Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Ideas are like rabbits.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen
You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
                ~John Steinbeck

Here comes Peter Cottontail...ever wonder why the rabbit is the spring symbol?  Why we eat ears off that foil-wrapped chocolate rabbit and not the tail off a chocolate robin?  And, did you know hares and rabbits are not even in the same family?
The difference between rabbits and hares appears at the moment they are born. Baby rabbits are called kittens while baby-hares are called leverets. Rabbits are born completely helpless, naked and blind. Hares are born fully furred, able to see and capable of independent movement. Hares can live on their own after one hour from they birth! Their mothers feel free to leave them on the bare ground and hop away soon after the baby is born.  Talk about being on your own!
Rabbits' mothers are much more careful and protective to their children. They line nests with grass, bark and soft stems. Over this, they place a layer of hair plucked from their own bodies. When rabbit-mother leaves the nest, she covers the bunnies with more hair and dead plants to keep them warm and hidden from enemies.
My research uncovered that the German Lutherans had an "Easter Hare" that judged the children at Easter time.  The custom was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's De ovis paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) in 1682.  A springtime version of a Santa, I suppose.  If children were good, they would get treats. 
The hare was a popular motif in medieval church art. In ancient times it was widely believed  that the hare was a hermaphrodite. The idea that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary, with hares sometimes occurring in illuminated manuscripts and Northern European paintings of the Virgin and Christ Child.
It may also have been associated with the Holy Trinity, as in the three hares motif.  This is from a church in Germany, Dreihasenfenster (Window of Three Hares) in Paderborn Cathedral in Paderborn, Germany.
Additionally, according to legend, "a young rabbit who, for three days, waited anxiously for his friend, Jesus, to return to the Garden of Gethsemane, little knowing what had become of Him. Early on Easter morning, Jesus returned to His favorite garden and was welcomed by His animal friend. That evening, when Jesus' disciples came into the garden to pray, they discovered a path of beautiful larkspurs, each blossom bearing the image of a rabbit in its center as a remembrance of the patience and hope of this faithful little creature."
Rabbits and hares are both prolific breeders. Female hares can conceive a second litter of offspring while still pregnant with the first.  They mature sexually at an early age and can give birth to several litters a year (hence the saying, "to breed like rabbits").  So, for many reasons, Peter Rabbit fits nicely into the spring fertility rites!
And, feel free to burst into song!
"Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppin', Easter's on its way
Try to do the things you should
Maybe if you're extra good
He'll roll lots of Easter eggs your way
You'll wake up on Easter mornin'
And you'll know that he was there
When you find those chocolate bunnies
That he's hiding everywhere!"

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Winter passes and

one remembers one's perseverance."  ~ Yoko Ono

That is actually the final stanza of a smaller poem by Yoko:
“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.”  
For many of us in the colder climates, it has been quite a winter,
but seasons change..winter passes, and, with that, come the flowers.
I am setting up a display based on roses.  Of course, the shop is called The Dutch Rose, but that is actually a quilt pattern
and a Depression era dish pattern
And we picked the name because both my husband and I have Dutch ancestry, and I add Irish into the mix.

So, back to roses...the language of flowers is called floriography.  Ancient Egyptians gathered, collected, and displayed flowers as did ancient Romans, Greeks, and Chinese.  Meaning has been attributed to flowers for thousands of years.  Plants and flowers are used as symbols in the Hebrew Bible — particularly of love and lovers in the "Song of Songs", as an emblem for the Israelite people and for the coming Messiah— and of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. 
William Shakespeare blooms with floral references!  From The Winter's Tale...                
                                          When daffodils begin to peer,
                                          With heigh! the doxy over the dale,
                                          Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year...
Right on, William!
In the 15th century roses represented rival factions in England.  The "War of the Roses" refers to the Heraldic badges associated with the two royal houses, the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster.  The rose is still the national flower of England despite its "warring" history.
The first cultivated roses appeared in Asian gardens more than 5,000 years ago.  In ancient Mesopotamia, Sargon I, King of the Akkadians (2684-2630 B.C.) brought "vines, figs and rose trees" back from a military expedition beyond the River Tigris. Confucius wrote that during his life (551-479 B.C.), the Emperor of China owned over 600 books on the culture of Roses.

In a very modern twist to this topic, in celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's deployment into space in April 2011, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., pointed Hubble's eye to an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. This image of a pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 273 was released to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The distorted shape of the larger of the two galaxies shows signs of tidal interactions with the smaller of the two. It is thought that the smaller galaxy has actually passed through the larger one.
Anyway, we are in full bloom...paper roses (not the unfaithful kind--maybe you remember that song)...and bunches and bunches of color...and plates and throws...and pillows and candles...but remember...


"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." ~ Margaret Atwood

Sunday, March 30, 2014

“Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich

in trash as it is in treasures.” ~ Ray Bradbury
Having spent the last several months dealing with my elderly mother and with "mother nature" has sharpened my perspectives on so many things.  First, life goes on no matter what, and that is a good thing, and what it does highlight is that we are surrounded by life yet sometimes we get hung up on stuff.  If I had to rename my shop, I would call it "just stuff".  I have new stuff...
old stuff...
and in between stuff in my shop...
  I have handcrafted...
I have reproductions...
but, bottom line, it is just stuff.

There are people who think antiques are precious, and, yes, they are if they have personal meanings.  All those people who thought their collections of whatever would bring them big money have fallen victim to the same fate as Wall Street.  What is that china cabinet of Hummels doing for you these days?  No problem if you love them!  I constantly promote the buy-it-if-you-love-it not for future monetary worth.  But, really, when you strip away the fancy definitions, antiques are, as a friend says, just used merchandise.  And, "junk" has become an acceptable term in the "antique" world--think Junk Gyspies, going junkin',  junk queen.  Even Thomas Edison saw promise in junk..."To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."

The retail world of the "antique" shop or co-op is in the midst of a serious transformation.  Thrift shops are set up like box stores, and fancy fleas dot the fields of the nation.  A pure antique shop is rare since not many live purely in the antique world; that is the world of a museum.  Granted, there are some shops that may call themselves pure, but shops need to adapt to the modern consumer who blends, blesses, and blooms all kinds of, old, vintage, repro, crafted, created.
The internet has taken over brick and mortar shops just as Kindles have restructured the book and magazine worlds.  I see us returning to a cave existence albeit a tad more sophisticated, but still we do not need to venture out much anymore.  We can saturate ourselves on stuff via Pinterest and shop on Etsy.

Although there was a recent article that said the small business world...Main optimistic.  It may be that people will get tired of being cooped up.  Even in the nearby town of Ocean City, NJ, there is support for a skateboard park, and one man commented that it was the only way to get his children to put down the electronic gadgets.  Perhaps people would like to see Pinterest displays live and in person.  To hold a bar of handcrafted soap or smell the fragrance of a candle.  To escape that flat know that life is round, is fun, and full of just stuff!
So, as we approach April 1, it is foolish to put antiques or antique shops in a lock box.  They need to be reborn again through the new and the creative spirits in the evolving retail world.
To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.


 April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four. ~ Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson
To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

“The inauspiciousness of the owl is nothing

but the inauspiciousness of the man who thinks that owl is inauspicious!”  ~ Mehmet Murat ildan

The birders in the area have been all "a-flutter" about the snowy owl invasion that took place this winter (something interesting had to come out of this winter!).  Anyway, I found this photo with an article about the owls that flew into southern Jersey.
These are the largest owls in North America, and according to the article, "they nest in the vast arctic tundra of Alaska, Canada, Russia, Siberia, and Scandinavia, eating lemmings and other small animals.  But, why are so many Snowy Owls being seen this year along the East Coast?  There are several theories among birders, but the one that makes the most scientific sense suggests that a plentiful food supply of lemmings up in the Arctic tundra this year meant more young Snowy Owls survived.  However, once the snow covered the tundra, the owls couldn’t catch their prey. So, they started migrating southward, looking for new sources of food."  They love wide open spaces which is why they are on the area beaches.  By next month, the survivors will head north, and experts do not think we will see this for another 50 years or more.  

Ancient Greeks knew that Athena, goddess of wisdom, had the owl as her symbol, but the owl also came to be an omen of bad luck in Roman literature.  I like the ancient coin from Greece...
The "wise old owl" phrase is from a children's nursery rhyme from the 19th century.  It was used on a wartime poster to remind soldiers to be silent.  I assume the lesson for children was to be seen and not heard.  Sadly, with their little I-pads and I-phones that has come to fruition.
If you are an owl fan, we have some "smart" accents for you--here is a neat piece of steampunk craft...
and pillows...

and jewels...and custom tags...

and decorative accents...
And since the owl represents wisdom, remember...
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try” – Dr. Seuss

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"I would rather lose a good earring

than be caught without make-up." ~ Lana Turner
Although if you look like that, I am not sure earrings or make-up really matters!  About 7000 years ago, earrings were worn by men (took awhile for it to recycle back).  In ancient Asia, Egyptians and Assyrians wore earrings to signify that they belonged to a higher class.  Picture Donald Trump with tear-drop diamonds!  Anyway, I am using this post to highlight the sea glass earrings made by our sea glass artisan Catherine.
In ancient Rome, the earrings became a slave marker and then the ancient Greeks could identify the prostitutes by the earrings (no comment there).   Ironically, wealthy Greek and Roman women would wear earrings also, but they wore pearls as well as topaz, garnet, and sapphire designs.
The first earrings were attached through piercings in the ear lobe, and ear piercing is one of the oldest known forms of body modification, which was done to symbolize age, status and wealth.  Primitive cultures believed earrings kept evil spirits from entering the body through the ears. In addition to their protective power, earrings were thought to have curative effects. Pierced earrings were recommended to strengthen weak eyes (I should have very wholly ears!), and gold earrings set with emeralds were considered particularly effective (never mind!). Gold ear jewelry has been worn by those seeking to cure headaches.
In the countries of the ancient Orient the preference was for silver and golden earrings set with rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Earrings were especially celebrated in India, China and Assyria.  Earrings are still featured as traditional gifts at festivals, weddings, childbirth and other rites of passage in  India. Beautiful earrings are often passed from Indian mothers to daughters for several generations.
When ships began to sail the oceans, the image of the gold hoop became a common symbol.
A very superstitious group, sailors purchased and wore gold earrings for several reasons. It meant that a sailor had crossed the equator, sailed around the world, or survived a shipwreck. Some sailors believed the pierced ear concept that it would improve eyesight or hearing. And if they didn’t survive a shipwreck, the gold ring in the ear would pay for a Christian burial wherever the body washed up.
During the Middle Ages in Europe male earrings alternated between being popular and being out of style for long periods of time until in the 13th century when the Catholic Church forbade the piercing of ears. This was done in accordance with the dogma stating that a person cannot alter his or her body which is created in the image of God. Only thieves, pirates and representatives of the lower class continued to wear earrings.
Thieves used this means of expression to demonstrate their abhorrence for society while peasants pierced the ear of the only boy in the family or of a child who had been born immediately following the death of another child.
Earrings for women came and went with fashion and hair styles.  Shorter hair styles became popular after World War I, and jewelry designers created long, dangling jewelry for the ear. Clip-ons and screwback earrings were developed in the 1930s and were considered more sanitary than the pierced.
The Art Deco period between the two world wars introduced a flurry of new designs featuring strong geometrical patterns in everything from jewelry to architecture that reflected influences of the Far and Middle East, Greece, Rome, Egypt and the cubist style in art.
Ear piercing returned to Western culture in the middle of the century. By the 1960s, ears were being pierced in jewelry stores, physicians’ offices and teenage girls’ parties. Around the same time, jewelers were selling gold earrings and earrings of other materials for daytime wear; previously they’d been largely reserved for evening.

Some men, especially in the gay and counterculture communities, began wearing earrings, usually a small stud or hoop, in the late 1960s. The idea that it symbolized something faded and became a popular accessory for men again.  And, speaking of men and earrings, there Holly Golightly's line from Breakfast at Tiffany's...

 "You could always tell what kind of a person a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you."