Friday, July 26, 2013

Branding My Business

Branding My Business

Branding My Business was kind of an accident.  I didn't plan it but I was blessed to have inherited this photograph.  The question I am asked most about my business is where did I get the photograph used as my online avatar and on my business card; and who is the woman pictured?  Probably taken around 1929, the woman pictured is my paternal grandmother, Charlotte.  She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where her parents immigrated from Poland.  Her family owned and operated a local hotel and restaurant in Fells Point, Baltimore for several decades.

The "photograph," what I now consider my logo and the face of my brand, was taken of her at the age of 19.  Charlotte....or "Lotte" to those who knew her best was never really comfortable being photographed.  I'm sure she would be somewhat embarrassed to know that people from all over the world email me letting me know how much they love and admire her photograph.  Most ask me who she is and how I came to own the photograph.  Some have even asked to purchase a copy as I reluctantly sold one last week at my store in Annapolis.  They said it reminded them of a relative.  It's funny how protective I felt of it because she is MY relative!

I'm not sure what the occasion was in the photograph, but she was dressed in some sort of costume.  This photograph was taken of her and then turned into whats now known as a "photograph postcard" (as shown on the left.)  These "photo postcards" were popular to have made in the early 1900's.  Finding these vintage postcards today is becoming increasingly popular and high in demand with both collectors and dealers alike.

My grandmother's photo postcard, hung on our kitchen wall for more than 35 years. As a child, I always loved that picture and have treasured it for the last two years since I inherited from my father.  My grandmother was always a mystery to me even though she lived with us later in her life when she became terminally ill with cancer.  She lived with us until she died in 1983.  A very private person, she never talked much about herself but since researching our family genealogy a couple of years ago, I've learned a great deal more about her and I feel much more deeply connected to her now. She was beautiful and she worked incredibly hard to raise her two boys as a single mother.  Not an easy feat in those days.  When I think of my business and my shop now, I think of her. She is my brand - the face and the name - Echoes Of Charlotte.  What about you?  Do you have old family photographs that you cherish?  I would love to hear about them!  To read more about me, click here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hemp Oil, Uses and Application

Hemp Oil: What Is It?

According to Wikipedia, Hemp or hemp seed oil is obtained by pressing hemp seeds from the Cannabis plant. (If you want to skip all this info and get straight to the “how to” then scroll down to the last paragraph) Refined hemp seed oil is usually clear and colorless and does NOT contain THC (the psychoactive element present in the cannabis plant) because the manufacturing process cleanses the seed to 99.99% before pressing the oil.  The oil is considered a high nutritional food due to its 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids and is thought to be, by some, a miraculous plant.  It is 25% protein, contains a great deal of minerals and is a good source of Vitamin E.


Hemp Oil: Uses And Benefits

are products and has found some limited use in the production of soaps, shampoos and detergents.  It has also been used in textiles, paper, building supplies and plastics as well as an aid in chemical clean up. Food grade hemp oil has a range of medicinal uses, including skin regeneration, conditioning and protection, regulating hormonal imbalances, diabetes and peripheral neuropathy, depression, boosting weakened immune systems, lowering high cholesterol, joint pain, varicose veins, and killing cancer cells as noted in a new cancer study in Spain. Industrial hemp seed oil is used in lubricants, paints, inks, fuel, and plastics and is used to treat wood and painted surfaces as a protectant.


Industrial Hemp Oil

Hemp Oil is a fantastic protective top coat for porous surfaces such as raw or stained wood and painted surfaces such as flat latex paint, flat acrylic paint, chalk and milk paints.  When used on raw/stained wood, hemp oil has similar properties to and beneficial value as Tung Oil does on those surfaces.  But unlike Tung oil, Hemp oil will not go rancid over time and this makes it a perfect protectant on cutting boards or natural wood block kitchen counters.
It is easy to work with and to clean up and the resulting finish will bring old, tired wood alive and refreshed.  It brings the grain out in wood and produces a gentle shine that highlights the wood’s beauty.  It also helps in closing the pores on newly stripped, sanded or raw wood.

When using Hemp oil over flat paints, the oil penetrates and combines with the paint to produce a deep, rich color resulting in subtle, gentle sheen that is now a water resistant surface and protected from the inside out.  Hemp oil does have a slight color.  It looks very similar to olive oil.  When using over painted surfaces, do a test spot first in an inconspicuous area.  Lighter colors may take on a slight tint but always deepen, becoming richer.

Hemp Oil: Using on Raw, Stained and Painted Furniture

Seriously, I don’t think there is anything simpler than using Hemp Oil in furniture refinishing or care.  Open the bottle and apply using a brush or rag.  It’s that easy!  If using a brush I recommend pouring a small amount into a container for easier brush access but usually I just open the container, pour out a little oil on the surface and spread with a soft, clean rag.  

 I work it in gently, going in the direction of the grain, making sure I leave no obvious oil drops or puddles. 

Before                                           After

Wait 30 minutes then remove any excess oil remaining on the surface.  Allow 12 hours between coats and you can apply up to three for maximum protection.  Maintenance:  apply a coat every other year or as needed.  For additional protection on a piece, add a furniture wax over the hemp oil when fully dry.  Hemp oil is usually fully dry after 24 hours.  Hemp Oil cleans up with soap and water.  That’s the best!  What do you think?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gluesticks: Summer 3-D Star Wreath

Had to share this beautiful blog post from -! 

Although intended as a fresh summer wreath idea, these 3D stars will work perfectly for the Christmas season as well.  Paint & glitter can transform plain cereal boxes into beautiful ornaments and gift wrap embellishments.  You can find the original post here: 

Gluesticks: Summer 3-D Star Wreath: Aaron and I made this fun cardstock wreath for our front door. Nice and bright with summer colors and easy to customize for any season. How...

Brandy gives easy to follow instructions and a perfect photo trail of the steps below so that you too can make these stars and brighten up your holiday decor.

Summer 3-D Star Wreath

Aaron and I made this fun cardstock wreath for our front door. Nice and bright with summer colors and easy to customize for any season. How cute would it be in red, white and blue for the 4th of July, or made with fun Christmas paper?

We started by cutting out a bunch of stars using the Plantin Schoolbook cricut cartridge. We made them using the "roly poly" feature so that they would be wide. Sturdy cardstock works best for making these, but I didn't have it in anything other than solid colors. So we cut the stars out in white sturdy cardstock and glued stars that were cut in pretty scrapbooking paper on top of them.

Now we'll show you how to make your stars 3-D! 

  Below is one all ready to be scored. The white cardstock is under the bright paper.

Score your star 5 times. Once for each point. Start at the point and score directly across to the center between the two bottom points. Rotate star and score again until each point has been scored.

Fold each scored line and crease firmly.

There is your 3-D star! Now finish up the rest of them and you'll be ready to assemble the wreath or use them for any number of fun little projects.

I cut out a ring for my wreath out of thin cardboard. It is about 10" wide.

Hot glue the stars to the ring and eachother. Since they stick out, you can't glue them flat, so just apply a small amount of glue to the points where the stars overlap eachother. Don't skimp on the glue. Mine is glued in little dabs all over the place.

Attach a ribbon for hanging.

That's it! Perfect for summer. I just love free projects!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Antique Pair Marionette Puppets, Hansel and Gretel

Antique Pair Marionette Puppets, Hansel and Gretel

This pair of antique marionette puppets came from Vermont Puppet Camp.  I can't find any information on the Vermont Puppet Camp, butt these puppets appear to be handmade of wood, paper mache and stuffing filled cloth/muslin bodies.


Clothing is tattered although all handmade. Sweaters, caps, Gretel's scarf and socks are all knitted.

Hansel's pants are wool. Gretel's skirt is cotton. Both hair is made of yarn. Shoes are missing and Gretel's foot is tattered as well. These two have incredible character in their faces! The colors are still vibrant. Strings are broken, but I have left them in place in case they are restrung later.

These two have seen a lot of shows!

Please visit my Etsy shop for more information on these adorable puppets full of history.  Echoes of Charlotte's Etsy Shop. 

Drop me a line and let me know what you think!