Friday, February 05, 2016

Pattens, Overshoes & Clogs

For those muddy, Spring Dayes.....
  I was going through the storage repacking this morning, and pulled some fun things to share that I don't think I have ever put on the blog before. Most folks know I have a 'thing' for early shoes, especially children's shoes....but even moreso, I am absolutely fascinated by overshoes. I pulled a few above so they could be seen together, and in looking at them as a group their differences can be admired.  Before rubber overshoes were made in the mid 19th c,  there were a number of shoes available to help protect ones 'good' shoes from mud of the countryside and filth of paved city streets. As times changed, and shoes changed shape, so did the overshoes that were meant to protect them. I use the term overshoes sloppily~ technically, there are three terms used to describe protective footwear~ 1. Pattens. These are made of wood, usually Alder for its ability to resist rot. The wood sole is raised up off the ground by a hand forged iron even then, the term ring is a bit generic, as the shape could be an oval, an hour glass shape, a funky scallop shape and I have even seen hearts.  These had leather or cloth latchets or straps attached to the soles, that fit up over the shoe and tied, to keep the patten on the foot.  The second term is 'Overshoe',  which was a wood or cork flat sole, fit with either a toe or heel cap, or both, with the sole being hinged in one or two spots for more flexibility in walking. One would slip their foot into the toe cap, and there was usually a strap or tie round the ankle to hold them on the foot. The third type shoes were called Clogs, and usually were made together with the shoes they were worn with~ in matching pairs. Clogs soles were entirely of leather, with latchets that fit up over the shoe and tied to keep them on~ they sound alot like Pattens, but are quite different.

  In this photo, one can see a child's wooden patten with its red morocco leather shoe behind an adult clog. As you can see, the clog sits flat to the floor~ there is no instep, and no iron ring underneath~ the entire sole of the clog makes contact with the floor.
  Clogs were common the first half of the 18th c, and by the wide shape of the heel and pointy toe of this pair, I date them to 1740. Entirely hand stitched, they really are a wonder of the shoe makers art
 Lady's shoe would have fit exactly into these, with no sloppy room to spare
 A tiny bit of a heel, and minimal wear to the soles~ these were a wealthy womans clogs, and they probably never touched the actual dirt in their lives.
 To date pattens, the shape of the sole is most easily used~ as they followed the shape of shoe soles closely~ the patten to the rear in this photo dates to the 1840s, with the overshoe to the front, c1820-30.
 I have found hinged overshoes to be exceedingly rare, as the leather of the hinges would get dry rot and they would fall apart and get thrown out. Two brass strips are screwed down over a strip of leather, and in the day, could be changed out by removing the screws in the brass strips and replacing the leather strip. I have seen some overshoes with two hinged areas, mine just has this one.
 To the heel, there is a polished brass heel cap, beneath of which the cloth strap is attached
This overshoe has its leather sole nailed on with iron nails, of which have discolored the leather around each one...they stick up a bit, and kind of feels like nonskid as one slides the hand across them...I cant help but think they were meant for a little added traction on a slippery ground.

Top photo
Back Row Left~Rt
908.2016.31 single hinged overshoe, c1820-30
723.2013.41 single iron heel patten , c1840
661.2012.35  pattens, pair, c1800-20
655.2012.29 pattens, pair, c1840
Front Row, Left~Rt
911.2016.34 clogs, pair, c1740
269.2004.22 red morocco leather child's shoes, 1780
271.2004.24 pattens, pair together with previous shoes, 1780
554.2011.24 single patten, doll size, c1740
481.2009.16 pattens, pair c1820

Friday, January 22, 2016

Painting~in the New Year

'Some' of my latest slate frames
  As part of my New Year's resolution, I am going to really try and blog more often! I have been kept quite busy with painting (and happily so) and thought I would share a couple of my latest slate frames, now that they have reached their new owner across the pond. I often get asked what I paint on my frames and which I reply, whatever the customer wants. It is at times, quite challenging for me, which is a good thing, as getting out of my comfort zone helps me to grow.  The frame above is in process of being painted with a pirate theme~ I chose to paint the top slat with battling pirate ships, and the bottom slat the ocean floor, with treasure chest, corals and fish, an anchor and scattered things one may find in a shipwreck. If you look close on the top slat,  you will see there is even a cracken eating a ship!

  No treasure chest would be complete without real gold flake for treasure.....
 The fully painted ground using watercolours I think was the hardest part of the entire frame for me
 My given subject was 'pirates and skeletons' in keeping with the theme of the previous frame, I made this one Pirate Skeletons! Its really fun and lighthearted....don't ask me how a skeleton still has a mustache... he just does!
 After I draw my designs, I ink the frames first~ all or part it depends on what I want to paint.  Above are two teddy bear frames in ink ready for paint
  I spent so many days in this exact position....there are 217 of my signature roses on these frames! Plus 22 pansies...not to mention what seemed like an entire earth's population of teddy bears!
 I really love how the dark purple and black of the pansies stand out and contrast with the softer colors in the rest of the frame
  A frame with pansies in on my own wish list!
 One cannot have teddy bears without honey~ these fellows are lounging on the vertical slats of a large frame
Both of these large frames are a 'double paint', which I have yet to add to my paypal options. If you are interested in having this much of your frame painted, just drop me an email and I can invoice you directly. The difference between a double paint and regular paint is the painted surface area of the frame~ a regular paint covers about half, and double paint I try and cover the entire surface.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy 2016!

New Year...New Dollys... New You!
 Happy New Year! I can't believe we are a week into 2016 already!  I want to thank all of my wonderful customers for their much appreciated patronage last year, and say that I hope to continue to grow my business(s) this year~ making dollys, painting, making ya'll beautiful tools and teaching embroidery & beadwork. I have so many wonderful things planned for this year I hope I can get to them all! I have some really new exciting projects planed to make that I have never made before~ exciting but also a bit intimidating...but if I can do it, so can you! I challenge all of my readers to try something new this year they have never done before! 'Just do it!'. 
 I have been hard at work designing some new embroidery projects, some kits, and of coarse sculpting some fresh new faces. The three dollys above are part of my Ladye Grace series of early 19th c dolls, with antique glass eyes and elaborate sculpted coiffures. These are spoken for, but there are several more on the table patiently waiting their turn.  
Cheers to a Happy & Healthy 2016 filled with all in life that makes your inner light shine bright!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

From the Dollys & I ~

Merry Christmas!
May your heart be filled with Love & Joy this Christmas,
and all the dayes after~

Friday, December 11, 2015

New Thread Palette Set on eBay this week!

               Custom Made &  Hand Painted Maple Thread Palettes & Thread Winders
 I have bee pretty busy making & painting specifically for filling custom orders, but I have been trying to squeeze in some neat things in between~ I just got this palette set finished and listed on eBay this week~ for those of you who collect my palette sets, I think this one may be the last to go on eBay before Christmas. It is truly a one of a kind set, the ships wheel thread winder was so difficult to cut out that I am 99.9999999% sure that I will never ever make another one! If you love ships as I do, or whales~ you can check it out on eBay here. The ship is of coarse, the USS Constitution, the very first commissioned Naval ship.
  Thought I would also share some of what I have been painting palette wise~ for those of you thinking of designing your own special one of a kind thread palette...or better yet, if your group or guild is having a special get together or function, think about having me design a special thread winder~ they make wonderful and useful take home souvenirs!  You name it, I can paint it....I think :)  I never thought I would paint the Golden Gate Bridge on anything and I think it came out pretty cool~
  This set was made to match a slate frame I painted earlier this year, the palette my version of a 19th c Audubon engraving
 This set was fun, made to commemorate a trip to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with a hot air balloon shape palette and thread winders to match the favorite special shape balloons of the recipient...I still cant believe I painted Yoda!
Have a special building in mind?, I can paint those too~ or how about your house? That would be fun!  If interested about having a palette set or special thread winder made, just drop me a line at 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My 17th c Inspired Stumpwork Flemish Box

 Dutch Tulips & Glittering Gold Scrolls 
 If you love 17th c embroidery & embroidered caskets, you will have no doubt come across at least one or two Flemish cabinets in your studies. They are unique in their construction and typically set up on tall floor stands. The cabinets are made of ebonized hardwoods with elaborate embroidered or lacquered interior decorations. This type of cabinet comes from Flanders, the area of the Southern Netherlands in the late 16th to 17th centuries~ from cities such as Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk, Antwerp, Leuven & Brussels (just to name a few).  I have always admired Dutch art and textiles~ the scrolling motifs are so unique...and the tulips! (enter a long sigh here:::)  The above cabinet is accession no 77.58 and part of the Royal Museum at the  Rockox House ~ you can view it online here .
  I am making my own version of an Antwerp or Flemish Cabinet and was working up an embroidery pattern as practice for the inside panels~ about this same time, a Dear friend of mine became sick, so I decided to make it up into a box for her.  I am real happy with the results so far, and from the feedback I have been getting, so watch for some little kits and patterns based on this design in the ETSY shop or on my blog in the future!
 I redrew the scrolls and tulips from the Antwerp Cabinet to represent a stylized vase of 'get well' flowers for the top of my little box. The little wood box itself was a gift from another Dear friend that originally held Mr Stanley's Crystallized Ginger. I used Piper's Silks and real gold threads for the embroidery. What is so unique about the embroidery on the Flemish cabinets is their use of the crenelated gold plate for the scrolls. Few of the remaining cabinets have all the gold plate still attached, so it was really fun and rewarding for me to be able to reproduce how the panels would have originally looked when they were new
 The bulk of the flowers are worked in long and short stitch, but there are also satin stitch, burden stitch, needle weaving,  couching and overtwisting.
 The interior is a thickly wadded or 'tufted' silk taffeta
  I am sure I'm not the only one who loves little boxes~ anything can be covered with embroidery!
 The stitching is over a duchess silk satin, with antique gold metal trim on the sides and top, which is also lightly padded~ you can see the slight dome to the top.
I worked two panels testing different colors and stitches on each~ I knew I was making one into a box, but wanted to frame up the other in ebonized wood to see how they would look in the cabinet~ and I must say, I really love the panels against the black! I took a little video to show how these would sparkle in the dim candle lights of the era~ just really spectacular in person!  A few months ago, I was joking that I have finally discovered what was indeed inside the black briefcase in  the movie 'Pulp Fiction' was embroidered like this! The glow is amazing and I cant wait to make up my cabinet!  I do have a wait list running for cabinets, so if you would be interested, just drop me a line or send me a comment with your email address and I will add you~ dont worry, I never publish comments with personal info included in them!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

THE Best Hot Chocolate in Santa Fe

Kakawa Chocolate House
 As part of my Christmas gift to the children this year, I took them to Santa Fe to do their Christmas shopping. WHAT a day~ we had such a great time! They bought their presents for each other in record time....sooooo easily done at the Plaza. I thought I would share with you their unanimously voted number one favorite place of the day( the close second was Dinosaurs & More)~ not only because it is of coarse totally awesome, or that it has been voted the number one chocolate house in all of Santa Fe....but its got a great online website with store so you can order yourself some chocolates if you are not within driving distance!  You can visit the website here . Heck, they even sell their beautiful cup & saucers!!
 The Kakawa Chocolate House is located on Paseo de Paralta~ actually just a quick diagonal walk across the parking lot behind the San Miguel Chapel.....which, is the oldest church in the United States if you didnt know, built between 1610-26....the bell was cast in 1356 if I remember right~ its amazing and worth a trip in itself! In keeping with early Colonial tradition and times before, the Kakawa House is known for their drinking chocolates, or elixirs,  that are organic, and historically accurate. Want to sip a cup of hot chocolate made from a recipe straight out of Thomas Jefferson's journal?  You will want to order the Jeffersonian then. Curious what Marie Antoinette used to drink? Order the Marie Antoinette and find out! Want to light your whole head on fire with chili pepper spice? Go for the Rose Almond. (Im not kidding~ its the hottest they sell...even hotter than the 'Chili' elixir)  I left the pictures of the counters large, so click on them and explore the house!
The children raved over the hot chocolate~ Josh sipped his the slowest, trying to string it out forever~ he kept saying he didn't want it to end. We had the Tzul, which...well, the only way I can describe it is like a pumpkin chocolate, and without the pumpkin. It was really good!  Of coarse I brought home a few bags for the next snowstorm.

So go check out the website, and have fun reading about all the different elixirs and chocolates~ and if you are close to Santa Fe, or are planing a visit, you simply cannot miss it!