Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

May Ye have a Merry Christmas & Blessed New Year!

  I wish all of my readers the Merriest of Holidays ever~ I hope your days are filled with joy & love.  I would like to thank you all for reading my blog and taking the time to comment~ Thank you for the overwhelming support you all have shown me for my dollys and folk art~  your generous orders are most appreciated~ they pay for new archival storage materials for the collection, as well as helping to grow the collection, but they also pay for gas and groceries....supper and school clothes.  I cant wait for you to see what I have planned for 2017~ I think it will be a fabulous year! Looking forward to teaching in Bath England in August and so many more things to share~ may your hearts & fingers be blessed in 2017!

  For those pondering a Flemish Fantasy ornament kit~ I have 5 remaining~ four gold and one silver~  this is the last week to order and then they will be gone forever! If I have any kits left, I may hold a giveaway drawing later next year, or give the first few purchasers of a 2017 kit opportunity to purchase a 2016 one along with~ I havent decided yet. The new 2017 ltd edition ornament will be coming out in March!  You can find kit ordering information on my shop blog, if you decide to purchase a kit, please dont forget to add your regions shipping to your cart before ordering~

Monday, December 19, 2016

Museum Monday!

1832 Boy's Suit Bodice 953.2016.76
 Today's Museum Monday lucky number is 953~ a precious little boys bodice of drab green silk taffeta trimmed in black silk braid & buttons. It was worn in 1832 by Joseph Davis Mackelduff when he was just 2 years old.
 As a rule, I dont keep bodice's that are not accompanied by their skirts/trousers....but there is always the exception. Boy's clothing is very rare, and to have anything with provenance more so again~ so I was happy to add this piece to the collection.  One may expect that a bodice like this would have button holes round the waist to button on to either a pair of high waisted trousers or skirt, but there is no evidence of such. It was made as a true separate, but certainly would have had, and been worn over a matching long skirt or pair of trousers. Due to Joseph's young age, I would say he wore it over a skirt, especially since there is a front tab falling below the waist~ white baby gowns in the early to mid 19th c used this tab to differentiate between a girl or boy who wore it~ tab below the waist for boys, no tab for girls.

 Joseph was born April 9th, 1830 to James & Jean Mackleduff  at Brandywine Manor House in Honey Brook Pa~  you can read a little about the history of his important Pennsylvania family & their home here 
I can just see him sitting out on the steps in this little suit!

 Center back closes with hammered hooks & eyes~ buttons are for show and nonfunctional. A pretty little peplum in the back helps to balance the large expanse of the sleeves.

  Excessive, or elaborate use of buttons was a common way a family could announce their wealth in the 19th century~ they were an expensive commodity in their day.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Museum Monday!

c1850 Gilt stamped Bottle Green kid leather children's shoes 878.2016.01
 Who said a bookbinder was just a bookbinder???  In addition to stamping beautiful spines and covers of ones favorite book like these examples from the early 1830-60s shown above...

 and this pretty little edition of the Violet from 1842....binders stamped papers and cloths & leathers for items ranging from furniture to clothing & accessories.   Truly....a trip to the bookbinders shop would have been on my list of places to go if I was living centuries ago~ piles of books, examples of stamped bindings...stacks of pretty papers and shelves filled with pretty what nots~ both made up and in pieces for you to take and make your own what not out of~ just fabulous! I get all starry eyed just thinking about it. Of coarse everything came with a price, and in the early 19th c, an everyday or ordinary book would have cloth cover, or perhaps a plain leather~ calf or kid. A little more nice, something stamped with a simple edge seen above....then a little more nice/expensive, one could choose to have a design stamped in the leather~ like the two motifs on the bottom of the Violet cover, above. If one wanted to show off their wealth, they would have the stamping gilt~ as in, gilt with real gold or silver leaf, as the center motif is. The process was (and still is) quite labor intensive and requires an exacting skill & much patience.  

   Folks with alot of money and women wanting to be the eye of fashion, would be sure to include gilt kid items in their wardrobe~ such as my post from 7 Nov~ the gilt kid reticule.  Well, what kind of fashionable Mother or Father could be seen without their child being dressed to the nines as well? This brings us to today's Museum Monday lucky number~ 878~ a c1850 pair of children's shoes in bottle green kid leather, with elaborately  gilt stamped uppers. 

 These shoes are special for a couple of reasons~ the gilt stamping of coarse, color, but also the fact they are front lacing, not side lacing, as most half boots of this type were. Side lacing became very popular in the early 1850s, so these could date a little earlier, to the 1840s.

 Fully lined in linen, the bottle green kid would have been stamped at the bookbinder's, then sent to the shoemaker to be made up.  The original brass tipped green tape laces are an exact match in color to the silk tape that binds the upper edge of the shoes
  Whom ever once wore these, was a pampered child indeed~ the apple of their parents eye. A skilled bookbinder would use several different stamps together to make the floral designs, but the angels/cherubs on the toes would have been their own special stamp, which equates to some serious cash in the day.

 The sides are stamped with roses and scrolling tendrils of vines and flora

 Whatever their occasional intent was, they were not worn much as the stamping is still quite clean and bright. The gilt is only 'attached' with a putrefied egg wash mixture, and will wear away if the surface is touched much. These could also have been a display example, but the soles do show wear.

Four cherubs grace each toe, two smaller ones, and then two larger holding a bountiful cornucopia,  oriented to be facing up only to the wearer~ what a special pair of shoes!

Have you enjoyed the Museum Monday blog posts this year? I hope so. Next year I am pondering  Monthly Museum Monday segments, so I can go a little more in depth with some things~  Some folks may not realize that I am wife & Mother to 4 children, in addition to running the Museum and my business~ these two hands can only work so fast and there are only so many hours in a day! I am teaching next year, designing embroidery kits, have some exciting new embroidery surfaces to share, as well as still making and painting thread palettes and slate frames& cabinets, sculpting dolls and embroidery figures....and typing on this computer for what seems like an endless amount of time!  What ever next year brings, I look forward to it~ and wish all of my readers the best~ each second of every minute of every hour of each and every day is a gift from above~ so dont waste it~ make your dream happen! 

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Slate Frames & Flemish Fantasy Kit~ nearly gone!

Happy to Accommodate your fondest Desire~
Its been a while since I posted some examples of my painted slate frames~ above it a set I did earlier this year of Judith & Holfroness~ a slate with matching thread palette set. All done in blackwork, the story of  Judith beheading Holfroness was a favorite for 17th c embroiders. I left it large so you can see the details....crimson blood and all~ isn't it fabulous!? If you have a frame on your Christmas list, I am far enough backed up now that you wont get it before then~ but dont let that stop you from nudging your significant other to get you one for Christmas! I put a slide show of some of my favorite paint designs on the slate frame ordering page on my shop blog,  just click on the slate frame page at the top and scroll down to the bottom to see them.

And in case you have the Flemish Fantasy Ornament Kit on your list~ I have just 7 left ready to ship~ 6 gold and 1 silver~ when theyre gone, theyre gone forever!  You can order on my shop blog as well~ dont forget to add the shipping!  Here is a little video I took today of mine on my tree~ 

May thee take joy in every stitch of thy needle~

Monday, December 05, 2016

Museum Monday!

c1840 German Mache Milliner's Model 531.2011.01
 Boy last week has flown by~ its already time for another Museum Monday visit!  This weeks number was 531~ an early papier mache Milliner's hat or wig stand, most often referred to as a  Milliner's Model. She stands a stately 16" tall, and is in near mint condition, a joy to behold as many that survive have heavy facial damage, usually a missing nose, or have been repainted several times.

This scan is from Grafnitz's book, German Papier Mache Dolls 1760-1860, and shows a scan from a Sonneberg Germany sample book apx 1850 that shows both dolls and a larger milliner's head like our example. From studying her features and comparing with other known smaller dolls, I guestimate that she was made by either Muller or Kestner, with front hairstyle keeping with styles of smaller mache dolls in the early to mid 1840's.

  She was made the same as the smaller mache head dolls, with layers of papier mache pressed into a sulphur mold. These molds were reused, and as so, the more they were used, the duller or softer the impressions they made became, as the molds wore down. Her features are so very crisp, and in looking at the inside features, I think she was one of the first out of her particular mold. These were made to sit on a hat or wig makers counter to display their newest creations, so to give them weight, a large opening is left in the back where a bag of sand could be placed within to keep her steady underneath an unbalanced hat

 Her face has deep modeling with highly pronounced features~ she was an expensive luxury in her day

 As we look closer, and in this view, if one didnt know she was a milliners model, she could be mistaken for an actual doll~she has the same detailed paint as large dolls of the period. Note that her outer varnish has not yellowed so we can appreciate the difference between her slight peachy flesh tone skin, and white part of her eyes
 Brush strokes around the hairline of these early dolls/heads is a must~ if there are no shadowing brushstrokes, more likely than not the head has been repainted. Also note the fine cracklature of the original varnish~ all early mache dolls were varnished over the paint. 

 Careful brush stroke eyebrows show an artists pride in workmanship & skill

 Looking up into her head, there are no repairs or identifying marks

 But, looking closer, we can see her very crisp facial features, and that after removing her mould(s), her nose was filled in with mache, fingerprints still visible from its packing.  Even in the period, the nose was recognized as these heads weakest point, so filling it in helped to keep it from denting or collapsing if the head fell over.

 And not only do we have fingerprints on the inside, but at the nape of her neck as well, two fingerprints in the skin paint, under the varnish, most likely from the artist who painted her face

Who wouldn't want to buy whatever bonnet this pretty Ladye is wearing?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Museum Monday!

c1790 Gold Silk Lady's Shoe 394.2007.12
 This week's Museum Monday number is 394...I let my daughter pick a number because I didnt get any requests off the blog this week~ (evidently, 394 is the page that Snape tells the students to turn to in one of the Harry Potter movies)..... just a single shoe, but wonderful none the less.
 I feel in 18th c shoes, any other color one finds aside from black, is special. This shoe's color is a rich deep gold. Tiny perfect hand stitching is always appreciated on early shoes
 The point of the toe shows the outer silk worn away, revealing the inner linen lining
 The dainty Louis heel was first carved from wood, then covered in silk to match the upper. The white stitching attaches the leather sole to the heel
I always like to see shoes saved that have been worn~ by the amount of the wear on this pair of shoes, they were probably an every day shoe. Many 18th c shoes survive as singles, each having been given to a loved one as a keepsake at one point in their lives~ which is such an interesting lesson in our social cultures and how things change over many of my readers have saved a shoe of their own from adult life....(baby shoes not included) to pass down? I saved my wedding shoes, but other than that, I have found my shoes fall apart way before I want to be finished wearing them....let alone long enough to be saved!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Museum Monday!

c1820 Cotton Combination Underwear   

This week's Museum Monday number is 647.  Not as rare as one may think, this pair child's combinations date to the early 1820's, and measure 18.5" long from bodice top to hem.

They are entirely hand stitched in three different cloths~  a medium weight cotton bodice and straps, woven diaper trouser legs with fine cotton frills at the ankles. Unlike later button-on combinations for children that had the bodice finished separately and buttoning onto the pantaloons or trousers as they were called then, the earlier types were stitched together as one unit.  To close, these have a 3 button bodice closure, with the waist buttoning once on each side of the wearer.

With the waist unbuttoned and folded down,  one would think that these had a center back when the little one would have to go potty, all they need do is unbutton at the waist.....  

Actually tho, they are center front closing (Ill explain in a moment), which surprised me, as most combinations I have seen are center back closing.

 Center crotch gussets added for plenty of room to move. Now if you wondered how to tell a girls combinations from a boy's pair...the frill at the ankles would have nothing to do with it, as either could have frills. A little boy's combination would , however, have an opening here in the center crotch seam, referred to as a 'wee hole', for him to easily relieve himself. 

Here one can appreciate the diamond weave of the diaper cloth~ its a bit thicker, and buttery soft. If you look closely at the first photo, you may or may not notice that both the knees have been patched~ both with tiny little careful stitches, in same cloth as the legs are from. There is no extra cloth anywhere on these, no pockets or large seam allowances that patches could have been cut from, which tells us these were mended in the same era they were made, and by little size, we have a crawler that wore out the knees rapidly. This can also tell us why these are front fastening, so Mamma could change little ones pilch, or diaper, easily from the front. That being said, at this small age, these could either be for a little boy, or a little girl.
A simple, yet beautiful cotton frill to dress up the ankles on our little crawler~ 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Good Bye Flemish Fantasy!

Only 9 Kits Remain

 If you have been pondering a purchase of my Lt Edition 2016 Flemish Fantasy Ornament Kit, or have one on your Christmas Wish list, this is faire warning they are nearly sold out~ I have just 9 left in gold tinsel, the silver is completely gone.  

If you are interested, you can learn more about what is included, and order one on my shop blog, 

Just click on the "Flemish Fantasy Ornament Kit" tab at the top of the blog page~

Monday, November 14, 2016

Museum Monday!

c1750 Infants Linen Christening Mitts 676/7.2102.49/50
 Today's Museum Monday number is 676~ a beautiful and exceedingly rare pair of 18th c infants linen mitts. Entirely hand stitched in nearly microscopic stitches, they are part of a 10 pc Christening set that includes silk satin gown, sleeves and sash, along with a small linen suite pictured below including a bonnet, shirt, forehead cloth and muff, all with hollie point needle lace insertions.

 Even when pictured with the other pieces in the suite, its not easy to tell how tiny they are~ size for a newborn, the mitts are just 12cm from edge of the lace cuff to tip of the foldback over the hand.

 Width across the fingers is just 5cm (thats just 2" for non metric folks!) I have left the pictures large so you can really see the fine details in these~ really masterfully stitched.

 Decorative pink silk stitches adorn the back of the hands, as well as run along the edge of each mitten

 Little thumbs so cannot help but feel a heart full of love places in each and every stitch. If you look closely, tiny white whip stitches can be seen joining the thumb to the palm of the mitts in construction, afterwards the double row of pink decorative stitches were made.

 Butter soft bobbin lace trims each cuff

Only a ruler can allow the minute size of the stitching to be appreciated~

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Is That.....

Real Gold on my Palette????? sure is! It's actually suspended in liquid as an ink but I am painting with it today....

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

A Special Gift

There Once was a Little Red House.....
 Yesterday I got such a wonderful surprise in the mail I have to share!  Of my my Dear friends emailed me a bit ago~ 'give me your address' she says....'I found some little beads I want to send'.   So when I opened my mailbox and found it stuffed with a big padded envelope....I didnt know what to think! Janet has sent me a copy of her book along with the precious weensy beads~ Thankyou Thankyou so much Janet!

Janet is a true Kindred Spirit~ she loves to embroider and make dollys~ and has the most wonderful imagination that she loves to share. I love reading her blog~ you can see it here

What is funny is one day we are talking and she says, you know we have alot in common~ we both have a Pierce....referring to the Pierce dollhouse that I got for Christmas when I was little and took me forEVER to get 'finished'....well she has one of her own and is so uniquely 'Janet'! Thats what the Red House book is about~ and its amazing! Her dollys are so full of life and energy...I dont think it possible for her, or them to ever sleep!  She's also making an embroidered casket that is just as ultra fantabulous as her Red House... perhaps we will see her casket as a book one day!
Go grab a cup of tea and head on over to Janet's blog~ the perfect escape from this world!