Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Women have been trained to

speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over." ~~Bella Abzug

Today, August 26, is Women's Equality Day ~ women were "given" the vote on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was finally certified (it had been introduced in 1878!).  Bella Abzug introduced the legislation for the resolution to mark the day, and every President since 1971 has published the proclamation.

An excerpt from President Obama's Proclamation:
Today, women are nearly 50 percent of our workforce, the majority of students in our colleges and graduate schools, and a growing number of breadwinners in their families. From business to medicine to our military, women are leading the fields that were closed off to them only decades ago. We owe that legacy of progress to our mothers and aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers -- women who proved not only that opportunity and equality do not come without a fight, but also that they are possible. Even with the gains we have made, we still have work to do. As we mark this 92nd anniversary of the 19th Amendment, let us reflect on how far we have come toward fully realizing the basic freedoms enshrined in our founding documents, rededicate ourselves to closing the gaps that remain, and continue to widen the doors of opportunity for all of our daughters and sons.
In the spirit of the day, I bring you some treasures of women in the shop.  They actually make a fun display.
I also have some neat pins made from ribbon symbolizing the classic film actresses of the past.  Think of the dynamics that these women went through compared to the Angelina Jolies and Jennifer Annistons of today.
This is an old powder to what is on the shelves of the boxes today...vintage has so much more appeal...
Pictured here are some more vintage treasures...a little toothpick holder...or it could be a vase...the top of an old German pincushion doll...still charming...a little "storybook" doll...

And, of course, the traditional planters...many were done by Hull Pottery.

So, if you are a woman, remember those who struggled to get women the rights...consider how many women are small business owners...they are able to be independent because women in the 19th century championed those rights.  We stand on their shoulders, and we cannot let those women down.
"Because man and woman are the complement of one another, we need woman's thought in national affairs to make a safe and stable government." ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Creativity is inventing,

experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” ~Mary Lou Cook
And, at your local businesses you will find the unique and special.  Granted, it is easy to point and click , and don't forget those "apps", but there is something about shopping that the computer or the android point and click just does not satisfy for me.  In the fall, the craft festivals tend to blossom along with the mums, and it is neat to see what the local artisans are crafting...and it is local money...not corporate money!  I heard so many tales from my summer visitors who bemoaned the loss of small shops like mine in their home towns.  Shopping in the little shops may be an afterthought with the lure of the Home Goods or even the more upscale Anthro.

For example, I got an email from Anthropologie.  Now, if you know me, you know I admire their sense of design, but I do not admire their prices! 
I think they have been peeking at my jewelry elf's creations.  Sharon has been repurposing vintage for me for over a year now.  Just as I was contemplating this week's blog, in comes Sharon with these...

They are lucite and vintage beads and crystals. What a neat little gift!
Now, not only does she mix the old and the new, she designs those wonderful cards to mount her earrings on...and not $ shipping if you don't have Anthro out your back door...these are $10!

 She also takes the old clip-on earrings and reworks them...necklaces and bracelets...still under $30!
And she takes charms and beads and does theme bracelets...this has shoes...
Robert Henri said that "the real artist's work is a surprise to himself." My BFF elf Ruthie never ceases to surprise me.  She "repurposed" farm baskets...

Again...all under $20...fall colors will be coming...and these are not Chinese imports...these are painted in her back yard...not some foreign sweat shop although this weather has turned all of our yards into sweat shops!
So, keep in mind that the boxes and the apps provide quick shopping, but, if you want something different, consider the little local shops, the local artists; these are people creating...inventing...having fun.  If you need inspiration, the new Flea Market magazine is in stock...a packed issue for those who love to take risks and break rules!

"The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person."  ~ Frank Barron

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Playing with fire is bad

for those who burn themselves. For the rest of us, it is a very great pleasure. "
           ~Author Unknown

And, I daresay that applies to this week's show and tell..."Flemish Art". 
Perhaps in your travels you have seen the wood boxes with the designs burned into the thin veneers.
Well, in the early 1900s, they were produced in Brooklyn, NY,  and in Hoboken, NJ (USA! USA! USA!).  My research uncovered the following history:  "From early correspondence found with stationery of the company, the address of the Flemish Art Co. of Brooklyn was 12 & 14 West 21st Street. Indicated there was that this was Factory #1 with offices and sample rooms. There was also on the stationery a second factory listed in Hoboken, New Jersey. At the top were the names M. B. Baer, Ernest Baer, and G. U. Tompers. Another letter found (dated April 10, 1905) showed an address of 45–47 West 21st Street in New York. On that stationery were the names M. B. Baer and M. Metzler.  From the picture (of the factory above), the extensive building complex appears to occupy at least one city block, perhaps two."

The creations are marked, and, if pieces are not marked, they could be from Victorian crafters.   Pyrography was a popular craft at that time.
The process is an ancient art.  Charred remains of fires were probably used in early Egypt and in Africa.  The Chinese called it  "Fire Needle Embroidery".   During the Victorian era, the invention of pyrography machines sparked a widespread interest in the craft, and it was at this time that the term "pyrography" was coined (previously the name "pokerwork" had been most widely used)  Colors could be applied hot to wood by pumping benzoline fumes through a heated hollow platinum pencil. This improved the pokerwork process by allowing the addition of tinting and shading that were previously impossible.
In the early 20th century, the development of the electric pyrographic hot wire wood etching machine further automated the pokerwork process. Pyrography is still a traditional folk art in many European countries, including Romania, Hungary, and Argentina.
Some dealers are not aware that Flemish does not mean Belgium even though Flemish might imply that, but many sellers do not take the time to do their research. I think many of the factory pieces must have been created for Christmas gifts since the poinsettia design is common.
 Then there are designs that show a little more artistry.

So, perhaps you can, as Mari Messer says,  "Rekindle your creative fire by making time to play."

Go seek the burned pieces!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

"I've learned that people will forget

what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."      ~Maya Angelou

This week marks a year since I lost my best friend of nearly 40 years, so a little touch of personal here...and a reminder that life is more than stuff.  Having been in stage 4 breast cancer for many months, Peggy and I would talk about the day she would leave, but, although not unexpected, it was sudden.  She would always remind me..."Now, you are going to have to deal with ___{fill-in}_____."  Many issues revolved around politics--she was a strong Democrat believing that all humans deserved to live their lives in harmony.  She fought for health care having seen patients who could not have the treatments her insurance provided...women with breast cancer who needed to choose between food on the table or meds.  She worked the phone banks, counted ballots, went to conventions, and believed deeply in the American spirit.
During her tough chemo days, she watched Jon Stewart's Daily Show, and, when she was finally able to travel, she flew to NYC where her daughter had arranged VIP tickets for us.  When we moved to New Jersey, they moved to Florida.   Her husband just posted an album on Facebook, and, when this picture came up, I could barely breathe.
Even our finale together was Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity in the fall of 2010.  (It didn't work too well, but we gave it our best shot!)
When her daughter Dana and husband Marty were able to sort through some of her "stuff," they sent me a box.  I will admit that it took some time for me to open it.  One of the vintage/retro collectibles she loved were the 60s-70s enameled flower pins.  I would always buy them when I saw them, and one year for Christmas I found a pin to match the pictures for each month on a calendar that I gave her.  Peggy was truly a flower child...a child of the cannot hear John Lennon's "Imagine" and not think of her.  In many ways, I think those of us who deal in vintage, retro, antique...whatever you want to call it...we really deal in memories.   Even if you come into the shop and buy nothing,  I hope we have made you feel up some good memories.  Cherish the people in your lives...

you can always buy "neat" stuff...but those "neat" special the commercial says, they are "priceless."

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."  ~From a headstone in Ireland