What I Wore on Wednesday -- October 29, 2014

by mary October 29, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet outfit is a really fun costume from the 1920's that I got recently -- perfect for the day before Halloween's eve!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so I was thrilled when I found a costume from the 1920's that I could actually still wear!

The texture & color of the material in this dress is very similar to a clown costume from the 1920's that I got years ago from Diane at the antique mall in Valley Junction.  Unfortunately, it's too fragile to wear anymore, so I display it on one of my mannequins.

I tried to find out more about what people wore as Halloween costumes back in the 1920s.  However, when I checked online, mostly what I found were images & sites for costumes designed to look like the 1920's (e.g., flapper dresses), rather than from the 1920s.  I did, however, find a couple of images of 1920's costumes that were somewhat similar to mine, like this one.

I also remembered I had a Halloween postcard that was produced sometime between 1928 & 1932 that had an image of a man & woman in costume.

While I would have liked to find out more information in general about costumes from back in the 1920's, from what I did find, it seems that costumes were simpler than what you see now.

With my 1920's costume, I wore a couple of Halloween charm bracelets that I've made, as well as skull earrings & a skull ring.  On this first charm bracelet, I did a black wash over the Cracker Jack/gumball skulls to give them a more sinister look, & used orange colored chain & black beads for a bracelet in traditional Halloween colors!

The purple & blue charms on this next charm bracelets are pencil toppers from the 1960s, based on some of the Universal Studios monsters (including Frankenstein, Wolfman & King Kong).  The gorilla is a Cracker Jack/gumball charm reminiscent of King Kong.

I also wore a pair of Cracker Jack/gumball skull charm earrings that I'd made recently.

Finally, I wore a sterling silver skull ring that I made using the lost wax casting method, plus liver of sulphur to bring out the details.

Someday, I hope to find more information about the costumes that people wore back in the 1920's, but for now, I'm enjoying wearing the one I have & complementing it with my Halloween-themed jewelry!

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at http://dorotheasclosetvintage.myshopify.com.  To see more of my jewelry, you can go to my website at http://paulinesjewelrybox.com.

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

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Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

Charmed Bracelets by Tracey Zabar

by mary October 26, 2014

I've always loved charm bracelets -- both making them & wearing them.  I got my first charm bracelet when I was in grade school (& still wear it), & one of the first things I made when I started making jewelry was a charm bracelet.  I love the jingling sound they make when you wear them & I love that each one tells a story.

So I was thrilled when one of my instructors introduced me to charmed Bracelets by Tracey Zabar. 

Tracey's book covers the history of charm bracelets, noting that charm bracelets, in one form or another, can be found in almost every era of jewelry history.  Ancient peoples, for example, often wore lucky charms & other amulets to ward off bad spirits. 

She also covers types of charms & charm bracelets, & includes lots of pictures of charm bracelets from over the years.  In one chapter, she talks about charm bracelet themes -- I found this one in particular to be "up my alley", since almost all of my charm bracelets are theme-based -- including spiritual, lucky/game, travel, animal, political, holiday, etc.  Finally, she includes some advice on where to find charms & some other ideas for how to use charms.  For anyone

Here are just a few pictures of some of the theme-based charm bracelets I've made.

Spiritual theme . . .

Political theme . . .

Animal lover theme . . .

Travel theme . . .

And another travel theme . . .

And here's one I did for a photographer friend . . .

And here's one with a luck/game theme . . .

One last example . . . a holiday theme, in this case Halloween . . .

All in all, this book was a really fun read for me & inspired me to think of new themes to use in my charm bracelets!

To see more of my charm bracelets, check out my website at http://paulinesjewlerybox.com.

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

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Filed Under: Classes & Favorite Books | Inspiration

What I Wore on Wednesday -- October 22, 2014

by mary October 22, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet Vintage Outfit is another of my favorite dresses from the 1940s.  This one is a novelty print of multi-colored airplanes. 

I especially love all the little loops of material around the neckline, sleeves & hem! 

According to the Fashion Guild, novelty, or conversational, prints feature motifs that are neither abstract or simple florals.  Frequently, they feature themes such as places, activities or holidays.  They range from very simple to complex, from black & white to multi-colored, & from serious to whimsical.

With this dress, I wore an airplane-themed charm bracelet I made recently, using Cracker Jack, gumball & vending machine charms from the 40s through 60s.  I love the little Belgium Airlines & suitcase charms, & the way the airplane colors on the charm bracelet match those on the dress.

I also wore a pair of airplane-themed earrings that I'd also made recently.  These are also made with Cracker Jack, gumball & vending machine charms from the 40s through 60s. 

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the website at http://dorotheasclosetvintage.myshopify.com.  To see more of my jewelry, go to http://paulinesjewelrybox.com. 

And, as always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!

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October 12 Bead Bazaar & October 18 Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show

by mary October 19, 2014

The last 2 weekends have been a great time for finding gemstones & beads!

Steve & I attended the Des Moines Bead Bazaar at the State Fairgrounds last Sunday afternoon & came away with some great finds!  Starting from the top right & moving clockwise, is an ocean jasper, turitello agate (looks like fossil pieces), canyon jasper bead, brazilian agate bead, & botswana agate; the pink stone in the middle is pink rhodonite.

We also picked up some strings of small jet, black onyx & shell beads.

And I even won something in a drawing (I almost never win anything) -- this brass anaclastic cuff bracelet!  Anaclastic forming is something I would really like to try sometime!

I was pretty happy with everything I found!

Then, yesterday, we went to the Des Moines Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show -- also at the State Fairgrounds.  This show only comes once a year in October & is my very favorite gem show!  They also have some of the most amazing fossils! 

Although I didn't find as many gemstones there, I am especially excited about the ones I did pick up -- including the following, starting in the lower left corner & going clockwise -- 2 fabulous boulder opals, fossilized coral & this amazing bumblebee jasper!

I also picked up 4 small oddly shaped gemstone pieces for only a quarter each!  I have no idea what I'll do with them yet, but for a quarter each, I'll feel comfortable experimenting!

While we were there, I also saw these really cool trilobite specimens, & decided a trilobite would make a great model for the chasing & repousse class I'm taking at the Art Center.  The exhibitor was kind enough to allow me to take pictures -- check this guy out!  I am really looking forward to starting to work on him tomorrow at class!  I'll be sure to post a picture of my piece when it's done.

An amazing 2 weeks here in Des Moines -- I couldn't be happier with all that I found!

And, as always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!

And to see my jewelry, check out my website at http://paulinesjewelrybox.com!

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Filed Under: Inspiration | Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

What I Wore on Wednesday - October 15, 2015

by mary October 16, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet Vintage outfit is one of my favorite pieces from the 1940's -- in fact, it may be one of my favorite dresses period -- this amazing rayon Jean Lang original dress with matching jacket in black, cream & copper print!  I especially love the print on this dress, the black collar & cuffs & sash, and the asymmetrical pocket outlined in black!  This dress is not only gorgeous, but it feels absolutely wonderful on!

This first picture is with the jacket on . . .

While this next picture is "sans jacket" . . .

As mentioned previously, fashion in the 1940's was influenced heavily by the war.  Iconic features included the padded shoulders & the side zipper.  This outfit even has padded shoulders both in the dress & in the jacket!

With this dress I decided to wear a black & silver necklace that I made not too long ago.  I loved the pendant in this necklace from the moment I saw it -- especially because it has marcasite (one of my favorite stones) all around the main stone.  I used pieces of several vintage rosary chains, as well as crystal & silver-tone beads, filigree & charms to make an asymmetrical necklace that complements the pendant.  Several of the other pieces in this necklace include marcasite, in addition to the main pendant!

I also wore this pair of chain-mail earrings with black tear-drop beads.  The use of chain-mail in jewelry dates back at least 3000 years to Japan!

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at http://dorotheasclosetvintage.myshopify.com.  To see more of my jewelry, go to http://paulinesjewelrybox.com.

And, as always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!

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Halloween Jewelry

by mary October 12, 2014

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays -- especially for decorating & for holiday-inspired jewelry! 

Fortunately, there are quite a few vintage Halloween Cracker Jack, gumball & vending machine charms available to work with -- including metal, plastic & even celluloid!

Here are some of my favorite pieces . . .

This first charm bracelet is made with pencil topper charms from the Universal Studios monster series, as well as a King Kong charm.  It's hanging around a plastic Marx wolfman model.

This next one is made with pink, silver & black beads, & a new old stock (NOS) Halloween charm I got at my favorite bead shop in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

I really like the orange covered chain & the orange pumpkin charm on this next charm bracelet.  I used a black wash on the skull charms to give them a more spooky look!

This last charm bracelet features the really tiny charms made of celluloid & other early plastic including a rate, skull, & devil, plus a little glass dice bead.  (I apologize for the blurriness of the picture -- this was before we finally purchased a good DSLR camera.)

I've also made some fun Halloween earrings, including these witch earrings made with styrene witch charms.  I've made similar earrings with styrene devil & skeleton charms!

And just recently, I made these dangling skull earrings.  I think they should be really fun to wear!

That's a sampling of some of my finished Halloween jewelry.  Right now, I'm working on a skull ring that I made using lost wax casting -- hope to have it done in time to wear for the holiday!

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!  To see more of my jewelry, check out my website at http://paulinesjewelrybox.com.  And have a spooky Halloween!

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Filed Under: Inspiration

What I Wore On Wednesday - October 8, 2014

by mary October 8, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet Vintage outfit is a fabulous deep blue dress from the 1940's with a lovely neckline & 4 rows of pink-purple zig-zag ribbon trim all across the skirt.  The original belt was missing, but I found the belt I'm wearing at the shop several months after I got the dress -- I'm guessing it's from the 1980's but that's ok as it matches the ribbon trim perfectly!  One of my favorite things about this dress is that it reminds me very much of a dress my mother wore when I was little.

Fashion in the early 40's was influenced heavily by World War II, both out of necessity & also respect for the war effort.  Some materials, for example, were rationed.  Iconic features of the 1940's included padded shoulders & side zippers (although the zipper was first introduced in clothing in the 1930's, it wasn't until the 1940's that it was commonly used in women's clothing.)  In 1947, Chrisian Dior introduced the "New Look" with the emphasis on rounded shoulders, narrow waistline & fuller skirts, such as the one on this dress.

With this dress, I decided to wear one of the necklaces I made recently -- it features a pendant with lavender & blue crystal beads & rhinestones that came in a lot of "for repair" vintage jewelry that I picked up at a flea market.  For the chain, I used blue blue crystal beads from another "for repair" necklace, as well as amethyst gemstone beads.

I also wore one of my French-themed charm bracelets -- this one features th eSacre-Coeur Basilica, a fleur de lis, a French coin, grapes, a French poodle & a religious medal of St. Therese of Liseux.  I used purple beads to complement the purple grapes.

And for earrings, I wore a pair I made with amethyst & tiger eye gemstones -- I especially like the shape of the tiger eyes on these earrings!

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at http://dorotheasclosetvintage.myshopify.com.  To see more of my jewelry, go to http://paulinesjewelrybox.com.

And, as always, thanks for reading and for supporting small businesses!

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Treasure Hunting at What Cheer & Fairgrounds Flea Markets -- October 3 & 4, 2014

by mary October 5, 2014

This weekend was a great one for treasure hunting -- on Friday, we were able to check out the flea market at What Cheer & then Saturday morning, we went to the flea market at the State Fairgrounds!  Made for a full weekend!

What Cheer -- What Cheer was a challenge this time, as the temp was in the upper 40s/low 50s & the winds were really strong -- I'm guessing 25 - 35 mph).  Not the coldest What Cheer flea market we've ever gone to, but probably the windiest -- As a result, probably 10% of the dealers weren't set up at all or had their things covered in plastic to protect them from blowing away!

Despite the cold & the wind, we did find some fun things for jewelry making & photography/display . . . including this cigar box full of odds & ends like the doll arm you can see, as well as keys, garters (I've been wondering how they might work in earrings) & monopoly houses & hotels!

Also found some more fish lure pieces -- I made a pair of earrings out of fish lure beads & shiny pieces recently & really liked them, so have been on the look-out for more!

And I found this really nice cedar box -- I have a couple already & use them to display jewelry at shows & as a background for photographs.

Also found several Halloween decorations -- they'll be fun to put out at this time of year with the rest of my vintage Halloween things, plus will make fun props for photographing my Halloween-themed jewelry!

Steve also found a really nice old wooden easel for me.  He'll make some type of backboard for me that I can hang necklaces on at shows -- am really looking forward to that.

Fairgrounds Flea Market -- Fortunately, the flea market at the fairgrounds is in the 4-H Building, so we didn't have to brave the weather Saturday morning!  Although we didn't find as much as we did at What Cheer, I did pick up a couple of things.

I really like the graphics on this ink blotter from 1950 that I found -- I think it will make another great prop for photographing & displaying jewelry.

The other thing I picked up was 2 bags of used/vintage chain from a dealer that is there fairly regularly & always brings bags of chain for me to consider.  I was only going to buy one at first, but he offered me a "deal I couldn't refuse"!

All in all, another good weekend of treasure hunting at 2 of Iowa's best flea markets!

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses . . . and to see some of the jewelry I make from the treasures I pick up, check out my website at http://paulinesjewelrybox.com/.

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Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

What I Wore on Wednesday - October 1, 2014

by mary October 1, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet outfit is a fabulous black dress with a novelty pattern of red, butterscotch yellow & off-white flowers from the 1930's -- another of my favorite decades!  My favorite things about this dress are the lace collar studded with rhinestones, the butterfly sleeves & the peplum!

During the 1930s, fashion saw longer skirts & the return of the natural waistline.  One of the most characteristic fashion trends in the US was attention at the arm, including introduction of the butterfly or full sleeves. 

The peplum -- or overskirt -- originated in the 1800s during the Victorian Era.  It resurfaced in the 1930s & 1940s as a staple of fashion & lasted into the 1950s, after which it disappeared from the fashion scene.  It resurfaced again "with a vengeance" along with shoulder pads in the 1980's.  And, you can see it again in today's fashions.  Peplums are said to be universally flattering, whether your body type is athletic, curvy or thin.

With this amazing dress, I decided to wear a pair of earrings I made recently out of red & butterscotch vintage bakelite beads I picked up at an antique shop! 

And I wore a charm bracelet made from early plastic charms (including some bakelite) & beads that I just finished yesterday!  I picked up the cream colored circular bead at my favorite bead shop in Sturgeon Bay, WI this summer -- it's the shop that carries NOS (new old stock) beads from the 1940's to the 1970's. 

I like the way reds & butterscotch yellows of the vintage plastic in both the earrings & the beads complement the colors in the dress.

To see more vintage clothing from Dorothea's Closet, visit the shop's website at http://dorotheasclosevintage.myshopify.com.  To see more of my jewelry, go to http://paulinesjewelrybox.com.

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

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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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