Monday, December 31, 2012

Ode to the New Year

Happiness is when
what you think, 
what you say, 
and what you do
are in harmony.
- Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian Spiritual Leader

All the best in 2013....!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Wish

At Christmas, 
all roads lead home.
                                                                                    - Marjorie Holmes, 1911-2002, American Columnist 


Monday, December 17, 2012


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a present
and not giving it.
                                                                             -William Arthur Ward, 1921-1994, American Writer

First Christmas Resting in Peace

Amidst all the hustle and bustle may you find that special peace in the reason for the season. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

F is for Fulper Pottery

Fulper Pottery was begun in Flemington NJ as Hill Pottery in 1814.  It was  potter Samuel Hill who created lines of storage crocks and jars from the red clay of the region. Upon his death in 1858 Abcan Fulper purchased the plant and expanded production to include earthenware stoneware and tile.  During the 1880's, the company was known as Fulper Brothers becoming incorporated in 1899 as the Fulper Pottery Company.  In 1900 William H. Fulper II created the art pottery line of beautifully glazed pots executed by master potter John Kinsman.  The turn of the 20th C was a time of great interest in craftsmanship and artistic expression in response to mass production during the industrial era.  Fulper capitalized on the trend of collecting by hiring Dr. Cullen Parmelee, a chemist who developed gorgeous Chinese-inspired glazes which were authentic recreations of Famille Rose, Chinese Blue, Seladon, Rouge Flambe, and Claire de Lune.  Over 100 unique glazes made up the backbone of Fulper Pottery's renowned VaseKraft art pottery line which was introduced in 1909 by ceramicist Martin Stangl.  

It was Stangl Pottery that acquired Fulper in 1929 and continued to produce art pottery until 1935.  These pieces are unquestionably beautiful to behold and display.  They make unique gifts which will grace a home for years to come in vintage - albeit modern - style.  Happy Hunting!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Favorite Things

My favorite things:

recalling the giggles of my children

rolling over in a cozy bed

the aroma of coffee in the morning... and drinking it from my bowl

soft kisses

hugging - a lot

snuggling up by the fire on a cold winters night

falling asleep after a busy day

telling and showing someone I love them


boisterous hearty laughter

savoring delicious food prepared by me


strolling a desolate beach... especially in winter

dancing with reckless abandon 

singing out loud... while cleaning the house 

long chats on the phone with those I love

creative people, beautiful homes, lovely landscapes

really really fabulous shoes

living always with integrity... and knowing my actions are consistent with my beliefs

making good choices the key to a happy and fulfilled life

           A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.

friends and family that mean the world to me... especially on this eve of my Birthday*

Born 4 December, 1956 with 56 years of living behind me;
grateful for my health and the trials that helped me grow.
The gift to myself is to take life into my own hands now,
creating those feelings of security... love... happiness
as I trust my God, my wisdom and my heart. 

Happy Birth year to me!  

*My gift to you: receive a 10% discount at simplycoolstuff through the month of December.  Code: 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Ode to the Season of Thanksgiving

The year has turned its circle,
the seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
and chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
the fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway,
Thanksgiving comes again!
                                            Author unknown, Old English Rhyme

          Health and Happiness to you and your loved ones.....Be grateful you're not a turkey

Monday, November 19, 2012

E is for Early American Pattern Glass

It was 1825 when glass was first pressed into a decorative mold by machine rather than being hand blown into a form.  The original patterns were quite ornate in nature to hide manufacturing flaws of the pressing machine.  Known as the Lacy Period from 1825-1845,  manufacturers from Boston and PIttsburgh produced heavy large pieces that often had a high lead content and ultimately evolved into what is known as Flint Glass.  The characteristic ring tone, when tapped,  defines these early pieces.  Flint Glass was popular through 1865 as improvements in the pressing machines and glass techniques allowed for countless simple and elegant designs.  Ohio and West Virginia jumped on the bandwagon and color was added to create milk glass, amethyst, blue, canary, and red.   Since Early American Pattern Glass was poured into cast-iron molds and marketed as an alternative to hand cut crystal,  it was  much less expensive to produce than blown glass and thus appealed to the masses at the time.  

From 1836-1889, Mckee Glass Company of Pittsburgh, PA established itself as a premier manufacturer of pressed and flint glass bottles.  From 1865-1910 pressed glass dominated the markets as lead disappeared from the formula (it was needed for bullets during the Civil War) and soda -or lime- was added.  Hundreds of patterns existed, with some ever so slightly different in form or decorative elements. The economy played a role in the consolidation of 18 companies resulting in the formation of United States Glass Company until its demise in 1984.  A. H. Heisey Glass Company, as well as Fostoria Glass Co. were major manufacturers during the late 1890's, known as Elegant Glass,  providing beautiful quality pieces that were leagues above the overproduced lines of the Early American Pattern Glass at the time.

WWI and its accompanying recession brought about the demise of EAPG as European imports such as Waterford and Baccarat crystal became available at relatively affordable prices.  It was the 1930's that once again popularized pressed patterns with the introduction of inexpensive lines known as Depression Glass.   As you look at pieces you may have inherited or collected, think about how very cool it is to realize it all dates back to 1825, with the introduction of that lowly pressed glass machine.  Who knew?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Elements of Life

Make it Happen... Make it Happy

Monday, November 5, 2012

D is for Dresden Plate

The Dresden Plate Quilt reflects the  Romantic Art Movement prevalent in Germany during the 19th Century Victorian era.  Dresden, Germany was the epicenter of beautifully decorated porcelain ware plates -  embellished with elaborate floral, fruit and foliage designs - reflecting the formal tastes of the times.  The Dresden Plate Quilt first appeared during the latter quarter of the 19th Century as a piece and appliqued work of  fine stitchery.  The basic quilt is a square-by-square pattern, appliqued and hand quilted with a sandwich of batting between the layers. Its beauty belies its incredibly warm function.  Handmade quilts such as this often marked important occasions, such as weddings, births, and housewarmings.  They became more cherished as they were passed down through the generations.

My Dresden Plate Quilt is still in the making, begun 25 or so years ago... It seems impossible to me that it has been that long, yet I have not lost my enthusiasm to finish it.... It reflects my grandmothers', mothers, and my history, with the fabrics of our lives sewed together.  I continue to toil away, I continue to make progress and that is what quilting is all about. It is an expression of love for all things beautiful sewn together and patched into one.     May this inspire you to begin a treasure!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Ode to the Pumpkin

I would rather sit on a pumpkin
have it all to myself, 
than be crowded
on a velvet cushion.
                                                    -Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862
                                                                      American author, poet, philosopher

Have a Safe and Happy All Hallow's Evening everyone!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.

The word democracy stems from Greek meaning 'rule of the people'.  Equality and freedom are most important characteristics here.  It is a form of government whereby all eligible citizens have an equal say in decisions that affect their lives.  With that comes liberty which represents the freedom from arbitrary control.  As we go forward in this season of elections, be grateful for both tenets.  Listen, learn, think and exercise your right to vote.  It is certainly one of the greatest privileges in the world.


Monday, October 15, 2012

C is for Cased Glass

Cased Glass has been in existence for of a number of centuries, in many countries including China, Germany, and Bohemia,  yet the best pieces incorporated the fine use of hand cutting tools by English glassmakers beginning in 1825.  The effect was quite decorative and highlighted the creative expression and inordinate skill of the artist. French cased glass was produced in smaller quantities until the late 1800's, at which time the engraving wheel almost completely eliminated the hand crafted elements. Hydrofluoric acid was used to remove unwanted glass in combination with the engraving wheel, yet it was the meticulous and delicate hand sculpturing techniques that produced some of the most outstanding pieces of art.

Cased glass consists of two or more layers of different colors with a lovely satin-like feel and appearance, engraved by hand.  The process may be created by
  • blowing a color inside a piece that is already made -or-
  • layering different colored glass over each other.
In each case, the multiple layers of glass are fused together thus creating a uniquely beautiful piece.

Also known as Cameo Glass,  a cased glass Thomas Webb 4.5 " vase recently listed on e-bay for $1000., a result of its rarity and artistic decorative qualities.
Thomas Webb & Sons (1837) from Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England produced lovely examples of this art form with pieces very much sought after and highly collectible.   Happy Hunting!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Columbus Clouds

Columbus Day celebrates, simply, the 1492 five week voyage of three small Spanish ships - the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria - that terminated with 'discovery' of the Western Hemisphere.  Often referred to as the Encounter of Two Worlds, it was in fact the first step in the process of permanent European colonization into America.  However one may regard its significance, Columbus Day represents a melding of cultures; it is also a source of pride for Italians honoring one of their own, Cristoforo Colombo.  

As a tribute to our America I give symbol to these clouds representing freedom from tyranny.  
We are able to BE... on cloud nine, so to speak.  

Did you know that types of clouds are assigned numbers according to their altitude, with 9 being the highest? To be on cloud 9 is to be high above worldly cares..... Freedom is what comforts us as freedom is what ensures it. 
Enjoy your Columbus Day holiday everyone!

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