Sunday, January 31, 2010

Something to Smile About

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row."
-- Old nursery rhyme

Just wanted to send a sweet photograph your way. This little girl is so precious - Makes one long for spring and all the wonderful things it brings! Hope your week goes well - Stop back by soon for more ephemera (Ben's just installed the scanner in my room so now it's mine- all mine! hahahaha (evil mechanical laugh)).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Buxom Beauty

Beauty, n. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband.

--Ambrose Beirce, The Devil's Dictionary

Continuing on the theme of risque beauties, thought I would share this vintage postcard. I found her on one of my recent antiquing adventures. Isn't she lovely?

I have some great Valentine's themed ephemera to share with you all soon... I just have to get around to scanning it. I've been fiercely collecting tantilizing tidbits of paper for "crafty"pursuits. It's so much fun looking at antique postcards and such. There's always something new to explore and learn about - And you rarely see the same image more than once.
Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and Happy Postcard Friendship Friday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bathing Beauties and Naughty Nellies!

Bawdy bisques are fun, slightly scandalous figurines in a delicate size. I've recently come across two of these tantalizing dolls during my forays into area antique malls.**I had no idea what I had found! After some research I realized that both figures are made by the German manufacturer Galluba and Hofmann. Made c. 1910, these beauties are representative of the perfect figure at that time. These ladies would have been sold either free standing or attached to a box of candy.

Even with the bodice torn on the relaxed doll, it is still book valued between $700 to $900. The standing beauty is valued between $700 and $1000. Both of the figurines retain their original mohair wig; the reading lady has one tiny chip on her left hand (which probably reduces her value to $500 or so).

So, next time you're in an antique mall, be sure to look for a deal- You never know what you'll find!

I plan on putting both of these lovelies on Rubylane to hopefully find some keen collectors of naughty bisques!

**I found one doll at the Antique Station in Frederick, Maryland and the other at the Emmitsburg Antique Mall in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Both malls have several quality dealers (along with the ever present junk) BUT I wasn't able to finish either mall in the 2-1/2 hours I spent there. So, bring your comfy shoes and be prepared to hunt!**

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Just A Treat

Hello friends- Just a wonderful little postcard to brighten your day! And promises of more ephemera to come... I just love "paper antiques" - You rarely see the same image & hunting for the perfect one is tons of fun! Plus, they're usually light on the budget; I rarely spend more than a few dollars on even the most fabulous of examples. I just discovered a cache of exceptional scraps & Victorian pieces at The Pink Poet (who I've mentioned several times on my blog). I can't wait to share these with all my crafty blog friends:) But for now, enjoy this piece of yesteryear, and swing on by The French Factrice for more Postcard Friendship Friday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Precious Little One

I found this wonderful scrap on our trip to PA at a lovely little bookstore called the Doe Run Valley Book shop. I thought this piece was especially interesting because it advertised Godey's Lady's Book. For $2 a year, a patron was given "1000 pages of Reading, comprehending Poetry, Stories, Sketches, History, Novels, Dialogues, and Charades by the best magazine writers of the day..." What a bargain! One of the interesting things about this advertisement is the emphasis on "Full Size Cut Paper Patterns." 1885 is such a different world from today! Fashions are found by most in the mall or out of catalogues whereas they were found on the pages of magazines and books during
the 19th century.

I thought this little "Sleeping Love" cupid would be perfect in a Valentine's collage or card. I'm trying to collect more colored images but I thought this one was quite special. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Great Expectations

Well, we're officially into January and 17 days into a new decade. A fresh start- A clean plate... What to do with all of these chances to start over again? New Years resolutions ... A time to reflect on what's been and what will be.

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

With all this talk of new opportunities, I thought I would share some of my own resolutions for this year. The first is to pray more. I try to have a special time (sometimes several) each day where I lift up needs and requests to God. I want to expand this and have more deliberate moments with our heavenly Father.

Secondly, I want to blog more. I've been a little delinquent this past year with posts and such... I would love to post twice a week and make more connections with the blogisphere. I do plan on posting more free ephemera and also having digital downloads for sale (although this may take some time).

Last, but not least, I want to do all that is in my power to prevent my depression. Sometimes I don't fight hard enough against it and it can get the best of me. But this year I plan to put as much effort as possible into getting (and staying) better. The first step is getting through January... After that, it will be getting through the winter. I plan on taking one month (each day in fact) at a time.

So, what are your New Year's resolutions? Any wishes for the New Year?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lovely Bibelots and Tantilizing Treasures

Lovely little treasures; sweet nothings; tiny bibelots-- All of these phrases describe the merchandise at this January's Big Flea. Every booth was filled to the brim with beautiful objects. Handmade trinkets, old volumes of sacred books, sparkling jewels- Truly, something for everyone!
I thought I would share what I feel is the most stunning booth at the Big Flea (not only this past weekend but each and every time). Roberto Frontera-Suau of Elizabeth City, NC is the owner of Textiles de Conde. He carries the most exquisite antique clothing and linens as well as miscellanious feminine objects such as millinery and toiletry items.
Roberto's booth is one that would take hours to thoroughly explore- However, I managed to squeeze in some time between shopping to browse his wonderful wares. I was not disappointed! Such treasures abounded ... These pictures show just a snap shot of what this collector carries. On a different note, I promise to soon post more on my personal Big Flea finds- Check back for more vintage goodies (especially freebie ephemera!)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shiny Sparkling Snowflakes

They say each one is different - Snowflakes are just as unique as people. And the same can be said for many things which are handmade. Our stamp gets put on those pieces we create. No one will ever make something in the same way you do ...

All this talk of individuality leads me to share the ornaments that I made with my family over the holidays. Using Austrian Swarovski crystals and wooly felt balls we made a wonderful crafty interpretation of snowflakes!

Using a wire form we placed the crystals on the snowflake and then interspersed the felt balls in the pattern. The balls are a little tricky to use - I had to handle a very large leather needle in order to make the initial hole in the felt. But once that is finished, you just slip the crystals and felt on and all is well! I do recommend using a felt ball on the tip of each arm- It's a little awkward to finish with a bead- I broke several trying to do that... So, for all your crafty needs (and for more on this project and so much more!) visit Ornamentea- It's the most fabulous store!

***On a completely different topic, I have been brainstorming about having an online digital presence using my eclectic collection of ephemera. Would you readers (and other crafty gals and gents) be interested in purchasing some digital copies of my Victorian images and books? I have a great collection full of pieces that I've not shared on the blog- So new and fresh merchandise. Please let me know if you think this is something I should pursue... I'm really excited about this so hopefully you all will be too!***

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Picture Perfect: Postcard Friendship Fridays

Just thought I would share this lovely little trade card image. Although it's technically not a postcard, it's definitely a fabulous piece of early 20th c. ephemera. And the doll and kitty are so wonderful. This card advertised Lion Coffee - On the reverse it states "A Picture Card: In each package of the Lion Coffee now at your grocer's. Many designs." So, it's like an early cracker jack giveaway. Chromolithography was just beginning to hit its stride during this time. The Victorians were crazy for these images not only decorating and collecting but also for crafts of their own, like collages. Children, pets, and romantic scenes are some of the most popular motifs.

Well, I'm off to the DC Big Flea this weekend! I can't wait to do some junking. Even though I've been visiting local antique malls for my fix, there's still nothing quite like 2 huge buildings filled to the brim with fantastic finds! I'm salivating just thinking about it...

So, hope you all have a great weekend filled with many a junking exploit!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter at Longwood Gardens

When we think about winter, gardens don't necessarily come to mind; however, Longwood Gardens in PA begs to differ. They miraculously bring this bare season to life with a dazzling display of lights and colors. The conservatory is brimming with beautiful arrays of flowers - The outside is full of twinkling lights conveying thoughts of the holidays. I just wanted to share a little bit of my experience there and encourage you to take the journey to Longwood - I promise you won't regret it!
Interesting juxtaposition of bark and spikes - Yikes!
An example of one of the trees decorated solely with elementary school children's ornaments. This was my favorite design - The jellyfish motif was creative & colorful!
Another children's tree decorated with handmade woodland creatures.
Bonsai! Bonsai! (Think of Karate Kid's Mr. Miagi)! This is just one of the many varieties of Bonsai trees on display.
An orchid in the hothouse (images courtesy of my husband - He just got a new camera for Christmas)...
My VERY favorite plant - And the best part of our trip! The Old Man Cactus - How funny! They look like little old plant people. I laughed all the way through the rest of the conservatory (seriously- Ben had to tell me to be quiet!)
One of the lovely decorated trees on display.
The stunning front view of the conservatory entrance
The musical light and water show (a little cold for the festivity but pretty nonetheless).

As you can see, we really enjoyed our visit to Longwood. Truly a great place to spend New Years!

As promised, I haven't forgotten about sharing pictures of the craft I made with family. They are still in cyber limbo. Hopefully my sister will have a chance to convert them soon! (hint, hint if you're reading:))

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beautiful Beginnings

A new year- a chance to start afresh. I'm praying that this year will be full of joy and healing. My first major depression in five years happened last January so I'm fearful that it will happen again this January. But I have to remember that this year will be different and I can make it through with God's infinite love and care.
As for happier (and less serious) topics, I'm having so much fun finding images for everyone to use. It's so exciting and refreshing to go into a antique mall or boutique and shop for my crafty blog friends. I hope my ephemera is useful to my readers. Please let me know how you're using the pictures- I'd love to know what artsy endeavors everyone comes up with. I believe it will spur me on to find even more beautiful pieces. I personally use the ephemera for computer desktop backgrounds - I also like to collage so they come in handy for having something unique for the project. The pieces I posted today are some of my favorites- Especially the Marie Antoinette type image.

Speaking of craftiness, I promise to get pictures of the ornaments I made with my family. They're in cyber limbo right now ... My sister is having to reformat them so my MAC can read them.
As for other artsy endeavors, I'm now working on learning how to knit. What a challenging task! My dear friend Renee is trying to teach me this art- Boy, do I now have great respect for all those knitters out there. And when someone knits me something from now on I'll know how much love was spent making it.
So, what new craftiness are you all working on? Anything promising for projects out in blogland? Last year I worked on a collaborative book swap - Tons of fun! Are there any new projects or swaps to get our creative juices flowing?

One final note: I've just discovered this whole new world of postcard ephemera collectors! The French Factrice hosts Postcard Friendship Fridays and I plan on participating regularly:) So swing on by the party...