Paper Hats by Guest Denise Sharp

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that my mother was like an UberMartha and I was being sent off to school with freshly steamed haricot verts in my lunch bag or she was hand monogramming everything I owned. { um, not that there is anything wrong with that} Things were pretty typical, however, when there was something to celebrate my mom went all out. For Halloween she would make incredible costumes for my brother and I or every Easter she would sculpt a lamb out of butter for the table [with shavings for wool}. Every flat surface in the kitchen and dining room was covered with paper towels and hot tortilla chips when she was preparing for a Cinco de Mayo party and I still remember the full size, lined coffin she built to serve food in for my father’s Over the Hill 40th Birthday Party.

So while most businesses start with a business plan, perhaps it makes sense that mine started with a birthday party. We threw a black and white bash to celebrate both my husband’s 40th and our eldest son M’s 1st birthday and on a whim I made elaborate paper hats and tiaras out of sheet music for all of the guests. We had a sit down brunch and put 3 long library tables end to end, spanning the entire dining room into the sun room. There was a cake shaped like a top hat, with black fondant frosting that made us all a bit ‘goth’ with black tinted lips. We had much fun and much champagne and, much to my delight, the guests loved their hats. My good friend Cara, who later became my assistant, immediately encouraged me to try to sell them and even more encouragement and orders from friends and acquaintances followed. So later that year, I approached my first store and started growing my business from there.

{Photo NessPace Photography}

This Baby Crown is modeled after the crown I made for M’s first birthday. The illustrations are from an late 1800’s book on hand play.

{Photo NessPace Photography}

Here he is modeling at two and taste testing frosting.

Here is our youngest son, C, celebrating his 2nd Birthday in a flamboyant hat to match his personality.

As I had mentioned in the last post, I am an avid collector; my husband is as well. Many of our little collections serve to inspire the products I make. My architectural candy containers are a nod to our collection of vintage metal souvenir buildings.

{Photo NessPace Photography}

I currently produce only the Eiffel Tower and the Pisa - the Colosseum is one of 10 others ranging from the Pyramids of Egypt to the Chrysler Building that I have designed and built.

Around the time of my wedding in 1996, I started collecting silver trophies for the centerpieces - truth be told, my good friend, Brandy, had a collection that I really coveted and we started going to estate sales together. We would only half jokingly yell “first dibs on trophies” when we got out of the car. It later occurred to me, why not make one out of paper?

{Photo NessPace Photography}

I am also really fascinated by vintage candy containers and all of the curious and charming forms that they took. Early in the business, when I had just a handful of accounts, I had a couple of really wonderful, creative stores that would just say, “Okay Denise, make us something! Whatever it is - we will buy it! “ So, one of my first Spring items were these little paper wheelbarrows with Dresden paper wheels that moved. The glue tabs on these were tiny - oh what I put my dear friend and assistant Cara through!


Nicole Then said...

oh my how intersting!

elisabeth said...

This is all so fantastic! Very pleased to make your acquaintance through the blog. And I am thinking now of how we might include trophies at our wedding what with the croquet and horseshoes we'll be foisting on guests.

Alyssa Coberly said...

oh how i adore that little trophy!

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