Sunday, June 30, 2013

“America is a tune

that must be sung together."  ~Gerald Stanley Lee

Independence Day is celebrated on Thursday so I thought I would have a little USA USA USA cheer!

Actually, July 2 was the date John Adams thought would be the a letter to Abigail he wrote that the second day of July would be "the most memorable epoch in the history of America."  On July 2, 1776,  the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five,  with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4.
Interestingly, although the big "players" - Jefferson, Adams, Franklin - said they signed on July 4, it may not have been formalized until August 2 (be tough to celebrate summer that close to fall!).  And, a little trivia for the barbecue...both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day. (You can thank me if you are ever on Jeopardy).
Now, speaking of singing together...I had both my "elves" in the shop today...and even though we only sing metaphorically (you really don't want us serenading you), I could not carry a tune or have such a neat shop without them.  Sharon, on the left, is my jewelry elf, and Ruthie is my "go-to" elf...I go to her for all kinds of she is the birdhouse creator. So, 5 photos later (I have no Photoshop)...
 While Sharon works magic with broken jewelry, Ruthie can take a bed spring and make it special, not to mention birdhouses!
I am trying to buy American as much as I can, and I have a new creative spirit from Oklahoma...Jill, an artist who makes cuff bracelets from old belts.
This one made us chuckle...
But there are several to choose from...
Another USA product...actually Cape May made...headbands...

Now, along the company lines...I found Scentennials...scented drawer liners (and with our new moisture laden climate, quite appropriate).  Useful for any place a touch of scent it needed... and we have Linen Splash also.

...And, as they proudly proclaim
If you get Victoria, we have the Scentennial "Ship Shape" featured in the new issue.  We are trying to keep the store current and creative.

So, the tune we sing is a happy song...from my handcrafted tags and cards...
to made in America a beautiful Fenton pitcher... 

 Above all, as we celebrate America, I celebrate those who have made The Dutch Rose what it is independent brick and mortar store...I celebrate those who come in and enjoy...a 3D Pinterest...not just on the all who have been part of our independent little store, we say...

I think patriotism is like charity – it begins at home. — Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady Volume 1: 1880

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Travel makes one modest,

you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
Gustave Flaubert

I never know what will set my research gene into action...this week it was a suitcase...I do love old suitcases, but this one had a unique label. 

I must confess I do not know much about this lost aviator, but I do now, and she is a fascinating woman.  Her childhood was troubled.  Her father was an alcoholic and went for  treatment, but her mother tried to keep the family together, taking her children to Chicago where they lived with friends. According to research, Amelia made an unusual condition in the choice of her next schooling; she canvassed nearby high schools in Chicago to find the best science program. She rejected the high school nearest her home when she complained that the chemistry lab was "just like a kitchen sink." She eventually was enrolled in Hyde Park High School but spent a miserable semester where a yearbook caption captured the essence of her unhappiness, "A.E. – the girl in brown who walks alone."  Rather prophetic...

She aspired to a future career, and she kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in predominantly male-oriented fields, including film direction and production, law, advertising, management and mechanical engineering. She began junior college at Ogontz School in Rydal, Pennsylvania but did not complete her program.

During Christmas vacation in 1917, Earhart visited her sister in Toronto. World War I had been raging and Earhart saw the returning wounded soldiers. After receiving training as a nurse's aide from the Red Cross, she began work with the Volunteer Aid Detachment at Spadina Military Hospital. Her duties included preparing food in the kitchen for patients with special diets and handing out prescribed medication in the hospital's dispensary.

She became a patient herself when a pandemic swept the hospital, and she suffered with severe sinus problems which significantly affected her flying and activities in later life, and her biography states that sometimes even on the airfield she was forced to wear a bandage on her cheek to cover a small drainage tube.


By 1919 Earhart prepared to enter Smith College but changed her mind and enrolled at Columbia University, enrolling in a course in medical studies among other programs.  But she quit, and it was a flying lesson in 1921 that changed her destiny, and she became a pioneer for women in the aviation field.

One afternoon in April 1928, a phone call came for Earhart at work.  "How would you like to be the first woman to fly the Atlantic?" he asked, to which Earhart promptly replied, "Yes!" After an interview in New York with the project coordinators, including book publisher and publicist George P. Putnam, she was asked to join pilot Wilmer "Bill" Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis E. "Slim" Gordon. The team left Trepassey harbor, Newfoundland, in a Fokker F7 named Friendship on June 17, 1928, and arrived at Burry Port, Wales, approximately 21 hours later. Their landmark flight made headlines worldwide, because three women had died within the year trying to be that first woman. When the crew returned to the United States they were greeted with a ticker-tape parade in New York and a reception held by President Calvin Coolidge at the White House.

Putnam saw an opportunity to capitalize and promoted her as Lady Lindy.  She was dubbed "Queen of the Air", and she lectured, authored a book, and endorsed products (history always repeats) for luggage, Lucky Strike cigarettes (this caused image problems for her, with McCall's magazine retracting an offer) and women's clothing and sportswear. The money that she made with "Lucky Strike" had been earmarked for a $1,500 donation to Commander Richard Byrd's imminent South Pole expedition.

The marketing campaign by both Earhart and Putnam (whom she eventually marries referring to it as a "partnership" with "dual control) was successful in establishing the Earhart mystique in the public psyche.  Rather than simply endorsing the products, Earhart actively became involved in the promotions, especially in women's fashions. For a number of years she had sewn her own clothes, but the "active living" lines that were sold in 50 stores such as Macy's in metropolitan areas were an expression of a new Earhart image. Her concept of simple, natural lines matched with wrinkle-proof, washable materials was the embodiment of a sleek, purposeful but feminine "A.E." (the familiar name she went by with family and friends). The luggage line that she promoted (marketed as Modernaire Earhart Luggage) also bore her unmistakable stamp.

This piece in the shop is gorgeous inside...and it has a cover, but the zipper needs repair...still the idea of a cover for a piece of luggage was so clever!  The line was sold through the Macy’s department store chain back in the 1930’s. 

Imagine what a commercial empire she would have had if she had survived that flight?  She was not one to be satisfied with status quo...this line fits her nicely...
"Be an explorer.  The universe is filled with wonder and magical things."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Old as she was,

she still missed her daddy sometimes." ~ Gloria Naylor
Today is Father's Day.  My Dad died in 1997, but my mother says as long as I am alive so is my father, but he used to tell me, "You are never going to get out of this world alive so deal with it." I am an only child, and my Dad wanted a boy...when he asked the doctor if he was sure I was a girl, the doctor told my Dad, "The baby has no stem-winder!"
My Dad though did raise me to be liberated long before it was in vogue.  He made me a strong woman...
cautioned me about having people take advantage of me, but he also made me patient...and that patience has helped me more in life than I ever imagined.  Interestingly, it was a daughter who lobbied for a Father's Day.  Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909 knowing her mother had died leaving her father, William Smart, to raise his six children on a farm.  A day in June was chosen for the first Father’s Day celebration, June 19, 1910, and was proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of William Smart’s birth. 

The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
Father's Day spending is still far less (40%) than Mother's Day (you know, if Mama ain't happy, no one is happy!).

I never agreed with my Dad on many things...moving to New Jersey was one...he was originally from the Paterson/Passaic area before marrying my Mother and moving to Pennsylvania...he looked at me and said, "Susan, no one moves to New Jersey."  I did respect him though and never argued with him.  He kept me humble--did not think twice about calling me stupid--self esteem was not key in the 50s, discipline was, yet he never countered my decisions once I was older, but he still yelled at me for not wearing shoes as he sat in his chair in his final days that December! No matter how old I was, I was his little girl...and I miss him dearly.
"A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again." ~ Enid Bagnold

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"A good lather

is half the shave. ~ William Hone

Before the advent of razors, hair was sometimes removed using two shells to pull the hair out or using water and a sharp tool.  Can I hear a serious "Ouch!"  In some Native American tribes, at the time of contact with British colonists, it was customary for men and women to remove all bodily hair using these methods.

Although back around 3000 BC, when copper tools were developed, copper razors were invented. The idea of an aesthetic approach to personal hygiene may have begun at this time, though Egyptian priests may have practiced something similar to this earlier.  The photo shows some early shaving tools.
The Roman King Lucius introduced the razor to his people in the 6th century BC, but shaving didn't really catch on with Romans for another hundred years or so.

In the 4th century BC, Alexander the Great encouraged his men to shave so enemies couldn't grab their beards during melees. Alexander's subjects were often shaved using a novacila, a block of iron with one edge sharpened, which sounds like a great way to turn yourself into a character in True Blood!

Julius Caesar supposedly preferred to have his beard plucked out with tweezers although other Roman men used razors or rubbed the beards from their faces using pumice stones.  Early spas?  Again, I say, "Ouch!"

Further research uncovered that the safety razor we know was designed in 1762, but it was not until the mid 1800s when they debuted in Sheffield, England. In 1847 William Henson invented the hoe-shaped razor that most of us know, and in 1895 a traveling salesman named King C. Gillette (yes, his first name was King) combined the idea of shaving 
with a disposable double-edged blade. The resulting safety razor eventually made Gillette a fortune and solved the hassle of having to remove the razor's blade to sharpen it every few shaves.

The idea was great, but there was a problem: the blades weren't easy to make. It took another six years for Gillette to find someone who could actually make the disposable blades. MIT professor William Nickerson joined up with Gillette to figure out a way to stamp the blades out of sheets of high-carbon steel, and by 1903 they had their first batch of razors ready to take on America's beards. By 1906 Gillette's design was moving 300,000 units a year. Interestingly, Gillette sold the razors at a loss, but he more than made up for it by selling the blades at a huge profit.

Although Gillette's invention came from his notion that he should invent something people bought, threw away, and then repurchased, he wasn't your typical capitalist. He became a strong proponent of utopian socialism later in his life and planned a community in Arizona in which engineers would rationally orchestrate all activity.

In 1928 a retired Army colonel named Jacob Schick patented an electric razor he had designed, and the world finally had a winner. Schick razors took store shelves by storm in 1931, and they quickly sold millions of units.  Badgers were probably the happiest when the electric razor was invented.  Their hair was prized for wet shaving brushes because it retained water so well.
Jacob Schick went into the shaving business because he thought that if a man shaved often enough, he could lengthen his life to
120 years!

Shaving soaps preceded shaving creams. They last much longer than an equivalent amount of cream, making them considerably more economical but are also a bit more difficult and definitely more time consuming to use as a lather must be built from them using a shaving brush and water. That said, a soap lather tends to be slightly slicker than one made from cream, helping the razor in its progress and in some opinions providing a slightly closer shave.

So, for the shaving enthusiast, we have imported from Italy...special brushes and shaving soap...also some shaving soap from a New Hampshire soap maker...

And, if you happen to be thinking of Father's Day shopping...we have some nice soaps, vintage cuff links and tie tacks...

But, in the theme of shaving...
"Every time I go and shave, I assume there’s someone else on the planet shaving. So I say, ‘I’m gonna go shave, too." ~ Mitch Hedberg

Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Button, button,

who's got the button?"

Actually, we do...lots of them...but I was wondering how many children would be amused by this game today.  Do you remember it?   From my research, here are the rules.  Children form a circle with their hands out, palms together. One child, called the leader or 'it', takes a button (usually provided by an adult) and goes around the circle, putting their hands in everybody else's hands one by one. In one person's hands they drop the button, though they continue to put their hands in the others' so that no one knows where the button is except for the giver and receiver.

The leader (or alternatively all the children in the circle depending on your preference) starts the other children guessing by saying, "Button, button, who's got the button?" before each child's guess. The child guessing replies with their choice, e.g. "Billy has the button!"  If you have the button, haven't been guessed yet, and it's your turn to guess, you choose someone else so that no one knows it's you.  Once the child with the button is finally guessed, that child is the one to distribute the button and start a new round.
No app for Angry Bird Button so I imagine this is part of the "other" lifestyles of the non-tech children.   We have some real unique buttons...a couple of these have the Star of David on them...
If you are into Game of Thrones, how about this collection?
Buttons, dating back to 2000 BC, were originally used as decorations since pins and belts held clothes together (I must confess pins still work on some of my outfits!).   By the early 1200s AD, clothing styles and finer fabrics required a better way to close garments.  The button seems to orginated in France...bouton for bud or bouten to push...and so the button and buttonhole (actually button hold) that we know are born.

A Button Makers Guild, organized in 1250 AD, is documented.  The guild produced magnificent buttons, but they were only for the wealthy, and laws were passed to keep the commoners from owning any buttons other than thread or cloth covered ones.  As time went on, the button craze continued, but each button had its own buttonhole, and the professional dresser position was born.  I am sure you may have wondered how women got into those dresses with all those tiny buttons!  Alas, the zipper replaced the assistant!

In the 17th century, French tailors began making thread buttons for military uniforms, but French button makers were outraged, convincing the government to actually pass laws forbidding these thread buttons to be used!  Homes were searched and even fines levied on tailors that made and used these buttons. 

By the 19th century, button manufacturing came to the U.S.   In 1802, Abel Porter established a company in the northeastern United States that began making metal buttons.  He saw an opportunity for big business as the imported ones were scarce and expensive.  There were also challenges with the types of metals used, but, when Porter created them, he used brass loops cast in the back of the button and solved those previous problems. This company became the famous Scovill Manufacturing Co. whose name we still see on the backs of many old buttons today.
But, the most popular button of the 19th Century was the black glass button.  These were made for the masses in replication of Queen Victoria's fashioning of black jet buttons.  These were also referred to as mourning buttons, following the death of Prince Albert.

I found some neat 50s style buttons...

And these are sweet...encased Lucite...

So, for the artisan, the collector, the creative spirit, we have some neat button bags...reasonably priced...$1-$2 (I have seen buttons in thrift shops priced by the piece-talk about pushing buttons!). 

And speaking of word evolution...the word button has evolved..a button can be something you push to create an effect by closing an (electrical) circuit--that is from 1840s. Button-pusher as a "deliberately annoying or provocative person" is a reference to Bill Gates in a 1990 article.  There are others...button one's lip, button up, have all one's buttons, on the button...but I like this line...

"Once you have missed the first buttonhole you'll never manage to button up”

 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe