Thursday, January 14, 2021

A New Year - 2021

      I am very remiss in not posting since early December of last year.  I have been busy with making new items, and enjoying a bit of a break over the Christmas and New Year Holidays.  There has been so much going on in the world, that I needed to take a mental and physical break. 


     Here is to hoping we have a wonderful 2021.  I wanted to share a few photos from Winter Glow at George Washington's Mount Vernon from early December 2020.  We had wonderful weather, and were open all day and into the evening!  It was as if we were in a winter wonderland with the lighting.  


     I was able to wear some of my quilted petticoats and wool jackets.   Jewelry is by me - of course - and red shoes are by American Duchess, and the black/pink silk shoes are by Rose Galanate out of Switzerland (who has a new project and shoe in the works)! 



Saturday, December 5, 2020

Proud Mary - The Roxton Family Saga by Lucinda Brandt

      I had the pleasure of working with Lucinda Brant on the jewelry for her new book covers for the Roxton Family Saga.  She also wrote the Foreward in my Tea in 18th Century America book).


     Before I could actually visualize the jewelry I needed to make, I had to read the books.  To save some time, I actually listened to them while driving to and from the farm, or while making jewelry at my work table.  I was so glad that they were also offered in audio books.  So convenient!  I must say, I couldn't wait for to listen to the next book.  I went through withdrawal when I finished the last one!  But, it was then time to get to work, and Lucinda and I collaborated to come up with some pretty spectacular jewelry!


     For the book, Proud Mary, I was asked to make an equipage/etui (or chatelaine as we know it today).  Many who know me understand that I own several original watch chains/ equipage/etui from the 18th and 19th centuries.  I study them in order to make reproductions of which I am getting better at doing.  For Lucinda's book cover to look correct, I kind of insisted on an original if I could find it affordably - and Lucinda left it to my vision to create.  On occasion original chains come available at an affordable price - especially if they are not in the best condition at auction.

Chain details after I fixed it.  So many gorgeous details.

     Many would not believe that the equipage on the book cover is not the one that I found in France.  The photo above shows it missing arms, links, and swivel clips.  Looking at the right side of the photo are connectors that I found that would blend well with the originals, but I had to age them.

Chain before aging the connectors

After aging them

All connected
     The etui case is also original, but not to the chain.  It matched it perfectly as if it found its long lost companion.  I was lucky to find it in at auction in England.  It is empty, but would have possibly held folding scissors, tweezers, a lead pencil, connected ivory writing leaves, a snuff spoon, and a bodkin - but that could have been based upon the owner's preferences.

     So why did we create this equipage with silver elements to it?  Well, you must read the book!  ;-)  I can tell you that this project helped me grow as a jeweler, and Lucinda brought that experience to me.  I was so proud of the end result, and that it is now in her hands and on the cover of her book forever is a beautiful thing.

     Mary's pearl jewelry - also worn by Deborah on Midnight Marriage - is available at this link to my Etsy shop.  I also carry sash buckles as she is wearing in the buckles area of the shop.


     If you get down to this point, please check out the post about the creation of the book cover on Lucinda's page.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

      It has been a while since I wrote on my website, and I wanted to do so this week.  It is Thanksgiving this week, and there are so many things to be thankful for even through all we have gone through in 2020.  There are many things to remember, which includes giving thanks to God, enjoying time with your family and friends, reestablishing friendships that may need rekindling, and overall having joy in a season of giving.  In a world right now that continues to propagate fear and negativity - it is up to us to be the example we wish to see in the world. 

      General George Washington "declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional government and reiterated that in 1789."  You can see the full text below and at this link.

"By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington..."


Monday, October 12, 2020

UPDATE! Martha Washington's Reproduction Garnet Earrings - Martha's Style

      I wanted to share a quick note to show you the progress of the Martha Washington's garnet earrings!  I wrote a post a month or so ago when I shared the visit to measure and hold the originals.  You can read about that - here.

     The samples arrived early last week from my design instructions - and WOW!  They turned out beautifully.  They will be in the shop in the coming weeks, just in time for the holidays.  For those who want to make a pre-order, just contact me through Etsy and I will open a listing before they arrive.  

     Make sure that you sign up for my newsletter!  I just recently sent out a note with some updates.  

Original Rosette Forget Me Not Earrings with both pendants.  The teardrop on the right was converted into a screw back earring at some point in its history.  Screw backs were introduced in the very late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Holding the original

Holding the reproduction

Option to wear just the rosette for day wear or everyday as Martha did!


I will eventually make the teardrop into a pendant - right now it is a separate earring with an earwire on the back.  Available in the shop!

Friday, October 9, 2020

Fall 2020

      This year has certainly been odd, and had its challenges.  In-person events have been cancelled, and gatherings have been restricted to very limited numbers.  As therapeutics are coming out to help people, and a vaccine imminent for those who will take it, I am praying that we will start to see things to back to normal.  

     I have been busy over the past couple of months.  Mount Vernon held their Market Fair in September!  The weather was great, and the show very successful.  Thank you to everyone who came out and visited my shop.  

Looking at the mansion house on Saturday during the show - jacket by Verdanta

Traditional photo with His Excellency General Washington!

With Krista Jasillo - taking a break

My new riding habit by Beau Robbins - turned out spectacular!  I hope to wear it
again very soon


     I also visited Colonial Williamsburg a week or so ago.  It is always nice to get down to the city and visit.  The hospitality is always lovely.

Showing off my new handmade custom 18th century boots by Kevin Garlick.  I walked about in these for 6 hours and they were absolutely perfectly comfortable!

Showing off the detail of my riding habit by Sycamore Spring Clothier - Shirt buckle available in my shop in multiple colors!

Full length photo of my outfit - a copy from the print "Shooting Pony" dated about 1780 (below) - I do need to find a fabric that has the embroidery on it for the petticoat!  Hat by Erik and Eliza Lichack of Early American Music and Arts

Shooting Pony" dated about 1780

Had to get a few minutes of horse time while there!

They always know a horse person!  :-)

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Interview with ShoutoutHTX of VoyageHouston

      I was recommended for an interview by Jennifer McKay Higgins Art and Floorcloths with ShoutoutHTX of VoyageHouston.  They focus and highlight on small business.  The nice thing was it was an on-line interview which allowed me to think about the answers to the questions.

     You can read the interview at this ShoutoutHTX Link, and please leave feedback or share it on your social media so more will know about me and the horses.  The article will give you an idea of how and why I started my business - all about love, dignity, respect for a horse.

     The photos included in the article are to highlight a couple of products that I make/offer, and those wearing it.  There is even a photo of me and my horse, Docs Painted Cotton (Haddy) outside of historic reproduction clothing.

     The photos include Laura Pulecio taken by Cody Jefferies, Krista Jasillo, Mylene Palisse of Allures D'Antan, and Eliza Vincz-Lichack of the Early American Music and Arts.

Photo taken by Robin Matty at Cliveden House in Phildelphia.  Gown, cap, hat, kerchief, and apron made by Sarah Haynes Cowan, jewery by me, shoes are American Duchess Kensington with my Charlotte shoe buckles.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Historic Annapolis on the 4th of July 2020

     I always look forward to going to Annapolis.  The city has a certain feel to it, the historic buildings can give you a sense of walking back in time.  This was the fifth year for the group that I organize to interpret for the 4th of July.  We only had three, and we were in the gardens as the house was closed due to a Maryland State mandate for COVID-19.

I made the mask to match my gown, and the umbrella was used 
to keep sun off of me was made by Barrington Brolly

     We were able to interpret without a modern mask and ensured we were safe with visitors and employees of the site by holding up a fan or the historic mask to our faces.  This was in-line with how they did things in the 18th century.  It was 1776 after all!  Mr. Paca, while in Phildelphia, was gracious enough to allow us to enjoy his gardens while he was away.

Kerry and I on the terrance.  Photo by Robin Matty.

     I am sure that you want to know more about these masks!  A friend of mine, Philippe Halbert, has done research about them.  He talks about how "protective face coverings have emerged as a potent multifaceted metaphor the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite inconsistent examples set by elected leaders and conflicting recommendations made by public health officials, unisex masks have steadily assumed a greater role in social distancing measures and become mandatory in certain settings outside the home. Options range from standard blue and white surgical masks to creative DIY improvisations and “Corona Couture.” Some museums are looking to add homemade masks to their collections as a way to document the crisis. Worn for slightly different reasons and more implicitly gendered, the masks owned by early American women and even children were no less symbolic in terms of practical use, commodification, or controversy."

The Antigua-born Penelope Royall Vassall (masked and socially distanced), 
by Joseph Blackburn, circa 1755, Massachusetts Historical 
Society taken from Philippe's article.

     "Notwithstanding their association with pre-Lenten carnival and the masquerade, early modern masks also served utilitarian, health-related purposes, namely protection against sun and windburn, and the preservation of a light or pale complexion for European women and those of European descent living in the Americas.  Believed to have originated in sixteenth-century Italy, oval masks sometimes referred as “vizards,” “visors,” and even “invisories” in early English sources were available in black, brown, green, red, and “natural” colored velvet. They appear to have changed little in overall design and materiality as they made their way across Europe and the Atlantic Ocean by the mid-seventeenth century."  To read more about this go to this - link.  

Kerry talking with visitors, our indentured servant (Carolyn) sitting behind, 
and me listening intently.  Kerry is holding up her mask to talk with them.  Photo by Ken Tom.

I was reading to Kerry from a pamphlet I had just received about coffee.  Photo by Ken Tom.

Kerry holding up her mask (fan from my shop).  She made her mask from 
leather and covered it with cotton velvet.  Photo by Ken Tom.

A closer detail of me and my mask.  You can find mask forms at 
your local craft store.  I covered mine with a cranberry felt.  Photo by Ken Tom.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Martha Washington's Garnet Earrings

     I was blessed today to be able to go to George Washington's Mount Vernon here in Virginia - what I like to call the 8th Wonder of the World - to look at the garnet earrings owned and worn (and cherished) by Martha Washington.  Martha Washington had an amazing, simple, and elegant style.

     A year or two ago, I recreated the garnet cluster teardrop that had been converted into a screw back earring in the early 20th century.  The reproductions are currently being offered in the George Washington's gift shop as well as my Etsy shop.  Mount Vernon also offers my reproduction garnet necklace and another style earrings in their shop.  (Go check it out!)

On the left is the original pendant (turned screwback earring) and the right my 
reproduction with an earwire back - Courtesy Mount Vernon Ladies Association

     In 1760, George Washington recorded the receipt of an invoice dated December 26th, detailing his latest purchases from London. Therein he listed "A pair 3 dropt Garnet Earings" bought from a jeweler named J. Grymes to grace the ears of his wife, Martha. Martha Washington was no stranger to garnet jewelry, having received a necklace and hair ornament the year before. In the 18th century, "dropt" earrings referred to earrings with removable dangling pendants. Prized for their versatility and elegance, the earrings could be changed to accommodate the occasion for which they were worn.

Rosette Forget Me Not Earring and Chinese Bow drop next to the teardrop 
cluster that was once a pendant and hung from the rosette

     My point in going was to measure the rest of the earring and pendant - above left - in which to reproduce it.  It was absolutely amazing to hold the earrings that Martha Washington actually wore - and subsequent generations of owners until they ended up to be preserved for posterity.  This was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am very grateful to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and Associate Curator, Amanda Isaac.  Thank you!

Garnet moon shaped brooch (converted and originally started out as a hair ornament and a future project of mine) next to the earrings