Category Archives: Store News

Collecting Special Flatware For Your Table

Dirilyte Empress Place Setting-2Carolee Specialties has an 11 place settings plus 7 serving pieces of Dirilyte Flatware to make your dinner party special.

What is Dirilyte you ask? Here is a description and history of these unique pieces:—-

Dirilyte is a golden hued flatware that is not gold plated. It gets its golden hue from a solid through bronze. The metal alloy used to manufacture these items is much harder than silver and has the same color and tone of gold, yet is much more durable. The flatware is not dishwasher safe, but in 1961, the company began using a bonded protectant on its flatware, holloware and table accessories. The protectant has a distinct sparkle and negates the need for polishing.

Dirilyte Serve pcs EmpressThe company was originally named Dirigold and was founded in Sweden in 1919 by Oscar von Malmborg and Carl Molin. The metal alloy which the flatware was made of was invented in 1914 by Molin and, although it contained no gold, it did contain a number of other metals. The company later moved to America and was forced to change the name to something other than Dirigold, as they claimed that name was misleading to the public, since it actually had no gold content. They renamed it Dirilyte. The product was manufactured in Kokomo, Indiana and ceased operations in the 1980s.

Popular during the 1940’s and 1950’s and very expensive. A 5 piece place setting would have cost $700. Dirilyte has graced the finest tables in the world, from European royalty to the White House


1950s Holmes & Edwards Flatware –

Holmes and Edwads-Romsnvr-2A collection of Holmes & Edwards Flatware (Romance Pattern) from around 1952-1959 will take you back to the days you ate at Grandma’s house.

About Holmes & Edwards, a manufacturer of fine silver started in the industry back in the 1882, in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The people who started Holmes & Edwards were George C. Edwards and Israel Holmes. During the early years the company manufactured mostly silver plate.

Holmes and Edwards Serving pcs--2The company has many different patterns to choose from, some of which were created many years ago. Perhaps company’s most treasured pattern is the Jamestown, which was created in 1916.

Holmes & Edwards advertising messages were unique and catchy. It was “More than a plate” and “Protected where wear happens”. The reason why this was their advertising message is because during the plating process they would add an extra layer of silver to areas that would normally have the most wear. This provided areas that were prone to the most wear added protection.

Many companies may not have believed this process was beneficial, but the company’s pieces are still in great condition because of the process they used. In fact, if you see any of the pieces today, even pieces that are more than 50 years old, still look great because of the process of adding silver to them.

Although many of the older products from the company’s earliest years are still in great condition, they are hard to find. If a person does find very old pieces, the chances are they would be very expensive.

As one can tell, the company was a great company, and although purchased by The International Silver Company in 1898, the Holmes & Edwards patterns are still of high quality. People can rest assured that any product bearing the Holmes & Edwards name is an amazing product of the highest quality. So, if you are looking for silverware, or silver plated items, be sure to check out items made by Holmes & Edwards.

By the way, if you are just starting out you don’t have to buy the entire set. Many people purchase one piece or one place setting at a time.


The Art/Antique Mall

MCaroleeSpecialtiesy store was in a small Art/Antique Mall, annexed to a larger strip mall. During the years when my daughter was still in school we often visited the small stores in the Mall. So, years later when the opportunity arose for me to acquire my own small store in that Mall, I was thrilled.

Among the many reasons that little Mall was special was the way the other store owners helped each other. When they learned that my friend backed out of our partnership leaving me to work full time in the mortgage industry and find a way to manage the store by myself, the rolled u their sleeves, put my store together in my absence and during the entire time the store operated one of them managed it in my absence.

In a corner of the mall was a table with booths where people tended to gravitate to have a cup of coffee, gossip, share problems and most of all help each other find and market a variety of products. That was where the Interior Decorators went when they were seeking a particular type of item to complete a project, the pickers showed up with a treasure or two they found that week.

Silver 2014 050I sold items created by crafters and artisans I met both in person and on the Internet, I had never considered added collectibles. At first the other store owners asked me to create an Internet presence for each of them, I built websites and posted some of their items on various auctions and classified ad sites. They then encouraged me to hook up with the Picker, Al. who brought items in weekly that he found in his travels while working as a house painter. Every single item Al brought in to sell was accompanied by documentation. He left little to the imagination, even researching at the library and bringing copies of the pages describing the item. He gave me a story to tell the buyers as I sold each item, and for the most part, the story had better be factual because most collectors also do their research. We developed a great partnership that complemented the education I was receiving from the others in the little group that gathered at the table in the Mall.

Sadly when the economy fell apart so did everything else in my life. The mortgage company closed and so did the Mall. The Mall owner had no choice but to change everything, most the small store in the main Mall closed and as did the entire Art/Antique Mall.

I carefully packed my inventory in boxes and stored them in my home. Sadly the entire group disbursed and I began to feel it was senseless for me to continue to operate.

CrystalBtl-DSC01105Two special situations (The Wounded Warrior Project. net and the Earthquakes since May in the small country of Nepal) have caused me to return to promoting handmade items and collectibles, starting with the inventory from the store and adding a few here and there that I pick up as I communicate with artisans and small businesses.

I am slowly posting items on a new Internet Store I recently created as well as the many sites available to small businesses and crafters. It is my hope to turn at least a small profit that I can share with my two pet projects. Just as important is that I provide a place for talented people to display their items and projects, as was my original goal when I started this type of work in the early 1990s.s

Thinking of Buying a Pashmina Shawl? This may help you.

Scarf1The name Pashmina comes from Pashmineh, made from Persian pashm (“wool”). Pashima (Cashmere) wool comes from the soft under fur of Changthangi, or Pashmina goats, which are a special breed of goat indigenous to high Himalayan altitudes.

Pashminas come in all mixes and sizes ranging from small scarves to blanket sized wraps. Pashminas are often mixed with other materials that reinforce the delicate wool fibres, such as silk or bamboo. To be considered good quality, Pashmina shawls need to contain at least 70% Cashmere wool. But in the market, you’ll often see cheaper Pashminas that contain only 50% wool.

Here are a few tips for those seeking the perfect Pashima:

All Cashmere wool is hand spun, primarily in the regions of Kashmir and Nepal where such wool has been made for thousands of years. Every spring Changthangi goats shed their soft winter coats, and weavers work to painstakingly collect the wool shed from the goats. Each Pashmina requires the under fur of at least two goats. These goats will live at altitudes of 12,000 to 17,000 feet. It’s important to note that better quality fibre comes from goats that live in the higher altitudes, because their fur is much softer and dense and insulates better than the slightly coarser under fur found in goats from lower altitudes.

High quality Pashminas are always hand spun with weavers using different combinations of Cashmere with other fibres to produce Pashminas of graduated value. Each shawl is individually hand woven and hand dyed. Many Pashmina weavers choose to use patterned artistry to adorn their scarves, stoles and shawls, with everything from floral filigree to animal patterns, and even modern fashion trends like Burberry.

You may be asking yourself at this point “Why choose a more expensive shawl when you can buy one that’s cheaper, just simply with less wool?” Even though silk may seem like a hot commodity, there’s a reason Pashminas have been mentioned in history since the 3rd century B.C. If a Changthangi goat’s thin layer of insulating wool is fine enough to keep it warm at -20 Fahrenheit, how nice and comfy do think it’ll feel when turned into a beautifully hand-woven scarf just for you? Even though silk is often expensive, it’s a whole lot easier to commercially produce than the wool from a Changthangi goat.  So when you’re shopping around for that perfect Pashmina just for you, and find yourself indignant at the significantly higher price of a pure Cashmere blended one, just think of a common little silk worm in comparison to the extremely difficult to procure downy under fur of a high altitude Himalayan mountain

Pashminas have incredible insulation, making them practical and warm for all seasons. Their insulated properties also work well against summer moisture and humidity. It’s lightweight, with a large (2.9 by 6.7 feet) 100% Cashmere shawl weighing only 5.6 ounces!

DSC02066You also have a fantastic array of choices, with a plethora of patterns (floral, animal prints, Burberry, traditional) and compositions (100% Cashmere, Silk Blended and Bamboo Blended). There’s an almost 100% guarantee you’ll fall in love with a Pashmina as soon as you feel it’s soft and warm qualities. There is no other shawl that can fashionably complement anything from casual sweaters to formal gowns.


September 2014

JS Fall Pic

I guess if I had to make a choice I would pick September as my favorite month of the year. For me, the end of the summer brings the beginning of a new year. The school year starts and business has resurgence as people return from vacation ready to start new projects or improve the ones they set aside. Farmers are busy harvesting the last of their summer crops.

The harsh, bright, hot sun of the summer months becomes a softer, cooler sun forcing us to wear our favorite sweaters. Although the days become shorter, Mother Nature treats us with a final blaze of color through all the foliage. And best of all the aromas from the kitchen are more pungent as the fall produce is being prepared for soul warming soups and heartier meals.

You can find a day to commemorate or celebrate just about anything you support or care about listed for each day or every month of the year. September certainly has a number of special days starting with Labor Day on September 1, the day when we honor those of us who are working hard to support our family and personal needs.

September 2 is VJ Day, (Victory Day), the day when Japan surrendered and effectively ended our war with them.

September 5th has two of great favorite fun days in the month-“Bring Your Manners to Work Day” and “Lazy Mom’s Day”. I think the names speak for themselves.

September 11 of course is engraved in the hearts and minds of each and every US Citizen. This is the day the entire world remembers the events of that day and those we lost in 2001. We must never forget or lose our resolve to protect our country and those who are being victimized around the world.

This day is also Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, Maine and Wisconsin. A civic holiday set aside to remember the battles fought during our Revolution.

In addition September 11 is the day when we finally paid all our taxes for year and begin to earn our money for our own needs.

September 28th. Gold Star Mother’s Day is observed in the United States on the last Sunday of September each year. It is a day for people to recognize and honor those who have lost a son or daughter while serving the United States Armed Forces

September 29 celebrates the 111th Anniversary of the VFW,”Veterans of Foreign Wars Day” Check your local VFW to a schedule of celebrations in your area.

And last but not least, September 29th is National Coffee Day to honor the drink that keeps our engines running. Enjoy.

If I have omitted your favorite day in this month, please forgive me. Limited space forced me to choose only a small number of the days. Let me know if you want me to write and add something about your special day during this month.

Now on to the news about Carolee and what we are up to these days. We took the entire summer off to work on several changes we will be launching very soon. We still support the products we have been offering, but plan to add new items, new businesses and new artisans. Our main goal continues to be to support the self employed and help them to grow their businesses.

In addition, we intend to give a percentage of each item we sell to the Wounded Warrior Project.

If you would like to join us or have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us at

Until next time—-Carolee




Channukah -Thanksgiving 2013


At sunset (next Wednesday), November 27th, the Festival of Light begins, starting the Eight days of Channukah. It is the celebration of the triumph of light over darkness, purity over adulation, of spirituality over materiality.
More than Twenty-One centuries ago the people of Israel, against all odds, defeated one of the mightiest armies, the Greeks, and drove the army from the lands. They reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God.

When they sought to light the Menorah, (the eight branched candelabrum) they found they only had one day of oil to burn. Miraculously the one day of oil burned for eight days.
Starting on the first eve, a candle in the Menorah is lighted each day to commemorate this miracle until the eighth candle is lit on the final day. The family gathers each evening for a meal consisting of many of the traditional foods fried in oil, such as Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts).

Other traditions include playing with the Dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters meaning “a great miracle happened there”, the giving of Chanukah gelt gifts of money to children.


Thanksgiving is on Thursday November 28 this year.
Thanksgiving began when the Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered together to celebrate a successful harvest. The first Thanksgiving was held in the fall of 1621 and was a three-day feast. The Pilgrims and about 90 of the local Wampanoag tribe, including Chief Massasoit, feasted on fowl and deer, and most likely ate berries, fish, clams, plums, and boiled pumpkin.

Beginning with George Washington in 1789, annual presidential proclamations declared the last Thursday of November as the Thanksgiving date. However, in 1941, a United States Congressional declaration officially designated the fourth Thursday of November as the date of the Thanksgiving holiday.
church services, also here in the New York-New Jersey area many start their day attending or watching the Macy’s Day Parade on TV. Although the children enjoy the many floats, music and depictions of their favorite cartoon characters, they anxiously await the arrival of Santa Claus in his sleigh. This parade marks the official start of the Christmas Holiday and the many wonderful things this holiday season has to offer both children and adults.
The remainder of the day is filled with family activities, watching the football games, feasting on turkey, ham and all types of goodies from sweet yams to our favorite pies and cookies.
This is the day we set aside in this country to take the time to express our gratitude for all we are blessed with in our lives. Even though we are currently experiencing a multitude of problems we know that as long as we work together and remain focused we will be able to overcome just about anything and for that we should be grateful. Just look around and I bet you will find a long list of reasons to be grateful.
These two holidays have a great deal in common and it seems natural that we celebrate them together in this country.
This year there is a great deal of controversy over the fact that many, or all, of the large department stores have decided to remain open on Thanksgiving Day. Although we all feel strongly we need family time, it is also a fact that our economy needs as much help as we can possibly give it.
There are those protesting that people have to work on a holiday, actually many other jobs besides retail have to work weekends and holidays all of the time. But that is not the point. However, many people will probably be grateful for the opportunity to earn more hourly income given that just about everyone in the middle class has watch their income shrink and shrink.
This year the shopping season for the holidays is a little short and the stores, as well as the economy, the workers and the state needs the revenue so in way it is a good thing for us all.
The main point is that at least this is something that is voluntary, the employees have the option to opt out and stay home and so do the shoppers. And most of all, hopefully given the extra shopping time perhaps people will behave better on Black Friday.

Carolee Specialties offers a The Carolee Community for small
businesses and artisans at The Carolee Community”

And if you prefer to shop from home visit our small Internet Gift Shop where you can purchase handmade items and
See you in Early December******