Sunday, October 25, 2009

The last rose


of summer in the last week of October...from my garden...I happened to think of this since I was pricing some "moss rose" items for my shop.

The real moss rose was introduced in 1854 by the breeder Leveque, but the first cultivated Moss Rose was mentioned in the literature as far back as 1696. Breeders now think that moss roses were most likely around long before that.
The moss roses are “sports” according to my research, meaning they are natural mutations. The Victorians loved its intense fragrance.

Kovel’s Price Guide describes moss rose china as common from 1808-1900. “It has a typical moss rose pictured as the design. The plant is not as popular now as it was in Victorian gardens, so the fuzz-covered bud is unfamiliar to most collectors. The dishes were usually decorated with pink and green flowers.”
Most of the china seen today is from the 1940s-50s era and was made in Japan. All of these pieces are familiar in any resale shop, and they should be reasonably priced since they are not from the Victorian era.
Some people do not recognize the difference, but the later china is brighter white and may have remnants of the Japanese paper labels or no label at all. Most Victorian moss rose is marked and the china is heavier and duller.

For those whose souls are truly romantic not just because that is the decorating trend here is Thomas More's poem about the last rose of summer. He was friends with Byron and Shelley so you can imagine what they discussed as they sat in the inn!

Then again, Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein was married to Percy Shelley...so maybe there are some tales to be told!

’TIS the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.
I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love’s shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

“The most incomprehensible thing about the world

is that it is at all comprehensible.” (Albert Einstein)

We just “celebrated” Columbus Day…a.k.a. day off, no mail, mattress sales! But, the world is still full of discoveries yet to be made despite how far we have come, and one only needs to look at some old geography books to see that.

I bought a stack of them…and a globe…and a framed map last week.
Geography is one of those lost subjects in today’s school sytems when it should be a top priority. Ask someone where Afghanistan is, and you may get “over there.”
It used to be taught...a few of these books are from a "normal" school...now Rowan University.


Interestingly, geography come from a Greek word γεωγραφία, meanng to describe or write about the Earth which was formulated by Erathosthenes (276-194 BC) …I am always fascinated in this research how much the Greeks had to do with our society’s foundation, yet we seem to think we are the center of the universe. We are babes in these woods!



Some people think that if a book is old, it is valuable. Not really. First editions may have some value, other things include if it is signed by the author, owned by someone famous, or owned by someone famous who perhaps made notes in the book, or a book with interesting art, design or type.

Condition impacts value, which always makes me crazy…a book whose spine has never been bent may be worth more than one that has been read. So, why buy a book? Pile them on the coffee table or line them up like toy soldiers on shelves!

That truly is the one aspect of this business that boggles my mind…don’t use it…keep it pristine…I would rather have a book that looks as though someone loved it enough to read it over and over…

But, back to my geography books…or any old textbooks…beng a teacher, I cannot resist them, and, if you are in the area, I can offer you the world...for a price...and, remember, as Jimmy Buffett once said…"Without geography you're nowhere."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A charming woman...

doesn't follow the crowd. She is herself. (Loretta Young)

Charm is one of those multi-tasking words…a woman’s charms, a charming day, fall under a charm, lucky charms…gambling and cereal…candy charms…and, in keeping with our Octoberfest, charms as incantations for bewitching.!
If you are a Harry Potter reader, you will recall the class in Charms. Rowling described the magic spells as being able “to give an object new and unexpected properties.”
Well, that is what my newest shop artisan has done with some chain bracelets I purchased at auction. With baubles and beads and buttons, Sharon has transformed the simple chains into charming bracelets.

Interestingly the Egyptians wore charm bracelets to help the Gods guide the wearer and his/her possessions to the proper status level in the afterlife. Charms served as IDs for quite a while in history, from the Christians and their fish symbols during Roman times to the Knights of the Medieval times.

Queen Victoria brought the charm bracelet into fashion, moving it from practical to fashionable.

Then, WWII created a market for trinkets for soldiers to bring home while stateside, the kids were using the gumball trinkets to create charming creations!

By the 1950s, charm bracelets were in vogue and that continued throughout the 1960s. I remember getting a charm bracelet from a high school boyfriend, and then I added to it as I traveled the world as a young woman. This is one of those from many years ago...
So, if you want to be a charming woman or charm a friend or a significant other…check out these unique bracelets! Remember, these are truly unique...and made in America...and quite affordable! Sharon has created some wonderful bracelets for you as she blends the old into a new artistic interpretation for truly...one of a kind!

“In two decades I've lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.” (Erma Bombeck)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The circle of life...

represented in bangle bracelets...and staying with our welcome to fall, "orange" you glad you stopped by?
Ouch! Bad pun! But, I have some wonderful bangles in stock to complement your fall wardrobe. And, of course, a little insight into bangles. It seems based on my research that India made the bangle fashionable, and that women wore the bangles to indicate they were married. Prior to that, the bangle did exist as "cuff bracelets" worn by men as raw materials were hammered, carved, or molded into the shape desired by craftsmen working over wood fired furnaces in central Asia.

Victorians wore bangles accented with jewels. I saw an 1888 article that mentioned a bangle being stolen, and it obviously was a diamond studded creation. I have a rhinestone jeweled bangle in my stash, but it is plastic...

Today, Bakelite comes to mind when people think of bangle bracelets. A Belgian scientist named Dr. Leo Baekeland was responsible for the invention of Bakelite. In 1889 he immigrated the the United States, and in 1907 while working as as independent chemist he accidently discovered the compound of carbolic acid and formaldehyde. When he tried to reheat the solidified compound he discovered it would not melt, no matter how high the temperature.

The butterscotch colored bangle at the top is bakelite. When the Bakelite patent expired in 1927, it was acquired by the Catalin Corporation that same year. Bakelite-Catalin was sold mainly to companies like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller, Woolworth's, and Sears. Much of the wealthy society fell into difficult financial times during the Great Depression and could no longer afford Tiffany diamonds or Cartier Jewelry.

Bakelite-Catalin took up the market slack with its colorful carved jewelry adorned with rhinestones. This jewelry was within the reach of all, and its popularity grew from the poorest to the wealthiest in society.

In 1942 Bakelite-Catalin stopped sales of their colorful costume jewelry in order to concentrate on the nation's wartime needs. By the end of the World War II, new technologies for molded plastics had been developed. These new products consisted of plastics such as Lucite, Fiberglass, Vinyl, and Acrylic - all which were could be molded.

There are many "fakelite" bracelets around, and it can be difficult to recognize the original plastic. Some common ways to check involve looking for mold lines...Bakelite has none...it is heavier that celluloid, lucite and all modern plastics. It makes a lower pitch when tapped together. You can dip a q-tip in 409 Cleaner, and it will turn yellow if it is bakelite, but there are exceptions if the piece has been highly polished.

Another bangle style in stock is cinnabar so called because of its resemblance to the mineral and the way it was carved in ancient times. These are made from heavy, molded polymers. Genuine Cinnabar, which derives its name from its cinnamon–to-scarlet-red color, contains Mercury. Carved Cinnabar bracelets are a traditional Chinese handicraft dating back hundreds of years. Crafted in red, black and a striking combination of red and black Cinnabar resin, Cinnabar bracelets feature traditional Chinese motifs such as dragons, phoenixes, bats, and Chinese characters, and are available in a variety of widths.

So, round and round it goes...there are, of course, all kinds of other bangles, but I love my fall colored ones...