Monday, September 18, 2017

London, Day 3

V&A Clothworkers' Center at Blythe House 

   Day three in London started off with an early tube ride to Barron's Court Station and a short stroll to the new Clothworkers Center located at Blythe House for an appointment to study several pieces of 17th c embroidery up close. 

   The new facility is large and spacious, and has been thoroughly modernized for the safest textile storage available.  

 The V&A and Alexandra really went above and beyond to make our time here super fantabulous.... Just look at the study tables...I wish I had just one this big for my collection.

By the time we finished at the Clothworker's facility, it was time for lunch. A quick tube ride back to Knightsbridge, and we were off to the Victoria & Albert Museum

 A quick, but really good, lunch was had at one of the cafes...don't ask me which one~ well..it was the one right next to the courtyard~

 It was a beautiful day and there were many enjoying the reflecting pool

 After lunch we headed up to the second floor to see the 17th c embroidery and beadwork on display. One thing I was really excited about seeing was a swaddling band, but alas, the near non existent illumination that was present in most of the display cases for the textiles, was not working in that case~so it was literally a black hole.... which was my only complaint about my entire trip I think. It is in these instances that I very much appreciate them making their collections available online(but still not the same as seeing in person).  Above is a knit tunic that I very much want to make for my Pandora doll, Wood....when ever I get the time. I was going to dress her 18th c, because she was made c1720-40...., but I think 17th c would be much more fun to dress her in.

 Of coarse we had to visit Martha Edlin's casket and padded mirror case. 

  Lord & Ladye Clapham were there as well~ if you go to make a visit of your own, don't  miss their extra clothes and accessories in the pullout drawers underneath the display!

  After my camera and mind were both spent, it was just a quick two block walk back to the house to rest. Back past the Baklava man with the never ending tray of free samples....a left turn at Bonham's auction house

 And we were home~ thats my window all the way at the top in the middle there

 And what did I bring home for today? A kilo of baklava of coarse....didn't last very long, next time I think I may need 2 kilo to bring home...and one for eating there.....

Thursday, September 14, 2017

2017 Limited Edition Heirloom Ornament Kit Available

Winter Queen


I am happy to announce that this year's 2017 limited edition heirloom embroidered ornament kit, Winter Queen, is now available for preorder sale on my Diamond K Folk Art blog here.  I hope to ship them by 20 October, or a little before

Gloves of Elizabeth Stuart~ (19 Aug 1596~13 Feb 1662) Electress of  the Palatinate 


This year's ornament will be extremely limited. I have had quite a challenge this year obtaining enough quantity of the materials within the kit to be able to offer it for sale. Real gold threads, real cultured seed pearls and gilt tinsel handmade in Germany were all extremely difficult for me to acquire...and to top it all off, the dye lot of my dutchess silk satin has been discontinued. The amount of kits I will be able to offer is just a fraction of the amount of kits I sold last year....so if you are interested, honestly speaking, I would not hesitate.


Everything you need to make up an ornament is included in the kit, minus a slate embroidery frame and a certain silk...if you so desire to make up the 'secret' element to the ornament~ tho it can be made without~ just check out my Diamond K Folk Art blog page to find out what her secret is!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

London, Day 2

Off to Cambridge
 Day two we were up early ~ this is a view from my loo window~ how cool is this!  The big grey dome is the London Oratory House, and just to the right, you can see the cream tower of the Victoria & Albert Museum...just a hop and a skip from our townhouse!

 From London's King Cross Station we are off to Cambridge to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum for both a private study session, and to view the Sampled Lives exhibit.

 Cambridge is a beautiful city, full of higher learning and soooooo much history. I could have spent an entire day just walking around enjoying the architecture. The above are the front doors of the Catholic Church of Our Lady &The English Martyrs

 Even the door hinges are wrought with feeling and life ~

 I loved this little fellow. I have 2 unicorns I'm working on my flat top casket~ I hope I can bestow upon them as much character as he has~ just walking down the street from the train station to the Fitzwilliam, there he was, contently perched atop  the Hobson's Conduit Monument.

    The mighty Fitzwilliam Museum~ it certainly does not disappoint. It's magnificence in size is absolutely matched by the objects they hold in their collections...but as we were  a tad early, and it wasnt open yet, we continued up the road a little

  One could not help but be drawn in to the lavish grounds of Pembroke College~ this passageway makes me dream of the book 'The Secret Garden'...I can just imagine my little mice dollies scurrying about beyond it
 Visitors are most welcome to walk the grounds of the college(established in 1347) as long as they are quiet, and stay off that gorgeous green grass~

 We had about an hour before our study appointment to view the Sampled Lives Exhibit~ which absolutely was not long enough~ we went back again after our study session was over! Click on the link above and you can read about the exhibit, and if you cant get there in person(running until April 2018), they do sell a marvelous exhibit catalogue in the museum's shop.

 The samplers are all presented up close and personal, with adequate lighting that made it easy to really study them up close, and take as many nonflash photos for personal use as one was inclined to.

 I cannot have asked for better, more helpful staff who went above and beyond to pull our special objects for us to study~ one of which was casket T.8-1945, which is special to me because I based the inside embroidery of mine on the embroidery inside its lid. Between the sampler exhibit and study session, I went thru two Nikon batteries and took nearly 8GB of pictures......

    After all that learning, a trip to Il Papiro in Covent Garden was in order~ I bought two new pens, some ink and a sheet of hand marbled paper for something special while there.  Again, I could have stayed and mingled in Covent Garden for an entire day easily....but hey! I needed to get to Fortnum & Mason for some tea! No time to doddle on vacation people.....

I hope you visit the link~ oh . my. golly....the most wonderful store~ with every tea and biscuit you can imagine, and then some.  And its a beautiful store~ its an event in itself to just experience the atmosphere, especially knowing everyone else around you loves tea as much as you do! 

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

London Day 1

No Time to Blink!
 My trip to the UK was utterly fantabulous. A person may be inclined to say, two weeks would be plenty of time...but in all actuality, literally, I barely had time to blink. Seriously...sleep??? what is that? There were several nights of just 3-4 hours of sleep, if that much! I went a week early, before class in Bath, to spend some time in London with Dear friends~ our townhouse was just a block behind me here~ half way between the V&A Museum and Harrods. Good grief! A person could spend a week in Harrods alone and not see everything, and I am really not joking a bit here. Harrods encompasses an entire block, is 5 or 6 floors high, and each one of them jam packed with the finest of everything ~ from a 15GBP tin of loose leaf tea, to a 99,000GBP handbag...all in one spot. I loved Harrods, absolutely.

 Of coarse Harrods is directly at the entrance to the Knightsbridge tube stop...so we walked by it and the above store, Al~Hamidiah, anytime coming back to the house from the tube...or Harrods.... I left the pictures large today so you can click on them to really see whats in this window! YES! That is a tower of freshly baked baklava. The most amazing baklava I have ever tasted. The store clerks here were so friendly, every time I would walk by,  one would zoom out with a tray asking me to have a sample. I cant find it anyplace online~ so if anyone knows of a website for them, let me know! They are from Damascus in Syria~ the. most. fabulous. baklava. E.V.E.R.  I brought a kilo home with me and it was gone within 2 days, not kidding.
 Everywhere in London & vicinity had the most beautiful window boxes~

   After landing at Heathrow at noon.twenty, getting thru customs and out to the house, it was nearly 3pm I guess. After a trip to Harrods, a friend & I were off to see Westminster Abbey, just a short tube stop away. It was too late in the day for a tour, but I got to lay my eyes on it, and magnificent just doesn't describe it.  It was magical~, and yes, Big Ben could be heard in the background chiming away!

  The 'London Eye' can be seen behind the square

 Behind Westminster Abbey is Big Ben~ he is having restoration works done~ the scaffolding can be seen at the base. I was so lucky  to hear the beautiful chimes ringing out~ I took this pic on 15 Aug~ the chimes were paused at noon on Monday, 21 August, for the next four years, until 2021 when the conservation work is sched to be completed.
 There are no words to describe seeing something in person, that one has held in their hearts for so long

 By the time we reached the Tower of London it was nearly 8pm. I would have liked to see the Crown Jewels...but being so popular, one need get there first thing in the morning...so this is on my list for next time in London!
 Just beyond the Tower of London, on the Thames,  is the magnificent Tower Bridge. As beautiful as it is in the daytime, its even more spectacular at night.

 Walking across it made me feel small and insignificant, but at the same time, to me, its big arches resembled a big, wide open mouth, and the suspension cables two long, outstretched arms. It reminded me of a Grandmother welcoming me home

  We arrived back at Harrods late, which is a spectacle in itself to see it all lit up at night. London truly never sleeps, and I can totally understand why~ there's just too much to do to want to sleep!


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back Home

What a Trip!
  I had an absolutely fabulous time teaching at the Bath Textile Summer School this year and cant wait to share my trip with everyone. I am back home and busy as ever, totally worn OUT...or 'poop tucker'd '  as daughter would say. On top of that, I am getting sick, but for me, that was the plan~ didn't care how sick I got when I got home...just as long as I was well when I was in England (and France!).  I got home late Saturday night, and the children started school on Monday~ so not even any time to unpack.

   I was greeted with hugs and 'I miss yous' when I came home, which was nice..I think they really did miss me.  I wasnt in the door a minute before Pip presented me with this box, jumping up and down saying open it open it!!
  Am so proud of her~ she made me a whole box full of little food creatures~ stitched them all herself, and this is a BIG accomplishment for her. She spends most of her time during 'Mommy Scouts' trying desperately just to thread her needle.  She wanted them to smell good too, so inside the apple, she put cinnamon in with the stuffing.....but my favorite (the thought, not so much the smell)....inside the lemon, she put Lemon Pepper seasoning out of the spice rack! LOL.  These are going in my special Mommy Box for sure.

And even more surprising, husband missed me too~ Sunday morning when I woke up, there was a new path from the gallery to my new workshop waiting for me complete with lights and pretty flowers~ how cool is that?  Wonder what he will make for me when I am gone to teach at Bath Textile Summer School in 2019????

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Diamond K Folk Art Unavailable Aug 14-28

Teaching at Bath Textile Summer School 

   I am off to the UK soon to teach my 17th c Beadwork workshop at the Bath Textile Summer School  at the Holburne Museum , pictured above.  Super excited to meet my students and see England. I am taking my camera and hope to share some of my travels with ya'll when I return.  

I have had several questions about this years ltd edition Ornament~ it is still coming! I do apologize that it is late coming out this year. I have been focusing on classes and building the new workshop, so am a bit behind (as usual it seems).  

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

on eBay this week!

One of a Kind 17th c Blackwork Slide Top Spool Sewing Box
 So yesterday I shared with you the original embroidery pattern I adapted for my box~  I really love it, it just spoke to me. The minute I saw it, I had a vision of it painted to look like blackwork embroidery. Now days, if one says blackwork, people think of cross stitch and patterns made by back stitches on even weave cloth....17th c blackwork is nothing like that. Above is photo of a coif~ the majority of the shading is done with Fil Turk...or speckling stitch, and all in one color. (the above just happens to be done in red, so I guess, technically its redwork)

 All of the things I make are hand made~ and by hand made, I mean....I actually make it, with my hands. and then, I paint it, with my hands! Its not some cheezy deal on there!  I planed the wood to thickness, cut it, and actually made the box~ yes, I did! Do I follow plans? No. I just thought it up, and make it as I go....it looks the same construction as the last box I made, but is slightly different size because, well, like I said, I make it as I go, so everything fits perfect!  I hand draw the design, after I have designed it, onto the piece, then I paint it, and then varnish over several days. After All that varnish dries, then I finish the inside with a hand made Italian marbled paper....why Italian? Cause its hand made of coarse, and its pretty, and I love it!

 There are 6 coats of black on this piece, to get the deep dark hues and depth that I wanted.

To finish, all is overpainted in real silver ink! I love love love silver~ the black and silver embroidered jackets are some of my all time favorite,  and its high time I put some silver on something. Dont know why I waited so long, because its really beautiful~ its very subtle~ you really dont notice it until you move the box just the right way, and then the light just shines off the silver...and it wont tarnish because its under layers of varnish!

 Inside is a pretty coordinating blue grey peacock pattern marbled paper

Absolutely it is one of a kind~ if you would like to see large pictures where you can really zoom in, it is on offer this week on eBay~ you can see it here , or click on the link to the right in the sidebar to my eBay specials~ (I also have a spool palette on this week if you dont need a whole box!)