Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't you just LOVE Clorox???

Next time, when you are reaching for that bottle of Clorox bleach to brighten up your whites.... maybe you should give it a little nuzzle of affection....or, dare I say a kiss!

The above engraving and instructions for Bleaching linen were written by John Wily, 13 easy steps:

1. Soak linen 36 to 40 hours in warm water, rinse and dry.

2. Soak in lye and cow dung 48 hours.

3. Stretch cloth over the grass in a bleach~yard.

4. Wash off the cow dung.

5. Beat cloth with bat staffs 2 to 3 hours.

6. Place cloth into boiling lye; soak 24 hours.

7. Wash cloth; stretch it over the bleach~green 24 hours.

8. Beat with bat staffs.

9. Repeat the last three steps for 8 to 10 days.

10. Place cloth in buttermilk for 1 or 2 nights.

11. Wash and beat the cloth again, then stretch it over the bleach~green.

12. Sour it again with buttermilk.

13. Repeat the process for another week, until the cloth is white enough.

I would recommend anyone try this at home to see how they make of it... Have fun

and yes, dung=POO.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What's in YOUR pocket????

I laugh every time I see that commercial...the 'what's in your wallet' one.....because I'm thinking...I can't make a witchy that small...but I could make one to fit in a pocket! I debuted a new 'line' of sorts this year~ little "Pocket Witches" & "Pocket Punkins". I will have to honestly say, they are extremely darling! Here are 5 all lined up ready to go ~ each in their own hand stitched box with excelsior straw wadding to make their journey more comfortable.....
Each are Original, one of a Kind wee little dollys.........hence their names.....Pocket so and so! Of this last group, "Smoot" is my favorite~ she is on the extreme right in the picture~ she's a lil puritan punkin and dressed in all antique bits~ well they all are dressed entirely in antique silks and laces.
Shhhhhh...don't tell Rose~Amond that I got a picture of her~ she is an olde witche, and when she was younger, was much more glamorous....why~ shes still got 3 beauty marks! I love her crooked nose and pointy witchy~poo chin!
Barley is very tall and skinny....her regency dress is a beautiful punkin orange silk taffy that I have inked on little punkins~ see some of them dancing across her chest there?
Its hard to get the idea of how little these are~ just 7"(not including their hats) tall on their stands! This is Lilly I'm holding....with her wonderful olde paper hat! These girls are all spoken for, but if you find yourself in need of a pocket witch, or punkin~ just drop me an email or comment, and you can special order one!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Look at my boys! Growing like WEEDS! Thanks and Giving are my 2 tom turkeys, 21 weeks old just and already feeling 'pretty' and poufing up twice their size for the girls..........can't they realize the girls are a bit in......NOT turkeys! LOL They are both sweet~ but certainly NOT gentleman! Their favorite thing to try and eat every day, is my wedding ring....while it is still on my finger. They sneak in the house when DH or the children leave the kitchen door open.....I didn't like looking up from the couch to see Giving's noggin up above my kitchen counter looking back at me. No~ I did not!

And my girls are starting to lay ~ woo hoo! We had chickens a few years ago, and all of them were wiped out by a fox in a single night~ I swore Id never have them again, because I get very attached. Jayson built them their own barn, and here we are again...but this time, not just 8, we have 23....and 4 roosters, 2 mallard ducks, and 2 Chinese ducks...........oh, and Thanks & Giving. This will do............ The hens just turned 20 weeks last week, and to the day, started laying. The eggs are small for now, but will get bigger as they become more relaxed and used to laying. This has given the children something to look foreword to very much~ just about every hour they go out to the barn and check for eggs! The girls are all very tame, and it was the perfect moment, when 'number one' hopped up in the nesting boxes to lay her very first egg...all the little Kinnison's (and some big ones too), were huddled around to watch the first egg appear. What a gift. How many of my Dear readers have actually seen an egg as it is being layed? I do highly recommend it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nice Work.........

Early clothing and textiles are not only historical artifact, but works of art~ made by highly skilled needle workers......I purposefully do not say 'women', as there were plenty of men tailors, and in fact, most all clothing was made by men up to the 18th century. In those early days, one had to be member of a tailors guild to sew, and they did NOT allow women members until the first quarter of the 18th century..........but that's another subject~ I'm getting off track again.

This little boy's dress is a feast for the eyes, if one looks close enough. This is circa early 1840's. Entirely hand stitched in very small, even stitches. For study today, I have pictured the back closing. The carved mother of pearl buttons have 4 holes, and are stitched on in yellow silk twist, in the pattern of 3 little bud flowers, all radiating up from the bottom hole~ very charming effect.

All seams are piped~ neck edge, the back skirting formed down into a v shape, and the curved back seams~ instead of just being stitched together, a bias strip has been folded, pressed and stitched into the seam along with the piping. This alone would have taken several hours of stitching~ I sew very fast(by hand only), and these 2 back seams would take me at least a day to stitch. Such a care has been made to make the back of this dress look just as nice as the front.

At a glance, the back closing looks to be of buttons.........but shoosh~ who would want to do up all those buttons as their child is hopping around ready to start their day????

This is the interior of the back opening. The buttons are just for show(an actually a statement of wealth~ as buttons were very expensive). You can see the bodice lining, neck binding and piping, and the row of brass hooks sewn in from the edge about 1.5" or so.

Perfect even gathers at the skirting~ also known as gauging.

There are no metal eyes on the opposite bodice edge. The hooks fit neatly and securely into this cording that is stitched at the extreme edge~ right on the fold of the fabric. To the right, you can see a single thread crochet eye to catch the hook that keeps the button flap down nice and flat when the dress is done up.

This is again the back, but this time, note the wide fancy sleeve cuff, and close fitting top cap? It was so common for clothing to be made with expandable waists and growth tucks sewn into the skirt hems for ease of letting out as the child grew.... But what about sleeves? Short sleeves would be no problem~ but how would a person adjust the fit of a long sleeve~ especially if they had some sort of fancy trim on the cuff, such as this one?

Ahhhhh.......s.n.e.e.k.y! When the top sleeve cap is turned inside out, revealing the top of the sleeve, here is where an adjustment in length was made~ a tuck neatly hidden out of view.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

HIGH Fashion c1830 style........
The above illustration is from an 1832 World of Fashion engraving, and shows the elaborate coiffures worn by the most fashionable women of the day. Hair was artistically arranged and piled and twisted around tall combs~ with the additions of flowers and 'bobbles', from the paintings and engravings I have seen, the comb was normally just visible from the rear. (I am speaking in reference to English, German, French and American wearers for now). Many German dolls from this period are referred to as 'Tuck Comb' dolls, as they were very plainly carved from wood with the exception of the large comb sticking up at the back of the head.
I have noticed an increased interest as of late, to the early 1830's dolls, Tuck Combs, Peg Woodens & Grodnertals....that I thought this post would be of liking to both my doll & Museum readers.
As much as I love combs, I also love early boxes~ so I was literally as close as one could get to Heaven on Earth when this c1820-25 set came to live here at the Museum. Without it's contents, and label on the lid, this shape of box could be confused with similar of this crescent shape, that were made to hold men's uniform epaulets & regalia.
It measures a little over 9&1/2" wide, and is decorated with applied paper cut outs of star shapes and this wonderful GOAT on the front! The slightly metallic gold papers show signs of once having either painted on or engraved illustrations....long worn off over the years.....
On the lid of the box is the most wonderful label..........I'm always excited to see original labels! Roughly translated, cause my Spanish is not so reads " Makers of Combs of All Types by Jose Hurtado, appointed by the Marquis, Malaga."
Malaga is located in Andalusia, the Southernmost region in Spain, and was, (and still is), known for its beautiful hair combs. Early Spanish women wore very tall combs at the back of the head, with very FLAT hair~ the comb was used to support a lace mantilla (veil). The taller the comb on your head, the higher you were in society. So along went our ancestors, off for a summer tour of Spain, and seeing these absolutely gorgeous combs, they brought them home and made their own tall fashions with them!
Neatly inscribed in pencil inside the box lid reads ' Mifs Baistow~ Drefs Maker , ???? at her ??? Dennys~Salem St'. I cannot say weather this set was brought to Cape Cod as an import of fine European goods to offer for sale to her customers, or as a souvinir of her travels.....but in either case, it endured the 6+ mo boat trip across the Atlantic Ocean.
The box fits perfectly around its intended comb, and is no doubt responsible for its immaculate surviving condition
Malaga was THE hub and capitol of comb making in the early 19th century. Real Tortoise and Horn were favored, as they could be heated, manipulated, and once cooled, would retain their shape perfectly. A thin slice of Tortoise shell was heated, and put into a scalloped press to make the above comb. It is all one piece~ the scalloped fan, and the actual tines of the comb.

Once pressed, the worker would trim off and finish the edges. I am not for the killing of creatures to extend the fashion of a person at all....but it is very easy to see why the tortoise nearly became extinct from over hunting~ not only was turtle soup supposed to be delicious, their shell is unmatched in beauty.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A Quaint little helper.....

It is true what they say, that 'like minds attract'. Mifs Ada Wixon proves a most generous & careful assistant here in the gallery. She is such a gentle creature, and loves to tend the gowns for me as I change the displays. We are sure to keep each other informed on the latest gossips and happenings in our respective townships. She is here in visit from Willow Township, some 3 days carriage to the east~ I hear the weather there extremely HOT and very unaccommodating to ones own skin.....
'Wixie' is a one of a kind late 18th century Queen Anne doll, c1794, and will be available on my TDIPT page this Aug. 15th. Since no proper girl ever travels alone, she will be accompanied by an older, wiser ladye of some years. Hope to see you there!