Monday, November 23, 2009

Betty Boop as Carmen Miranda - it just can't get any better than that!

This week in our San Diegan Collectibles store, we are happy to offer one of the prettiest and most colorful Betty Boop Cookie Jars available! We should really say "scarcely available", as this is a very difficult collectible to find.

Here is some great Betty Boop trivia:

1. Betty made her debut way back in 1930. She appeared as a singing dog (!) in a classic Max Fleischer short called "Dizzy Dishes". Soon thereafter, she lost her ears, gained earrings, and became one of the most recognizable screen figures in the world!

2. Her famous figure was drawn to resemble Mae West. No surprise there!

3. Betty Boop retired from her film career in 1939. Since then, she has appeared in every single form imaginable - in dolls, cookie jars, comic strips, paintings, jewelry, name it. Through the years, she has managed to maintain her youthful appearance. When asked to divulge the secret of her ever-lasting beauty, she simply smiles and answers, "Boop Boop a Doop".

4. She's not bad - she's just drawn that way. Okay, I couldn't resist that one.

Betty Boop has remained one of our most enduring and endearing stars through the years. Each new generation discovers her with delight. I think she is especially appealing in her Carmen Miranda garb. Two female icons with signature styles combined into one beautiful cookie jar - it just can't get any better than that!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nothing Ventured, Nothing "Lost"

I've been selling vintage beads on Etsy for a couple of months now. During that time, I've been practicing making jewelry myself - because there are just not ENOUGH handmade jewelry sellers on Etsy! <----- LOL, as they say. There are tons of handmade jewelry sellers on Etsy and some of their designs are breathtaking. Literally, I find myself gasping at some of the amazing things people make.

I am convinced that Etsy has some of the most creative artistic minds on the planet. My next post will be all about the amazing variety of talent that is selling on Etsy - if you should visit Etsy for some browsing, prepare to be lost in a wonderland of beauty and creativity for hours on end.

Speaking of lost, the TV series "Lost" has inspired my first piece of Etsy handmade jewelry (it's not my first piece of handmade jewelry - just the first one I've dared to list). I had the most exquisite Ocean Jasper beads in a huge 20mm size and the deepest, richest hues. There were two beads in particular that seemed to have a special resonance for me, a deep blue and a lighter blue stone. They seemed to me to be two different parts of the same stone, representing a dark side and a light side. While I was looking at them, I happened to think of the “Lost” island, and how it has become a living character on the show. The Ocean Jasper beads reminded me of the island. Then I remembered that I still had some sea glass from Hawaii from 1987 that was in the shape of barrels. I had holes drilled through them, and they are now part of my “Island’s Heart” necklace, along with some gorgeous Czech glass beads. I made earrings to match, and the resulting set can be viewed by clicking on the link under the above photo.
I will soon be opening an additional Etsy store just for completed handmade and vintage jewelry pieces. In the meantime, have fun being lost on Etsy island!


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Lure of Shiny Objects

Some psychologists believe that our attraction to shiny objects is an innate part of our nature. Anthropologists speculate that this fascination dates from the time of early human development, when we would look in wonder and amazement at the stars. I like this theory. Perhaps the shiny objects we love so much to this day are like little pieces of stars that we can hold here on earth.

The most popular shiny object in the jewelry kingdom is, of course, the diamond. While diamonds are the best and brightest in the gem world, they are out of reach for many of us financially. Enter the simulated diamonds! Here we will be discussing rhinestones, although the most popular and diamond-like simulant is Cubic Zirconia, or CZ. CZ stones are synthetic, but have many characteristics that are similar to diamonds. CZ is less hard than diamonds, but not by a lot. On the Mohs hardness scale, CZ rates about 8.5 to 9, whereas diamonds are 10. The two are also close in light refraction and dispersion, although diamonds rate higher in light refraction, and CZs rate higher in dispersion (“fire”). But our discussion today will focus on the fabulous Rhinestone!

“Rhinestone” is a catch-all term, covering all diamond simulants made of acrylic, glass, or lead crystal. They were named Rhinestones after some rock crystals found in the Rhine River (proving once again that sometimes the correct answer is the simplest one). One of the most important distinctions in rhinestones is between glass and plastic. In most cases the difference is fairly easy to distinguish, as plastic is much lighter in weight than glass, and will sound duller when lightly tapped against your teeth (or another rhinestone). If in doubt, it is always best to bring a piece to a jeweler for clarification.


Not all rhinestones are crystals. Some rhinestones are made from glass. When lead has been added to the glass for additional sparkle, it is called crystal. Crystals are typically much more reflective of light than are plastic and glass stones. Crystals are normally cut, not molded. In glassware terms, this would be comparable to the difference between cut glass and pressed glass. Cut crystals are sharper-looking, and refract light brilliantly. Crystals are normally cut with more facets than glass or plastic rhinestones. This also adds to their more intense sparkle. Most acrylic (or plastic – we use the terms interchangeably) are molded.


This is usually determined by the lead content in the glass. This standard differs from country to country:
· USA: a lead monoxide content of as low as 1% allows glass to be noted as crystal

· European Community: Lead monoxide content over 10% is called crystal

· OTHER COUNTRIES: Other countries throughout the world can vary. Usually, the lead monoxide content must be between at least 3% to 15% before glass is referred to as crystal

· In all cases, glass with higher lead content will be referred to as “lead crystal”.


We are all familiar with glassware made of 24% lead crystal. It is generally considered extremely safe to use, as long as food and drink are not stored in it. Swarovski crystals, the “gold standard” (so to speak) of crystals, contain 32 to 33% lead for sparkle. This lead is safe - unless you eat your jewelry!

Always keep your lead crystals away from children - remember that human beings are attracted to shiny objects, and babies love to put everything in their mouths.

The brooch pictured below has “Aurora Borealis” rhinestones. These are rhinestones that have been treated with a special metallic coating (much as Carnival Glass is treated in glassware). The coating causes the stones to shine with lots of colors in a rainbow effect.

This process was developed in the early 1950’s by Manfred Swarovski. It was introduced to the public in 1955. So, if someone advertises a piece of jewelry with AB stones as being from the 1930’s, the advertiser is mistaken. Any piece of jewelry with AB stones (in which the stones haven’t been replaced) must date from 1955 onward!

Thanks for stopping by - Shine on!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Learning How to Sit on a Sofa

This is an awesome beauty book called "Glorify Yourself". First published in 1942, this is a third edition copy, published in '45. The promotions for this book contained the tagline "Be the kind of woman men admire and women envy!" And to think, this can be achieved in part just by learning how to sit on a sofa. Really.

The book offers a fascinating glimpse into the standards of beauty back in the day, as well as the lengths to which women would go to look attractive. We still do that, of course. Today's methods of becoming beautiful will look ridiculous far in the future, I'm sure. What intrigues me about this book is its focus on body posture, facial expression, how to sit, how to walk, how to pose your hands while sitting and walking. Whew! I'm exhausted just reading it.

Of course, the photos are part of what makes this book so fun. Notice the beautiful brooch in the hand photo. The book contains great shots of clothing from the era, including swimsuits, and an illustration of a full-body girdle thing that looks like a medieval torture device.

The author, Eleanore King, received a Masters Degree in Education from USC (Go, Trojans!) and was a charm and poise coach to movie stars of the 40's. Her husband, Herbert Kalmus, was known as "Mr. Technicolor" for his pioneering work in color film. These were not trivial, superficial people by any means. Movies were a very serious business during the days of the big studios. "Glorify Yourself" even includes photos of some stars, including Claudette Colbert, Rosalind Russell, Mary Martin, Judy Garland, and Margaret O'Sullivan.

My favorite lesson in the book is the one called "To Sit on a Sofa", which is something I thought I had mastered by the age of five. Who knew? For some reason, if you are 5 foot 7 or over, the author states that you won't need to practice this as much as a woman who is shorter.

So much to learn! Although I was gratified (if not glorified) to note one thing about the status of my poise and charm - even without lessons, I know enough not to walk like THIS illustration:

Stay beautiful!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Earrings Ran Off with the Socks?

I buy lots of vintage jewelry for our eBay and Etsy businesses. Sometimes, I buy it (and sell it) in a Grab Bag format. Look for some great grab bags in the next few weeks at San Diegan Collectibles.

Buying a whole bag of jewelry is so much fun. Is there a buried treasure in it? There always is - I've never been disappointed yet. I do have one question, though. Why are there always so many single earrings? At first, I thought I was just picking the "wrong" bags. Then, when I went through my own jewelry box, I discovered something surprising - earring after earring, lying there mateless. Apparently, through the years prized jewels have been dropping from my ears with alarming regularity! And from everyone else's as well. Either that, or the earrings have all eloped with my many single socks that I can never quite bring myself to throw away.

Now that I've begun salvaging beads and jewels, I am keenly aware of these missing gems. It seems as though the very prettiest earrings are always the solo ones. Perhaps they were worn more frequently, increasing their odds of getting lost. So now they are considered useless, which seems a dreadful shame, considering how beautiful they are. Do you think we could ever start a trend of wearing two different earrings at the same time? I'm tempted to try it - although, at my advanced age (AARP is falling all over themselves to get me to join) people might think it's just a sign of age-related forgetfulness. I think it will take a young and daring fashionista to start this trend.

In the meantime, what to do with all the pretty single earrings? As I've reported in an earlier blog, I have zero talent for jewelry-making. All of you talented crafters out there - how would you repurpose these lovelies?


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Julie & Julia - and Me!

We had the pleasure of seeing Julie & Julia today! What a great movie, with the customary amazing performance by Meryl Streep. Is there anything the woman can't do? The whole cast was wonderful, the story was terrific. But, as usual, I was all wrapped up in ogling the vintage stuff!

To me, stuff is the star of every movie I see. I suppose that if I were to truly follow my passion (which is a central theme in the film) I would become a set decorator. This movie was particularly interesting because so much of it centered in the kitchen. Fantastic vintage furniture and cookware, a gorgeous stove, and of course, Le Creuset pots in "Flame"! My favorites.

Check out the photo of Meryl/Julia at her great vintage stove (of course, it wouldn't have been vintage at that time!). We have the Le Creuset pot in Flame, the requisite pearls, and those awesome shoes!

Meryl/Julia also wore beautiful brooches, my favorite jewelry. I was unable to find photos on the net, but one brooch was a gold-tone sitting cat (ANOTHER passion of mine), and one was a gorgeous initial pin that appeared to be rhinestones. Wow! How I'd love that!

Vintage jewelry with people's names or initials on it is always a special treat to find. I think it adds to the sense that we are keeping people's spirits and memories alive by "recycling" their personalized jewelry pieces. I recently found a silver ID bracelet - remember those? They always seemed to be made by Spiedel, and back in my day (which certainly qualifies as vintage) the boys would give their ID bracelets to a girl to show that they were going steady. The one I have was a boy's ID bracelet, and the first initials were "T.C." Reminded me of a favorite cartoon. Anyone else remember Top Cat? Are you getting the general generational drift here?

In another large lot of jewelry I bought, there were several pins with the initial "E". That's all, just "E". Esther/Elaine/Evangeline had her first initial in two beautiful wood brooches, a gold-tone brooch, and a silver necklace pendant. And, of course, monogrammed antique and collectible flatware is ubiquitous.

Speaking of Spiedel, I also found a great man's Bulova watch with a Spiedel band. Really beautiful watch, and it still keeps time perfectly. It's only problem is surface scratches on the crystal. I will be listing it in the next few days.

Bon apetit!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome to our eBay & Etsy Blog


My name is Joni. I sell collectibles and antiques on eBay, as well as beads and jewelry-making supplies on Etsy. My eBay seller and store name is San Diegan Collectibles, celebrating the gorgeous place which I call home - San Diego County, California. Actually my husband Peter and I live in North San Diego County. Oceanside, to be exact - right in between the beautiful coastal city of Carlsbad, and the magnificent US Marine Corps base, Camp Pendleton.

Living less than one mile from the Pacific Ocean is a tremendous blessing. Living with such gorgeous weather is another tremendous blessing. But I consider our proximity to Camp Pendleton to be our biggest blessing of all. Anywhere you go in Oceanside, you will see young Marines. They are shining examples of our American youth, the defenders of our freedoms, the keepers of our home. They are truly the best this country has to offer, and we take enormous pride in their courage and service. May they inspire us all to strive to be the best in all we do, and to remember always that our country is not ours by right, but by the sacrifice and courage of others.

What does this have to do with eBay and Etsy? Everything, actually. Our ability to conduct business in the free market
is due to the sacrifices of those who have fought and who are currently fighting for that freedom. And eBay and Etsy are
such great examples of free markets! As online business owners, we get to formulate our own business plans, source our own products, market those products or services, meet awesome customers who buy our products, and then we put our earnings back into the economy.

Please help us keep that economy going by visiting our stores. We thank you for reading our blog. And if you should see a service man or woman in your travels, please take a moment to thank them - without them, none of this would be possible.