Monday, December 24, 2012

May Ye A Blessed Christmas Have~

  This 2012 has been a rough year. Friends have suddenly passed away, and there currently is so much hurt in the World, it is at times difficult to be so 'Merry'.  I believe the things that happen in our lives mold us to who we are, and recent events have made my heart grow bigger by the pounds. Not a moment passes that I do not realize how Blessed I am to have such a wonderful family, such beautiful children. God has already given me the greatest gift on earth~ He has made me a Mother. I hold life Dear, and in turn, try and bestow in my children to do the same, to have grace and respect for all things living and not, and to have  Patience, Restraint and Compassion in all that they do.
    For all that I know, for all who I know, I wish you the Merriest of Holidays, and hope you have Blessed New Year

Friday, December 21, 2012

Blessed Be

 My feeble mind cannot comprehend....cannot understand how a living soul could be so selfish...
                  or how God could let this happen.

  As a Mother of four, with a little one in 1st grade, I have no words to offer this Day, only tears.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Celebrations Along the Olde Towne Road...

   On News Stands January 1st~ the Winter 2013 issue of Prims is jam packed FULL of awesome~ness :)  I have a 4 page article starting on page 24 and just couldn't wait to share~ look! That's Me on the cover!!!  I am so HONORED to be included with  some of my friends and best Primitive Artists around~ just look at Wendy's Dawgs (her little Ele-fonts are my favorite).  There is still time to ask your Santa for a copy for Christmas, many sellers on eBay and ETSY already have in hand and will ship lickety~split!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fly Fringe

18th Century Knotted Silk Fly Braids & Fringes...

 Ladies get your knotting shuttles ready..... it's no wonder why 'knotting' was a popular 18th form of 'busy work'.  It is made with filament silk and a knotting shuttle, very similar in looks to a tatting shuttle. One could vary the colors, and where they knotted the silk, to make either a simple braid or something quite complex.  Known as 'Fly Fringe' or 'Fly Braid', it could be purchased ready made or made at home. An open robe gown could use literally hundreds of yards of trim.  

  As you can see in the trim above, the knotted filament silk was woven into the 'braid' of the trim, hence the term, 'fly braid'.  These trims are so delicate and feminine, they were often unpicked from  'old' clothing and reused in whatever the newest fashions were, as well as little snippets cut and saved from special garments.

  This trim was reportedly part of a purse, with silk covered mirror still surviving with braid attached.

   Small and extremely delicate, this is a very simple fly braid with a single knotted tuft about every inch in length of the braid.  It is edging both lengths of a 14" wide skirt flounce or robing.

   Here is a tiny braid without any knotted fringe~ this would have been referred to as silk gimp.  I purchase this tiny strip, nearly 2 yards long but just 1.5" wide for a document piece, and was absolutely thrilled when it arrived with fragments of its original bodice back~ sized for a very young girl 6-8 years old
   Lightweight Brocaded silk taffeta plaids (dress silkes) such as this were often called  "Florence" in the early to mid 18th c

  This is a beautiful example of a fancier "fly fringe"~ note there is NO braid, only knotted filament silk in creme to match the blossoms ~ and its absolutely stunning against the dark bottle green background

  This trim is still technically a fly braid, even tho the braid itself is a fringe trim~ every 4 or 5 scallops of the trim, there is a grouping of knotted fringes. And unlike the many fragments I have here at the Museum,

this fly fringe is complete on its c1750 set of silk satin Christening sleeves, and robe, as seen in the very first photo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Thievery & Ransackery!!!

I love all creatures Great & small...those that know me  know this. But I get the absolute heebie jeebies! when I see a furry whatnot in my house. And by furry what~not, I mean the wee beasties that zoom around a zillion miles an hour, and when vexxed they will jump up to 2 feet right at you~ little bugger kangaroo mice we have here!  we have 5 cats here on the farm, and none can catch the furry  beast living in my oven!  YES!!! The thing has burrowed into the insulation in my kitchen stove, and we cannot get him out even after taking it as much apart as possible. I have tried glue traps, snap traps, live be nice to the thing traps..nope~ he is like mighty mouse!  Soooo fast.  So have fun imagining me screeching one morning when turning on the water in the kitchen while not quite awake yet, and it was in the sink and absolutely levitated straight up at me! That must have taken years off of my lifespan...years!  Now I prefer my little 'friends' that keep me company in the gallery~ much more quiet, and clean, and precious....all tho.......

 They do get to be quite mischievous and love to move things about so I cannot find them again....and this one, she and her sister have taken a liking to my Christmas tree!

  I wrap the tree base in burlap, and see~ see her peeking out at me! She must be up to something......

  Every now and again she will freeze! and peek out at me..... what is she up to????

 Ahhhh HA! She has taken my candy canes  Dear Annie gifted me!!!!


  The little stockings my Tressa made me are not safe either!

Freeze! Ahhhhhh but I still see you Darling. I think if you hang a stolen stocking by the fire, Santy Clause must fill it with a lump of coal...dont you think?

Friday, November 23, 2012

c1785-95 Child's Soft Boned Bodice

  Cinching up tight....

   Emma is modeling a young girl's soft boned bodice, c1785-95.   This would have been worn as part of a gown, fully visible, with matching sleeves that pined onto the straps. It looks a bit wonky because Emma is wearing a later mid 19th c boat neck chemise underneath of it, instead of a proper shift.

Designed to grow with the child , the front lacing opening is covered by a wide flap that pins closed over it~ so as the child grows, and the front no longer touches when fully laced, the flap will cover this.  I have seen rare maternity stays with this feature as well, but to this this bodice's tiny size, and the fact the straps have two sets of eyelet holes as well, this is most definitely for a growing girl

There are horsehair pads stitched to each side in the back to help puff out the waistline of its matching skirt~ long since gone.  Note the sort of 'hump' you can see going across her shoulder blades horizontally,  this is not a seam, but where the boning in the back stops for the bodice straps to ease over the shoulders
The pads are stitched of coarse linen and stuffed hard in the ends with horsehair.  There is a line of stitching to keep all stuffing in a neat little roll at the end of the pad

Do not confuse a soft boned bodice for a set of stays. From the inside, it looks like a set of boned stays, and is constructed in nearly the same manner, but the outside is covered in a figured silk.  The reason I say 'soft boned' is because this bodice is ONLY boned at the back and front, with no fill at all in the sides

The shoulder straps have two sets of eyelet holes, Emma is wearing with them pined at the first, or shortest position. As a child grew, they could then move the straps to the outermost eyelet hole. Of I what I have seen of these early garments, most  would knot their shoulder straps somewhat permanently~ some even stitched them in place, and then would only have to do up the front or back laces of their stays or bodices when worn

The inside of the front flap is a gorgeous early 1740 powder blue silk damask, and not entirely one large piece either, but made up of several smaller pieces joined together, which again is fitting for a child's garment~ many were made from Mamma's olde cast off gowns

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Counting ones Blessings...

   Tomorrow I will officially sit and Give Thanks, but truth be known, I  Give Thanks each and every day. I am Blessed with health and family, and a host of kindred spirits that share in what I love~ you all are my Blessings, so consider yourself counted!   The above is a wonderful postcard from Colonial Williamsburg~ they have tons of gorgeous photos to pick from, and all can be sent thru the email for no charge~ a wonderful gift they provide~ if you would like to send your own Colonial Greeting, you may go to the website here~

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Have a Happy & SAFE Hallowe'en!

    Cotilde wishes each and every one of you  a  Safe  Hallowe'en.  Get your flashlights ready, tell some spooky stories and listen to the wind howl!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Christmas ~ Time Springerle Cookie Time!

  It's that time of year again, Halloween is just around the corner and then on comes the Merrie Holidays!  I love the fall, its my favorite time of the year~ and one of the reasons is that this is when I start making Christmas ornaments. Each year I design a special ornament or two, and offer them only that season. Along with those special sculpted ones, another favorite of mine, that is very popular with you all too, are the ones I make from Springerle molds.  I do have a few precious antique molds, and many reproductions of the early hand carved cookie molds, that not only do I use for making cookies, but also pressing Christmas Ornaments from.  I have added some old favorites to the ETSY store this week, and will be offering some new ones on the next TDIPT update in November~ I think that will be my official Christmas Ornament update!   Each ornament is hand pressed in mache, then carefully colored with watercolours to resemble Wedgewood & Jasperware~ of coarse, if you see something in the ETSY store you would like in a different color, I also make up special order sets~ pastel pink is a very popular color, especially for the angels.

 If you didnt know,  the earliest printed recipe for Springerle dough dates to 1688. It is a traditional European cookie with anise flavoring that was rolled and formed by pressing into carved wooden molds. The cookies are dense and hold their shape beautifully, and the more elaborate the design, the more prized the cookies were~ they were popular Christmas gifts among the Nobility in the early times.  The cookie molds have been passed from generation to generation, and many still survive today, and many of those have had molds made from them, so all of us can enjoy these wonderful edible works of art!  My ornaments are not edible tho~ they are finished with a series of glazes that give them a nice aged patina.

(Springerle is pronounced Schpring~ girl~lee )

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Dollye on TDIPT Mercantile Sunday

I hope you can join me for a little update Sunday evening, 7 pm central mountain time on my page at the  TDIPT Mercantile. Plenty will be there, along with a pretty little trifle for your Holiday decorating!

Thursday, October 04, 2012


I often wonder how history would be changed, if photography would have been invented earlier.  It would make understanding things so much easier~ there would definitely be no question of how a 17th c forehead cloth was worn, if we had a picture of someone actually wearing one.  Just think how many things you use each and every day, that you use until it breaks and then throw it away.....not thinking twice someone someday may really want to know what it was or how it was used.  This is why I love studying early photographs~ daguerreotypes from the early 1840s & 1850s  hold a wealth of information in them~ most of the time, whats large and in focus is not what I am interested in...its the small details~ perhaps what is in a pocket, poking out from under a skirt hem, or sitting on a table that I am absolutely freaking out over!

  Take this image from Getty Archives as an example~ tho quite large and wonderfully in focus, she is holding a gorgeous basket purse~ obviously. If you look closer however, you will notice something not so ordinary about her plain, unpainted purse~ it has tassels. I have studied this photo for years, literally. I have wondered all sorts of things~ like what made her think to put tassels on it in the first place? What were they made of????  Why haven't I seen more like it?

  Then I was asked if I would be interested in buying an old 'cricket' basket. Just a tattered old thing, falling apart~ do you want it?  Well YES!  I was excited because rarely do I come across a shape of these early woven purses that I don't have yet. Isn't it gorgeous? Its so very fragile~ think of the skeleton leaves one finds in the fall~ they have decomposed to their veins, and are so beautiful, when you try to pick them up they just fall to dust. That's pretty much this basket in a nutshell. The fragile open weave has broken in a few areas, its so terrifically lightweight, my hands tremble terribly to have to pick it up and move it for fear of holding it to tightly and breaking it further.
 My real surprise came when I got it home and was photographing it for my record file. When I turned it to the back, g*a*s*p.............I nearly fell over! Not one or two, but three remaining tassel loops are still connected to the points of the basket!!!!!  The third one, above, you can see the arrow pointing to it, illustrates my hypothesis that these were always fragile baskets~ the loops having been broken off in the period, and replaced with a loop of knotted linen thread.
 Once I saw the complete loops, I quickly looked at the points for evidence of the others, and yes, every point on this basket purse once had a splint loop for attaching a tassel to~12 in total, 6 on each end!

  One can get lost daydreaming about all the wonderful treasures this once held.  The hinged lid is still attached and in near perfect order, tho the 2 original swing handles are long since gone.  This basket resembles closely this next basket~
 Matter of fact, they were most likely made by the same hand.  Her basket has just 6 tassels, but at the exact same points as mine~ my basket had an additional bottom row of tassels to make up the 12.  Her basket has 2 handles, as did mine......
  What else can you see the same or similar? Look at her center row of decoration~ what looks like paint is actually wool embroidery~ the horizontal ribbing and foot are near identical to my basket.  Folks could purchase 'plain' baskets like this, then take them home and embroider their own design in the open weave section, and add their own coordinating silk tassels.  The embroidered section of her basket would have been woven in an even weave~ think of plastic canvas today~ easy for counted thread work.  Lastly, much of my baskets fancy woven rim is missing, but some parts are still there, and is absolutely identical to her baskets rim!
  I like this picture of the end, kind of reminds me of a bow of a ship~ there is so much going on, so many angles, no doubt woven by a master.
Here you can see a view of the two original splint tassel rings~ HEAVENLY!  Of coarse I would love to find a basket with the original tassels still remaining~ but until then, I am absolutely happy with this olde relic~ and the fact that I found a third image of another basket with tassels!
  What I find interesting about this one is not the shape difference, but that the basket is a small child's.  I wonder how long it lasted before it got sat on????????

Friday, September 28, 2012

2012 Primero Homecoming First Attendant

  Wow~ First Attendant!  Here is Jayson & our girl last night at the Homecoming game. Of coarse neither of them would look at me for a picture!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Surprisingly enough.....
 I didn't get the heebie jeebies when I found this pretty furry  tarantula on the way home from market a few days ago~ I think because she is actually so huge~ as big as my hand no kidding, and furry....she feels more like an animal than an arachnid to me. I brought her home for the children to see and then we let her go on the woodpile.  I thought you all would enjoy seeing her too~ I have never seen one out and about before.
  We went on our last camping trip of the summer last weekend, and this little guy is more my type ~HA!  I posted a few years ago now about a stick bug we found out by the chicken pen~ we just never hardly ever get to find them, and this fellow was just out for a stroll, so I didn't mind picking him up to snap his picture.
  Here he is on the cedar tree~ they blend in so well. Just think of what you can see, if you take pause for a moment and really look.

 Its Homecoming week this week~ Pip will be cheering before the game tonight, and at halftime Jayson will be walking Tressa out on the field to see who makes Homecoming Queen this year~ she made Princess and is so very excited to have made it that far! Of coarse we are so proud of her and I am hoping I can get a good picture to show you tonight!   Welcome Welcome Fall!!!!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Saturday, September 01, 2012

A Tale.........

Once Upon a time....not so long ago

Within a vinefield, not so very far away....

Lived a cannibalistic Creature

Borne with an unfulfilling hunger & no shame.....

Dare Ye Not  tarry across the River to the Mystic Lands,

or walk to & fro without thy talisman close to Watch o'er & Protect Thee 

Trust in me this advise I give freely~

& Heede a warning from a close Friend...

Beware a Blood Moon~ Ye Must NOT tarry out!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A mid 18th c  Dainty Pearl for your Pleasure~

 This shoe is a single survivor from c1750. Made same as an adult's, but so tiny, for a young very affluent  little girl. The wonderfully stocky 1" Louis heel covered in pink silk to match the flowers in the silk brocade upper. Remnants of the original pink silk binding remain on both latchets. A scant 5" from back of heel to toe, pictured in front of an adults pair of shoes for size comparison.  Actually looking at the picture now, it is the little subtle details that tell a certain fashion era from the other~ the child's shoe has the broad chunky heel and round toe of early 18th c. The later adults pair has pointy toe and tall Italian heel. Now look at the tongue shape~ pointy as well, so we can firmly date the adult pair to 1780s and no earlier.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Dollys on TDIPT Mercantile & eBay Specials!
  This is wee little Buttercup in her antique needlepoint pocket~ she is on eBay this week!

  And I hope you can come over to the TDIPT Mercantile to say hello to Dollye & Pollye, my latest Queen Anne Bedpost dolls~ they all cant wait to meet you!  Just click on the respective links on the right hand sidebar to see them

Monday, August 13, 2012

Little Kindles for the Dolly~Haus...

  I couldn't resist adding a few more picture of some of the little wee beauties I have done lately~ sooo tiny and perfectly fitting for the dollhouse.  Precious above is not even 3" tall and I have dressed her in a tiny scrap of prized irridescent silk taffeta

  And here are some little ladyes playing with the kittens~ the couch is a true 1-1 scale dollhouse size~ while these are not the same girls as in the shoe on eBay this week, they are of same family and if you have a dollhouse in need of a keeper.....go check them out!