Friday, August 28, 2009

And the Winner is........................

OK OK! I know I said Id post this on the 31st, but its just too exciting, and I have never been one for Pip is madly and with great ferver stirring the names in the basket....I told her to mix em up good!

And here it is! Youre the WINNER Nancy! Congratulations!!!! THANKYOU to all of you who entered this year, and who support my art and the Museum. Words cannot express my heartfelt gratitude. I wish you all could have won, I really do!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Simple & Amazing Pleasures.....

Ok....its not a secret that it doesn't take much to interest and amuse my clan~ I am very proud that my own children take such great pleasure and interest in the smallest things, and last night, when we went out to shut up the chicken pen, we just had to go get the children to come out and see this amazing little stick bug! I have never before seen one in real life, and it was so exquisite~ so delicate! I have no idea what the real name of this little creature is, 'stick bug' is good enough for us!

The children are in their pj's cause it was after their bedtime.....but did they care? Out of the house they zoomed to see a precious little bug. My husband had it in his hand, but it couldn't seem to grip skin too well, so it leaped onto Emma, and really liked her fuzzy jammies

Tressa and I were snapping up pictures while it posed for us...even lil Pip brought out her play camera to take his, or her picture! Its a good thing it was on the outside of the window, otherwise the chickens would have had it for supper! I hope we get to see another, as this was really an amazing little creature.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Updates & eBay Specials.............

I just sent a newsletter today updating news & happenings~ so if you are on the mailing, and dont see it, check your spam box and add me to your address book!! I have listed some dollys on eBay at very low prices to celebrate getting all my Baltimore Blocks into I just need to stitch them up into one big piece~ 96 sashings finished, just 38 more to go!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ladyes & Gentlemen.........

I am pleased to announce that I will be posting the Winner of the 2009 Museum Fundraiser Drawing on August 31st! Thankyou so much to all of you who entered, for your grande support of my art and the Museum. All proceeds from my dollys and folk art always go to the Museum, and the fundraiser is my way of saying thankyou~ THANKYOU so very much! I have picked a wonderful olde painted 18th basket to hold all the entries, and lil Pip will be drawing a name out of it soon. Mifs Spring Queen Anne can barely contain her excitement and is all a flutter in her theater waiting to see where she will soon be traveling to. Good Luck!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coming to ""B O O"" you this August 14th.............

Its Halloween on the TDIPT Mercantile this month, and you all know how much I love making Halloweenies... especially my punkins!

I hope you will stop by and say hello to my goulie girlys that will be there...and instead of eBay this year, I will be offering my 2009 Halloween Showcase there too~

I love this piece~ a very special one of a kind.....the wee wicked lil thing has it very posh, to be sure!
And like all my special Showcase Pieces, 'tis lit up of coarse!

Mz. Beetle cant believe her eyes at the sight...why, she has never before layed her eyes on one! She is a curious creature herself....she can oft be spot'd kneeling beside the creek in the mud, smidging it on her cheeks for rouge!
We all hope you will stop by for some friendly spooks!

Friday, August 07, 2009

City Springs......

In olde days, if a person needed refreshment....a place where they could cleanse their body and spirit, they oft found themselves on a journey to the nearest hot springs.....which were always revered for their special powers to heal. Our Dear Tascha was in such a need~ her precious porcelain white complexion blackened so horribly by the fire. Thru all the smoke and soot, her spirit can be seen shining so bright!

The previous repair to her shoulders did not like the heat, and bubbled up and chipped off, taking the layer of gesso under the paint with it. Here you can see the raw mache she was made of~ to study it up close was a gift in itself~ little wee bits of horsehair and sawdust can clearly be seen, along with the seams of her 3 part mold she was cast in.

Originally, I was to repaint Dear one....something I just could not bring myself to do. I just could not cover up her character and disposition with a new layer of foreign modern paint. To look into her eyes, is like looking into a living soul~ she begged me for something better than paint. Over the next several weeks, I carefully and slowly cleaned off her layers of soot. She was refreshed to have her skin breathing again! Being clean is a wonderful feeling~ she has told me this, and as well, you can see it in her expression! I blackened her hair where the heat had turned the black to green....her hairline, and all the paint on her precious face is ORIGINAL .

Her arms and legs were a mess. What the fire didn't blacken, the water from trying to put it out lifted and puckered the gesso, causing it to pop off in many places. Her shoes were a deep Forest green~ what is left of the paint here shows the original paint lines, and as well a most curious detail! See the little hole there? That was where a twig once was. Once, c1830, a carver was sitting whittling away on pairs of hands and feet for the doll factory. He most likely carved a perfect foot there, but between carving and painting, was knocked around in a satchel or bag, and the twig fell out. The painter simply painted over the hole, and off the feet went for our Dear Tascha!

Grubby, sooty hands. You can see the line on the left, half way betwixt her fingers and wrist, where her dress sleeve protected her arm from the hot smoke

Cleaned arms & legs with newly painted dark green shoes~ ready to be reattached!

Her pretty sawdust filled kid leather body was soaked and cut away after the fire. This is the top of her wooden legs~ one of the original paper tapes remains, and I was able to save it, as well as the one remaining on her right arm, and reused them on her new body.

On a MM body, the arms and legs are longer than a normal doll, and they attach to the body higher up~ with no elbow or knee joints. I hand stitched her body using a copy of an original MM body pattern, and once enlarged, she has now the exact proportions as she was originally~ There was still a scant bit of kid wrapped around both the arms and legs~ I was able to peel this off, and use for the measurement of the pattern at these key areas. I enlarged the pattern until the fit was right, and everything else fit into place like a puzzle.

I left her upper arms unstuffed, so they would be nice and floppy to be easily dressed again. I also did not want to add unneeded pressure to the shoulderplate, as this could cause it to crack over time. She is stuffed potato firm~ very hard, which enables her to stand. I made her new body from a thick duck~ didn't use kid as it does stretch with stuffing, and is a bit more difficult to sew. This type of body would have been originally stuffed with sawdust~ which can mold and attract rodents over time, so Tascha is filled with an inert poly. The legs are attached, with glue first , before stuffing...when dry, the body is then filled up to the neck edge, where it is stitched closed. I basically did the same thing, except with poly. After the glue was dry on the joins, I replaced the paper tape bands

A happy girl, back to her shapely self!

As to not stress the shoulderplate, I carefully stuffed the top torso to fit her chest juuuust right, then a smidge of white glue, and she is whole again

What a happy girl! Here she is with her new chemise standing in the gallery. I am working on her pantaloon now, and then we will take pictures of her wearing her new corset.

I wanted to post about my Baltimore again today for a couple of reasons~ I know~ I know I promised you pictures of Tascha, and those are coming~ maybe even later today~ BUT! I want to say a HUGE THANKYOU! to all who have posted comments, emailed me and even phoned me about how my UFO post has inspired them to go and pick up a project that has been sitting a bit and to finish it~ so CHEERS TO THE FINISHERS! WOO HOO! I am now up to sashing number 76, and have been connecting my blocks into rows~ I must say its very exciting to see them coming together. Certain blocks have sashings appliqued on all 4 sides, while others have none~ kind of like a checkerboard. I pick from the 2 piles of blocks to make the rows, then am planning on attaching the rows to each other from the center out to lessen the bulk I have to carry in my hand while stitching.

Here is row 1 & 2 layed down together so you can see how they will fit.

I apologize for the comments section not working~ I cant figure out why its acting up. Several folks have told me there comments were not accepted, or blogger wouldn't accept their passwords. I do have comment moderation 'on', as I get a ridiculous amount of weird spam comments....but if you leave a comment, I will approve it! Here is an email I received yesterday ~

"Hello, my old friend! Just had to laugh and then comment on your blog posting. Wasn't it many moons ago when I was helping you count those insane little "teeth"? Actually, I love the fact that you've never finished only makes you more human, my dear! I mean, do I, myself, have a finished Baltimore? Do I even have a finished top? Do I not have the beginnings to at least four....all on different backgrounds, and different sizes so they cannot even be combined? Tis a sickness, of course...but I am DETERMINED to not leave this earth without at least one finished one hanging on my wall! So determined that I'm even taking a Baltimore class here in Phoenix, to, hopefully, give me that push I need.
So, I will check in with you (or up on you) from time to time via email (your blog doesn't like my comments...says it doesn't recognize my password).
So, didya' do your three hours today??
Big Baltimore hugs from someone who totally understands!

And to answer you Pam~ YES~ I got it done!!!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

My Sanity in Question......

Have you ever had one of those moments when you question the sanity of the task you currently have at hand? As in "How on earth did I get myself into this?' I have had several of these moments as of late. In trying to reinforce the commitment I have made to myself to resolve my current issue, I would like to share it~ so all will know my weakness, and please feel free to continually nag and poke and prod at me to ask how things are coming along.

So the issue? well. Its not really an issue, but more like an obsession. I have for years and years....ahem, even dare I say, decades, admired and studied Baltimore Album quilts...even to the point of teaching this beautiful art of hand applique to others. I love the history behind the designs, and stitching up individual blocks! My weakness comes in actually 'doing' anything with the blocks I have stitched. I have drawers of blocks....all carefully wrought faithful reproductions of original c1850 Baltimore blocks. I have stacks of drafted patterns~ for blocks and whole quilts, ready and waiting to be stitched as I write this!

I have always had and KEPT my rule, for as long as I have been alive on this earth, that I will not, and cannot start something new, with an olde something not finished yet......except when it comes to my Baltimores. I don't know why this is? It has actually kept me up nights thinking about it. They nag at me and wont get out of my mind....yet I can never seem to find the time to get them together into an actual quilt top. For latest set of blocks...have sat dormant since I had Pip nearly 4 Y*E*A*R*S ago! akkkkkkkkkkkk

Golly I just cannot get myself to work on getting the blocks stitched together~ the thought of it makes my skin crawl in dread at times. Its all due to the fact that when I was designing this particular Baltimore, I had just seen a wonderous c1850 album that had the blocks put together with these particular sashings....wonderful I thought. It will be superb! I thought. I paid no never minds to the teensy weensie dog teeth I was drawing on my strips of beautiful red cotton....and no never mind that the original quilt was crib size, and only made up of 4 blocks. What could it matter I thought?

Well , now,~ all I can think of is that I must have been absolutely INSANE to do this! These things are crazy! I set up my blocks on point to top it off.....which is all just totally mind boggling to me now~ that I could have been that naive or stupid! But, being a virgo~ I am a perfectionist, as well as a bit pig once I start something, I WONT go back and change it for anything.....which leaves me with this headache I am in now. Unfinished business. nag nag nag nag nag nagging at me all the time!

SO! In one last valiant effort to rid myself of this unfinished beast, I have swore an oath to my self, a solemn promise, that I will work on and complete ONE sashing a day, until this is finished! Each one takes me about 3 hours to hand stitch, so I am trying to do it first thing, before I can work on anything else in the day! PLEASE feel free to write and ask how they are coming on~ the stitching isn't hard really~ just very tedious, and I am finding that the bulk of the top as its coming together is very hard to work around. I am on no#70 of 128, not including the outside border, that in all honesty, will most likely end up being left off!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Dear Corset for Dearest Tascha......

Firstly, let me say that it is sooooo good to be back online! We have had absolutely horrible service from our old internet provider, Hughes Satelight Internet, and finally took the plunge to go with Wild Blue~ what a mistake that was, waiting so long to do it! I just couldn't be happier with Wild Blue, I'm zooming along at light speed and and am finally back online after waaaay too long! While we were on holiday for a month, I took along a few things to work on, and Tascha's corset was one of them. I don't have a size reference in the pictures, but ruffly it fits in my outstretched hand.
I am so behind on my blog postings and do so apologize for that!~ In the near future Ill be posting more pictures of Tascha as I cleaned and restored her body~ but until then, I just had to share her 'unmentionables' with you, as they came out so far beyond my expectations, and honestly, I'm really proud of how they turned out!

Tascha is mid to late 1830s, so I gave her a period fitting corset with gussets at the hips and breast. Being that she is very flat chested in her shoulderplate, just like Dear Grete, the gusset at the breast is done in embroidery give the look, but with no extra fullness there. I hand stitched this in taupe linen & cotton threads over antique polished cotton. 6 strands cotton were used for the cording in the body

I embroidered a simple primitive floral design in the same thread I used for the corded channels. I really like the monochromatic look...if you recall, I did Grete's in a dark indigo blue color, which was very popular in the period(surface embroidery & quilting in contrasting color than the base material)

I hand dyed 1/8th inch all cotton braid for the back lacing, and hand stitched all 28 eyelets over brass rings that I also hand made from 1/32 solid brass rod.

I left the top and bottom bindings for last, since I didn't take Tascha with me, so if needed I could adjust the fit a little, with the width of the bindings....but as it was, it was just perfect so I went with a scant binding just showing on the front.

I love the look of the lacings on the back. Those you see to the side, are tapes for tying the shoulder straps towards the front. Usually these were tied at the first wearing, knotted and left tied, so the wearer would only undo the back lacings and then shimmy out of her corset at the end of the day.
Next is a picture of the center front wooden busk. I sanded and sanded a sliver of pine to fit, and then just burned a simple little design into it. A pretty little hearte at the top, a tall masted ship in the middle, with date, and my 'Diamond K' trademark at the bottom. Burned into the back is Tascha's name, Edyth & My names, and the date I made it. I left the binding at the top of the busk pocket unstitched, so it may be removed if needed....its a tight fit, so I didn't bother to remove it for another picture. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see where I drew on my embroidery design before stitching.
Hope you enjoyed seeing Tascha's new corset! I have her a reproduction chemise already finished, and we are working on her new dress as I write. As I get caught up, I will be posting a lot more on the blog~ sharing a bit of what we did on holiday, and dollys and dresses and bits of olde~ Hope you come on back soon, I have missed you all!