Thursday, March 4, 2021

Satyr's Son by Lucinda Brant

      I've been so honored to work with Lucinda Brant on her new book covers, and this last one - Satyr's Son - is no exception.  The jewelry in this book was limited due to the overall story.  Lucinda's Blog has the main article about the making of the book cover and her research.  The article includes a bit of information about my jewelry and the Roxton Jewelry Collection available in my Etsy shop.

     In the Satyr's Son cover portrait, Lisa wears a gorgeous sapphire and diamond wedding ring.  Readers will recognize Lisa's wedding ring which is pretty spectacular - my version is a bit more affordable with real sapphires and Swarovski Crystals in a gold-plate over brass ring.  I will have these rings in stock soon, and you can make a pre-order at any time.  The ring can be made in 10ct or 12ct yellow or white gold or even sterling silver.

The ring above on my hand is real sapphire and clear Swarovski Crystals to make for a spectacular ring.  The contrast in colors is gorgeous, and Henri-Antoine had great taste.

     If you haven't read the Roxton Family Saga, I highly recommend it!  Visit my shop for jewelry mentioned in the book, and make it come to life in your own collection.

 Watch String in cover photo/art.  It was donated to the project by Michael Halbert - the artist who makes these for my shop - you can find many styles there - as well as an appropriate watch.  The watch pictured (isn't truly appropriate for 18th century, it is better for a 19thC impression but hey it was a donation!) was donated to the project by Smiling Fox Forge


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Tea Total - a Review of my Book - Tea in 18th Century America by Laurel Scott

     Kimberly Walters brews a delightful blend with "Tea in 18th Century America," her latest deep-dive into the culture and rituals of the Age of Enlightenment. If you liked her book on 18th century cookery, you won’t be disappointed.

     We all know that tea is a veddy, veddy British custom, and that revolutionary colonists dumped chests of it into Boston Harbor two years before the American Revolution. But did the “tea parties” really end there? The resounding answer: Perish the thought!

     As Walters observes, this traditional beverage has personal meaning for many of us who grew up with it in one form or another. Tea’s story begins here in the 18th century, being a natural extension of an integral part of British society. But did you know that tea was long esteemed for its curative powers? That some considered it vanity to drink it? And that a whole range of traditional accessories (“equipage”) grew up around this drink, as did a certain nuanced etiquette? Even the founding fathers found ways to procure it during the Revolution, which speaks volumes about its role in their everyday lives.

     "Tea in 18th Century America" is charmingly illustrated and bursting with historic anecdotes, period order book entries and inventories galore. Indeed, the first-hand sourcing is impressive and sure to please any history lover. Written almost like a journey of personal discovery, this book also explores the meaning of tea to those colonists who drank it. From political statement to medicinal restorative to de rigueur custom, tea was arguably, as Walters declares, the most “socially, politically and economically important” drink of its day. So popular was it that by 1783, even Gen. George Washington himself was inquiring about fashionable French tea equipage.

     The book’s list of period tea blends and its descriptions of the intricacies of the 18th century tea ceremony are both useful and fascinating. There’s even good advice on how to brew a nice, strong tea of the type prized by colonists. Included, too, are sections on the Tea Act (with related postscripts); period measures, terms and definitions; and a lovely chapter on Margaret Tilghman Carroll, first cousin and sister-in-law of Washington’s wartime aide Tench Tilghman, and her personal receipt (recipe) book.

     Not surprisingly, where "Tea in 18th Century America" really shines is in its collection of period receipts for foods to take with tea on different occasions. From moist angelica, sugared grapes and pickled walnuts to Naples biscuits, seed cake and moulded ices (plus much more), this is a treasure trove of delectable possibilities. Walters even touches on period colorings for confectionery, a rare treat indeed. Best of all, she offers suggestions on how to read and interpret these enticing period receipts.

     I can’t say enough good things about "Tea in 18th Century America." If you love history and tea, it’s a must for your library—and a welcome gift, as well. 

— Laurel Scott, Richmond, VA - Veteran Journalist / Reenactor

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Washington's Armor - Now A Series!

      My friend, Karen Roth - one of the original ladies who founded the TURN, Washington's Spies Black Petticoat Devotee Association - sent a link to a proposed film called Washington's Armor last year.  


Screen Grab from Washington's Armor Website

     I decided to look it up to see what it was all about.  Intrigued, and knowing they may be interested in some of my jewelry for the show, I e-mailed them.  Specifically, my focus was to let them know about the Martha Washington reproduction items that I have in my shop, and/or my special watch and chains/strings.  Was lucky that I received a response!  You can see some of the jewelry in the below photo.  I sell to other production and theatre companies, and often do not see the items being worn so soon.    

     Yesterday, I was sent a video interview with the Epoch Times of Tammy Lane, the owner of Capernaum Studios and the director/producer of Washington's Armor.  She identifies that this show will be a series with the first season having six episodes.  It is a project and story of the young Washington that really isn't highlighted.  Washington's life is shaped in his early years, and she discusses that in the interview.  Those of us who study the time period will love to see this story come to life on the screen.


     Let's hope to see more as the show is created, and I look forward to watching it when it comes out! 


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Quizzing Glass or Quizzer

     A new product is coming soon!  My reproduction quizzing glass, or quizzer, will grace my shop in mid to late March 2021.  Made after my very own original, it will have a 1.5-2.0 magnification (many originals were just glass and for show).  I will offer a gold and silver version - both are plated over copper.  The handle is held together by the screw just as the original was made.  

     My research shows, to date, that quizzers were a precursor to lorgnettes and a progression from monocles!  Or were they all coming out about the same time?  I have found an interesting article by Candace Hern - here - with some research on these unique items.  It seems that her earliest version of a quizzing glass is dated 1750.  I'm not sure I can do better than what she has put together, but will be continuing my research into them, and putting together a Pinterest board as well showing portraits and prints of ladies and men holding them.  A link to my Pinterest boards is - here

Above - gold and silver quizzing glasses with my original in the center.  Measures 3 inches long.

     When searching for quizzing glasses in portraits and prints, I came across a few from the Regency (Federalist) period.  I am still on the look out for earlier prints so contact me if you see them!

Portrait miniature of a young lady by James Heath Millington wearing her quizzing glass from a chain (dated about 1810-1820)

Rosamund Hester Elizabeth Pennell Croker, Later Lady Barrow 1827 - her quizzing glass looks very similar to mine!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

New York The Strategist Magazine

      Today my Etsy shop went crazy for the purchase of my brass Dove of Peace brooch.  Unbeknownst to me, it was advertised in the on-line, New York The Strategist, magazine.  Needless to say they sold out within minutes, and I hope to have something similar back in stock next week.  These are brooches that I make, and the dove was vintage.  A new style will take its place, which is also limited in number.  Check out the article below.  Lady Gaga's bird brooch was HUGE and mine is small.  But the free press is priceless with the thanks to God.  You can see the full article at this link.


     I continue to stock my Martha Washington dove pin which is a reproduction of her original.  You can find it at this link.

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..."