Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please Meet Hogarth & Cruikshank

Such mischevious boys~ but the bestest of friends! Mamma has dressed them in their best coats for their first day at school.....'The Eisendorf's Seminary for Egg Painting'
They're quite excited! Hogarth is such a ham~ he's the one with brown spots & his arm around Cruikshank.
"See!!!" He exclaims....." Just look at my steady hands~ I'll be egg master before anyone elce!"
Aren't they sooo cute! They are both singing Beatrix Potter's 'Here comes Peter Cottontail' as they merilly go skipping off to school~ better not be late boys!

Hogarth will be on eBay later today~ hope you'll stop by and visit

Monday, January 28, 2008

This is Ladye Constance Cullpepper.....but I call her Darling. She is one of my 'Grande Dame' Queen Anne dolls, and is just under 2 FEET tall. All of my Grande Dames are larger, with reproduction wardrobes that are made just like real adult size pieces. Even ladye's Pompadour wig is removable. I offer special programs every now and then exclusively for my Grande Dames and their owners~ like Parties, & New Clothes!
Darling is hand sculpted mache, with inset antique brown glass eyes. She has a very high forehead, which, in the first half of the 18th century, was very sought after as a sign of royalty.
Everything, like on all my dollys, is hand stitched. Her saque back gown laces closed in the front over a brown silke stomacher. She wears knit stockings, linen shoes with leather soles, antique linen shift, mull tucker for modesty over her bosom, petticoat, pannier hoop, gown, and wig. She also has accessories like her silke Bergiere bonnet, antique lace lappet, and green silk velvet shawl.
Her dress is a reproduction cotton c1840...BUT~ at this scale it is a perfect representation of the marvelous large scale bizarre silkes of the early 1700s. She wears antique lace engagents under her 3 tier sleeve ruffles
Here is my Darling readying herself for tea in the morning....she has not yet put her wig on, so wears an antique lace lappet to cover her head
Grande Dames also come with their own cloth covered box, that matches (usually) their first dress. Above are some of Darlings pretties, on the lid of her dolly box(this is the inside)
We are off to the shoe maker again this her very nice brown linen latchetts are just tooo plain...........

Friday, January 25, 2008

I'm such a pushover..............
My girls definitely know how to handle me to get what they want~ here is Mifs Penelope Pringle Temper Tantrum~ess extraordinaire. She really does love her new hair, and so do I! You can see more of her in the 'Mantua Maker's Mercantile', link to the right, where she is available for sale......IF you can handle her that is!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A c1805 Child's Crimson Day Gown, Spencer & Bonnet
The Americans called it 'Federal', the French~ 'Empire', and the English~ 'Regency'.....whatever your nationality, these were the years from 1795~1825

I love this dress~ it's one of my favorites....but if you read my past posts, you'll find I have several favorites! Just take a moment to look at my precious Emma, and the gown that commands her. While your dreaming, add in the fact that when this gown was made, and worn, Thomas Jefferson was our third President, elected in 1800. In 1803, he would lay down a cool 15 million dollars to purchase Louisiana from France. We were coming out of the stuffy 'Georgian' period, and into a new century with many new found freedoms~ a large one very noticeable in the dress of the day. Jane Austen (1775~1817) would write her now famous novels~ Sense & Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Persuasion (1817), and Northanger Abbey(also 1817). My own Emma would befit a character in any one of Jane's 6 novels.
Dress was very controversial at the turn of the 19th more rigid whalebone more petticoats~ why~ if the wind blew in the right direction, you could see the 'full body' female silhouette..... nearly all of it! It was all quite risque! White was the 'in' color for fashion, the new Grecian form was very simple~ the waistline had risen to just up under the armpits & below the bust line. This dress is so very rare~ and especially in this fabulous crimson red color. Its made of super fine & sheer muslin, and is together with its original 'Spencer' jacket.
The Spencer is fully lined in linen, with red silk ties in the front. The arms are quite long~ in perfect fashion for the era~ they were worn slightly pushed up the arm, with the frill on the cuff worn down over the back of the hand. This would have been a summer dress. You cant tell from the pictures, but the gown is so fine, it can easily pass thru a ring the size of a .50 cent piece.

Emma wears a black plush velvet bonnet original to the era~ c1805-10. Inside the crown is remnant of a makers label~ only a very rich little girl would have ever worn this bonnet. Its stuffed with horsehair & wool batt in both the brim & crown, and is trimmed just in the front in a very simple & stylish row of velvet covered buttons & black braid.
Don't ya wish you knew what she is giggling about???
Classic style and simple form. Simply Beautiful

Monday, January 21, 2008

Red Hair....Tantrums..... & Country Bunnies!

Do they have anything in common? Well, probably not, except I have had my fill of all today! Remind me, please, never again to make a dolly with RED hair. My son Josh has red hair, and on occasion, we are 'graced' with his ever so red I would say I'm a connoisseur of the red hair temper.....but NOT from one of my own dollys! Sometime last evening past, Mifs Penelope Pringle decided she no longer liked the hair we had both agreed upon. I told her that her hair was very becoming, and was special because it was a reproduction of a real antique Queen Anne's hair. This did not work. We both went to bed rather displeased with the other, and I had thought, that after she slept on it, she would see things my way when she awoke this AM. I was soooo wrong.

Can we say shrieking???? To begin~muttering words most unladylike under her breath....only to begin shouting and throwing things all about. She had all the lids off the boxes that I keep 'dressing' supplies in thrown all over the floor.....bits and flouffs of hair & silke ribbons were flying everywhere~ if she would have thrown herself on the floor and began to kick and scream I would not have been any more surprised. I cant believe what a spoiled girl she is! I have created a MONSTER! I wont go into the nasty details....but after seeing her head shaved BALD....she did get a new Pompadour do......and in no other color than~ RED!

The boy's ~ Hogarth & Cruikshank....they were so frightened they dare not come out of hiding! Hogarth just couldn't take it any longer, and had to cover his eyes! LOL

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The beginning of the year means fundraising time for the Museum! Running a privately owned Museum is expensive~ I couldn't do it without much help & support! I have added a "DONATE" button on the sidebar to make it easy for you~ so if you enjoy visiting the BLOG & would like to help preserve pieces of our past for future generations to enjoy & study, I hope you will take a minute to show your support! You can also help us by making a purchase at the 'Mantua~Maker's Mercantile', Diamond K Folk Art on the TDIPT Mercantile, or by bidding on an eBay auction!
This years 5,000.00 fundraiser will directly support the following:
*New point & track lighting for the gallery
*UV light filters for new lighting
*4x20' overhang porch over Gallery Entryway
*10 child mannequins
*5 adult mannequins
*archival materials including acid free buffered tissue for storage
*acquisitions fund renewal a THANKYOU to my patrons, Once our goal is reached, I will be holding a drawing for a FREE MACHE DOLLY!!! Want to enter??? Its EASY~ here are the particulars:
**Each Diamond K Folk Art purchase, or special order will earn ONE entry to the drawing.
** EACH 10.00 DONATION will earn ONE entry to the drawing.
** There is NO limit to the number of times a person can enter!
The winner for the Grande prize drawing will get to choose an existing dolly for their prize, or, request a custom dolly!
All purchases made from Jan. 1st 2008 are eligible, and HAVE been entered allready!
Don't be shy~ every little bit helps!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And So.........The Mischief Starts already................
It has been horribly cold here at the Olde Madrid Plaza in Southern was minus 22 below zero this morning~ so when I heard shouting and overall disagreement coming from the studio, I naturally assumed that the gas heater had turned off, and the girls were chilly. It was just last week I caught Mary Easty trying to abscond with Ladye Elizabeth's wrap.....She looks so innocent, yet I find there is definitely a little devil in her! Oh~ but I'm getting off onto the wrong road......back to this morning. As I entered the studio, I was SHOCKED to find several of the girls crowding around the doll house...6 BUTTS~ yes, all I could see were 6 colorful hinies bumping about~ and I'm thinking~ why on earth are the girls trying to all get in there??? They KNOW they wont fit! As I made my way thru, I found the reason for their discourse. Just LOOK at that MESS! Flour all brand new bag of chicken scratch opened and spilled onto the floor~ and my ice box nearly wiped clean out! When I saw that all the carrots we put up last fall had disappeared, I glanced over my shoulder and the "boys" were no where to be seen...........they re not even painted yet and already up to such mischief! I KNEW they were going to be a handful.....and this is why I don't make up "boys" that often.
All I had do, was follow they're little messy trail of tidbits from the dollhouse... I found them 'hiding' in amongst my pine garland........Boy's definitely will be boys! Little stinkers!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A 'Tete a Tete'..............

The above hand colored engraving is from 'Le Supreme Bon Ton' c1815, plate no 16. Its one of my favorite images, and is a caricature exaggerating how long and straight the new 'poke' bonnets had become~ that in order to have a conversation, a "Tete a Tete" with someone, you would have to stick your head right down the bonnet! LOL The bonnets, of coarse, weren't that extreme.......wellllllllllllllll...........mabey

This is in turn, one of my favoritest pieces in the collection~ c1810~15, is an early poke for an infant! It measures just 7" from back to front, and is entirely hand smocked. The bonnet would extend past the face of the wearer nearly 4"!! In order to see this little baby's face, a person definitely would have had to stick their head right down in that bonnet!

Here is a similar one, adult size, in period fashion plate from the Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1806. Muslin bonnets like this were starched & also sometimes wired, to keep them jetting foreword without drooping down into the face.
The above view is our little baby poke from the outside. You can see the wonderful hand smocking, with a double frill around the face, all hand rolled.
Baby poke from the inside~ just look at the hours of love and work that went into this~ spectacular!
The crown has been corded in a circular pattern. Quite different from quilting~ the channels were stitched first, then several strands of yarn/thread passed thru to fill them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's Always the "Static" dilemma for me...........
Being Owner, Curator, & Director of my own collection is a dream come true...but its not always easy. I find myself often in conflict with my other 'selves'. The above picture being the point of a HUGE dilemma I often face......the 'static' display. Now a days forms and archival displays can be had in nearly any shape and form, and really are the best way to exhibit clothing safely, while giving a good period silhouette. From the above picture, you can clearly see the artifacts, and see how they would have looked when once worn...........or can you really? Case in point: The second gown set from the left~ the little gold lustring silk gown and Spencer jacket. See it there??? Just standing nice and quietly.....BORING!
This is the same gown on my daughter Emma~ it fit her perfectly. See how lively it is now??? What spunk~ what character! In static displays, we cannot see how the clothing it interacted with the person wearing it ruled the person wearing it, even in its own day.
The cut and fit of the clothes made the body conform to them, not the other way around. They made a person walk a certain way...stand a certain way. Corsets and stays prevented bending over~ heck, they prevented sitting upright in a chair at the turn of the 20th century( Edwardian/Titanic Era...but thats a whole 'nother story). I will be the first person, if asked, to tell you to NEVER wear antique clothing.....but then............I break my own rules. A whole different aspect of history can be studied by observing the fit and movement of fashion, on a real person. BUT~ one has to realize that when dealing with clothing over 100-200-even 300 years old, each is a one of a kind masterpiece of art, and historical artifact~ that can be very fragile, and who's integrity could be compromised if put on a real person. This all I do take into account, and will only let one of the children model for me, if I have a collection of pieces to make up an entire wardrobe, and that are the right size~ which truthfully, doesn't come along very often. Correct undergarments are worn, to support the clothing as it was meant to be worn, and minimal stress from movement is always a must. I do not recommend wearing antique clothing in the slightest. See~ don't I contradict myself!
The only thing Emma is missing are her shoes~ there's no way a modern chubby foot could fit into straight lasted shoes a mere 2" wide! She wears petticoat, stays(tho without the wooden busk insert), gown, spencer jacket & matching pelerine, embroidered mull day cap, and plush winter bonnet. She holds a painted straw basket purse on her arm.
Can you just imagine, being on a busy corner of town, and seeing this charming las shopping with her mother???? A girl wearing a lustring silk such as this would have definitely had her own money in that purse, and would have been shopping in only the best establishments.
See how the bonnet, lovingly referred to as a 'poke', hid the face from view? One would literally need be looking straight on at another, to recognize them by their face.
The huge gigot sleeves give the most becoming form to the wearer, and makes the waist look particularly small and petite. Notice the back fastening~ on this particular spencer, is closes up the back with a row of hand hammered hooks & eyes, with another tab at the waist. The Pelerine is attached permanently to the front on one side, and wraps around the back, and hooks in the front again. There's NO WAY a child would be able to dress, or undress, themselves. There is so much that can be learned about our ancestors~ about their daily life, just by studying how they moved in their clothing.
Gold Lustring Silk Gown, short puff sleeves, c1830-35
Embroidered mull day cap with inset puffs, 18250
Plush Poke Bonnet , 1836
Spencer Jacket & Matching Pelerine, 1836
Hand Painted Straw basket purse, American or English, c1830

Thursday, January 10, 2008

And just WHO calls this 'Progress'???????????????

A 17th century merchant wrote about Muslin....."calicuts made so fine you can hardly feel them in your hand, and the thread, when spun, is scarce discernible" (Calicuts were muslins made in Calcutta)
So I say~ What the heck happened????????????

Here is a pet peeve of mine.....people who think things that are 'olde' are poorly made or somehow insuperior.....and that if its made certainly must be better. ::sigh::


The above picture is the current unbleached muslin that is available at the fabric store. I cant even believe these people call this coarse, nubby, irregular weave MUSLIN! AKKKK

Now this, Dear Friends, is Muslin. Yes, its been spiffed up a bit, having been carefully hand embroidered and made into a baby cap, but you can see the weave and fineness of the material~ soooo soft, and quite thin~ its nearly transparent.
Put together, the modern 'muslin' looks like heavy Jersey cloth up to the original muslin. We are in such a technical FAST era....Quantity over Quality~ I don't like it a bit. If a job is worth doing, why not do it well to begin with? What ever happened to 'learning from history'?
Plain & Simple..............Simply Beautiful
Something about this time of year always brings babies to I was looking thru the many baby shirts and bonnets I have here, looking for something to Blog about...when I found myself wanting to share EVERY piece with you all! Then I remembered a special dainty pair of 18th Century Baby mitts I just had to share. I have some really extravagant things here at the Museum, but oddly enough, some of the most simple pieces have the most extraordinary workmanship and smallest stitches~ truly beauty in its simplest manifestation. Pippin couldn't very well model them 'naked', so we picked her out an early 19th century day gown. These were worn in the hot summer months as a dress themselves, around the house, but were made as under dresses~ being a petticoat & chemise in one.
IF I were just to show the next picture, the tiny scale of these fine cambric mitts could not be appreciated. As you can see, they fit my Pippin nearly perfect, she turned 2 years old this past Sept.
The stitches are so tiny on these, I could not capture them with the camera. A mere 10" long, they reach from the knuckles of the hand, to just above the elbow. One has to wonder the special little girl who these were originally made for. In 1720, it has been recorded that Mrs. Papendick's small daughters wore long gloves tied over the elbows "to preserve the arm in beauty for womanhood". Elbow length fingerless gloves with a triangular flap that folded back over the hand became popular in the mid to late 18th century. I received these mitts together with a pair of adult size linen elbow length gloves, very fine, from the last quarter of the 18th century.
No fancy frippery here. This is how sweet children dressed for everyday
It was hard enough just to get a picture of Pippin~ she never holds still! Mitts like this p air are extremely rare~ everyday dress just did not survive, as they were worn, and worn again...and when they didn't fit, they were given to the next child, and when they finally wore out, they made their way to the rag bin and were reused in the household. These little mitts are cambric~ so thin and soft and delicate~ they definitely were not made for any special occasion, which means the reason they were kept, sadly enough, was most likely because the child didn't survive long after their use.
This little day dress looks just like every other 'Victorian white', but upon close inspection, its a miraculous piece of handiwork! The lace on the sleeves finely hand embroidered & drawn...the stitches so fine~ I stopped counting at 30, per INCH
tiny gathers like this, evenly spaced, is referred to as 'gauging' towards the mid 19th century.
And LOOK at the darns! I get so excited over darning~ they show wear, and mending, which says 'Hey~ look at me~ I was a favorite dress'.......and they're so well done, you really have to look closely to see them. Wonder if the little girl, or boy who originally wore this dress got in trouble for playing to hard and ripping it???

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Collection of Love Tokens.............
Will be available this month on eBay, and the TDIPT Mercantile on the 15th of this month! The fabric covered mache keepsake box will be on the Mercantile~ with its bubble covered vignette in the lid~ Ohh I love making these. A reproduction of an 1830 fashion plate, along with vintage flowers & ribbon is arranged permanently in the lid. See the hat in the box behind the lid???? It is a reproduction c1835 bonnet~ sized perfect for dolly~ all hand stitched together of fabric covered board~ it goes along with the keepsake box~ woohoo!
I have made just a couple special shadow box Valentines~ This one here is accented with the teensy guard feathers from a peacock quill around the engraving, with loops of precious hair~ these have come from one of our horses, 'Apple'................SO beautiful! I think I will list one of these on eBay later on tonight.....
Ohhhhhhhh there will be some of my glass glittered 'candy heartes' use for ornaments or bowl fillers...... and some special lil Valentine's Day Cupids I'm SO in love with! They are hand sculpted mache, with lil wire & tinsel Halos....nestled up in a mica covered 'cloud'....each has a banner that dangles so daintily, and each are different~ all one of a kind pretties I hope you will enjoy!