Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Orcutt's!

I have always found joy and comfort in certain song lyrics. Today, I would like to share some lyrics with you all that are especially wonderful...especially when sung by Elvis...I highly recommend his Christmas album. We hope you and your family are safe, warm and happy. Take a few extra minutes to stand together with your tree all aglow. Listen to the silence. Embrace each other, and give thanks. Merry Christmas!

"On a Snowy Christmas Night" (Stanley J. Gelber)

"Midnight prayers so softly whispered
In a cathedral's candlelight
Bring the message of the Holidays
On a snowy Christmas night
Holly wreaths and hidden mistletoe
Symbols of the season's might
Joyful faces everywhere you go
On a snowy Christmas night
Give thanks for all you've been blessed with
And hold your loved ones tight
For you know the Lord's been good to you
On a snowy Christmas night
Mother nature wears a bridal gown
For the world is dressed in white
There's a silent glow that fills the earth
On a snowy Christmas night
Give thanks for all you've been blessed with
And hold your loved one's tight
For you know the Lord's been good you
On a snowy Christmas night
For you know the Lord's been good to you
On a snowy Christmas night."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cameron's First Antique Trip!

We antiqued our way "North" on Thursday, Friday and then back home on Saturday. Cameron had the "smooth ride" thru all the malls and venues we visited...either pushed by a happy Daddy or by yours truly. Note he is asleep...I guess antiques aren't overly fascinating at 11 weeks! We had a delightful time and found many treasures! My haul includes several gorgeous cut glass necklaces from the 40's, bakelite buttons on their original cards, lots and lots of miscellaneous buttons (I am on a button kick right now...), a truly amazing pink crystal Crown Trifari brooch that I will just have to keep, porcelain figurines, and various and sundry other items. Darby scored several old books including a beautiful leather-bound edition, as well as a metal book rack from the early 20th Century. We even ran into Elvis himself Friday night at a downtown celebration and listened to him sing several Christmas songs. He even "thanked us...thanked us very much" before we left! We were a tad nervous about having Cameron, but he did great, and we now feel that our Florida trip is going to be "do-able." I snapped a few photos to share of some vignettes I found pleasing in different places, including a very silly one of me trying on a wonderful vintage hat with the greatest feather plume. I had to have it, even though orange isn't my favorite color...the feathers spoke to me. So, this funky little find is now awaiting tagging in my inventory.

At the end of our trip, Cameron (our greatest treasure ever) was oh so very happy to get back to Raleigh and try out his "Bumbo Baby Sitter" chair...it is pretty cool; a blue soft plastic foamy thing...he felt like a big boy sitting all by himself! (and isn't his Santa onesie CUTE?)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Far, Far Away.....

I ran across this card a few days ago and immediately wanted to jump into the image. I have always loved being near bodies of water; especially the ocean. This girl looks dreamy and peaceful; her hair is blowing in the wind and she is dressed the way I try to: comfortable yet dressy and always with a piece of jewelry! I yearn to be standing on a dock or pier and feel the salty air swirling around me. When I was younger my friends used to get a kick out of my saying that feeling the wind blow made me want to write poetry. Though my inner poet has been silent for a while now, I still love a windy day; especially on the coast. Life seems to slow down and problems seem easier to tackle. I have been having a hard time this month, so this image reminded me that the beach is only 3 hours down the road...always there, eternal, soothing and constant ebb and flow. If you look carefully, you can find treasures anywhere: the shifting reflection of the moon on the water; a sand piper's footprints in the sand, the shrimp boats cruising by on the horizon, porpoise jumping in joy, a broken sand dollar piece that makes you want to keep hunting for a whole one, and the tangy, salty air on your skin as you sit on the beach with a good book (or, in the case of our girl in the card, a sandwich!), a cold beverage and a friendly companion. And if I get there anytime soon, bring out the Jimmy Buffet, send me straight to Margaritaville - cause baby, my flip flops have blown out!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Most jewelry connoisseurs have at least seen the famous "Weiss" signature; and most will own at least one piece. After all, it only takes one time wearing one of their truly amazing rhinestone pieces and preening at the compliments you will receive to become a devotee. The "Weiss" company was founded in 1942 by Albert Weiss and ceased operations in 1971. The company is well known for their use of high quality Austrian rhinestones, ensuring the best flash and sparkle. I see a fair amount of of "Weiss" jewelry on the secondary market, but only a few pieces that I consider outstanding enough or in good enough condition to add to my collection. Don't get me wrong; most of what I pass up are fabulous jewelry designs, but I like dramatic and unusual pieces. For example, I would rather have a brooch with lots of different colored stones than a necklace made of clear rhinestones. I consider "Weiss" jewelry a must-have for any jewelry collection. The designs are elegant and can still be worn with today's fashions. The necklace and bracelet set pictured at the top is housed in my "favorites cabinet" (see my post from 8/12/08). I would love to find the matching earrings and brooch! The multi-colored square brooch pictured here looks GREAT on a turtleneck. The bracelet is an unusual color and the emerald green brooch with clear rhinestones has so much sparkle I couldn't NOT buy it. The red earrings with the inset clear rhinestones were manufactured in several different colors, as well as in a neutral base with mult-color rhinstones and are considered highly collectible. These are also extremely difficult to find with the stones in good condition. The green stone earrings also come in a variety of colors; in fact, I sold a pair of these in another color just last month in my Gresham Lake Antique Mall booth. The yellow flower pin was part of a series of flowers the company did and many collectors endeavor to collect all the different designs. (how fun would that be...and what a beautiful display it would make!) The blue and green pin is one of my favorites...it absolutely POPS when worn. Incredible fire and flash! I call designs like this "snowflake pins" because of the shape. I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far...stay warm and happy...and remember to add a big, sparkly rhinestone brooch to your turtle neck or coat lapel or purse...or hang it on a necklace like my friends over at SuzAnna's Antiques have started doing!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sparkling Treasures

Yesterday I helped my friend Stacey (proprietress of Flotsam & Jetsom) do a "Vintage Tidbits" trunk show at Ornamentea (a fab crafts store in Raleigh). We got there around 8AM to set up and were ready for business by 9AM. I must tell you I am surprised I made it. I hadn't slept more than 5 hours a night for the past 3 nights and I was dead on my feet. BUT, good ol' adrenaline kicked in at the last minute and all was well. We featured lots of vintage and antique "stuff". Don't we all just love STUFF! Buttons, beads, jewels, tokens, charms, trims and more...it was a verifiable treasure trove for crafters and collectors alike! I took a few pics and posted here to show off the stuff. Hope everyone is well!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why I Haven't Posted Recently.....

Enough said.
I will try to do a new mini series post tomorrow. My wonderful aunt is coming to take care of screamer, er, Cameron tomorrow so I should have some time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Original by Robert"

I have been planning to do some "mini series" posts on vintage costume jewelry designers. I will be focusing on those designers that are highly sought after as well as a few I think are undervalued in todays market. (read: a good idea to buy and put away for a few years...). For those readers who are unfamiliar with the collectible jewelry market, designer signatures are usually found stamped onto the back of a piece of jewelry or on the clasp. Go dig thru your jewelry box and see if you find some!

To start us off, I have selected jewelry with the signature: "Original by Robert." Though more than one signature exists for this company, "Original by Robert" is by far the one you will likely encounter in the marketplace. This signature was used from 1942 thru 1979. Over the past 10 years, I have seen fewer and fewer pieces of this jewelry out in market for sale. Their whimsical enamels are some of the most fun to collect as the variety is boundless. They also have items similar to the necklace set which features hand assembled beaded clasps; similar in style to Miriam Haskell designs. I have pictured several "Original by Robert" pieces in this post. The necklace and earring set with original tags was QUITE a find. It is rare enough to find original tags, but to find a set like this was a coup! The wonderful enamels are actually going to be for sale in my Ruby Lane internet store and in my Gresham Lake Mall antique booth. I am going thru my personal collection and selling a lot of different things while trying to keep one piece from every designer. Please visit us at Gresham lake of you are ever in Raleigh. We are dealer #82. Enjoy the pics!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Fun!!!

What a great Halloween 2008! Darby and I bought Cameron's Halloween outfits before he was born. We were so excited about his "chicken suit", but alas, just attempting to get him into it was causing meltdowns so we stuck with the ghost gown. He was so cute!!! Darby had some devil horns but no outfit so I ran to Target Friday and found a devil gown on sale...woohoo for 30% off! I, as always, donned my kitty cat ears with the feather accents and put together a cat ensemble. Interesting I dress as a cat every year cause cats and I do not usually "mesh well" together.

Kearney Boo dressed as a witch this year; rather appropros unfortunately. She is not overly fond of Cameron. She isn't aggressive (thank goodness), but she is depressed and standoffish. Hopefully she will adjust soon. We stopped by my Dad's house so he could see his grandson on his 1st Halloween and took some good pictures. Kearney stayed with Dad so they could welcome all the neighborhood trick-or-treaters while Darby, Cameron and I headed to our friends Ben and Stacey's house for a party.

What a fun party...Ben dressed as the now famous "Joe the Plumber" and Stacey dressed as a bunny. Ben had a fabulous dry ice thing going...look at the cauldron!

The food was great and we met some fun people and saw some existing friends. Look at this photo: 3 antique dealers all dressed up!

Cameron's first Halloween party proved to be very exciting for him...first he had a diaper malfunction and we had to dry his ghost outfit in the dryer (which was very fancy and apparently requires 5 college degrees to use...though once Ben told me "turn it on" it worked much better), then he met another baby dressed as Tinkerbell, then he met lots of people who thought he was so very cute and then he passed out on Daddy's shoulder.

Thank you Stacey and Ben for a wonderful evening! My big plan for the week is to attempt 2 posts; these will be vintagey and will have good info and pics so stay tuned! Hope everyone had a great Halloween! Welcome November!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Get Better Mommy!

Well, I have "taken ill" and will probably take another few days to a week to be better, so there may not be much activity. I hope everyone is enjoying the cool weather (always gives me a brighter outlook!). Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hand Painted Porcelain

Ahhh...total bliss. This is the feeling I get when I find a piece of hand painted porcelain jewelry. Around 1900, American women were enjoying painting on porcelain as a way to adorn themselves as well as their homes. Porcelain was no longer prohibitively expensive, and an exhibit in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition inspired many artisans to try their hand...literally! Not only were jewelry "blanks" extremely popular, these women decorated tableware and nic-nacs. I only collect the jewelry pieces...to me, they are miniature works of art. I get particularly excited when I find a piece that has been signed by the artist; though most are unknown. I have been buying these pieces for several years, and their price just keeps going UP! My first few pieces were bought for less than $20; these days, I am lucky to run up on one for less than $75...for a small one! The larger ones with a good, interesting painting and minimal edge wear are usually over $100 each. Please note, I refuse to actually pay these prices, but it is good to know they are going up in value! I have posted a few pictures of several pieces from my collection, including my only portrait. Isn't she beautiful? You have to wonder if this was a self portrait? Another favorite theme is violets and pansies.
And my absolute favorites are the landscape scenics!
Enjoy the pics and by all means...let me know if you see any of these!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

To Keep or Not to Keep...That Is The Question!

One of the hardest things about being an antique dealer is having WAY too much stuff in your house. Sometimes I feel like I would like some HOUSE with my STUFF please! For example, we live in a modified 1970's split level, and an entire big family room is devoted to STUFF. Note I am capitalizing STUFF. I know several other words for STUFF but they aren't as polite. (haha). I started out collecting Occupied Japan in high school; jewelry post-college, and then starting about age 30 a rapid succession of purses, hats, compacts, hand painted porcelain, glass buttons, open salts, enamel on copper plates, poodles, buddhas, solid perfumes, amateur oil paintings and bakelite. I have posted several photographs of some of these types of things for you to enjoy! However, out of all these items, the only categories that have "stuck" with me are vintage jewelry, bakelite, open salts, vintage purses and hand painted porcelain. That is still quite a few categories, but it makes a house interesting! I suppose a side benefit to being a dealer is that you can constantly re-decorate your house. It goes something like this: you get interested in something, lets say enamel on copper plates. You go to an auction, flea market, yard sale, antique mall or thrift store (or all of the above...several times over) and buy as much as you can find. After all, if owning one is good, owning enough to decorate every living room in town has to be better right? Of course! A few months later, as you gaze upon your massive pile of STUFF...er...enamel on copper plates,
you feel the first inkling of unease. The sneaky voice in your head says "What in the world was I thinking?" And "I don't really even LIKE these things!". And then, your pulse increases as you realize you have used up all your available space for this new STUFF and lo and behold, you have nowhere to sit down in your own antique storage facility...I mean HOUSE. Then, you frantically pull out your price tags and place all the items in your booth, hoping someone else will happen along who feels the urge to decorate all the living rooms in their town. It sometimes feels like a never-ending roller coaster, but that, in reality, is the FUN part. Getting excited about something, learning all about it and hunting it down. And then, if you are lucky, being able to make just a little bit on the re-sale so you feel justified in your actions...and in the fact that you have suddenly developed a massive interest in Victorian dresser sets and hey, by the way...there is a GREAT estate sale coming up.....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Welcome Cameron!

Cameron Thomas Orcutt entered the great big world at 8:59 AM Thursday, September 25, 2008 via C-Section weighing 9 lbs 6 oz and measuring 22 inches long. I must admit the anticipation of the "C" was a whole lot worse than the actual event. There were about 10 people in the operating room; though the only people I could see were the nurse anesthetist and Darby...a giant green drape hung in the air and blocked my view from the neck down. (probably a good thing!) I was having a hard time comprehending that 10 months of waiting and wondering had come down to a 15 minute procedure in which I saw nothing and felt no physical pain. I was dreading the spinal block; but if it is any reassurance, it hurt less than having your finger pricked. Darby was on the edge of his chair with excitement. He kept peeking around the green drape and then ducking his head back for fear he would see something he really DID NOT want to remember (me cut open). Finally we heard the doctor and the nurses start saying "Oh!" and "There he is" and "He's got a big head!" and then we heard him cry. And MAN could he cry. I started grinning...I felt connected to him immediately even though I could still see nothing. Darby got up to go to the warming table where they took Cameron and he did get to cut the umbilical cord. A few minutes later Darby brought Cameron over to me all swaddled up and clean and the first tears came down my face. He was beautiful and amazing and everything I had imagined and more. I still can't quite put it into words. I have never felt so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn't express. As I was still strapped to the table, all I could do was kiss his cheek when Darby brought him over, and then everyone was whisked away and I was taken to recovery for an hour (HOW UNFAIR! The baby was born and I have to wait a WHOLE HOUR to hold him!?!?!?!?). After we made it to our room, Cameron was brought in and the photography sessions commenced...as did the parade of visitors eager to see their new grandson, nephew, great nephew and great grandson. Everyone was so excited to meet Cameron; a sentiment I am sure he would agree with. So, in closing, from Cameron:


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

12 More Hours!

So, I am scheduled for a C-Section at 8:30 in the morning. I am sitting here, probably in some degree of shock realizing that 40.5 weeks of pregnancy has come down to 8.5 more hours until Cameron greets the world. I spent the past several days at home reading, playing Play Station and pondering. I talked to all my girlfriends who have had C-Sections, and a couple who didn't. Part of me is saying, WOW, a baby boy...here tomorrow! Life is going to be so different! I am scared! And the other part is excited to finally meet this baby boy who has been kicking me steadily for the past few months; making his presence known the best way he could. So, no pictures for this post...but there should be some up in the next few days of Cameron. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Soon to Arrive.....!!!!!

I am pleased to announce that Darby and I are expecting a baby boy...in a week! I am technically due on Sunday (Sep. 21), but the doctors think baby Cameron is WAY too comfortable in his current house (me), and they will have to "intervene" mid next week. FUN, right? Actually, I am so uncomfortable that any "intervention" is probably a good thing, though I do wish nature had just taken its natural course. In order to keep my excitement going, I took a bunch of pictures of the nursery and one very special picture of Cameron's big sister...Kearney Boo...all ready stealing his toys!!! Enjoy the pictures! (and yes, I know nothing but the baby can go in the crib for safety...)