Sunday, February 27, 2011

I don't want to own anything until

I know I've found the place where me and things belong together. I'm not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it's like.... It's like Tiffany's.... Not that I give a hoot about jewelry. Diamonds, yes. But it's tacky to wear diamonds before you're forty... ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1958, spoken by the character Holly Golightly

Tonight is the Oscars, and I can place a safe bet that there will be many "tacky" women coming down that red carpet. But, as I am sorting through bags and bags of jewelry from auction,
I thought a Breakfast at Tiffany's quote was a good lead in...even though no turquoise boxes in my bags of jewelry!I do have sparkles...rhinestones...and so I thought I would give you a little background on rhinestones. Many think of the 50s when they see rhinestones, but rhinestones trace their origin to Czechoslovakian or Bohemian glass dating as far back as the 13th century. In 1891,in Austria, Daniel Swarovski (of crystal fame)created a new glass cutting machine which could cut faceted glass, producing finely finished product in a very short time. Prior to this invention it would take a very long time for each stone to be hand cut and finished. Swarovski’s background in glass making, combined with his glass cutting machine soon found him producing rhinestones with a lead content of over 30% creating a brilliant stone. Then, he created a vacuum plating for the backs of the stones with silver and gold, reducing the need for hand labor. Still today Swarovski rhinestones are recognized as the highest quality in the industry. Over 80%of rhinestone jewelry manufactured in America use Swarovski rhinestones.

In America, during the Victorian period common motifs for jewelry included snakes, flowers, and hands most often adorned with rhinestones.
The Depression also created a market for rhinestone jewelry. Inexpensive jewelry was a way to update an outfit. Dogs, birds, or cats with a rhinestone eye were common place. The jewelry during the 1940s once again became big and bold with rhinestones being produced in every imaginable color and large stones set on large bold settings was the norm.

The older rhinestone jewelry was set by hand, but, as time went on, and companies mass produced, the "stones" were glued in. The jewelry made during WWII does not have the sheen that later pieces have...metals were scarce. Perhaps you can see the difference among these pieces...the duller pin is 1940s era.
By the 1950s there were two very distinct looks – elegant and sophisticated for the more mature woman, and casual and fun for the younger woman.
The 1950s saw jewelry made completely from rhinestones. For the younger woman, jewelry was more fun and flirty and pieces for the older woman were more sophisticated with elegance.
Rhinestone parures (complete set of three or more matching pieces; two matched pieces are sometimes referred to as a demi-parure) became extremely popular. In 1953 the aurora borealis rhinestone was introduced to the market with its fabulous array of color.
The 60s did buy into rhinestones--the Mother Earth crowd was into the long beaded necklaces and natural styled accents, but the Disco era brought the rhinestones back, and the rhinestone has maintained its place in the jewelry box ever since.

So, despite the fact that the red carpet will see the real more ways than can thank "The Academy" of costume jewelry makers for your glitter.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Use it up,

wear it out, make it do, or do without."

So, the proverb goes...we in the antique/vintage/retro business are are about that...a comment on a business forum got me thinking about what it is we in this part of the retail world do. The "I am not into antiques" is something we hear often when one learns of the type of store we own. But, I never feel surrounded by old stuff...I always view it as giving something another chance to give pleasure. Like these vintage serving plates...imagine the goodies that were served on these over the years...far more appealing than tupperware or paper plates...

I am trying to find things for store accents that are not made in China, or, if they are made overseas, they are fair trade items. You want to know how hard that is!!! For those who are not aware of what fair trade is, here is the definition...Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold. (Side note...things the unions in this country fought for in the 19th century.)

And, of course, things made by Americans are not going to be priced like the dollar store either. Everyone complains about unemployment, but, at the same time, does not understand we have put each other on the unemployment rolls.

Check these bunnies out...made out of old cashmere sweaters...
This little one is featured with hand felted eggs...both of these products are from women in the good old U.S. of A.
Of course, some may remember the pillows made from repurposed sweaters...

So, the shop is getting its spring face on...and even though winter sunsets can be appealing...from the past week...I am busy getting into the colors of spring...

Some more made in America creations. Check out a piece of moulding with clothespins for a unique memo strip...
Here is a recycled cranberry carrier...I see a sign like this at a wholesale cash & carry show, and I am right on it...
And, for pages of inspiration, the latest issue of Flea Market Style is available in the shop, and it is packed with all kinds of wonderful ideas for the reuse, recycle, repurpose fans!And above all, remember...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love your job

and you will never work a day in your life.

So, for Valentine's week, I am featuring someone who loves her new job.
Meet Julie Petrella.A graduate of George Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania, you will notice she is not behind a desk, and you cannot miss that smile...she is now doing what she loves. She recently opened Home Made down the road from me.

For those of us who are sole proprietors of brick and mortar shops, it is, in many cases, pure love that draws us to the business. Unlike a co-op, we are the CEO, CFO, manager, clean-up crew, maintenance, supply clerk, and, unlike a web site, if you are not there, you are not selling. In this fast paced-there's an app for that-world, we tend to forget the people. So, when I meet someone who is special, I just have to feature their shop. She lives above the store, and, with the help of family and friends has created a welcoming interior. Some of the walls have been chalkboard painted, and check the striped ceiling!
Julie has stocked beautiful yarns and fabric.

There is no comparison to buying quality yarns and fabric...and, if you are going to take the time and put in the effort, don't you want to use the best? Just look at the colors of these felt will not see that richness in a big box craft store, not to mention the feel of quality.
She also carries unique patterns and supplies...

One of the specialty products she carries is Eucalan...a no-rinse laundry detergent.

There are patterns and projects around also.

Speaking of projects, she has a class schedule...check her blog...
Here is a creative project in the works...a bulletin board out of wine corks...think you need to get some folks to help...cannot imagine if you were to drink all that wine that you would need a bulletin board for reminders because you probably are not functioning for a long time!
Here is a small finished board...not too many wine coolers here...

So, if you are in the area, please stop in...she opens at 11 AM...closed Mondays...
You can take a class or host your next special event in her craft studio. Even if you don't sew, knit, or crochet, just stop by for that smile...and to soak in the colors of the artisan...remember...small shops built this country not the big boxes...

"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Why, what’s the matter,

That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?"

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
I am sure many of us around the country have some serious February faces! It does seem as though February is not only short on days but also on sun! So, I decided to bring in some sunshine colors for the spring. I have new shipments of paper florals in. They look like dried flowers...far more dimensional than the silks. I also collected the amber depression glass in the shop, and I am working on a French expose` for spring...thinking springtime in Paris.
Amber/yellow glass is the lost soul of the depression glass in today's collecting market. Crystal is often overlooked in the market also. Pink, cobalt, and green are better sellers. Many unique colors were also made during this time period. The demand for "carnival" glass had disappeared although some companies still produced a small amount of that type of treatment. There was a short time when several of the companies, Heisey being one, competed with an "alexandrite" type of color (lavender, changes color in different light), but the color did not prove popular in those times. Heisey also produced a bright orange color which was definitely a slow seller and was discontinued after a short run. Those short-run colors now command hefty prices in the collector market due to the limited production runs.

Amber was the decorator color for the depression era so it exists in greater quantities than other colors. Many of the patterns of what we call "Depression Glass" were distributed as promotional items during the lean years. The glassware would appear in soap or cereal boxes, or might be given away at a local movie theater or gas station to encourage patrons. I read that one glass manufacturer was saved from bankruptcy during the Depression when it received an order from Quaker Oats for five Railroad Cars of glass. I have not been able to track down who that was...maybe Federal Glass.

Despite the fact that this glass was not finished elegantly, there were pieces in the collection that appealed to finer tastes like the cream soup below.
The cream soup bowl looks like a wide, shallow cup with two handles. Soup can be messy and the handles made it easier to hold as well as decorative. The wise hostess would put a 7 inch plate under the cream soup bowl to provide a place to put the soup spoon after use. Cream soup bowls were certainly not must-have pieces and not everyone who owned a pattern had a full set. Because of this, today they tend to be among the pricier place setting pieces in many patterns.
Another item is the "biscuit" or cookie jar. Most of the time we think of pottery cookie jars, but the glass ones came to the market at the same time...again a Depression era item. The first ones were clear jars with screw on lids. You can imagine how many of the Depression glass containers saw their lids slip through the hands of a youngster in the household!

So, maybe a touch of get us through the month...because as the proverb matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.