Friday, August 31, 2012

A Victorian Labor Day

Hello everyone! Who is ready for a holiday? I love decorating for holidays but how does one decorate for Labor Day? Hmmm, good question. Have you ever wondered what exactly Labor Day is anyway?
Well let me fill you in on what I found out. During the Victorian Era Labor Day was called "Labor's Holiday", which makes sense because we're taking a day off from labor, right? But the term Labor Day just sounds like a day that was made for labor. We may be off from work but still working around the house or in the yard.
Labor's Holiday grew out of organized parades of working men and women during the 1880's to protest the intolerable working conditions and the great wrong of child labor in sweatshops. In 1894, Labor Day became an official American holiday, and from that time until WWI, it was celebrated with lavish community picnics, grand parades and oratory. Everyone took the day off from work and enjoyed the fruits of their labor: recreation.
Okay, this is where my so called "holiday decorating" will come in. Since I can't decorate my house for Labor Day I'm going to have some fun using some of my antique tradecards (and a couple of postcards) to decorate this post instead. So here we go!

On Labor's Holiday...
the little red school house will be closed, the school yard and the desks will be void of children.

The shops on Main Street will be closed for the day. But don't let that stop you from enjoying a little window shopping.

The dress maker won't be sewing, the cobbler won't be making shoes, corset making will come to a halt and the mending will have to wait another day.

Why even the Heinz Company will be closed. And the farmer's oxen will be resting in the barnyard for the day.

So now for the recreation part...
It will be perfect day for relaxing at the seashore, or watching the sailboats sail by or just hanging out in a tree.

Fishing would be fun, but who will clean them and fry them? The kitchen might even be closed for the day.

The Zoo! Now that would be fun! Oh no, it's Labor Day, the Zoo Keeper probably has the day off too!
Maybe we could just drive by and catch a glimpse of some birds in the bird cage. Or maybe even the lion in his cage.

But if you choose to stay at home, you could sing or play the parlor organ.
Or maybe you could catch up on some letter writing...

And if it gets stuffy inside, you could go out on the front porch and have a cup of tea...

and enjoy a good book in the presence of a good friend...

  Have a great holiday weekend! 

I am joining AMAZE ME MONDAY with Cindy over at DWELLINGS, please come and join in the fun.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Needlepoint Project Completed!

Hello everyone, boy am I excited today!!! Do you remember the needlepoint piece I was working on for my antique slipper bench? If you want to read more about it please click here .
It took me 3 months to complete it and then it spent a month at the Upholsterer's Shop.
But wait, before I show you what it looks like now, I think we need that before picture...

Here is the piece when I first started working on it...
And here it is finished and on the bench!!! So exciting!

Well this is it for this post! Thankyou so much for taking the time to visit.
 If you are one of the many who will be affected by Hurricane Isaac, just know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. May God's mighty hand protect each one of you. And blogger friends, let's keep them in our prayers. Until next time...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Victorian Shellwork

Oh the good ol' summertime! And the joys of a vacation at the beach! The first glimpse of that beautiful ocean and any worry we may have had just instantly washes out to sea. 
I had so much fun with this post. I got my jars of sand out (sand from our Dauphin Island, AL vacation) went out on the front porch and emptied it all out on a blue table cloth so I could make it look like we were at the beach. The neighbors probably thought I was crazy out there, but oh well, it was so much fun! 
Victorians loved the seaside, and collecting seaweed, shells and pebbles became quite an obsession for many Victorian ladies. Including this "Victorian Wanna Be" lady! Below are a few seaside themed trade cards from my antique trade card collection to get us in the mood.

And below are some of my seaside postcards. On the bottom row, the card on the left is Hotel Arcadia at Santa Monica beach and the card on the right is Luna Park promenade, Coney Island, N.Y. Both cards are circa 1908.

The fascination with collecting shells led accomplished Victorian ladies to the hobby of shellwork, the art of arranging shells into intricate mosaics on boxes or in pictures. And because of my love for seashells and all things Victorian I have my own little collection of these boxes. (pictured below)

In the above photo, starting on the left is a horseshoe shaped picture/shadow box souvenir of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with some seaweed and shells inside the domed glass, and then there's the box (looks like a dresser) with a little mirror with faux graining on the side and a drawer drawn on in gold, the rectangle box has on it a little picture of a ship out to sea and a little heart pincushion, covered with a tattered silk material (this was my first piece that I got for $2.50!), the piece in front of that is a souvenir toothpick holder, the holder is milk glass and then there's the little round box that has a Spanish name written on one of the shells. I got it at a garage sale for 50 cents! I was really excited about that one!

As much as I love the ocean/seaside, I have only been there four times. And those times I will cherish for always. And hopefully I'll have more to come! The first time I ever saw the ocean was when I was 16. 
In the photos below...the top two photos are taken that Summer of 1986, somewhere near Homosassa, Florida (the gulf coast). I was fascinated with those seagulls and how close they would come to you. We were having a great time until a funnel cloud came along and then our beautiful day was over, WE HAD TO GET OUT OF THERE! (as seen in the photo on the right)
The bottom two photos were taken in May of 1989 Santa Monica, California. At the young age of 18 my best friend and I packed up and moved from Missouri to California (I know we were kinda crazy) and so I actually went to this beach more then once. 

The next time I would see the ocean would be as a married woman and mother of 2 precious children. So in the Summer of 2003, we took a family vacation to Dauphin Island, Alabama, where we rented a little blue cottage for a week (a couple years later Hurricane Katrina took it away!). This would be my family's first time ever seeing the ocean. They were 3 and 6 years old and had so much fun! And so did I! Notice the basket of shells!!! 

Just like the Victorians I really got into this shell collecting business! I collected shells as a young girl but we always had to buy them somewhere, so to find them myself and for free was very exciting. But I got a little too carried away...I found that by the time we all got out to the beach all of the good shells were already collected by other people. So that forced me to get up really EARLY in the morning to have first pick. And it worked pretty well but by the end of the week I was so tired (from getting up every morning at 5 a.m.) and my neck hurt SO bad from always looking down that I was miserable! BUT! I had some shells! I know, call me crazy. My hubby did!

Below are two photos of our Summer 2011 vacation at Cocoa Beach, Florida. This time the kids were 11 and 14, so they were glad to be back at the beach again because they couldn't remember too much of their first ocean visit. We all had fun but as for my seashell collecting, it was awful! Just look at that pitiful little pile!  

Below is my childhood seashell collection. All bought from stores. It is so much more exciting and rewarding to find them on the beach yourself, then they seem more like little gifts from the sea (and God).

With some of the shells pictured above I did manage to make a few of my own Victorian inspired crafts. I saw the below photo of an antique dome (John Whitenight Antiques) and decided to copy it. It is 13" H x 11.5" Dia. with a walnut base.

And here is my copycat version of it. I added some real (but dead!) butterflies and bees to it though.I thought it turned out pretty good, so I am happy with it, although I would totally love to have the real deal! Then on the right is the frame that I made with an ocean themed trade card inside.

Well that is it for my seashell post. I do hope you  enjoy the rest of your summer and if you happen to go to the beach/ocean I hope those "little gifts from the sea" call out to you and you find yourself picking them up and taking them home and making something creative and beautiful out of them just like the Victorian's did.
Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend and let me know if you go to the beach! Until next time...

I am joining the following parties and hope you will join us.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Garden Party!

Welcome to my garden party!  It is a beautiful day here in Mid Missouri so I thought we could enjoy a little refreshment on the front porch and then head on back to the garden and admire some blooms! So won't you please join me?

I have to offer you a strawberry beverage or water with lemon. Chocolates and strawberries.

Please, help yourself...

I emptied the contents of the below pitcher so you could see the detail on it. It was made by the Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Co. around 1900. The pattern is called "Teardrop and Tassel" and it is pressed glass.
I just love the pattern, I think it is so pretty. I wish I had the tumblers to go with it...

Okay, let's head on around back to the garden now. When we bought the house there were no flower gardens or trees or bushes back here. It was very boring so I decided to change that. I am kind of an impatient person and want everything done right now so within a couple of weeks I had the grass dug out, the bricks laid, the arbor put in place and my perennials transplanted. I moved the bricks (they are old ones), rocks, arbor and several of the flowers/plants from our previous house. Just couldn't leave them behind!

Blooms are so beautiful and rewarding, aren't they? One can never get tired of looking at them.

I thank God for His beautiful creation and for my eyes that I may see it...

Because of pesty deer and rabbits and now Japanese beatles, it is very difficult to have a variety and abundance of flowers. After a while you realize what they like and don't like and go with more of what they don't like. If that makes any sense! lol

And now...introducing the beautiful Kathryn Rose!  Isn't she pretty?!

Below, nestled between my crepe myrtle bushes is my gazing ball. In the days of old, the ball was referred to as a Witch Ball, Butler Globe, Globe of Happiness and the Victorian Ball. It's roots go back to the 13th century where they were made by skilled Italian craftsmen. A 15th century priest called the ball a Sphere of Light and as time passed, the colorful ball became a permanent fixture in the European garden and home. King Ludwig ll, King of Bavaria during the 1800's, adorned his palace, a replica of Versailles, with the globe. As with most things of old, legends formed about the mysterious powers of the ball. A globe was said to bring happiness, good luck and prosperity to those who owned it. The globe was known to ward off evil spirits, misfortune, illness and witches! (And no, that's not why I have one! *winks*)

The below scene is a constant reminder to me that Jesus is my Shepard...
                                    (Ignore the dead grass! Oh, that drought, how dreadful!)

After weeks of waiting for a bloom right here, above the toadstools, it finally happened! And here's the long awaited photo!

Of all my iris' this is my favorite one. The photo is a little bright though, so the purple doesn't look as deep of a purple as it really is.

Well that is it for my "flower show"! But if you haven't noticed, I kind of cheated! As you know, not all these flowers bloom at the same time. Wouldn't it be nice if they did?! Thanks for visiting and have a beautiful day!

I am joining Cindy at AMAZE ME MONDAY, please come  and check out all the fun.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Carousel Memories

Oh the carousel! Who doesn't have a sweet memory of a ride on a carousel? Climbing up and sliding into the saddle of that richly carved horse riding it round and round to the accompaniment of the carnival music. I can almost hear that nostalgic sound just thinking about it, can't you?

                                                                                       (photo from

Here is a little history of the carousel that I thought you might enjoy reading. Carousels are commonly populated with horses, each horse weighing roughly 900 pounds, but may include diverse varieties of mounts, like pigs, zebras, tigers, mythological creatures (dragons, sea monsters ans unicorns) and deer, to name a few. Most have some sort of bench or chariot to sit on as well.
Below is one of my favorite non horse carousels. It is the St. Louis Zoo Carousel. Every animal is different and represents animals they have there at the zoo. Built in 2003. Beautiful detail work on each one!

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             (The above and below photo by © Jean Bennett for the National Carousel Association)

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Although the carousel developed gradually in European countries such as Germany, France, England and Italy it did not reach its full scale development until it went into its American phase. The first carousel to be seen in the U.S. was created in Hessville, Ohio, (near Toledo) during the 1840's by Franz Wiesenhoffer.
The first carousel patent was granted on July 25, 1871 to Willham Schneider of Davenport, Iowa. The American figures are more representative of active beasts, those with tossed manes, expressive eyes, and postures of movement are their hallmarks. Just a few of the places carousels could be found were at fairgrounds, parks, sea side parks, ocean front amusement parks and  piers. In the early 20th century there were approximately 4,000 carousels throughout the U.S. By the 21st century, that number had been reduced to 150.

                                                               (image from a Franklin Mint plate order form)

Okay, now! You're probably wondering why are you telling us about carousels. Well, this is why...
do you remember me showing you this frame that I had purchased at an antique mall? And how I told you that I had a signed print that I had been waiting for a large enough frame to come along for?

I bought this print for $5 when I was in the 8th grade and have kept it all this time because I just love it!
It is called "Weathered Memory" dated 1979, by Robert W. Addison, 1924-1988. On his website, he is described as being The Master of light and shadow. It says he captivated audiences with his haunting, realistic views of a vanished past by evoking mood with atmosphere to portray his unique perspective. (If you like paintings of Victorian houses check out this website!)
So with that being said maybe you'll understand this print better. And yes, it is a carousel. So here's the connection, and here's the print!!!

A closer look...

I know! I know! You're thinking, What the heck?! Right? I know the horses look a little evil, (so much so, that my kids never would even let me hang it in their rooms!) but for some reason I have always loved it!
And as I wrote above, it is a haunting, realistic view of a vanished past...a "Weathered Memory".
This Weathered Memory probably looked like the below photo in its day. In its former days of glory.

I hope you enjoyed your trip with me back to childhood. One more time, let's close our eyes and listen for that music of long ago, as we move up and down and round and round, with smiles and laughter.
Thanks so much for visiting! Enjoy your day!

I am joining Cindy at AMAZE ME MONDAY for this post. Please come and join us.