Tuesday, 4 November 2014



Hello everyone. I am taking this opportunity to promote my etsy vintage shop's pre Christmas SALE. www.samanthatenn.etsy.com

The event will be running till the 14th of November so come along for a browse, you never know you might just find that perfect Christmas gift for someone special. For a 20% discount enter code AUTUMNSALE at checkout.

I have a great and wide selection of vintage jewellery for all price budgets and tastes. I also have many French vintage home decor items and house/ kitchenware items.

So if vintage is your bag baby, please do pop along. www.samanthatenn.etsy.com and don't forget to enter coupon code AUTUMNSALE for your 20% discount.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Buying beads inIstanbul

So as some of you may know, when it comes to beads I just cannot help myself! I own a bead shop on etsy selling all kinds of beads and every time I go on holiday it's the first piece of research I do. In fact (looking about suspiciously and whispering) it is sometimes what motivates me toward a certain destination...but shh don't tell my husband!

I turned 40 last week and I am not a great lover of birthdays, the whole going out and making a fuss is not for me. So me and my other half decided, no well actually I decided we would go to Istanbul for a long weekend.

What a great city! Aside from all the amazing churches, mosques and architecture, the bead shopping aint half bad either.
I did my research before going so I had a rough idea of where I was going but did not really have a clue about the sorts of beads I would find. Above is an example of some nice turkish made glass beads, really rustic i love these and wish I had bought more!

I didn't really look for beads in the Grand Bazar, though I am sure there would have been some but we visited on a saturday and it was ramma jamma ding dong! And I didn't have my bargaining head on.

The place to go is the maze of narrow streets descending from the Grand bazar to the Spice market, keep your eyes open though as the shops are not always that obvious.

If you are going specifically for beads with a sprinkling of sightseeing then Stay near the Spice market in the area of Sirkesi or Eminonu. We stayed at the Regie Ottoman and it was plenty close enough. In fact I think I would stay in that area again anyway.

Istanbul is very easy to negotiate as a city, with very good public transportation, get yourself an istanbulkart ( like a uk oyster card) you can buy them at the tram stops and you can charge it up rather than paying for each journey with change. Though note: when you are charging it up the machine will not give you change so make sure you credit the right amount otherwise, like me you'll be stuck with a card that still has credit on it.

Sorry back to the beads. You will see these type of beads everywhere the evil eye beads, they are a Greek and Turkish talisman believed to ward off the curse of the evil eye. You will see these beads in plastic as well as glass and in all kinds of sizes and prices. The large more expensive ones are generally made in Turkey and not imported from China.

I did find lots of shops selling crystal beads in all the colours of the rainbow and many shops selling semi precious stone and pearls but I didn't buy any of either. I found the stones to be a little pricy and the crystal is just not my bag really. So I stuck to the glass.

Here are two of the shops that I bought from, if there was a "bead street" I would say it was Marputcular Cadessi. Make this your starting point.

Along this street there will be many small shopping malls poke your nose in as some will be ribbons and bows and others will be wall to wall beads. I tried bargaining in one of the shops where I got a tiny bit of movement but not much, I pretty much got the impression that the price was the price...but it doesn't hurt to try.

What we found super useful is an app called City Maps 2Go you can download it to your phone and put pins in areas of interest then use it as a GPS when you are on the go. Im not sure how long it would have taken us if we hadn't had the app.

I hope this has been useful in some way to someone, feel free to comment or if you have any questions just ask.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Vintage jewelry on Etsy

I was looking through the items in my shop on etsy today and I thought I have quite a lot of vintage jewelry so I thought nI would write a blog post about it.

I love vintage anything really though you wouldn't tell to look at me. I am not one of those chicks that looks as though she has just stepped out of a 1940's ad for washing detergent with perfectly rolled and curled hair, ample bosom and a  fabulous dress.

When I go to the brocantes and second hand markets I am always on the look out for something really cool from a bygone era. But as I am such a magpie I can't ( not allowed) to keep all of it. I get almost more pleasure hunting for others than I do myself.

So I thought I would share a few of the lovely vintage pieces I have found over the past few months.

This is a fabulous vintage millstone bracelet, also known as french bakelite or Galalith. It is a plastic that is made from milk solids and I believe originates from France. This bracelet has been made to mimic ivory with its wavy grain

This is a genuine bakelite bangle estimated from around the 1940's This butterscotch color is quite common but still really pretty. Though be aware that there are a lot of fakelites on the market apparently coming in from china, but mostly the more outlandish designs of the day, which are rarer. I am by no means a bakelite expert but be sure to look for signs of age, little nicks and scratches, if it is totally perfect perhaps you should be asking yourself some questions.

When I saw this one it was in a job lot with some other necklaces, I admit it wasn't love at first sight but it does look fabulous on.  I am estimating this to be a Murano piece. The long tubular beads have been hand blown and are exquisite. They are each different and are ever so slightly wobbly which I love. Murano glass comes from Italy and doesn't really refer to one maker but an area where a collective of glass and bead makers originate from.

Staying with Murano, here is another example. This type of bead is known as scottish agate as they have been made to resemble real stone. Scottish agate necklaces usually are seen with many different colored beads strung together, rarely just one color is found throughout the entire necklace. This is the only one I have ever come across like this with its tiny uniform sized beads that look like blood stones interspersed with small gold tone spacer beads which I believe also to be glass not metal as I had first thought. I think this would be 1920-1040c at a guess it is very long and would fit well with the era.

This is an example of the type of scottish agate more commonly found. As you can see there are many different colors strung together. I adore these beads the shape the finish and mostly the pattern as no two beads will ever be the same. I think the shape of the beads is so art deco and again each one is every so slightly different. I say these are more commonly found but I have to confess that these rectangle shaped beads are not as common as the ovals.

Moving on from Murano, I give you this little beauty. I know next to nothing about it other than it is a stunner! I bought it from someone who said it was bakelite, but after testing it with polish it did not pass the test. I think it is probably celluloid ( bakelite's predecessor ) or lucite. These beads are so much fun. it is clear that they have been hand carved as the spots on each bead are different sizes. I have searched and searched to find information or even a necklace that looks a bit like this one but to no avail. So my guess is 1940's-50's I can see this necklace on one of those buxom pin ups in her A line house dress making dinner for her husband.

All of these pieces can be found in my etsy store where I am struggling with my identity. Do I sell beads do I sell vintage? One day I will split them up but for the time being look in the vintage finds section for vintage otherwise it's beads. I hope you enjoyed my post if you love vintage jewelry please let me know what you think and if you have any information about my pieces that I have missed I would love to know more, so please comment.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Buying beads in Bangkok

So if you have read my last post you will know that I have not long returned from a trip to Thailand. I adore Thailand it's just so easy to navigate, with great food and great people and not to forget great shopping.

So if you are any kind of crafting magpie like myself and you have a trip to The great and awesome Bangkok here are a few tips.

Buying beads: There are 3-4 main places that I found.

1/ The weekend market section 24-26. This is great if you have limited time for shopping in bangkok as here is unfathomably the best place to shop in the world ever! For beads it's not bad. Set aside the whole day if not two and wear comfy shoes. If you like it buy it and if you really like it buy three as once you get back to the city shopping malls it's no where near as cheap. Sky train to Mo Chit station…follow the crowds!

2/ 555 Palladium world shopping Mall ( formally called the Pratunam center) It's right across the street from the platinum fashion mall. go to the basement floor and there is a plethora of bead shops selling mostly stone,crystal and pearl beads. Not so much glass or lamp work. This is where I bought most of my beads. I went specifically to Apple wholesale shop number 318-319

3/ Pahurat fabric market: You will find a number of shops selling mainly crystal and pearl beads here, I would go here specifically for beads but if you are wanting fabric too then why not! refer to my last post for details on how to get there.

4/ Charoen Krung rd (Ban Mo jewelry st) unfortunately I didn't get to go to Ban Mo as my feet were killing me and my husband was beginning to grumble. But we accidentally got off the boat a stop early so ended up having to walk a good stretch of Charoen Krung st and there were a lot of bead sellers though they looked more expensive and I did not go inside as I had already filled my boots at the palladium mall.

!6mm coin pearls from Palladium mall with the most fantastic rainbow shimmer i have ever seen.

14mm faceted red agate

here are just a few of the beads that I bought. if you are not going to Bangkok and really can't be bothered with traipsing round the markets check out my etsy store. or for French or European buyers look for samanthatenn on www.alittlemercerie.com 

Friday, 24 January 2014

Mission Bangkok shopping

I have recently come back from Thailand  a special holiday for my husband an i's tenth wedding anniversary. I hadnt been anywhere long haul in 5 years so i was very excited to be going on a big plane and a plane that wasn't orange. ( my european readers will understand, it's the colour of the local low cost airline in europe)

I know bangkok pretty well but I wanted to discover some different areas of shopping that i handn't really looked into seriously before. I wanted to buy beads for my little online bumsiness and fabric to feed my addiction of colour and pattern. I am a very amateur quilter so i wanted to replenish my fabric stores.

I had done weeks of research on where to go, down loaded maps etc and was very excited when this part of my trip came around. I thought all my efforts were to be thwarted by the Bangkok shut,down protests; luckily thanks to the internet i was slowed down but not halted in my quest for crafting goods!

Here are the lovely fabrics i found and of course i wish i had bought more! Thses beauties cost me betwwen 40-89 baht a meter so that's £0.80 - 1.50 i was really umming and arring over spending 1.50!
So if you want to find fabrics in Bangkok you need to go to pahurat market, it is in an area known as little india. Depending on where you are staying i was staying in the siam square area so i jumped on the sky train to Saphan Taskin where i linked on to the river boat taxi. The river boat is a little confusing i just joined the queue and told the ticket lady i wanted to go to memorial bridge( stop 6) its all a bit hectic getting on and off but quite fun so dont go too far from where you get on or off the boat as you may well miss your stop. As you are looking at the water you want a boat coming from the left going to the right. It cost 15baht per person.

Here is a map of the area. The first time i came to this area i walked from hua lampong train station and it took bloody ages! I would recomend the boat or get a taxi or a bus from the train station if you must.

Pahurat market is on sampng lane but blink and youll miss the entrance. Its kind of covered over but if you find pahurat rd walk to the end where chakphet rd crosses it and its on the other side of the street.

I hope this post helps if you want any more info please dont hesitate to contact me...enjoy!