Be a Closet Archeologist

We all have “STUFF” in our closets and drawers.  Some, if not all, can be considered important to us. The task is usually figuring out which is true from the previous sentence and actually looking.

I was doing some “looking”one day.   Actually, I was doing some thinking about a new job.  I had resigned a position to join my husband on an assignment in France two years before and was now back home.  In an act of spring cleaning, I discovered my Grandfather’s watch chain and some of my Grandmother’s button cufflinks.  My Mother had given them to me so long before that I had no memory of when. 

I was lucky to grow up living next door to my grandparents.  A blessing in so many ways.  I was the youngest grandchild and though my grandmother’s sight had faded;  she spent many days sewing doll clothes from old slips with me.  She launched my interest in vintage costume jewelry.  My grandfather drove me to my first day of school.  An avid fisherman,  he couldn’t stay in Florida for the winter to fish because he said he keep waiting for my morning call; to see if I could come over.  I lost my Grandmother as a teenager and my Grandfather too soon before that.  Their stellar influence is a big part of who I am.  

So, back to finding my grandparent’s pieces in my drawer.  They, of course were sentimental to me and too pretty to be stuck in a drawer.  From my love of vintage jewelry and I love it all; my favorite piece is a bracelet.   I instinctively put the chain around my wrist and as they say…the rest is history!  Every time  I wore that bracelet I would receive  comments and inquiries.  My repurposing and recycling of wonderful vintage and antique pieces began.

I love rescuing hidden pieces and giving them a new life.   I really love helping my clients repurpose their family heirlooms.  Whether it is finding another way to enjoy the broken necklace of “Aunt Sue” to a grandmother’s broken brooch; it is assisting others to preserve and enjoy the past.  I help keep memories alive and close.  For me, there is nothing better.

Now…I challenge you to look in your closet!  You will be glad you did.


Found Objects

 I am always looking for interesting and unusual items to use in my jewelry design. Since my criteria requires that the pieces have to be vintage or antique, these bottle caps fit the bill.  I found these recently on a treasure hunt and the history certainly makes them worthy of another life.  These caps are unused examples from the 1920’s.  Actually they were some of the last examples manufactured by the company Crown Cork & Seal.

Crown Cork & Seal was founded by the inventor of the soda bottle cap, William Painter.  In 1892, Painter patented a crimped metallic cap lined with a thin cork wafer that both formed a leakproof seal and separated drink and metal. Soon thereafter, he patented a machine that filled the bottle simultaneously with syrup and carbonated water, then applied the cap.  The two inventions commercially developed by Painter in Baltimore were the foundation of today’s vast bottling industry.

By the 1920’s, the familiar “Coca Cola” was copied in many variations by regional soda companys.  This “Kola” brand seems to be an obscure one.  The caps are signed on the crimp, CCS.

As a designer and elaborate recycler, the simplicity of the design is appealing and the history alone makes them perfect to become an Ollie & Co creation.  I am excited to layer other vintage details to the simple graphics on the caps.

These caps are just a small piece of our history but certainly worthy to be saved and enjoyed with another life as a bracelet.  A hidden treasure rescued from the bottom of a box to live on.  I can’t wait to see what I find next…



Vintage vs. Antique

There’s a difference, you know, a big one. And I’ll explain it to you here, though I don’t mean it to be confusing. For something to be considered an antique it has to be 100 years old or more. Now vintage is more representative of a certain decade or era. For my purposes, I say vintage is at least 25 years old. And when it comes to my jewelry, every part of it has to be either vintage or antique. That way the entire piece of jewelry I piece together is a new item made with actual vintage or antique parts. For me, it is a beautiful way to keep history alive, even if no one else knows that every bit of an Ollie & Co. bracelet is from another time, I know it and the purchaser knows it. And that’s good enough for me.