Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hidden in the Snow

If you look closely, snow isn't really white - those bits of crystallized water show every color possible!

"Hidden in the Snow" is my submission for the Art Bead Scene December monthly challenge. Here's the inspiration piece:

It's Winter Landscape by Wassily Kandinsky, circa 1909. He certainly understood that snow isn't white!

I've not been a very active participant in the monthly challenges - the time frame is a large difficulty for me, as I seldom seem to have an appropriate "art bead" in my stash (beaded beads are not allowed for some reason). With no local bead store - the closest is 3 hours away - I have to rely on online bead shops and by the time I order and actually receive my focal bead, there's not much time left to create a submission.

I've increased my stash and hopefully this will allow me to actively participate more in the coming year.

This necklace does use beads from my stash, combined with freeform peyote stitch and an Italian mesh wire base.

Available for purchase here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Wishes 2013

Holiday Wishes are "Slipping & Sliding"
their way to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

And the Ice is Here!

We are officially ice-bound:  Arnold Transit suspended service TODAY, due to ice in the harbor in St. Ignace.

In the eleven years we've lived on Mackinac, this is the earliest ending of ferry service - should be a good winter!

We will be dependent on the planes now for mail, freight/groceries and for moving people on and off Island, unless an ice bridge forms - seems likely given the frigid temps we've had lately.

There is a long tradition of delivery via ice to Mackinac, here's an excerpt from Godey's Lady's Magazine, circa 1863:

                                                                                                                            Mackinac, Mich.

Dear Sir: Would you like to know the mode of conveyance by which the Lady’s Book reaches these almost Arctic Regions? It is by dog-teams. From Saginaw to this place, a distance of over two hundred miles, our mail matter, in the winter season, is brought to us on men’s backs and dog-teams. We have a weekly mail; and each weekly party consists of two man and three dogs with a long traine de glisse, to which the latter are harnessed. This traine is generally made of an oak board two or three-eighths of an inch thick, about a foot wide, and eight or ten feet long, with the forward part nicely turned up. On this are strapped mail-bags, and the provisions for the men and dogs. This would sound strange to those who live in well-improved parts of the country. Yesterday the thermometer ranged between four and twenty degrees below zero; and this morning it stood twenty-four degrees below. The ice in these straits, and Lake Huron in this vicinity, is from eighteen to twenty-eight inches thick; no sign of an early opening of navigation. I hear that your subscribers at this place are much pleased with the Lady’s book.

And thus, the ladies of the Island were able to keep current on the latest fashions!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Icing Early

Ice is always a topic of Island conversation this time of year - "will there be an ice bridge?" or "how much longer will there be boats (ferries)?"

Well the answer to that last question is, probably not much longer! The ice is making quite early this year, as can be seen by the path left by the the freighters making their way through the Straits.

The ferry is wearing it's own coating of ice:

And also leaving a trail, as it slowly makes it's trip to the Island.

The heavy steel hull can still break through the several inch thick sheets of ice so far, making a a rough, crunching sound, but that probably won't be the case for too much longer.

The rocks on the breakwall carry their own ice coating:

And the harbor is starting to fill too:

How many more days???? Better make one more trip and stock up on necessities - Spring is a long ways away!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baseball & Bathing 2013- Part 1

I've been noticeably missing from the blog-world lately; many, many projects in progress, but none that can be revealed just yet. 

And I realized I never shared anything form the 2nd annual Baseball & Bathing weekend, so here's part 1! 

Grand Hotel hosts period baseball games, using 1860's rules - a great excuse to dress in our finery and provide some period spectators.

We were a slightly larger group this year and just look at our handsome escorts:

It was a lovely day for a baseball and a picnic, a bit warm, so we were fortunate to find a bit of shade to spread our blankets and our wonderful "spread" of lunch.

Our repast included chicken "patties" - chicken salad in pastry shells - a receipt from Miss Eliza Leslie's cookbook, blackberry pie made from fresh picked berries, fresh baked bread with preserves, vegetable bounty from the garden and a bit of hothouse fruit too!

Who knew that fruit could lead to such scandalous behavior!

We also enjoyed some rousing rounds of battledore - great fun!

The baseball teams use a progression of period rules, including a set form 1868, so it made a great reason to wear my 1868 dress. And as Mackinac is a "Watering Place", I could get away with wearing a hat, even at my advanced age. My plan was to wear a fanchon bonnet, but it didn't get finished in time (and still isn't), so it was hat or nothing.

A gentleman on the Island is developing his period photography skills and was pleased to models dressed in period styles.

Those good looking gentlemen again!

Heading up the hill, to don our bathing costumes - part 2, coming soon!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Whatsit Followup

Here's the "whatsit" that has generated so much conversation here, on the Civil War Needleworkers forum and on the Antique Pattern Library regarding what this object actually is.

My first thought, echoed by others,  was some type of lampshade cover, but the gas and kerosene lamps of the era required a central vent which this object does not accommodate.

Another suggestion was a skullcap:

Um, probably not!

A cover for a domed glass paperweight, again, probably not:

One plausible theory was a cover for wire food safe. I don't have an antique wire food safe, but I do have a rattan version:

My problem with this theory is the handle - like the lampshade cover there is no accommodation for the handle.

Other suggestions include workbasket cover, pillowcover, footstool cover and finally a piano stool cover:

And I do believe we have a winner!!!

Despite having a piano stool, it had not occurred to me to try it on there - but when I did, it was a perfect fit!

It's my opinion, based on materials, construction techniques, color and style, that this cover dates to the late 1870's - 1880's and reflects the Victorian craze for all things "Oriental".

I feel it was constructed, at home,  by a middle class lady, to ornament her parlor - which was probably not as ornate as the parlor seen above. She most likely used a published pattern for the crochet and then added the purchased chenille fringe.

A note on the fringe: It was suggested on one of the forums that the chenille "tails" had been knotted in place, not woven as I suggested. However, a closeup photo of one of the tassels clearly shows that it was woven in when the trim was constructed:

Wouldn't it be a wonder to have such trims available for purchase now!

Once I found the proper term - music stool, not piano stool - I found a number of patterns in the period magazines, using a variety of techniques:

This one in crochet even has a central diamond pattern similar to my example!

Thank you so much to everyone who offered suggestions - it's been so much fun exploring the possibilities

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I recently acquired this "whatsit" and it definitely has me a bit puzzled. 

The materials and techniques place it firmly in the Victorian  or perhaps Edwardian era. It is crocheted of red wool with a woven trim tacked about 1 1/2" from the edge. This trim includes a chenille fringe or tails that have been woven into the fringe.

None of this would be too terribly puzzling, except it is obviously not intended to lay flat:

But instead is designed to go over something domed - here it is on an upsidedown stainless bowl, approximately 16" across and and 5" deep:

My first thought was a cover for a glass lampshade of some kind, but it just doesn't seem likely, as there is no central hole to allow venting of the heat/fumes, as is typical for lighting of the era.

So any ideas???

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013