Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New for 2020

Harmony Stumpwork Figures

I have had many requests for figures for the Thistle Threads Harmony casket, and just no time to get my models sculpted, until now. Which is right in time for the starting of the class in January~ the link is above if you are new to it. I had also gotten a special request for a bobbin lace maker, so I drafted a ladye that will exactly fit the central cartouche of the Harmony designs. She is sitting with a lace pillow in her lap.  This particular set as shown is available in my ETSY store currently~ once she is sold I will change the listing to a make to order listing.  
 The figures are all sets of three pieces~ meaning, you will receive the bust, and two hands. Just because I include two hands doesnt mean you must use both. The Stitching Ladye above, depending on how you work her slate frame and what is on it,  may not even need the underneath hand.

Harmony, or Lute Ladye as I affectionately call her, has her fingers sculpted to be holding her lute~ again, due to how one chooses to work their lute and the thickness of the fingerboard, one may choose to trim off her thumb that will set behind it. 
 All three of these sets are available in my ETSY store, just click the link to it in the sidebar to learn more if you are interested. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Getting There....

~Happy Travels~
  I hope you and yours have a Safe & Happy Holiday this season~ 
I have finished Precious's carriage to allow her safe passage on her own travels...well, as far as it will get until I get my current work finished. 

 I would be lying if I said I enjoyed making this case~ I didnt. It was a total pain, but, finished it is. Hand made from solid hard maple....drove 4 hours one way to pick just the perfect even grain wood so as not to distract from the decoration I had planned for it.  I have studied the period 17th c cases up close and personal, and they are quite thin and flimsy...not made for much actual  'travels' at all. I am always quite amazed they have lasted so long....the ones that have, have done so because they were forgotten in an attic I'm sure. Mine is more robust, made with 1/2" thick sides. I am quite proud at the mechanics of it, it works like the typical flop front 17th cases~ when the front lock is engaged, the lid is lifted up, and at the same time, the front flops forward.

 I had period reproduction hardware made in England and am loving how it looks~ the lifting handles will go on as I finish the paint on the sides. I have all the pen work finished, which, as you can see is my exact casket designs, just a bit larger....and finished the paint on the front so I could attach those huge gorgeous hinges!

  Starting at the top and reading round and round to the bottom, I have included fun facts about Precious and myself...exactly how many hours of work...how many beads....fun things to looks for~ that sort of thing. If she ever gets seperated from her case, it wont take a rocket scientist to know they indeed go together.

  Here you can see how it opens~ I used a favorite German made hand marbled paper for the inside in typical 17th c Dutch pattern. I slapped my label in off center as an ode to the 17th c makers~ (who didnt really put much care into the case~ they just wanted something to get the casket back to the owner and none much else)

 Here is the case next to Precious~ it looks much larger, but really isnt~ there is less than 1/4" room between the embroidery and the case on all sides and top, so a nice snug fit. 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Can you Guess?

What these go to?

I'll give you a hint....the small one is for my flat top casket

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Time is Short!

Last call for this years Limited Edition Ornament Kit!
   I have less than a handful of the Ort King ornament kits left~ he will only be available until they run out, or until the last day of this month, whichever comes first!  You can find him in the Diamond K Folk Art blogshop, or in my ETSY store...but he is more expensive in the ETSY store to offset some of the ETSY fees(not all of them!)

 Other than being sick as a dog for the past couple of weeks, 16 days to be exact and Im sick of being sick...but other than that I have been working on Precious's travel case. I have it finished and am now painting .
The 17th c reproduction hardware I had made for it arrived day before last and spent yesterday polishing  up the pieces to match my escutcheon I already had. Once I get the front painted, I can attach the wrap front hinges for the front flop down and it will finally be all together. With the time its taken in ink and paint for the front panel so far, I estimate at least a month to paint each panel...so will work on it between my other projects.....this is the reason I have very few of my painted pieces for myself...just takes too long & I cant afford my own work. 

And in case you are wondering just what I am painting on it....I have enlarged my actual panel embroidery patterns...the originals that I drew on my fabric, and am painting them in blackwork on the case...along with interesting facts about Precious~ who made her, how many hours...how many beads...those sorts of things. Its very 'Folky'.... very me.  What is fun to notice...is how the patterns got changed throughout my stitching...things I added while stitching...things I decided not to stitch....so it is a before in blackwork....and open the case to reveal the 'after' in colour.
This is a huge undertaking for me skills wise, as I am not used to painting in this large of a scale...so very, very challenging for me. All the mistakes show when one works with just one colour....

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Flat Top Casket Progress

Precious is Finished!
 Hard to believe she is finished...kind of depressing actually, I really miss working on her every day.....time to start thinking about the next one I guess~ which will be a more traditional double casket...not that this one isnt traditional. By traditional I mean, getting to use my antique silks and silk gimps and plates and all the fun  wonderful 17th c reproduction trims and threads I have been collecting.
It was really hard for me to get a good picture, so I gave up and just took a couple videos~
This first one was particularly frustrating, because she just doesnt look anywhere near how she looks in person. The dim candlelight just makes the marguarite beads of the water and grotto just dance...not to mention the gilt trim...I am more than happy with it, I love it. 

Since I live at the end of a dirt road, off another dirt road...its super dusty in my house so I had an acrylic case made~ the top slides over the fitted base to keep all the dust and whatever else(fingers) out! 

If you think something like this is too much for you to ever finish~ just remember, a little here, a little there, and 5 years later (maybe sooner for you) its done!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Flat Top Casket Progress

  I said I wasn't posting pictures of Precious until she was finished....and I'm sticking to it! It makes my heart smile so many of you are as excited as I am to see her finished. Putting the panels on was a breeze, she has been finished since Friday the 18th~ as in, all panels glued on, hardware on....she's just waiting for her trims...she's shy and doesnt want to be seen until she is fully dressed. I had planned on using an antique gilt trim I have,  its absolutely gorgeous and EXTREMELY flexible....and literally as I was about to cut into it, I realized how perfect it would be for my mirror frame~ one needs a very flexible trim to go around all those curves and angles....so I got out my little trim samples and decided to use the 17th c reproduction gilt trim, so we are patiently waiting for that to come in the post. Maybe by Friday.....

O.K. I'm not going to lie...its killing me waiting too!
I am keeping busy now making her travel case~ so in the meantime, thought I would share some of my favorite pictures~ pictures of the back of her embroidery.

  One of the reasons the panels went on so easily, is that I have stitched everything over paper~ yes~ glued the paper on first, before stitching. It was worth it a zillion times over in the end, to be able to just cut the panels out and glue them on...and using the Gane Yes! Paste, it took literally minutes. No joke.
  I want my panels to look exactly the same after mounting on my casket, as they did on the frame....and working this way, they absolutely do!  If you enlarge the pictures, you can see, I even have wire tails....and they are totally invisible when mounted~ they nestle down into the Yes! Paste like little babies snug in their beds.

 I have to say that I enjoy looking at the back of the panels as much as the front....but the swan side was the only one I actually took a picture of...the other ones went on so quick, I forgot to snap a pic of the backs!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

My Flat Casket Progress

All Stitching is Finished!

 Can you believe it? I can't. Nearly every day stitching on something that I hoped would one day come to and end, as much as I thought, 'is this ever going to be finished'?  Well my friends...that day has come!
Five years of work here on the piano...just hangin out
Enjoy this little video~ the next time you see these panels, they will be on their casket!

Since I stitched over paper...there are no tedious steps now...just cut these babies out and glue them on...not lying...I may have already started  XOXOXOXXO

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Casket Progress~

Swan side finished~ 
 I have been so busy getting my orders filled I havent had much time to work on my casket, but like I always say, a little here...a little there...adds up and voi~la, I finished the swan side of my casket last week~ WOO!
 Once the roses were on, I made a few other flowers to make things interesting....just an excuse to use beads I haven't used yet really......

 This is on the lion side....it was imperative that I find a spot for these tiny stripe beads....I was not going to spend 5 years on a beaded stumpwork casket, and not have them somewhere....since nearly every single 17th c beadwork piece I have studied has had striped beads on it someplace.
It's cute. I like it.

 The design I drew out included these bellflowers....I have snowdrops on one of the friezes, and debated several years I guess....on weather to make these snowdrops, or yellow bells...(the Yellow Fritillary). Me and yellow bells go waaaay back...I mean, probably before I could talk. We would venture out each spring to pick them...I can remember my Pa bringing some home from the mill in his lunchbox....cant imagine what the fellas thought seeing my Pa out picking wildflowers on his lunchbreak...XOXOXOXOXOX
I love them so much, really when I got to this point, there was no question, yellow bells went on both the swan side and lion sides.
  With so many roses, I needed some rosebuds. I think I had 6 or 7 for each side planned....and as I was making them, I did what I was afraid I would do...and slid out my finished panels from their storage case to 'just make sure' they looked 'full' enough.  :::::::sigh:::::  I knew it. I didn't like the lid~ too sparse, so I decided I would spend my sewing day making rosebuds, and as many as I got finished in that one day, I would put on the lid.

 I got 11 made, and attached them on the garland around Lady Victory ~ the angels loved how they smelled so they each picked out a few to hold too~

 Once the rosebuds were on, it was just leaves left....I made 30 leaves for the swan side to complete it. I could have put more on there, but I think I need to draw the line somewhere.....I have had folks comment that they think I just like making tedious little things forever and will never get it finished......not the case.
Tho I do really love the process, I do in fact, want to get it finished!

  I have more caskets planned you know ;)

As for the lion side....the last side...it is finished save for the leaves...30 leaves as well...and yesterday while camping I got 7 of them done...the end is very near my friends!

~A Day Spent Stitching, is a Blessed Daye Indeed~

Monday, October 07, 2019

2019 Ltd Ed Nutcracker Ornament Kit

Time to get one, if you want one!
I am now well into single digits on the remaining 2019 Ort King Ornament Kits. 
Once they are gone, they're gone!  If interested, just click this link for more information & ordering ~
Happy Stitching!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Initials & Date are ON

So I Guess That Makes it Official...
 I officially need to get my fingers greased up and get to towne on these sides to finish them this year. I like the larger pearls...yes, REAL pearls~ I wanted them to look chunky and in a 'script' that I have seen in pearls on several period caskets~ the small one millimeter pearls I used on the front were just too small to get the look I wanted
If you look to the left, you will see a bit of the evil Satan's Bush on the Swan side panel....ohhh those bushes. Tip: Test your stitches on a practice piece before commiting on the actual panel
And I have an active practice doodle frame set up for such things....but did I use it this time? Nope. I had studied a casket up close at Colonial Williamsburg, and on it, in 4 different places, I found about 1/2" or smaller(I know why) areas with a very fascinating, microscopic stitch that I really loved the look of. It looks exactly like what I was able to execute in beads...but I still havent figured out the stitch in silk yet~ no its not a bullion stitch of any kind...anyways, I was bound and determined to have that on my casket.
Hours upon hours upon hours and a zillion beads later....I had like....literally....half inch of space worked...my eyes were killing me, I could no longer retain focus, my neck hurt....it was torture. 
But me being stubborn as I am, I kept going until I filled in every last space of my bushes, and covered over forever the garbled of overwritten mess of 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 of dates I had planned on having there....
I moved them over to the Lions side

So, I better get busy on this~ I have all the background roses finished, all that is left that is drawn on the panels now are the grape clusters, so those will be next, then it will be a never ending sea of leaves leaves and leaves...and then most likely, more leaves
To say I cant wait would be an understatement...but...
I cant wait

Thursday, September 12, 2019

This Summer

Where did it go?
  It seems like its been forEver since I was able to work on my casket~ I can't even remember if I have shared my Lion with ya'll?  I got him finished before I left for England...really wanted to give him real teeth...but alas, my tooth drawer did not yield anything his size, or worthy of his stately presence....so he got glass teeth...I hope he doesn't mind.  
For my birthday husband gave me the gift of him cooking supper for an entire month~ I didn't think it would last, but here we are a week and half in, and hes still going, so I have been taking advantage and spending the time I would normally be cooking supper,  working on my casket. It's coming on very slow...a million and one flower petals and leaves...thats where I'm at. 
 I had such a wonderful time in England, words cannot even describe it. I went with my bestie a week early before Summer School and we stayed in London and had a blast.  There was never a dull moment~ the first day, after arriving and getting our things settled at the hotel, we were off to Covent Garden. I wanted to get some paper at Il Papiro....but alas, the Italian Stationer no longer has a store in the Market. The White Lion was beautiful as ever...I think I need to eat supper here the next time I'm in London....

 O.K. now this is a hilarious memory for me that will make me smile until the day I die...and probably afterwards for that matter....anyone who knows me knows I am a morning person and ALWAYS on time...always early...don't ever want to be late~ not me.  Well we had planned on walking across the Thames our first morning in London, and being at the Tower of London a little before 10 am, when it opened. I slept well on my flight, and wasnt feeling any jet laggy at all~ my bestie tho had been up over 24 hours by the time we went to bed....I didn't bother to get out my alarm (you can tell where this is going?) because I wasnt that tired, and well, it was just around 8pm....I would be up in plenty of time, and would wake her up if needed.....so I literally blink my eyes and am jolted awake by a loud slam~ someone had thrust open our door and the little flip lever thingy had caught it so they couldn't come in....about that time, I am wondering what the heck is going on because Im not really awake yet, I see S look at her watch and at the same time she jets out of bed and says 'its 11 o'clock!'  
Oh my golly. I dont think I have ever slept that many hours in a row before! LOLOLOL  I am still laughing about it. So...we were a bit late getting over to the Tower of London, but it was fantabulous, none the less.

 I got to see the crown jewels~ amazing. All the armor in the White Tower....amazing. The Chapel in the White Tower~ Heavenly. It was a beautiful day out, and yes, I even got to see the Ravens. Because we were a bit late, we didnt have time for a proper visit to Westminster Abbey, so I took a quick zip out to Harrods 
 Who knew that LaDuree has a tea salon around the back of Harrods? Well you do now!

 Can you imagine getting to work at this counter? Since when were tea & cakes so blasted gorgeous?
You must make a reservation for Afternoon Tea tho~ if you are thinking of going~ you can reserve online at Harrods' website

I have been plugging away at roses...trying to get all the flowers finished that are drawn on my panel first...then will work on foliages and see if I need more flowers. I am afraid that I will get these sides finished, and then go back and look at the top or the front, and decide they are too sparse and get sucked into a never ending vortex of adding more flowers and leaves until every bead I own is on here somewhere.....

Thursday, September 05, 2019

2019 Ltd Edition Ornament Kit

 Is Just About Gone gone Gone!
He has been a popular fellow this one....  If you have been pondering getting this years limited edition ornament kit, Ort King,  I have just a scant 12 kits left, and then he will be history!  You can click the link to learn more about him~ hes worked in silks and real gold on linen...there are 32 pages of step by step, full color photo & written instruction...4 pages of stitch and pattern guides...all threads & material are included save for a few things like scissors and embroidery hoop~
Next year will be the 5th year of my limited edition ornament series....I got somethin pretty special planned!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

What A Time!

 2019 Bath Textile Summer School
  Have just arrived back home to Colorado from spending the past few weeks in England.  I had a fabulous time, and want to send a big Thank You to all of my students at the Bath Textile Summer School for taking my classes and being such enthusiastic learners!  Bookings open on August 24th for next years summer school~ click the link above to go check out the new website and see the classes on offer.  I am honored to have been asked to return in 2022, and will be designing a special piece(s) to commemorate the Great, Beautiful, city of Bath, as seen above, looking on from Prior Park.

  This year's classes were held at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution situated in the heart of Bath alongside the Queen's Square.

  In my first class, Pretty Ladye, we focused on surface bead techniques and how to build up a figure

 The BRLSI has gorgeous classroom spaces~ they are large & bright,with ample lighting. My room directly overlooked Queen's Square...and yes, that's a dinosaur casting on the wall. It's easy to see why the Lonsdale Room is referred to as the Dinosaur Room!

  Not bad for a single day's progress~ the beads do work up so much faster than silk

 My second class, Bath Bunny, focused on more detached techniques, and specifically how to build beaded stumpwork animals~

 It was an absolute joy to have two of my prior students visit and bring with them their completed Bath Arbor Baskets~ It's great to see them side by side to see how different & unique they are~ I love them!

  I never require my students to have any prior knowledge of beadwork to take my classes. Some work fast, some work slow~ it doesnt matter. I always provide step by step written instructions so that they can be referred to at a later time~ but just look what these girls were able to get finished in class...makes me super happy! 

Thankyou so much to Lynne & Michael Roche for inviting me to come and teach~ they both work so hard to make sure everything runs smoothly. It was and honor to be in such fine company with fellow tutors Jenny Adin Christie and  Janet Bolton again. Ah! Such. A. Wonderful . Time.

If you have placed an order whilst I have been away, thankyou for waiting! I am on my way to the post today to ship them all out, so look for a ship notice email later on this evening.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Flat Casket Progress

Not Much...
The last day I worked on my casket was April 19th....work has been heavy with orders and getting ready for Bath Textile Summer School and such, so I set it aside for a bit. Too blasted hot to do anything outside...about had a heat stroke yesterday mowing the yard...so inside today working on wings for Msr. Swan...now on to m'Ladye's demure wing. They're so difficult to get to look 'right'. I have a picture in my mind, and when what I make doesn't match it, is very frustrating. He had several wings made and unpicked...feathers made for a different part...didn't look good, so repurposed into a different area...that sort of thing. It's very time consuming, but keeps my mind occupied.
Weather it likes it or not...this casket 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Yellowstone National Park

SO ...Much....to See

  The second day we were in the park Josh & I had a day hike planned to see the Petrified Forest. I have been to the single petrified tree several times...but never the forest. The hike is a 'strenuous' level of hike, so Josh was the only one who would go with me. All I can say, is,  it was worth it, it was awesome.
 I took about a zillion pictures of buffalo~ they were all shedding..but still looking quite majestic. 
 I love the Buffalo! This time of year, in June, all the mommys had their little babies by their sides~ they are affectionately called 'red dogs', because they're so red. 

  Last time we were at Yellowstone, they were working on a new parking area at Fairy Falls, for the new trail they made up to the 'Grand Prismatic Overlook'. It opened the day after we left, so it was a must go to. FINALLY! To be able to see and appreciate the entire Grand Prismatic Spring! I could never really see anything from the boardwalk~ between all the people on it, and all the steam, it was never one of my favorite spots. Its beautiful from the overlook tho~ it's a great trail that IS handicap accessible. If your planning a trip...it's a must see.

 So Josh & I got up early in the morning for our hike...had to make the drive from Madison campground to the Lamar Valley....it was great~ didn't pass a single car on the way. Matter of fact, we had Tower Falls all to ourselves at 6am...not another soul there!

 It was first week of June, and yes, still snow in spots.  It snowed the day before we got there actually....but most of the park was snow free and in full spring wildflower bloom~ just beautiful.

 Did you know that the Petrified Forest in Yellowstone is the only place in the entire world that trees  have been petrified standing, with their root systems intact? Yep~ it's amazing. Along the trail, they are everywhere~ big small, some on their sides....it's a hard place to find, so if you want to go , definitely recommend a guide book. When it says the level is 'strenuous' and describes parts of the trail as 'inhumanely steep'..(yes, that is a quote from the guidebook!) ....they're not kidding...but its soooo worth it!

 The trees are huge

 At the top, is this giant redwood~ 26 feet in circumference! What is really great tho, is that you can walk around down underneath it, and see the petrified roots.

 Also on the low side of it, are these two towering trees

  As if that wasn't great enough...on the way back to the campground, we saw a mamma bear and two cubs.  I have been to Yellowstone so many times, and rarely see any bears...this trip...NINE bears!