Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Little Jewelry History ~ Part One: Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is a first in my series of jewelry history posts. I thought it would be nice to take a little trip back through time and showcase a few of the eras that my re-purposed pieces have evolved from.

Here is a brief look into the Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution.

The Victorian Era was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign over the United Kingdom, from 1837 to 1901. This was also the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, a very exciting time when America’s spirit of creativity was boundless.

American women were looking to Paris for fashion, dresses were long and full and jewelry was limited to hair ornaments, brooches and bracelets.

Cameos were popular.

Cut steel was very much in fashion and England was known for it’s cut steel industry. Cut steel was produced by riveting rosettes of thin metal to a metal plate. Even though cut steel glittered it was not considered flashy, thus the Victorians considered it proper day wear. Cloak clasps, shoe buckles, brooches and chatelaines were some of the popular items made of cut steel.

One of my favorite materials used during this period is Whitby Jet. Made popular by Queen Victoria after the death of her husband. It was the custom to be in a period of morning for two years after the death of a spouse and Whitby Jet solved the problem of suitable jewelry. Jet is a hard black coal like material that is derived from fossilized wood found in the cliffs. The finest jet was mined in Whitby, England.

Although I am not fortunate enough to own an original antique piece of Whitby Jet, I did visit Whitby while on a trip to England and purchased a wonderful modern piece from one of the only two jet cutters working today. It is now illegal to mine jet, so the only new source comes from what is found washed up on the shore.

During the later part of this period came the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the popularity of Art Deco and Art Nouveau.
The French combined the best of the past with techniques from China, the sensuousness of the end of the century and Art Nouveau was born.

These are a few of my favorite styles, materials and looks from the
Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution. Hope you enjoyed the trip back!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Shop Feature ~ Whimzy Thyme

"Everything old is new again." —Peter Allen

Etsy shop Whimzy Thyme is this week’s feature.

Debbie, a “Cajun French Lady” is the owner of this wonderful vintage shop. Debbie loves searching antique shops, estate sales and flea markets for the vintage treasures she offers in her shop. And Whimzy Thyme has a fantastic collection of vintage items!

Debbie is a collector, and worked in and out of the antique business for about 25 years. After discovering Etsy last year she was excited with the prospect of selling again. She set up her shop and stocked it full of wonderful “Victorian D├ęcor”, antique celluloid, hankies, compacts, vintage costume and designer jewelry, collectible figurines, glass and porcelain. All items are as found/originals. She does not carry any modern reproductions. She loves hunting for treasures and believe in “what’s old can be new to you”.

Debbie has always been attracted to the beauty, craftsmanship and quality of yesteryears treasures. She adores vintage, Victorian and art deco and believes it is always in vogue.

Debbie says, “I try to meet each day with a positive can do attitude, have joy in my heart and to ensure that my behavior adds value. I strive to always remember that life is made up of possibilities and our task is to rise and continue. I take great pleasure in providing excellent customer service and fast delivery.”

If you are a lover of vintage you must check out the Etsy shop Whimzy Thyme. I am a fan and have my eye on a few “can’t live without” pieces!

Thank you Debbie for allowing me to introduce Whimzy Thyme to my readers!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Something Old Is Something New…Wedding Trends 2011

Pearls, rhinestones, crystals, and jewels. Longing for dreamy vintage inspired bridal accessories? Nostalgic Summer bridal line “Something Old, Something New” offers a vintage yet updated look for your special day.

I was talking with a florist the other day about wedding trends. She said she is seeing more requests for vintage look bouquets. So I did my research and found this great wedding trend information.

Vintage wedding trends 2011

According to “The Beauty Bridal Website the #1 trend in weddings is Vintage.
“One of the top wedding trends for the upcoming year is vintage and retro-inspired with a modern twist. What’s old is new. We’ll see:
* vintage wedding dresses with cap sleeves
* beautiful textures
* ornate details
* natural settings, including outdoor and backyard weddings
* photo booths (actual and set areas with draped-cloth backdrops)
• vintage photography”

And Belle The Magazine says “Vintage inspired bouquets have been a top wedding trend this year. This dovetails nicely with the larger overall love of vintage inspired wedding themes and details.”

From Linzi Events: “2011 Wedding Planning.Wedding Trends: Vintage Chic”

Here are a few of Nostalgic Summers vintage inspired bridal pieces.

So if you or someone you know is planning a wedding, and you’re looking for a beautiful, unique, one of a kind keepsake for your big day consider a Nostalgic Summer “Something Old, Something New” custom jewelry piece.

Nostalgic Summer will work with you to create a beautiful, unique, one of a kind piece just for you and your bridal party. Every item will be custom made for you. These handcrafted made just for you pieces will help you shine on your big day, and last for your happily ever after!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Shop Feature ~ Good Little Things

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” ~Mark Twain

My shop feature this week is Good Little Things, a wonderful handmade gifts & accessories shop on Etsy, owned by Susan Woods.

I became an instant fan while reading the bio she sent me. She re-purposes fabric for her wonderful shoes!

Susan has a degree in fashion design and her journey began when she cobbled together a pair of shoes for her son. But her business wasn’t born until after the birth of her third child, a daughter. Susan was determined to make her daughter’s first pair of shoes.
Then she decided to make a pair of slippers for her sister, a self-professed “shoe-aholic,” which lead to slippers for every woman in her family, and more shoes for her daughter. People starting taking notice, fell in love with her slippers, and well things snowballed from there!

Most of Susan’s shoes are made from repurposed or thrift fabrics, this enables her to keep her costs down.

Susan loves working with her customers creating unique custom orders just right for them. She recently created custom slippers for a customer to wear in the hospital after the birth of her baby boy, and (this is my favorite idea), a pair of shoes for a newly adopted baby girl from Russia. The “Are You My Mother” Mary Janes.
Susan says she loves what she does, and was “created to create”. But the most important reason she does it is for her children. To show them it is never to late to follow your dreams and do what you love.

Thank you Susan for allowing me to introduce you and your business to my readers. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you!

Visit Susan’s Etsy shop at

You will fall in love with her shoes!

Monday, July 11, 2011

How I spent My Summer Vacation

“Oh, the summer night
Has a smile of light
And she sits on a sapphire throne.”
~Barry Cornwall

For the last four years it has been a tradition for my husband and I to turn our 4th of July holiday into a weeklong event.

We pack up the dogs, some great but easy meals, lots of sun screen, shorts, t-shirts, swim suits and head to our lake home for 10 days of rest, relaxation and fun. It’s a great week and we usually have family, or friends come for a few days throughout the week.

This year I did do a little social media work and a few buying trips for my business while on vacation. So I thought I would show you what it’s like working remotely from Battle Lake MN.

We don’t have internet service at the cabin…..yet. So my office for blogging, Facebook posting and “tweeting” is in Vining MN, population: 68.

Now Vining may be small, but it’s not boring! Her are a few of it’s unique features:

1. The Vining Palace, what can you say about a purple bar…but they serve amazing broasted chicken. Check out these reviews from Yelp:

2. The Sculpture Park at Big Foot gas station. All sculptures were created by Ken Nyberg who incidently is the father of Karen Nyberg the astronaut.

3. Karen Nyberg, astronaut

4. Their summer festival “Watermelon Day” . Yes it’s just one day, but lots of fun and FREE watermelon!

5. Big Foot Gas & Grocery & Deli. This is where I get my internet service. Also pizza, gas, butter, and anything we run out of while making a meal!

6. Blue Herron Antiques. A cute antique shop where I found a few great pieces to re-purpose. She also sells some interesting garden plants.

This was my vacation. I hope you enjoyed this trip through Vining, Minnesota!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Shop Feature ~ Ma Petite Fete

“A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” ~Max Muller

Ma Petite Fete is a wonderful Flowers and Event Rental business located in Hopkins, Minnesota. Amanda Masse is the owner of this shop, and her flower arrangements are fantastic!

Amanda has been a lover of the arts her whole life, gravitating towards culinary arts, event planning and floristry. She decided to start her own business while planning her own wedding, May 2006. Frustrated with the mark up of flowers in the floral industry, she wanted to bring a less expensive option to brides on their wedding day, and for all the other special occasions in life.

Amanda’s business is home-based, which gives her the opportunity to be home with her two adorable boys, Jaedon and Elias. They are a French/English speaking family, and Ma Petite Fete reflects their mission to keep the business personal and small.

Amanda loves what she does, values all her clients, and regards them as “family”. Her goal is to bring your ideas to life, and make your special day memorable and successful!

So check out Ma Petite Fete @:
And like her Facebook page @:!/pages/Ma-Petite-F%C3%AAte/203182026372824?sk=wal

And if you live in the Minneapolis area I highly recommend Ma Petite Fete for your next special occasion!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday America!

“The United States is the only country with a known birthday” ~James G. Blaine

Ok, so I’m not soliciting birthday wishes, but I am born close to the 4th of July.
And for some reason (I do blame my July birthday) I am a collector of all things vintage 4th of July and patriotic. I love vintage red, white & blue anything, antique tin parade horns, tin drums, rhinestone flag pins, vintage July 4th postcards, vintage bunting and luscious silk flag scarves! Well the list could go on, and on …..

This has always been one of my favorite holidays. My family was all together enjoying summer and each other, and I always knew there would be a few fireworks left from our family’s 4th of July celebration to use on my birthday 3 days later!

Happy Birthday America, Happy 4th Of July everyone, and save a bottle rocket for me!

Here are a few of my patriotic creations:

“What we need are critical lovers of America - patriots who express their faith in their country by working to improve it.” ~Hubert H. Humphrey