Sunday, March 01, 2015

My Needle Box

A little of this, a little of that....

   I have been prepping for starting my flat op casket, and one of the things that really bothers me is my inability to glue a finished piece of embroidery onto 'something' . Anything.  The originals were glued and I find that whenever I try and glue an embroidery to a flat surface, its absolutely riddled with bubbles in the background.  Of coarse the easiest thing would be to cover the background with embroidery and avoid the whole situation, but I want my background to be unworked~ the dutchess silk satin absolutely glows and is so beautiful! So I designed this little project for more practice, and to try out some different techniques...not to mention I wanted something pretty, something more fitting, to keep my needle in, instead of this~

  A hideous plastic zip bag! I have a few needle books, but I like to keep my needles in their original packages~ this way I can keep better track of if I am getting low on a certain one or not, and I know who made it and what size it is....and a zip bag...well how ugly is that!?

  I am planing all sorts of techniques for my flat top casket~ one being silk wrapped parchment strips. If you are familiar with 17th c stumpwork or caskets, you will probably recognize the silk wrapped parchment loupes often used in the borders of cartouches~ but above here, there are silk wrapped parchment elements included in the lace of this 17th c gown~ I love the little flowers!
 First I made my box from a thick board and covered it with hand marbled paper...I love making boxes!

 Next, a simple embroidery was worked, I wanted lots of open background showing. Two little roses inspired by a favorite antique sampler went center of the cushion, and the waves were worked in 4 silver smooth passing. Real silver spangles added some quaint bling!
 I used wheat paste to glue the silk satin to my box, and of coarse~ STILL full of bubbles and not quite flat~ but better. I try so hard to keep the back of my embroidery FLAT, and am thinking, since doing this little experiment, that perhaps backing the silk satin with paper before working the embroidery, would help with the bubble issue. You can see my trinket box in the background~ and may be asking, well, that was flat~ so what is your problem??? Well... I cheated on my trinket box. I guess its not really cheating....but I didn't glue the panels on~ I tacked them on over a light padding, like in upholstery.  When it comes time to mount the embroidery to my casket, I do not want to still be experimenting with techniques.  I like how the cushion turned out, like it aLOT actually~ but see on the side~ there are bubbles. One cannot just add more glue, or it will soak thru the fabric.
  I love my parchment flowers! I am planing many parchment elements on my flat top! Cant wait to start!!!
 There is lots of room for my needles now, so all in all, it was a good learning experience, and tho my background still has bubbles and I'm not happy with that...I have a pretty little needle box I didn't have last week.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spring Airs

Early spring of each year is when the flat storage gets unpacked, unfolded, checked to make sure there are no condition changes, and repacked in new acid free materials. Its exhausting! I don't have many quilts, but I do have a hand full and this year the Mary Lower Quaker quilt is out to air for a little while. All her 10'x10' glory is carefully folded and hung up on my wall~ I love this quilt!

 It is another world to be able to study a quilt up close, rather than from 20 feet away behind a rope barrier. From afar, the Lower quilt looks like just another rather hum drum patchwork...but up close, its really fabulous. Within the center of each block, are inked inscriptions to Mary, from Mary~ from her family & friends, each also containing a specific date, from early 1842-1846.
 Of coarse I have a real affinity for early printed cottons, and this quilt is an absolute treasure of them. No two are alike, and in reading the inscriptions, one could speculate on if the fabrics for that certain block were given by that particular person. I have no doubt that Mary stitched the quilt together herself, and that at least, she gave the plain white central blocks to her friends & family to inscribe, as they are all different handwriting.



Some like this block, have little inked pictorial drawings on them~ like one would see in a book form friendship album of the time

  Quite a few blocks with men's names commemorate the making and dedication of the Monument for the Battle of Bunker Hill, one noting that the President came on that day
 This is one of several blocks pen'd by Mary herself~ it reads
 "As my name is now surrounded by the names of many friends, so may our spirits meet in Heaven. Mary M Lower Norristown 1846"
 This is the latest block and probably the last one she pieced before setting them all together.

 A quilt such as this holds a record of her friends and family, and places she visited within a brief window of a few precious years in the early 1840s. There are memorial blocks for her grandparents, deceased siblings and relatives, as well as blocks from friends.  I have to wonder if she knew, when making it, it would serve as such an important family genealogical record. I think she did, and for those of you who quilt, I hope you will always sign and date your work permanently~ either on the front as part of its design,  or on the back in a stitched on label. Sometimes its hard to realize that some thing that we make will outlast us for so many generations ~ but they do! Memories fade....papers get lost....but if your words are scrolled from your own hand, onto your stitching itself, one can rest peacefully that the work of thy hand will never be forgotten or become anonymous

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Original 1850 Izannah Walker Doll Ambrotype on eBay this week

 If you love early cloth dolls by Izannah Walker~ this early ambrotype is available on eBay this week~ just click on the link to my eBay specials on the sidebar.  This is the time of year when I have to repack the flat storage and air quilts and such, and have also begun a bit of spring cleaning. I can't keep everything, and images of the early Izannah's are just as much, if not more rare than dollys themselves~ this should go to an Izzy lover, or, better yet, to an Izannah collector who perhaps has this particular dolly, wouldn't that be just wonderful.  Ladye Calicoe is still available as well, and I have added a make an offer button for her, so if you love her~ please do feel free to make me an offer~ I love to share!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Painted Ladies of Stumpwork

My Flora~
  The interest in my Flora Ladye has caught me by surprise~ I have received so many wonderful emails~ thankyou!   I had not planned on showing her again until she was merrily finished within her cartouche on the top of my flat top casket...but she was a bit embarrassed at the thought of her photo with no makeup on being on the blog for so long...so here she is after paint and glaze. I have been working on my glaze & technique to refine it a bit, especially for the small stumpwork figures to make the crackles extra tiny to match~ to not really be noticeable until one looks closely. Here she is in a bit of a shadow with the light hitting just right to really bring them out, head on they are much more mellow
  I can see her with her hair and flowers in my mind, and must say, I am very excited about her and think she is going to be FAB~U ~LOUS!

 And here is my little mermaid Tao~(short for Taromina)....when I lived in Sicily I went every chance I got, just to hang out and soak up the atmosphere...not to mention kind people, wonderful food~ if there is a Heaven on earth....its probably Taormina. Anyway~ here she is~ her tail will be all stumpwork, as will her hair. I added a little finial to her mirror last night~ a weensie natural seed pearl and bit of coral.  Being Valentine's Day today, I have to wonder if she is dreaming of some wiley~ bo hunk merman as she is gazing into her mirror........
  Speaking of the 'V' Day today~ I hope yours is wonderful~ tho in my opinion, I don't need one specific day of the year to tell someone I love them...I do it and show it every day!   XOXOXOXOX

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sculpting Weensie Stumpwork Figures

  I bet you can Guess what one of them is.....

  Having got my business taxes all in order for the accountant earlier this week (YAY!), I have been merrily sculpting on some stumpwork figures~ I must say, some of the tiniest pieces I have ever sculpted! I bet you can guess what the figure in the very front will be!  These are for my flat top casket~ the beadwork one~ I am working on two more girls today, and between their different stages of drying, I have been sanding and further carving these ladies
  This precious precious is for the lid, she is a little larger and I was able to give her a pair of very rare, tiny tiny antique glass eyes. J'adore!  I have a very few pair of these wee little eyes, late 18th c, made for insetting into wooden Queen Anne dolls. I think shes gonna be just dreamy, and hopefully Ill be painting her later on today..she needs a little more work still
Wee little hands beginning to take shape~  I really dislike sculpting hands, but I love sculpting fingers~ doesn't make any sense....
  Have you guessed what she is yet????  Yep~ a mermaid!  Quite a pain in the tuccass I may add...her blasted arms just will not cooperate, I have cut them off and resculpted them 4 times now I think.... at this scale, I cannot just sculpt an arm or hand and then bend it around into position..heck I cant even grab them at all. I make a rough sculpt, then have to let it dry, then carve with my knife and sand sand sand it into submission. I am thinking this set will be good enough, arms need more shaping, but I'm definitely NOT starting them from scratch again!  She holds a comb in her rear hand, and will hold a mirror in the front one

mmm...yes. A little. tiny. weensie. impossible to hold onto while you try and whittle it out of maple, mirror. I painted her reflection inside of it....
 And then covered it with a thin sheet of mica. It is a bit choppy down by the handle so she can grab it~ believe it or not, it was easier to cut a hunk out of it for her fingers to fit, rather than try and change her fingers..... they like to pop right off at the slightest bit of 'adjustment'

Sunday, February 08, 2015

New Grodnertal on eBay this week!

'Oh!      My Lace!'
  Here we are ready to leave for listing on eBay, and Ladye Calicoe has stopped to tie her shoe lace once again....I had no idea she could not tie a double knott!  If you would like to meet her, you can find her  here on eBay.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

New Queen Anne on eBay this week!

Mariah

 I can here my Ma already "And they call the wind...Mariah...."  When I was little,  I had a purebred Russian Blue kitty, and her name was Mariah....so it was only fitting I give my Queen Anne that name, cause, well, she is special.  You cant tell from first glance, but I have given her the most gorgeous set of inset sea water blue glass cat eyes you have never seen!  I love making dollys and giving them something totally unexpected~ you can check her out by clicking on the link in the sidebar to my eBay Specials~ she is on eBay this week!