Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vintage Hat Fabulousness

The blue feather....sounds like a bar....
WARNING: Not intended for viewers who don't like to me. *GRIN*
I specialize in vintage jewelry. Seriously. But I cannot help myself when it comes to vintage hats. Some of them are SO over the top you just have to put them on your head - and then pose with a silly grin. People tell me all the time that I am too serious - well, NOT IN THIS POST! Yes, I did "strike a pose", try on some amazing vintage hats, and really - when I look back at these photos I must say I see a twinkle in my eyes. I HAD FUN. Enjoy!
Who knew wedding cakes looked good on your head?

Beehives re-interpreted.

Sometimes words just fail me.

Baby blue ostrich feathers and curly q's - really liked this one!

With this thought, I close....

"Few women have ever been able to resist the temptation to try on a hat and discover in the mirror a person they never suspected was there." - Unknown

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Country Road Take Me Home....

So much has happened since my last post! I can't believe 2 months have flown by! Seems the older I get, the more true this becomes. I so wish I could slow my life down, but it seems someone pressed the "fast forward" button on my life about the time I turned 30 and it hasn't slowed down. Lately I have even begun wondering if life would seem more relaxed and liveable if Darby and I were to move to some teeny tiny town in the middle of some mountains.

With a stream running right through the center of town. And an old fashioned atmosphere where folks still speak to one another, and you have Fall Festivals and Oktoberfests and a good old fashioned Christmas celebration. Sure, we have a tree lighting and Christmas parade right here in Raleigh. But it somehow feels hollow to me. Surrounded by a bunch of people I don't know in the midst of a big downtown just doesn't do much for my holiday spirit. Maybe I am just a country girl at heart, though if push came to shove I am not sure I could actually live in a small town. I fear I have grown too accustomed to the conveniences of city living. But sometimes - when we are driving thru the VA mountains and we go thru a picturesque little mountain town with handmade signs for fresh apple cider, and people smile and wave at you, a little quiet part of my soul feels a very odd tug. How do you ever know if you are in the right place? It's a strange little mental cycle I go thru from time to time....usually triggered by a relaxing little drive thru the VA mountains. Hmmmm....

Thursday, October 7, 2010


It's probably a very good thing that gerbils have tiny brains. Have you ever watched a gerbil go about his day to day activities? I mean, REALLY watched? Wake up. Twitch whiskers. Scurry left. Relieve oneself. Drink water while making water bottle clang clang clang against metal cage. Dart right. Twitch whiskers. Paw at alfafa hay. Munch on yummy gerbil food. Flop. Approach exercise wheel. Get in exercise wheel. Run like a bat outta hell. Run. Run, RUN RUN. Turn a flip. Pause. RUUUUUNNNNNN, Forrest Gerbil, RUN! Come to a screeching halt and realize you have gotten nowhere. Exit exercise wheel stage left. Repeat scenario over and over and over again...all day. And night. And the next day. And the next and the next and the next. *sigh*
This is me. Except I am not a gerbil. But I feel like one these days. Constantly running, and getting nowhere. Ever have a day or a week that feels like this? I am just trying to remember that this will pass. The laundry will get done, the house will get picked up. But in the meantime, I think I'll drink some water and twitch my whiskers. Oh, and is that an exercise wheel I see????

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blooming Brooch Bouquets

"Midnight in the Garden"

Raleigh's "Blooming Brooch Bouquets" Provides Vintage Jewelry Heirlooms

The newest trend in bouquets has brides going flowerless - and providing priceless heirlooms that will be passed along in their families for generations. Vintage jewlery dealers Laura Edwards Orcutt and Julie Anna Proctor of Blooming Brooch Bouquets in Raleigh, NC, saw the opportunity to combine their expertise in design with their passion for vintage costume jewelry and are crafting beautiful and lasting momentos from antique and vintage costume brooches.
"You Are My Sunshine"
The pair are already drawing attention from as far away as New York City, and are accepting commissions to create unique, custom-designed arrangements that may include jewelry from a mother, grandmother, or favorite aunt. "Green" advocates have further noted that these bouquets of recycled vintage jewlery are a sensible alternative to flowers that fade and die. "I love designing these brooch bouquets because each one is unique and a work or art, tailored to the individual bride, her colors, and her style," said Orcutt.
"One day I can imagine each customer having the pleasure of sharing her bouquet, and knowing that her daughter and granddaughter can carry it again in their own weddings," said Proctor.
"Forget Me Not"

Blooming Brooch Bouquets may be viewed locally at The Antiques Emporium in Cameron Village, or online at either (search "bouquet") or
For more information about Blooming Brooch Bouquets, photo permissions, or to schedule an interview with the designers, please contact Laura or Julie via the above listed websites.

For more fun "Vintage Thingies", please visit The Coloradolady. Happy VTT!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Man's Journey

Anyone who knows me knows I love jewelry. I have loved jewelry since before I could talk. Some jewelry is sparkly, some dangly, some slinky...but some jewelry exudes another quality that is all together timeless. It SPEAKS to you. Maybe it doesn't jump up and say "Hi!" (though I have plenty of jewelry jump up and say "BUY ME, BUY ME!", but you can almost hear some pieces calling your name.

The bracelet I have selected to talk about today is one of those pieces. I came across this hinged clamper-style bracelet several years ago. I remember doing a little research at the time and not being able to find out much about it, so I put it away, thinking I would get it back out in a few years. Imagine my SURPRISE when I saw an identical bracelet show up as "SOLD" on Ruby Plaza one day.

I immediately pulled my bracelet out and began doing some more intensive research. This bracelet is rare. It is made of a base-metal and finished in silver-tone. It depicts the life of Jesus Christ as he journeyed to the cross. There are 7 numbered scenes, each one very detailed.

I have always been and continue to be amazed by the amount of detail that one can find in certain pieces of vintage costume jewelry! The detail of the Roman soldier poking Jesus in the side with a spear to make sure he was dead as he hung on the cross is stunning.

The final depiction is of Mary, Joesph and Jesus. What a poignant religious collectible, and extremely rare as well! This bracelet is currently for sale in my shop "Baubles & Beads & Books...Oh My!" Won't you come visit a bit?

Hope you are enjoying Vintage Thingy Thursday! Please join the Coloradolady for more VTT posts!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just Love This Song....

This song came on the radio over the weekend while Darby and I were driving through the Virginia mountains. I was immediately transported back to my college days. I'm not sure why I don't remember hearing this song before I was in college - it was originally released in 1975. Since I remember all other songs from my first year of my life, I am just not sure why this one didn't stick....kidding! I DO remember that when I heard it in college, it resonated with me. Back then, one of my favorite lines was: "Well I've been afraid of changes, cause I've built my life around you." Maybe I had broken up with a boyfriend at that time??? These days, my favorite verse is: "Can I sail through the changing ocean tides? Can I handle the seasons of my life?" It seems my life is full of change these days. Some good, some great, some just OK. Enjoy the song - stay cool this week - and sail on through!

Blessings, Laura

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tweet, Tweet!

Kearney - July 2010

I have taken the plunge. Jumped off the proverbial cliff. Dived headfirst into...TWITTER. Yipes! I can't see myself tweeting that I am at the grocery buying lettuce. Or that the person in front of me can't drive. But I CAN see myself tweeting about vintage stuff. What's selling? What's hot? New finds! Sales in my shops! Trends in the current fashion world (that would be pearls, crystals and lace, in case you were wondering...). So come follow me on Twitter. I promise you won't hear about my grocery list. (bread, goldfish, cheese, string beans, an onion...blah...blah....blah....)

TWITTER ID: baublesbeads (clickable)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Music of the Night

These days I find myself working on my business quite a midnight....

A song that always flits through my head hails from the famous Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical, "Phantom of the Opera." The lyrics followed by a beautiful performance. Enjoy your midnight retreat!

"Nightime sharpens, heightens each sensation

Darkness stirs, and wakes imagination

Silently the senses abandon their defenses

Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor

Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender

Turn your face away from the garish light of day

Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light

And listen to the music of the night...." - Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Richard Stilgoe, Charles Hart

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Soñando de España....Dreaming of Spain!

I listed 15 (yes, 15) pieces of jewelry marked "Spain" in my online shop "Baubles & Beads & Books" today. I have been buying these pieces for the past several years - they simply appealed to me. The colors, patterns, figurals...lots of fun! These jewelry pieces are made to look like Damascene jewelry, and many dealers accidentally label them as genuine Damascene, when in fact, the vast majority of these pieces are correctly termed "Damascene-Style."

Parasol ($25)

Genuine Damascene jewelry is actually an ancient art form which dates back to the middle ages and was used by the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, becoming popular in the 15th Century in Europe.

Genuine Damascene jewelry is made with genuine gold and silver wire inlaid into non-precious metal, and then the grooves are blackened in. This process was not only time consuming but costly, so alternatives were developed. Spain began mass-producing jewelry that was made from a piece of stamped metal, and then the raised areas were re-finished in either silver or gold-tone, while the flatter surfaces were finished in black.

Fabulous Dangle Earrings ($17)

Colorful accents can also be found on these items. I have run across a few items with original tags that proclaim they are electroplated in 24k gold - I daresay this doesn't affect the value. It pays to know whether the jewelry you are considering is genuine or costume. Costume is jewelry is great...I LOVE costume jewelry...but I wouldn't want to pay genuine jewelry prices for non-genuine jewelry...and wouldn't want you to either.

Sailboat with Billowed Sail and Lady with Parasol ($20)

Hope the article was helpful and that you enjoy the pictures!
**Most pieces pictured here are Circa 1960's**

Friday, July 2, 2010

Anna Nalick - Breathe (2AM)

This song is such a reminder to relax...take a breath...realize that life is short and you can't go backwards...learn from the past and move forward...let things go....breathe.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Art of "ART" Signed Vintage Jewelry

Egyptian Revival-Style Two-Tone Pendant ($20)

It has been a busy, busy 6 weeks. Since opening my store "Baubles & Beads & Books...Oh My!" at Ruby Plaza, I have been listing items for sale almost daily...and my shop has over 500 items! My goal is to hit 1000 items by the end of the summer. Sales have been good and I feel very fortunate for that. I really like feeling like I can contribute financially while staying at home with Cameron. Keeping fresh items in a store take a lot of hard work and time - and it takes a lot of inventory. Hard work I can handle, but time and inventory availability are a problem. So I am doing something I never thought I would do. I am raiding my own collection. (O.....M.....G.....)!!!!! My post today will feature a selection of vintage costume jewelry by "ART" of "Mode-Art". This company was founded in 1950 by Arthur Pepper and ceased operation in 1980. "ART" jewelry is a fun designer to collect: they have a variety of styles; lots of whimsical pieces as well as elegant rhinestone beauties. The following pictures are just a few of the pieces by "ART" I am listing for sale at "Baubles & Beads & Books...Oh My!"

So put your feet up, get a glass of sweet tea, and come browse.

Victorian Revival-Style Multi-Chain Dangle Earrings ($25)

Happy Flourescent Flower-Power Pin ($17)

Elegant Faux Pearl Link Bracelet ($20)

Scorpio Zodiac Rhinestone Pin ($38)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Family Update!

Darby, Laura and Cameron; Mother's Day Weekend 2010

In reviewing my recent entries, I realize I have been remiss in posting about my little family! Cameron is almost 20 months old (!!!!) and is incredibly active. He is into everything!

Cameron running - Easter Sunday 2010

It is so neat to watch him try to figure something out...being able to observe the learning process in a child, especially your own, is incredible. Sometimes I think I can actually see little wheels turning in his head! He loves to "help Mama" - he has begun throwing things in the garbage can and trying to clean the floor with a paper towel.

Cameron - Mother's Day Weekend 2010

The caregivers at the church where he attends a 4-hour "Mother's Morning Out" (which is a polite, southern way of saying..."MAMA NEEDS A BREAK - and a coffee - and a manicure - and a massage - and 4 hours of uninterrupted shopping - and a margarita - oh, wait it's too early in the day...just kidding...) twice a week recently told me that Cameron knows what "lovie" (a child's favorite blanket or toy) belongs to each of the other children and if they put it down, he will pick it up and take it to the owner. (how sweet is that!)

Darby and Cameron - Mother's Day Weekend 2010

When I arrived to pick him up the other day (without having had a margarita...) I watched as he ran to greet me, then stop suddenly and go put the toy truck he had been playing with back on the shelf!!! Excuse me was that my child? I am not sure where this "neatness" factor is coming from because it was NOT inherited from yours truly. He is such a joy! Darby and I are doing very well...loving being parents and contemplating #2. The operative word there is "contemplating." :)

Darby and Laura - Mother's Day Weekend 2010 - "Contemplation" (haha)

As for me, well.......I have lost 92 pounds since the day Cameron was born. My goal is another 8 pounds for a grand total of 100 pounds. Wow that's a lot of weight. 100 freaking pounds! That's a whole person! My orthopaedic told me that every pound adds 5 pounds of pressure on your back. No wonder my back got so out of whack! Every day as I toil on my 4.5 mile power walk while pushing Cameron in his jogger - I keep seeing myself being able to say "I lost 100 pounds!" - and then People magazine hears about me, calls me up, and asks to do a feature story on me. won't happen - but it is motivation and keeps me trudging over the next hill! I am currently massively plateaued - but trying to hang in there. Will post "before" and "after" photos when I get to my goal. Hope everyone is well!

Laura minus 92 pounds - for the record....April 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baubles & Beads & Books....Oh My!

We are excited to announce the launch of our new shop:
We have opened this new venture at Ruby Plaza, Ruby Lane's new sister site. Ruby Plaza allows all sorts of things to be sold that are not allowed on Ruby Lane, and the fees are structured differently. I am just SUPER excited about all this because I am finally able to sell little tiny trinkets and treasures that aren't terribly expensive that wouldn't have been able to be sold in my Ruby Lane shop for one reason or another.
At Ruby Plaza, I can sell loose beads, vintage buttons, clasps, lots of broken jewelry for crafters and jewelry artisans, lovely pieces of trim...and of course, vintage jewelry! We are also listing lots of books and plan to start putting up listings for ephemera as well. I have a treasure trove of old prints and a fabulous stash of 1920's and 1930's sheet music. The cover art work is phenomenal! Anyway, I have been a busy little bee and have listed so many items...some as low as $5! I plan to keep on listing as I truly want to establish a site where crafters can find vintage treasures for their work. I love buying these little tiny things and truly didn't have an outlet until now. AND, we all ready have 2 purchase orders! What's really exciting about that is that Ruby Plaza is still in "Beta" mode and hasn't even been advertised by Ruby Lane yet except to its existing shop owners. I can't wait to see what happens when they do the official advertising and grand opening! I also signed up early and was awarded with "Flagship" go me! Please come visit our new shop and let me know what you think! Our original store, "Lady and Librarian Vintage Jewelry" will remain open on Ruby Lane. It will be geared towards high-end designer jewelry, exceptionally nice unsigned pieces and genuine jewelry. Hope everyone is well!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Star People - Part II

***If you missed the 1st entry on my fabulous new 100-year old book, please see my post from 4/5/2010.***

"The Comet and the Pole Star"
(we join the Princess as she is talking to the 3 Others - Prudence, Pat and Kitten, 3 little girls whose illustration appear in the 1st post as they watched the sky with the Princess.)
"....They (the Star People) have LAW! - and that's something every one of them obeys without a single word, or ever stopping to argue. When anything is the Rule of the Sky, that ends it. - Unless you're a comet."
"Oh, comets!" exclaimed Phyllisy. "What do they do?"
"What don't they do?" corrected the Princess. "They're silly. Just a head, with the wildest, fuzziliest hair," - she drew on the sand as she talked, - "that never SAW a hairbrush - and tails! - switching and flying and spreading over everything and curling around! - and, as if one such tail weren't bad enough, some of them must have two!" The Princess stopped drawing, because the sand was filled up with comets, as far as she could reach. "The Star People try to be charitable, and when they hear of some fresh, bad thing one of those flyaways has done, they say: 'He doesn't know enough to be good;' and they don't talk about it anymore. But when any really horrid mischief is done, it's always when a comet or two has been around."

The Princess goes on to tell a tale of an extremely mischievious comet - the written descriptions of the comet are wonderful : "small, vagabond head", "fuzzy hair", "long tail with a wicked crook at the end", "danced up and down like an elf." This illustration brings the words to life:

***Illustrations in "Star People" are by Frances B. Comstock, born in 1881 and died in 1922 at age 41. Apparently her husband, Enos Comstock, was also an illustrator and together, they illustrated the 1909 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Childs Garden of Verses."

Stay tuned for the next excerpt from "Star People" later in the week. Till then, stay happy and remember to gaze upon the nighttime sky.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Lady Finds a Book!

Over the years, many people have remarked on the name of my business, "The Lady and the Librarian." Most people remember the name, which is good, and I am often asked for an explanation of its origin. I refer to myself as "The Lady," specializing in vintage jewelry and other ladies' accessories, and Darby is "The Librarian," the specialist in books - and an actual librarian to boot! So this past weekend's find was a tad bit unusual for me. I was happily digging thru a box of stuff at a local flea market and came across a rather worn-out looking book with a rather intriguing title - "Star People." What in the world? Curious, I pulled it out and opened the page to the introductory poem....
"To Three Little Katharines"
Oh, Katharines three,
Come sail with me
Where the ship of my Fancy flies!
We'll wander free
Over land and sea,
Then sail away to the skies.
If I were a star,
So far - so far -
From this Earth where the children dwell,
My twinkliest beam
For that ship should gleam;
And my truest secret I'd tell
To the eyes that look
Through Fancy. - No book
Nor telescope serves so well."

Oh, me....oh MY. Something, well, grabbed me. I couldn't put the book down. I HAD TO HAVE THIS BOOK. Who were these "Star People?" What was their story? I felt glued to my spot in this person's booth. Like if I moved or put my treasure down, someone else might snatch it away. Gone was the jewelry dealer...I was suddenly a BOOK LOVER. Stand back! I ended up calling Darby over to negotiate the price for me as this particular copy isn't in the best condition. I turned some more pages and found some of the most amazing illustrations that I will share with you all throughout the next several posts. This most magnificent book, written by Katharine Fay Dewey, was published in 1910 so it is out of copyright - hence I am able to show you these wonderful illustrations as well as share some of the accompanying text. Today, I have featured the front cover and the first 2 illustrations in the book. Take a moment and look at the detail.

Just amazing! I look forward to sharing more beauty from "Star People" with you. Interestingly enough, this book will be 100 years old in October of this year. So Happy early 100th Birthday, "Star People!"
**Stay tuned for the next excerpt from "Star People" in the next few days.**

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shell Cameos

European carved shell cameo set in 14k yellow gold. Love the flower in her hair and at her shoulder! So beautiful when held to the light!

Cameos tend to be one of the most collected categories of jewelry - and in my opnion, one of the most confusing categories of jewelry collecting! I will be the first to admit I know very little about cameos. I think they are beautiful, and I can admire the workmanship that went into them. I am able to tell the difference between a costume cameo and a real cameo. But beyond that? Well, it gets a little hairy. There are so many things to consider when evaluating a cameo; not the least of which: what is it made from? Cameos were made from a wide variety of materials: abalone, wood, coral, agate, bone, glass, shell, hardstone, plastic and resin to name a few. This post will focus on carved shell cameos.

The earliest known use of shell for carving cameos was during the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th Centuries. These cameos were typically white on gray and were carved from the shell of a mussel. In the mid-18th Century, explorations revealed new shell varieties which led to an increase in shell cameos. Conch shells tend to be soft and carve very well. Shell cameos are carved from a single piece of shell.

The Virgin Mary. Carved Shell set in 800 Silver with marcasites. Pin or pendant. Note the halo detail around her head - just lovely!

Shell cameos are usually 2 colors and have a thin, concave back with the exception of abalone and mother of pearl as they tend to be thicker. (information in this paragraph taken from ezine article "All About Cameos" and from Wikipedia). I have been trolling around on Ruby Lane and eBay recently for unusual cameos and have found several I really like. I sense a new collection. SOMEBODY STOP ME. SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Same cameo from above shown without back-lighting.

Both of these cameos are available on Ruby Lane!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Along a dusty road in India there sat a beggar who sold cocoons. A young boy watched him, day after day, and the beggar finally beckoned to him. "Do you know what beauty lies within this chrysalis? I will give you one so you might see for yourself. But you must be careful not to handle the cocoon until the butterfly comes out."

The boy was enchanted with the gift and hurried home to await the butterfly. He laid the cocoon on the floor and became aware of a curious thing. The butterfly was beating its fragile wings against the hard walls of the chrysalis until it appeared it would surely perish, before it could break the unyielding prison. Wanting only to help, the boy swiftly pried the cocoon open.

Out flopped a wet, brown ugly thing which quickly died. When the beggar discovered what had happened he explained to the boy "In order for the butterfly wings to grow strong enough to support him, it is necessary that he beat them against the walls of his cocoon. Only by this struggle can his wings become beautiful and durable. When you denied him that struggle, you took away from him his only chance of survival."

May the walls of your cocoon be just thick enough to allow you to struggle just long enough to emerge the beautiful person I already know you to be.