Friday, September 20, 2019

George Washington's Mount Vernon Market Fair 2019

     I had a great time at the Market Fair this year, and thanks to all who came in and purchased from my shop.  It is greatly appreciated, and helps me so much since my Mindy has been having ulcer issues.  I know I am due an update to everyone on her.

     Photos are a bit scarce this year, and I was out of the shop when the General came by as I usually want my annual photo, but I did get to greet and walk with him on his way to meet and talk with the many guests that were on the grounds.

     Hope to see many at my next show which is 12-13 October at Mount Harmon Plantation at World's End in Earleville, Maryland.

Looking wistfully outside, relaxing and waiting to go to dinner in the Mount Vernon Inn (which is excellent by the way and a must "to do" if visiting)  Photo by Krista Jasillo

 With Kerry McClure and Beau Robbins

 Andrea Williams McEvoy and Mount Vernon's young Martha (aka Elizabeth Keaney) with my new book and in front of my shop.  Hot day but loved catching up and meeting new friends.

Andrea Williams McEvoy holding a signed copy of my book on the Piazza!

Holding my Barrington Brolly in rose silk!  Also love the new pineapple finials on my tent poles!  

Gema set up a tea table out back in tribute to my new book!  Wow, looks so amazing.  Tea bowls and saucers are by Stephen Earp.

My assistants for the weekend!  So grateful to these ladies for taking their time to help me in the shop.  Couldn't do it without them.  We were slammed!

Holding the first copy of 100 of "White Cockade" by Pamela Patrick White (the horse is my Nelson if you haven't guessed!)

Standing with the artist herself - holding my new giclee!

Shenanigans!  What is going on behind my tent Robin and Krista!?  LOL

With Stephen Earp - who made the teacups in the photo above of the tea service - absolutely perfect delft style pottery!

Toasting a great weekend, fun times, great friendship with 1-year old Fish House Punch! 

Peace out with Gema and Krista

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Georgian Summer - faces_n_Style Instagram Challenge

     A month or so ago, I posted that I was asked to donate and judge a challenge by faces_n_style on Instagram!  My theme was "Georgian Summer" and the idea was for people to post a photo of themselves, or that they had taken, on the day chosen.  The challenge was actually held the entire month with everyday being a different theme.  

     The items I decided to offer for the winner was a beautiful flower forget me not collet necklace, matching earrings, matching pendant on a black ribbon, and one of the Martha Washington Dove brooches - all of these exclusive to my shop.  My idea was to give something that can be worn everyday as well as for living history.  Yes, it was a lot to offer, but why not make someone happy!?  

     When it came time for day 16, the posts flooded in.  There were a total of 353 entries, some with multiple photos in them!!!  You can see them all at this link or by typing in #day16vintagesummer2019 to find them on Instagram.

     I reviewed all of the photos many times, and chose 12 of my favorites.  That in itself was very hard, and took me a few days to do.

     My criteria was - did I see "Georgian Summer" in the photo?  What is Georgian Summer to me?  I asked some of my friends their thoughts, and got great feedback on what they saw.  I did not look at who the person was that posted the photo, where they lived, or anything else as I wanted to focus on the photos themselves.

     Then I narrowed it down to three.  

     The one that I kept coming back to every time, and the one I chose was this one -

Photo by Yana Yurevna Belova
aka holly_madchen on Instagram

     In my mind, the woman in the photo depicts a carefree happiness in the heart of summer.  Her umber damask gown has movement and reflects the sun as she dances among the trees.  The flower in her hand as if she just received it from her lover or admirer which makes her smile secretly.  I also noticed the pearls!  Her hair exquisitely made up.

Yana Yurevna Belova

     The photographer of this amazing image is Yana and as depicted above.  She is an amazing photographer and she also dresses up in varying impressions, and owns the gelding she is riding below!  How cool is it that I chose a photo of which the photographer is also an equestrian?  I honestly had no idea, I had assumed that the person in the photo entered it into the challenge.

 Yana Yurevna Belova and her gorgeous chestnut gelding

     I wanted to thank everyone who entered this challenge!  It was fun to be asked to participate in it, to see everyone show off their creative talents, and to meet Yana who took the photo. 

Yana Yurevna Belova

Friday, August 23, 2019

Review - Tea in 18th Century America

Tea in 18th Century America
Kimberly K. Walters

By Lynn Price
Assistant Research Professor, University of Virginia
Assistant Editor, The Washington Papers

             Kimberly K. Walters is well known and respected in the living history community for her myriad roles and contributions. As the owner of the Sign of the Gray Horse, Walters designs and reproduces historically inspired jewelry—with all proceeds going to rescued horses—that has been used in television shows and documentaries, on book covers, and at events throughout the United States and abroad. She is also a prolific living historian, belonging to several military reenactment units, portraying various personas at historic sites, and teaching and demonstrating her skills as a master cook with authentic recipes. Walters' first book, A Book of Cookery, by a Lady, is an extension of her expertise in 18th century open hearth cooking. Her newest work, Tea in 18th Century America, highlights her research as an historian focusing on colonial America and the early republic through the lens of tea and its social, cultural, economical, and political impact on the new nation.

             Tea in 18th Century America begins with the history of tea in England and its arrival in North America, tracing its ebbs and flows in popularity and the cultural meaning attached to its use. The book then brings tea alive for the modern reader, offering recipes of meals to take with tea and desserts, and even a chapter on historical measurements to assist with recreating such recipes—for those of us who may not be entirely familiar with the size that corresponds with "As Thin as a Shilling"! Tea concludes with a biographical chapter on Margaret Tilghman Carroll, to whom the book is dedicated, and her life through recipes. Readers will find an extensive variety of primary sources consulted and quoted, including newspaper advertisements, poems espousing the virtues of tea, correspondence, diaries, financial accounts, legal acts, and paintings that together create a vivid narrative.

             Tea in 18th Century America offers insights that span a wide range of topics and interests. Walters' examination of pre-revolutionary America and the power of tea as a symbol of tyranny or patriotism sheds light on the creation of an American identity. Her clear explanations of legal acts and taxes on commodities set the stage for Americans' outrage over the monopoly held by the East India Tea Company and the beverages' drop in popularity as revolutionary sentiments grew. To drink tea became a political act. Walters also includes the important aspect of material culture that is vital to understanding tea as a commodity. Enjoying tea required tea sets, teapots, spoons, tea chests, and various other accoutrements, markers of class and financial status. Taking tea, Walters illustrates, was often a performative act in social settings, with rules to be followed and customs to learn. Tea was so much more than a delightful hot beverage.

             Novices to the world of tea need not hesitate to approach Tea in 18th Century America. Nothing is assumed, and practical knowledge included in the work adds to its educational benefits. A simple list of tea varieties of the 18th century and definitions of the words associated with tea sends the reader away with valuable historical knowledge. For example, Walters' writes that in the era, "a dish of tea was in reality a cup of tea, for the word 'dish' meant a cup or vessel used for drinking as well as a utensil to hold food at meals" (65). Once the reader is fully introduced to the world of 18th century tea, historical recipes ("receipts" in contemporary vernacular) with detailed instructions invite readers to step back in time and take tea in a new way for modern Americans. Thankfully, a chapter of cooking terms and definitions provides additional help for the less culinary inclined of us.

             Kimberly Walters offers a well researched, well written, and enlightening history of tea in 18th century America in one manageable volume. Tea in 18th Century America's usefulness to historians, living historians, interpreters, reenactors, and others in the field is clear, as is its interest to history fans and tea fans alike. For a beverage that inspired such words as, "And I lift you to my lip, And, like nectar, thee I sip; Oh! how charming is the bliss Of thy aromatic kiss!" (20) should never be resigned to the past.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Tea in 18th Century America

     My book is finally ready!  I have opened up pre-orders at $10 less than the retail price within my Etsy shop until 12 August.  I am very proud of this book, and hope you enjoy it!

     There is a link on my website that you can read a little bit more about it.  

     I have a Pinterest board showing portraits and prints regarding tea in the 18th century!  I love Pinterest that it helps me organize a lot of my visual research and lets me share it with you.

Thinking of my Dad...

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Luckenbooth Brooch also known as a Shirt or Kerchief (Fichu) Buckle

     I have finally introduced a reproduction brooch that was made after an original 18th century Luckenbooth pin with the crown.  The original was owned by a friend.  She allowed me to borrow it as I needed to take a photo and measure it in order to have it recreated.  It was an honor just to hold it!

Original pin - front and back

     Working with my manufacturer, the final result is stupendous!  The quality is also amazing for a plated piece, and I'm very satisfied with the result.  They is made with rhinestones and measure 1 inch wide by 1-1/2 inches high.

     As many know, I love color.  I went a little overboard on these - but decided to offer a variety (as is my business motto) at reasonable rates.  Creating the traditional silver and clear paste version, I am also offering the same thing in gold - realizing that many like to shake it up a bit and like gold over silver or vice versa.  In the 18th century, they often gold-washed silver which is what we call vermeil today, but then it was a plating (not the same technique we have today).  It can get confusing, but let's just say there is something here to satisfy everyone here.  

Eunice Huntington Devotion, Winthrop Chandler, 1772 in the Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Conn Detail

     You will also notice that I did have some made with a color heart and a clear crown.  I have also seen these in extant examples of originals - and they were worn well into the 19th and 20th centuries - bringing them back now in the 21st to wear for everyday or your living history needs.

     Overall, I had made in silver and gold-plate - clear, amethyst, amethyst/clear crown, garnet, jonquil, montana blue, garnet/clear crown, amethyst, olivine, rose, peridot, and emerald.  

John Murchie by John Durand at The Valentine 1780 detail

     These became available for purchase on 10 July 2019 in my Etsy shop.  Check them out and get one for every outfit!

 Amethyst with clear crown


Jonquil (which is a yellow/green color)



 Garnet with clear crown

     Some of you may be interested in where the name "Luckenbooth" comes from. Well, luckenbooth is a Scots word for a lockable stall or workshop. It comes from the 15th-century luckenbooths of Edinburgh where silversmiths and goldsmiths sold their jewelry and trinkets, situated on the Royal Mile between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood (sadly the stalls were demolished in 1817). One of the most popular items sold in these shops was what came to be known as the Luckenbooth brooch, a heart with a crown on it. One legend of the original Luckenbooth brooch is that it was a symbol of love and devotion given by Mary Queen of Scots to Lord Darnley which was soon copied by the crafty jewelers of Edinburgh.  The Luckenbooth heart and crown has become a popular symbol in Scotland, both as a love token and to ward off evil and protect the wearer.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Roxton Jewelry Collection

     I'm behind on my blog posts and all of the things happening with the shop.  

     For those who love historical romance and did not see the post by Lucinda Brant on her webpage - she is coming out with new book covers for the Roxton Family Saga!  

     Her article is fascinating!  I often do not have time to sit down and read anymore, and Lucinda also offers these on Audible - an amazing way to listen to her books on my way to the farm.  I was absolutely hooked!  I was able to work with her on the project and was honored to do so.  She was meticulous and wanted every detail correct.  Her research and mine came together in this instant!  Lucinda mentions me and my shop in her article which is very exciting ~

          "Commissioned 18th Century reproduction jewelry.
          As my readers know, my characters’ fabulous 
          clothing is complemented by equally fabulous 
          jewelry. So I commissioned K. Walters At the 
          Sign of the Gray Horse, an 18th Century 
          reproduction jewelry maker extraordinaire, to 
          create the jewelry I describe in the books, from
          Antonia’s emerald and diamond choker, to the 
          Duke’s emerald ducal ring, and Lady Mary’s 
          equipage (chatelaine). It’s all there!

          What is even more exciting, Kimberly will be 
          offering the Roxton Collection of 18th Century 
          jewelry in her Etsy store. All profit from sales go 
          to support the upkeep of Kimberly’s rescue horses. 
          I dare you to resist owning your very own Antonia
          emerald bracelet, or Rory’s pineapple earrings! 
          Stay tuned for the Roxton Jewelry Collection debut!"

Stay tuned!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Giveaway with Faces_n_Style on Instagram!

Dear friends!  

     #faces_n_style on Instagram is having a Vintage Summer Challenge in August I have some amazing news !  Sign of the Gray Horse is a part of the giveaway.  

     I will select my favorite photo for those who enter and tag #GeorgianSummer and am offering an exclusive gift with a Forget Me Not Clear Crystal Collet necklace, earrings (with Gold-Filled Earwires and South Sea Shell Pearls), and matching pendant with black ribbon AND ! an exclusive Martha Washington pearl dove brooch in gold to match the parure.

     Check with our pages to see when it ends so be sure to get your photos uploaded and tagged.

Please follow #signofthegrayhorse on Instagram and tag me in your posts.

All Proceeds go to my rescued and adopted Colonial Williamsburg Horses which are very much loved !

Photos below are of clients.