Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day Dreams

I can remember as a child how I would sit and ponder things....whenever my mind decided it had had enough of reality. I never knew exactly when, and it seems like it was always the 'wrong' when I had been told by Ma to go and get something, or to do something. I would honestly start out with good intentions, but my mind would have its own agenda and soon I would be laying down in a field of flowers out by the big olde chimney looking up at the clouds.....instead of doing the dishes.

Mollye Pickett asked so sweetly this morning to wear the Grande straw bonnet that she found packed carefully away in a box up in her Grandmother's attic....and it fit her so perfectly. She has worn it proudly all day, out picking strawberries in the fields by the Olde Towne Road, but alas time has come for her to put it back..........yet she hesitates. I called for her to come help me get the little ones ready for bed, and when she didn't come promptly, I came up and caught her gazing deeply into the olde hatbox. I wonder where she is, and what wonderful adventure she is on?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Girls Gone Wild!!!!! I would certainly call the print of these fabrics 'wild'... but truthfully, they were all the vogue in the mid 19th century. This was what you were to be with the 'in' crowd, and from cut and fit, some little girls Mommy or Daddy paid dearly to have them made up! These are 3 of my favorite little printed cotton gowns. The two to the extreme left are either sisters, or 2 gowns belonging to one little girl, as they are same size, and were brought to me together as a set. They were a bit large for Emma to model at 6 yrs old, so probably fit a girl of 7 -9. The gown on the right is for a girl 10-12, note the more adult styled deeper neckline.
The fabric of each of these gowns was most likely printed on a roller. Printing with a large copper engraved press had been done since the 1750s. To speed up this process, they seamed the copper plates together into a tube, and roller printing was born. The actual Mechanism was patented by Thomas Bell in 1785, and was powered by water and could print an amazing 6 colors at the same time! As I understand, it is pretty much the same as current machines, except we now can print 16 colors at once, and the rollers are engraved by computers, instead of by hand.
The dress above is likely mid to late 1840, the bodice in unique transition between the popular gathered fan front, and a fitted waist in a deep V point. The stitching is perfectly minuscule and even, definitely made by a skilled seamstress.

Having made a fan front down sized for dolly myself, I know first hand why this fashion was so popular for children for so long~they were very forgiving in the fit of the chest, and could be altered easily and unnoticeably for a growing child. Most the alterations would be on the inner lining, letting that out, and they would not have to do anything to the actual outer dress. looking closely, you will note the subtle difference in construction between the above dress, and the one below. Above, the bodice is gathered into a deep fan at the wast, with separate fitted side panels, giving the wonderful illusion of a smaller waist, and the fan gathers reach completely to the necks edge, being bound down flat a bit before, by a wide corded piping. The upper sleeves are made up entirely of wide tucks, also seen at the hem.

This bodice of this little dress is made of a single panel, gathered into a fan and caught at the breast under a flat fitted & piped yoke. The upper sleeves are capped with a scalloped frill. Both dresses hook up the back with alternating hook & eyes. All have wonderful hidden side pockets, that I just can't help myself but to wonder what they once had stuffed into them!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Winning the lottery!!

No~ I don't gamble...but if I did, I should think that the way I felt when I found this little c1855 Ambrotype would be exactly how one would feel winning a million dollars in the lottery! I have collected and studied children's basket purses for years and years. I have over 100 examples of them here in the museum~ a good variety of different shapes, paint patterns & sizes. I am never so bold as to say I know everything about them....but I will say I probably know more than most.....and can absolutely prove that they are NOT! Chinese export baskets, but American American American! Certain shapes are more rare than others, some I have examples of in daguerreotype images that I don't have a physical specimen of....yet! I have seen boat shaped footed baskets with little tassels...I'd love to find one of those! Anyway, I'm rambling~ I was T*H*R*I*L*L*E*D* to death when I found this ambro, as it is a new shape I had not yet seen, and painted! Fragile as they are, quite a few have survived and can still be 'hunted' successfully. ( by the way, I am always interested in buying, if anyone should run across one I do also pay a finders fee...) Another reason of my liking this image so very much is her dress.....just look at that precious roller print! Most definitely printed on a lightweight challis. I adore early printed textiles....I start to humm the song from 'The Sound of music' when I think of them......'These are a few of my favorite things.....Printing on kerchiefs, and light printed aprons.....soft woolen dresses hand printed with flowers.....' you get the idea! I have some pictures of my favorites I will share with you, just as soon as Blogger will let me put them on!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

With Much JOY & Gratitude I am so Happy to Announce!!!!

I have been selected as one of America's top 200 artists and will be listed in Early American Life's 2008 Directory of Traditional American Craftsmen! I cannot begin to express my joy & gratitude at this HUGE Honor. It is a dream come true for me, and I must thank all of you who poked and prodded me into entering~ you know who you are! I will do my utmost best to live up to the standards setforth before me, and to continue to provide excellence in workmanship, as well as service! THANKYOU all so very much~ I am too happy for words!

Friday, April 11, 2008

La Petit Pearl..........

Pearls. Pearls are my favorite of all 'gemstones'. Don't know if its because they are made by a little creature, instead of intense heat and crushing tons of earth like other ones are......but I love them! I very rarely make jewelry that does not have a pearl in it somewhere. They're tiny...wee little things. I like tiny, wee little things.
Pearl is dressed in tissue silk~ SUCH a gorgeous shade of yellow! I suppose I should give it a name....any ideas? A few summers ago, I was up at mom's in Washington, and needed some green silk. She dyed me up some, but the shade wasn't exactly what I we tried again with a different batch of silk. Into the GREEN it went, and out we pulled this awsome YELLOW! The dyers 'Art' is certainly just that! We tried again for this same color, as its so pure and vivid~ but couldn't get it again.

Pearl wears 2 strings of wee seed beads around her neck in an emerald green~ Id say they're at least a size 40...meaning you can get at least 40 of them in a single inch. Her earrings are micro faceted green tourmaline...they twinkle so pretty when she moves.

She wears red latchet tie shoes with heels........meaning she must be a lady of some means, or society

And see how weeeee teensie she is! Made just like one of my larger dollys, but wee. She has a mohair pompadour...her own separate little hat, complete with matching coque of antique green feathers. She has inset blue glass eyes.......and a beauty mark

Her body is less than an inch wide at her shoulders....and shes just 6 inches tall, not counting her hat!

Here she is with Penelope. I have thought before, out of the corner of my eye, that I saw a whisp of a fine silke dress go hiding behind a book, or the skirts of one of the mannequins...perhaps she has brought a sister to the Inn?

I have made her her own little room box....she is happy with it, but has mentioned it is lacking any furniture for her lounging.....she does get tired standing all the time!
I had to laugh while talking with my Mother today..... She said 'What????? NIPS? Are those her NIPS poking out in front of her dress there?????' ............and YES! They ARE! I forget not everyone is so engrossed in history as I....and many don't know that in fact, it was the style and fashion, to wear the gowns just below the nipples~ in the 17th & early 18th centuries. The chest was always exposed. Women then did not wear underwear either. Later Victorian's were quite fanatical about any part of the body being seen. Not only did they require all of the body be covered at all times from head to toe on the person, they required it of art as well, and repainted many of the early portraits to cover the nips.
And we all thought Madonna was 'racy' LOL

All is well in Pip's World...........

We were off Tuesday morning to the Dr, and got the bright neon blue weapon of a cast OFF! Woo HOO! She was a bit scared at first for anyone to touch her leg, but as soon as I lightly started to scratch behind her knee....her little eyes nearly rolled back in her head, her eyes glazed over and she was all at once still. I asked "Does that feel good?", to which she replied a mesmerized "Uh~Huh"

After a quick trip to Hospital for xrays, we were off to get her a new pair of pink shoes on the way home, and then a nice loooooooooooooong bath

Can a child look any happier??!!! Ohh her little leg was so scaly! WE got all that dead skin scrubbied off....and all thats left is a pretty little leg, just like it was before....albeit a bit hairier. Did I say Hairier??? Hmmmm...more like a PEACH~ but longer! LOL
THANKYOU to all our friends for the well wishes!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Trip to the Stay~Maker..........

Have you ever just had one of those days, when you don't feel like
getting dressed....or going anyplace~ seeing anyone, or really doing
anything at all??? Silence & I have had a day like that today. We have spent
the morning sitting out on the porch, listening to the red wing
blackbirds....theire song is so peculiar & lovely! We really started to laugh
when Silence tried to impersonate and sing back to them!

Shes such a shy girl, doesn't talk much. Silence will be 12 soon, and its
come time for her to shed her childhood stays and have an adult pair
made......really no different from what she normally wears, except with one
great exception......this time it was a trip to the stay~maker for
measurements and proper fitting. She was quite nervous, but all went well,
and today we tried them on for the first time ever

She picked out a lovely mahogany brown hand dyed cotton, as it is
coming on summertime, and one does not want to SWEAT in their own

While we were in town, we marveled at the new~fangled contraptions recently contrived to hold out one's skirts from their body. We could not resist temptation, and brought home a new fancy set of pannier hoops......these custom made in hand wrapped wire, and peony pink silke ribbons

'Silence Browne' is my latest One of a Kind c1760 Queen Anne doll, and she will be
made available on my April 15th TDIPT update. She has the esteemed title of being on of my Grande Dame dollys. All of her clothing are hand stitched reproductions of 18th century originals, are completely removable, and made with the utmost attention to period details and accuracy. I will also have a dolly box
or two~ there and in my ETSY store. The blue one on the top will be on ETSY~ I really love how they all look stacked together!

Ohh~ I see someone coming down the Olde Towne Road........couldn't
be the post rider on a Sunday....wonder who it could be?