Friday, April 11, 2014

New Higgs William & Mary Dollye

on eBay this Week!

  Its been a while since I had a new dolly ready to meet you!  This is Pitter Pat~ a darling shy little Higgs girl and she would love to meet you & say hello~ you can stop by and chat with her on eBay here ~ or just click on my eBay specials link on the sidebar.   I don't oft do the William & Mary era Higgs type dolls, so if you have been waiting for one I hope she will entertain your consideration~ unlike the originals with their furled brows, she has a cunningly sweet disposition!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

17th c Padded Mirror Case Finishing Instructions

Detailed Instruction!

   For those who have purchased a padded mirror case, I am setting up a new dedicated blog that I will be posting detailed instructions for finishing the case onto as I complete my own.  Can we say FUN!?  YES!!!


I will still post progress pictures here, but only those who purchase a mirror case will have access to the mirror blog. It will be in progression, with detailed step by step photos and instruction  for

*gilding/ applying gold leaf
*papering the outside & inside
*inside silk linings and tufted paddings
*how to choose trims & types of trims
*how to choose the right period correct marbled paper pattern
*ground fabrics
*applying your finished embroidery to the top & face
~ and since I am beading mine~
*3 dimensional padded beadwork 
*beaded figural stumpwork (people)
*laid/couched beadwork
*wired edge Twilling  (the technique used in my beaded basket)
~ and I'm sure plenty more!~


Thursday, April 03, 2014

The Midas Touch....

Is it really April already???

   I can hardly believe how fast time is zooming by!  The children's Spring vacation has come and gone and its April now??? Really? Where the heck did March go to?  I have been working overtime making padded mirror cases for those who want them~ I only have so many clamps in my little shop, so things go a little s.l.o.w. there...but I want them to be perfect! They are all lovingly hand made, not machined and mass produced by the hundreds :)
  In between different steps, I squeeze in the Mommy things~ some milestones were had this vacation!  We are blessed to have the river run thru our property here on the Olde Madrid Plaza, so it is no secret that my children love the river! If they are not swimming in it...(which, yes, I did get that question of Mom~ Can we go swimming????  this past week) then they are fishing~ each has their own favorite spot.  I was outside antiquing mirrors when my son came running back all out of breath and holding out his hand....I was SURE there was a frog or something in there that would jump out at my face....which is what normally happens~ but nope! not this time!  He came running back home to show me the arrowhead he found~ a pretty little pink agate one, just the tip missing~ its the first one he has ever found.  He had dropped his sunflower seeds, bent over to pick them up and there it was, waiting for him!
   Yetti is most content to watch over his kiddos while they're fishing
  I love this picture~ doesn't Pip just look so proud of her fish!!!?  Well... there is much angst behind that smile let me tell you!  Earlier in the morning, she went fishing with her brother and sister....she had been getting little nibbles on her line, and her brother came over to help her cast...well you guessed it...he cast the fish hit the line as soon as it hit the water and Josh caught her fish! (letting her reel it in did not occur to him evidently) ....so up to the house she came, absolutely carrying on crying and devastated and I got the whole sobby story of how Josh stole her fish!  So I made them lunch, and back to the river we went to catch her another one~ it worked!
  Em did quite well too~ we had trout for supper that night. She loves crawfish so we had to take off a morning and go crawfishing, but she only caught 13, so we let them go and will try in a few weeks when its a bit warmer...
   Aside from a pair of Higgs Queen Anne dolls I am currently working on, and trying to get my china painting finished for the Convention in June, I did manage to squeek in a little work on my own padded mirror case, which was gilding the bun feet. It is so much fun!  After just one foot I could feel the urge setting in to gold leaf everything in sight.  I am so proud of these feet~ turned from solid maple from my own design which is not to skinny...not to round...just the right pot belly proportions!  Gilding is so easy~ 24k gold sheets are placed on over a sizing and carefully brushed out smooth
  One should technically use an agate burnisher to bring them to brilliant shine, but as I was gently massaging with my finger to get rid of the excess gold flake, which is saved,  I liked the look and decided to go no further. (You can see all sorts of stages of padded mirror cases in progress behind me..there's wood everywhere!)
 After a coat of clear UV protectant, these are ready to go on my case. I think I will gild the edges to match...perhaps~ must get it papered first!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hand Marbled Papers & Silk Linings....

What to Choose?

   Decisions! Decisions!   I have been trying to decide what paper to pair with what silk for the lining of my padded mirror case~ I have so many favorites its just so hard to choose one combination!  I thought I would share some of my favorites here on the blog~ some that I really liked but didn't make my final cut! This first one I think will most likely be the lining of choice for my double casket, I just love love love the pink silk taffeta and coral silk velvet along with this paper~ the little bubbles are lined in gold flake so will have to use the gold stamped edging paper instead of the silver I had planed on using...which is probably a good thing. I have a bad habit of sticking to things I like and not wanting to try anything new~ if we go out to eat..I always order the same thing~ they don't even give me a menu anymore!  Same for metal laces and trims, I always prefer silver over gold for some reason...so using this pink paper will force me to try something new!
   Now here is a close second favorite~ I adore this green silk taffeta and just HAVE to use it on something! This scrap I have left from a doll dress, but it should be enough to line a something....or pad a something... or make a pincushion for something....just don't know what yet!  The paper its laying on has so many wonderful colors, I really like the green with the yellow...and I really like the green with the rust orange in the bottom left hand corner~ when I am purchasing hand made marbled papers, I always choose the largest paper they can provide, it makes for so many more possibilities and 'fussy cuts' all out of one sheet with the same color values
  Pictured here is the wode blue taffeta and velvet available in Tricia's shop~ I love it with these very 'un~blue' colors!  Don't think that because you have one color of silk that you need to look for a paper in that same color family~ opposites do attract and can look so stunning together!
I just had to include this last paper cause I love it so much~ the scale is way too big for my case or a casket...but perhaps it could make its way to the lining of a casket case? Who knows! I thought you would enjoy seeing it tho~ and as for what I actually picked to use for my lining...well I'm keeping it a secret cause its a color I don't think I EVER would have picked if it wasn't sitting right in front of my nose already! I'll be sharing it soon~

 Here is the link to the Thistle Threads silk selections here if you are interested~ marvelous 17th c period correct colors~ just yummy!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

17th Reproduction Padded Mirror Cases


   There has been so much interest in my case I have decided to offer them for sale. It takes me about 4 weeks to make one. I will fill orders in the order they are received~ if you are interested in learning more about them and what is offered, I posted them for sale in the Diamond K Folk Art Blog Shoppe~ just click on the link at right in the sidebar. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me and ask!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

17th C Padded Mirror Cases

For A Prized Looking Glafs
   To gaze upon one's own reflection in a looking glass was a privilege afforded by only the affluent upper glass and Nobility in the 17th c , and actually well into the 18th.  King Louis's (XIV) Great Hall of Mirrors he had installed in the Palace of Versailles drew visitors from around the world, no one believed it possible~ to be so vain to have a look at ones self from all angles...and that it was physically possible in the first place. Mirrors were a marvel in the 17th c, and so highly coveted that cases such as these were made to protect them.  The photos above and below show a case sold by Leslie Hindman~ you can see the auction here
   You can see they are quite flat, set up on marvelous bun feet, with a narrow padded compartment within that protects the mirror held within the lid
   What is amazing, is that all of the examples I have found, save for one, are this same design of King Charles & Catherine~ the designs are so nearly identical that one could speculate they were sold as kits
  The designs are beaded on a silk satin ground, just like many of the beaded baskets of the same era

  The case above is held at the Art Institute of Chicago, you can see it here

   And this one, at Knaresborough Castle, you can see it here~


   My good friends at the Maidstone Museum in Kent hold two wonderful examples~ this one above still a case, you can just see the fluted bun feet sticking out the bottom ...
 
 And this one, nearly identical, has been unpicked from its case and stitched together into a large panel .  If it weren't for the subject matter, I may have not realized it was once cover for a padded mirror case...which begs me to ask now, how many others have been unpicked and framed up? The large spacious area of the lid just begs for something large and involved to be worked upon it....and as we can see blow, not all  of these cases were done up with the King & Queen..... (my theory is that a mirror case would have been the most precious of gifts to myLadye for her wedding day, hence the betrothal /love couple design on the lid)
 Martha Edlin's padded mirror case held here  at the Victorian & Albert Museum shows both beadwork and counted work on a silk satin ground, along with her initials and date of 1673.

 I particularly like this beadwork panel from a past Skinner auction (here)   , and think it would look
 f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s- as the lid of a padded mirror case....and along that note,  why bead one at all?  I do think it curious why I have yet to find an example in raised stumpwork, as the form simply begs for it and is so well suited at a finished size of 14x17".
   I am very excited to announce that I have been working hard these last few months on perfecting my own reproduction of a padded mirror case, and that I will be offering them for sale next week as a fundraiser for the Museum for those would would like to bead or embroider their own. Based on the dimensions of the originals, each is hand made in pine, one at a time, by myself, for a wonderful tabletop piece that no 17th c Ladye would ever want her dressing table to be without....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mommy Scouts.....

I Love Being a Mommy...

   There is no greater joy in the world for me than being a Mother...absolutely nothing compares!  I just had to share this little sticky Pip left me this weekend~ it was on my desk Sundaye morning.... it reads

 'For Mommy Scouts~ I am going to try to thred my needle today, love Pip'   

 It just thrilled me to death and its already made its way to the  'Mommy Box' where special little notes and things the kids make me go.   Every Sunday I have 'Mommy Scouts' with Emma & Pip. It lasts around 2 hours, and we start off discussing history of a close Holiday, or sometimes they pick an object in one of the Museum cases and we talk about it...then its on to their sewing, or gardening,  and we end with baking a snack or something special.  Currently I am teaching them how to cross stitch, and they are each working on a little bookmark. For Pip, the most challenging thing is threading her needle. If she makes a mistake in her stitches, I make her rip them back out, so she ends up spending the majority of her time threading that needle!
   At the rate we are going, it will take quite a few Sundayes to finish her little ducky on her bookmark, but like me I guess, she already has bigger plans~ she loves one of my Spring Punkins and has asked me to chart her out to stitch~ that would be kind of fun actually :)  She is in 2nd grade and still makes some of her letters backwards...I wish they would just stay little forever!
 Here is Ladye Strawberry Banke, ready for Spring to sprout new little strawberry blossoms.  She is one of Pip's favorites.   I bet you didn't realize Punkins love strawberries!