Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Guest Blogger: Helen Brown - Tumbledown Manor

Back in my late 40’s, the walls were closing in. Our adult son had major health issues. His sister was threatening to move to Sri Lanka to become a Buddhist nun, and our youngest was itching to leave home. The provincial newspapers I’d syndicated to for years were dropping my weekly column faster than you could say menopause. In between times, there was the mastectomy.

My women friends were facing challenges, too. Maggie’s husband walked out. Sue’s son was caught taking drugs. Becky, who’d devoted herself to a corporate career, was languishing on the redundancy heap.

We wept together and fretted there was no road map for the second half of life. Our mothers had considered themselves old at 50 - no wonder when a generation before them, in 1900, the average lifespan was just 40 years.

As it turns out, my friends and I were on the brink of the most creative, energized phase of our lives. A decade or so on, I can report Maggie has moved in with her new partner, Annette. Sue’s son is working in a law firm and Becky’s online business is booming.

I decided to honour these women, and give hope to others, with my first novel Tumbledown Manor.  Poor Lisa Trumperton has the worst birthday ever when she learns her banker husband is having an affair. On top of that, she’s worried about her daughter’s emotional distance and weight loss. Lisa’s friends are horrified when she decides to flee New York and return to her roots, and a bossy sister, in Australia.

I’ve always been fascinated by grand country houses. In fact, my grandmother lived in one similar to the old family home Lisa buys. The place is crumbling around her ears, and the neighbors are far from friendly. But with help from the Grey Army and an unreliable handy man with the sexiest legs this side of the black stump, Lisa begins to carve out a new life.

Researching Tumbledown Manor was tremendous fun. I hope it brings laughter and optimism to anyone who’s wondering what’s on the other side of a mid life crisis.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my prognosis after breast cancer is great. The Buddhist nun came home to finish her PhD and move in with her boyfriend. Our son is happily married with two daughters. And I stopped writing columns to produce Cleo, a book that has sold two million copies worldwide.



Helen Brown is the author of TUMBLEDOWN MANOR, CLEO and CATS & DAUGHTERS published by Kensington Books. http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/32260


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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bless This Red Hat - Poem by RHS Member



In a thrift store on a dusty shelf
Spotted by a gifted shopping elf
Lay a Red Hat much neglected and lone
She purchased it and took it home.

The magical Red Hat was a perfect fit
Brought to mind a poem written by a Brit
The poem and Red Hat was a novelty
“With a Red Hat that doesn’t go & doesn’t suit me.”

Oh, but that Red Hat given to a friend
Brought much joy and a new trend
Now the BIG 50 frees us for time to play
Adds a splash of color to a once dreaded day.

Bless the Red Hat for bringing joy
Freeing women like Helen of Troy
It has changed the world topsy turvy
Women of the world now being nervy.

Red Hats come in all sizes and shapes
From simple visors to touring hats with drapes
They reflect the personality of the woman beneath
Brightening her face like a Christmas wreath.

There is a magic once a Red Hat sits upon the head
Woes & worries are quickly gone...just shed
Red denotes strength, determination & passion
We wear it proudly with daring & great fashion.

Under the brim of the Red chapeau
Anger, aches & pains magically go
Red Hats keep brain cells firmly in place
No “senior moments” in this life’s race.

Red Hats are popping up all over the globe
Varying the style of a Red Hatted wardrobe
From the US to far off Malaysia
Bermuda, China & Australia.

That little Red Hat in the corner of the Shoppe
Is causing much wisdom, like the fables of Aesop
Displaying the creativity of its owner so clever.
A gift of a Red Hat means friendship forever.

Bless this Red Hat for the joy it doth bring
Bless this Red Hat which gives a freedom fling
Bless this Red Hat causing comradery & daring
Bless this Red Hat that makes our heart sing.

© 2006 Barbara Witzell, Queen RazZ
RazZmaTazZ Chapter
San Diego, CA USA


Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!


Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas. 



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

WHAT GOOD LISTENERS DO


  • They focus attention on the person speaking.
  • They watch for nonverbal clues.
  • They don't interrupt.
  • They resist the urge to offer solutions.
  • They stay on topic.
  • They show empathy.
  • They are open-minded.
  • They think before the speak.
The Red hat Society is a global women's group that promotes fun and friendship.
We make good friends.  Check us out.


Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!
Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas. 



Friday, April 1, 2016

Guest Post from International Partner: HATalk e-magazine


I’m really excited to have the opportunity to write a monthly guest blog post for the Red Hat Society again this year!

You already how much fun wearing a hat can be, but did you know that MAKING hats can be a blast, too? Well, I am the Editor of HATalk e-magazine (LINK: http://hatalkrhs.com/) and the main purpose of our publication is to spread the joy of hat making.  Most people don’t know too much about how their hats are produced, or that with a little training they could start making amazing hats themselves, so, over the next few months, I’d like to take you ‘behind the scenes’ to show you exactly how hats are made.
Hat
To start with, let’s explore exactly what hats are made from. Hats can be made out of all kinds of materials, of course, but here are four of the most commonly used "foundation materials"...


STRAW
For a nice cool summer hat, you can't really beat straw. For hundreds of years, both natural and synthetic straws have been woven into pre-formed hat shapes called hoods which can be shaped over wooden or metal hat blocks. Millinery straw hoods come in many different weaves and weights and each type has a different name, such as sisal, buntal, visca or panama. Straw can be dyed by hand or bought pre dyed in many different colors.


FELT
For a warm, winter hat, on the other hand, felt is always a winner. There are two types of felt used for making hats - fur felt and wool felt. Fur felt is made by compressing the fibers of animal fur while wool felt is made by compressing wool fibers. Fur felt is of a higher quality, meaning that it is also more expensive. Felt for hat making is sold in semi-formed hat shapes called hoods which can be shaped over wooden or metal hat blocks. Felt is easy to dye and can be found in a large variety of colors. Felt hoods are also available in many different textures, ranging from very smooth to very fluffy.


SINAMAY
Sinamay is a natural material made from the fibers of the abaca plant, a member of the banana family which is native to the Philippines. While abaca has been used for rope making since the 1800s, it was only in the 1980s that people discovered how great it was for making hats. Since then, it has become one of the most popular hat making materials around as it is light, strong and durable. When dampened with steam, a sheet of sinamay can be pulled, stretched and shaped into almost any form you can imagine! Sinamay is sold by the yard (metre). It comes pre-stiffened and is available in a huge range of colors, patterns and texture.



BUCKRAM

Buckram is a fine cotton or linen fabric which is stiffened with paste or gum. It is sold in its natural color and can be cut into pattern pieces which are sewn together to create strong hat bases which can then be covered with more delicate fabrics like silk or satin.

To find out more about hat making materials and how to use them, subscribe to HATalk e-magazine today (LINK: http://hatalkrhs.com/index.php?do=/ )! Red Hat Society Members get an amazing 70% off the normal HATalk e-magazine subscription price. Sign up now (LINK: http://hatalkrhs.com/index.php?do=/ ) to get instant access to over 100 hat making downloads for just $19.95 a year!

Becky Weaver – HATalk Editor

























Not a Member of the Red Hat Society?  There's only one, join the fun!

Ready to attend the greatest, most joyful event for women in the world?  Let this serve as your official invitation to Eat Dessert First at the Red Hat Society's 2016 Remember the a la Mode International Convention in San Antonio, Texas.