Saturday, March 29, 2008

le Compte du Barre, c1774

I don't normally add photographs of the commissioned dollys I make special order, but le Compte is a very special 18th century gentleman, and I am always asked "Why don't we see more men dolls?" Truth is, I have never made an 18th century Man before. The earliest men dolls I have made have been in the 1820s. Le Compte was commissioned to accompany his wife, of whom I made last year. She was so very lonely~ but now he has joined her in the beautiful Carmel Valley of California, and all is well in their little dolly world!
Le Compte's ( the French equivalent of a Count) wardrobe was entirely hand stitched and is an exact reproduction of a suit c1774. I worked from original Tailor's plates, and am very happy with the results. He is 22" tall, hand sculpted from mache, with inset antique brown glass eyes. His slightly greying hair is of Angora mohair, and is drawn back in a 'que' & tied with black silk ribbon. (The Que was worn contained in a silk bag for formal occasions). He wears removable shoes with square brass buckles and stacked leather heels, knit stockings, silk breeches with brass knee buckles, shirt, kerchief, waistcoat, coat & tricorn hat, complete with its own hatbox.

Even men must have their own jewelry, so he wears an 18k gold tie pin to hold his must be 'just so' , you know.

There are 17 wee little buttons on his coat that I hand covered in silk...the little buttons on his waistcoat are swarovski crystal. His waistcoat, coat collar, cuffs and pockets are all bound in gold silk

I really do love making dollys

Who ever said that men's clothes are boring, has never tried to sew a suite such as this! He was by far one of my most challenging dolls ~ and one of the most rewarding to make as well!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yetti Kisses....................
for Bubble, Squeak & Hootie!

Ohhhh spring has definitely sprung full force here at the Olde Madrid Plaza in Southern Colorado! Poor Yetti.....he wants to protect....he wants to play.....his little devil on his shoulder is saying...'go for it~ just wont hurt anything...they wont notice if just one is missing.....oh and I LOVE me some chicken!'
Hes a good boy tho~ really! Yetti is our Great Pyrnese~ he protects the property & the children so well~ we are his flock....and he is catching on quick that his flock has gotten a wee bit 32 to be exact! Besides planting the Orchard~ 2 cherry trees, 2 peach trees & 5 apple trees......We had 30 chicks delivered this week!!! And...
2 duckies for moi~ can you see them there? I named them 'Bubble & Squeak'. We haven't had any fowl on the farm since April 2005, when a fox visited and we lost all the girls, the rooster, 2 ducks and my goose, Charity. I told my husband NO more until we built a new pen, one covered over the top, and with wire burried deep all around the outside where is DH on this 70+ degree bright sunny spring day???? No Mother~ hes not playing his game on the computer~ hes out building the pen! WOO HOO! The children already have a list of egg buyers...thank GOODNESS~ I was thinking~ WHAT am I going to do with 30 eggs every day! AKKKKKK
I don't normally name chickens, but this is a little exotic we got, I think she looks like an owl, so I named her HOOTIE! HAPPY SPRING EVERYONE!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

OUT! With the Olde, In with the new............

Well, its been 5 whole weeks since Pippin broke her leg~ already! Where does the time go? She has gotten used to this stiff appendage, and zooms around the floor at 20mph with it just a flailing around whacking into everything. The other day, I was in the kitchen, and out of the corner of my eye, here is her little cast, whipping around in mid aire, at about my knee height! I'm thinking to myself...WHAT??? is going on here???? She had finagled herself up onto the seat of the chair, on her tummy, and was desperately winging her leg around trying to get it to somehow stay up on the chair with her! I would be lying to say that I miss the days of her climbing like a spider up onto everything...because I don't! That's what got us in to this whole mess........... this morning we went to hospital to get xrays, and Dr to get her olde heavy plaster cast taken off...........(yes, I kept it~ I keep everything)
And here is her new Royal Blue fiberglass cast. :::Sigh::: They didn't have any pink left. Oh well~ we can still look pretty in bright neon blue!
It has been a hard day~ I'm glad its over! Pip has developed a fear of going to the Dr. I thought with each visit every week, sometimes more often than that, she would be used to it by now, but shes not. She can pick out the Dr's voice from all others, and will cry before he is even in the room! Just a few more weeks and hopefully we will be rid of this for a wonderful fun summer vacation!

Friday, March 14, 2008

UPDATES & SALES & GIVEAWAYS .....OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The TDIPT mercantile has been updated! Hope you will all stop by and take a good look around, because there are some really awesome things up this month! While you are there, be sure to enter the Birthday Celebration giveaways~ TDIPT is 1 year old this month! WOO HOO!

I listed Hogarth Bunny on eBay too, on SALE just for Easter!

If you are a subscriber to the newsletter, I sent one out tonight. Please check your bulk mail if you don't see it in your inbox~ I have so many on it now, I guess I'm considered SPAM!~ so add me to your address book to be sure you get it each month! You don't want to miss the discounts!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A new visitor......
Isn't she the sweetest thing you've ever seen? Ladye Superior is our newest guest here at the Inn. She has traveled over the bumpy dusty trails of Texas & NM to fetch a new dress....and she may take home one or two for her sisters, in far too delicate & fragile conditions to travel. She is an antique mid 19th century 'Superior' brand mache doll, in current body nearly 30" tall. I have some projects to finish up before we start her fitting, so to keep her busy I have let her carefully mull thru the bonnets here at the Museum. She was particularly fond of this c1865 silk spoon bonnet, with original fabric & paper flowers. It's nice to have a dolly of right size to model some of the dolly clothes & bits~ she may indeed need to model another or two, before she goes back home!
Welcome Welcome Ladye Superior! I hope you enjoy your stay here with us!

Friday, March 07, 2008

How Sweet thou little Crocus.....

March. What a muddy dull brown month here in Colorado. The weather seems not to make up its snow or to let the sun shine! My Mother tells me of the first springtime crocus popping its wee head up out of the muddy earth at home. We have at least another month here of snowy, muddy days before the warmth of the sun will begin to coax all my flower faeries from their winter sleep. In the means, I will make do with my own crocus of sorts~ this little pongee silk dress is the perfect brilliant shade of goldenrod to be my first spring bloom!
This little dress & matching trousers Pippin is wearing (4 days before she fell & broke her leg), is c1815-20. The trousers are on a linen waist with shoulder straps~ the silk starts just above where they peek out from under the dress. The piping is a brilliant purple silk, and accents the seams perfectly. There are 2 little growth tucks sewn in the legs of the trousers for lengthening. This was a dress worn often, if not a favorite. I must wonder, and often, have sat for quite some time, pondering the source and instance behind each and every one of the stains on its front! What was this little person doing??? Being stains of organic origin, WHAT pre tell was the lil pip eating???? Speaking of Pip~ thankyou all for your kind emails & notes~ she is feeling much better and is over her flu. She is back to her old self~ sitting on the floor and scooting around forwards as fast as she can go! Her Pappa now affectionately calls her 'Scoot'. We will be going back to hospital on the 18th of this month for a new lighter weight fiberglass cast to be put on in change of this heavy plaster thing!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Do Your DUTY as a Patriot!!

RUN! Don't just walk to the nearest television with HBO, and watch the newest documentary "John Adams" premiering on the 16th of March!!!! It is an new 7 part mini series, and I talked my husband into adding HBO to our channels, JUST so I wouldn't miss it. I have seen the 'making of' movie, and am most excited~ as this is hailed to be the most accurate and factual, with amazing costume and Historical accuracy.....I think the closest we modernists will ever come to seeing the 18th century in living color, how it truly was at that time. Parts have even been filmed on grounds at Colonial Williamsburg~ the first such since the 1950s. A rare look at our history NO AMERICAN SHOULD MISS.

In my fit of passion, I found myself unconscious of the fact that my new vignette started out most patriotic with back hanging panels of a wonderful 1840 double woven coverlet in blue & white, and front and center the only surviving panel of a late 18th set of red & white quilted toile bed hangings, generously gifted by Edyth O'neill. The dapper little fellow in front is dressed for the American Centennial Celebration in 1876. He wears a Colonial Blue wool bustled frock with military braid trim over white muslin pantaloons(c1840). His straw bicorn hat is complete with creme satin cockade & tall silk plush pom.

You can learn more about the HBO Mini Series "John Adams" here

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Proud Day for Dolly.....
I have been working on a special Grodner Tal doll for some time. I sculpted her head quite some months ago, and she has been very patient up on the work table, waiting for her turn to be dressed. In that time, she has told me many a sweet story. My favorite was when she told me how she had been handed down thru the years, from one special Mommy to the next. While I sat carefully whittling her arms and legs from wood, she remembered how she had once sat up high on a sill, watching while the olde storekeeper sat and whittled at a scrap of wood, just as I was....."yes~ that's it~ and he made my hands dip in like that~ yes! Ever so slightly....and he painted me pretty red slippers" Hmmm...I thought to myself~ 'yes~ red slippers will be perfect'. She told me how she was given to a beautiful woman who went sailing on a ship over the water...."It made me quite sick~ I prefer hard ground to water"....she said in a quiet little voice.
One day, her Mistress lay her carefully amongst some lace and gloves, in a beautiful wooden trunk, and shut the lid. "After my nap, I awoke to see the lid still shut~ it was far to heavy a matter for me to lift, so I lay and wait....and wait, for too long a time to even recall" One day, the lid opened again, and her Mistress was no longer young & fair, but frail and worn. Her soft fingers lifted dolly from the trunk, and presented her to a sweet little dark haired girl.. "What a proud day it was for me~ to have Mistress's Grand daughter for my own~ we had many a fine day together!"
I can just imagine how good it must have felt, to be out and loved again.....

Doesn't she look so very HAPPY!!??
Mifs Cynthia Grodnertal, c1815 will be available on my TDIPT Mercantile update this month. She is one of a kind, dressed in antique clothing, and of coarse with her pearls & earrings! She is hand sculpted mache, with antique brown glass eyes. Her body is kid leather, with leather upper legs. Her arms & lower legs are hand carved from wood. I hope you will stop by the Mercantile to say hello on the 15th!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Mid 19th Century Child's dress

I have been going thru my treasure boxes trying to pick some of my favorite early print gowns for a new vingette....and I just am having a horrible time trying to decide 'who' will be on display! Early prints are my absolute FAVORITES!! I just got this little dress~ isn't it darling??? I have my fair share of whites, so I'm always excited to add some color to the collection. This dress is printed on a thick wool blend, in little boteh, or paisley designs on a gorgeous blue ground.
Is full of wonderful details, and has lots of surprises to share! Its all hand stitched, and looking at the outer fabric one would think the wearer would come from quite a wealthy family. Indeed I'm sure they did....but as we look further, one realizes just how precious any textiles were in early America (above photo detail of the gauging& piping at the waist)
The long sleeves are set off by wonderful blue ribbon & china button rosettes, with a single band of blue ribbon at the elbow, and a double band of this really great woven ribbon at the cuffs. They actually 'are' the cuffs! These fit very well with the color of the gown, and would have been a very easy way to lengthen the sleeves as the child grew. They are original, sewn in the same thread as the rest of the gown.
Here is a closer view of the little ribbon rosette I mentioned earlier~ red & white china buttons sewn with blue threads~ quite patriotic!!
And looking inside....SURPRISE! This is the inside of the waistband as shown in the second picture. The gauging has been fulled out with a narrow strip of this awsome indigo resist print~ there's little shamrocks, dots and double rings
This photo is the inside of the back shoulder~ you can see the back opening has been faced with a glazed blue polished cotton, still quite crisp, the hand hammered brass eyes, and the bodice lining~ a white homespun. If you look a little closer, the sleeves are also lined in the glazed blue cotton, but the shoulders have been lined in a very finely woven blue & brown homespun plaid.
The hem is faced in a coarse weave heavy linen with raw pinked top edge. Who would think this little dress would have sooo much going on? And I wonder if there is another little dress or husswife or pocket out there in the world some where....that has bits of this blue print in its own lining???