Talk Like a Pirate!

by mary September 28, 2014

I made this charm bracelet the other day, after being reminded that September 19 was Talk Like a Pirate Day! 

I first learned about Talk Like a Pirate Day several years ago when a co-worker celebrated it at the Iowa Department of Human Services, where I worked.  After the first year, it became an annual tradition in the office.

According to the Talk Like a Pirate Day official website, a couple of friends came up with the idea in 1995.  Then, in 2002, they contacted Dave Berry about it & he mentioned it in his nationally syndicated column.  After that, what once was a "goofy idea celebrated by a handful of friends" became an international phenomonon & "the rest is history". 

For more information about Talk Like a Pirate Day, visit the website at  The site includes more on the history, news coverage from around the world, Pirate FAQ, pirate advice & games, & a newsletter you can subscribe to!

So, when I was thinking about Talk Like a Pirate Day, I remembered I had several Cracker Jack/gumball charms of pirates as well as skulls & crossbones (often pictured on pirate flags).  After locating them, I searched for more charms that might be associated with pirates & came up with the pirate ship, ship's wheel, parrot (made famous in Treasure Island by Long John Silver who had a parrot on his shoulder), & gold coin.

To finish it off, I added red & black beads, since red & black were the background colors for pirate flags.  In the end, I thought to turned out to be a fun charm bracelet!

So Avast & Ahoy Me Hearties . . . and remember to celebrate Talk Like A Pirate Day each & every September 19!


Filed Under: Inspiration

What I Wore on Wednesday - September 24, 2014

by mary September 24, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet Vintage outfit is one of my favoriate 1940's dresses -- a really lovely black Eisenberg & Sons dress with the classic padded shoulders & yellow beaded butterflies scattered across the front & sleeves! 

Although Eisenberg is most often associated with fine rhinestone jewelry, Eisenberg & Sons, Inc. was originally formed in 1914 as a perfume & clothing company for women.  Eisenberg stopped making clothing in 1958, while they continue to make jewelry even today.

I don't have a lot of yellow jewelry, so wasn't sure at first what I could wear with this dress.  Then Iremembered that I had a charm bracelet that included vintage yellow buttons! 

It features yellow & blue "pinwheel" buttons that I picked up at a garage sale & flea market, as well as several charms that I thought fit with the idea of sewing -- including a little scissors, thimble & iron! 

I saw that I still had 2 of the yellow pinwheel buttons left, sw made this pair of yellow pinwheel button earrings to go with the bracelet!

I used silver beads to complement the silver charms in the bracelet.

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage, check out the shop's website at  To see more of my jewelry, go to

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

Valley Junction Fall Art & Upcycle Market -- September 14, 2014

by mary September 21, 2014

Last Sunday, September 14, I participated in Valley Junction's Fall Art & Upcycle Market.  It was absolutely perfect weather -- the best I've ever experienced at one of Valley Junction's Art events.  The temp was in the upper 60s/low 70s, there was very little wind, & absolutely no rain (& none even predicted)!  This time, I was prepared for wind, too -- as we've learned to weight or tie down everything -- necks, earrings stands, anything that could blow over or away in the wind!

With the weather being so lovely, there was a nice crowd pretty much all afternoon.  I had a great time visiting with all the people that stopped by my booth to look at my jewelry.  I especially love talking with them about the stories that go with the pieces I've made, & hearing their stories about the heirlooms or odds & ends that they have at home.  Several friends also stopped by, including someone I knew from my years at DHS & hadn't seen for ages! 

I was really pretty pleased with how my booth turned out too.  (Steve & I had done a "dry run" the Sunday before in our driveway -- testing out different "props" & table arrangement.)  We landed on what we called a "modified Z" -- here's a picture from the front & the "back" side.

One of the things I really like is the table runner you can see in the first picture -- it came from my folk's & I think it may have been used as carpeting in a long hallway we had in the house we lived in until I was in 3rd grade -- Steve remembered seeing it in our basement & suggested using it!  I especially like the way it covers up some of the white table clothes. 

We also displayed jewelry on a dress form I picked up at the June Valley Junction Antique Jamboree that I dressed in Victorian undergarments I picked up from Dorothea's Closet Vintage sale rack, as well as an old multi-tiered plant stand & a little doll dressing closet that we got at a garage sale, & some old shells & driftwood.

The plant stand was especially nice for adding some variety in height.

And we used several old boxes I had from my folks to hold more necks, as well as a couple of old cardboard suitcases I've picked up at antique shops; & hung a necklace on an 33 1/3 album case we had.  And to hold earrings, we used the old 35mm slide case we picked up at the What Cheer flea market earlier this summer & a wire Eiffel Tower that Steve got me last year!

Here's another picture of one of the suitcases we used, plus we finally used some of the frames I've been collecting & fitting with felt -- in this case to hold bracelets.  We also used a couple of clipboards covered with music to hold necklaces, & little plastic frames that I filled with music, maps, & patterns etc. to hold earrings.  The little circular piece towards the bottom left is an old movie case that I filled with gravel & put bracelets in!

The little letters at the lower right are old scrabble tiles & other game pieces I've picked up here & there.  They spell the word "Inspiratu", for the charm bracelets & other jewelry I make that has "spriritual meaning" (e.g., new beginnings; health of body, mind & spirit; 5 elements & 7 chakras, etc.).

Here's a close-up of the wood shelves & metal cocktail cart we used on the "back" side of the booth -- both of these are collapsible, which makes them really nice for storage!  I got the cocktail cart at Funky Finds -- one of my favorite shops in Des Moines for mid-century modern odds & ends!  We used another of the clip boards, several small boxes, more of the plastic frames & an old jewelry box to displsy more jewelry.

And I used a little gold & green metal box on the lower shelf to hold my business cards!  We also used old crocheted doilies & furniture covers from my folks & some I'd picked up at Dorothea's Closet Vintage to cover the shelves.

There's still a little more I want to do to "refine" my booth set-up -- mainly think about something else to use for tableclothes (maybe burlap?) as there is still a lot of white showing.  All in all, though, I think it's really come along from when I first started. 

Part way through the show, I realized that maybe I have "come along" too, in that I didn't have nearly as much anxiety about this show -- in fact, hardly any.  I'm sure the great weather had a lot to do with that, as well as feeling better about my booth set-up.  It probably helped too that I've been doing more shows & am just getting more comfortable & confidant.

As always, thanks for reading & supporting small businesses!  And, if you'd like to see more of my jewelry, check out my web-page at


Filed Under: Shows

What I Wore on Wednesday - September 17, 2014

by mary September 17, 2014

In recognition of Art Meets Fashion Week at the Des Moines Art Center, today's Dorothea's Closet outfit is a really cool Diane Von Furstenberg dress from the 1970's that I picked up at the shop several years ago!  I just love the black & white "jigsaw puzzle" pattern on this dress!

Diane Von Furstenberg, formerly Princess Diane of Furstenberg (born 12-31-46) is a Belgian born American fashion designer, who began designing women's clothes in 1970.  After moving to New York, she met Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, who declared her fashions "absolutely smashing".  In 1976, she was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine, & the accompanying article called her "the most remarkable woman since Coco Chanel".  And more recently, in 2005, the Council of Fashion Designers in America awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

With today's outfit, I decided to wear one of my dice charm bracelets with black & red crystal beads & a silver good luck Cracker Jack/gumball charm.

I also chose to wear one of my recently made pair of earrings -- made from parts of fish lures that I picked up at a garage sale & at a couple of antique shops during my travels to Wisconsin this summer.  I really like the way the bits of metal, red beads & other odds & ends catch the light & interact!

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at  To see more of my jewelry, go to 

As always, thanks for reading and for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

Party Time!

by mary September 14, 2014

With the 2014 elections only a couple of months away, tt's that time of the season again to show your party spirit -- and, what better way to do it, then with a Donkey or Elephant charm bracelet!

I was inspired to make this Republican charm bracelet after finding a Nixon for President pin with a large gray elephant hanging from it (he's the one at the center bottom of the picture!

According to the Republican Party, the elephant originated as the GOP symbol during the 1860 campaign as a symbol of strength.  It was further popularized by political cartoonis Thomas Nast. 

For some reason, elephant charms are much easier to find than donkey charms, so I am always thrilled when I can find donkeys -- especially those with the large ears like the silver donkeys I used in this Democratic charm bracelet.

Presidential candidate Andrew Jackson was the first Democrat to be associated with the donkey symbol in 1828, & political cartoonist Thomas Nast is credited with making the donkey the recognized symbol of the Democratic Party after he used it in a cartoon in Harper's Weekly in 1870.  Democrats see the donkey as smart & brave.

When I found red, white & blue donkeys, I decided to make one with similarly colored beads.

Interestingly, the colors red & blue were first used in the 1976 election, when NBC debuted the first election map on TV,  However, at that time, they used red for states that voted for Carter (Democratic Party) & blue for states that voted for Ford (Republican Party), while other stations used different color-coding.  It wasn't until the 2000 presidential election when the NY Times & USA Today published color election maps that it was firmly established that Republicans were the red party & Democrats were the blue party.

So, as the election season heats up, it's time to think about putting on your red Republican Party or blue Democratic Party jewelry!

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: Inspiration | Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

What I Wore on Wednesday -- September 10, 2014

by mary September 10, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet outfit is a black & white polka-dot dress from the 1980's that I picked up at the shop a month or so ago.  The 1980's is normally not one of my favorite decades for fashion, but I do like some of the "80s does 40s" dresses like this one.  And, of course, who can resist polka-dots!

This dress represents one of the fashion styles that re-emerged in the 1980's -- the use of shoulder pads in what became known as "power dresses".  These dresses provided women with a more masculine shape & were often adopted by women seeking success in the corporate world.  They were popularized in TV shows like Dynasty & Dallas & became an icon of women's attempt to break the "glass ceiling" in business.  At times, women even layered multiple shoulder pads to produce bigger & bigger shoulders!

To complement the black & white polka-dot pattern in this dress, I wore one of my dice bracelets made with black beads & white dice with black pips & a Cracker Jack/gumball good luck charm. 

Dice have been around a really long time & have been used since before recorded history.  I really like using vintage dice, especially these smaller size ones, in charm bracelets.  I also like to use Cracker Jack/gumball charms from the 1940s through 1960s.

And, for earrings, I added black & silver earrings I made out of snaps that I got in a box of old buttons. 

Modern snaps were created in the late 1800s, & were patented by a German inventor in 1885 & by an American inventor in 1886.  The black snaps in these earrings came on their original card & were made by the Prims company out of Dayville, Connecticut -- probably in the 1950's.  The large silver snaps also came on their original card & were made by the Majesty company out of Chicago, Illinois -- they have a 1948 patent.  Older snaps like these have an "S" pattern on the top part of the snap.

To see more of Dorothea's Closet vintage clothing, visit the shop's website at  To see more of my jewelry, go to

As always, thanks for reading and for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday


by mary September 7, 2014

Meet Bette Davis, another of my favorite models.

I found this little picture several years ago at a place called Found Things in East Village in Des Moines.  I've always enjoyed Bette Davis as an actress & loved this picture of her immediately -- both the picture itself, as well as the frame & matting around it.  Two of my favortite Bette Davis quotes are, "If you want a thing well done, get a couple of old broads to do it" & "Old age is no place for sissies". 

For several years, I've displayed it on my dresser.  Then, over the last year, I got to thinking that this picture might make a great model for jewelry.  See what you think . . .

Here she is modeling one of the necklaces I made recently.

And, here she is with a goldstone charm bracelet I made last winter. (Goldstone is a type of glittering glass gemstone made in a low oxygen reducing atmosphere.  It's often mistaken as a natural material.  The original manufacturing process was created in Venice in the 17th century.  Urban legend suggests that goldstone was an accidental discovery by Italian monks or the product of alchemy.)

Finally, here she is with a pair of earrings I made earlier with buttons I picked up at the What Cheer flea market this summer & new old stock (NOS) beads I found last summer at a bead shop in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

I think she adds a touch of class to all three types of jewelry!

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: Meet My Models | Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

What I Wore on Wednesday -- September 3, 2014

by mary September 3, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet Outfit is a pink & white sleeveless gingham dress from the 1950's -- another of my favorite decades -- that I got at the shop last summer.  I remember my mother & I having mother-daughter dresses very similar to this when I was about 5 years old or so.

Gingham was originally imported into Europe in the 17th century, & initially was a striped pattern.  It changed to a checkered pattern during the mid-18th century.  Famous characters that have worn gingham include Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz & Ginger in Gilligan's Island.

With today's vintage outfit, I decided to wear one of the necklaces I made recently using bits & pieces of broken jewelry I picked up at various flea markets, antique shows & garage sales; as well as pink new old stock (NOS) beads I found this summer at a bead shop in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

I also wore one of my French charm bracelets that includes a link from an old souvenir bracelet, a pink poodle, the Eiffel tower, French coins, & pink gemstone & glass beads.

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at  To see more of my jewelry, go to

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

About the author

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.  I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry

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