Thursday, August 28, 2014

And the Winner Is.........

P. Smith Thomas! Congratulations!!
   I will be sending your butterfly pin disk kit out as soon as you get back to me with your mailing address ;)
For those that are wondering.... the Total Number of Beads used on my Padded Mirror Case is....
  111,170 Beads, with a Total Working Time of  433 hours, 12 minutes. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

An Early 18th c Swaddling Cover

It is no secret I adore baby things...but this set, so simple, so takes my breath away.  In ancient times, babies were swaddled~ tightly wrapped in linen bands in layers, all of them pin'd together~ to keep baby quiet and content. For presentation, and special occasion, such as a Christening, a fancy cover was made to adorn the otherwise usually plain linen band the baby was wrapped in. I say, usually, because most were a simple unadorned band of linen~ there are several extant examples tho of the linen embellished with cutwork and needle lace such as reticilla, common in the late 17th and early 18th c.  To find a body cover is exceedingly rare, but it, together with both  matching mitts and head cloth is near miraculous!
 All four pieces are made from the same very fine linen with applied designs using the same linen stitched into little bands and then pleated into place. The square piece, roughly 19cm square, I believe to be a head cloth, which was placed underneath the baby's head during the Christening ceremony. It is It is obvious the set was meant for a Christening occasion from the nature of the embellished designs upon it~ there are two smaller crosses incorporated into an overall larger design
which in itself, forms yet another cross
 The body cover is cut from a single rectangle with a small cutout for the baby's neck to fit. A double frill of linen was then stitched round three sides, and at center front was originally hemmed to remain an open flounce, but then whoever used it, decided to tack the frill closed in two places. From shoulder to bottom it measures 41cm long, and 21cm wide
It has a quaint folky feel to the decoration~ one can tell the maker put much love into each and every stitch. A heart fills the bottom most motif
Trinity and two crosses form the center
Above, what looks like a butterfly or perhaps an angel~ with another heart at the center top
Behind the outer frill there is enough exposed surface of the piece for it to pin to the swaddling bands, and there are feint prick holes here from doing so
The presence of the mitts, along with the size of the body cover, tell us the child was not a newborn. It was half swaddled leaving the hands free, which, could not have been presented in society without them properly being covered. The flared cuffs are framed in the same linen as the other pieces
The separate thumbs carefully inserted, with no fold back on the finger opening over the hands
Livy's hands are sculpted closed so she could not model the mitts for you, but she was very happy to show you how the set would have looked on a baby
Looking from this angle, doesn't the bottom and top  most motifs look like angels to you? They do to me!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Padded Mirror Case Class Questions

I have been getting alot of questions about the case and so wanted to share some of the popular ones here for those who want to ask, but havent yet!

1. step by step instruction~ YES!  By step by step, I mean, STEP. by STEP from opening the box and pulling the case out of it, to beadwork, design, papering the inside and outside, linings, installing mirror and hardware~ EVERYTHING!!   
 1a. The step by step instruction is obtained thru a private online blog, which you will  be able to read after your case is purchased ( I must add you ). You can zoom along, or crawl, at your own pace~ THERE IS NO TIME LIMIT FOR FINISHING.  I have been posting the steps as I have been going along.
2. Aside from the lining and finishing instructions, the working instruction is for BEADWORK, tho I have  ladies working their cases in regular stumpwork
3. Deviation from my printed pattern is ENCOURAGED!!!
4. Antique Beads are NOT INCLUDED, *BUT*, I do provide sources for you to acquire them, I myself provide a search service if you are looking for something real particular, and YES~ I DO SELL some of my weensie antique beads in the bead shop on the 'For The Ladye' blog, which is the class blog.
5. All hardware and MIRROR are included with the case~ you may choose to have me antique your mirror at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE
6. Yes, this is a great smaller project~ its very basic in form, perfect to practice papering and getting your interior finishing skills down before moving on to a more elaborate box with drawers and all sorts of nooks and crannies. The total elapsed time for mine was 27 April 2014~ 19 Aug 2014....I have four children, a high school senior graduation and summer trip, making case carcasses and my doll business all figuring in within that time frame, so it really does work up quick
7. It takes me apx 1 month from start to finish to make a case, YES~ they are hand made by ME, only ME, one at a time in solid Pine and Ash
8. Shipping is not included in initial purchase price, when I finish your case, you will then be billed exact shipping to your locale~ 
9. Do I offer Layaway? YES!!  I have no set sched~ whatever works for you, can work for me as well~ just let me know what you have in mind.

Can you Guess???

I had to show you a closeup of my favorite little snail~ isn't he so cute!?  I have been inundated with requests for how many beads I used on the mirror I thought, I will let you all guess! The one who guesses closest to the amount, without going over , will win one of my beaded butterfly pin disk kits. Just email your guess to me at ~ only one guess per person now so think carefully!!  You have until midnight of Wednesday next to enter~thats August 27, 2014.  Good luck!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


It seems like I have been working on it for forever, but then again not! I have kept careful track of hours spent and beads used (of coarse!), and will get that info on here shortly~ I will add it to the bottom of the post after I double check the tally. After making the wooden case, I started the bead work on the 27th of April, 2014~ so just 4 months have passed~ not long at all really
I am very pleased with the results, and may just have to make another one~ I am in love with the padded lid and all the stump work elements~  I had great fun making the King's crown
There are a variety of techniques used on the case, all of which are executed in antique glass beads on a dutchess silk satin ground
I had thought to perhaps bead the frieze underneath...husband says absolutely not~ "just be done " he said today....but I am still mulling the thought~ it wouldn't take long, and I already have decided on putting my motto there....but I need to measure the remaining antique silver trim I used to see if I have enough of it left, that will be the deciding factor
The lid could tilt back a little bit more to my liking, but I overstuffed the lid so that brought it forward a bit~  its really heavy too, weighing it is on my list!
I used all antique beads in all different sizes and materials~ from tiny glass beads less than half millimeter in diameter, to real pearls, tourmaline, 14K & 18K gold, silver and bone

The King must have real bling of coarse! His scepter and crown are made with 14k & 18k gold, real pearls, and green tourmaline
Ladye holds a red rose he has just given her
Hiding little clues to the maker is always fun~ there are several little things hidden through out  the panel, my Diamond K Trademark of coarse, and here on Ladye's skirt, my initials and the year. Pictures just don't capture the feel of it though~ so I made a little video of it~ hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Handsome Beaded Stumpwork King

 Sans Crown And Scepter ....

 I have been plugging along on the lid for my reproduction 17th c padded mirror case and thought you all would enjoy saying 'Hello' to the King, who is nearly complete, minus his crown and scepter that will come after I finish his Ladye~ 
 He is fully clothed~ shoes, hose, britches, apron, jacket, robe, collar and falling band all have been carefully stitched from antique glass beads and real seed pearls. There has not been a single person to view him and not pick up different pieces of his costume to see what is underneath. The lace cuffs on the sleeves of his jacket are woven separately, as is his falling band, from the weensiest little opal beads you have ever seen, about a half millimeter in size just!
  If you are interested in learning more about my online class & Padded Mirror Case~ you can find the info here. Along with the case carcass, complete step by step instruction is included from start to finish!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly Autumn 2014

 I am speechless~ my beaded basket made the cover of SANQ Autumn 2014 issue! What an honor~ words cannot express my gratitude, no absolutely not.  I can't wait to get my copy and read Tricia's article~ you can purchase a digital copy here .  This is so exciting for me to be able to help bring this lost and forgotten form of art back into circulation!  I have been really surprised at the reaction & feedback people have given me when they see my basket~ I would say 90% or more of them had never seen anything like it or know it existed and they were all intrigued and wanted to know how I made it. I am pondering a new online class if there is enough interest~ the twilling technique can be used for so many different things~ not just presentation baskets...think small projects~ can you imagine a beaded corsage and boutinir for a wedding...ones that will never wilt and can be saved....brooches, picture & mirror frames....a chandelier or candle sconce~ there is not limit to ones imagination~ the beads will not melt or be damaged by water or dust...their color does not fade over time, and most of all, its just plain fun! So run out and get your copy of the current issue of SANQ today!