19 November 2008

on the brandywine...

I saw my first snowflake yesterday and to celebrate, I thought I'd post this whimsical Andrew Wyeth painting entitled "Snow Hill".
It perfectly illustrates my adoration of the wintry season. Others can dance around Maypoles with daisies in their hair...I'd prefer a Novemberpole with an evergreen at its top and holly as a crown.
The Wyeth family (N.C., Henriette, Carolyn, Andrew, and Jamie) are the Camelot of the American art society with many interesting tales to tell through their art and their lives. I grew up not far from their home in Chadds Ford, PA and am looking forward to a holiday visit to the Brandywine River Museum to once again marvel at their talent.
If anyone is planning a holiday trip to the Philadelphia or Wilmington, DE region, I cannot implore you enough to go check out this museum. It's contained in a 19th century grist mill and during Christmastime it is truly breathtaking. The little kiddies won't be bored either as they showcase a stunning Victorian doll house as well as a massive toy train display and handmade critter ornaments on all the trees! Click here for a tutorial on how to make the adorable (eco-friendly!) critter pictured to the left. Happy Snowy Days Ahead!!

07 October 2008


in my constant search of vintage and antique jewelry i am always thrilled to happen upon monogrammed, initialed, or name-plated designs. they bring such a delightful sense of history and wonder to every creation. below are some of the most recent finds. i have to say the HEM piece is a personal favorite as I think of it as a sewing talisman...

Introducing....Earl "Snake Hips" Tucker

Wowie Zowie as they say...

06 October 2008


In many states, today is the absolute deadline for registering to vote in the upcoming presidential election on November 4th.

If you aren't registered yet, please make the effort TODAY to get registered. It's so easy. I promise you can do it in less than 10 minutes! If you aren't sure of where to go or what you'll need to register, please see this site or check with your local board of elections.

I've included a few posters from the United States women's suffrage movement during the first half of the 20th Century to inspire you. We fought for the right to vote, we earned the right to vote, and now is the time to vote and the time to make your voice heard.

Be sure to confirm the time your polling place will be open on November 4th and what type of identification you will need to bring with you. If for any reason, after you have registered, you are told you are ineligible to vote on election day - DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER and cast a provisional ballot.

The decision made on November 4th will impact the next four and possibly eight years of your life, your family's life, your friends' lives, and this country's livelihood. Make sure you have a role in deciding on the future of this great land. Please register NOW!

03 October 2008

lost vignettes

traveling from flea market to antique shop to estate sale in search of the long lost treasures that i transform into my jewelry creations is perhaps the most exciting part of my creative process. "the thrill of the chase" as they say. recently i came across this locket - nothing overtly precious, simply a well-worn brass locket that contained a portrait of a young boy in a slightly askew suit. but he intrigued me to no end. i started to imagine how the photograph came into existence and what the original owner saw in this photo. my musings are included in the listing and i encourage everyone to bring a sense of wonder to their vintage adventures. i promise an imaginative trip of a lifetime.

03 September 2008

whimsical bazaar

In the constant quest for antiques to work into my jewelry designs, I've frequently come across darling collectibles that are yearning for homes. As someone who can never leave an animal or an unusual find behind, I have amassed quite a collection of unusual pieces and am now determined to share them with the greater world. Therefore I have opened another etsy boutique, Whimsical Bazaar. While pretty housewares work their way into the mix from time to time, the focus of this shop will be those unusual finds that are destined to delight and intrigue. The photo to the left features a collection of antique celluloid place settings - some of which are currently available in the shop. Please stop by the new site and take a peek. There are treasures awaiting you.

17 August 2008

lazy thoughts

Quite a pertinent post as i've been such a lazy blogger as of late...but truth be told, the wheels of creativity have been in full gear even though my blogging has been lax. I've been experimenting with new necklace forms and am quite excited by my new metamorphosis collection of convertible necklace/bracelets all crafted from antique lockets, fobs and watch chains. I've also desperately been attempting a re-organization of the studio as my collection of chains, charms and other goodies has nearly overwhelmed me. If they take up arms, I am without a doubt, a dead duck. Luckily I have managed a slight break-through in that department and am now in full swing yet again. Here's to productive times! Oh - on a side note - the image here is from the cover of a book I found recently on one of my flea market outings. It's written by Jenny Wren (which was, truth be told, a pseudonym) but upon my investigation of Jenny Wren, I happened upon the shop of an adorable doll maker from Tasmania! I'm always thrilled to find doll makers who make sweet, and baby-safe (sewn eyes) cuties so please take a moment to look at her blog and shop!

31 July 2008

wild and tangled

for shame. for shame. i've been a very lapsed blogger. suppose i shall put it down to summertime distractions. but thank goodness autumn is just around the corner. i've been having a grand time experimenting with new necklace forms and am quite intrigued by the textures and shapes brought forth from my time in the "chain lab". this is one of the newer designs. many more are in the shop and will be added frequently.

20 May 2008

Artists and Fleas

This past weekend I participated in the Artists and Fleas market in my old stomping grounds of Williamsburg Brooklyn and I had an amazing time. Not only did I get to meet some of my most favorite customers in person, I was also situated right next to Lux Sugar - THE ladies of cupcake making extraordinaire. I had the "Samantha Jones" cupcake - a lemon confection with vodka icing! I thought I'd post some images of my display since I nearly always forget to take them after I set up. If you've ever thought about vending at Artists and Fleas, I can't recommend it more highly. Georgia who runs it is a doll, everything ran smoothly and I had quite a successful day. It was sad to find out that many of the etsy sellers who were supposed to vend canceled at the last minute and disappointing that no one from etsy admin brought any swag...but they were the ones who missed out.

14 May 2008

six for now

i thought i'd just do a random post about things i love or find inspiration in (oh...and it's an illustrated anthology...just to pique additional attention!)

1. paper moon (1973 dir. Peter Bogdanovich)
I absolutely adore this film. (The book it's based on is
also pretty darn wonderful - it's called "Addie Pray" by Joe David Brown -out of print, but available from time to time of ebay...)
Addie is an orphan (...or is she?) and her moxie is g
onna carry her through the depression with the "sunny side up".

2. horse noses i live across the street, down the street, up the street, and around the corner from horse farms. there is nothing softer and sweeter than a horse's nudging nose against your wrist when you give it an apple or carrot...or a sugar cube. any time i pet a horse's nose, i realize how incredibly happy i am to be alive.

3. apple butter by far the most excellent spread ever created. i recently learned how easy this is to make in a slow cooker and even though apple season has come and gone, i have amazing plans for jars and jars and jars of this stuff once next year's winesaps are ripe!

4. remy charlip - a most amazing children's book author - the book i've featured here is my absolute favorite from when i was a wee girl. i am quite certain we had this out of the library for months at a time. i think it was already out of print then. thankfully some publishers have come to their senses and reissues of most of charlip's books are now available. need a present for a young (at heart) friend?...this is it!

5. the lilac time (& stephen duffy) i can hardly believe that i've been listening to this amazing band for nearly 20 years! stephen duffy, his brother nick, and an alternating yet always astounding group of musicians craft gentle, jangly folk rock with a quintessentially literate appeal. each song is a poem and each melody a masterpiece
6. first world war poetry
i've always considered the first world war to be the unfortunate, brash kick start of the modern era - and nothing captures that pivotal time better than the poetry written by the soldiers who were caught in the trenches during the war and shell-shocked afterwards. the tragic wilfred owen, siegfried sassoon, and rupert brooke are perhaps the most well-known of these writers. the loss of innocence and dismayed horror of war they convey through their writing is breathtaking and sadly incredibly pertinent today.

29 April 2008

masquerading revelry

Here's yet another one of those priceless treasures that I'm parting with for the sake of art and commerce...I cannot get enough of this mysterious antique badge. I received a message about it from an admirer and I told her that I will be sad when it goes...she suggested I keep it. But the truth is, I just can't be that greedy. I'm hoarding amazing treasures by the drawer full and haven't been able to part with many of them yet. Sometimes I just haven't dreamed up the perfect showcase for them...sometimes I just can't bear the thought of not being able to see something every day and be inspired by its loveliness. So when moments arrive when I am able to let go. I embrace them. I will miss you masquerader. But we'll always have this blog post. xoxo samantha

16 April 2008

riding high

i've been searching and searching for a bicycle ever since i moved out to a more rural, farm area - you know - the type of bicycle that begs for a basket, the kind that lures you to give it a spin over acres of grass, and of course one that has a style that is unshakable.
and yesterday...i found it. it was a moment of happenstance too perfect for words. one of my favorite vendors at my local flea market had four glorious vintage bikes for sale - and this schwinn cruiser - in sleek racing green - beckoned. and now he's mine. i got him just in time as apparently 20 other people desperately wanted to escape with him as well. i cannot wait to spruce him up - a basket, steamers and a bell all seem to be in his immediate future. i want to dress him up in his party tux. and the local farmers market opens today too. oh the places we'll go...
i think he needs a name too...any suggestions?

14 April 2008

sublime physics

here's a shameful academic secret of mine: i've never taken a course on physics! sad but true. i forsook physics for the exciting world of organic chemistry and spent a lot of time drawing molecular models instead of discussing fulcrums and speed ratios. but that doesn't mean that i don't appreciate physics - quite the contrary!! my desire to rectify my academic shortcomings has resulted in this necklace. not only is it anchored by a pulley - but it also features gears and cogs inside the watch mechanism as well as a magnetic compass! viva physics! i am sorry i abandoned you! vive la physics!

09 April 2008


wunderkammer indeed! german for "room of wonders", french artist hubert duprat has been creating these elaborate and opulent cases for decades by "collaborating" with caddis fly larvae. yes...larvae! duprat removes the caddis fly larvae from their natural environment and supplies them with gems, pearls and precious metals. the larvae are bound by nature to create protective cases for themselves while they mature and when they finally emerge from their "cocoons" they leave behind little tubes encrusted with things you'd expect to find in a master jeweler's workroom. the larvae weave the gems and gold together with silk from the inside of the tube and with a little manipulation, duprat and the caddis flies have managed to create absolutely stunning wunderkammer. For more info - I highly suggest this article.

07 April 2008

away from it all

just spent an hour dreaming about a cozy cottage getaway after i happened upon this site. this lovely home is nestled in the western scottish countryside and i could definitely do with a few weeks to be inspired...too bad they're booked through september!!
but honestly - check out the site the selection of cottages is not to be believed!

05 April 2008

all the marbles

swirly delights! i've had a vast collection of marbles for a good portion of my life. they've been in vases and underfoot...rolling down wooden chutes and sitting on the windowsill...but anywhere they are is a place i'd like to be. i love this marble collection (editorial note: not mine! these are antique german beauties)! the dancing tangles of glass look like synapses or even capillaries. the colors are dreamy yet bright. a bouquet of glass just in time for spring.

27 March 2008

parting with keepsakes

as a fervent collector it is sometimes difficult to part with some of the amazing keepsakes i unearth in my travels. this new design is one such heartbreak. it's an art nouveau era french locket/photo album. beautiful repousse designs cover both the front and the back of the locket while the inside holds lovely black and white photographs from the french seaside. while surrendering such lovely pieces to my jewelry collection is always a trial, it does make me happy to know they will be appreciated by another.

21 March 2008

sping has sprung

eeek. i've been a very, very negligent blogger recently. and i hate to point fingers, but i'm going to have to blame most of it on the adorable creature in my previous post. mr. murphy has entered my life and in all honesty, he is such a bundle of love, silliness and energy that i've been finding it incredibly difficult to focus on making jewelry or blogging or anything apart from reveling in his sweetness. thankfully he's found the joy in long afternoon naps (in between trying to eat socks) so i've been able (finally) to devote some time the past few days to jewelry making and finally a new blog post! so here's a new style - just listed in the shop. it actually surprised me when it came to fruition because i'm not a huge fan of yellow. most likely because i can't wear it without (in my opinion, at least) looking a bit jaundiced. the sad state of affairs for a blonde i guess. but the ruby red glass paired with these warm vintage lucite beads was too delicious to pass up. so here it is. i'm really loving this piece and can actually foresee a way in which i can finally integrate yellow into my (accessories) wardrobe. so happy spring everyone. let the flowers bloom!

08 March 2008


murphy is now here in his new forever home! got up at 1am drove three hours and picked him up in the parking lot of a cracker barrel restaurant! kinda seedy way to meet my new best friend, but sooo worth it! murphy came from an irish setter rescue organization, save our setters, and they've taken such good care of him. check out those sideburns!! a fluffy, love hound (who is quite comfy on my bed already)

05 March 2008


starting a wee bit early...March 6th is my official ETSYVERSARY!
to celebrate, I'm holding a sale (ON NOW) in the shop. Everything in the shop is 20% OFF the list price until Midnight March 6th!!! To take advantage of the sale price, simply go through the regular etsy check out process but don't submit payment via PayPal until you receive and updated discount invoice from me.

and i want to take a moment to thank all of my wonderful customers for a dazzling two years!!!

04 March 2008

a new regime

oh if only there were little men offering me a congratulatory glass of champagne when i finish my 100 laps...but despite the lack of such delicacies, i am newly obsessed and thrilled about my decision to start swimming. the elliptical trainer was getting so darn tedious. those green and red lights blinking and nagging - showing me exactly how much longer i'm "supposed" to be going up an incline or trudging along a plateau... boring loring zoring doring!! i honestly think exercise should have some relaxing merits and thankfully swimming does indeed possess (at least for me) very calming attributes. the addition last week of earplugs has added to the solitary bliss. i can actually THINK while i'm swimming. i can dream up new designs and work out jumbled thoughts. show me the water and i'll be a happy, happy fishy.

01 March 2008

in like a lion

with spring on the horizon, i thought it was time to start creating bigger, bolder necklaces that you don't want to hide under a thick wooly coat. sassy necklaces that sashay with you down the rain-slicked, blossom strewn street. so here's to spring. go wild!

23 February 2008

avian architects

years ago i caught a fascinating episode of Nature on PBS called "bower bird blues" and it has been an inspiration to me ever since. the episode showcased the mating rituals of male bower birds who create intricate structures (bowers) from twigs and found objects to impress the local females. one example to the left features a bower bird who has designed his bachelor pad with red flowers and seashells. other kinds of bower birds decorate with berries, plastics, glass and other found objects. the birds are quite particular about their designs. they will constantly tidy their bowers and if a particular design element is displaced, will put it back "where it belongs" as soon as it spies the disorder. the male bowers also thieve amongst one another - stealing design concepts and even bits of each others bowers to maintain their own bowers as the most alluring to their female counterparts. as a designer who works with found objects, i consider these birds (with their odd ways) my avian kin and i just thought i'd take a moment to share their extraordinary story.

18 February 2008

cast iron taxidermy

while i've always been drawn to the creepy allure of true taxidermy pieces, there's a whole lot of me that couldn't bear to think of a once-cute critter sitting on my wall for all eternity. so i was really thrilled to find this antique cast iron wolf bottle opener this past weekend while i was out hunting for jewelry supplies. the photo doesn't convey the slight reds and browns that subtly bring this fella to life, but this bold three-dimensional oddity is going to be a permanent fixture on my wall soon. a cast iron (animal friendly) nod to taxidermy just for me. YAY!

13 February 2008

on the nightstand

I have to take a brief moment to mention this fascinating book that I've just finished reading. Using the unimaginable tragedy of the Nickel Mines, PA school shooting as its jumping off point, Amish Grace explores and explains how the Amish culture has embraced the practice of forgiveness. (The families of the young girls killed and injured in that shooting almost immediately forgave the shooter for his transgressions and welcomed his family into their hearts). When the news of this forgiveness reached the media, it nearly eclipsed the story of the tragedy itself as modern society could not understand how this culture could forgive such a purely evil act.
When I first heard of the Amish response to this tragedy, I was hoping for a book or editorial that may shed more light on the practice of forgiveness in the modern era (an era that seems hell-bent on vengeance as a response to any personal (or national) affront) - and this is that book. While the Amish find their call to forgive primarily in the study of their anabaptist faith, as a person who does not actively participate in organized religion, I think anyone who yearns to understand more about the human spirit will find comfort and inspiration in these pages.

09 February 2008

beguiling birdie

this wee golden birdie is posing quite a mystery to me. i came across him this week at the flea market and for $2 he simply had to come and live with me. yet for the life of me i cannot figure out his past. he's flittered from booth to booth at the flea market and no one knows exactly what to make of him. he doesn't have a clasp so we know he's not a pillbox. he smells like metal, not perfume so we don't think he held any lotions or potions. so far the only logical occupation i think he could have held is as a table salt holder...if anyone has any ideas about what secrets this wee birdie could hold from his past life. please feel free to comment below!

06 February 2008

On the newsstands...

Country Living Magazine has graciously included four of my designs in the "Out & About" section of their March 2008 issue. This is actually my very first exposure in a print magazine and I couldn't be more excited. Even more thrilling than being included amongst such amazingly talented jewelry designers is to see my designs styled with such grace and elegance (thank you to Marina Malchin the extremely talented stylist who put this story together)!! The issue is currently in the homes of those fortunate enough to have a subscription to this magazine and will be available on newsstands just before Valentine's Day!
The issue also features incredibly inspiring profiles of female entrepreneurs who have made fantastic strides in both business and artistry!
Thank you Country Living!

04 February 2008

a song in the heart

i've come across a really eclectic collection of vintage petite music box keychains that i've transformed into whimsical pendants - all of which will be debuting in the shop over the next week or so. this dainty and delicate piece features a teensy music box with a mother of pearl checkerboard pattern on the front (the lid comes off to show the music box itself!!) and plays what i think may be a bit of beethoven's "fur elise" (gah...my seven years of german is nagging me that i cannot put an umlaut above that "u" in elise!!) i've made a bunch of these over the past year and i cannot seem to stop obsessing over them. coming soon will be a few floral designs, a really mod bright red starburst, and a golden style. yay!

02 February 2008

flea market finds

since i spent the last post discussing the lovely folks who supply me with goodies at the local flea market, i thought i'd spend this post sharing a recent, favorite find from that same place. i truly couldn't believe my luck when i spied this beauty on a table. could it be real? a wee bird cage/music box/jewelry chest? and in my favorite avocado shade of green!! and it works! heavens to betsy. but indeed it was - the stars were on my side. although a bit dusty at the time, for $5 who could resist. i brought it home, used an old toothbrush to give a thorough cleaning to the bottom of the cage and voila, a sweet swinging bird (check out the photo progression to see how the bird swings when the drawer opens) meant for the top of my dresser. and there he sits - and holds precious treasures. thank you flea market!!!!

31 January 2008

flea market friends

tuesdays and fridays are easily my favorite days of the week - why? you ask...well because tuesdays and fridays are the days when my local flea market gets into full swing. beginning at 7am (i'm usually there bright and early) various vendors start setting up and the old-timer's gather in the food hall to get warmed up with scrumptious amish-made sandwiches and pastries. i usually run into the food hall to get a large coffee and then start hunting for treasure. my first stop is almost always at clarence's booth (that's him above). i absolutely adore clarence!! he's always one of the first one's set up and clarence ALWAYS has a smile on his face and a hearty belly laugh to accompany any story. he regularly supplies me with wonderful old watches and odd knick-knacks. but even when clarence doesn't have any new stock, a smile from clarence is the best start to the flea market anyone could hope for.
the next few hours involve A LOT of walking and searching and moments of eureka and i treasure every last minute of it. but without fail - my last (and longest) stop of the day is when I visit my favoritest lady in all of Delaware - Miss Jessie (that's her on the left). Jessie is 84 years young and wise beyond her years. Jessie is simply put, a girlfriend of mine. We talk about anything and everything from politics to recipes to flea market gossip and every conversation I have with her is one to be remembered for years to come. When I first started visiting the flea market, I would go to Jessie's booth to browse her amazing collection of vintage jewelry - but now I visit the booth to see Jessie. the jewelry is just an added bonus.
flea market visits have been interrupted the past few months with super frigid weather and time spent moving house...tomorrow it's supposed to rain. BOOOO! so fingers crossed tuesday will be warm and sunny!

30 January 2008


nothing thrills me more than when fashion photography crosses the threshold of the editorial and enters the realm of fine art. melvin sokolsky shattered that boundary completely with his amazing bubble series of photos for harper's bazaar in 1963. to the left are two of my absolute favorites from that series.

28 January 2008

oh anthracite, oh anthracite

one of the best things about moving is unearthing long-forgotten treasures and the inevitable ephemera oddity. the image at left came from a 1954 souvenir pamphlet for the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company that i found inside a long-forgotten book. the illustration is that of a large cone in which anthracite (coal) was cleaned before it was sent to homes and businesses for heating purposes. the colors in this pamphlet are incredibly rich and bright and the title page of the pamphlet even has some wonderful mid-century advertising copy extolling the virtues of coal:
"how nature baked the cake to keep you warm and comfortable with the heat and sunlight of millions of bygone years. "
as a native Pennsylvanian, it's somewhat heartbreaking to come across the pamphlet - the optimism in its pages nothing but a sad reminder of a burgeoning industry that is all but abandoned now.

26 January 2008

love is in the air

with Valentine's Day just around the corner, I'm trying to "break out the hearts" so to speak and put some heartfelt and romantic pieces into the shop. I've also started taking photographs with props to add a bit of whimsy to each listing. It's hard not to get carried away though - so with my excitement about the new photos, I truly need to make sure I'm not devoting an inordinate amount of time to photography - and make sure every last minute available goes towards creating more jewelry. I can tell it's going to be a challenge!