins. (and they're delicious doing this!!)
Mitsie also shared a Chocolate Marbled Muffins recipe and a Spicy Apple Muffins recipe in the same post on our Members-only Queens and Members discussion board.  You can access these recipes and more when you become a Supporting Member of the Red Hat Society.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

She's the Queen of the Month

Queen Tonie Neal

Never Saw It Coming Red Hatters from North Carolina

Tonie Neal was born in High Point, North Carolina and grew up in Fayetteville, NC.  She met and married her husband, James, to whom she has been married 37 years, when she returned to college to finish her education after being widowed.  James was finishing his degree after getting out of the service.  Each had one child at that time; together they added one more to their brood, and now have their first grandchild as well. Their experience with their own children was only the tip of the iceberg: over the years they fostered 74 children in partnership with their local mental health department!

Tonie's education credentials include a Master's degree in Education, a certification in Counseling and Elementary Education (K-3).    She put her training to use as a counselor at Hope Mills Middle School for 24 years.  She also worked part-time jobs in alternative sentencing plans for the local courts, greeting card company sales,  and a counseling families of handicapped children.  Along the way she also co-owned a school supply store!  She still substitute teaches a couple of times a month.

Tonie's hobbies also show a high degree of active involvements: she enjoys traveling, reading, needlework, line dancing, going to museums and attending art and music performances, as well as volunteering at her local little theater.  Add about 5 – 10 ours a week working with her church committees, and you get one busy lady!

Tonie formed her Chapter by recruiting ladies from her church who responded to the idea of taking time for themselves.  Their name says it all; they are the "Never Saw It Coming Red Hatters." While all of their gatherings have been fun, one of their favorites involved riding their city bus, as a group. (Some of them had never done it!) So they made arrangements with their local bus company and spent a day riding around.  One of their Chapterettes had a jazzy pair of new purple boots on, and – as soon as they got off the bus – they immediately went shopping, en masse, to get their own boots!  Tonie adds, "We have laughed over that trip for years."

One of her favorite RHS memories was participating in the celebration in Washington, D.C., when the first red hat was installed in the Smithsonian:  "500 of us walking down that mall was a treat…what an honor to be a part of history."