Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes the Baby in the Baby Carriage

I don't know much about babies. I know that you shouldn't shake them, give them honey, get them wet or feed them after midnight.....some of those rules might apply to gremlins only. As much as I know about babies, I know even less about baby carriages. I do know that if you dress up a cat and throw it in a baby carriage, it is good times for a 6 year old girl. Bad times for the cat.

So since I don't know anything about baby carriages, aka prams, I'm going to learn about them. Right now.
  • A baby carriage (or "pram" in the UK) is generally used for a newborn and has the baby lying down, facing the parent. A stroller (or "buggy" in the UK) is used for an older child, with the child sitting and facing away from the parent. Now you know.
  • The baby carriage was invented by English architect William Kent in 1773. He created it at the request of the 3rd Duke of Devonshire.
  • William H. Richardson patented an improvement on the baby carriage in the United States in 1889. He improved the axles for greater mobility and made it so the baby could face either forward or away. He made the first reversible baby carriage. USA! USA!
  • Baby carriages were first used by the elite. The carriages were ornately decorated with expensive detail, and were priced much too high for the lower classes to afford. Apparently, poor people didn't need to transport their babies anywhere...
  • Here's something hilarious, but also scary: The first baby carriages were designed to be pulled by a dog, goat or pony instead of a parent. OK, take a minute to create a mental picture of that. Laugh. Now, take a minute to be glad that we don't allow farm animals or pets to pull our children anymore.
  • Like almost EVERYTHING in the Victorian era, baby carriages really took off when Queen Victoria purchased one. I don't have confirmation on if she had a spaniel or daschund pulling the carriage.
  • FACT- Necklaces with baby carriages on it make great baby shower gifts. I'm just sayin'... http://www.etsy.com/listing/71020185/victorian-pram-necklace-stroller-buggy

Enter BLOG15 for 15% off your entire purchase at checkout.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What did you say? It's Van Gogh's Birthday!

Yep. Today is the birthday Vincent Van Gogh. And, here's a few fun facts about him:

  • Van Gogh originally wanted to be a priest. But, he did not adapt too well to the celibate lifestyle, preferring to take up with prostitutes instead.
  • Speaking of prostitutes; he gave his ear (or part of his ear) to one. Yeah. While it's debated whether he cut off his entire ear or just the lower lobe, he did wrap up the ear or ear piece and gave it to a hooker to "hang on to." Which is weird because, I had learned in elementary school that he cut off his ear and mailed it to his "girlfriend." Oh, the things you learn as you get older.
  • In a period of ten years, Van Gogh created over 900 paintings. But, he only sold one in his lifetime.
  • Van Gogh battle with mental illness pretty much his entire life (if the whole ear/prostitute thing didn't give that away) and one of his most famous paintings, Starry Night, was painted during his stay at an asylum.
  • Van Gogh didn't start painting until his late twenties.
  • Van Gogh died at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest.
So, want to buy yourself a gift for Van Gogh's B-day? Well, here's a necklace for ya:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/52759803/van-gogh-necklace-retro-victorian
Or, if you would prefer earrings, strike while the irony is hot: http://www.etsy.com/listing/53744479/van-gogh-earrings-retro-victorian
Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off your entire order.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Me Gusta Mucha!

So, I quit my job today. Well, technically, I turned in my resignation and gave my notice. So, I'm still at said "quit" job, but I finally took that step. This information has absolutely nothing to do with today's blog post. I'm just so damn happy about this:)

Today, I'm going to hip you to Alphonse Mucha, if you are not already acquainted with his work.

Mucha was a Czech born artist who got his big break in Paris in 1894 when he painted a poster for an upcoming play starring Sarah Bernhardt. This poster literally made Mucha an overnight sensation. His style became known as the "Mucha Style" and later Art Nouveau. Yeah, that's right he STARTED Art Nouveau. That's pretty huge.
But, he kind of didn't really like being associated with Art Nouveau because he felt that it focused too much on commercial art. He was really into Slavic Nationalism and really wanted his work to portray the work and the struggle of the Czech people instead of hyping some actress.
Unfortunately, this belief put him on the radar during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. In the spring of 1939, Mucha was one of the first artists to be arrested by the Gestapo. During the course of his interrogation, he fell ill with pneumonia. He was later released but he never fully recovered and died later that year.
Mucha's art is incredibly important and has influenced everything from 1960's psychedelic to Japanese anime.

And here's a necklace if you want to pay homage to Mucha...and help out a soon-to-be-unemployed jewelry maker at the same time:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/71021331/alphonse-mucha-necklace-retro-deco-art

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Birds of a Feather

So, I have to ask: What is the deal with those feather hair extensions I am seeing everywhere? I'm not saying that I am "pro" or "anti" feather hair extension either way. I just don't get it. They kind of remind me of the 1980's feather hairclips, which were pretty much glorified roach clips. But, I'm not judging. I'll probably be sporting one next week, due to my fickle fashion sense...

That meaningless rant kind of serves as a clumsy segue into today's blog post subject: Feathers!

  • Feathers serve many roles: insulation, aerodynamic power for flight, communication, camouflage, swimming, and display- to name a few. A fully developed feather is dead. No nourishment or maintenance is needed, except for preening and bathing. Kind of like human hair. Except, most birds don't use peroxide on their feathers...
  • Ostrich feathers are harvested when the bird is ready to molt, so the plucking of the feathers doesn't cause the animal any harm at all. I mention this fact only as a means to clear my burlesque dancer conscience. We use a lot of ostrich feathers.
  • The red pigmant in feathers of some birds comes from what they eat. Females are usually attracted to males with brighter red plumage because it shows that they know how to eat. I'm attracted to men with beer guts for the same reason.
  • The bird with the most feathers is the Whistling Swan. They can have as much as 25,000 feathers during the winter. Lucky!
  • The longest feather in the world belonged to an ornamental chicken in Japan that was breed in 1972, He had a tail feather of 10.59m long- that's a little over 34 feet for us Yanks. I'm not going to lie, I'm coveting that feather. That would make one hell of a burlesque costume...
  • Feathers are evolved from scales and are made of B-Keratin protien. In fact, birds still have both scales and feathers. You can see the scales on their legs and feet. 
  • The peacock feather is seen as good luck in most countries around the world. In fact, peacock feathers were used by royalty and to swear on a peacock feather was the same as taking a solemn oath. Marie Antoinette wore peacock feathers often. They were not so lucky for her.
  • In some areas of the world, like Eastern Europe, peacock feathers are seen as a sign of bad luck. They represented the feathers worn by invading Mongol warriors.
  • The feathers of a peacock have given it the nickname, "The Bird of 100 Eyes," and superstition claims that the bird is able to see all hidden acts. For this reason, the bird is not permitted to walk accross the threshold of a home in some areas of the world.
But, I'm going to believe that the feathers are good luck, because I've got to sell some earrings here...
http://www.etsy.com/listing/53663208/peacock-earrings-retro-rockabilly

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's Spring!

It's the first day of Spring today. OK, technically, Spring started at 7:21pm EST yesterday...But, today is the first FULL day of Spring, And according to the weather reports, it's going to be a beautiful 70 degree day, here in Colorado. However, the begining of Spring doesn't mean much for us Coloradans as we know that it can still snow as late as May. In fact, I don't even feel safe from snow until Memorial Day weekend....and even then I've got one doubtful eye on the sky to see if Mother Nature is going to pull a fast one.

My skepticism aside, here's some Spring facts:
  • The Vernal Equinox is rarely equal...In theory, the Equinox is supposed to mark the date when there are 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness. It does happen, but usually before the acutal date of the Vernal Equinox.
  • There is a myth that only on the Vernal Equinox, you can balance a raw egg on its end. This is not true. You can balance a raw egg on its end anytime; you just need patience (and a good reason for why you are wasting your time with this project).
  • Equinoxes happen twice a year and happen when the Earth's axis is centered with the sun. Equinoxes fall about six hours later every year. Every four years, there is a full day of transition. This is just too much math for my Liberal Arts major brain. I'm going to go back to thinking the equinox is caused by happy wishes...
  •  Some first day of Spring birthdays: 1685 Johann Sebastian Bach, 1816 Charlotte Bronte,  1869 Florenz Ziegfield, 1958 Gary Oldman, 1962 Rosie O'Donell, 1963 Matthew Broderick, and 1978 Kevin Federline. Wow, what a weird party that would be.
  • Why do we call it "Spring." The use of the word "spring" to describe the season came about in the 1500's when people would use terms like "spring of leaf" and "spring time of the year" to describe the new plant growth of the season.
  • Things that happen in spring? People start their "spring cleaning" rituals; demand for cleaning products increases. Baseball players start spring training; demand for steroids increases. College students go on spring break; demand for Valtrex increases.
Well, there are some Spring tidbits for ya. And if that's not enough, then I've got this necklace that totally reminds me of spring:
 http://www.etsy.com/listing/69100062/retro-moth-butterfly-necklace-steampunk

Use coupono code BLOG15 for 15% off:)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Vocabulary Lesson

I've been avoiding blogging about this necklace because I wasn't quite sure what to call this woman. Is this an image of a woman in the middle of changing into her choir gown and getting ready for church? Or is this a "lady of the night?" I suspect it is the latter.

Well, here's some words (and their definitions) of what she might be:

Trollop: a vulgar or disreputable woman; especially : one who engages in sex promiscuously or for money
Harlot: a prostitute or promiscuous woman
Strumpet: a female prostitute, adulterer, or mistress.
Vamp: A woman who uses her sex appeal to entrap and exploit men
Wanton Woman: immoral, unchaste, or lewd.
Floozy: A woman regarded as tawdry or sexually promiscuous.
Hussy: 1. a woman considered brazen or immoral. or 2. a saucy or impudent girl.
Jezebel: 1. In the Old Testament she the wife of Ahab, king of Israel: she fostered the worship of Baal and tried to destroy the prophets of Israel she was killed by Jehu.  2. a shameless or scheming woman
Jade: A woman regarded as disreputable or shrewish
Minx: A girl or young woman who is considered pert, flirtatious, or impudent
Tart: A woman considered to be sexually promiscuous.
Tramp: A person regarded as promiscuous.
Fallen Woman: woman who is regarded as sinful or disgraced because she has had sexual relations outside marriage
Courtesan: a prostitute, or the mistress of a man of rank
Coquette: A woman who makes teasing sexual or romantic overtures; a flirt.

Despite their meanings, most of these words are somewhat cute sounding. Like they would be a good name for a cat, or a whacked-out celebrity's baby.

Don't want to name your kid Floozy? Well, how about a necklace instead:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/69799301/flapper-1920s-burlesque-lady-necklace



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Oh Nessie, You Coy Creature, You

It's about 30 degrees. It's cold. It's foggy. It's gloomy. It's March in Colorado. It feels like what I think Scotland would feel like. Granted, I've never been to Scotland...but there is a a Castle MacPherson (my maiden name) in Scotland. Suck on that Paris Hilton. I've got a castle, you've got a chain of mediocre hotels.

But, once again, I'm off point. It's a grey day and I feel like a little post on a big monster is appropriate. Yep. I'm talking about the Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie. While she's pretty much determined to have been a hoax, there are many out there who are adamant of her existence. And who am I to criticize? I believe in jackalopes.

But, whatever camp you are on; here's a timeline of Nessie sightings, explorations, and documentations.

  • 7th Century- St. Columba wrote of an account with the Pict people along the River Ness. Columba encountered the Picts dragging a body out of the water. They claimed it was killed by water beast. Columba then sent one of his assistants into the water to lure the beast out. Columba claims that the beast made an appearance, but Columba made the sign of the cross and the beast retreated into the water. Many historians attribute thisto folk lore and also point out that this was the River Ness, not Loch Ness.
  • July 1933- George Spicer and his wife were taking a leisurely drive around Loch Ness, when a huge "dragon-like" beast walked in front of their vehicle. They described the creature as being 4 ft tall and 25 feet long with a head shaped like an elephant's trunk.
  • August 1933 - Arthur Grant claimed to have nearly hit the beast while taking a late night motorcycle ride. However, his claim is often dismissed as many think it was his way to cover up a motorcycle accident (read: drunk).
  • 1934- Surgeon's Photo. Yep, this is the famous photo. It was supposedly taken by Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson, but he didn't want to attach his name to it (hmmmmm), so it was dubbed the Surgeon's Photo. Well, turns out it was a hoax. The photo is actually a picture of a toy submarine with a sculpted wooden head attached. This was the idea of Christian Spurling who wanted to embarrass the Daily Mail for publicly ridiculing his father-in-law.
  • 1934 - Sir Edward Mountain financed an exposition in which his team would stake out the lake with binoculars and cameras from 9am to 6pm daily (banker's hours!). They managed to get one photograph, but it was determined to be a Grey Seal.
  • 1938- South African tourist filmed 3 minutes of "monster activity" on 16 mm film. But the film fell into ownership of Maurice Burton and he refused to share any of it with Loch Ness investigators.
  • 1938 - Inverness Shire Chief Constable William Fraser, penned a letter stating that the existence of the monster was beyond doubt and he expressed concern over his inability to protect the creature from the harm that may come to it via hunting parties. Aw, that's kind of sweet:)
  • 1943 - C.B. Farrel of the Royal Observer Corps was distracted from his duties by what he claimed to be a 20-30 ft, large-eyed, finned monster.
  • 1954 - Fishing boat, the Rival III made strange sonar contact with a disturbance that kept pace with the boat at about 480 feet.
  • 1960 - Tim Dinsdale filmed a what looks to be a hump coming out of the water along with a wake about the size of a boat.
  • 1962-1976 - The Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau (LNPIB) is formed. No joke. The team is funded by membership dues and consists of volunteers who would patrol the lake from different vantage points.
  • 1967-1969 - Several sonar surveys are launched. The results are mysterious, yet inconclusive. One sound creates a greater impact than a pilot whale, but researchers could not confirm the identity.
  • 1972 - Robert Rhines launches an expedition to take underwater photos. The result is some monster-shaped photos that could also easily be a seal or a log. Sort of a fail.
  • 1987 - Operation Deep Scan. Once again, another sonar sweep, with inconclusive results. Darrell Lowrance, the sonar expert was quoted as saying "There's something here that we don't understand, and there's something here that's larger than a fish, maybe some species that hasn't been detected before. I don't know." Okey Dokey....
  • 1993 - Discovery Loch Ness. Didn't focus so much on the monster as it did the Loch itself. It found a phenomenon called "seiche" which is an underwater disturbance caused by stored energy, such as from wind. This could explain all the claims of Nessie's wakes in the waves.
  • 2003 - BBC launches YET ANOTHER sonar expedition. This one came up pretty concrete: there is nothing of sizable mass in the Loch. 
  • 2007 - Gordon Holmes has a video of what he calls "this jet black thing, about 45 feet long, moving fairly fast in the water." Video was analyzed and was determined to be a grey seal or an otter....seems like quite a difference from an otter or a seal to a 45 ft sea creature...
So what's the consensus? Most likely these sightings are caused by a Grey Seal that makes it's way into Loch Ness every now and then. But, that's just one story. I certainly don't want to wreck anyone's good time, so if you believe in Nessie then keep at it!
Either way, here's a necklace: http://www.etsy.com/listing/55213299/loch-ness-monster-nessie-resin-deco


Use coupon code BLOG15 at checkout for 15% off your entire purchase.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kittens!

I know that I've already blogged about cats...but, it's Monday, it's a chilly day here in Colorado, and I could use a blog post about something undeniably cute and cuddly. So, let's talk about kittens!

  • Kittens can have a bath as early as 3 months old. They probably won't like it, but you can try to give them one.
  • When kittens are exposed to excessive sunlight, they shed more fur.
  • Kittens do dream while they sleep. Cuteness!
  • Yeast dough can forment and turn to alcohol in a kitten's stomach. I have to admit, I'm curious to see what a drunk kitten looks like:)
  • Almost all kittens are born with blue eyes.
  • During her productive life, one female cat could have as many as 100 kittens.
  • A cat named Mincho went up a tree in Argentina and didn't come down for 6 years. She managed to have 3 litters of cats from 3 different baby daddies. Those were some ambitious cats.
  • A group of kittens is called a kindle. *Gasp* I love it!
And here's a kitten cuteness necklace:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/67746124/retro-kitty-cat-kitten-necklace
Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off at checkout:)

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Ain't Sayin' She's a Gold Digger

But, she was a silver digger....

 Being a Colorado native and being enchanted by all things scandalous, the story of Baby Doe Tabor absolutely fascinated me as a young girl. Especially since I found most of Colorado history to be quite boring: mountains, blah, blah, blah, homesteaders, blah, blah, blah, miners, blah, blah, blah, religious fundamentalists, blah, blah, blah. But when my grade school teacher taught the class about Baby Doe Taber, I stopped doodling on my Liza Frank notebook, and paid attention.

Here's the story of Baby Doe:

     She was born Elizabeth McCourt in 1854 in Oshkosh, WI. At the age of 17, she married Harvey Doe and moved to Central City, CO where he owned The Fourth of July silver mine. The miners in Central City loved her and Elizabeth soon earned the nickname "Baby Doe" due to her charm and beauty. At the same time, Harvey fell into some financial troubles and developed a drinking problem. Determined to make sure the silver mine made money, she caused quite a stir in the mining community when she put on mining gear and worked her husband's mine herself. Get it, girl.
In 1879, she caught the eye of a wealthy mine owner, Horace Tabor. He was 24 years her senior. Ew. (Not that I'm judging). Horace fell in love with Baby Doe and wanted to marry her. There was just one problem...well two problems: they were both already married.
    
     Baby Doe got her divorce first, which was pretty easy considering that Harvey was now a wino. But, Horace had a harder time. His wife Augusta refused to grant him a divorce. He tried everything, even bribing a Durango county clerk to paste the record pages together that detailed Augusta's divorce denial. Pretty sneaky sis. Eventually, Horace decided "F- it" and married Baby Doe in St. Louis in a justice of the peace ceremony in 1892. In 1893, Horace finally got his divorce. So, yeah he had two wives for a year.
I should mention that during this time, Horace Tabor was running for a seat in the Senate. I know what you're thinking: "A senator involved in some sort of scandal? Unheard of!"
    
     And the scandal doesn't end there. Baby Doe and Horace were married again, in a public ceremony in Washington D.C. But when the Catholic priest who performed the ceremony found out that they were both divorced, he refused to sign the marriage license. Dang, Horace just couldn't catch a break.
The couple returned to Colorado where they started their life together overseeing The Matchless Mine.  But, once again, Baby Doe was married to a dude who made poor investments and the two were soon broke. Baby Doe did what she did best, she worked the mine as much as she could. Horace died in 1899 and his dying words were: "Hold on to the Matchless Mine. It will make millions." So, Baby Doe did. But the mine did not make millions.
    
     Eventually, Baby Doe had to sell the mine. The people who bought it allowed her to stay in the cabin on the property. At this point Baby Doe was living in poverty, wearing rags and relying on charity. I remember my teacher telling me that Baby Doe would walk 82 miles from Leadville to Denver, in nothing but rags on her feet, to get food supplies. OK, I bought this as a kid, but now I think this reeks of Paul Bunyan-tall-tale-ness. Lying to kids? Not cool.
    
     Anyway, one cold Colorado day in 1935, the owners of the mine noticed that there wasn't any smoke coming from Baby Doe's cabin chimney. They opened the cabin door and found Baby Doe's frozen dead body. Yeesh.
    
     See, this story has it all: Love, Scandal, Tragedy. In fact, the story caught the public fascination so much that there was an opera written about Baby Doe.

I couldn't write an opera, but I did make a necklace: http://www.etsy.com/listing/64357482/baby-doe-tabor-necklace-victorian

Also, use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off your entire purchase.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Even The Circus Doesn't Let the Clowns Run the Show

That is my favorite thing to say at work when all hell breaks loose. Of course, few people laugh because I work with a lot of clowns.
But, that's not the point of this post. I'm going to talk about the circus! I'm very intrigued by the whole history and concept of the circus, although I loathe the animal cruelty issues that come along with it (check out PETA's website for info on the mistreatment of annimals in the circus: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/circuses.aspx .)


OK, I had to get the animal disclaimer out of the way. And that's the last time I will bum you out in this post (awareness hurts sometimes, doesn't it), Now, let's talk about the circus:


  • The circus has it's origins in Ancient Rome with the Circus Maximus, which featured chariot races, equestrian shows, staged battles, displays featuring trained animals, jugglers and acrobats. Also, it was the only public venue in which women and men could sit together. Was this the first version of couples therapy?


  • Barnum did NOT say "There's A Sucker Born Every Minute." (He actually said, "The American people like to be humbugged.") Adam Forepaugh, a bitter competitor, invented these words and credited Barnum with them in an effort to shame him in the eyes of the world. Grrr. I posted this misquote in an earlier post of mine. I'll have to fire my fact checker...


  • The word "circus" comes from the Latin meaning ring or circle.  It referred to the circuit made by horses and chariots as they raced.


  • Early circuses were the only zoos where people could see strange and unusual animals. It was termed an educational experience for the people. But, now we HAVE zoos, so you don't need to go to a circus to see exploited animals. (ok, I had to get one more in).


  • Did you know that the leotard was named after famed trapeze artist Jules Leotard? I know that sounds like a fact I'd make up, but I swear, I didn't. However, I do want an item of clothes named after me. Like a pair of shoes or something. "Oooh! Look at this new pair of Darlings I picked up." Or "Excuse me, can I see those peep toe Darlings in a size 9?"


  • When PT Barnum's shows were at full capacity, he had a hard time getting people to leave the tent. So, he put up a sign that said "This Way to the Egress" in big flashy letters. Thinking they were going to see some sort of mythilogical animal, people would follow the sign only to end up at the exit. Yeah, "egress" means exit. Wonder why we don't use the word "egress" more often?  Probably because Egress Through the Gift Shop would be a crappy name for a movie...
And on that note, here's a necklace to wear when making a grand entrance or egress: http://www.etsy.com/listing/53517662/circus-clown-necklace-sideshow-retro



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Where's My Heart? In San Francisco, you say?

Here's something: the first time I ever purchased a hallucinogenic substance was in San Francisco. I will say no more at the risk of incriminating myself. However, it was over 15 years ago, so the statute of limitations has run out on that.

I will say this, though. I absolutely adore San Francisco (and not just for the reason stated above). I love the culture, the ambiance, the music, the food. I could go on, but instead I'll just share some interesting facts about the city by the bay.

  • The fortune cookie was invented in San Francisco.
  • The city is built on 43 hills.
  • San Francisco outlawed burials in 1901, and the Presidio and Mission have the city's only remaining cemeteries. The dead are in neighboring Colma, making it the world's only incorporated city where the dead outnumber the living. Permanent residents of its 16 cemeteries include Wyatt Earp and Joe DiMaggio. Wow! That might be one of the most interesting things I've learned this year.
  • Cable Cars are the only moving national monument.
  • Alcatraz means "pelican" in Spanish. See, you get a history lesson and a language lesson. You are welcome.
  • Marylin Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were married at the San Francisco City Hall in 1954
  • The original name for San Francisco was Yerba Buena, which is Spanish for "good herb" or "good grass." Yeah....that joke writes itself.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge is too long to paint. It is painted in sections and by the time it is done at one end, it's time to start back up at the beginning. Now, that's what I call job security.
  • And most importantly: Irish Coffee was invented in San Francisco. San Fran, I owe my Sunday morning rehab ritual to you:)
Take a piece of San Francisco with you everywhere you go http://www.etsy.com/listing/69098856/san-francisco-necklace-heart-golden-gate