Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pocket Watch Accessories

Wouldn't you want a cool Steampunk style pocket watch?

Pocket watches are becoming more popular. There has been a resurgence in wearing and using these little timekeepers from the past. Pocket watches have been around for a long time, or at least the design has been around since the 16th century. Now that more and more people are wearing pocket watches, it is only right to have a few accessories.

Different pocket watch chains have different methods of attachment, choose the right one for you

The most common pocket watch accessory is the chain. This little piece is not only handy it is practical. Most quality pocket watches will come with a matching chain. My advice is to use it. A pocket watch chain helps to keep your pocket watch firmly attached to your vest, belt or jacket. There is nothing worse than taking a pocket watch out of your pocket and having it slip out of your hand and hit the ground.

Leather pouches keep a pocket watch handy and secure

Another accessory that helps to keep your pocket watch safe and sound is the pouch. This is an accessory, usually made of leather, which attaches to your belt. The pocket watch can slip into this leather case and keeps it handy and within reach. The nice thing about a pocket watch pouch is it keeps the pocket watch out of your pocket. A pocket filled with keys and coins is a dangerous place. Nicks and scratches can develop on the surface of a pocket watch that has to sit in a pocket full of coins.

When storing your pocket watch you can opt for a case or a stand. The stand allows you to hang your pocket watch and it is now functional as a small clock. A case is perfect for a collector who owns more than one watch. Cases keep your watches separated so they won’t bump or scratch each other and keeps them out of harm’s way. If you’re a collector a case is the way to go. If you’re a newbie to pocket watches consider the accessories, they can extend the life of your watch and besides, they’re cool.

You can hang your pocket watch out of harm's way and still keep time

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Masquerade Ball

Truman Capote's Masquerade Ball was the event of the season

In a time long ago and a land faraway there was Halloween entertainment for adults. We all know about trick or treating for kids and most of us have experienced it first hand, but how many of us can say we’ve experienced a true adult Halloween ball? When I was a little kid there were events called Masquerade Balls. They were held on Halloween and attended by adults. The tricky part was no adults wore costumes.

Famous people like Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra attended

Masquerade Balls were dignified affairs. You wore your best evening wear, shiniest jewels and had your makeup and hair done by a professional. Your only form of a costume was a half mask a la Lone Ranger. These balls were attended by many of the rich and famous. They were glamorous affairs and this is probably why Cinderella and her evil stepsisters wanted to go so badly. Who wouldn’t want to go to a glamorous affair and get dressed up in a ball gown?

Now we get this from celebrities

Nowadays Halloween parties for adults seem more like drunken college bashes. Everyone wears a costume and if you happen to be rich or famous your costume was constructed by a prop master who works in Hollywood. There is lots of food and beer and everyone stands around and marvels at the costumes. Some get accolades for inventiveness and others get slammed for being politically incorrect.

These are the options for women, at least she has pants

I wish we could go back to the old days of Masquerade Balls so I would have an opportunity to wear a ball gown. I really don’t want to dress like a sexy nurse or some other trollop because I’m really not that uninhibited. I do know that I could look awesome in a beautiful dress wearing lovely jewelry. Besides the half mask would hide the circles under my eyes and highlight my diamond earrings. It’s a win win situation.

An antique from a more elegant time

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jewelry Overload

Multiple strands of pearls are attractive, just keep the rest simple

I went to the post office the other day but I would have sworn that I had been teleported to Walmart. There in front of me in line was a short little woman wearing leopard patterned leggings, a green t-shirt and more baubles than a Kardashian. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt by thinking that maybe this was a costume, it is October after all. She had rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, or so the poem goes.

This might be a few too many rings

This got me to thinking that there is probably some fashion faux pas which I like to describe as jewelry overload. This is where someone has adorned themselves in miles of multicolored beads, stacks of bracelets, sparkly hair clips and rings on every finger. This kind of describes the woman in front of me in line. She had her hair in a clip or should I say several, large dangly earrings and a multitude of necklaces, she had baubles to spare. Man I hope this was a costume.

Go for a subtle elegant look

The sad thing about this jewelry overload is we have all done it from time to time. We all have pieces we love and we love to wear them. It becomes iffy when we try and wear too much together at one time. I was once told that before you go out, if you think your outfit and accessory selection is perfect, take one thing off. The idea is to keep things subtle, but subtle doesn’t mean scant. Try wearing multiples but in the same color. This means layered necklaces but keep the colors similar.

This is an ad, you're not supposed to wear all your bracelets at once

You can also bulk up in areas. Try wearing layered necklaces but keep your hands free. If you go with layered bracelets, keep your neck area minimal. You want to emphasize one area of your body at a time. Lots of rings mean subtly at the neckline, although you can probably indulge a little on your wrists. Massive earrings don’t require complicated necklines or clothing on your upper body. Basically you don’t want your jewelry and clothes to be in competition with each other. There is a time and place for everything, just remember to take one thing off before you leave the house otherwise someone might think it’s a costume.

If wearing a lot of rings and bracelets, keep the background solid colored and subtle

Friday, October 25, 2013

I Just Found Out I’m a Grammar Nazi

You might be a grammar Nazi if...

Yes I used the word Nazi in a title, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. I just want to emphasize my hatred of poor grammar. I’m not going to say that I was a perfect student who had fabulous grades in English. I did do well in my creative writing class, hence the blog. Somewhere along the line I developed some skill in detecting poor grammar. I don’t recognize slight infractions of grammatical law but I can spot a whopper.

This pretty well sums it up

I recently had the displeasure of working with someone who did some writing for me. It was mostly computer data entry work and didn’t require any real creative writing skills. The problem was they decided to get creative and write in a line or two in the description section instead of the pat answer of “Description goes here.” What I read made me cringe then turned me into a nut as I complained about their poor wording to my husband.

 Yup, I screamed also

I don’t know if it’s the fault of budget cuts in schools but I’ve seen basic writing skills decline over the years. It isn’t just the standard confusion of your and you’re or maybe the old trickster of their, they’re and there. It’s punctuation as well as grammar. I’ve seen titles written out as “Look here This is The title Of the Product!” People are confused and capitalize every other word so the title looks like a ransom note, and yes my spell check is going nuts right now.

You know you have a problem if your text messages look like this...

So I’ve turned into a grammar Nazi but unfortunately I’m not telling those who are making these huge mistakes that there is a problem. This is probably a disservice to them. We all make mistakes and the only way to learn is to know you made a mistake. I’m failing these people by looking their work over, silently vowing to never use them again, and then spending two or three frantic hours correcting their mistakes before something goes live. On the plus side at least I’m a closet grammar Nazi who is afraid to hurt someone’s feelings.

Some day I might get thumped with my own dictionary

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Boots are Back and Big Brother Knows You're Looking

Kenneth Cole Gurrl is one candidate

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we are getting our foggy mornings back. While not a proponent of cold damp weather I do the love fact that it’s now boot weather. I have a passion for shoes, like most women, and boots are my favorites. Whenever I’m feeling down shoe shopping puts me in a better mood. Yes I know I’m sick but I can’t help it. Is there an AA program for shoeaholics?

I might be bad but not as bad as Kim Kardashian

I’ve had a lot of reasons to be down lately but I haven’t had time to actually go shoe shopping except online. I’ve had plenty of time to think about what type of boot is missing from my extensive shoe collection. This year is the year of the shorter moto boot. What is really interesting about looking for a particular type of boot online is how once you go to one shoe website an advertising sidebar now displays various boots you might like to buy. It’s like they know I’m an addict.

Rocket Dog's Deck is candidate #2

This is the age of Big Brother and every shopping move you make is recorded. Since I’m a boot junkie celebrating the return of cold weather with some boot shopping, I’m now inundated with pictures of boots from various shoe websites. It is slightly creepy how the internet knows what type of boot I’m looking for and can show me boots that I actually like. It’s as if they are inside my head and know my thoughts as I think them. They’ve figured out what I want and are showing me pictures and prices…Argh!

George Orwell knew what he was talking about

This is what George Orwell was warning us about in his book “1984.” That someday they would be able to read our thoughts and use them against us. In my particular case they are using my love of boots to try and make me spend money. The internet is tempting me and it is getting harder and harder to resist.  So when my husband asks why I bought another pair of boots I’m just going to have to tell him I’m not responsible for these purchases, it was mind control. I wonder if that will work?

Okay, so maybe resistance isn't futile but it makes a good excuse

Friday, October 18, 2013

Charming Charms

When we think of charms we probably think of this

Charms can be considered good luck. Charm bracelets and the wearing of charms were thought to ward off evil spirits. Particular shapes, material and even blessed charmed were all considered good luck. Many cultures have variations of charm bracelets such as the charm filled pouches of various American Indian tribes. These were probably more aptly named medicine bags and many tribes still make a variation today.

A snake can be symbolic

Charms may have begun their lives as symbols to ward off evil spirits or to keep religious sentiments close by, but now they are mostly worn for cosmetic purposes. Yes there are beads and charms that have significance and many charms mark milestones in our lives. Birthstone charms commemorate the birth of a child or grandchild. Various religious symbols proclaim our faith. Pink ribbon charms during the month of October support those suffering from cancer.

Ancient ornamentation was worn for cosmetic purposes as well as symbolic

It is interesting when you consider the long history of charms themselves. There is evidence that 75,000 years ago people wore charms made from shells in Africa. Christians wore charms shaped like a fish to help identify themselves to other Christians. The wearing of charms goes all the way to the Babylonians, Persians and Hittites to around 600-400 BC. So it appears that the wearing of charms has a very long history.

The Tiffany & Company single heart charm bracelet is iconic

The first modern charms can probably be attributed to Queen Victoria of England who made the wearing of charm bracelets popular. Tiffany & Company came out with their iconic linked charm brace with a single heart in 1889. This particular design is still popular today and I’m sure Tiffany & Company still sells quite a few each day. So when you put on that charm bracelet or necklace remember that you're engaging in a potentially ancient custom with long and strong roots and it just might ward off some evil spirits.

Charms can support worthy causes like Breast Cancer Awareness

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rooms Made of Gems

The Amber Room in Russia

I was watching Oz the Great and Powerful last night and of course they were in the Emerald City. This got me to thinking about how gems are used as housing or at least in the movies. My theory was that Oz has so many emeralds that constructing a palace made entirely out of this material really wasn’t an issue. If something is plentiful you use it, kind of like bamboo flooring. Bamboo grows like a weed by the way.

This is typically how we see amber, in earrings

While the Emerald City maybe pure fantasy there is an Amber Room in Russia. The Amber Room was constructed beginning in 1701 in Prussia. It was a room intended for the Charlottenburg Palace but ultimately ended up in the Berlin City Palace. It didn’t stay there long as it was given as a gift from Prussia’s King Friedrich Wilhelm to Tsar Peter the Great of Russia. They formed an alliance against Sweden and I guess this was the bargaining “amber” chip.

Amber can be unbelievably beautiful

So all the panels were packed up and shipped to Russia and reassembled in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg. The room was eventually expanded to contain 13,000 pounds of amber. I guess if you’re going to go, go large. It was considered one of the eight wonders of the world and it was probably quite beautiful with all those amber walls, gold leaf and mirrors.

Unfortunately it met its demise during World War II when the Nazis’ looted it and took all remnants to Germany. The panels were never found and new reconstruction of the Amber Room began in 1979 and was finished in 2003, quite the project. I believe that the amber was broken down when it was looted which is why they never found it. The amber panels were brittle and probably didn’t come down without a fight, such a shame. Someday I’m going to visit Russia to see this amazing room made of amber, it will be just like the Wizard of Oz.

The detail in the Amber Room is amazing