Monday, December 29, 2008

A Bit of Good Luck To You...

"If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities."
- Maya Angelou

Fairies, gnomes, hobbits, pixies ... All of these we've heard of in bed time stories and folklore. Yet there's one little guy who hasn't had much press in recent decades -- The Biliken. Created by Florence Pretz in 1908, the Biliken is a tiny pixie like creature with a mysterious grin and pointy ears.

I learned about these diminutive charms several years ago while reading through Warman's Jewelry Identification and Price Guide (such is the exciting adventurous life of an antiques' dealer). Good luck talismans have always fascinated me, along with stories of elves and fairies. With the Biliken having a Brownie like appearance, I was immediatedly intrigued.

Almost a year ago, I ran across my first Biliken charm sighting. The quirky aqua figure with outstreched feet and a chubby body greeted me in a dealer's case. I knew he was mine at first sight. It was the first and last time I had seen one of these elfin friends in person. Until two weeks ago that is ...

While rooting through Laura & Darby's newest finds and treasures, I spotted a silver Biliken! The charm was wonderful and a true collector's gem (Warman, 3rd edition pg. 98). So, with my pocket book a little lighter but my heart full of acquisition joy, I added the tiny piece of luck to my cabinet of curiosities.

I am sure that this latest find is not the last of fairy lore to grace my home. Perhaps some antique Brownies will soon keep my Biliken charms company!

Thanks for stopping by F & J - I hope you've enjoyed this little tale of a collector's quest.

•The 2 pictured Bilikens are the very ones in my collection. I snapped their portraits for this post:) Believe me, they were quite shy and I had to coach them into smiling for the camera.
Warman’s Jewelry Identification and Price Guide, 3rd edition Christine Romero 2002

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Hiatus ...

Over the last few weeks, I've been taking a respite from work and all that entails. My blog, therefore, has had a brief moment of silence. In the New Year (or perhaps a little sooner), I look forward to sharing more, including a little info on some recent antique buys and a jaunt to the ever impressive and fabulous Anthropologie. I also can't wait to post some images of a "most favoritest" Christmas gift.

On a business note, I'll soon be announcing some changes in the world of Flotsam & Jetsam (all good things!) ... But for now, I leave you with memories of childhood and dreams of nature's beautiful blessings (image courtesy of Shorpy). Have a glorious day!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trinkets & Treasures From the Netherlands ...

I've admired LiLi's blog for several months now and felt her to be a kindred spirit. So, I thought I would ask if she'd like to do a Christmas swap. LiLi was so kind to agree, and we corresponded back and forth for several weeks in regards to what we would like to receive.
So, we each packed our parcels to the brim with vintage goodies ... And now it's time to reveal our treasures!
LiLi lives in the Netherlands, so I specifically asked her for some books and ephemera in different languages. She lovingly sent me fabulous papers, labels, and other wonderful trinkets with a European flair!
Of all the beautiful items, my favorite is a tiny half doll... I've never seen one so intricate and dainty! Also, the vintage labels she sent me are wonderful and very unusual.My dear friend also made a little portfolio in which to store ephemera and paper treasures. She styled it on my blog design - What a great idea!I am so thankful to have established friendships with friends throughout the world. LiLi is a dear blessing to me and I'm happy to have found her! I encourage you to reach out to those bloggers whom you admire and do a little exchanging of your own ...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dear Old Uncle Barabas

Just in time for holiday crafting is a wonderful little picture of a Dickens character brought to life ... Perhaps he is a long lost relative of Mr. Scrooge? Either way, this delightful personage is perfect for some Christmas tags or cards. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Have Yourself A "Chirpy" Little Christmas

Hello Dear Friends - I thought I would share with you some lovely ephemera pieces I've collected. Birds are a favorite motif of mine, and I'm sure many of you out there love these splendid little creatures as well. Please use these images this holiday season to remind yourself of nature's blessed gifts.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." Luke 12: 6-7

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Time to Rest

The little trip to Old Salem was just what I needed. The Old Toy Museum is wonderful and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts is truly a treasure! I'll be sure to write about this fabulous little spot in a future post. For now, I want to congratulate Jerusalem at My Little Life on winning the $50 gift certificate to my Rubylane shop. Jerusalem has a fantastic blog; I encourage you all to visit her little spot in Bloglandia - It will be a pleasant jaunt indeed ...

ps- Feel free to use the antique clip above. I scanned it from my personal collection.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Taking a Little Jaunt

Image © Miss Mary, LLC.

After a very busy couple of days, I'm taking a much needed break and headed off to Old Salem, N.C. But dear readers, don't think I've forgotten about my fabulous $50 Flotsam & Jetsam gift certificate give-away. I'll be drawing a reader at random when I return on Wednesday evening - So, keep leaving those comments over the next few days- I'll be counting them all!

Image purchased through Miss Mary's Gazette.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Captured Figments : The Wax Creations of Petah Coyne

While recently visiting the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, I was stunned by a breathtaking piece in their collection ... Not an oil by Picasso or a Cassatt canvas-- Rather, a three dimensional wax sculpture by contemporary artist Petah Coyne.
With materials including both real and artificial fowl, feathers, silk flowers, hatpins, and willow branches, Coyne's work is an eclectic mixed media artist's dream. Like walking figments of imagination, these creations are 19th century mourning art meets Tim Burton.
If you have a free afternoon, I encourage you to visit Nasher. Coyne's neo-gothic work is a jewel among many in the museum's crown.

Also, check out Amazon for a copy of Coyne's vermilion fog - I just purchased one for myself!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Style: Episode 4 "Color Me Happy"

Thinking about how I like to add interest and light to a room made me examine the color wheel ... And how to both use it & ignore it. For inspiration, let's look at a master painting or a lovely vintage scarf . How are the colors combined?

Consider the pairings designers are most praised for - Is it the typical complimentary tones? Or is it bold, inventive choices that strike us as original? Pink and Brown, Red and Orange, Yellow and Green - Hues that pop when placed side by side. Like Andy Warhol's magic Marilyns, it's when we step outside the norm that we create truly stimulating results.Now, for our homes, we want to take an approach that is more "please and thank you" rather than "shock and awe". So, rather than hot pink and red walls, how about a nice red pillow and a vase of pink roses? Or a bowl of fresh lemons placed strategically near a pleasantly green linen?

So, your project for this week is to combine 2 colors in a fresh & appealing manner... Let me know what you come up with!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Vintage Bits Trunk Show November 29th

I'm so excited about my upcoming "Vintage Tidbits" trunk show at Ornamentea in downtown Raleigh, N.C! From 9 until 6 on Saturday, November 29th, I'll be showing a wonderful selection of artist materials for a myriad of projects, including jewelry, collages, scrap booking, and shadow boxes.I only have a few of these awesome German belt buckles. What wonderful necklace centerpieces these would make. I have a several colors including brown, green, and orange.
Various treasures from my stash include old skeleton keys, Art Deco buttons, Victorian beadwork, and early 20th c. ephemera. I also stock rhinestone strands, vintage textiles, early sheet music, feathers, c. 1940s doll parts, & c. 1950s farm magazines (a verifiable steal at $1 ea.)!
Old photographs will also be available. Think of these images as instant ancestors, ready to be used in all your mixed media projects! I do have a few spools of old store stock ribbon available for purchase (hurry- these delicacies won't last for long & they're quite difficult to come by!)...My favorite objects for this particular show are a horde of 1920s metal and enamel buckles. Ranging in size from 1/2" to 1", these beauties could be used in so many ways - Earrings, clasps, even as "locks" for altered books! The possibilities are endless... Colors include black, brown, orange, pink, white, red, and green.

Mention my blog when you swing by on Saturday and you'll receive a free gift at my booth ...

Check out Cynthia's blog Shiny Little Things for additional info, including directions and other activities!

Also, be sure to comment between now and Nov. 30th for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate for my Rubylane Shop Flotsam & Jetsam. A winner will be chosen November 30th. All comments will be counted in the drawing.

Vintage trunk show photographs courtesy of Ornamentea/Panopolie.
Marie Antoinette Shadow Box from Jan/Feb 2008 Somerset Studio, created by Lisa Kaus
Wire Lampshades from Somerset Home, 2007.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Style: Episode 3 - The New Eighteenth-Century Style

Filled with wonderful Old World style images, The New Eighteenth-Century Style is an antique decor lovers dream. Combining a traditional French approach with modern twists, this manual explores what it means to be an antiquer in the 21st century.The vignettes include items that will take most of us a lifetime to collect. Old mannequins and santos, ancient corals and other sumptuous smalls create an atmosphere of true vintage living.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys creating an interesting and unique home environment. Much can be gleaned from its stunning photographs of intricate displays and settings. Whether your style is minimalist or wunderkammer, The New Eighteenth Century Style is a must have textbook for decor.
The New Eighteenth-Century Style: Rediscovering a French Decor
Text by Michele Lalande; Photographs by Gilles Trillard
Abrams, New York 2006

That Special Time of Year ...

Hi All- Sorry for the lack of posts this week (and the brevity of this one!)... I promise to highlight a new book soon, perhaps even tonight. For now, let's contemplate the beauty of this season and the wonderful aspect of spending time with family and friends. With Thanksgiving arriving in one short week, I know we are all busy making preparations and plans. Let's remember to take sometime for ourselves and remember what this time of year is all about - Love & Family ... Two things I certainly could not live without. Blessings until next time!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Style: Episode 2 ..."Picture This"

Many of us are intimated by placing the tiniest of objects in our home - nails. They just seem so permanent, so decisive. Well, let go of that fear ladies & gentleman! I'm here to tell you that your walls are a blank canvas & YOU are the artist ...
Paintings and other artwork bring color and light into a space in the same way that a rug can do wonders for a room. And don't add just one puny little picture or wall object - Make groupings, collages, and collections of them! The more the merrier!
Think outside of the box ... Empty frames, objects, clothing- If it can be nailed or tacked, it's fair game! One of my favorite walls is decorated with an ever growing collection of vintage children's clothes - These textiles add dimension and interest to a blank space in a way that flat images never could! For example, check out the fabulous yellow dress from the last post - The tone and texture bring the space to life and make a "fierce" display!

So, your assignment is to look in your closet and consider your clothes as art. That little christening gown - The perfect thing for a Shabby Chic bathroom. Your old prom dress - A great addition to your little girls' play area!

Don't forget to leave comments for my $50 Flotsam & Jetsam giveaway ... I'll be randomly selecting the winner on November 30th!

Top image: I'm not sure! Please forgive me - I think it's a recent article from Interior Design.
Middle image: Domino Magazine, October 2008
Bottom image: Interior Design, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Style: Episode One

Flotsam & Jetsam has been rolling around in my head for several years. Antiques have been central to my aesthetic since high school when I began to develop my own sense of style. I went to college and worked freshman year at an antiques mall in town - From there, I worked at historic homes giving tours. Then I went to grad school for Museum Studies. While attending, I was employed by a super fabulous French antique store (more on that later).

So - Fast forward to graduation and interviews ... Three years of them. For each job, I was either over qualified or under qualified - Let's just call it the Goldilocks Syndrome. Well, I prayed for something that would bring me the joy curating did - Voila- the creation of Flotsam & Jetsam. Since I'd been selling other people's antiques for years, I decided to sell my own! This September, F & J celebrated its one year anniversary - And I'm not planning on slowing down anytime soon!

So, now you know the story ... F & J is more than my job - It's my life, an integral part of my being. With my work comes a definite need to understand interior design and what works well. For me, anything goes as long as its old! My biggest influences are books and random images, especially paintings and historic designs.

Interior design books are a passion of mine... I devour them regularly and gleam tiny tidbits from their lush pages. Bazaar Style is one of my top 10 books for inspiration, and I love the color it introduces into interiors. Hot pink, yellow, orange, green- Anything goes! Patterns are embraced in this look - Mix and match to the limit ...

As the title implies, Bazaar Style takes those wonderful finds from the flea market, antique shop, and your Grandmom's attic and teaches you how to combine them in an interesting, unique way. Selina Lake incorporates old and new world styles to fashion a fresh environment free from clutter yet still warm and inviting.

With a look that makes you feel as if you're in an antiquarian techni-color wonderland, Bazaar Style is a definite read for anyone who has a love for bright hues, antiques, and unusual finds.

Bazaar Style:Decorating with market and vintage finds
by Selina Lake with words by Joanna Simmons and photography by Debi Treloar
Published by Ryland Peters & Small 2008
Photos here found on Cover, Frontispiece, page 58, and page 59 respectively