Monday, October 29, 2007

With Rain Comes Autumn

After some much needed rain, it's beginning to get quite chilly up here. In the past few days I've taken to wearing a winter jacket... indoors! We've been working hard to prepare the yard with planting, pruning, weeding, and getting our composter ready. Now it's time to winterize this old farmhouse so we can get moving with the fun projects... in warmth. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of the vibrant October colors and rich textures from the past few days.

Antique Purse of the Week: Silk Threads

Fibers, especially the delicate one's such as silk, take the harshest beating over time. Above is a sweet little green silk purse with stitched floral pattern and covered dark green cording. Opening this bag reveals a white silk lining with matching envelope style coin purse tethered to the interior. A green knotted silk cord serves as the handle and an interior metal frame gives structure to the top of the bag. Unfortunately this antique purse is showing its years with its tattered fabric and missing closure, but one can easily imagine what it once looked like. Sadly, in this case, preservation cannot reverse the aging process.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Antique Purses of the Week: A Lovely Pair?

Antique Purses: LEFT - Whiting and Davis, c. 1920's, brass mesh, strap, and frame with gem stone, RIGHT - unknown, brass mesh, strap, and frame

My first thought upon discovering these mesh wrist bags was that they make such a lovely pair. I knew exactly what to do with them as they are of the few that could withstand being hung on the wall, and what a compliment to each other they are! Both are small mesh purses worn on the wrist, they are topped with organic motifs on their decorative frames, have flat chain link straps with sliders, fine mesh bodies, and are finished with three ball weights each. It wasn't until opening them that I began to look at these bags in a different light... A lovely pair or a lovely knock-off? You decide!

Inscriptions: "Annette Brodic", "WHITING & DAVIS CO.", "SOLDERED MESH", "A", "1/21", "#4", "#5"

The bag on the left has several inscriptions on the interior of the frame, whereas the bag on the right has none. Regarding the left-hand bag, "Annette Brodic" was apparently the owner as her name is hand engraved by the clasp. Stamped by one hinge is the maker's name: "WHITING & DAVIS CO.", a popular purse manufacturer in the early 1900's, however because the name is stamped not engraved, it can be assumed that the bag was made in 1920 or later. Stamped by the other hinge is "SOLDERED MESH", which yes, ladies and gentleman, means that each link is soldered! Although there is one bit of information that will sooth your whirling minds; all of their mesh was made by machine after 1912.

There are also some other markings I have yet to determine: "1/21" is hand scribed by each of the hinges, which could be the production date. "#4" is hand scribed by one hinge and "#5" is by the other; this could possibly be the mesh size (ranged from #1 through #7), but that doesn't explain why there are two numbers. There is also a stamped "A", which is sideways and above the "WHITING & DAVIS CO." stamp. Could this be a way to decipher parts or a grading system? Perhaps you know?

Finally, notice the gem stone on the clasp of the bag on the left (Whiting & Davis was known for their use of genuine sapphires), the decorative designs on the strap sliders of the left-hand bag, the unsoldered coil and links on the right-hand bag (there are a few missing), and the difference in link sizes between the mesh on the two wrist bags. There are many details to compare and contrast, and frankly, I beginning to wonder what they carried in these things! Nevertheless, what I am certain of is these are two very special bags and if the one on the right is indeed a period "knockoff," than let copying be the highest form of 1920's flattery! I think I know just the wall to become home to these two bags.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Most Charming City

Yesterday I went to Baltimore for several very worthwhile ventures... I attended the Charm City Craft Mafia's first ever legal and tax workshop for crafter's! It was very informative. Thanks CCCM!! Then I picked up some much needed furniture for my studio space, which is coming together whether we are ready or not!
Finally, I met up with the lovely and talented Beth Pohlman to catch up and chat over a decadent dinner (despite the iced tea). I drooled over the above necklace throughout our meal; one of her newer creations. Beth really considers the wearer and the comfort of her jewelry on the body. Each piece is light, airy, and hangs so beautifully. You can check out Beth's blog and store for more gorgeous and very original jewelry designs. You are an inspiration!

Things growing on...

There's been quite a bit of talk about things going on around here and no posts on any work or talk of creative projects as of late. Although all the talk of produce and trees is inspirational(!), I'm coming to terms with this much needed sabbatical to get unpacked, put things in order, and allow my creative side to hibernate so that I can come back refreshed. My brain is churning though; in a few weeks you can expect to see some holiday items for sale here. I'm really looking forward to talking more about this soon... Take good care.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall is here!

Say so long to the big guy that produced this gorgeous leaf. A gigantic Norway Maple, he's been a fighter from the start. Norway's are a weed type of tree (invasive and terribly fast growing), so the cards have not been in its favor. Therefore, this maple's days are numbered, especially since we just put in the little beauty below (notice the dead branches in background).

After planting and watering our new Sugar Maple, Steve covered up the base with mulch, stood back proudly and said, "hey there young sprout, I hope you stick around for a while." I don't think he noticed his pun, but I thought it was a great thing to say. And you never know, if the whole college degree thing doesn't work out, I may have to tap this little one for some syrup!

Next for the ground are these blueberry bushes won at the silent auction! Aren't they beautiful?! There are three different varieties so they can cross pollinate: Blue Ray, Collins, and Patriot. Little white flowers in the spring, blueberries all summer long, colorful foliage in the fall, red branches in the winter, and they grow to six feet high; we're sure to enjoy these all year round for a long time. They're getting planted in the orchard right next to the apples, pears, and grapes. Mmm!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Community Supported Agriculture

Yes!! We just got our 2008 share at a local CSA farm. I am so excited about all the yummy veggies, fruit, herbs, and flowers we'll pick up from June through October next year... hmm, reevaluating the garden now. Anyhow, if you're unfamiliar with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's), they are farms that are split up into shares. Shareholders pay an annual membership due to participate in the overall bounties or potential losses of the annual crops; frequently enough for two adults and/or a small family. Meanwhile members invest in community based sustainable agriculture commonly grown in an ecologically responsible manner as well as benefiting from the health rewards of consuming fresh, local produce. Throughout the duration of the share, a member should expect to spend about the same amount, but frequently less than what they would pay at the grocery store for produce. Since the advent of Community Supported Agriculture in 1985, there are now approximately 1,200 CSA farms around the US. I had hoped to participate in one in Maryland, but could just never commit. Currently in Pennsylvania, I'm overwhelmed with all the numerous opportunities to make decisions that benefit the community, environment, and my health. Hooray for fresh arugula, salad greens, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes, and more! For more information on CSA's including finding a farm in your area, visit Local Harvest.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Antique Purse of the Week: Motifs in Sterling

Above: Sterling silver frame and chain, crocheted body with silver toned beads and fringe. Inscription: A.C. Speiss

This little coin purse is only 5 1/2" from clasp to fringe and 2 1/4" wide. Ladies used to wear coin purses like these on their belts, however not all were so fancy. The black bag and shiny faceted beads nicely offset the scrolling sterling frame. I don't know who A.C. Speiss was, but I bet she was quite a lady.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Imagine My Delight!

Due to crazy schedules, we missed our opportunity to grow a fruit, veggie, and herb garden this year. It would have been my first and I'm so excited for next year. No bother, in PA, the stuff just grows all over the place (despite my purple thumb)! This year's prevalent raspberries were amazing, eating sweet apples and pears right off the trees was such a treat, now concord grapes?! That's the right idea. Oh yeah, then we all took a bath. Up next: blueberry bushes (if I win them at the silent auction).

Can you hear the angels singing?

This dapping block set will give volume to future jewelry designs and other projects. I can't wait to get my studio in order so I can break these babies in!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Antique Purse of the Week: Silver, Gold & Black

Above: French, gold toned frame and chain, beaded body in gold, silver, and black colored glass.

Recently a very special family member gifted me an amazing antique purse collection. Needless to say I feel honored to have received this breathtaking collection. As a jeweler and a craftsperson, I really appreciate the attention to detail, the varied designs, and the care taken to create these intricate pieces. To think that someone once spent countless hours sewing, crocheting, beading, and assembling these tiny works of art is impressive to say the least. Women's finery has certainly changed quite a bit! Due to their age and materials, several of the handbags require some TLC, but are still very impressive despite their disrepair. I wish I had the occasion to take each one out for a spin, but many of them are so delicate and formal... not to mention too small to hold my wallet, cell phone, and keys! As I take the first steps toward researching their repair and preservation, I've decided to share my purses in a unique way... with this little 'ol blog! I hope you enjoy this special collection as I have in the weeks to come. Stay tuned also for compacts and other refinements.