Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I May be a Shoe Addict!

I love shoes, especially vintage styles, and currently I'm coveting a pair of "Gibson's"!

They would be perfect for my Edwardian reproductions, of course, but I'd wear them with modern styles too.

They're available for pre-order right now at American Duchess and I just cannot decide what color would be best - what do you think?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Yes, They Did!

Every so often, a debate arises in mid-19th century living history circles - did anyone really create the projects depicted in the lady's magazines of the period?

Just like now, certain magazines were specifically marketed towards women and just like today, they have articles on fashion, cooking, child care, home decoration and craft projects. Two of the more popular were Godey's Lady's Book and Peterson's Magazine; they were targeted for the growing middle class and are a great research resource.

But did anyone actually create the projects?

YES, they did!

I've thus far been able to find four original items that I can directly link to specific published projects and recently was able to purchase one - a beaded pincushion. 

It's from the March 1865 issue of Godey's, with the following directions:

To be worked with clear glass beads, on canvas sufficiently coarse for one bead to cover a stitch. The  ground can be filled with Solerino, blue, or scarlet wool, worked in cross-stitch. The patterns are reduced about one half. The fringe should be formed on the cushions with the clear white beads. Forty beads should be strung and looped up three stitches from where it commences, and each loop should be caught into the one next to it. This forms a very graceful and rich fringe. These same patterns will answer for netted tidies, the figures to be darned in.

The maker of this cushion followed most of the directions: clear glass beads, scarlet wool ground and beaded fringe, but she did not cross stitch the ground - she used the basic continental stitch. The cushion is approximately 7 inches square. It has a red velvet back and is stiffly stuffed, perhaps with bran. There is damage to the wool ground and the fringe and it appears there may have been some type of trim applied in a square around the central design which is now missing.  

I probably would not have recognized the design except that I had previously used it myself, as decoration on a needle book. The design was beaded onto silk taffeta, which was used to cover two bell shaped pasteboard pieces. The pieces were connected on the sides and wool flannel pages can be exposed by pulling the emery strawberry "clapper" and retracted by pulling the velvet loop at the top.

I have another project to share, but need to wait until summer when I'll have the proper equine model...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Specimens - 2013 Bead Journal Project

I debated on participating in the Bead Journal Project this year - it tends to occupy a lot of time and I have many projects planned for this year, many with firm deadlines. But I really feel i came up with an interesting concept...and, well, I'm off to a late start, as usual!

My plan is to create a series of "bugs", each of which will have the name of an actual insect but won't necessarily accurately depict each insect - instead it will be my interpretation of the name and constructed in a large variety of techniques; I suspect many will be very mixed media, but always incorporating beads.

I have managed to obtain my "specimen jars" for displaying my bugs (and providing the uniform size that should be part of BJP - 6 1/2" x 4 1/2" sure seemed to be a reasonable size, but they seem very large in person. That's probably okay though, it gives me room to incorporate lots of detail.

I have actually started my first creature, but I currently have other projects with looming deadlines, so I'll have to work on him in bits and pieces.

I promise there will be more to see than an empty jar - soon I hope!