Sunday, January 13, 2019

Researching 18th Century Jewelry

     Taking time during the winter snow storm here in Virginia to do jewelry research!  What else?  Well, I did make up a lot of new jewelry pieces that will be going into my Etsy shop soon.  Some of them new offerings.

     I have come across an amazing book, in French, that shows us as early as 1769 that birthstones were a thing!  They also include Zodiac signs with their symbols.  I have taken this time to translate this small portion - with the help of my friend Philippe Halbert.

     What is your birth month and sign?  In the time it was associated with different stones compared to now.  Check it out.

     The book also has a chronology and table of the history of the founders by country, the year founded, and main orders or badges.  

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Calendar of Reenactment and Living History Events

     I wanted to post a listing of reenactments that are up and coming for 2019.  Thanks to Michael Grenier, Commander of the 64th Regiment of Foot and former Brigadier of the British Brigade, for compiling it as he does every year.  It is nice to have a single list to refer to.  

     If your unit is attending one of these, or if you are looking to participate, just do a search as most of these actually have websites!  

2019 Calendar of Reenactment and 
Living History Events

5-6 British Brigade & Continental Line Meeting (Saturday 6th)
January 12-13 Battle of Cowpens, SC
January 19-20 
January 26-27 


2-3 American Heritage Festival, Lake City, SC
February 9-10 
February 16-17 Snow Shoe Patrol & Battle at Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY (Saturday only)
**Also ** Siege of Charleston, SC
**Also ** Cornwallis Occupation, Hillsborough, NC (Saturday only)
**Also ** Fort Ward, Alexandria, VA (Sunday only)
February 23-24 


2-3 Boston Massacre Reenactment
**Also ** CL-MAD School of the Officer and NCO, Washington Crossing Historic Park, PA
March 9-10 
March 16-17 Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Greensboro, NC
**Also ** Military Through the Ages at Jamestown Settlement, VA
March 23-24 8th Annual American Revolution conference, Colonial Williamsburg
March 30-31 


April 13-14 Battle Road, Lexington, MA (13th), Patriots' Day- Lexington, MA (15th) 
**Also ** Battle of Bound Brook, Middlebrook, NJ
**Also ** British Occupation of Halifax, invitation only
April 20-21 Easter Sunday weekend 
April 27-28 Battle of Musgrove Mill, Clinton, SC
**Also ** Patriot’s Day Weekend, Old Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY.  
**Also ** Battle at Osborne’s Landing, Henricus Park, Chester VA
**Also ** The siege of San Juan, Puerto Rico (1797)?
**Also ** BAR School of Instruction, East Jersey Old Town, Piscataway, NJ.


4-5 Mount Vernon, VA Encampment & Skirmish (paid)
May 11-12 Mother's Day weekend  
**Also** Raid at Martin's Station, Ewing, VA 
May 18-19 BAR at Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers, MA
May 25-26 Memorial Day Weekend
**Also** Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada

June 1-2 

"British Invasion, 1781", Monticello, Charlottesville, VA?
June 8-9 Battle of Newbury Spencer Peirce Little Farm Newbury MA
June 15-16 Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, Ontario?
June 22-23 Battle of Monmouth, NJ
**Also** Waters Farm, Sutton, Mass
**Also** BAR 240th Battle of Springfield, Springfield, NJ.
June 29-30 4th of July Celebration at the National Constitution Center (July 2-4, Tues.-Thurs.)
**Also** Starks Muster Fort 4, Charlestown, NH


6-7 Battle of Hubbardton, VT
**Also** Fort Niagara, Youngstown, NY (F&I)
**Also** Battles of Green Spring and Spencer's Ordinary, Chippokes State Park, Surry County, VA
July 13-14 Battle of Huck's Defeat, Brattonsville, SC?
**also** Fort Roberdeau Rev War Weekend, Altoona, PA?
**also** Encampment at Marblehead, MA
**also** BAR at the 240th Anniv. Assault on Stony Point, NY
July 20-21 Castine, Maine
July 27-28 


3-4 Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, MA
August 10-11 Old Fort Niagara (Youngstown NY) "Soldiers of the Revolution"
August 17-18 BAR 240th Battle of Paulus Hook, NJ, New Bridge Landing, River Edge, NJ (Sat. only)
August 24-25 240th Anniv. Battle of Newtown, Elmira, NY
**also** Newport, R.I. (CL Only)
August 31-Sept 1 Labor Day weekend 
**also** Latta Plantation, Charlotte NC


September 14-15 Brown's Raid, Fort Ticonderoga, NY
**also** Mount Vernon Colonial Market and Fair
September 21-22 Garrison at Fort #4, Charlestown, NH
**Also** Market Fair, Endview Plantation, Newport News, VA
September 28-29 Fort #4, Charlestown, NH
**also** Before the Siege: The British Army at Yorktown, VA


5-6 Battle of Germantown Chew House, Philadelphia, PA (Saturday)
**also** Daniels Farm, Blackstone MA
**also** Historic Brattonsville Tactical, McConnells, SC
October 12-13 Mount Harmon Plantation, Earleville, MD (BB & CL National Event)
October 19-20 Chase Farm Lincoln RI 
**also** Battle of Red Bank, Ft.. Mercer, Woodbury, NJ (Sunday)
October 26-27 


2-3 Whitemarsh Encampment, Hope Lodge, PA
**also** Battle of Camden, SC
November 9-10 Siege of Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, PA
November 16-17 
November 23-24 Thanksgiving weekend
**also** BAR Retreat Fort Lee - Ft. Lee Historic Park, Fort Lee, NJ (Sat. only)
November 30- Dec 1 Battle of Great Bridge, Chesapeake, VA


7-8 Castle by Candlelight, Ft Niagara, Youngstown, NY (Saturday only)
December 14-15 Castle by Candlelight, Ft Niagara, Youngstown, NY (Saturday only)
**also** Battle of Cedar Bridge, NJ (Sunday only)?
December 21-22 Weekend before Christmas
December 25 Crossing the Delaware, Washington Crossing Historic Park, PA
December 28-29 Battle of Trenton, NJ (invitation only, contact site for details)

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Martha Washington Dove Brooch

     I was asked by a special client that portrays Martha Washington across the country to recreate the Martha Washington Dove brooch. The original was seed pearls set on a mother of pearl backing and was supposedly purchased in 1787.  The Dove of Peace can be worn anywhere and anytime.  It can be seen at the George Washington's Mount Vernon website.

Original Pin

     I was given a photo of a reproduction revival pin.  I am unsure of the provenance of it, I checked with an assistant curator at Mount Vernon, Amanda Issac, to see if it came from the Washington's or was made afterwards.  It wasn't verified as a Washington piece (below).

So I worked with my manufacturer to come up with a reproduction of the inspired piece.  It turned out wonderfully!  It will be offered soon in the shop.  Being the overachiever that I am, the samples I received are in a silver, antiqued silver, and gold.  I'll have all three styles, but the main style will be in the silver to emulate the original.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Holiday Open House, Historic Annapolis 2018

     As many know, I lead a group of living historians for events in the Paca House and Gardens in Historic Annapolis.  I don't claim to be that great in working in first person, but those who are in the group are most excellent.  I do like to claim that we are very authentic in what we wear to events.  I wanted to share some photos of our latest event this past weekend.

     I'm wearing my own jewelry - of course - Penny River Costuming embroidered stockings are so unique and beautiful, American Duchess white Dunmore shoes that I had dyed gold (too bad they are discontinued as they are an amazing shoe), and a silk gown purchased months ago at Colonial Williamsburg.  If you have not popped into the Mary Dickenson shop and met Robin Gander, you need to.  She is the very best and amazing at knowing what is right and what may fit you.  They offer really beautiful gowns at a somewhat affordable price, that work for what we do.  Robin allowed me to take my time trying it on, and then of course I had to have it!

     Our event was a really big success.  The site has a new VP of Education and Interpretation - Mary Angela Hardwick - who saw us all in action for the first time.  We are so grateful for them allowing us to participate in bringing in the house alive, to Kenneth Tom for the amazing photos to capture us there, and to every one in the group who volunteer their time in which to make it all happen.  

     It was 15 December 1770, and Mr. and Mrs. Paca were having a holiday party before the 12 days of Christmas started.  They had been invited to so many, they wanted to start their party first.  So many things to talk about!  Their friends and family were there, with me portraying Mrs. Paca's sister.  

     Below are photos highlighting some of the best of the best.

Mrs. Eleanor Dorsey Hall (Marie Louise Halbert) and Mrs. Caroline Eden (Krista Jasillo)

Mrs. Margaret Chew Bordley (Me), Mrs. Margaret Tilghman Carroll (Michelle Sebastian), and Charles Carroll the Barrister (Chuck Aldrich) just arriving.

Mrs. Bordley, His Excellency and Mrs. Eden

His Excellency Governor Robert Eden (Harry Aycock) and William Paca (Matthew West) 

The ladies in the Dining room 

Okay, my prototype watch on one of my original chains worn by Mrs. Caroline Eden 

My Original Watch chain and French Gold Watch 

His Excellency Governor Robert Eden, William Paca, Margaret Chew Bordley, Caroline Eden, Mrs.Eleanor Dorsey Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Carroll the Barrister, and Mr. Mr. Brice Thomas Beale Worthington (Michael Halbert)  

The Gentlemen in the Parlor 

Mr. Paca and Mr. Worthington

Mrs. Mary Chew Paca (Gema Gonzalez) and Mrs. Worthington

Reproduction made by me in the museum 

Some of the Group 

Me, Mrs. Ann Tasker Ogle (Kerry McClure), and Mrs. Margaret Tilghman Carroll

The British Marines coming into the Paca House to raid the kitchen 

The ladies in the bedchamber before Mrs. Paca kicked us out!  Just Kidding. 

Standing in front of the Mr. Paca display with clothing donated that is in memory of James Goucher of which he is also wearing the "James" shoe buckles which were named after his originals and to him.  Remembering him and honoring his life. 

Cooks in the Kitchen (Robin Marchionni and Nicole Foronda) 

 Cooks in the Kitchen found Hogarth the mouse...

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Marie Antoinette Pendant

     Jewelry that was made and owned by Marie Antoinette was sold at auction by Sotheby's recently.  

     I absolutely love every piece!  I am going to make that necklace - and not in cup chain as I have seen others do...but I digress.


     One of the items I was asked to make was the pendant with pearl (above).  The original was sold for $36.1 million.  Holy mother of pearl!  The below is the result.  Now, I was asked to make another and have done so and it will be on its way to the intended soon.

     A lot went into making them.  I had to find just the right pieces.  I converted an existing earring into the main pendant, added crystal chain, a bow, and large vintage glass pearl.  I would say overall, it came out great!  I was encouraged to make more; however, I don't like to flood the market with things - then everyone is walking around with them!  Plus, I have a finite pairs of these earrings, and they are lovely to wear on their own.

My Reproduction

     Just love love love the rest of the jewelry.  The really awesome thing to see is the way the earrings are.  We now use leverback and put them into our ears from the front and they close in the back.  But in the day if an earwire wasn't put on to go into the front of the ear, they built the leverback onto the back of the earring and it was put in through the back of the ear, and the front closed and went into a small hole to secure it in the front.  You can just see that in the earrings below.  I own an original pair of earrings that closes just like these.

USA Today

Historic Annapolis Winter Talk Series 2019


     I was honored to be asked to do a presentation on jewelry for the Historic Annapolis Winter Talk Series.  Will be presenting twice!

     The first will focus on jewelry, hair, and make-up in the time of Mrs. Mary Chew Paca - 1763-1774.  It is currently scheduled for 26 January 2019.  We hope to be able to talk about the influences on her life from family, friends, and overall society with my focus on jewelry.  I will bring original pieces from my collection, to include some I have used for my reproduction pieces.

     I will be with Eliza Leigh Vincz of noted Silk and Sass.  Historic Annaoplis is excited to have her demonstrating how the ladies of the time had their hair dressed, talk about receipts for cosmetics from the time, and also putting on that make-up!

     Second up is on 23 February.  Several of us were asked back for the "Dressing 18th Century" presentation.  This past year, we were in a packed room!  You can read about that here.  Next year, we will add a men's portion to this that will be presented by Jane Pease.  

Dressing Nicki Foronda were myself (background) and Kerry McClure (in the silk gown)


Forget Me Not Flower Cluster Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets

     I have been frustrated with trying to find the right bits and pieces to make items for my shop.  I finally decided to get some of them made.  One such is a flower cluster connector.  I could occasionally find them with clear rhinestones, and now I'm offering them with colors!!

     These match several things in my shop - the Georgian Crystal Bows and my Charlotte shoe buckle colors.  Mix and match - these are all lovely!

     You can find all of these items in my shop - link is located on the left of this page!  





Clear and Black Diamond

Amethyst, Rose, Clear, Jonquil, Garnet, and Sapphire

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Announcing the "Eden" 18th Century Reproduction Shoe Buckles

     One of the things I love to do is take an original piece and have it recreated.  While my workshop doesn't allow pouring the metals, I am able to engineer and work with a manufacturer to recreate these wonderful works of art from the past.  

     I purchased an oxidized and rusted buckle that I knew had potential to come back to life.  While it wasn't worth much to anyone today, it was worth everything to me.  Someone either had this style buckle made, or it was made and worn by someone who loved it.  Either way, I fell in love with what it could become again.

     So, here is the Eden shoe buckle.  When I looked at this buckle, I saw flowers, a wreath, what looked like snakes coming together in the center, and I thought immediately of the Garden of Eden from biblical history.  I also thought of Governor Robert Eden and his wife, Caroline Calvert Eden as I lead a group of living historians in Historic Annapolis.  Here is what they look like!  

     These will be in the shop in the next couple of weeks.