Monday, December 21, 2009

So this is where it's lead me

So, while thinking of a couple of ideas for new designs that day while I was looking at ebay, I remembered I had several old pocket watches that had belonged to two of my grandfathers, one great grandfather and one great great grandfather. There is also a wristwatch that belonged to my father. I've had these for years and have looked at them several times.

So I'm looking at them and I decide to wind them up. Wristwatch starts right up. My grandfather's watch won't even wind. My great grandfather's gold Hamilton pocket watch is the prettiest one of the bunch. I wind it up...nuthin'. I put it on my shelf and picked up the oldest watch that belonged to Judge John Bear in Tuscumbia Missouri. This watch dates from the late 19th century. It winds with a key. I have the key. I attempt to wind it but it will only click twice. I put it aside. I'm beading and I hear a noise. I hit Mute on the remote and listen carefully. I hear ticking!!! I picked up my dad's's still running but you can't hear it. Then I pick up my great grandad Sam's watch and look at's ticking. I put it to my ear and was immediately swept up in a strong memory of sitting on my grampa's lap (Sam's son) with my head on his chest. I can smell the tractor oil and tobacco, feel the warmth of his rough hands on my arm and I can hear the ticking of the pocket watch in the chest pocket of his bib overalls. I sat and listened to it for a long time. Since then (3 days) the watch has continued to run, if I remember to wind it.

My great great grandfather's watch also ran for about 3 and a half minutes. I can't get the key to turn anymore but it was wonderful to put it up to my ear and listen to the same watch ticking as the man who died many years before I was born. He was an admirable man who did a lot of good and left the world a better place. I've always thought a lot of him so it was very special to hear his watch.

They are all still sitting here on the little shelf in front of my work space. Comforting in a way. I need to get me a watch to stick in the box too! I don't even wear one...

Nothing much about beads but just thought I'd share.

I hope you will draw your family close and tell them how much you love them during this holiday season. I'm going to.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mental meanderings while perusing ebay...

So I've been on this "trip" through ebay looking at lots of Victorian jewelry. Looking at shapes, materials, styles for inspiration. I'm already enamored with slide bracelets. I've bought 2 already. I'm working on some ideas for a beaded version but I was always curious of the design. So here's the story on slide bracelets...when ladies and gentlemen wore a pocket watch it was often on a chain. These chains had fobs (charms/seals/etc.) dangling from the clasp that attached the watch to the chain. The other end of the chain was attached to a "T" bar that was inserted into a button hole of the jacket or vest. In my great grandpa's case, it was attached to the strap of his overalls. There were often slides on these chains to lengthen or shorten the length of the chain to adjust for girth, desired drape and the like.

Then at some point (late 1800s, early 1900s) people started switching to wrist watches, the newest thing!.

This from Wikipedia "In 1904, Alberto Santos-Dumont, an early aviator, asked his friend, a French watchmaker called Louis Cartier, to design a watch that could be useful during his flights.[132] The wristwatch had already been invented by Patek Philippe, in 1868, but only as a "lady’s bracelet watch", intended as jewelry. As pocket watches were unsuitable, Louis Cartier created the Santos wristwatch, the first man's wristwatch and the first designed for practical use.[133] Wristwatches gained in popularity during World War I, when officers found them to be more convenient than pocket watches in battle. Also, because the pocket watch was mainly a middle class item, the enlisted men usually owned wristwatches, which they brought with them. Artillery and infantry officers depended on their watches as battles became more complicated and coordinated attacks became necessary. Wristwatches were found to be needed in the air as much as on the ground: military pilots found them more convenient than pocket watches for the same reasons as Santos-Dumont had. Eventually, army contractors manufactured watches en masse, for both infantry and pilots. In World War II, the A-11 was a popular watch among American airmen, with its simple black face and clear white numbers for easy readability."

So what to do with all these beautiful sometimes gem encrusted slides? It became fashionable (and still is!) to collect these slides and put them on a bracelet or necklace chain design for the purpose. So that's the origin of the slide bracelet.

So, this afternoon, while staring at a ladies short watch chain (called an Albertini in this instance) it was mentioned that sometimes these short chains were worn as bracelets. The T bar went through the loop or clasp at the other end in the manner of a toggle clasp. So is that where THAT design is from?

I'm tellin' ya this has been a very valuable excursion looking at vintage jewelry. And it's only cost me about $100 so far. I have a slide bracelet, a white sapphire and marcasite mourning brooch, an old crystal necklace strung on fine chain, and my newest acquisition another slide bracelet. I'll take some pics and show ya. In the meantime I've seen some beautiful shapes and jewelry styles that I hope to translate into beadwork. I highly recommend this sort of activity for inspiration when you are in a bit of a bead slump.

Pictures coming soon!

Happy Holidays!

I sit here surrounded by unwrapped gifts playing on the computer. What is wrong with me? I have candy to make, packages to wrap, house to "clean", yadda yadda I'm looking at pictures of Victorian jewelry for inspiration. I have a couple of new pieces on the bead board and am hoping to get a chance to bead this afternoon! Housework be damned!

So, I'm in Michael's (craft store) yesterday picking up some more containers to put candy in for friends and neighbors, and a woman walks up to me and says "You stand out as one of the most exciting beaders around." I stammered, "Thank do you know? (I had not one lick of beadwork on)...she replied "Oh, I've seen you all decked out!" I thanked her and we talked about having time to bead after the holidays and parted ways. I was very flattered by her statement but it also made me feel, I don't know, "funny". And, not in the hilarious way.

It made me think about the people who are truly "famous". Many of them worked for years to be good/visible in their field and achieved fame. The reward is a double edged sword I'm a thinkin'. Can you imagine not being able to go out to eat in peace, or go to the grocery store....*shudder*. That would definitely put an end to me going to the post office in my plaid flannel pj pants (I call them my work pajamas).

I hope you are all finding time to enjoy the season! And, above all, let's not forget the reason for the ain't all about the presents. Love your family and bask in the light of their company! Remember, their presence is your best present!

Best wishes for a lovely holiday season and may you and yours find peace and joy in the new year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The holidays are right around the corner!

And we're ready! Buy the Kit is offering free first class shipping for the next 2 weeks-ish (12/13). I'm also going to include a little goody to make your day a little brighter.

We've got some great new kits and I hope to get a couple more new ones up in the next couple of days. Take a look at the new kits . There are some sparklers just perfect for holiday get togethers. Also some quick pendants that make a perfect gift and work up fast.

Have a great day!