Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

Exquisite Taxidermy Art and Design

© 2013 Diamond Tooth Taxidermy
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About Beth Beverly


I am a State and Federally licensed taxidermist who graduated from the Pocono Institute of Taxidermy in 2010 with high marks. I have a deep respect for this craft and those who strive to preserve it.

It is my pleasure to work on any trophy mount, be it a shoulder, life-size, rug, or fish.

I accept custom orders for fantasy mounts, wearables, and bridal hair pieces.

Sculptural mounts and hats are available for rental provided they are in stock at time of inquiry.

Contact me describing your wish and I will be delighted to make it so.


Diamond Tooth Taxidermy Blog:



20 for 20, # 3: Put a Zoe on it.

I just finished making a hat box which is housing the halo fascinator I just finished custom making for Rachel Zoe.  I doubt she's aware of myself or this blog so I feel like the risk of ruining the surprise by posting this before she receives it is minimal. While this is technically the third piece I've created for my 20for20 project, #2's gift is still traveling through the postalverse and I know she reads this so I don't want to spoil it for her.  So there's that.



In a few hours, this piece will be en route to Madame Zoe, by means of which I don't care to bore you with.   The box is somewhat hastily made and it shows, but what's inside was made with plenty of love and thought.







 







I used a vintage halo-shaped fascinator base and built on it with feathers from a variety of foul, along with some salvaged antique mink tails.  My impression of Rachel Zoe is romantic hollywood gypsy, and while I know very little about her personally, I selected her for this project because I love her style, I admire her tenacious drive, and am inspired by the better-to-apologise-later-than-ask-first attitude I imagine her to have.







Unfortunately I don't have a blonde wig but I anticipate the brown velvet and feathers popping quite nicely against her light hair.  The charms make a nice tinkly noise and their translucency in the sunlight gives this piece a very gypsy feel.







I just hope it fits her!  That's the tricky part about designing unsolicited gifts for people-how to predict sizing.  I have very thick hair though, and that's underneath the wig (ha!  I wish this luxurious mane were my real hair!), so there should be a small amount of wiggle room.







Fancy chickens, pheasants, grouse, and vintage trinkets.  Let Madame Zoe look into your future.....







 

Le Lapin Cocquette

Voila!



Below is a video I put together documenting my awkward yet successful foray into rabbit stew.  I've prepared rabbit dishes several times, all of them okay but coming up short.  This time I knocked it out of the park.







Twenty for twenty

I was chatting with friends at polo a few weeks back and two of them, almost simultaneously said, "I could see Kat Von D in your hats."



My reaction was "Really?  Wow."  I'd never seen LA Ink but I've seen many photos of her-and I love her look.  She's absolutely stunning.  "Too bad she has no idea who I am," I sighed, defeated, ready to move onto another topic but my friend persisted, "No, ding-dong, just send her a hat."



This sentence rolled around in my head for a while and set into motion a brainstorm which gave birth to my newest project, an interactive "piece" I am calling Twenty for Twenty.



I began by simply imagining that Kat had put an order in for a custom hat and said, "Beth just make it me.  However you see me."  I went with my heart and created the hat you see pictured in this post.  As I worked on it, I took a moment to really explore this feeling coursing through me, this in-the-zone elatedness I get when I'm not even thinking about my work but just letting my hands and eyes do all the talking.  I began to embrace this feeling of following my heart and creating something wonderful even though nobody asked for it.  There was no demand. Not yet.



That didn't seem to matter to me at the time.  I just focused on custom work and how right it feels.  I thrive on connecting with (nice, good) people and creating for them.  It just feels right.







After I finished Kat's hat, I was re-reading segments of an online book called "The Art of Earning" by Tara Gentile.  Toward the end there is a passage which inspired me to turn this good feeling about custom pieces and reaching out to people into a project. I decided to come up with a list of twenty individuals whom I've never met  but have been inspired by in some capacity or another. Some of them I'm just a plain fan of.  I would reach out to each of these people and make a connection through my work.  Like good old-fashioned fan mail!



This ties in to my love affair with the postal service.  Anyone who knows me well has received a note from me at some point in our friendship.  I love sending thank you notes.  At times when we are more organised, my mister and the kiddies and I would create our own holiday greeting cards to mail out each year.  I'm a sucker for that tangible piece of "hello" from the mailbox.  Like a long, convoluted paper-cup-telephone on a string.



I complied my list of twenty, and began the process of reaching out to them.  Some are more accessible than others (twitter is amazing for this), and some might never happen.  It's hard to tell (any of you guys tight with Gwen Stefani's team?)  But the responses I've gotten so far have been overwhelmingly positive and I'm so very excited to reveal more names (and why I'm inspired by them) in future posts.  I'm hoping that by following through with this brainchild, I can not only get more of my product on more people's bodies (I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a hint of self-promotion in this) and gain some exposure, but also to fully express the gratitude I feel towards individuals whom I am happy to know exist in this sometimes glum and banal planet.  Also, I want to remind people how rewarding it is to receive a gift in the post, a piece of art that someone spent hours of their own life to make.







And that, my friends, is that.  I'm tapping into something deeper than taxidermy and hats, so bear with me as I explore this.  I'd love to know your thoughts.



For now, here is Kat's hat.







I used one of my gifted vintage bases and spent oodles of time fastening the perfect chicken wing and feathers/pelt to it.







Inspired by her military meets goth meets doll type style, I used an vintage Trifari gold tasseled baton brooch and tied it all together with some chains and such.











Up next: My larger than life and circus inspired piece for The Fashion Turd!



Like a turd on a stick

Twenty for twenty

Bear skin VLOG





I came BEARing gifts.

 



Har.



Well, it wasn't technically a gift as it was for a client and she paid for it, but the amount of love and time I poured into this piece could warrant usage of the term "gift".







This  rug was a dream project, as I think rugs are beautiful and functional, as well as a joy to make.  I was instructed to "make a bear skin rug with lots of diamonds and flash".



Ideal Diamond Tooth project, yes?



I found the hide already skinned and tanned from a hunter in Maine who had harvested it with a bow and arrow.  Knowing that this specimen had been sourced ethically and the meat was sustaining a family, I proceeded with confidence.







Diamond tooth, check.  Sparkling eyes, check.  Diamond nose stud, chain from nose to diamond stud earring, check and check.







Oh!  And tongue ring!







Diamond manicured paws, but of course.







After hand stitching the entire lining onto the hide I attached the fringe along with my tag along the bottom.  Finis!







I could hardly BEAR to see it go.  The fur was so soft and warm; I know it will feel just divine on a cold winter night.



Would this piece win any ribbons at a taxidermy competition?  Probably not.  It's not perfect.  But I'm proud of it, I think it's beautiful, and I hope she brings my client many a smile.



Hats Off!

 



This past Sunday brought sheets of rain,  thunderstorms and my lovely friend Pearl to Diamond Tooth Studios for a shoot.  Ms. Bell is more than just a pretty face, she's also a lifestyle and home enthusiast.  She can wave her magic wand over any home, wardrobe, or human and said item will emerge sparkling and wonderful.  Please check out her blog, 7pm.



Together with the talented and professional services of Diamond Tooth on-sote photographer, Jim Coughlin, we had a few flashy packed hours together.  He like to shoot, paint, spray, stencil, and make music.  Please check out all the wonderful things he does on Snap, Bam Splat!



 



I've been busy working with the materials from that load of vintage hats I received a few weeks back, mixing and matching the elements from each piece with other pieces from my studio alongside certain taxidermy ingredients that revealed themselves as an ideal match.  This Gothic Bridal Fascinator started out as a black cage veil with white fabric roses.  I dyed the roses a fade-into black and added two mounted wings from a fancy chicken.







 



 







I kept the original velvet ribbon and added some black fur.







Here is another bridal fascinator; none of these bridal pieces are white  as they are geared towards a less conventional woman who is looking for something unlike what she can find in traditional bridal boutiques. This results in a versatile piece that could be worn by the maid of honor or even the mother of the bride..or for an event that isn't even a wedding!







I used the blue veiling from an antique wide-brimmed blue hat (shown later in its reincarnate form down below) and attached it, with the wings of a fancy chicken, to a wire fascinator base.  The feathers are hand curled to compliment the wearer's hair.







 



This is my Blue Poof Quail Fascinator.  This quail has been worn in several ways, before I found the perfect base for it which is the vintage blue ostrich feather one you see below.  I switched the original blue veil out with an off white, Swiss-dot one from another vintage piece and added a strand of sea pearls around the quail to bring out the creaminess.  I think this piece would be perfect for a Winter wedding....or even Spring!







 



 







Behold the wide-brimmed blue hat I mentioned earlier.  It's a strong, beautiful piece of millinery that stands  on its own without a ton of bells and whistles so I simply added the mounted and embellished cape of a chicken, some pheasant feathers and a few pieces of antique hand-tatted lace, all meant to compliment the shape and motion of this piece.







 



 







Hair Doin'!







Next up is the duck wing fascinator which Pearl has worn before.  I very much enjoy manipulating crinoline/horsehair, and look forward to making more of these.







 



It's light and easy to wear, ideal for the individual who wants to express some fashion sense but isn't willing to compromise her comfort level.







 



Here is another bridal piece, this one crafted with the base of a vintage fasctinator which originally was a simple green bow.  I took the fabric off, rearranged it and added a green cage veil from another antique pice.  Then came the mounted wings of a chicken and vintage charm in center.







The two wings are firmly pressed together in a way that makes the feathers pop out on the opposite side, not unlike what your fingers do when you clasp you hands.







 



Hold on!







OK, perfect.  This is my beloved montera hat, embellished with a mounted chicken head  that has been encrusted with jewels. This hat generates a very healthy dose of attention and makes for an excellent conversation piece. Ole!







It also opens up some fun opportunities for various hair-dos.  I like twisted locks around and under it, but a side pony tail or a combed out fro would also work just as well.







The last piece of the shoot was another fascinator Pearl had worn before, crafted from an antique base with a delicate off white veil.  I added the wings from a chicken which had been source mid-molt, so the spiny veins of the feathers are exposed.  This made them ideal for stringing beautiful beads on; I got these marble and pearl beads from two vintage necklaces.  I also hand curled some of the feathers.







 







 



Not to be outdone, our house model demonstrated his ability to work a chapeau.







 



And that's a wrap!  For more info and pricing, please visit my website, Diamond Tooth Taxidermy, or my Etsy shop.



 



 

24K video

I don't know what to title to video segment of my blog yet.  But here are some moving pictures set to music, telling the story of a lovely rooster:











Throw some bonmots my way, and if you give me a decent title a free treat is coming your way!



 



 

From my cold, dead hands

Here are some items I recently added to my etsy shop, for all the tween-witch kids:







I don't want to alienate though, they're actually for anyone who would want to wear a bird talon.  This includes me and it could include you but it may not include your roommate or your cousin.  I wind of separating the feet from most birds I skin because, at this time, bird feet aren't all that palatable for the budding fashionista so I just use the wings/pelt and save the feet and heads for my own purposes.  And that's fine with me.  How boring would the world be if we all wore the same thing?



 







But for those of you who ARE into this symbol of strength and beauty with a dash of menace, what a great little trinket you can add to your wardrobe for barely any monies at all.  Customize it with your birthstone or any other kind of crystal, tie it up in your hair ,hang it from your phone, whatever your icy little heart desires.







OK, this is too sales pitchy.  Just check it out, OK?  I think they make great gifts...(too early for Christmas ornaments?) starting at under $20 a pop.



I Always Dress for Success

And that's what last Sunday's polo match was all about.  Us spectators were treated to a  beautifully played match (although I spent a good portion of it mingling in the VIP tent tasting amazing food and drinking Magners and champagne I really have to curb my socializing but it's so hard with all the great people to chat with!) and we were cheering for a cause: Dress for Success.  Hit that link and familiarise yourself if you haven't already.  It's ok, I'll wait.



OK, that's hacky.  Sorry.  Anyway, it was action packed, and while Susan Scovill has all the great pictures of the people (including me serving champagne for the halftime divot stomp!), she is unfortunately (for us) on vacation so I cannot borrow her images.  In the meantime, I have a few fun shots of my own as well as some borrowed ones from Amy Dragoo and Milicia Stojancic.



The beautifully captured photos of the horse-action is all Amy.  I think I am her biggest fan.  I truly adore her work.  It doesn't hurt that she's a quickly blossoming chicken master, either.











There was a hat contest advertised, and yours truly was slated to be judge.  The wheels sort of fell off that bus early in the day however, which is unfortunate because there were some pretty hats.  I chose my three favorites, anyway, and below is Cecilia (a rep for Dress for Success, coincidentally, although I didn't know if when I chose her!) who I deemed "Most Classic Hat".







Look at that priceless reaction; clearly it's in response to one of the flawless coast to coast hits during the match.  She can't believe her own eyes!



"Most Creative Hat" would've gone to my new pal Milicia Strojancic.  She crafts these lovely fascinators with botanical themes.







Pretty ladies! That's Milicia's friend Christine with us; she had a sweet little bird on the back of her head but we thought it would be polite to take a picture of her front)







There were some pretty ladies on the field, too:







Duke & Winston set up shop outside the VIP area; Pearl and I had the extreme pleasure of tending to this charming little guy while his human did all the grunt work of setting up the merch:



(I borrowed this picture from their website...again, Susan has all the good pics.  Susan, come home SOON!)  I also picked up a shirt for my mister; the tees are made from a really high quality cotton and I could touch them for hours.  Oh, and there's some pretty cool screen printed images on them too.







The winners!







The only time its acceptable to wear filthy white pants.  Well played, gentlemen.







I had seen another hat which I deemed "Best Vintage" but the wearer disappeared before I had a chance to get a photograph.  It was a beautiful white cloche-type chapeau with a large white multi-pleated ribbon hugging the back of it.  I did manage to catch a shot of this lovely gal, who I made a category up for:  "Best Dressed":







She has a polo match on her dress!  I love it.  She'd also been dancing, as we all had.  Nobody's shoes lasted too long after the music started.



Here's myself and polo pal Pearl.  We got pretty silly, like we always do, and had plenty of laughs.







And then somebody whipped this stuff out and the rest is kind of fuzzy.....







See you next time!!!

Felicia's Fascinator

Such a creative title, hmmmm?  I'm starting to think my wit went on vacation and left the rest of me in this South Philadelphia brick oven.  Alas, there are some wonderful things I've been cooking up in said brick oven.



HIYO!  There's that whip-smart writing style, peeking out through my sleep deprived haze.



I met Felicia recently and was instantly smitten at her zest, pep, zip, and rabid enthusiasm for all things culinary.  Upon being introduced to them Felicia then became somewhat smitten with my pieces, and it was then that we decided she must wear a Diamond Tooth custom crafted fascinator to an upcoming wedding at which she would be a guest.







I met up with her this morning at the Reading Terminal Market and watched her order an assortment of baked goods from Termini Bros with the panache that comes from years of tasty experience.



Yes, this gal knows her sweets.



I could hardly keep up with her, in fact she only slowed down to take her fascinator out of the box and give me the thumbs up.  When she learned that I used the wing from a chicken which had belonged to a dear mutual friend of ours, the approval rating went up.







I need to get a shot of her wearing it; the wing curves around from the back of the head and hugs the side before gently peeking out just a wee bit around the front.  I embellished it with hand curled ostrich feathers and vintage crystal-studded lace patches.







She strikes me as a woman of understated elegance so I wanted to keep it subdued and gentle.  I threw in some pheasant feathers and a chain detail that can dangle from the comb and over her hair, and called it a day.







Hopefully the sun will catch the crystals and make her pretty head sparkle at the wedding.  I hope you enjoy her, Felicia, as much as I enjoyed crafting her.



Giddyup!

Incase you didn't know, we're in the middle of a ridiculous heat wave, and while I tend to prefer warmer climes, today I've given up on trying to get anything done.  Unfortunately the first thing to go when I overheat is my vocabulary, so I'll make this brief.  Here are some photos from last Sunday's Chasin' for Chalfin fundraising polo match, which was a blast.  The sun became a bit oppressive for us delicate flowers at one point but fortunately some seasoned tailgaters absorbed us into their party.  Behold the pros:







Much better visual coverage can be found on Susan Scovell's site: Susan Scovill on the Mainline.  That's where I found this lovely group shot of Meredith, myself and our hosts.  I made a new hat specifically for the day, and I'm quite pleased with it.  Better pictures to follow.







Voila!  The front of our tailgate, an antique Rolls Royce.  Looks pretty glamorous, no?







Wait until you see the back!



That would be our hosts, pulling the custom-fitted wooden folding table out of the trunk.  Upon it was placed a heaping amount of finger sammies, meats, cheeses, and a dubious mixture in a plastic bottle with the words "polo punch" scribbled on it.  It tasted like citronella, perhaps an acquired taste?  (Give me a break, I'm still learning the ways of the tailgate!)  Regardless, it was a divine picnic.







In the event you were wondering, it's never the wrong time to whip out your Hooters coozy.  Never.







This is what I love about polo.  Everyone is there to have fun, and it's all-inclusive.  Just.  Have.  Fun.



And try not to step in any horse shit during the half time divot stomp! (I did, this time.  I guess I was overdue)







We were treated to a show of this horse-pulled carriage toting around two elegant gentleman and several gorgeous ladies., who dismounted and served us all champagne.  Delovely!











"yes, that's the right shade of yellow.  Perfect, darling, please proceed."







Oh, right, there was an antique car show!  Pretty nifty one here.











Believe it or not, there was an entire polo match that day!  There will be another one this Sunday, with cocktails, an after party and music!  Oh!  And a hat contest to be judged by yours truly.  Won't you come?  I'd love to see you, darling.







Tickets start at ten bucks!  I highly recommend you treat yourself to some VIP action though, check it out.



Click here for tickets: BRANDYWINE POLO CUP



Until then, the caravan of fab has left the building.







See you Sunday!

"We make good trade, John Dunbar"

 







That's what my dear old friend Erin was expressing to me last night when I presented her with her custom piece of fine taxidermic millinery.



Erin is a very talented stylist over at JuJu Salon in Philadelphia and fortunately for me, also one of my best friends.  Several months back we agreed to swap a hair coloring & a couple blowouts ( my ultimate indulgence!  Someday soon I'll be able to afford my weekly vice...) for a Diamond Tooth hat.  I was given instructions not to rush; she wanted me to take my time so her piece would be just right.







I held out just long enough for this green vintage hat to walk into my life which I knew immediately would suit her perfect.  Silly me; I didn't get any before pics but this hat in particular had significant crumple-age; after pressing and blocking it looked like an entirely new piece!  Once the millinery issues were straightened out  I added the squirrel portion.  From there its just a perfect storm of found objects and me being in the zone and loving what I'm doing....and trying not to get too carried away.







 



I brought the hat over to Erin last night and she was pleased as punch!  It fit her like  a dream too, I shall get some pictures of her wearing it shortly. I even got a surprise blow-out!



OK, that;s all the flexing my vocabulary has the energy for.  It's so hot in here and I just can't seem to find any more words. Take it away, Tom Tom Club:







A Sharp Dressed Man









Every girl is crazy about 'em.  Well, every girl ought to be, in my book.



This ZZtop video is actually really awful.  This is the first time I've seen it but I wanted you, dear reader, to listen to the song whilst reading this post.  This has long been my favorite ZZTop song (well, next to La Grange, of course) simply because of the lyrics.  It's like this song was written for me.  I've always been enamoured with men's accessories, and any guy who opts to incorporate these little extras into his daily ensemble earns high marks with me.  I used to buy gaudy, bejeweled vintage cufflinks at flea markets knowing that someday I'd meet a man to give them to.



To some it may appear a little fey, but I think it speaks volumes when a man takes time getting dressed, thinks about the way his clothes fit his form, and is thoughtful about embellishments, etc.  It makes me sick to see how the vast majority of the opposite sex has given up on fashion, wearing a uniform of cargo shorts, flip flops and baseball caps.  Men: do you take no pleasure in the art of "getting ready"?  Whatever happened to putting your best face forward?  Take one look outside my house and I should consider myself lucky guys are able to get their jeans up to the bottom of their asses nowadays. It really turns my stomach, especially when I see these offensive creatures walking around with women who clearly invested some serious time in their appearance/ensemble.



Ladies!  Put your stilleto-clad foot down!  Send your beau back inside to change and don't let yourself be seen with him until he is dressed to match your caliber.  Do not lower your worth by letting yourself be paraded around by a slob!



Men!  Stop letting yourselves go!  Some of you complain about not having as many options as women in the shopping/clothing arena but really, you can personalize your look with any or all of the following:



cufflinks (easy)



ties (duh)



bow ties (not for the faint of heart)



belts (very easy)



tie tacks (easy/moderate)



a monocle (difficult, not for amateurs)



watches (easy)



rings (takes panache)



pockets squares (fun and endless ways to fold!)



stick pins.  So easy, so elegant, and speaking of:







I apologise for the poor quality photos; my in-house photographer was not available at the moment and I clearly  am not skilled with a camera.



This is a custom lapel pin I just dropped off  for a dear friend and fellow sharp-dressing enthusiast, Adrian Hardy.  He is also a talented purveyor of music, I believe the term is DeeJay although I cringe when I hear myself say that because for some reason (perhaps due to my complete lack of a night life) I feel like an out-of-touch poseur when I use that word.  Irregardless, Mr. Hardy and one of his partners-in-crime over at LOTis Media had a fairly significant event last night in Philadelphia to tend to and Adrian requested I whip up something fancy for him.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love doing custom work.  Pieces are so much more special to me when I've got a specific client in mind.  That said, it also makes for a much more harrowing experience as I hand it over, wringing my hands and praying they like it.  I'm pretty sure this one went over well; I'll have to troll for pictures online to see.







The parameters given to me for this lapel-pin were Arian's personality and what I know of it, and the fact that this particular event was a "white party".  I used a bed of Polish Hen  plumage and added feathers of pheasant, peacock, and mourning dove.  I also embellished it with some rabbit fur and a dazzling vintage charm.  All of this atop a 24K gold-plated stick-pin!



And there's more where that came from, folks!  Just check out my Etsy shop!







Say it with me, ladies and gentlemen: men's return to fashion starts RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, with ME and team Diamond Tooth.



xoxo,



Beth Beverly



 



***update: Here is a photo of Senor Hardy last night Courtesy of Philly Chit Chat: Not too shabby, eh?



art of earning

meaning behind my work

yes, meaning for ME< but for others?  never crossed my mind.

2x men at shows came to me with tears in their eyes over a piece which had touched them

A special comb for a special gal

Here is a comb I was recently commissioned to make for a friend as a gift for her sister-in-law.  Commissions are my favorite assignments; I thrive on personalizing things for specific individuals.   The recipient in this case has reddish hair, and appreciates a flash of bright color.  I incorporated a cameo because it reminded me of the couple who commissioned the piece.







According to my friend, the cameo resembles her sister-in-law!  My personalised work seems to somehow magically blend in perfectly with the wearer's style and personality; I truly think this is where I excel.  These are the times when I follow my instincts and it works.



Here's a full-sized image.  I just had to get these shots quickly since I had to run out and deliver the piece.  It's comprised of pheasant, peacock and misc bird feathers; some were manipulated and curled.  I also incorporated vintage gems and beaver fur.







 



And here is another picture.  It is so ridiculously hot in here and I can't think.  Words hard.



The Patron of Christmas Tree Farms.









I've met Kathy.  She really is the patron of whatever team she's playing for.  Super classy lady.  I wonder if I can be the Tanqueray of taxidermy?



Sure, why not.  One of the players complimented our headwear during the lap; you can hear me thanking him.



 







In case you couldn't tell, yet another Sunday was well spent by yours truly taking in a match at Brandywine Polo Club!  I gathered up two of my favorite gals and tried out two new fascinators on them.



 



Pearl is sporting a piece fashioned from one of the vintage hats recently gifted to me; I used a chicken of the frizzled breed with spiky, featherless feathers.  Perfect for holding jewels!







 



I attached a quail head-piece I've been working on to the "muppet" fascinator from the vintage set.  None of these pieces are finished quite yet; this was a test run on some works in progress.  I'm not entirely happy with this one.







 



Action!







 



This was the first time that I lazed about on my blanket during halftime, opting out of the traditional divot stomping.  My belly was full of black licorice, champagne and happiness.  AS you can CLEARLY see from this photo there was a horse-drawn carriage on the field, complete with a heralding trumpet player announcing its arrival.  That carriage actually seems to show up at every match; I think I need to start rubbing elbows with that lot.







If I could only get up.







 



Here is Maria trying to cut the end off a particularly sharp spiky feather vein that kept poking Pearl in the neck.  I had no intention for the hat to be so dangerous.







Did I mention she's using the serrated-edge mini-blade on a wine opener?  After two bottles of champagne that can be hazardous.



Alas, all ended well.  We stuck around and I talked hats with some of the club members; we nibbled on strawberries and called it a day.



A very, very fine day.



Twinkle, twinkle, little bat. I wonder what you're at.

Remember when I mentioned a few months back that somebody was getting married?



Yes, yes...while the nuptials haven't quite taken place, the party has been presented their headwear for the big day so I am free to share them with you, my little doormice (all 8 of you!)



Birthday?  My dear child, this is NOT a birthday party.



Is this getting curiouser and curiouser?  My apologies, but "Alice through the Looking Glass" is such an irresistibly quotable story.  It's also the theme of this bride's wedding.  Without knowing this, I suggested using a petit lapin as the taxidermic element to her fascinator:







This is a detail shot to show just how delicate this little guy is.  I used an antique hand-made glass eye to give the face more expression, depth, and dolliness.  This ain't your mamma's March Hare.



For the 5 bridesmaids I made a collection of combs with similar elements/color, but each unique in its own fashion, just like the girls themselves!  Each one is based on a pheasant wing, with a bird (mostly pheasant) talon and then embellished with vintage findings:







Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction...







It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.







Off with their heads!



And here is the bridal piece, in its full glory.  I'm very proud of this one; the tatted lace base was provided by the bride and blends with the rabbit perfectly.  I am eager to see photos of all the beautiful girls wearing these on the Big Day!





While looking for a fun little video to insert into this post, I found a gem series called "Alice on the Wall."  Oh boy.







Vintage Hat Surprise!!!

First, you take about thirty vintage hats and fascinators.



Next, you put them in some fabulous antique hat boxes (stack the hats thusly, please):



 







Then, you give them all to ME!



Me?  Did someone say....ME?  Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.*







Anyone who knows me really well can spot two of the most special people in the world gracing the outer edges of that picture above.



Seriously, though, how amazing are these boxes?  I want to live in a time where items are crafted this well out of materials that AREN'T plastic.



 







 



Foxy!







This Stetson box had an inner structure to support a top hat, but it was so worn the actual box didn't quite survive.







I'll take time to photograph the hats better in the future, but here are a few I hung up in my studio.  Several of them were too perfect to alter, so they're in my dressing room awaiting a wearing.  The rest are a bit worn/tired, and just begging to be embellished/repaired.







 



This little number I call "Blue Haze".  It consists of a simple navy cap swathed in a cloud of blue veiling and white flowers.







 



Judging by the hand stitching over the tag, I'm guessing this hat was a homemade creation, embellished post-purchase.  Discoveries like this make me feel closer to some woman I never knew.  DIY at its finest.







 



A simple black cap:







 



A green bow fascinator!  Perfect for a wedding...I may taxiderm it up and add it to my Bridal collection.







 



A cream fascinator with white florals.  This ones a doozy!  I can't wait to show you what I've done with it.







There were some veils in the bunch as well.  More for the Bridal collection....







Also, sorry these pictures aren't so great.  It's clear to me I need to invest in some new display heads.



Here is a darling little black veil with white silk flowers on top!  I almost love it the way it is too much to change it.....almost.







These roses! J'ADORE!







 



Here's another veil, off-white with some red roses.  A little worse for the wear, but I love the idea.







 



I call this one the muppet poof.  It's already been switched up a bit; another potential Bridal piece in the works.







 



This is a simple black velvet wire base fascinator:







And another, non velvet....







 



I've been having a very exciting morning pairing natural/animal elements with these vintage pieces and everyone is getting along swimmingly.  Updates coming soon!



*a reference to one of my favorite videos:











 



 



A HUGE thank you to my mother, and her pal Carol, without whom this well of inspiration would not have happened for me.  XOXOXO!



 

Elvis was reincarnated as a bear and his skin is on my table.

 



I finally got around to working on a bear-skin rug for a client; she is another really fun individual to work with who basically said, "make it as glitzy and shiny as possible."



Words to live by.



So I set out to source materials and make the sparkliest, most pizazzified bear-skin rug the world has seen.



I bought the skin frmo a hunter who shot the bear with a bow and arrow, harvesting the animal for food.  The cape arrived tanned and fairly soft but I had to rehydrate some parts to soften them up more in order to work with the facial areas.



Opal the cat approves of this fur.







Here is the head form.  I altered it slightly to express a nice Elvis-like lip curl, and proceeded to plaster the top left fang with crystals.







 



Diamond Tooth, indeed!  And this is just the beginning.  Stay tuned for an update on this hunka hunka burning work in progress.



Birthday Surprise!

Here's a quick little ditty about a hair pin I made for a very special gal who celebrated her birthday yesterday.  I didn't have a ton of time, and I was given some very basic guidelines (she's kind of girly and likes shiny things!) so I ran with it.  The other caveat (for lack of a better word) is that the birthday girl sports a massive mane of dreadlocks.  Long, thick, beautiful dreadlocks, so a typical fine toothed silver plated hair comb wasn't going to work.  I opted for a pin and combined dyed deer tail (typically used for making fly-fishing lures), pheasant feathers and a vintage gem earring.







When my friend opened her gift; her joy was unmistakable.  I wish the happiness I glean from giving other people something they genuinely love could be bottled and used as currency.  It feels better than money.  Not really knowing her style or preferences, I went with my gut and wound up with a product that, accordingly to the recipient, was an uncannily perfect fit.  This brings me so much joy and seems to be a recurring theme in my custom pieces, which is more than I could have hoped for.  I will touch upon this more when I post pictures of the bridal pieces I presented recently to a client- but until the wedding those details must remain under wraps.



 

 

 

Ladies Day 2011

"Oh hello there.  Like the view?  This is what a winner looks like, dearie, and don't forget it. "







Well, at least I was viewing this from the shaded and breezy environment inside the winner' box whilst sipping my ice-cold Cartier champagne.  Those ladies had to roast out there for a good fifteen minutes.



Do I sound catty?  Bitter?  It's no wonder, given the fact that after making two special pieces for the hat competition at Ladies day at the Devon Horse Show, with the goal of winning the Mad Hatters category, we missed the entire judging. Unbeknownst to us, (with any sort of update suspiciously absent from the website), the judging had been moved up by over an hour.  I heard claims of  excessive heat being the reason for this, but I can't help but wonder if they heard we were coming and decided to slide one in under the wire.



Paranoid delusional, you say?  Maybe.  Maybe not.



Greg Powell, the talented milliner who took last year's blue ribbon, wears one of my fascinators and laughs in disbelief at our crummy luck.







Fortunately we looked too good for anyone to deny us access to the judge's box, so all four of us were invited in to sip on champers and mingle with the winners.  Here is my lovely model Rachel, wearing what was intended to be my mad hatter entry  #1.  She is primarily a photographer when she's not being a good sport and wearing hats for me; in fact she took all the pictures you see on this post. Due to the heat and our massive champagne consumption that day, she feels these photos may not be up to snuff. Please check out her site: rachellynnk.com







And here I am wearing entry #2, with the fabulous Megan donning the tried and true duck wing fascinator that all the gals look great in.  I love her pose in this picture but I'm not sure what my hand signal is saying.



The mad-hatter entries were composed of hand-made visors (something I plan to expand on more for my fall line) and a swirl of fancy chicken wings, outstretched and reaching upwards.  Looking at them on our heads in photos, I already see a million things I want to change.  For a one-off experiment though, I would say I am pleased.







 



Maybe I was asking for a close-up shot of my eyelashes.  Pony lashes, to be specific.  Carson Kressley noticed them right away, maybe because they were framing my huge, sad, about-to-burst-with-tears eyes as I watched all the winners being announced and he said "Where were you?  You were late!"







 



We made our way up to the stands to watch some horse action (I guess that's why we're all really there) where we were joined Lauren St. Clair Lynch.  As gracious as ever, she only had nice things to say about my hats while we enjoyed light snacks and sipped on a creation I'd like to call a gasoline shandy.







 



Looking good:







 



Looking very, very good.  All winners in my book.







Rachel and I:







Discussing plans for Ladies Day domination next year, which include but are not limited to: camping out overnight, sprinkling tacks on all surrounding roads, and planting moth eggs in the closets of our competition.







Actually, that was Megan, a very experienced rider, giving us the scoop on side-saddle.  I never fully appreciated how difficult a skill set this is, to ride mounted with legs draped on the same side of the horse.  All I can think of is how sore the rider's back must be afterwards.  I believe the reason this method of riding originated was to protect a woman's purity, both figuratively (a woman straddling a large beast could be quite unbecoming) and literally (it was thought that her hymen would not remain in tact unless her legs were firmly shut).







As I watched these graceful ladies make their way around the course, moving seamlessly with the horses despite the intense raging heat and the added difficulty of handling everything from one side of the horse, I thought about how throughout history women have been thrown extra challenges, just because of our bodies and the fear they evoke in the opposite sex.  Foot binding, corsets, all the little hoops the fairer sex has been made to jump through (by men and women alike) that have only bred a stronger and more adept, versatile woman over time.  Try keeping an air bubble from rising up in the water; use your hands, use machines, whatever device the mind can think up, but the plain and simple fact is that the air will rise up to the top.  Time is on our side.







Did that just get weird?  Here, look at Greg, watching in awe as horses jump over a five foot tall oxer (two obstacles placed closely together).



 







Outside the fairgrounds, I turned to a tree stump for sympathy.  I'm not going to lie; I was crestfallen for the rest of the day.  It's really hard on the heart to have expectations and not meet them.



Fortunately, every day is an opportunity to be a better person then the day before, so I listen to the wise words of Aaliyah and TImbaland and motor on.







Horses? What horses?

My Memorial Day was deliciously taken with white wine and cheese-filled, prosciutto wrapped figs at the Brandywine Polo Club with a side of horse action.



My two lovely hat models accompanied me and supplied the picnic:







We had front row seats for all the action.  I'm still getting a grasp on exactly how polo works, but despite all the things I don't know, I can say with absolute certainty that it's an event I could watch for hours.  The athleticism, the pageantry, the uniforms...







My GOD the uniforms....







Unfortunately my action shots are embarrassingly low-rent, but I know someone who took about five hundred OUTSTANDING photos and her name is Amy Dragoo of akdragoophoto.com.  Please please check them out; you will not be disappointed.







I almost think she and I were the only ones watching the game!  Polo is fun like that; there is so much eye candy and great conversation, it can be hard to concentrate.  I was rewarded for my focus by seeing several truly fantastic plays, none of which were caught by my camera.  It's much, much better in person though.



At the mid-game break, the fans are invited to step onto the field and stomp the upturned bits of earth back into the ground.  It's fun to watch people accidentally jam their shoes into some fresh horse crap.







These are the fascinators I worked on for the event.  The one on the right has actually made an appearance at the club before but it complimented the ensemble better than the one I had just finished, so that one will debut at another time.  Polo matches are the perfect place to wear fantastical head-gear; not only is the the sky (literally) the limit but they act as a magnet for other fun people to strike up conversations.







Also, I think it's polite to dress up for the horses who are working so hard.











I'm hooked. You might be too...take a gander at what's available at Diamond Tooth so you can get gusied up for the next match!



See you there...



 

Hands Down

I've been in an equine hole the last two days, working on hats for two horse-centered events  while in front of my computer watching every episode in the two season cache of the show "Jockeys.  I can't quite seem to find words that can accurately express how much I love this show but I will try.



For anyone who may not have seen , the show is a reality series covering the lives of several jockeys during a thirty-day period known as the Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita Park in California.







There's the couple who competes against one another:











There's the young hot-shot, Joe Talamo:











 



and the newbies, the old heads, the injured, the bitter, the hopeful,etc.  They're all in a different spot in their career which gives a perspective from a myriad of points.  In the first season there is heavy concentration on the new jockeys just trying to break their way in and get a chance to race.  Kayla Stra came all the way from Australia to see if she could cut it and I couldn't hold back my tears watching footage of her being turned down repeatedly by owners and trainers not willing to hire a no-name* jockey.  I can relate, as an independent artist, feeling completely hopeless and exasperated sometimes and wondering if it will ever all come together. These guys have to look failure and rejection in the face time and time again and they greet it with a smile.  There seems to be an unspoken rule that if you're not grinning, you'll be ostracised.  The horse racing word is riddled with superstition and from what I gather, a jockey who isn't positive for one second or who lets even an iota of doubt cross their mind will be seen as the racing equivalent to a broken mirror or a black cat.



How do they do it?  When people ask me how the taxidermy business is going, I try to emulate this good sport attitude even when things aren't so great.  It's no easy task trying to find your own way, especially when you encounter rejection.  I get really emotional thinking about how much these men and women inspire me with their fearlessness and drive.  More than that, it's almost impulsive: there is nothing else on earth they could possibly do with themselves.  They were born to ride horses.  I feel the same way about creating.  I don't know how to do anything else, at least not happily.  I know I'm not alone; there are so many of us out there just trying to make it.  It's hard not to blame one's self for not being where they had hoped they'd be in life, while overloooking the plain truth which is that there are too many factors at work in the universe to make success for one individual such a simple and clear-cut path. My favorite jockey, Aaron Gryder, sums up the feeling pretty well in this clip:











So we motor on, focusing on the future, hoping for that break.



And when that break comes, people respond, but they probably have no idea how many hundreds of hours were spent putting in nonpaying/underpaid work, being exploited/used and feeling terrified/uncertain of what's to come.  These jockeys risk their lives every time they get on the track, sometimes only to clear $17/race.  We all notice the ones who place, the ones who are in the money, but for each of those there are many more who walk away virtually empty-handed.











The second season is even better, exploring more controversial issues like performance enhancing drugs for horses and conflict between riders.  The whole series gears up toward the biggest race of all, the Kentucky Derby.  As someone who went to the derby and left still feeling puzzled over how the betting works and what exactly odds even are, I wish I'd seen this show before the trip.  There are one-on-ones with a professional better named Jimmy Hats who breaks down the betting system for the viewer, and a slew of nuances are covered like how greatly starting gate position affects the odds for each horse.



The only thing lacking in the series was good music. I'm not sure if it was too difficult to obtain the rights to use certain songs but the songs which were used are just awful, in my opinion.  Of course, this is coming from a gal who has Ke$ha and Nikelback in her current workout rotation...so take that with a huge grain of salt.



I just wish there was a season three.











 



*no-name by their own local standards, or course.



 



P.S: I was definitely a horse in a past life.

Release the Hounds!

But after I've unstuck my pink stilettos from the grounds, please.



The soil is quite moist from the precipitation we've been experiencing.  I aerated (free of charge!) about 80% of the green you see below:







When I wasn't feigning absolute comfort in the most impractical shoes in the entire place, I was relaxing in style under the -speaking of which -Philadelphia Style Magazine tent.







What is this event,you ask?  Why, the Radnor Hunt Steeplechase of course!  I was the very fortunate guest of my dear friends at the Brandywine Polo Club who joined forces with the Style mag to produce the most luxurious tent-mosphere I've ever had the privilege to enjoy.  The furniture, the florals, the displays, all were thoughtfully arranged and delightfully polo-philic.







These mini arrangements were scattered throughout the infield seating area.







These chaise lounges were borrowed from my future powder room:







Lush, green grass is a nice touch.







If I hadn't been wearing fishnets I would've taken the heels off and dug my feet in.







Look at the bridle bits!  My love for all things equestrian is making it hard to write.



Below is a solid gold chair crafted by hand from three generations of British royalty on loan from Will & Kate's personal collection.*







In the tailgating area the classic cars enjoyed their moment in the sun.











The theme this year was the Great American Novel.  First person to leave a comment correctly naming this story gets a taxidermy treat from me!







I'm sure this tasted just like chicken.







Old Man and the Sea, complete with Mr. Hemingway himself!







I met a lovely woman named Heather who had a daughter competing in the hat contest (thankfully there is a child's division so no "accidents" had to happen to the little dear); they invited me to this particular tailgate where, along with the Old Man, I encountered an entire roast pig!







Some friends of the Polo Club (and female players!) were hosting this tailgate, the theme being Moby Dick







Up by where we'd set up the  Polo Club table, there were some tres classy air-conditioned portopots complete with pump flush action.  This stall came with enhanced instructions.  It's hard to see the wording but some clever little scamp wrote "otherwise you might catapult shit onto the ceiling".







She may have been overestimating her strength just a tad.



Back down infield at the Phila Style tent, a handsome gentlemen stopped by with his horse to chat.  I wasn't able to catch it but his four-legged pal took out a woman's mojito in one gulp.  Can't blame the furry guy.







My new friend Claudia!  She's one of the players at the Polo Club.  I can't wait to watch her play.







More friends of the Polo Club.  I just adore how effortlessly well they all match.  Total eye candy.  Listening the Portuguese being playfully shouted back and forth didn't hurt either.  At least I think it was Portuguese.







My all too gracious host Branden Walsh,  polo-phile extraordinaire, with a beautiful mystery woman standing on a chair.  Note the flip-flops.  Very intelligent.  All the ladies seemed to know what they were doing and wore flats or wedges.







This adorable little lady wore boots.  The nicest boots I've ever seen, I might add.  She was learning how to shake hands and properly greet people when we were introduced, but her and I made a silent agreement that shaking hands is totally gauche and real ladies curtsy.  And so we curtsied to one another and if I had gotten a video of it your heart might break.







Parked next to us was a gentleman and his wife and their antique Packard.  Silly of me not to get a picture of the entire car but I certainly enjoyed posing inside of it!



That damned smirk...







Oh!  Right.  That's my ribbon for taking third place in the ladies hat contest.  While I am absolutely thrilled; I really need to work on getting a different color ribbon.  I thought the blue hair would clue the judges in on what I was aiming for...



Thanks to the Daily Local News for this lovely photo in their online coverage of the day:







Back to that Packard: I had the presence of mind to take a shot of my view from the steering wheel, seeing as I have no clue when I might get the pleasure of sitting at the driver's of one of these ever again.



Yummmmmmmmmmm.







Oh hello!  The owner was emphatic in telling me that my sitting in his car had added a significant amount of provenance to it.  I replied that his Packard had done likewise for my seat.  And there begins the slippery slope of dirty jokes that I'll leave up to your imagination.





Considering the world was supposed to end on Saturday, I think it's fair to say I would've gone out in style.  Speaking of which, it didn't occur to me until late in the day that every stitch of clothing/accessories I had on was from WILBUR Vintage.  I didn't even plan that; but I guess I love the shop that much.



For more pictures covering the event, please check out the photographs my new pal Juan Vidal took throughout the day.



*Bev-tale?  You decide.

Like a ________ with its head cut off.





Specifically, a pheasant.



I recently came into contact with the striking and fabulous Kiki Hughes, proprietress of Kiki Hughes Boutique in Philadelphia.  Word to the wise: click on that link and check out her store if you're near Philly.  There are some truly, truly gorgeous wardrobe pieces in there (like my ostrich feather skirt!!!) and all the clothing is merchandised in such a clever and unique fashion that you'll kind of get sucked into a time warp and forget how long you've been there ogling at the displays.



Anyway, Ms. Kiki has this lovely pheasant head hat from her personal collection which her cat made into a sacrifice one night by ripping the head clean off.  What killer instincts!



My cat Frankie, a.k.a the Diamond Tooth Studio Mascot, seems to not care less about anything feathered which makes him an ideal work buddy, provided I keep all things mousey out of his reach.  For the most part, he just wants to be near whatever I'm doing.  Example:







Upon closer inspection, this bird was more than just decapitated.  He was straight ripped.







I started by sewing binding tape over the cracks and along the edge of the head which I then reinforced with an adhesive.  This would provide a stronger  bond once the whole thing was sewn back together.







Cotton filling back into the head:







Next was the binding tape along the edge of the bottom half:







Finally it's time to sew the head onto the body.  This is where curved needles come in handy.







After the head was securely reattached, there was still the job of filling in the blank skin spots with feathers.  Fortunately I have an abundance of pheasant plumage on hand and was able to find the right shade/size.shpe to blend in with the originals.



And he's finished!  Top view:







Side view:







Other side view:







So the moral of the story is:  I do repairs.  Please feel free to contact me should an old piece of taxidermy in your collection need some new life breathed into it.

Last Ride

I recently collaborated with fellow artist and compadre Andria Morales on a performance piece titled "Last Ride".  Formerly known as Andria Biblioni, Ms. Morales wanted to mark the moment in her life where her maiden name (and previous self) ceased to exist.  We both share a fascination with death and how we as humans approach/accept it within our various cultures.   Coming from a Puerto Rican background, Andria has personal experience with the practice of posing for photographs "with " the departed at their funeral.  Being of Irish and German descent myself, there aren't any notable funeral practices I've personally experienced.  I still think the act of embalming is extremely bizarre, and dare I say...pointless?



Which is why I'm all for the outrageous viewing displays created by Marin Funeral home in Puerto Rico:







If you're going to embalm a body, why not make it interesting?



All of this led to us performing a "viewing" for Andria where we transformed the space at local venue the Rotunda to look like a funeral home.  This required some manual labor, elbow grease, and the occasional frightening ladder climb by yours truly:







I designed the ensemble and provided the taxidermy mounts scattered throughout the scene for ambience.  Here is our subject, looking positively stiff.







We got a decent crowd of friends and relatives flowing in and out to pay their respects; my favorite was dear friend Bailey Hale and Jennifer Cohen who came with the two little ones in tow.  I believe she said something about opting for the fake viewing over gymboree that day.  The tots were stoked.











Every viewing has its downtime.







The view from behind:







Another mourner:







More photos HERE.



This event was several weeks ago and this past Friday the gallery edition of "Last Ride" opened at Air Space which is where Andria currently resides as an artist in residence.  We basically recreated the Rotunda set-up with some tweaking, including substituting a mannequin for Andria, who stoically held still like a real body (with my rigging help) throughout the entire two-hour original viewing.













Now that she has ascended, Ms. Morales is currently entrenched in some other activities with artist Maya Escobar.  You can learn more by checking out their Are You My Other (self portrait dialogue exchange) project and the AMerican MEdia Output project .

Kentucky Fried Chickens

Team Diamond Tooth is back from a whirlwind tour of Louisville and the myriad of Derby-related events taking place there.



We drove through the night, leaving at 9:30 pm on Wednesday and arriving in Kentucky about 12 hours and many rest-stops later.







By sunrise we were coasting through some gorgeous country farm landscapes.  We stopped at a gas station for a fill, some coffee, and a bathroom.  The lady's room had a tub with a hose for washing the cow crap off your boots.







Just outside of Louisville, we stopped in a Starbucks to change and freshen up for our first appointment in town.  Here I am, very sleep-deprived and high on adrenaline.







We caught a celebratory cocktail at a sushi joint  just across from Seviche.  I marveled at the fish in the tank.







After Seviche we drove across the bridge into Indiana for a tasting at Bristol.  Our generous hostess then regaled us with tales of the tradition known as "Thunder over Louisville" while we enjoyed the view of the city from our vantage point.  Unfortunately we arrived after the show had taken place, but check out the video below for the action:















We checked into our room and closed out eyes a bit before getting gussied up and heading out to the Barnstable Ball.  Unfortunately we were a little early...







like 24 hours early. Rule #1: sleep is important Staying awake for 36+ hours straight can do unusual things to one's perception of time.  No worries though, we made the best of our fabulous selves and headed to a local bar on 4th street Live where my serama hat caused quite a stir. We then took a cab back to our room. Rule #2: derby rates apply in cabs during this time of year, meaning that patrons will pay about $10/mile. Your best bet is to bring a bicycle or get a room reserved early enough to secure a spot in the middle of town.







The next morning found us sampling chocolates at Gyhyslain, which isn't a bad way to start the day if you ask me.







Next we moved onto Doc Crows for a bourbon sampling where the owner was extremely generous with his time and knowledge, schooling a couple of newbies like us on the ins and outs of Kentucky bourbon.







We then hit up Kentucky Oaks for some infield action.  Meredith fully immersed herself in the experience like the good sport she is.







I hear it's ok to order your wiz wit in any native tongue you please. That's Southern hospitality for you.







Off to the Barnstable Ball, for real this time.  Here I am from my patio perch, surveying the madness on the lawn.  I'm wearing a hair comb composed of quail feathers and head.







Inside the mansion this book was on display.







I found the title an interesting juxtaposition to our surroundings.  Perhaps I should go look te book up before I go getting snarky and whatnot.







Off to the Julep Ball!  By the time we made it, the auction was over and three of my pieces had sold!







The comb went to this lovely lady.







What a great smile!  Her name was Ryan, but that's all I remember.







I then encountered these stylish women sporting my other two pieces.  They were kind enough to permit me to make adjustments.







Gorgeous!  I cannot fully express how honored I am that women with such a unique range of style find my work desirable.







Look!  My Summer beret!







I want to hang out with these gals.







Oh and by the way that's Mike Mills accompanying this lovely pair.  But I'm sure you knew that.  Unfortunately in my excitement I completely forgot both women's names which is my loss because they really strike me as potential kindred spirits.







Derby day.  It all leads up to this.  We dragged ourselves out of bed and proceeded to spackle enough makeup and clothing on as it would take to make us look human.



Or something close to human.  I think we embraced our inner 60's secretaries that day.











Mimosas will always take the edge off.







Derby rule #3: Don't even try driving to Churchill Downs.







The pink tractors belonged to Vinyard Vines, a fashion label that has truly enmeshed themselves in all things derby.  I'm a fan of the pink whale.











Here's a couple of wild and crazy gals posing in front of Secretariat.







Unfortunately I didn't win any bets that day, but it was the experience of a lifetime, and over before I knew it.  We scoffed at the advice given to us by many and left our change of comfy shoes at home.  That is why we hobbled to gate 10 that evening and caught the first pedicab we saw:
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