Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Something Utterly Wicked This Waye Comes.....

For those strong of Heart... with a deep & curious imagination for all things dark & magical~
 A Wonderful & Wicked Something This waye if Comming....

 7pm  Saturdaye 20 Sept, 2014 on the Diamond K Folk Art Blog

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Witches in Autumn 2014 Prims Issue

At your Favorite Bookstore Now!

  I am so honored to be included in the current issue of Prims Magazine, out now in your favorite bookstore!
 The Haagar Sifsters will entertain you with a four page article toward the back~  and when your all Hallowe'end out, there are plenty of frostys and Santas to get your minds churning away for Christmas...which at the rate things are going for me, will be tomorrow!!
 I am getting alot of emails for Halloweenies, which if you have something very particular in mind, I am always happy to entertain custom orders, which lately have been taking up the bulk of my time~ but I am working on a few special witchy~poos and a Grande Punkin Eater that will be offered soon ~ so keep checking back, they're on their way!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

As I Promised...

  I love my early china dollys!  Poor little Sarah has been nekkid for so long. When I bought her, she had the most hideous 1950s made dress on, the sight of it made us both ill! I then found this lovely gown, and she liked it very much...but I didn't....
 Well, I did like it.... but it was white! It was stitched beautifully and all original to her period~ then along came a ladye who really wanted it for her dollye, so I gave in and sold it. Even tho it was white, I should have kept it...yep, shouldn't have sold it. But I did, and I have promised I would find Dear Sarah another prettier gown to wear ever since.  There are an absolute plethora of whites available...whites whites whites...but Sarah did not want a plain white dress. So I have been looking and looking, and poor girl was just tired of waiting, so Mamma promised if we didn't find a period gown over her nap this summer, I would make her one
 I have quite a large chunk of the lining of an old quilt made for a 4 poster bed~ its a fabulously thin early block print cotton ...quite a bit earlier than Sarah, but something a girl would have had around in Mamma's scrap bag to make dollye a dress out of. She chose a popular fan front style
 Dress doesn't look bad without the sleeves does it?  Sarah is an oddly rather plump shaped girl~ that's one of the reasons its so hard to find original gowns to fit the early dolls~ their bodies all hand made and proportions unique to themselves~ one cannot just look at the shoulder to hem measure of an old dress and have it fit. Her chest is very broad & full, tiny waist, and not much body at all! Her legs are extremely short with fashion feet
 Her arms are stuffed very firm with horsehair~ so in making sleeves I had to give her something that would slip over them easily without having to have them bend, because they wont! All of my other early dolls of this period still retain their original clothing, and are all wearing the popular pagoda shape, or bell sleeves~ I have to imagine that part of the reason, aside from them being in fashion at the time, was because they were the easiest to get the dolls in and out of.  Little piping at the waist and neck are the only simple embellishments
 Look at those chubby feet! They are so short and broad over the foot I dont think I will ever find her shoes....I thought perhaps she could wear these little red ones I have, but nope, too long, way too long and clumsy looking on her. She will just have to wait a bit longer.....
She is happy to join the girls~ Abby, Sophie and Joy(you can just see her feet there) are getting ready for Pip's birthday today~ nine years old already! The girls are all giggling and trying to remember back when they were just nine years old.....

 Addendum~  Priscilla has asked about Sarah's ugly dress in the comments, so here it is!
 As you can see, it was newly thrown together and did not suit her nature. Priscilla also asked the ages of the girls in the picture~ large girl on the far left is Abbigail Blake,  her(or her owners) actual name inked on her body~ she and Sophie sitting next to her in the green dress are c1840-50 girls. Sarah is a little later in period, 1855-1860~ the mold of her exposed ears is not a common one~ she has no ringletts around the sides or back of her head.
To answer yet another question, yes, textiles were so precious they were used and reused and reused again. I do not, nor have I ever partaken in the cutting  of early clothes or finished textiles (quilts, coverlets, runners, church garb) to use in my doll making. My hands would literally not be able to cut, never. I do run across pieces tho at sales and such, unpicked large hunks are very rare these days. The fabric I bought that I used for Sarah's dress I bought as actual yardage wrapped tight in a sack at the International Quilt Festival in Houston several years ago...it wasn't until I unwrapped it after I returned home that I found it was in two large pieces, a right and left, each with cut outs for the post at the foot of the bed. I also found several little snippets of string every here and there, telling me it was indeed once a lining of a tied quilt or coverlet.  Flat yardage I have no problem with cutting~ I can think of no better way to honor the textile itself, and all the hard work and skill that went into its making, than by using it to dress an early dollye

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Exciting! Possible Padded Mirror Case Panel Found!

Beaded of Coarse!

    SO very exciting for me to have found another possible padded mirror case panel~ why so exciting you ask??? Because it is the only panel that I have found, other than Martha Edlin's, that is not worked in the Bethrothal Scene! It actually looks as tho it was never finished~ the actual lid is finished, as well as the North and South borders~ but the East & West have been patched in and are worked in silk thread and not beads. Or it could have been taken from a deteriorated case and framed later, without close examination it is impossible to tell. The dimensions are nearly the same as the other mirror cases I have studied. I stumbled across the photo in a cached section of Christies website the other night, and was not able to track it back to an actual auction listing, so have no idea when it was sold, but I'm still working on it.

Of the six known padded mirror cases, 5 of them bear the Bethrothal Scene. The Miadstone Museum in Kent holds two~ an actual padded mirror case, and a worked panel that has been framed, shown above. 

I'm positive that if I keep looking, I will find a padded mirror case one day that is worked in regular stumpwork and not beaded

Thursday, August 28, 2014

And the Winner Is.........

P. Smith Thomas! Congratulations!!
   I will be sending your butterfly pin disk kit out as soon as you get back to me with your mailing address ;)
For those that are wondering.... the Total Number of Beads used on my Padded Mirror Case is....
  111,170 Beads, with a Total Working Time of  433 hours, 12 minutes. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

An Early 18th c Swaddling Cover

It is no secret I adore baby things...but this set, so simple, so humble...it takes my breath away.  In ancient times, babies were swaddled~ tightly wrapped in linen bands in layers, all of them pin'd together~ to keep baby quiet and content. For presentation, and special occasion, such as a Christening, a fancy cover was made to adorn the otherwise usually plain linen band the baby was wrapped in. I say, usually, because most were a simple unadorned band of linen~ there are several extant examples tho of the linen embellished with cutwork and needle lace such as reticilla, common in the late 17th and early 18th c.  To find a body cover is exceedingly rare, but it, together with both  matching mitts and head cloth is near miraculous!
 All four pieces are made from the same very fine linen with applied designs using the same linen stitched into little bands and then pleated into place. The square piece, roughly 19cm square, I believe to be a head cloth, which was placed underneath the baby's head during the Christening ceremony. It is It is obvious the set was meant for a Christening occasion from the nature of the embellished designs upon it~ there are two smaller crosses incorporated into an overall larger design
which in itself, forms yet another cross
 The body cover is cut from a single rectangle with a small cutout for the baby's neck to fit. A double frill of linen was then stitched round three sides, and at center front was originally hemmed to remain an open flounce, but then whoever used it, decided to tack the frill closed in two places. From shoulder to bottom it measures 41cm long, and 21cm wide
It has a quaint folky feel to the decoration~ one can tell the maker put much love into each and every stitch. A heart fills the bottom most motif
Trinity and two crosses form the center
Above, what looks like a butterfly or perhaps an angel~ with another heart at the center top
Behind the outer frill there is enough exposed surface of the piece for it to pin to the swaddling bands, and there are feint prick holes here from doing so
The presence of the mitts, along with the size of the body cover, tell us the child was not a newborn. It was half swaddled leaving the hands free, which, could not have been presented in society without them properly being covered. The flared cuffs are framed in the same linen as the other pieces
The separate thumbs carefully inserted, with no fold back on the finger opening over the hands
Livy's hands are sculpted closed so she could not model the mitts for you, but she was very happy to show you how the set would have looked on a baby
Looking from this angle, doesn't the bottom and top  most motifs look like angels to you? They do to me!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Padded Mirror Case Class Questions

I have been getting alot of questions about the case and so wanted to share some of the popular ones here for those who want to ask, but havent yet!

1. step by step instruction~ YES!  By step by step, I mean, STEP. by STEP from opening the box and pulling the case out of it, to beadwork, design, papering the inside and outside, linings, installing mirror and hardware~ EVERYTHING!!   
 1a. The step by step instruction is obtained thru a private online blog, which you will  be able to read after your case is purchased ( I must add you ). You can zoom along, or crawl, at your own pace~ THERE IS NO TIME LIMIT FOR FINISHING.  I have been posting the steps as I have been going along.
2. Aside from the lining and finishing instructions, the working instruction is for BEADWORK, tho I have  ladies working their cases in regular stumpwork
3. Deviation from my printed pattern is ENCOURAGED!!!
4. Antique Beads are NOT INCLUDED, *BUT*, I do provide sources for you to acquire them, I myself provide a search service if you are looking for something real particular, and YES~ I DO SELL some of my weensie antique beads in the bead shop on the 'For The Ladye' blog, which is the class blog.
5. All hardware and MIRROR are included with the case~ you may choose to have me antique your mirror at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE
6. Yes, this is a great smaller project~ its very basic in form, perfect to practice papering and getting your interior finishing skills down before moving on to a more elaborate box with drawers and all sorts of nooks and crannies. The total elapsed time for mine was 27 April 2014~ 19 Aug 2014....I have four children, a high school senior graduation and summer trip, making case carcasses and my doll business all figuring in within that time frame, so it really does work up quick
7. It takes me apx 1 month from start to finish to make a case, YES~ they are hand made by ME, only ME, one at a time in solid Pine and Ash
8. Shipping is not included in initial purchase price, when I finish your case, you will then be billed exact shipping to your locale~ 
9. Do I offer Layaway? YES!!  I have no set sched~ whatever works for you, can work for me as well~ just let me know what you have in mind.