Monday, July 24, 2017

Museum Monday

c1750 Baby Bonnet
 This summer's (rather sporadic) Museum Monday is a charming baby bonnet from the mid 18th c, 745.2013.63.  It is a deaccession from the Met's costume collection, and I am honored to be its keeper. One sees so many white baby caps...if you are 'into' early baby clothes, usually all one can see stretching endlessly in front of them is a sea of whites~ white gowns, nappys, caps, bonnets, breeches, petticoats~ everything is white....so it seems....but in truth, early childrens and infant's clothing was quite colorful.  This blue and salmon color combination was a favorite in the 18th C.

 Bonnet is made of an outside layer of thin tissue silk or lustring, and lined inside in a thick napped wool. The construction is somewhat unique, being made up of 5 tapered segments. I have seen a handful of segmented baby bonnets, none of which have a definitive date attached with them. The Met estimated this one's date to be between 1750-60. (I have yet to find reference to a segmented baby bonnet in early fashion plates, tho I have found womens day caps with somewhat similar segmentation in an 1805 fashion plate).  Hand made silk fly braid trim covers the seams of each segment.

 The center crown ends in a large loupe of fly braid ~ not quite making a full pom, but still a nice finish that trembles about then the cap is moved. 

  Fly fringe is made by knotting strands of filament silk, cutting the ends to make little tufts, and then working the tufts of knotted silk into a braid or woven tape trim. There are salmon colored tufts and white & navy blue stripe tufts to coordinate perfectly with the blue and salmon colored silks of the cap.

 The face edge is trimmed in box pleated loosely woven silk gauze

Inside the cap is lined with wool. The nap has been brushed up and left slightly long making for a super buttery soft cushion for baby's head. The same segmented construction is on the inside lining, as the outside. Face and neck edges are bound in skye blue silk to finish. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer Greetings

From Yellowstone National Park
  I hope you all are having a wonderful summer(or winter!). I have been so busy this summer~ we just returned from a trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, so thought I would share some pictures with ya'll. It takes us 2 days to drive to the Park from here in southern Colorado. While husband and children think its 'boring', I find it quite enjoyable. Looking over the plains to the east as far as the eye can see its easy for me to understand why my Grandma Tressa didn't like visiting Washington from Kansas...(.there were too many trees for her and she felt too closed in.) I think its beautiful.

  We always spend our first night in Thermopolis, Wy. Its a really neat little place, they have the world's largest mineral hot spring in town, and just outside of town, we stayed at the Fountain of Youth R.V. Park. (above) You can see the hot mineral springs here~ all natural~ in the early 1900s, they were actually drilling for oil right behind where I took the picture from, and hit this hot thermal spring~ the water comes out of the spring 130 degrees f, and flows at a rate to completely replace all the water in the 3 large cooling pools  every 11 hours.  Not only did husband and children enjoy all afternoon, but they had to have one more hot dip in the morning before we left.

 Also in Thermopolis is the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Its a little gem of a place~ they have one of the largest assembled dinosaur fossils in the US, and if you want to dig around and find an actual fossil, you can go on a day dig~ its all on their website. This little cutie was my favorite of all the fossils there... a bird called Phamphorhynchus sp. , 150 million years old from the late Jurassic period...if you look closely at the beak, just look at all those teeth!!!!  Something tells me it probably didnt eat nuts......

  Walking amongst the assembled fossils really makes one feel small and very insignificant

  Yellowstone is beautiful any time of year, but early spring is wonderful because everyone has their babies out frolicking. Baby buffalo are referred to as 'red dogs' because they are so red.  (There was still snow in the upper elevations while we were there). I love the buffalo, they are my favorite part of visiting the park.

  Second favorite, is Old Faithful Inn.  No...not Old Faithful Geyser, but the Inn itself.  I love it and if they ever had a winter program to be the closed in Innkeeper, IM THERE! 

   Just aside the Inn is Hamilton's Store~ my absolute favorite building, because the front and porch is composed entirely out of natural knotts and burls. 

  We stayed in Madison campground, and mama elk had their new little babies out aside the river. Elk babies have spots just like deer do~ soooooo cute.

 Every day we got to see some Buffalo~ they roam peacefully around the park....but just before we got there, we heard on the radio, some idiot extraordinaire tried to pet one on the boardwalk and got head butted and sent to hospital. Rangers said their havent been any gorings yet this year, but its still early and there are always a few, so REALLY...HONEST~ the animals in Yellowstone are wild creatures~ its not a zoo...they are not tame pets!!!!  

 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone...spectacular, no picture could ever reproduce being there

  This is above Tower Fall, getting up into the Lamar Valley...hello...Beautiful! Wish you were here!

 Old Faithful Geyser~ just as Grande as ever

 Coming home thru Grand Tetons National Park.  If you have never been to Yellowstone, I highly recommend! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Museum Monday

'Fontange'

    Today we get both a look at some precious bits, as well as a possibly new vocabulary word for you~ 'Fontange'.  If you are interested in early fashion, you may have seen the tall lace head pieces, as seen above, and wondered what they were called. The Fontange is a term used to describe the tall front facing headdress that was popular for a very short time to the end of the 17thc~ apx 1680~1700.  It is named for one of King Louis XIV mistresses, the Marquis de Fontange. She is said to have lost her cap while hunting with him, and the way she hastily tied it up, he liked, so other members of court swiftly followed with the new fashion. Pieces of lace literally jetted upward from the front of the head, and were supported with wire to keep them standing. Many had lappets to each side, the length of which also told the social status of the wearer.  In the engraving above, a young girl is shown wearing a smaller version of the Fontange.

  Above is a painting, done in 1695, of Prince James and his sister, Princess Louisa Stuart. This is so far, the youngest depiction of a Fontange on a child I have found..but if they were so popular with both adults and children..certainly babies would have had their own version.... I have seen just one small bonnet before in a private collection with a Fontange front. Until now, I can say~

   Livy is happily modeling a newborn Fontange for you~ actually, two separate pieces, both from a marvelous 32 piece swaddling set that contains not only two Fontange caps, but two staybands as well.  They are of coarse a bit limp, as I believe they would have been starched to hold them erect when originally worn. Pretty stayband would have also been pin'd to her shoulders close up to the face, to keep her little head from wobbling about.

   Atop this picture is the little cap she is wearing, and below, the stayband.  Many today mistakenly think of a stayband as something worn round the middle, such as a 'binder',  but in the 15-18th centuries it was a band of cloth worn over the head, long enough to reach both shoulders on a swaddled baby, and was pin'd at the shoulders to keep the head still. 

 The stayband still has its original back ties, and as well, one of the little tabs can be seen to the top left~ this was pind to the cap at the back of the babies head. The ties fit directly at the nape of the babies neck.

Since there are no known images(to me) of a swaddled infant with a Fontange cap~ if you know of a source, please let me know!  I am experimenting with the pieces and trying to figure out how they would have been worn, and think I have it correct above on Livy~ she wears a long bib first, with cap over that, and then the stayband on lastly. It is the only piece with tiny pleated trim, as seen above.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

an Heirloom Quality Box on eBay this week

One of a Kind Flemish Slide Top Spool Box

I have been working on a special, Heirloom quality box to offer and have it up for sale this week on eBay~ you can find it here , or click the link in the sidebar to me eBay specials.   I have over 42 hours of work into painting this box, aside from actually making it, and finishing the isnide.  I wanted to make something special, that there will only be ever just ONE of~ so if you like it, feel free to bid on it!  For the hours I have put into it, the start price is a steal of a deal~ I challenge you to find anyone else to produce a nice slide top box and paint it for less~  So many times people will not bid on my eBay auction, and instead ask me to make them one of whatever it is I have offered~ not so on this piece. I will not take orders ~ this is the ONLY one

 If you want something really special and pretty to hold your stitchy needfuls, that no one else will EVER have~ please, go check it out!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Workin My Fingers to the Bone

 My Dayes of Frostbite & Sunburns are over!!!

   I have been working overtime double triple and beyond the past few months, and today, today! I spent my first 'quiet time' painting in my new woodshop! woo hooo!!!!!!  For our 25th wedding anniversary, husband bought me a 10x20 Weather King Lofted Barn...well...I should rephrase that...he wanted to get a 30' long and skinny tube of a building....but I have been pining for a lofted barn for at least the last 5 years, and no Sir...I would not give in! As excited as I was to see it being delivered....I also got kind of overwhelmed~ I had a lot of work to do to get it ready for me. 
 As I work now, my embroidery and wood are all in the same areas~ if I have to do any cutting, sanding, planing ect....I have to dig out my equipment, drag it outside, set it up....then work out in the weather...so in the winter I literally freeze my tuccass and fingers off, and in the summer I get the most horrible sunburns!  If its raining, I cant do anything~ so alot of my work sched is dependent on the weather. 
Well....not any more!


  See the dirt to the left of me here under the building....as I am signing for my shop....thats 12 ton of road base that I spread out~ and then my son & I got up close and personal with a 'jumping jack' tamper to get it all level. This stuff is harder than cement once its compacted. 

  The ditch for the new electric ...120 feet long and 4 and half feet deep....and yes, I got to fill it all back in by hand...plus another 18 ton of road base I got to spread out over the driveway afterwards...took me over a week...never want to see another pile of dirt for at least a couple of years.  

 Weather King makes awesome buildings~ you can even design your own on their website. I chose the lofted barn with the two big doors, so I can wheel  my tablesaw outside onto the deck when I need to cut something big...and  the two lofts above give me plenty of storage~ one side for wood, the other for all my packing/shipping materials. After the electric was finished, next came insulation.

Peg board wonderful pegboards! I have always loved them~ I can hang all my tools and wood so I can seeeeeeee everything~ oh it will be glorious for sure!

In the midst of working on the shop, I have been finishing up prep for class in August~ 54 pages of step by step instructions back from the printer, ready to go! I really am looking forward to getting all my woodworking things into their own space, so I can get back to having my embroidery out full time, instead of piles of wood everywhere...and I mean EVERYWHERE! 

Things getting messy.....but progressing

Nearly done~ got my work bench made in the center, that I can move around, with benches round the walls

Done and varnished! I have soooo much bench space now~ I can work on cabinets and cases and slate frames and boxes all at the same time~ going to be fantabulous. Shelves round the entire shop to put up all my tools
So I finished yesterday, and was supposed to be moving all the equipment in today....but I am painting on a slate frame and palette set and the shop was just calling to me to sit and paint...so thats what I did. Its so nice and quiet, I can now sit or stand by my window here and listen to my blackbirds and paint....so look for something pretty awesome coming to eBay....after I get my orders finished so I can work on it....you may be able to sneek a lil peek if you look hard in the corner!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Museum Monday!

A c1850 Spit Curl Beauty, p.130
This week's Museum Monday is one of my favorite daguerreotypes. I know her as LRM picture archive 130, aka my Spit Curl Beauty.  Aside from the hand tinting and  2 baskets in the picture, there is just a ton of stuff going on in this view that makes it a favorite for me. This is a  privileged child~ did you know the cost of having a single daguerreotype made was more than what some working class people made in an entire year? She is standing with a proud, erect posture~ holding her basket on one arm, with the toe of one foot kicked out sideways. If you click and view it larger, the folds of her knit stockings can be seen peeking out from under that one pantaloon leg that has crept up a bit. Her sun hat is kicked back on her head and shows off those picture perfect curls~ I wonder how long it took her Mamma to do her hair? 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

One of a Kind Spool Palette on eBay...again this week!

Trying again!

If you liked the spool palette I had on eBay earlier and couldn't see it or bid, I have relisted it this week. I think I got all the problems fixed. eBay is automating so many things, I am finding it harder and harder to 'successfully'  fill out the listing forms. I apologize for my lack of technical finesse. The listing is still being run as no international shipping, only because I cannot figure out how to change it~ so if you are not in the US and are interested in purchasing it, just drop me a line and I can let you know how much shipping will be to you.  
You can find it here on eBay.