Sunday, May 26, 2013

"There is nothing wrong with America

that cannot be cured with what is right in America.
 ~Bill Clinton
Memorial Day...for us in this shore community, it is the start of a new "season"...Memorial Day means sales, shops opening, traffic, restaurants serving, and the grocery stores are stocked, but we tend to forget those for whom this holiday was designated.  It was known as Decoration Day when it was initially celebrated and honored the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service, but it does get overshadowed by "summer".  Still, as my opening quote implies, Americans are good...every now and then they just need to be tweaked!
 
We rise to the occasion...from our trials with Sandy along the Jersey shore to the now devastated Oklahoma towns, we survive...we move on...and, in that spirit, we hope our little shop will give you comfort for your mind, body, and soul.  An article in the paper the other day indicated that depression is one of America's leading health issues.  An amazing statistic was noted...Americans spend 7 hours a day in front of a computer screen (big or little as in phone) or TV screen.  The writer, George Ball, is chairman of Burpee (seed company), and he was reflecting on seeing a man rocking back and forth at one of their display gardens after a tour.  "Readying to lead his visitors to the nearby shade garden,  [he] noticed that one of the group still tarried in the sun garden. The lingering visitor, an older gentleman, appeared to be in a trance, his eyes closed, his body rocking to and fro. He thought he was ill, but, when he inquired,  the man said that he was just happy, and the garden is now known as the Happiness Garden."
 
He went on to say that Americans are sacrificing social and family life to a solitary realm with little challenge or stimulation.  That got me thinking about all of those men and women who died for our way of life...does freedom mean tied to a computer or an I-phone? 
 
Echoing on that theme, we are working on creating a Happiness Shop to play off that concept.  When you walk in, we want you to experience a mind, body, and soul retreat...antiques need not be dusty  mussies on the shelves...they can blend with our new line of body lotions and shower gels...from a New Jersey company...B.Witching Bath Co.  They have been featured in many magazines, and I like their mission: "About our simple product packaging:  Waste not. Want not.  Here at B.Witching we don't believe in over packaging with extra boxes, fancy bows, cellophane and the like.  Although many of our customers find our simply elegant, straight to the point packaging quite trendy, we believe it’s the goodness inside that sells every bottle.  As a company whose founder grew up during the Great Depression, we support conservation. Our goal is to keep Mother Nature happy by not creating extra stuff that your trash company needs to dispose of." 
 And the story behind their name is interesting...    "About our company name:
Way back in the day when the company was emerging into the twenty-first century, there was much debate among our family members and ultimately we settled on renaming the company B.Witching Bath Company. In order to dispel any mystery here’s what it means. The “B” stands for Bruce, our family name. “Witching” is a pun on words referring to some old family humor.  Which brings us to the “Bath” part. In some areas of the world a bath is a communal place where people come together to share a cleansing experience.  All jokes aside, we just thought these words sounded nice together and customers liked it, so it stayed with us. "



And, speaking of blending old and new...how about vintage antique wedding cake toppers blended with some B.Witching soothing lotions for a unique shower gift...

 And for more antiques reborn...how about some jewelry repurposed from typewriter keys...

Then, we do have the very traditional...pottery...McCoy is a favorite...old books...the usual but with a decorative twist...

 
 And, we will continue to blend old and new as we design a Happiness Shop for you...but we remember that we are able to do all of this because as Will Rogers said: "We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

“There is nothing to writing.

 All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”~ Ernest Hemingway

 
The semester is over, and my students will bleed no more for my Composition classes, but I still think writing is a key component to communication...not merely a tweet or a text.  Auction brought me two typewriters, and so a little insight into this keyboard.  The typewriter dates back to the 1700s when Henry Mill, an Englishman, filed a patent for “an artificial machine or method for the impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another.”
 
The first working typewriter on record was designed by an Italian Pellgriono Turri in 1800′s for the countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano who used it to type letters. There is a novel, The Blind Contessa’s New Machine, written by Carey Wallace, which is based on the relationship between Turri and the Countess.  "Carolina Fantoni, a young contessa in nineteenth-century Italy, is going blind. Neither her parents nor her fiancĂ© believe her. Only her friend Turri, an eccentric local inventor, understands. As darkness erases Carolina's world, she discovers one place where she can still see-in her dreams-yet she remains isolated from the outside world. Desperate to communicate with Carolina, Turri creates a peculiar contraption for her: the world's first typewriter. His gift ignites a passionate love affair that will mark both their lives forever."
 
I guess a guy would have to create a rather impressive I-phone or super Blackberry these days!  The Hansen Writing Ball was invented in 1865 by a pastor at the Royal Institute for the deaf-mutes in Copenhagen.  The writing ball was first patented and entered production in 1870 and was the first commercially produced typewriter. In Danish it was called the skrivekugle ("writing ball"). The Hansen ball was a combination of unusual design and ergonomic innovations, but like most of the early-19th-century typewriters, it did not allow the paper to be seen as it passed through the device (kind of a precursor to Facebook...does anyone really see what they are posting there???).
The typewriter which we recognize today was a Sholes and Glidden, and it was invented in 1868 by Christopher L. Sholes who later on sold it to the Remington company, but look at how decorative it is....even a retina display ipad can't compete! 
It typed only in capital letters (guess everyone "shouted"), and it introduced the QWERTY keyboard, which is very much with us today. The keyboard was probably designed to separate frequently-used pairs of typebars so that the typebars would not clash and get stuck at the printing point. The S&G was a decorative machine, boasting painted flowers and decals. It looked rather like a sewing machine, and it was manufactured by the sewing machine department of the Remington arms company.  In my research, I found it interesting that many of these typewriter manufacturers also made guns.

Appearing shortly before 1900,  Underwood established the stereotype of a typewriter until the introduction of the IBM Selectric in 1961. When the Underwood was first introduced, it was only one of hundreds of competing and extremely varied typewriter designs. But by 1920, almost every typewriter imitated the Underwood.   Another little interesting research tidbit: The Underwood typewriter is the creation of German-American inventor Franz X. Wagner. The name "Underwood" comes from John T. Underwood, an entrepreneur who bought the company early in its history.  The Underwood family was already a successful manufacturer of ribbons and carbon paper. It's said that when Remington decided to produce its own line of ribbons and carbon paper, Underwood responded, "All right, then, we'll just build our own typewriter!"

I do have that Underwood in the shop along with the Smith-Corona shown below.  Smith Corona was created when L. C. Smith & Bros. united with Corona Typewriter in 1926, with L. C. Smith & Bros. making office typewriters and Corona Typewriter making portables. 
The case is incredibly heavy, and in its day was locked...now we have passwords...they had keys to get to the typewriter keys!
And, speaking of keys, here are some samples of typewriter jewelry in the shop...these are made of original keys not the Chinese crafty reproductions.   It is good to see that old typewriters can be reborn and not cast off!

  "There may be writing groups where people meet but it's occasional. You really do it all at your own computer or your own typewriter by yourself." ~ Anne Rice
 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children

 because they are more certain they are their own.  ~Aristotle

Happy Mother's Day!  I am off to see my Mom who will be 87 this week so just some tidbits today...
A recent survey of 100 moms showed what they want for Mother's Day. Over 10% said they don't plan to celebrate Mother's Day. The rest said they want to receive:
  • Something homemade, 36%
  • Dinner, 35%
  • A greeting card, 32%
  • Gift cards, 25%
  • Flowers, 23%
  • Jewelry, 11%
  • Books, 10%
  • Spa visit, 8%
  • Clothing, 6%
  • Music, 6%
  • Movies, 6%
  • Travel, 5%
  • Electronics, 3% 
800 sons and daughters were asked what they want to give for Mother's Day.
  • More daughters want to give flowers (45% of daughters compared to 40% of son respondents).
    Only 23% of moms want to receive flowers.

  • More daughters want to give jewelry (14% of daughters compared to 11% of son respondents).
    11% of moms want to receive jewelry.

  • More daughters want to give clothing (10% of daughters compared to 6% of son respondents).
    Only 6% of moms want to receive clothing.

  • More daughters want to give something homemade (24% of daughters compared to 17% of son respondents).
    36% of moms want to receive something homemade.

  • More daughters want to give a greeting card (31% of daughters compared to 28% of son respondents).
    32% of moms want to receive a greeting card.

  • More sons want to give gift cards (21% of sons compared to 16% of daughter respondents).
    25% of moms want to receive gift cards.

  • More sons want to give electronics (7% of sons compared to 5% of daughter respondents).
    Only 3% of moms want to receive electronics.

  • More sons want to give dinner (33% of sons compared to 25% of daughter respondents).
    35% of moms want to receive dinner.
  "When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts.  A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child."  ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Have nothing in your house

that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~
William Morris
William Morris lived in England in the late 1800s and designed textiles.  Morris taught himself embroidery, working with wool on a frame custom-built from an old example, and once he had mastered the technique he trained his wife Jane and her sister Bessie Burden and others to execute designs to his specifications.  Also known  for wallpaper, his first repeating pattern for wallpaper is dated 1862, but was not manufactured until 1864.
He was also preoccupied with printing, bookmaking and romance writing.  All of this leads me to today's post...the younger shopper in the antique/vintage world is looking for things that are useful or beautiful.  So many of  baby boomer parents will comment, "My kids don't want this stuff".  It is not that they do not want it, but they need to have a reason for its being in the home.  I respect that...the mantra of "the last person with the most [fill in the blank] wins" is not what the younger generation believes.  The dusty musty shop of years ago does not resonate with the new generation.  They do not have excess cash, and so when they buy, they want useful and beautiful not to mention having the Pinterest atmosphere!

And with that in mind, our shop still has antique/vintage, but we are adding touches to bring the 19th century into the 21st century...and made in America.  We have a new charming personal care line...called "Live Beautifully" made in Colorado...not in some unknown factory...in their own words..."We are a husband & wife team of artists and artisans residing in most beautiful place on earth. Live Beautifully is not just a brand, it’s a notion, an idea that we try to live by every day. Feeling good about yourself, inside and out."

I brought in their lip butters and lip balms.  Living at the shore can play havoc with keeping lips moist when you are dealing with wind, sand, and sun.  And, now that the latest news talks about heavy metals in lipstick, why not give your lips a break?   And, they are delicious...not your mother's chapstick!

I also brought in a line called Shabby London Rose...that line comes in solid perfume and lotion...easy to tuck in a purse or pocket...not to mention a deodorant in the Shabby London Rose scent!  The deodorant has some interesting information.  From the package...Antiperspirants impede our body’s natural defenses against moisture and the bacteria that can grow there. All antiperspirants contain aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex. This possible cancer causing agent stops sweat by filling your pores with aluminum salts and essentially blocking sweat from exiting your body.
 
 
So, remember ...“In life one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day - or to celebrate each special day.” ~ Rasheed Ogunlaru