Monday, December 29, 2008

To Dream...

The last few moments of daylight that linger just before passing into evening when the sun has set and the final rays of light reflect off the clouds...twilight.

And so these are the last few days of this year as the calendar prepares to pass into 2009.

Wishing you health, love and wisdom but most important to dream... for dreaming is the moment that ignites the mind, body and soul.

Monday, December 22, 2008

To Each and Every One Of You

Please click to view larger image.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Tucked away amidst the folded lacey tablecloths lies a tissue wrapped treasure from childhood. Each Christmas season it is removed from its confines to be cherished again...

Please visit Wealthy's Bonnet for The Christmas Pageant.

* A very special thank you to Karen Otto of Amusments for her ability of envisioning a creation of the present to enhance a tale from the past.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Through The Looking Glass

I must admit I have an obsession for mirrors. Not for vanity's sake but for their ability to reflect the images that are before them.

Can you imagine the amazement of the young lass who gazed down into the pool of water as she knelt to rinse her silken long tresses in its ripples. To look upon her image looking back at her must have been mysterious.

Or the beautiful Renaissance woman tilting the hand-held silvered looking glass to catch sight of the jewels twinkling in her crown. Making sure each strand of pearls was perfect before entering the chamber where her husband awaited...

As the daylight hours shorten and darkness spreads her cloak about the land, mirrors can reflect the subtle light held within the room. Be it candle, lamp or chandelier each ray refracted and sent back from whence it came...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Paradise Found

It is assumed that when reference is made to living in Canada a picture of the Great White North comes to mind.

Let it be said that when the page of the calendar turns to December we are often at the mercy of Mother Nature. But alas, with a little ingenuity and a trip to the greenhouse, paradise is found.

At the place where I purchase the first buds of spring, flowers for the window boxes and mums for the Fall garden, winter yields its palette of beauty.

From the palest of pink to deep crimson en masse the poinsettias create a carpet befitting of royalty. Each delicate petal uniting to reflect the spirit of the season.

Row upon row of vibrant cyclamen, heads bowed yielding to the awestruck observer choosing to take one home.

There are silver-tipped ferns painted by fairies that flit about in the darkness sprinkling their magic sparkle (at least I imagine such). Or combination baskets that can be coaxed to spend the winter and released to the garden in the spring.

A visit to such a place can cure the grey day doldrums and soothe the soul.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beyond The Horizon

As I gaze out beyond the horizon and contemplate life I realize that I am but a single piece of a much larger picture.

At this time of year when we begin to celebrate and indulge in holiday festivities it is most appropriate to ponder a moment to be thankful.

When you pass by the Salvation Army kettle remember a little loose change adds up. Volunteer to read a story in the children's ward at the local hospital, the gift of smiles and giggles you'll receive are priceless.

And most of all say a little prayer for the brave men and women serving overseas spending another holiday away from their families. Singularly the task may seem insignificant... but united the sky's the limit...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


In my possession there is a piece of linen that has been coveted for many years.

It arrived here in 1862, the year the young Quaker wife from Willerby, Yorkshire, England emigrated to a land not yet a country. Perhaps with a satchel or trunk full of belongings Eliza arrived with her husband Joseph to begin life anew. (In that trunk was also a sampler that I have written about in a previous post that is still an ongoing research).

Having married only three years earlier Eliza had bore a child that had succumbed to an early death. The pain may have been unbearable and so her husband believed that a fresh start in a new land may help to relieve the melancholy.

It is here she came, bearing a son Joseph and a daughter Charlotte. When her husband died in 1889 Charlotte returned to her Mother's homeland to live with her Aunt Rebecca.(Eliza's sister)

The piece of linen and the sampler were passed down through her son to his daughter Dorothy that remained in Canada for all of her 93 years. Research is a mysterious phenomena, through census, birth, marriage and death records one is able to fit the pieces of a puzzle so the picture becomes a whole. The Quakers were infamous for recording meeting minutes, blessed events and their own history. It is because of all this documented knowledge that the path of the linen and sampler has been laid before me. Their history tugs at my heartstrings and renders me content.

~ Eliza 1859~

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mia's Revisited

Here in the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario winter can begin early and linger for several months. What better way to brighten the cloudy days of the season and inspire the promise of spring than the softness and comfort found at Mia's.

Bringing new life to old things is reflected throughout the shop. Not only a gifted upholsterer, Mia has the knack to renew life into pieces of furniture sometimes overlooked.

So make a trip to Erie Road in Crystal Beach, Ontario and visit Mia's. There are some perfect gifts for Holiday giving and a great opportunity to chat with Mia herself.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Love Affair

I would like to thank all who participated in my guessing game. Several of the comments were very imaginative, others on the right track.

Henri de Montaut was a talented illustrator whose works included submissions for novels, a successful magazine cartoonist and several paintings. The lithograph shown was a cartoon from the weekly magazine La Vie Parisienne, sometime after 1863. Perhaps it had something to do with an anniversary or memorial.

If you look at the gentleman on the balcony entranced by the actress upon the stage you will notice below him is the Royal Crest of the French Court (three fleurs-de-lis and crown).

Therefore he could be no other than Louis XV. Besotted by the woman dancing before him, she would be his beloved mistress Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764). She often performed plays and operettas for the King's pleasure. A theatre was built at her residence the Petit Trianon (later given as a gift to Marie Antoinette by her husband Louis XVI).

Until her untimely death at 42 April 15, 1764 Madame was his greatest confident and perhaps his only true love.

I placed the names in a hat and I am happy to announce Kris(Tres Belle) and Doreen(Vermont Harvest) as the winners. A new chapter in the tale of Wealthy's Bonnet will be featured later this week.

*Painting by Henri de Montaut

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Little Mystery

It's time to dust the cobwebs off the brain,
and have a little guessing game.

A sweet friend of mine purchased this engraving a few months back. Its subject is still a bit of a mystery so the challenge is to discover the inspiration behind this endearing rendition.

The illustrator is Henri de Montaut (1825-1890). He was also the illustrator for Jules Vern's Five Weeks In A Balloon From the Earth To the Moon in 1868. The lithographers were de Bacquet frères, Lith par Ch. Barque.

Of course there is a prize for the most informative comment (an antique infant dress) and also one for the most entertaining (snippets of vintage lace). The winners will be revealed the first weekend in November.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another tale of reminiscence awaits at Wealthy's Bonnet.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The River of Life

As I gaze out from this ledge atop the escarpment to the mighty Niagara River below, I am humbled by its majestic presence and alluring history.

As the dark blue water flows North, having carved out the Falls and cascades through the gorge, amidst the shale, slate and limestone it is a window into life on earth.

Today in these troubled and trying times it is also a reflection of our versatility and ability to stay the course. The river demonstrates that no matter how difficult the landscape wrought before us we can carve through a path, endure the challenges and coexist.

We should also observe the opulence that lingers at each and every bend, soak it in and nurture it forever.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Woman Named Pandora

Pandora was the Greek Eve, the bringer of all sorrows for mankind.

* Illustration by Nick Beale 1995

Over the centuries she evolved and her sealed jar (a gift from the gods) became a box. Even her name mellowed meaning "all gifts"- the good as well as the bad.

She has been portrayed in movies and artists have painted or drawn their interpretation of Pandora a multitude of times.

Just this past weekend I discovered an engraving by Jean Gustave Jacquet of 'Pandora's Box'. Finding it most endearing I purchased it.

* Engraving by Jean Gustave Jaquet

Sometimes I think I live in a Pandora's Box; every time I open a closet I never know what lies behind the door!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Change Of Wardrobe

Hanging on the wall at the head of my bed is a piece of architectural salvage. Once the top pediment from an antique armoire it has found new life. Fitted with old drawer pulls, it makes a perfect place from which to hang treasured children's dresses from the past.

As the seasons change so do the garments. Like a metamorphosis the white and cream angelic gowns are enhanced with darling girls' frocks from the late 1800's.

The earthy, brown, calico dress with its delicate gathers, perfectly placed piping and tiny crocheted trim on the sleeves and pockets is my favorite.

Though the colours have faded each and every stitch is hand- done. Dating from the 1870's its charm is still endearing. Dancing dresses above my head entice me into gentle slumber and sweet dreams.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Punkin' Patch Protector

My doggie Madelaine has accepted a new position. She is now the Punkin' Patch Protector. She will guard these huge, orange, harvest delights from the sneaky squirrels and prowling neighborhood cats. She'll make sure they will be ready for Halloween grins and pumpkin muffins.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Ties That Bind...

The ties that bind us to childhood are endless.
They are captured in our hearts and live in our imaginations forever...
Come share them with me through Wealthy's Bonnet.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fields of Dreams

Lush fields and farmland surround the area in which I dwell. Just before and shortly after the harvest, the crops are at their utmost perfection.

Cornfields with stalks reaching over nine feet will soon be cut to satisfy the hunger of dairy cows and beef cattle throughout the winter.

Straw bales for bedding line up in the valleys, their gentle taupes and burnished hues reflected in the sunlight.

A lone sentry reaches several feet above the rest of the golden faces that droop heavy with seed. The sunflower field meets the horizon off in the distance against the bright blue sky.

Even the bees have come to enjoy the splendor and flight among the fields of dreams.

* Photos taken this past Saturday from the local area landscapes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hearts Aflutter

An antique textile appraiser such as myself, has been in a state of bliss over the last few weeks.

We are preparing for a deaccessioning auction for the Jordan Museum on Labor Day.

As one of the privileged personnel for the auctioneer Rick Rittenhouse I was able to view and inspect the treasures coming to the auction floor.

Besides wonderful furniture and primitive tools, it is the costumes, accessories and textiles that set my heart aflutter.There are Victorian and Edwardian garments; walking suits with leg o' mutton sleeves, ostrich feather fans, celluloid hair combs, heavily beaded blouses, punch paper samplers, woven coverlets...

But of all the history and beauty laid before me I would have to admit I fancy the May 1840 sampler wrought by Jane Baillie from Hamilton UC.(the UC stands for Upper Canada, long before this country became a nation)

Embroidered by a young Scottish lass (her family emigrated from Scotland to the Niagara Peninsula and appear in the 1851 census) on loosely woven homespun linen. It has the 'mystery mansion', a meandering floral border and peacocks guarding the door.

The colours are still rich and vibrant and the stitching lovely. Both are a testament to this girl's talent and a statement to this country's history.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Subtle Changes

The days on the calendar are passing by. Darkness lingers in the morning and arrives earlier at the end of each day.

The orchards are laden heavy with fruit. The pumpkins have swelled large from all the continuous rain and will begin to ripen, adopting their harvest hues.

Mother Nature will soon bring forth her paintbrush and express a change of palette. The birdsong will take on a different tune. The last of the geese shall have hatched and begun feasting for the fall migration.

We are half-way through this season we call summer and every day it yields subtle changes as it prepares for the next one that follows.

It is a perfect time to reflect on all that we are thankful for.

I will be away for a fortnight and upon my return revealing more reminiscence.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Secrets Within

With all the gorgeous weather that accompanies summertime, it is a perfect opportunity for early morning walks and evening strolls. I often find myself entranced by the gardens along the sidewalks and gazing at the beautiful historic homes that dwell in my little town.

As the dawn awakens and silence surrounds me (but for the pitter patter of my dog's little feet) I am captivated by the secrets within these lovingly restored houses.

Not for now or today but each ones' occupants from years gone by. The fires in the hearth, games in the parlour, the aroma of fresh baked bread cooling in the kitchen... ahhh yes my imagination does wander.

And even though time has passed into new centuries, the fundamentals of life have not.

We still cherish; family and friends, dreams and wishes, comforts and home...

Pictures taken by Jackie McShannon

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Needles and Pins

Throughout history needles have been a necessity. Bone, wood and steel were all fashioned into an object that could be used to sew pieces of cloth, animal skins, beads...into garments and coverings.

Over time pins and needles were carried from one place to another; for a quick repair, an afternoon of sewing and conversation over a quilt, even on the battlefield. Pin keeps, needle holders, pincushions, make-dos all began to be a reflection of one's status, artistic ability, frugalness and expression. A few are shown here to demonstrate the endless variety.

* Bead work needle keep from the Iroquois made for the trade, felt Southern Belle, antique tulip needle kit, tattered silk tomato.

* This antique piece was made by an Old Order Mennonite that migrated North in a covered wagon, in the very early years of the 1800s. The silk, a soft faded brown is in the shape of a tulip, a common Mennonite symbol. All hand stitched, its little wool pages are still holding the needles.

*A mohair pear complete with branch stem by artist Cathy Pendleton of The Cheswick Company.

* Petite German half-doll with lace dress pincushion, Victorian metal shoe, 1920s globe (sawdust filled).

Whether mass-produced or hand-made, they all bring a touch of nostalgia, colour or uniqueness to the sewing table.

Because I live in the "House of Stuff" I'm always looking for different ways to put the goodies and castoffs I collect to use. By spray painting an old brass candelabra silver (complete with mythical dolphins on the base), mounting a silver plate seashell on top and adding bits and bobs from drawers, boxes, the bead store and the dollar store, I have created a new fantasy pin keep.

A few pearl headed pins, silver Abalone thimble, some pearl fairy beads to the wings and a handmade Swarovski crystal tiara complete the theme.

I've named her The Pearl Fairy Make-Do.

And you thought I was lying around in the hammock watching the clouds go by.