Monday, February 23, 2009

100th Post Give-Away & Creative Spaces

In honor of my 100th post, I thought a little give-away was in order! This event seems to be a rather big deal in "blogland" and I certainly want to commemorate this occasion ... So, I've collected a few items from my stash (which you'll view later in this post) that I think will make a great gift for someone. When I asked readers to share what their favorite collectible was, most mentioned small, delicate items and ephemera. So, that's what's in store for the winner!
The prize includes a fabulous Pope's Poems book inscribed to "Cora" on December 13th, 1884. The cover itself is stunning and will make a great addition to your library.
Additionally, the winner will receive mother of pearl button blanks, vintage glass buttons from Czechoslovakia, and vintage enamel cabochons (which are absolutely wonderful and quite rare!).
Last, but certainly not least, is a fabulous resource concerning antique and collectible buttons written by the well-known author and button aficionado Diana Epstein.

An detailed view of the enamel pieces

To enter, simply leave a comment on my blog (on any post) between now and Friday the 27th. The winner will be randomly selected and announced Saturday the 28th! Good luck everyone...

This past week I accomplished a MAJOR task - I cleaned my office! What an amazing feat this was... I wish I had before and after shots. Anyways, I find that I'm more creative now that I have organization and space to think and dream. I thought I'd share some images from my work space so you could see what an antique dealer's life consists of.

My LABELED! boxes of stock and miscellaneous goods

A Snapshot of My Bulletin Board (I'm a Bulletin Board Fanatic!)

My Vintage Ribbon and Millinery Collection

So, that's a sneak peek into the daily life of a pack rat, collector, and dealer. Let's hope my space stays like this... It's amazing how much more creative and energized I feel now that I have room to build and play- I've often heard that organized spaces encourage creativity...

Well, I'm off to put some new items on the Rubylane site. Be sure to stop by the shop this week and browse these fabulous treasures, including a tiny vintage porcelain doll, a wonderful ceramic gnome, and a tom-o-shanter Art Nouveau coin purse.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

OK... So, it's not until Tuesday the 24th. But who says you can't start celebrating a few days earlier? And ... Celebrate I did!

For birthday gifts to myself, I purchased 2 things- 1 practical and the other... not so much:) The first item is a pair of fabulous new Rieker shoes. I have never worn a more comfortable shoe; I will definitely be buying more of these in the future. Plus, they're super cute as you can see!

The second item is a wonderful handmade English bear (named Alfie) from The Vintage Magpie. I am so very excited! He'll be on his way to America in 3 weeks. Let's hope he has a safe trip to his new home. (I cannot take credit for this adorable portrait of Alfie. Nicky took his photo for her website. Isn't he a handsome fellow?)...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Art of the Game

Instead of doing a long winded post on the history of card playing, I decided to do a short bulleted synopsis of what I learned. I've included images from my collection; feel free to use these (and the card graphics from the previous post) in your art work and mixed media projects. I hope you'll enjoy learning these intriguing facts concerning "The Art of the Game."
• Most historians agree that card games originated in China, but it was the Islamic world which introduced cards to Europe.

• By the 14th century, card suits were used; many of these symbols were regional and portrayed important cultural icons.
• In early European tradition, the king of hearts represented Charlemagne, the king of diamonds Julius Caesar, the king of clubs Alexander the Great, and the king of spades the Biblical King David.
• During the Renaissance, artists were inspired by the artwork on Tarot cards, and painted images on the back of playing cards.
• Americans started producing their own cards around the turn of the 19th century and invented the Joker around 1870.
• During the 19th century, card art portrayed important political views. These images also promoted causes, products or services, and depicted landmarks & events.
• Italian and Spanish card decks do not have queens.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Tantalizing Preview

Although I've scanned all the best playing cards in my collection, I still haven't been able to do any research on the Art of the Game; however, I thought I'd give you a tantalizing teaser - These are some of the best graphics from my stash.
The pug is my absolute favorite. LiLi gave that to me for our Christmas swap. Sorry this lady looks a little like she's holding her breast. Perhaps a good reminder for those of us who need to check our ta-tas a little more often ...

Also, I was wondering if you readers could give me an idea of what would be a good give-away for my 100th post... What is your favorite collectible and why?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

All That I Love Swap

Kari over at Artsy Mama sponsored a fabulous "All That I Love" Swap through her exciting new subscriber blog Year of Color (which, by the way, for $12 is a steal and I highly recommend it! Refer to the right hand side bar for more info). I was teamed up with the ever crafty Sandi over at The Victorian Gypsy . What a treat! Sandi made me a lovely assortment of romantic goodies ranging from a handmade wreath to a little gossamer bag filled with Ghirardelli Raspberry* Chocolates.My absolute favorites are the bead heart and the wonderful wish bottle... This little jar is filled with wishes that I can unwrap whenever I need a little pick me up or encouragement. I'm very excited about making one of these for my sisters and mom- I think they would really enjoy this for a little impromptu surprise:)

On a side note, I'm working on a post regarding vintage and antique playing cards, another collecting realm I enjoy delving into... Be sure to stop by within the next week or so for a little tutorial on this often overlooked area of ephemera.

*Isn't raspberry such an interesting word? And what is that random "p" in the middle for? Ah, the joys and tribulations of the English language.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Captured in Time: Snapshots of Another Era

Personal Collection, 2009

Even as a young girl, I was enamored with the complexity of faces. From the pictures I drew to the images I collaged, countenances played a vital part in my compositions. So, I guess it's no surprise that as an adult one of my favorite collectible genres is early photographic jewelry.

Personal Collection, 2009

Like many of my pieces, I stumbled upon two small photograph pins by happenstance. And it was truly love at first site. Oftentimes, a lock of hair or a bit of clothing accompanies the pin. These gems allowed the Victorians a chance to express their emotions - And what a sentimental era it was - Queen Victoria herself had a bracelet made from her children's baby teeth! But that's for another blog post ...

Image courtesy of Penaroyal Collectibles

Before the invention of photography, hand painted portrait miniatures allowed individuals to carry their loved ones with them; however, such pieces were costly and not available to the mass market. By 1850 onward, photos were the mode of choice. Even with the subject forced to stand still for 30 plus minutes*, Victorians were stout in their love of the frozen image.

Image courtesy of Ruby's Room

These captured visages are fairly easy to date if you are familiar with fashions, hairstyles and jewelry of the times. The popularity of these wearable photographs lasted from 1850 to around 1920, with the highest point between c. 1880-1910.

Image courtesy of Robin's Nest Midwest Antiques

If you're interested in learning more about Victorian mourning and sentimental jewelry, please refer to these fabulous books that will aid you in your research:

  • Mourning Art and Jewelry by Maureen DeLorme (An excellent resource covering a broad range of domestic mourning arts)
  • Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry by C. Jeanenne Bell, G.G.
  • Collecting Victorian Jewelry by C. Jeanenne Bell, G.G.
  • Warman's Jewelry, 3rd Edition by Christie Romero
  • * The daguerreotype required sitters to be completely still for at least half an hour. As photographic technology increased the amount of idle posing time decreased significantly.
  • **Writing posts on my collections may be a dangerous undertaking- I've already added 2 more from finds on Rubylane!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blue Skies

Faithful friends- Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. Your prayers and support helped me through a difficult period. Patie nce, time, and the right medicine have helped me to see "blue skies" again... And how lovely they are!

To thank everyone, I wanted to share some images from my collection - These are not necessarily Valentine's related but still great for crafting and mixed media work. They make me smile & will hopefully do the same for you ...

Additionally, my 100th post is coming up soon so be sure to check back for information on a special Flotsam & Jetsam give-away. I can't wait to celebrate this occasion with all my dear blogging friends!