Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Updates for Spring 2020

     It has been over a month since I wrote or posted on my blog.  Lots has been going on with the COVID-19 virus shutdown of businesses, and the cancellation of all events in the entire United States and the world.  I hear everyday that these are unprecedented times, and I agree.

 Bespoke Watch Chain

     So what has been going on?  I am ever continuing to do research, make new items for the shop, take in custom requests for jewelry (watch chain above is just one of those), care for my horses and cats, and I decided to spend some time doing things that I never have time for within my home.  So there has been a lot of painting within several rooms and other upgrades where possible.  Yes, I am doing the painting using historical paint colors!  That keeps me off of social media quite a bit, so if I do not respond or see something right away, now you know why.

One wall of my Dining Room.  The area above the chair rail is a sage green, the
bottom had a faux paint finish from the prior owners.  I used Great Barrington Green - 
a Historic Paint color by Benjamin Moore Paints below which turned out amazing.

     With the cancellation of all events, my Spring income for the horses did not come in to pay for several months board, their spring vaccines, physicals, and insurance.  I am, however, grateful for everyone who has been supporting the horses via my Etsy shop.  Without the Spring events, it makes it hard to develop or invest in new items or restock some of my current products as all monies go to pay for the horses or back into some business expenses.  Many new items are things that I have already had, so everyone will benefit from unique and lovely pieces.

     The Journal of the American Revolution wrote a great review of my book, Tea in 18th Century America and I advertised for a couple of months on their siteIf you do not have a copy, it is a wonderful book (yes, I am a bit biased).  When buying from my shop, I can send you a signed and/or personalized copy.

     Will be working on a refresher of my presentation on tea given at Historic Annapolis, hopefully will be able to sell at the Fort Loudoun Market Fair & Firelock Match from Friday, 26 June to Sunday 28 June, information on a program for the 4th of July in the Paca House and Gardens.

     Horses today.  


Nelson begging for a peppermint

Handsome Diablo

Mallory and Mindy - Thug Life

Haddy - she still has a small area on her face that is healing from a cut a few weeks ago




Friday, April 10, 2020

Autumn Duchess - Book 3 in the Roxton Family Saga by Lucinda Brant

     So very excited about the release of the new book cover and behind the scenes video of Autumn Duchess by Lucinda Brant!  

     In the very best style, Lucinda has done it again with her research in creating a beautiful and accurate book cover.  I am very proud to be a part of this project.  

     With this cover, you can see that Antonia (Alissa Bourne) is wearing her emerald and diamond jewelry (necklace, bracelet, earrings, and ring).  Added is a five strand pearl bracelet which is now also available in my shop!  The "portrait" within the bracelet are from Noble Satyr.

     That isn't the only wonderful thing about this cover, what is inside is also just as wonderful.  The story line is fabulous.  For those of us who love historical romance, we also like historical accuracy.  When reading her books, you always receive those accurate details that some other authors don't go to the trouble to truly research.  Lucinda's blog post on why she decided to update the covers of her books is located - here.

     To watch the Behind the Scenes video - you can see it below.  My jewelry is highlighted in the video, thank you Lucinda!


Friday, March 13, 2020

Puzzle Ring for Historic Jamestowne in Virginia

     It is my pleasure to announce my connection to Historic Jamestowne in Virginia!  They are now offering select items in their gift shop, and I was able to work with them on a custom ring found in their collections!

     Historic Jamestowne in Virginia is the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America.  It is a treasure for our country to be able to visit and understand what they went through, where they lived, and how they lived. 

Original Ring - it is thin

          The other item that I was able to help them realize as a reproduction, and offer in the shop, is the gold Gimmel/Puzzle ring that was found on-site and in their collections.

     The three gold wavy and twisted hoops fit together to form a finger ring called a puzzle ring.  The original has a small heart just found in the twist on one of the rings that also makes it unique and also a gimmel.  Gimmel rings, also called joint rings, were commonly used in the 16th and 17th century to signify a betrothal, marriage, or a friendship.  Finger rings were popular dress accessories at the time of Jamestown’s settlement. 

Reproduction Gimmel / Puzzle Ring

On my finger

     You can see lots of portraits and prints on my Pinterest board which I use for my research - including on that has 17th century and before portraits within it and another with rings.

     These rings are exclusive to Jamestowne, but will also be offered in my Etsy shop!  They will come in vermeil (gold-plate over sterling silver) and sterling silver.  So there is an option for those with allergies to gold plate.

     On my YouTube channel, I have created a video on just how to put the ring together.  You will receive a step by step picture guide on how to do this, but some people (like myself) learn better by mimicking.

The video can also be seen by clicking HERE

Friday, March 6, 2020

Presentation - Mrs. Mary Chew Paca - One of the Best of Women

     I had the honor to be asked to present again during the Winter Lecture series in Historic Annapolis. This time, we gave a presentation about Mary Chew Paca on 29 February.

     As with many women from that time period, there is not a lot written down, left, or found about them.  In Mary's case, it is the same; however, I decided to delve into her family, friends, and acquaintances in order to "paint a portrait" of her and her life.  This is especially due to the fact that we do not have an actual portrait of her that either survived or that we know about right now.  That clever title came from Kerry McClure who assisted me with the presentation.  

 Henrietta Maria Lloyd Chew Dorsey by by John Wollaston circa 1750s

Margaret Chew Bordley 1752 by John Wollaston the Younger 
The Huntington Collection

     However, we do know of the existence of portraits of two of Mary's sisters by John Wollaston (above) which I would like to think that Mary had one painted as well.  Would she have had a different gown and color on?  Mary's mother, Henrietta Maria Lloyd Chew, married Daniel Dulany, Sr. after Samuel Chew (Mary's father) passed away when Mary was a baby.  Mary's mother was smart, and it was an extremely well made match.  She had already had a considerable fortune, he had a considerable fortune, and both had amazing family connections.  This brought the two together.  Another thing that I found out during my research was that Mary's father was also a descendant of John Chew, one of those who came into Jamestown in 1622, and there is a connection to the Cliveden Chew Family of Phildelphia.  She was also connected to Edward Lloyd below (Mary's mother was a Lloyd), and Edward was a second cousin.

Edward Lloyd with wife Elizabeth Tayloe and daughter Anne 1771

     During my presentation, I did not compare Mary to other women in the time period, as I feel that based upon the description in her obituary she was an amazing person in her own right, and well loved.  No reason to compare her.  She did grow up privileged, and was in the very highest of society in Annapolis and the colonies during the time.  

William Paca by Charles Willson Peale, 1772
(Mary was alive when this was painted, and they knew Peale - 
did he paint her as well?  That is what I want to know.)

     In my opinion, Mary was the reason that her husband, William Paca (a signer of the Declaration of Independence) was elevated in his law career and station in life.  She came to the marriage with a considerable dowry, amazing family connections, and thus was able to also build what is now the "Paca House and Gardens" in Annapolis, Maryland.  There was a lot of building in the town from 1765 onward of the most amazing large brick houses.  Mary also inherited, from her brother, half of the Wye Island Plantation and other land, which William Paca owned after her death in 1774.  She died shortly after giving birth to her son, William.

Mrs. Ogle, Mrs. Paca, and their servant Sarah

     With this presentation, we added a living history aspect with Mary (Gema Gonzalez) and Ann Tasker Ogle (Kerry McClure) to the mix talking about things in town and the latest gossip.  We also had two servants to help.  I provided  background information on Mary's life in Annapolis, the city she knew, the things going on based upon the articles in the Maryland Gazette.  I know that I have only scratched the surface of her life.

The hair has been started!

Gema (Mary) sitting having her hair done by Eliza (her lady's maid)

     We then added an element of Mary getting ready for an evening Ball, so she had her maid prepare her hair and make-up and then dress her.  Mrs. Ogle left to change for the Ball, and returned waiting for Mrs. Paca to finish dressing.  Eliza Vincz Lichack and Robin Marchionni were the servants of the day, and did an amazing job.  We believe, but are not certain, that Mary would have had an enslaved person tending to her.  That person may have come from her mother's estate when she passed away (1766), and/or came with Mary when she married William to her new household.  It probably would have been someone she grew up with, knew, and trusted.  We just do not know.

Hair is finished!

Dressing for the Ball (Eliza, Gema, and Robin)

Final details and Kerry returned waiting to leave for the Ball

Ready for the ball!

     When doing presentations like this, I had to delve into Mary's genealogy and we focused on 1772.  Reading the Maryland Gazette also allowed me to know the things going on in town, in the colonies, etc.

     Erik Lichack was also there with us, providing support.

Erik, Eliza, and me
As always, the site provides snacks and something to drink for the visitors

The assembled cast

Pure shenanigans!  Mary is ready for the ball and her servants are happy because she was one of the best of women.


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Nelson in Colonial Williamsburg

     A wonderful video of my Nelson in Colonial Williamsburg with Mark Schneider riding him - a lovely tribute and montage.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Tea with Mrs. Martha Washington at Mount Vernon

     Every year it has become a tradition for me and a few friends to attend the tea at George Washington's Mount Vernon that is hosted by his lovely wife, Mrs. Martha Washington.  It is held in the Inn, and consists of sitting with Mrs. Washington for a spell while she talks about the latest going on at her home, and then we go in and have a small bit of refreshment.  

L-R - Kerry, me, Elizabeth Keaney (Mrs. Washington), and Gema

     This year, despite the light snow and call for sleet in the afternoon, we made it there and enjoyed the couple of hours in her company.  I look forward to possibly going again in the fall, but will sign up again next year!  I love supporting Mount Vernon.

L-R - Shane, Kerry, me, and Gema

A wonderful snack with Bohea tea

My book in the gift shop next to a huge tea cannister!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Historic Annapolis - 7 December 2019 Christmas Program

     On 7 December, the group that I organize came together again at Historic Annapolis to bring the Paca House and Gardens to life!  Their amazing volunteer photographer - Ken Tom - took our photos again and I was given permission to share some of them.

     The assembled company included Mrs. Ann Mary Paca, her family, friends, His Excellency Governor Robert Eden and Mrs. Eden.  The local dance mistress was also there to lead everyone in English Country dance!

     The year was 1769, and the Pacas are having a small get together discussing holiday plans, the house being built next door, balls in town for the season, and some political news slips in here and there with the men.

Mrs. Ann Mary Paca (Gema) and Mrs. Charles Carroll the Barrister (Charles)

     As part of our program, we spoke about the taxes imposed by the Townshend Acts and how they were a big political issue of the day.  William Paca was serving on the Committee of Inspection charged with enforcing the local non-importation agreement, and several newspaper stories and advertisements made note of the fact that goods coming into town had to be cleared with the Committee before they could be sold.  As publishers of the Gazette , Anne Catharine Green and her son included many stories of other American cities enforcing similar non-importation pacts, which undoubtedly helped strengthen local resolve and the idea that all the colonies were standing together on this anti-taxation issue.  Even if the Pacas and their guests are trying to steer clear of political talk in December 1769, there was no way to avoid the fact that political matters were affecting what one could or could not (or should and should not) buy in local stores.  Even as Governor Eden builds social ties with the local elites, he’s most likely thinking of how this will also help bolster his political position.

Mathias Borley, Mr. John Beale Bordley (Jim), Mrs. Eleanor Hall (Marie-Louise), 
Mr. Brice Beale (Michael)

     So much fun was had by all.

Mrs. Margaret Bordley (me) and Mrs. Caroline Eden (Krista)

Mrs. Caroline Eden (Krista) and Mrs. Margaret Bordley (me)

Mr. Charles Carroll the Barrister (Charles) and Mrs. Caroline Eden (Krista)

Mr. Charles Carroll the Barrister (Charles) in the Hall

Mrs. Margaret Bordley (me), Mrs. Bersche (Elizabeth), Mrs. Margaret Carroll (Michelle), Mrs. Wood (Victoria), and Mr. Charles Carroll the Barrister (Charles)

Mrs. Margaret Carroll (Michelle) and Mr. Charles Carroll the Barrister (Charles) 

 Mrs. Ann Worthington (Robin), Mrs. Margaret Bordley (me), Mrs. Caroline Eden (Krista)

Mr. Charles Carroll the Barrister (Charles), Mrs. Ann Worthington (Robin), Mrs. Bersche (Elizabeth), Mrs. Margaret Carroll (Michelle), Mrs. Wood (Victoria)

And we were joined by Mrs. Morgan (Karen) 

His Excellency Governor Robert Eden (Harry), Mrs. Caroline Eden (Krista), Mrs. Ann Mary Paca (Gema), Colonel Horatio Sharpe (Shane), Mrs. Margaret Bordley (me), and 
Mrs. Ann Tasker Ogle (Kerry) 

 Some libations for the guests

Mrs. Morgan (Karen) and Mathias Bordley

Mathias Bordley and Mr. John Beale Bordley (Jim) 

Mr. Charles Carroll the Barrister (Charles), Colonel Horatio Sharpe (Shane), and His Excellency Governor Robert Eden (Harry)

Amazing music by our musician Jeff Steinberg