Thursday, May 31, 2012

"I rest"

Here is your mourning jewelry fix for the week. This is a ca. 1700 mourning slide. The wearer would have thread a ribbon through the loops on the back and worn this as a bracelet or collar necklace. The materials here are hair, gold foil and enamel, all fitted under rock crystal. The skeleton, presumably of the deceased, is lounging on his/her coffin, which is engraved with the words "I rest." The imagery is stark, but the little angels soften it somehow. I appreciate how realistically the Victorians portrayed death with images. I mean, can you imagine going to a funeral now and seeing a skeleton image on the program? People would think it was in such bad taste. I actually find this piece - skeleton and all - very tender and comforting. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Through the keyhole

Christ on a Pony, I have a lot of things to photograph for the shop! So many good things. So many. Like these lockets. What is it that is SO mesmerizing about a pile of shiny things? I think it is the look of abundance that is so alluring. I also think it is a bit like looking through a keyhole . . . you can see juuusst enough to know that you want to see more. Maybe that is why I like antiquing so much. Jewelry cases, especially, are always a bit of a mess and because they are usually locked you have to be able to sort things out in your mind. Dig around with your eyes, not your hands. I love doing that.

Since it is highly unlikely that I will be able to photograph these all at once, I'll take a vote from you. Which ones should I snap first?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jewelry mark resources

If you collect or sell antique jewelry, I highly, highly recommend this book. I got it about a year ago and it is without a doubt the most useful thing in my reference library. It contains pretty much every American mark from the 1840s through the 1970s - including some very obscure ones - as well as a history of jewelry manufacturing in this country. There have been many times that I have scoured online sources only to eventually solve a mark mystery with the help of this book!

My two favorite online jewelry mark resources (in case you are wondering!) are Illusion Jewels and Morning Glory Antiques.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A whole lotta this

It is going to be warm here this weekend and I plan to have the kiddie pool filled every day. When I filled it up a few days ago for the first time, I had a crazy flashback moment. I think this pool might be the portal to my backyard in 1985. The back-in-time feelings were so powerful that I had to check in with myself and make sure I was me and not my mom. That we were in Michigan and not in Iowa. That is was 2012. The motion of flipping over the wobbly pool, getting out the hose, watching the water fill up over the little printed critters, the smell of the plastic in the sun, Severen's warm little body . . . it was eerie. And actually going in the pool? You are going to laugh but it was damn near a religious experience. I mean, the last time I was in a kiddie pool I was the kid. And now I am the mom. Severen lounged and splashed and loved it, oblivious to the fact that I was in a time warp.

If only we grown ups could find a few moments this weekend to be as relaxed as a little boy in a kiddie pool . . .  that would be really nice. I wish it for you (and for me!) Bon weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Coffin locket

This is a Victorian coffin locket. That fact that I can use the words "coffin" and "locket" together in the same sentence makes me deliriously happy. What a brilliant way to use a funerary motif in mourning jewelry! The little compartment here would have been perfect for a lock of hair. I don't have a will yet (I probably should) but when I write it, I might request that a bit of money be used to make mourning jewelry for my close friends and family. A little engraved locket like this would be so lovely, I think.

Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Blue Glam Update

A glamorous update is in the works . . . just because.  Lots of Art Deco here, just the way I like it, including a very special bracelet and a rare pair of dress clips from the White Metal Casters Association (ca. 1930). These pieces will be sprinkled in the shop sometime between noon and midnight tonight. I know, I know, a twelve hour stocking window is super professional and useful for you, the interested shopper. But that's the best I've got. Honesty is my policy these days :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Locket Lundi

Here is a pretty 1920s monogrammed locket for today's update. It is from the Cheever, Tweedy & Company, (mark "C.T.") which is an American jewelry mark I hadn't seen until this piece. The monogram is R.E.K. done in a beautiful hand! You can find it here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

20 weeks old!

Severen is 20 weeks old today, which makes him about 4 1/2 months! Since our last check in (16 weeks) he has been very busy! He is able to roll around now. He also recently discovered that his feet/legs are not just random objects but actually parts of his body that he can control. He rubs them together, flaps them around and reaches for them.  He likes to try to sit up by pulling on our fingers and gets frustrated when he can't do it. He got his first taste of rice cereal and gobbled it up. He actually wanted to drink it from the glass, which I let him do.

The weather has been wonderful and we've spent lots of time outside. He likes to rest on a blanket under a big tree and stare at the leaves. If his pants are off, he is especially happy! He sleeps in his own room on his floor bed and that has been fun (photos coming soon!) I am amazed at how much he moves - we've gone in to get him in the morning a couple of times and found him chilling out in the middle of the room on his back, just babbling.

He is so even-keeled . . . no high-highs, no low-lows (although that might come with teething, I am told). Lots of good stuff in between.

And why is this post so late? Because it is 5 PM and I just ate lunch. It's been a long, long day with not much to show for it. Except this post. And a happy baby. Bon weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The box the box!

This piece in the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum is incredible. As usual, I like the box more than the thing inside the box. Just look at the label. Just LOOK at it. I feel like my insides are dissolving (in a good way). Jesus, it is amazing. What I would give to pay a visit to this Artiste en Cheveux and commission a piece. I'd ask for an extra box or two with my order.

On the topic, I'm pretty excited about mourning jewelry (have been for a few years) and I am going to start talking about it more here, mkay? So, now let's see . . .  the blog will be about vintage jewelry, my son, scarves, pretty lockets, old photos, hot chocolate, motherhood, my son, hairwork and death jewelry. Soooooo cohesive, I know. Bear with me! I promise things won't get too crazy around here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shop update





A little mid-week shop update. Everything is at the top of the shop!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Minerva/Athena jewelry

 gold + enamel + diamond Athena brooch                                     gold + enamel + pearl Athena brooch
                        Ebay ||  $1619                                                           Kensington House Antiques || $2950

gold + shell Athena cameo brooch                       gold + hardstone Athena cameo brooch
Ruby Lane || $890                                                     Lang Antiques || $5950

gold + diamonds + enamel Minerva brooch

gold + enamel + gem-set Athena brooch               gold + natural turquoise Athena cameo brooch 

 brass + enamel + paint Minerva brooch, in the shop

I got a few questions about the Minerva/Athena brooch I listed a couple weeks ago as part of the Classical Studies Update. Was this a popular style? What other examples of Greco/Roman goddess jewelry existed? Well, I went looking for similar pieces and I found some real beauties. All of these are fine - gold, pearls, diamonds, etc. - depicting the goddess Minerva (or Athena) in a variety of styles, but with certain consistent features. She always has flowing, curly hair. She is always wearing a helmet, topped with a creature of some kind (griffin, dolphin or serpent). And . . . she is always beautiful. She seems to have been a popular subject for enamel brooches and cameos in the late 1800s. My piece is a great example of how costume jewelers imitated fine jewelers, copying popular trends using less expensive materials. Man, I love 1930s-1940s costume jewelry. I just really love it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Locket Lundi

Happy Monday! Today's locket is an unusual one. A thick, oval piece with Mother of Pearl inlays creating a background for two detailed scenes. I think this is probably an early mid-century souvenir piece from Japan - fantastic! I just added it to the shop.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seven weeks old, twelve weeks late

Severen is 19 weeks old today! He still has 20 weeks to go before he has lived outside my belly as long as he lived inside, but he has made a lot of progress and changed our lives a lot in this short amount of time. I found a list of things that I wrote when he was just under 2 months old and, as I read it, I realized "Oh my gosh. This is getting easier." People tell you this will happen with babies and you want to believe them, but sometime it just feels so hard you can't imagine anything else. Well, here is some proof in favor of the "it gets easier/better/more rewarding" argument - some before-and-after mom-land notes for you. 

1. One of the biggest challenges is how to manage my time. And by "my time" I mean the time when Severen is napping or with his dad. If I have an hour and a half while Severen is sleeping, do I use that time to do something for the family (laundry, cleaning, dinner prep, bills, etc.) or to do something for me (yoga, working on the shop, reading, etc.)? It's not an obvious answer, most of the time, and no matter what I choose I usually end up feeling guilty. Tricky, very tricky.

12 weeks later . . . Yep, this is still hard. But three things have helped make it better. One, I take him with me on errands.  Two, he takes more predictable naps. And three, I have seriously adjusted my expectations for what can be accomplished in a day. There are some nights when we eat cheese and crackers for dinner. There are some (ok, lots) of days when the only laundry that gets done is Severen's. There are giant dust bunnies under my bed. Ehh.

2. I am amazed at how challenging breast feeding has been. I should have known that any activity that has trained specialists (i.e. lactation consultants) who make themselves available via 24-hour hotlines is not for wimps. Still, I figured doing the natural thing would be pretty self explanatory. Nuh uh. I'll be honest, I thought about giving up many times. My mom says that Severen and I are two parts of an engine. Well, after a few break downs and several tune ups I think we are back on the road again. We've nursed over 600 times now. Wow.

12 weeks later . . . Well, we've easily nursed close to 2000 times at this point. We are in the "reward" phase - all the hard work and not so good stuff we dealt with early on is paying off. People told me we would get here and we have. It is a natural part of my day/night and a relaxing time for both of us. Nursing is something I am really, really going to miss. I will never forget it.

3. As much as I miss having Soren around during the days he has to be at work, it is really awesome to have him come home in the evening and see Severen with fresh eyes. Hearing him say, "Oh he is so beautiful!" sort of pushes the re-set button for me after a long day of diaper changing and baby soothing.

12 weeks later . . . This is still true. I love watching the son-Dad reunion that happens at our house every afternoon/evening. It is mighty sweet.

4. I feel sort of bad saying it, but part of me wants Severen to grow up really fast. Why? Because I feel like as he becomes more and more himself that I will have a chance to go back to being "me." Some days (OK most days) I feel like he and I are one person. We move together, we sleep at the same times, we eat the same things . . .   I guess that is what happens when the needs of another person dictate the actions of your day. I feel a little lost in motherhood right now.

12 weeks later . . . I am feeling less lost. Most of that is due to my metal/physical healing from labor and delivery and my adjustment to a vastly different routine. I also had to get over a lot of insecurity related to being a full-time mom (I'm still working on that . . . that's a post for another time). Also, Severen IS growing up really fast. I guess I got my wish. He is getting more independent and capable every day. 

5. I am thirty-one and I am not an expert on anything. I don't have a field of study that I have mastered and I have a habit of hopping from one profession to the next, which makes it hard to build on skills. But I have the feeling that I am going to be an expert on Severen. I spend so much time with him and I just know what he needs. I wonder if I will always be to tuned-in to him or if this is just a baby thing. It is powerful, beautiful and terrifying.

12 weeks later . . . For the first time in my life, I feel really, really good at something. Something important. Thanks for that, Severen.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Save the date!

There is another Pop-Up Shop on the books! Please plan to join us the afternoon of June 9th in the wonderful space over at Pot & Box in Ann Arbor. There will be women's garments from Dear Golden, men's duds from The Thread Locker and jewelry and accessories from yours truly. Bring your fella! Bring a friend! I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The job never changes

As I looked through these photos last night, I realized that I recognize these women. Their gestures, their joy, their fatigue, their easy, loving closeness with their children . . . it is all so familiar to me now that I have a boy of my own. This job of being a mom never really changes, does it? But mom-fashion does! Will someone please go back in time and snag those straight-leg trousers for me? They are waaaaay better than my mom jeans.

Images courtesy of the Life Image Archives