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Some recent finds



Hello friends, lat week I talked about my recent visit to the Puces de Vanves.  Today, I want to share my finds from that visit.   There were so many tempting things for sale but I decided to focus on things that I could use for work.  It is after all the main reason why I was at the Puces.  I think I was quite fortunate this time.  I barely arrived when I found my first piece (pictured above).  The seller had bought out someone’s metal stamping business and this piece was one of the last from that lot.  While the design of this lady looks like it is from the early years of the 1900s, this piece was actually made in the 1960s.  It is not that old but I love the design. And it even has the original tag from the business.

Another piece that I acquired dates back to almost the same period.  This forget me not pendant made of little glass beads resembling turquoise and cut steel dates back to the early years of the 20th century.  The necklace it probably came with is gone but I am happy to have this gorgeous statement piece.


A bit of walking brought me to my next find.  A pair of gorgeous French made pendants from a much earlier period.   The piece on the right dates back to the period of 1890 while the other pendant is dates back to the beginning of the 1900s.  Both were fashioned by hand and the enamel work is in very fine condition.  I’m very excited by these two and I can’t wait to work on them.


The next set of pieces are quite interesting too.  These were made in the 1890s and they were designed to be either lockets or as ornaments for men’s watches.  As these  particular pieces weren’t lockets, they were most likely  used for men’s watches. In those days, men used pocket watches and at one end of the chain, there used to hang decorative little pendants such as these.  Most of these pendants were made out of a mixture of brass and copper hence their rosy color. This particular mix was first authorized for use in jewelry by King Louis XVI in 1785. Previously, it was forbidden by the king.    I think they would make for great pendants!


And my next find also dates back to the same time frame.  This tiny enameled piece used to belong to a bracelet but all the other pieces are now lost.  I don’t quite know what to do with it yet, but I just couldn’t resist it.  The enamel work on the piece is still intact and I love the little flower design.  20140630-091534-33334937.jpg

Finally, just as I was about to head home, I found some gorgeous beads. Finding these beads just about completed my day.  These are early Venetians from the beginning of the 1900s.  Its been awhile since I found some gorgeous beads in an antique market so I just had to have them!


I’m quite happy to be back at my desk working away with these gorgeous new pieces!



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French antiquing

20140626-073813-27493699.jpg   One of the things I miss about France is the weekly brocantes and the Puces (big weekend antique markets) I used to frequent.  I may not always find something, but an afternoon or morning spent browsing amongst the different stalls was always interesting and fun.   Needless to say, going to the Puces is one of the things I look forward to the most when we make a trip back. This particular visit, I spent one morning browsing through the stalls of the Puces de Vanves.


 It is a much smaller affair than the Puces de Clignancourt, and they keep  shorter hours, from 7 am to 1 pm only.  Some years ago, when I first started going there, most, if not all of the people browsing were locals.  Bargaining or even conversing with the sellers in my fledging French was an adventure to say the least! Well the times, they are a-changing.  Now, there are as many foreigners as locals browsing the stalls and even more surprising, the French (as can be!) vendors are speaking English! You can’t imagine how surprised I was by this!               20140626-073810-27490809.jpgDespite these changes and the increasing difficulties in sourcing good quality antiques (a refrain I heard from many vendors), the Puces is still replete with many wonderful objets d’art,  curios and trinkets.  There are a few furniture pieces but for those things, it is better to go to the Puces de Clignancourt anyway.  20140626-073812-27492583.jpg       There were a lot of beautiful paintings and prints on all manner of subjects. It was wonderful to see the wide variety available on sale.

My eye was caught too, by all the pretty and dainty dinnerware sets and silverware that hark back to the days of washing everything by hand.  It was only the thought of lugging all these back in a luggage that stopped me from buying some pretty dishes.20140626-073811-27491739.jpg

And if you are looking for pretty things, there was no shortage of those as well.  Just check out the pretty petit point bags and delicate lace jacket from the beginning of the 20th century pictured above.  They were all handmade and in beautiful condition.  And while some stalls specialized in one of a kind objects, some others stands had boxes of things.  This one in particular had crates of old candy boxes from the turn of the century.  Turns out the seller had bought out the entire left over stock of an old candy shop.  As I left, I overheard someone bargaining to buy the box.  I t made me wonder what he will do with them.  20140626-073814-27494538.jpg

As for my finds, I’m happy to report that I came away with a few special things.  But that is for another post!  Happy weekend everyone!

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A new piece for a new week


Hello friends, I wanted to start the week with this piece I just finished.  I love Venetian wedding cake beads. I know its hard to choose among the different beads but I have a weakness for these wedding cake beads.  I love the cheerful flower design and colors. I love even more how individual they are. They are never exactly the same. These group of beads date back to the 1940s. I was fortunate enough to buy them from Venice from someone who has been selling antique and vintage Venetians for a long time.  20140610-183800-67080106.jpg

As I was fortunate enough to have a good number of them, I decided to make a sautoir style necklace.  And because it’s long enough, you can even wear it as a double strand necklace!20140610-183759-67079212.jpg

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Detroit’s comeback?


Hello friends, can you believe how this week just flew by?  I hope you have a great weekend ahead of you!

For this Friday’s roundup of interesting links, I thought I’d focus on the city of Detroit.  Detroit is frequently in the news and unfortunately, its often bad news.  It is mind-boggling to think that it was once one of the richest (if not the richest) city in America.  From its glory days in the 20s to today’s crime-ridden, bankrupt city, the million dollar question of the day is whether it is possible for Detroit to become a healthy and thriving city once more.

It is a daunting task but there are encouraging signs, if we look closely.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is the crown jewel in the city’s artistic and cultural life.  I have to admit that I was skeptical but one visit was enough to convince me otherwise. It truly has a rich and varied collection and one to be proud of.  When Detroit filed for bankruptcy, one of the city’s assets that was cited as a possible source of revenue is the art collection of the DIA.  Fortunately, GM, Ford and Chrysler otherwise known as the big Three have pledged to help save the city.  Three cheers, I’d say! Here is the news.

One group has come up with their own  innovative take on the writer in residence program. Toby Barlow  and his group set up Write a House with a goal of renovating vacant homes around Detroit and giving these homes to writers.  By restoring homes in different neighborhoods, they hope to build and foster a thriving artistic and literary community.  So far, there have been applicants from  South America, Europe and India in addition to writers from other states.  Accepted writers must agree to live in the house for 2 years, pay modest fees for insurance and taxes and more importantly participate in Write a House’s literary activities. And write of course. At the end of the two year period, the writer gets the house for life.  Isn’t this just a wonderful idea? For more details on the program as well as how to donate to the program, read all about it in their website.

Another group that has decided to make downtown Detroit their headquarters is Shinola.  Shinola is proud to say that they are reviving an American tradition of quality manufacturing in a city they believe in.  They have a thriving line of hand made watches, built right in the heart of downtown Detroit and they custom make a line of beautiful bikes.  And that’s just for starters. I had the pleasure of seeing them work up close (more on that in a separate post later!) and its impressive to see.  For lovers of quality handcrafted goods, this is as handmade as it gets.  Learn all about Shinola here.

Detroit wasn’t always just burned out abandoned houses. Once upon a time there was no shortage of lovely mansions. To catch a glimpse of its rich past, check out the Fisher Mansion which is currently for sale at a cool price of 1.5 Million.

So is Detroit ready for its comeback?


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Finished pieces


Hello friends, I finished a number of pieces and I must say, I’m quite happy with how they turned out.  Remember the sky blue piece from last Monday? Here it is!  I decided to make the silver foil bead into a pendant for this necklace and it hangs perfectly on the decolleté.

I’m fortunate enough to work next to a big window and where I sit, I can see these trees with their gorgeous green colors. They range from deep dark green to a more summery hue.  I was looking through my bead box one day and I came across these vintage Czech glass beads from the 40s and they are the exact color as some of the trees I see outside. I just had to make something with them. And here is what I came up with.


And in keeping with the green theme, I also came up with a bracelet, which is not exactly the same, but to my mind, compliments nicely the necklace.


And while we are on bracelets, I also made a simple bracelet in a vibrant blue shade but the focal bead on this one is really interesting. Its full of little sparkles and looks almost like ice when you hold it up against the light.20140610-182408-66248228.jpg


Finally, since it is summer and as such the time for showing off tanned legs, I thought I’d add another anklet to the current collection.  These little rondelle beads are from the late 30s and are harder to come by than the bigger rondelles. I’m quite happy to have a few of them around. 20140610-182409-66249172.jpgEh voila, hope you’ve enjoyed all these new pieces.  As always, if interested in any of them, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!



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The beginnings of a new piece

Ta20140609-101248-36768220.jpgHello friends, I hope you’re all having a great start to your week! Despite a few gray and rainy days here and there, we’ve been largely blessed with sunny blue skies and summer like temperatures. It has certainly inspired my current palette of colors.

Take for example, this new piece I’m working on.  This beautiful silver foil glass bead will act as the focal bead.  It’s a fairly large bead and is in great condition for something that was made in the 40s.  I love its summer colors of white and blue.  And I have to say its the exact color of the sky as I look out my window!

I can’t wait to show you the finished piece!


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Friday links



Hello friends, its been a bit quiet here on the blog but I couldn’t let Friday go without a word.

One of the blogs I really take pleasure in reading is Design Mom.  Gabrielle Blair writes with disarming candor about a lot of difficult subjects.  Its rare to find someone who writes with such passionate honesty and that’s what keeps me reading her.  A subject that came up recently on the blog was the Twitter hashtag #yesallwomen.  This is an increasingly popular Twitter hashtag and social media campaign wherein users share examples and/or stories about misogyny and violence against women.  Gaby’s post shared her own examples and the discussion that they had as a family.  Her honesty enabled dozens of readers to open up to. It is really thought -provoking.  Despite the progress women have made, why is there still so much violence and unthinking sexism to fight against?  It saddens me no end that our children, especially our girls,  will still have to deal with this.  Here is the post in full.

While we are on the subject of violence and misogyny against women, a French director Eleonore Pourriat came up with a brilliantly poignant and thought-provoking (yes, that word again!) film on the subject of sexism.  It is not long and I cannot urge you enough to watch it.  Watch it here.

Now, to end this note on a more positive note, I want to share an article on Gina Sanders, a CEO in the publishing world.   Enjoy!