Sunday, January 15, 2017

Museum Monday!

Mid 19th c Tambour Embroidered Undersleeves 62.1999.14

The first Museum Monday of  2017 is  lucky number 62! A fine early pair of embroidered lady's undersleeves. I love undersleeves~any lady could own a pair, and a lady of fashion would have several, even dozens of pairs. Undersleeves were worn, you guessed it, under the sleeve~ but not just the big bell sleeves folks usually think of. Undersleeves were a wardrobe necessity, and were worn as a barrier between ones skin and dress sleeve on both short and long sleeves and everywhere inbetween. Of coarse undersleeves provide the perfect canvas for a Lady of means to showcase her own hand embroidery, or super fine handwork hired out, if she was not so skilled, but heavy in the pocketbook! 
This pair of sleeves measure 18" long and are hand embroidered with narrow casing at the top edge for drawstring. Some sleeves were tack stitched into the gowns they were worn with, but most were just tied high up on the arm with a drawstring.
I left the pictures large so you can click on them and enlarge to see details. Many fashion periodicals of the time included embroidery patterns for undersleeves in their publications. This set is unique from all the other sets I have~ at its cuff end is an embroidered frill gathered into a fixed embroidered band. By fixed, I mean, there is no button or hook/loupe adjustment~ it is a solid, 9" embroidered band. 

The embroidery is wonderful and petite~ a tambour hook has been used to work the vines and flowers, and to outline all the circles one can see. The circles are filled with satin stitch, with flower centers being made into eyelets giving the whole flounce a  light, airy feel.

Open centers of the flowers let a bit of skin show thru~

These sleeves are made of muslin~ muslin in the 19th c was very light and sheer~ not like the heavy coarse muslin we buy at the fabric store today.

Looking to the back of the undersleeve, we can appreciate the whole design of the embroidery~ these sleeves were not a cheap machine embroidered flounce hastily set into an insertion of the same....these sleeves were designed as sleeves~ with the fancy embroidery to the front, and to the back, the design tapers to a narrow edging to save precious time and thread for the worker.

 Not only is the flounce its own shaped design, but so it the band~ looking at the center back seam we can see the embroidery was worked as a 9" band and then stitched together~ not cut down from a larger strip of embroidery.

 A simple turned casing at the top ready for a drawstring ~

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Flat Top Casket progress

How Goeth the Busy Snail......
 Its going to be a good year tater...thats what I keep telling myself~ and I think it will be! I have been working on my new 2017 Lt Ed Ornament....going AWESOME..... I have decided to start selling threads this year (more on that later)...and have also decided to take some of my own advise...which is to make time for me this year. I have  a slew of orders I am working on, slate frames, mirror cases, dolls and a couple of new projects.... was right in the 'groove' of things, when Mother Nature decided to whip me upside the head with 14" of snow....her way of telling me to stop the 'D Train' and get off for a while...because I do all of my woodworking outside~ so when weather is bad, I cant work! Last year things really took off for me, and while I feel each and ever order is a blessing,  I dont know if my family shares same views. As a buyer, I dont like waiting for an order~ so as a seller, I dont like to make people wait~ and with my workload, folks are already having to wait....not long, but still! I work all day, each and every day~ 7 days a week~ I take my work on 'vacations'.. I cant sleep some nights so get up and work at 2-3 am....I stay up after everyone goes to bed and work....I fit family things in between, but this year, I am making a rule. Sunday is my day. I'm going to try very hard this year to keep it that way!  I'm not complaining at all, I guess I'm just saying out loud, that I am going to try and manage my time better this year...if that is possible!  
  It's been a while since I have had time to work on my flat top....I think October last year was the last I worked on it~ and its been really calling to me of late~ if I was to say what one thing could recharge my battery....working on my stitching would  be that. It's been so long I cant even remember if I ever shared how my friezes are coming on....this is the back frieze ~ all finished! There are snails on every frieze, and every panel of my casket~ I love snails! Maybe I was a snail in another life....

 Little birdie fellow is in the center of the back frieze with a little worm in his mouth. The front and back friezes are completely finished... only the two sides were left~ so just four more snails to do....

 Just...I say that with a smile because these little buggers are way more difficult for me than they look...matter of fact, they are down right challenging for me to wrap my brain around. Aside from trying to get the spiral lay of the beads to conform to my vision....  I wanted to use different colors for each frieze's snail shells....but beads are mischievous....dare I say sly, sneaky things....they look one color in the pot, but on a thing they can change in an instant land look totally hideous!  Snail on the right came out wonderful~ those two on that side frieze zoomed forth from my fingers like lightning....but the snails on the left~ they gave me grey hair and then some.  El YUCKO!!!!  Two weeks, however many hours it took me to work them both in those hideous colors.....every time I looked at them I cringed....just hideous! Even more, the thought of unpicking everything without ruining the background satin was very intimidating.....but one night, I just couldn't stand it any longer and spent 5 hours...yes, thats right~ 5 hours to unpick the blasted beasts!!

They wanted to be same color as the snails in the other side's frieze...but no I said...we cant have four snails the same color. So I madly searched thru my beads picking and choosing new colors....would string up a few together and nope...not those...those look ok, but they wont fit with the rest of what I have planned on the panels...I really like these two colors....but beads are too big.....what to do...what to do?
It snowed.
Snowed some more....
Snowed and was cold enough my body would not let myself go outside to work....
I found myself standing at my counter with nothing between me and this panel....and there were the beads from the other snail shells...right there...
just sitting there.....
And a half morning after, the sun is out, and low and behold, I have a completed snail shell, and I like it!
Yep...It's gonna be a good year tater!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Is it really 2017

 Happy New Year! Now that its past Christmas I can share one of my favorite slate frames with you all~ nothing brings in a New Year like some gold! I had a special customer that ordered a frame for Christmas~ all she said was to base it on my Flemish Box that I worked a bit ago~

 There is a lot of gold on that box and my following Christmas ornament

 I wanted to make the frame extra special for her for Christmas, so I used real liquid gold for the scrolls and hilites and boy oh boy does it ever sparkle!

 Here I am just starting to add the gold~ in addition to the scrolls, there is gold on the petals and leaves as well~ just like how I embroidered the originals

 One thing I really love about using the liquid gold is how subtle it first you may not even realize there is gold on the piece, but then when you look closer, or move it a certain direction~ the light just dances off in all sorts of directions and makes the surface glow~ soooooo pretty!

 The gold on the top of the trees looks like sunshine

 Scrolling Dutch tulips are perfectly suited for a horizontal slate frame

 I cant wait to paint myself a frame like this~ at the rate I'm going, it may be a few years before I get one~

I couldn't think of a better way to bring in the New Year than working with some 24k gold leaf~ maybe thats how this year will be for everyone~ I hope so! I am gilding casket and mirror case feet this week~ these pictured are mirror case feet that havent been burnished yet. An embroidered casket is special~ if you use the best hardware and the best real gold threads available~ why not give it the best feet available? My casket feet are fr sale in my Diamond K Folk Art blog shop~ link & more info to the right~  cause a girl's just got to have some pretty shoes....

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~