Sunday, January 14, 2018

Annual Meeting of the British Brigade and Continental Line Reenactment Organizations

     I am late in posting this by a week or so!  I've already started some museum gift shop orders for delivery, and had a few minutes on a sunny, yet cold, Sunday to write this up.  Krista Jasillio assisted me with sales again this year of which she was invaluable!

Okay - this was last year's photo of my tables as no photos were taken this year!

     The annual meeting of the British Brigade and Continental Line reenactment organizations took place on 6 January, and they allow a handful of sutlers to sell in the lobby of the hotel.  This meeting takes place every year in January, and was again at the Crown Plaza in King of Prussia, PA.  The nice thing about the meeting is that if you stay overnight, you can visit Valley Forge the next day.  A nice weekend of meeting friends and visiting a key site from the Revolutionary war.

     Dinner, yet again, took place for us at The General Warren Inne.  It is a wonderful tavern, and a great time was had by all - I'll let the photos do the talking!

L-R - Karen Morgan, Me, Jim McGaughey, Krista Jasillio, Robin Matty 

Jim McGaughey and I

My ensemble - Jacket made by The Silly Sisters, Petticoat by Allures d'Antan

My original watch chain and watch

Karen Morgan wearing red coral grape cluster earrings and matching necklace 
from my shop

Krista Jasillio wearing a Duchessa/Gray Horse collet necklace and lovely teardrop earrings from my shop

Christopher Treichel and Jennifer Higgins of Chadds Ford Floorcloth and other amazing art fame - collet necklace, earrings, and  stomacher brooch all from my shop.

I think this should be a movie promo!

Robin Matty out back of the Inne


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas Open House, Paca House and Gardens, Historic Annapolis

Parlor fireplace detail
Photo by Ken Tom

     For the past several years, I have had the pleasure to participate in the Christmas Open House in the Paca House and Gardens in Historic Annapolis.  This year it was on 16 December.  This is one of my favorite events.  The group that I organize, and am a part of, fill the house in our 18th century attire.  

     Many of us in the group make our own clothing, and we strive to be as accurate as we can.  In my case, I decided to wear a silk floral jacket made by The Silly Sisters, and my petticoat was made by Kerry McClure.  I leave the sewing to those experts, and I make the jewelry!  

     To help complete my ensemble, I decided to have a pair of my white American Duchess Dunmore shoes dyed gold to match the silk jacket.  I paired it with my Charlotte reproduction shoe buckles in Citrine and Clear.  So elegant.  For those who want to know, I can spend a year or more creating an outfit with all of the right bits and pieces to get the right look that I'm going for.  

     The event started at 4 pm and lasted until 7.  We had a steady stream of visitors through the house, and were portraying the people of the town in the year 1769.  

    Not many sites portray the 60's, so I went to portraits and prints of the time to get the right style hair.  My wig was made by The Wig Dresser.  I threaded pearls through it and added red fabric roses.  The jewelry came from my shop - dark topaz teardrop earrings, my Martha ring in gold, and wrapped two 29 inch vintage necklaces around my wrist and added clasps to it.  There are also crystal sleeve buttons (or also known as cuff links) closing my shift sleeves that you cannot see.  I then put on a vintage collet stone and topaz rhinestone necklace that I purchased years ago, and added an original 18th century watch chain that held my late 18th century original clock (watch) to honor those who previously wore them.  The gold of the chain really highlighted the gold elements in my jacket.  The stones, dark and light topaz in the necklace also picked up the red/rust elements in my jacket.  I am wearing a smaller version of panniers (pocket hoops) made by The Silly Sisters.

Ready to go!  
(They did not have Christmas trees in the 18th C but we do)

     This year was significant for Historic Annapolis in that it was the 250th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for the James Brice House, which is next door.  So to honor Mr. Brice and that date, we portrayed the people of the past of that year.  We did have Mrs. Brice, James's mother, present and at the party.

Left to Right:  Mrs. Sarah Brice (Jane Pease), Mrs. Margaret Bordley (me), Mrs. Mary Paca (Gema Gonzalez), and Mrs. Rebecca Dulany (Jami Borek) visiting in the upstairs Master Bedroom
Photo by Ken Tom

Mrs. Bordley (me) and Mrs. Ann Ogle (Kerry McClure) in the Dining Room
(Hand Fans also sold in my shop)
Photo by Ken Tom

     For those interested in why we do this, it is about the history, the clothing, and portrayal of those who came before us.  Many have different interests - some in research, some in creating the clothing, and others in all of it!  In my case, I honor the memory of my character.  Those in this group are dedicated to dressing as correctly as we can.  We all research our characters to know as much as we can about their lives, and we study the dress normally worn in the time period we are "in."  This means we dress to create the illusion of the year we are portraying. We do our very best to honor the house and respect the artifacts within.

The gorgeous dining table with Kerry and I has original silver and dishes 
from the time with faux foods to simulate a dinner - the grandfather clock in the background is amazing and was just conserved!
Photo by Ken Tom

     There were 18 of us for this event, which I believe is the most we have had participate.  The house was filled with music as the event organizers, Lisa Holly Robbins, Aliya, and Janet Perkins, had a violin player on the second floor.  This year we also had English country dancing below stairs in the house with a master, Corky Palmer.  He and his wife gave a spectacular demonstration of the minuet for our guests, and everyone also joined in - including our visitors!  So there was music downstairs as well as small cakes of varying types and spiced mulled cider.  All of the senses were engaged!  I hope this is a regular thing for us as it was amazingly fun.  You'll recognize Corky as he is the dance master at Gadsby's Tavern Museum in Alexandria, VA.

Mrs. and Mrs. George D'Argeau (Corky and Cindy Palmer) with musician Mr. Oliver Stevens (Ted Borek)
Photo by Ken Tom

His Excellency Governor Eden (Harry Aycock) and Mrs. Caroline Eden (Krista Jasillo)
Photo by Ken Tom 

Mrs. Anne Worthington (Robin Marchionni) and Mr. Brice Worthington
Photo by Ken Tom

Mr. John Hall (Earl Shibe) and Mr. William Paca (Matthew West)
Photo by Ken Tom 

Mr. William Paca, Mrs. Anne Chase (Nicki Foronda), and Mr. John Hall
Photo by Ken Tom

 Colonel Horatio Sharpe (Shane Kippenhan) and Mr. William Eddis (Dan McMahon)
Photo by Ken Tom

I can see Mr. Worthington's cards!
Photo by Ken Tom

     Many of us went out afterwards to celebrate a birthday and a successful event at Galway Bay Irish Restaurant just down on College Street.  You also see Mr. Bordley at the table (Jim McGaughey).

Photo by Shane Kippenhan

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pottsgrove Manor, Pottstown, PA

     I'm excited to have my jewelry now in the Pottsgrove Manor gift shop!  

 Pottsgrove Manor Gift Shop

      Pottsgrove Manor was built in 1752 for John Potts, ironmaster and founder of Pottstown, the mansion was situated on a nearly 1,000 acre plantation, which by 1762 included the town of "Pottsgrove."  Although only four acres of original property remain today, Pottsgrove Manor has lost none of its original charm and architectural beauty. The sandstone exterior, elegant interior and fine furnishings reflect the eminence that the Potts family had attained before selling the property in 1783. The mansion has been restored to recreate the lifestyle and times of the Potts family. Pottsgrove Manor is open year-round for guided tours, as well as public programs, school tours, lectures, and workshops. Their museum shop on site offers a fine selection of 18th century reproduction items, books, toys, and more - including my jewelry!

     If you are in the area, please stop in and take a tour and check out the site.  A pair of my gold-filled hoops with red coral teardrops will be on display in the museum.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Georgian Collet Necklace Collaboration with Duchessa

     Duchessa and I have collaborated to offer amazingly accurate reproduction collet necklaces of a specific style from the 18th and 19th century.  From the settings, crystal, and pendant hook/pendant cross options, I am now offering these lovely necklaces in my Etsy shop!  Be on the lookout for more pendant options for these lovely and amazing necklaces.

Duchessa / Sign of the Gray Horse collaboration collet necklace in aquamarine
and silver - with a pendant loop and matching cross

     My observations on these style necklaces is that they have been worn on and off throughout the 18th and up into the 19th centuries (today too but my focus is on the historical aspects), and in different ways.  I have two Pinterest boards that I hoard portraits, prints, and pictures of original pieces.  You can find them here for 18th century and here for 19th century.  

Light Rose and Emerald necklaces with setting detail in gold

     In the 18th century, I see these necklaces worn as chokers in paintings.  Really kind of cool.  I also see jewels/paste were put onto black velvet or ribbons.  They were often made with a loop to add or remove a pendant.  I truly believe it was up to the wearer on how they put it on, and when they wore it (if in fashion or not).

Necklaces in Light Rose, Emerald, Bright Sapphire in gold and Light Rose in silver
with pendant loops

Emerald and gold necklace with a clear crystal teardrop pendant - added to it for a different look

Unknown Lady (Possibly Mrs. Fitzhugh Green) by  John Durant  circa 1768-1770
Visual Grace: Important American Folk Art from the Collection of Ralph O. Esmerian, Lot 606, January 25, 2014, Sotheby's, New York.

Lady Frances Montagu, 1734

Paula Melzi d'Eril, 9ª Condesa de Eril, G.E., 3ª Marquesa de Lazán, 4ª Marquesa de Cañizar y 10ª Marquesa de Navarrés by Francisco Bayeu, 1770-1775 (also notice her fan, miniature portrait bracelets, and amazing lace kerchief and flounces)

     In the 19th century, we see the necklaces worn lower.  They also include pendants as well.

Mrs Francis Johnston, Anne Barnes, by Thomas Clement Thompson circa 1820s

Topaz necklace belonging to First Lady Elizabeth Monroe, c. 1817-1825 
Museum of American History

Our reproduction in Citrine paste

Wilhelmina Jacoba van Pembroek by Charles Howard Hodges, circa 1820

Georgian Citrine Riviere Necklace with Pear Shape Drop, circa 1830

Queen Alexandra in 1883 (notice the pearls inbetween - so awesome)

     The Duchessa necklaces measure 16 inches long, but with the chain, you can extend it up to 20 inches.  You can add a pendant for evening or leave it off for daywear - just as they did in the time periods.  Find these amazing necklaces in my Etsy shop by clicking on this link, searching for SignoftheGrayHorse (all one word), or in the link here on my blog (top left hand side).

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Museum Reproductions Reseller

     I am pleased to announce that I am now a reseller for Museum Reproductions!  They are the supplier of authorized reproductions created under license for many museums around the world.  These are items that support the museums by their getting a percentage of sales when I purchase.  Many of these items are only available in museum and gift shops, and now you can also find it within my shop in Etsy, SignoftheGrayHorse.  So, when you purchase from me, it supports them and my horses.  Win-Win!

     Of particular interest to me is the Cheapside Hoard reproductions, and lovely Elizabethan style jewelry; however, they do also offer items of several centuries.  So be on the lookout for these lovely treasures, and add them to your order.    

Reproduction Cheapside Hoard Salamander

Elizabethan Style Earrings

Elizabethan Style Necklace

1860's Victorian Style Earrings

Elizabethan Style Earrings

Elizabethan Style Necklace

Georgian Crescent Brooch

Shell and Fresh Water Pearl Earrings (this also has a matching bracelet and necklace)

European Royal Amber and Fresh Water Pearl Earrings

Reproduction Dolley Madison Earrings

Catherine the Great Earrings

Reproduction Faberge Egg Brooch