Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Dearest Friends and readers, can you believe another year has passed already? There are so many things that have happened this year in my life, so many to be thankful for....a few things I would like to forget forever. I have met so many new kindred spirits this year, in short, a Blessed life I do have, and I couldn't be happier. I wish all of you a Happy and SAFE Christmas~ not only do I wish for all your dreams to come true, I wish you a marvelous New 2009~ filled with family, happiness, good health and whatever it is that will make your spirit glow.

Pet Nelly is busy helping the dollys prepare for their little Christmas party tomorrow on Christmas Eve. There will be quaint music, and all will dance round the tree in the candlelight. We will sing my favorite 'Wexford Carol', and possibly embide in a little eggnog and sweets. After tucking everyone in to bed, I like to sit and gaze at the Christmas tree, all the little lights on it lit up, with no others. I love how it glows softly, and never seems to change! This is my favorite time of Christmas......

Pet Nelly will be offered in my ETSY store soon. She is a c1760 Queen Anne, antique brown glass eyes, and large pompadour 'do' of auburn mohair.

Beauty spots, real pearls.....and a silke ribbon stomacher she has

Sweet quaint little silke shoes too...

Until then, let the festivities of the season begin!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dollys Dollys Dollys

I have been working working working ~ and thought I would share one of my more traditional, primitive 18th century Queen Anne dollys with you. I have made her special for Christmas and used only antique bits for her wardrobe, which are all fully removable for play , and include knit stockings, silke garters, little matching latchet buckled high heel shoes, petticoat, drefs, little stole and bonnet. I really Love making dollys!

Click on the picture to make it bigger, and you can appreciate the red top stitching on the back seams of her drefs. I made her bonnet out of a precious c1820 bit of hand embroidered sleeve cuff, with a mull crown.
'Dollye Bonnet' wears several strands of the absolute weensiest 1mm genuine turquoise beads around her neck, and antique brass ear bobs. As with many years of play on the original dollys, poor thing has bumped and chipped off the tip of her nose....I think it adds much character to her winsome portrait.....and her c1840 antique glass eyes

I love her primitive profile, very simple. I made her gown from the most perfect late 18th to early 19th c red toile. There are so many wonderfully reproduced cotton prints at the quilt markets, that do give a correct period impression, but there is just no substitute for the charm and aura a thing of age acquires over its years

I am working on another primitive Queen Anne dolly especially for my ETSY store, so if you like Dollye Bonnet, I think you will really like 'Pet Nelly', and hope you'll check back to meet her soon!
In the means, I wish you all a Very. Merry. Christmas!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wont you Come....

To the TDIPT Mercantile on the 15th of December and meet Emily?

It has been cold and snowy here, and "I" had planned to make a prettiful winter dollye........but Emily had a difference of opinion......

She says she does not particularly care for the cold and snowy months, but would rather spend her time in the late Spring and earlie summer. She has picked a beautiful blue fondue ombre stripe for her pretty fan front gown, and pearls pearls pearls! She is always elbow deep into the jewelry drawer.....I just could not say no. I hope you can find time to stop by, and do say 'hello'

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wanted.... a HOME to call my own!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I specialize in early American children's basket purses. I love them. I have studied them for years, and am always on the hunt for wonderful new pieces. Well....its really nice to go hunting and come home victorious! I thought Id share my latest triumphant find....first, was this little cdv of a girl holding one. But not just any purse...hers has a HOUSE painted on it! By her bonnet, and this being a cdv, she most likely stood for her photograph around 1865-7ish. Its not hard to see why her Mama couldn't tell those big blue eyes 'No', when asked if she could have a pretty painted basket purse! Of all my years of scouring and searching, I have never seen another with a house! Christmas has indeed come early.....so I thought.

Not a week after acquiring that image, I was offered this little basket purse~ I couldn't believe it! One in the flesh, with a house. There are no words for my excitement! Sophie is so kind to hold it up for you to see~ it is painted both front and back with a pastoral scene including a white house with red roof & black windows, large green tree to its right, and all is set nicely into a tri color green landscape. The hinged lid is painted in blue dots. You can sort of see the other basket Sophie is holding, about 3x bigger. This one is meant for a smaller child, like the age in the cdv above. This basket is not exactly the same as in the picture above. Look closely and it has a band of openwork above the house, this one is solid....but, the house painted is nearly identical. I have examined the cdv thru my loupe, and the house has the exact number and placement of the windows, same colors and shape, the only difference is this one has a tree. The painter is most definitely the same, adding fuel for my argument that these purses were made, painted and sold commercially.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Traditional Orange Pomanders

To me, Christmas just doesn't seem 'right' without the smell of oranges and cloves. In Colonial times, these were actually made in the summer months, when the fruit was in season(but STILL, very expensive), to hang in a closet or wardrobe to freshen clothing. Only the very richest and most privileged souls received an orange on Christmas, as they would have to be
brought from Barbados, Bermuda or Jamaica....packed in wooden barrels, sailing here on a tall masted ship....

Here are some pomanders that I made a few YEARS ago, they are looking a bit shrunken and rough, but still smell wonderful!

So Come and join me as I make some hanging fresh Orange Pomanders for this Christmas- I will slip on some music- one of my current favorite cd's, and PERFECT for an 18th century
Christmas gathering, I highly recommend a "Hammered Dulcimer Christmas"....wonderful Traditional English Carols (well, minus Frosty the Snowman) played masterfully by Mary O'Callahan....with NO accompaniment.

You will need:

Fresh Navel Oranges
whole cloves
cinnamon sticks
1 bamboo BBQ skewer
jute or hemp twine

I prefer to use the short chubby cinnamon sticks, they fit better with the oranges and don't stick out to snag on things. For Heaven's sake.....do NOT use the nasty artificially scented wooden sticks they pawn off as cinnamon in the craft isle of your grocery....YUK!

The round toothpicks with the sharp tips work best, you will use these to poke a design into your orange. Some oranges have really leathery skins, and you will break the cloves just trying to poke them in without a pilot hole poked first. Find some nice big, long, whole cloves........


If you go to the spice isle, you will see a weensie little couple oz glass bottle of McCormick whole cloves for something between 5-8.00! AKKK......no no no.......we want to have fun, not go broke, so put that down, and go to the MEXICAN FOOD isle. You will find a section of bagged spices, all McCormick still, but in Spanish. The bags of cloves here are just .33 CENTS, and you get waaaaay more in each bag! They are wonderful, top rate spices, don't ask me why they are so cheap, even being the same company. You will find the cinnamon sticks, at a greatly reduced
price here too

Grab an orange, and poke away! I poke my toothpick in at least an INCH, so the juice comes right up to the top and will soak the cloves when you poke them in.~ ohhh they smell so good already! My first pomander I make always bears the 3 circles for the Trinity. You can have lots of fun with these- they make extra special Xmas presents, especially if you poke the intendeds initials into them with the wee tiny cloves

Ok, so once you have finished your design, you can be done if you just want them to fill a bowl or trencher- they make a wonderful display like that....but I prefer mine to hang, so next you will get your big bamboo BBQ skewer, and poke it thru the middle of your orange, all the way thru

The Cinnamon sticks are what holds your orange onto the twine, I use 2 for each pomander. For the first one, on the bottom, take about a 24" length of twine, and make a slip knot over the
center of your cinnamon stick

In this step, you will thread the orange onto your twine. Take your Bamboo skewer, and with a knife, split the flat end up just about 1/2 inch. You will take the loose ends of your twine, and
catch them in the split end of the skewer- then just pull the skewer thru your orange, from the BOTTOM up and out the TOP. Pull it up snug, so the cinnamon stick is touching the bottom of the orange, and the loose ends are now coming out the top of the orange.

Now take a second cinnamon stick, place it at the top of the orange, and wrap your twine around several times, tightly, and tie off. Trim your twine to a few inches, make a knot at the tip, and voi-la, you have a beautiful orange pomander