Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tea is for Tuesday!

Christmas to a tea!
Tea is always a good idea but never more so than Christmastime as temperatures drop and friends visit with cookies and other confections.
Do not fret if you are without Christmas themed china, red or green patterned porcelains will lend a holiday feel.
Even if you haven't much spare time for decorating, you can add a few small touches to make your home more festive such as silk flower arrangements,
poinsettias on the porch,
or using the red transferware tea service just for you:).
Sit back, relax, and enjoy a cup of tea with friends or with a good book in the quietude of your Holiday home.
Blessings from The Parlor!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Meanderings

Let's start a movement to improve the world in which we live!
As humans we are apt to complain about  things we do not like or with which we disagree.
Complaining gets us nowhere.
Instead, let's work together to spread love.
Begin by doing something kind for a stranger; hold a door open, help an elderly person up the stairs, compliment the grumpy person behind the counter on her hair or her eyes, do something positive.
These are simple things that can transform a person's day.
However, there are more pressing matters at hand that require sacrifice and commitment like cooking dinners for the homeless, tutoring children in after school programs, standing beside the unwanted or misunderstood in an effort to shield them from hate.
It is time we stop grumbling about our politicians and start writing letters to congressmen and women demanding they make decisions that represent the people and benefit our nation.
Give thanks that brave men and women have sacrificed their lives for us to vote, to speak freely, and for the opportunity to enact change.
But we have to start somewhere.
Show a small act of kindness today and task yourself to do a bit more tomorrow and then the next day. Challenge your friends to do the same.
We must stand together to battle hate!
We have much to be thankful for in this country. Perhaps we should be grateful for the opportunity to help others and improve the world in which we live.
Anyone up for the challenge?

Blessings from The Parlor!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Wisdom

"It is to a man's honor to avoid strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel."
Proverbs 20: 3, NIV

Saturday, November 19, 2016

More Hairwork

Yesterday I posted some basic guidelines about determining whether a piece of 19th century hair work was sentimental or mourning. In this post I am sharing some photos from ebay to clarify further.
Mourning brooch with black stones in bezel and woven hair under glass.

Fashionable brooch with woven hair insert on charm.

Sepia work with mourning scene.

Fashionable bracelet.

Fashionable hair chain worn on the bodice with hair brooches affixed at the end loops. See photo below-right shoulder. (photo private collection) 

Mourning brooch with hair insert.

Mourning brooch with 'Prince of Wales curls' design under glass.

Blessings from The Parlor!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Freaky Friday!

Victorian Hairwork; Mourning or not?
Mourning pendant done in sepia work where hair is pulverized and mixed with the paint used for the picture, and at times, accented with hair, (Charleston Museum)

Hair cross, possibly mourning due to seed pearl (represents tears) and black enamel trim on gold,(Charleston Museum)

Hair brooch, probably a sentimental piece,  (Charleston Museum)

Hair bouquet in shadow box frame, art form with hair samples from family/friends accented with beads for d├ęcor purposes,
 (private collection)

Hair bracelets, possibly mourning (if inscribed on the clasp), otherwise fashion jewelry or love tokens, (Charleston Museum)

For those who enjoy hairwork of the 19th century it can be confusing as to whether or not it represents mourning or sentimentality.
Surprisingly, when searching for these items they are generally listed as mourning when in fact most examples are love tokens.
During the mourning period of the Victorian era, strict guidelines were adhered to regarding length of mourning, behavior, and attire. Mourning customs varied depending upon region, socioeconomic status, who was mourning, and for whom they were grieving.
Generally, mourning was broken down into two segments; first or full mourning and second or half mourning (in some cases second mourning was divided into two increments).
A woman in first mourning was only permitted to wear jewelry made of Jet or Jet-like substances (the topic of Jet is another discussion:). Hair jewelry was not generally worn until second mourning (please keep in mind that this rule may differ depending on the source).
Certain aspects should be considered when trying to determine if a hairwork piece is mourning or a love token.  The only way to prove unequivocally that a piece is for mourning is if it has one or more of the following aspects:
  • the phrase 'In Memory of,'
  • IMO (initials for aforementioned phrase),
  •  mourning  symbolism such as an urn, headstone, or sometimes a cross,
  • black enamel trim/accents or Jet/Jet-like casing
  • date of death inscribed on the piece
 Without the above characteristics one must study the piece to identify its original purpose. In some cases one can only speculate as to the original intent.
For example, there are some mourning brooches with woven hair compartments framed with precious stones  not normally affiliated with death (garnets and seed pearls were often used in mourning pieces) yet have a memorial inscription on the reverse side.
It was not uncommon for a lady to weave a watch chain for her significant other as a symbol of her love. Bracelets, necklaces, and earrings were also worn as sentimental pieces or as a fashion statement. Many sentimental examples, such as linked bracelets with hair compartments or hair wreaths, exist showing hair samples from family members and/or friends. Hair wreaths accompanied by a photo and date of death obviously symbolized a memorial piece. Prince of Wales curls beneath glass in brooches could be for mourning or a love token.
With time and study, it becomes more evident whether the hairwork was made as a sentimental piece or to mourn the loss of a loved one. Regardless, hairwork is an art form that wove the sentimental practices of 19th century life into pieces of art.

Prince of Whales curls under glass of swivel brooch with photo on reverse side, could be mourning or love token, (private collection)

Blessings from The Parlor:).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Past Thursday Post-Kramer Chronicles Revisited-Everything is Sew Sew

Hey, it's me Kramer.
I finally managed to get the computer logged on and post since my mom has been so lazy lately.
Let me show you what has distracted her
 (as if anything could distract a person from this handsome face).

This thing!
Yup, mom got a new sewing machine as a gift from dad for their 25th wedding anniversary.
Sew now all she does is sew.

Sewing projects are littering the house!
(my litter is the only litter that should be in the house).

All of this sewing neglect drove me to desperate measures, after all, I should receive all of her attention.
I tried feigning hunger,
even cuteness.
but to no avail.

Then I realized I needed to take action so I took her sewing kit hostage,

I attempted to chew the tape measure in half...
(now this is desperation-I'm acting like a stupid dog)!

and tangling all of her threads.

But still she sews.
Hmph, who am I kidding?
I'll just wait it out.

Surely she'll run out of fabric soon, right?
Until next post,
Purrs and Meows,

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


to a comfortable place.
It should come as no surprise that my existence in the current era is a struggle. Fortunately, I am able to escape to my preferred time period on a regular basis. Over the years I have been blessed with being ‘lady of the manor’ at many notable homes such as Hay House in Macon, Ga, Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville, Ga, Pick Pocket Plantation and Verdier House in Beaufort, SC, and Heyward House and Rose Hill Mansion in Bluffton, SC. I realize the 19th century was not without difficult times and horrific practices. However, for my sanity, I traverse to a fictional realm where all people were respected and loved amidst grace, beauty, and dignity, and where the fashions and architecture of the day were spectacular. Nonetheless, the Victorian era is my place of solace where I can be as eccentric as I wish and feel like a princess. This is probably why I adore being at Rose Hill Mansion each week. It is the epitome of a fairy tale. Even its history showed signs of kindness and respect amidst the degradation found during the era. 

 After a week of watching turmoil and violence erupt across this great country, my desire to flee to my fairy tale home grew. My sorrow is two-fold. On one hand, I have friends and family who are greatly distressed over their prospects in this country as minorities, women, or those with disabilities  On the other hand, the great divide that has been festering in this country for decades has now been brought to light in the form of anger, hatred, and violence; i.e. racism. Racism is one aspect of humanity I have never been able to wrap my mind around. It is nothing less than sheer stupidity. To dislike a person based upon a physical characteristic or belief system is illogical and unfounded (especially to those of us following Christ who loved ALL people regardless of their circumstances). Racism is rampant and it applies to anyone who judges an individual unfairly and without merit. After a week of fearing for friends and our country the prospect of spending time in a place of beauty and grace was a welcome respite indeed. 

As soon as the corset was laced, the dress straightened, and the lace cap affixed upon my head, my heart sang and my mind was at ease. As I traipsed across the room, the lace hems of my Gettysburg gown gracefully trailed over the heart pine floors like breezes billowing over marsh grasses. All seemed right with the world again, at least for a couple of hours.

What brings you peace and joy? A bookstore? A coffee house? A movie? A walk on the beach or a hike up a mountain? Perhaps if we all took a hiatus from the insanity online and on TV, reconnected with our inner self, and rejuvenated, we could return to the real world refreshed and ready to change the distorted perceptions infiltrating our society. Let’s come together to make our country a better place for ALL of God’s children, not just the chosen few as dictated by social media or politicians. We have to start somewhere, why not with ourselves?

Blessings from the Victorian Parlor!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tea is for Tuesday!

Recently a dear friend gifted me with a book about Victorian entertaining. 
Since it is 'Tea is for Tuesday' it only seemed proper that I should share some of the wonderful etiquette from the pages of this fun little tome!

For grins and giggles...a bit of tea etiquette wisdom!
Sit back, relax, turn off the TV, and savor a good cup of tea:).

Blessings from The Parlor!