Sunday, April 29, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
This thimble is from the Batsford Arboretum, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire. It's only £1.50 (US$2.94) plus S/H.
Th arboretum is open almost everyday starting at 10 a.m. There isn't a reference to when it closes, but a note that the last visitor is allowed in at 4:45 p.m.
The "in-Marsh" of Moreton-in-Marsh sounds a trifle damp, eh wot?
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
To commemorate this occasion I am featuring a pretty little thimble from Balmoral Castle's Royal Gift Shop, " a selection of gifts from Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House." The fine bone china thimble depicts Balmoral Castle and is presented in a gift box. The price is "£3.55 /$6.75 including VAT at 17.5%," though the the website states that "Orders outwith the European Union are exempt from VAT." Outwith?* So that means it's not $6.75, right? **
*My Irish ancestors will be happy to note that I have not completely learned Her Majesty's English. Outwith?
**Why did they put the price in U.S. dollars "including VAT," when orders shipped to the U.S. are exempt from VAT? Maybe they ship to American expats who still haven't gotten used to Euros or pounds or whatever? In that case they would have been better off to convert the metric dimensions ("Width 1.9cm and height 2.7cm") of the thimble into inches than to fuss with the money. Americans will eventually figure out the money, but never, ever, the Metric System.***
***In defense of my countrymen, I must say that the main problem with our learning the Metric System is the damnable way it's taught to us. Multiplying inches or whatever by some number to get centi-somethings. We just want to know "about" how big/long/heavy something is. Americans know about how much sodapop is in two liters. We know a 100-meter-dash is about the same as a 100-yard-dash. We want to know about how many kilometers-per-hour we can drive before we get a speeding ticket, but we're not going to doing a math calculation while we're out on the highway to figure it out .
Friday, April 20, 2007
Anyway, the week-long festivities for the 25th anniversary of Conch Republic Independence celebration start today in Key West. The Conch Republic began on April 23, 1982, when United States Border Patrol set up a blockade on U.S. Highway 1 in Florida City, north of the Florida Keys, cutting off the Keys' access to the Florida mainland. After official attempts to get an injunction stopping the blockade failed, the Floridians did what southern rebs do, they seceded from the union:
(They) symbolically began the Conch Republic's Civil Rebellion by breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man dressed in a U.S. Navy uniform. After one minute of rebellion, the now, Prime Minister Wardlow turned to the Admiral in charge of the Navy Base at Key West, and surrendered to the Union Forces, and demanded 1 Billion dollars in foreign aid and War Relief to rebuild our nation after the long Federal siege!*
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Queen of Siam Wears a Thimble Worth $75,000.
This thimble is quite an exquisite work of art. It is made of pure gold, in the fashion or shape of a half opened lotus flower, the floral emblem of the royal house of Siam.
It is thickly studded with the most beautiful diamonds and other precious stones, which are so arranged as to form the name of the queen, together With the date of her marriage. She regards this thimble as one of her most precious possessions.
Not long since a Paris Jeweler made a most elaborate thimble to the order of a certain well-known American millionaire. It was somewhat larger than the ordinary size of thimbles, and the agreed price was £5000. The gold setting was scarcely visible so completely was it set with diamonds, rubles and pearls in artistic designs, the rubies showing the initials of the intended recipient.
This thimble was made as a birthday gift to the millionaire's daughter who can now boast possession of the second most valuable thimble in the world. Her father was so much pleased with the fine workmanship it showed that he ordered another but much less expensive one to be made for presentation to the school companion and bosom friend of his fortunate child.
Five or six years ago a jeweler in the West End of London was paid a sum of nearly £3000 for a thimble, which the pampered wife of a South American Croesus insisted on having made for her. This was one mass of precious gems, diamonds and rubies, which as thimble ornaments seem to almost monopolize feminine taste.
The eccentric prince, the late Maharajah Dhulpee Singh never did things by halves, and one of the most beautiful and costly thimbles ever made was that which was supplied to his order as a present to a great lady in Russia.
The price of this ran well into four figures, and the gems set in it were all pearls of great value and no less beauty.
So were those in a highly treasured thimble, which, on the occasion of one of his visits to Europe, the late Shah of Persia presented to a lady whose guest he was for a few hours. In the words of the delighted recipient, it looked like a cluster of glittering gems, which in reality it was, save for the gold in which they were set. An expert in precious stones valued this thimble at £1500.
There are thimbles of no intrinsic value, but which on account of the famous women to whom they belonged would command very high prices if submitted to public auction. In the possession of the wealthy Mrs Vanderbilt there is a thimble which was formerly used by Queen Alexandra. It is an extremely dainty article, made of gold and enamel. But, apart from its associations, it is not of much greater value than another thimble owned by the same American lady. That is a very serviceable looking article in solid silver, but very small. Its value lies in the fact that it was the property of the late Queen Victoria in the days when she was only a girl of fourteen. From Its appearance our late sovereign knew how to ply her needle in her youthful days. The first thimble ever made was the one presented in the year 1684 to Anna Van Wedy, the second wife of Killaon Van Rensselaer, and the thimble is, therefore, a Dutch invention. In making the presentation the giver, Van Benschoten, begged the lady "to accept this new covering for the protection of her diligent fingers as a token of his great esteem and profound appeal."
This was a filler article from some source that provided such things. A lot of these filler items were a lot of hooey. My grandfather published a newspaper a zillion years ago, and would fill space with ridiculous, florid poems that he'd written under a feminine alias. I've never seen any of this thimble info in any other source.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Dear children, listen whilst I tell
What to a certain Elf befell,
Who left his house and sallied forth
Adventure seeking, south and north,
And west and east, by path and field,
Resolved to conquer or to yield.
A thimble on his back he carried,
With a rose-twig his foes he parried.
It was a sunny, bright, spring day,
When to the wood he took his way;
He knew that in a certain spot
A Bumble Bee his nest had got.
The Bee was out, the chance was good,
But just when grabbing all he could,
He heard the Bee behind him humming,
And only wished he'd heard him coming!
In terror turned the tiny man,
And now a famous fight began:
The Bee flew round, and buzzed and stung,
The Elf his prickly rose-staff swung.
Now fiercely here, now wildly there,
He hit the Bee or fought the air.
At last one weighty blow descended:
The Bee was dead—the fight was ended.
Exhausted quite, he took a seat.
The honey tasted doubly sweet!
The thimble-full had been upset,
But still there were a few drops yet.
He licked his lips and blessed himself,
That he was such a lucky Elf,
And now might hope to live in clover;
But, ah! his troubles were not over!
For at that instant, by his side,
A beast of fearful form he spied:
At first he thought it was a bear,
And headlong fell in dire despair.
He lost one slipper in the moss,
And this was not his only loss.
With paws and snout the beast was nimble,
And very soon cleared out the thimble.
This rifling of his honey-pot
Awoke our Elfin's wrath full hot.
He made a rope of linden bast,
By either end he held it fast,
And creeping up behind the beast,
Intent upon the honey feast,
Before it had the slightest inkling,
The rope was round it in a twinkling.
The mouse shrieked "Murder!" "Fire!" and "Thieves!"
And struggled through the twigs and leaves.
It pulled the reins with all its might,
Our hero only drew them tight.
Upon the mouse's back he leapt,
And like a man his seat he kept.
His steed was terribly affrighted,
But he himself was much delighted.
"Gee up, my little horse!" he cried,
"I mean to have a glorious ride;
So bear me forth with lightning speed,
A Knight resolved on doughty deed.
The wide world we will gallop round,
And clear the hedges at one bound."
The mouse set off, the hero bantered,
And out into the world they cantered.
At last they rode up to an inn:
"Good Mr. Host, pray who's within?"
"My daughter serves the customers,
Before the fire the Tom-cat purrs."
For further news they did not wait—
The mouse sprang through the garden-gate—
They fled without a look behind them.
The question is—Did Thomas find them?
I think I will not classify this with Thimbles in Art.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
The Woodsetton DesignWorks peeps differ from the older, highly collectible, Stanhope peeps in that they use newer "technology" designed and patented by David Bates. They have a plastic, tubular lens that magnifies the microdot images. Woodsetton peeps are available in at least four different thimble versions plus several non-thimble items: the website features fairies, letterknives, a pewter John Paul II cross, spoons, and various pewter figures. The website shows each collectible with a particular microdot image, but one can select from any of the images when "checking out." Images include Woodland Fairies, Windsor Castle, Alice in Wonderland (several different), Golf Fashion, The Lord's Prayer, and many (ahem!) others.
The thimbles are available in pewter, brass (shaped like bell)*, green enamelled brass (shown above), and silver plate. They are £10.00 GBP (about US$19.86).
I have an oldish Woodsetton peep thimble commemorating the centennial of the Statue of Liberty. It is very cool.
*I'm not certain if the brass bell is only available for the Titanic commemorative or not.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
*I struggle here to not use the term "flat bust."
I have been remiss in my posting: I have been sick since Good Friday (April 6th).
Sunday, April 08, 2007
from Collection of John C. Hicks House, St. Johns, Michigan.
Has three-tier spool for thread and rim has holes for twelve needles/pins.
Includes a Charles Horner "Dorcas" thimble, Daisy pattern, size 7.
Kit marks: TJ, Lion passant, B, Queens Head.
US$528.00; 24 bids starting at US$1.00.
8 April 2007.
To my fellow Christians: He is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia!
To my friends of other beliefs: Peace be with you.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Albert H. Peal, Newark, NJ, assignor, by mesne assignments,
to Simons Bros. and Co., Philadelphia, PA
April 15, 1902
John F. Simons, et al.
Aug. 17, 1897
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Christie's, London, South Kensington
17 April 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
Sunday, April 01, 2007
But when the knights and men rode away to the Holy Land they left mourning and sadness behind, for now there would be no more tournaments, no more hunting, no more dancing.
The old men, the women, and the children all asked each other: "When will our warriors come home?"
Season followed season and the knights did not return. Spring took the place of winter, and the country put on its old charm. The birds were singing their joyous love songs, the brooks were babbling gleefully, and the apple trees, dressed in pink and white blossoms, looked like radiant brides. But the men of Brittany remained in the Holy Land.
At last messengers arrived. The Christian army had a heavy task, they said, in its struggle and doubtless the war would last for many years to come.
All the country folk at home now fell to work to ease the anguish in their hearts. Never before had Brittany seen such activity. The ladies in the castles were perhaps. the most determined.
They opened their oak chests and brought out silks and brocades, Flanders cloth, and English woolen stuffs, and Italian embroidery. And soon under their fairy-like fingers banners with golden fringes were spread out in the vaulted halls. Scarves were dotted with shining stars, and proud mottoes decorated the walls of the castles. And dainty fingers painted the Mass books with splendid colors. Truly if the knights were doing wonders in the East the ladies in the castles were likewise achieving marvels at home.
Now Old Nick saw this from his dark abode. This change in women's habits did not suit his wicked plans. For their toil and prayers scattered evil thoughts, just as fresh air scatters pestilential odors.
"I must put an end to this," said Old Nick to himself. "And an end there shall be. I am going to cool the zeal of all these busy bees!"
Among Old Nick's followers were all varieties of mischief makers; imps of all sizes and kinds. He thought to himself that he would go to them for advice. He noticed a very fat imp sound asleep in a corner.
"Come, come, Dame Laziness," he shouted, shaking her roughly, "come along with me. I want you to discourage all these mad Breton women who are working so hard that they haven't time for mischief. Go, throw sand into their eyes and make them sleep as soundly as you do."
"No, no," answered the lazy imp. "I have already had a try at that, and I didn't succeed a bit. I won't budge now. Let me sleep."
Just then another ugly creature came forward; he was holding a sharp sting in his hand.
"Master," he said, "I will help you. Tonight while all these hard-working ladies are sleeping I will take their needles and dip them in the poison of vipers. That will calm their eagerness. If they prick a finger but once they will cry out so loud that you will hear it down below."
You may be sure the naughty imp spent a busy night. Every needle was poisoned. And what cries and squeaks were heard the next day! Poor dames! The needles would prick in spite of all precautions. In a short time the most eager workers had laid aside their work.
Old Nick was as pleased as pleased can be, and especially so because the women soon began to return to their former habits of indolence. The young ones spent their time on their clothes or admiring themselves in the mirror, when they were not idling on the castle lawns. The older ones gossiped and said unkind things about one another. They all had ceased to think about their men folk fighting in the Holy Land.
But in the midst of all this frivolity and idleness there was one worker who was faithful to her task. That alone was enough to put a drop of bitterness in Old Nick's cup of pleasure.
Yolanda de Tregoët lived in a great castle and there she worked with her needle for the church and for the poor. She was betrothed to a famous knight, Jehan de Kergoff. When the warriors had made ready to depart Yolanda had bade Jehan go, and the young knight at her behest had sewed the Cross upon his tunic.
And now her clever fingers neither stopped nor rested, not even when the needles, by the imp's trick, tortured her and gave her cruel pain. She only laughed at his cunning, while he gnashed his teeth in rage.
"I'll get the better of this minx!" exclaimed Old Nick, angrily.
But Yolanda would not give up her work.
One day Old Nick devised a new plan. He dressed himself like a pilgrim and, staff in hand, looking both poor and devout, he went to ask for charity at Yolanda's castle gate.
He leaned against the arches of the drawbridge and wailed in a doleful voice, "Have pity on a pilgrim from distant lands. A bit of bread, fair damsel!"
Yolanda's kind heart was moved. She ran down quickly to the gate and, taking the pretended pilgrim by the hand, she said, "Come in, come in. Pilgrims are always welcome here; they are heaven-sent."
So Old Nick entered the castle and ate with hearty appetite. He drank still more, for sobriety is not his special virtue. He would have liked to stay longer if a limit were not set to his evil deeds.
When he left he pretended to pay his debt of gratitude to the lady Yolanda. He gave her a shell he had picked up on the seashore, which, he asserted, had touched the Holy Sepulcher and was, in consequence, blessed. In reality he had poisoned the shell.
Yolanda took the shell and kissed it and Old Nick thought that it would cause her destruction. But the deceiver, as so often happens, was deceived in turn. The shell did not hurt her, for no real harm can come to the innocent.
As soon as the pretended pilgrim had gone Yolanda began to sew, but the needle pricked her finger so painfully that she wept in agony. As she wiped the blood away an idea suddenly came to her, she would slip her finger into the shell while she was sewing so as to guard herself from the poisoned needle.
She did so at once and her finger was protected. Not only that, the old wounds were healed, for by a miracle the poison on the shell was turned into a health-giving balm.
Now that very day one of Yolanda's friends came to see her at the castle, and after she had learned of the strange virtue of the shell she thought she too would try it. She knew that the shores of Brittany are dotted over with such shells. They went out on the beach and she and Yolanda hunted until one was found that fitted her exactly. She put it on her finger and it protected her from needle pricks just as did Yolanda's shell.
It was not long, you may be sure, before everyone heard of the discovery. All the women began to pick up shells and to put them on their fingers, and then they set to work again. They sewed and sewed without so much as shedding a single drop of blood.
Farewell now to frivolous amusements, idling, and fine clothes! All the castles in the dukedom were like busy hives, and all of Old Nick's wiles were powerless. For in trying to poison a charitable girl for her industry he had succeeded only in making a present to all women of a convenient tool, the thimble. For in this manner was the thimble brought into being.
The old tool was rough enough at first but soon elaborate ones were made of gold, silver, ivory, or copper, fashioned for any finger.
As a sign of gratitude Yolanda, who on the return of her lover from the Holy Land became Lady Kergoff, put a thimble among her daughter's wedding gifts, and had a thimble engraved on her armorial bearings.
But in the Breton countryside old grannies may be found who bear a grudge against the thimble. It came, they remember, from Old Nick, and in consequence they remain to this day faithful to the distaff and the spinning-wheel.
From: Folk Tales of Brittany by Elsie Masson.
I first found the reference to this old tale through a wonderful website called Sacred-Texts.com. This site is supported through sales of CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs that have the texts of about 900 t0 1200+ (depending on the version you buy) "sacred" works, including both spiritual/religious and secular books and images, and through donations. (A sibling of mine would argue that Euclid's Elements and Newton's Principia should be included among the sacred texts; alas, they are not.)
8/14/07: An update: When I originally posted this story, I added--here where this update is--that "I would not myself have used the word infidel," in certain places where the original text does. I left the text as it was from the original, wanting to protect the integrity of the original story. On second thought, however, I prefer to protect my own, so I've deleted that word in the places where it was, and I don't think the text suffers. If it does, too bad.