Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Micro Mosaics


l usually try to keep blog life separate from the news of the world, as l suspect that many people, like myself, use it as a bit of an escape from reality, but sometimes events just can't be ignored and the widespread floods in recent weeks are a prime example.
It's been another difficult week for many people and now the rain has passed they have to go back and assess the damage, and try to put their lives back together. Especially for those who have lost family, friends and beloved pets, their lives are altered forever.
Here's hoping that caring thoughts, constructive community action, and monetary aid relief , allow all those affected (and there are many) some much needed hope and positivity as they move forward in difficult times.

This week l wanted to bring you a story that began many hundreds of years ago when a studio was setup in the 1500's in the Vatican to produce mosaic replicas of altar pieces that were becoming damaged in St. Peters' Basilica. These became popular as momentoes for tourists and so began the story of commercial Micro Mosaics.
Micro Mosaic is when small pieces of either glass, or enamel are arranged in such a way that they represent a figurative image. Very early examples were produced as religious icons, or set into panels on furniture and later as pieces of jewellery. They reached their peak of popularity between 1820 and 1850. Early examples of jewellery are very rare and expensive. Those that are found now are generally early to mid 20th century pieces, and below are some of these.

Shown below are some mid 20th century pill boxes, a bracelet that l suspect may be 1930's and a necklace that is also probably 50's. The bracelet and one of the pill boxes were picked up quite recently so still can be found and bought for a song.

Pieces are often dated according to the mount or frame they are worked into, as well as hallmarks on later pieces. It is believed that the backs of gold Victorian brooches are flat and the 20th century ones are generally rounded. If buying an item be sure to check if all the pieces are intact, as it is almost impossible to replace missing parts.

Here are also shown some examples of vintage petit point needlework, including earrings and small perfume bottle which interestingly came with a tiny funnel.

Below l have shown some pics of Patti Silvermans truly beautiful home.See more here.

Her house definitely has the wow factor.

Photographer: Ellen McDermott.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Costume Jewellery Case

Hi there,

This week l've been finishing off a few half finished projects, some of which have been laying around making a mess for months now, and one of them is the one featured below.

This project was inspired by Selena Lakes new book called Romantic Style. (  l loved the picture featured in her book so much l had been on a mission for something to display old brooches in ever since, but as luck would happen l never came across anything remotely like it until l was in one of the larger discount stores and spotted this case for $8.00. Although very plain it was the perfect blank canvas for a makeover. 

Below shows Selena's vintage case.

You can see how this beautiful vintage case would inspire any jewellery lover into action.
You may also notice the paper flowers which are meant to look like peony roses but of course l'm nowhere near as clever as mother nature, but l fashioned them from crepe paper and the edges of the petals have been shaped and brushed with diluted White King (household bleach) to soften the look. Back in the day you only had to put  a bit of water on the crepe paper to make all the dye run out and it made fantastic effects, but no more.

Above shows the case in it's raw state and in the same store l also managed to find a couple of packets of cardboard boxes which will fit into each segment perfectly.

l decide after some deliberation to make the case look "olde worlde" by decoupaging it in an old french newspaper that l picked up a few years ago. It is from 1913 and the advertisements are hilarious - being for leeches and weird bowel conconctions, and although they're written in French (largely aided by pictures) l can still crack the code.
Once the entire case is covered in the (selectively cut-up) newspaper it is left to dry overnight, and the next day it is coated in a layer of varnish. This makes the finish uneven as it soaks in considerably in some areas and only a little in others, but somehow it seems to work for me.

l decide to leave the cardboard boxes as they are, but to make them a bit special l line the insides with cut up tissue paper from  vintage dress patterns.

 A few pieces of costume jewellery on display.

More things in cases. Another of stylist Sibella Courts' wondrous collections(

Thanks for stopping by,

Sincerely Bron.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

White with Colour

Hi there,

l would never have thought that having a blog could be such an adventure (of course much of it is in my own head), but there's so much to learn if l can just find the time to do some research.
This week l finally learnt how to get the date and time off my photos. It has been annoying me for ages, but l just couldn't find the instruction manual. Any way l finally found it, and it was just so simple to take the date/time battery out, but up until now l didn't even know the camera had one. l also read that to improve my interior photos, l need to turn the flash off... 
l'm not sure if the photos are any different but l did learn to turn the flash off.

Liza Giles is the senior stylist for designers guild, and her creative, stylish home was the inspiration for the following post.
l just love the predominantly white rooms to which she has added a splash of colour.
Her fabulous blog can be found right and is well worth a visit.

White painted floor boards (my fave) and hot pink chaise longue, l'd love to nanna nap there with a magazine.

Here l've picked colourful roses from the garden and arranged(?) them in a vintage rose bowl, l've placed them with a corbel/shelf  for which l have no use (yet), but for the price (cheap) l just couldn't leave it behind. A crystal chandelier hangs on an old bird cage holder that l've painted white. The chandelier was a gold tone when l bought it, but after pulling it apart, l brushed it lightly in white acrylic paint and put it back together.

You may notice the lace tulle skirt which hangs behind a white bird cage. There is a birds' nest thats sits inside the cage which l also spray painted white.

Above is a close up of the tulle skirt shown here with a couple of sets of beads, one is of white faux pearls, and the other vintage milk glass faceted beads.

A cane chair with home made cushions provide a comfy seat to place in a window in the sun.

More stunning photos of Liza Giles' home which is a four storey Victorian home in South London, and is shown in  "Insideout" magazine (May-June 08).

The photographs are by James Merrell.

The Tretchikoff prints in the background (photo below) are from the 50's and are now becoming very collectable.
 The print of the lady on the left is called "The Chinese Girl" or is sometimes known as The Green Lady and is one of the best selling art prints of all time.

These and many more were painted by Vladimir Tretchikoff who was born in Siberia in 1913 but his family fled to China in 1917 where he was educated at the Manchurian college. He died in South Africa in 2006. (Thank you Wikipaedia).

l hope you've enjoyed this post as much as l have, putting it together.

Sincerely Bron.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Vintage Packaging

Hi there,

This week l wanted to show you some more art work and the one below, is one of a number of native floral paintings that l've painted over the years. l think depictions of Australian natives in art are quite uncommon which l find surprising, or maybe l just don't get out much.  l love Warratahs (especially the white ones) because they are so architecturally striking and they last so long in a vase as a cut flower.
The painting is an acrylic on canvas and shows white warratahs which are extremely rare in the wild, but were propagated and made a commercial success at Wirrimbirra by a lady called Thistle Harris.

Below is an image l have shown before but thought it worth repeating to show off these wonderful Warratah blooms.

This week l discovered interior stylist Sibella Court who is an Australian  stylist, author and shop owner. Her interesting style is evident in her many unusual collections, and she has a new book out called etc. You can visit her terrific blog at . The photo below is one of Sibella's via

Sibella's cabinet of gorgeous vintage packaging inspired me to search the cupboards for something similar to photograph for this post. l didn't have a lot, but hope you enjoy these l have put together.

The Coty talc, powder puff and small round container were bought at a market still in it's original packaging, and dates from the 60's (the talc powder still smells beautiful and fresh). It is shown with a very large bottle which once contained 4711 ice cologne. This perfume began manufacture in the 30's in Germany and is still being produced today.


Modern beads in shades of green, and vintage torquiose chain beads from the 60's with depression glass perfume bottle and old fashioned roses.

Love these Chanel incidentals, one of the many beautiful images you will see at

That's all 'til next time,

Sincerely Bron.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

French Garden.

Hi there,
thanks for popping in,

This week my hubby and son have both been home on holidays and this has meant a break in the usual routine for all of us. We've been able to head out and about and enjoy the fresh green countryside and lovely gardens,(thanks to recent rains and cooler than usual temperatures). The following post was inspired by all this getting back to nature. 

l bought tray shown above recently and while l love its worn timber finish and fancy handles l felt it could be made more interesting, so l was looking for some rubber stamps to print some wording on the side, however since l was unable to source any, l had to settle for the idea of stencilling it instead.

Trawling through blogs again l came across this wonderful site called where you can purchase many beautiful antique French and French style items for the house and garden. The trays below gave me the idea of what to stencil on the side of mine.

l stencilled the writing in a  paint colour called weathered wood which l use often because it's such a lovely nuetral. l didn't want anything too dark as the imperfections in the stencilling would be much more noticeable. l also aged the terracotta pots that hold the petunias by giving them a wash in pale grey paint, very thinned and rubbed back in places to vary the amount of terracotta that shows through.

Here l have placed the tray with some architectural items l have, either from the garden, or in the garden room. The angel is a concrete garden ornament.

Here the tray sits comfortably with the glass terrarium. I didn't dust the terrarium as l think it adds character (that's my excuse).

The photo above and the following two are more lovelies from antiques on consignment.

Who wouldn't love that plant stand and mirror in the background.

Antique French garden furniture.- 19th century.

The photo above and below are ones l took on my travels this week.

Somehow l fluked capturing all the contrasting light in this scene below.

If you are interested in flowers, arrangements and/or colour you might like to visit my Sisters' beautiful blog and website here 
Her ability to show blooms at their peak of perfection is just one of her many talents.

Until next time,

Yours Sincerely Bron.