History Meets the Arts Weekend 2018

img_6539On the weekend of June 8,9 and 10th, Lord Nelsons Gallery hosted ” History Meets the Arts weekend” at Gettysburg College. In attendance were artists ranging from painters to sculpture’s to artisans making trunks and pottery!

Its so much easier to show you than to try and describe the beautiful artwork we saw……so here you go!

 

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We bought a bandbox for one of my bonnets and the cutest “Ugly” jug!

 

Until next time!

Bathing Beauty Dolls

07It seems whenever the monster known as depression hits hard in my life (which it has been a lot lately) dolls and there fantasy world come galloping in to help me through it. So I thought today I would share another love of mine, bathing beauty dolls. These dolls are beautiful and risqué; what could be a better combination?

These dolls started to be produced around the early 1900s into the 1920s. Some had clothes painted/molded on, some had fabric or lace glued to them as clothing. I have seen some with mohair and some with painted/molded on hair. Basically, there is something for everyone! I tend to like the ones in undergarments since that is something I collect in full size vintage clothing. Here are some great examples of bathing beauty dolls:

And to end this little post, I present to you a bathing beauty doing what I can only figure is interpretive dance? Whatever she is doing, she is looking good while doing it!

The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865

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I normally do not review books (mainly because I read too many books and don’t have time to review them) but this one is special. This book is a diary from a boy that lived in Macon, GA during the civil war and wrote about everything! His name is Leroy Gresham. He wrote about his injury (that left him an invalid), the comings and goings in his house, everyday chit chat and the war itself. There is a little bit of everything for everyone in this diary. What does this mean to you? This means you can read a war years diary and focus on what interests you. Some diary’s I have read in the past focus on one subject or another but this one has something for everyone!

I will admit I have not finished reading this book yet. It has been my go to book this past two weeks to read during downtime at work and we haven’t had much of that. Normally I read much faster but reading this slower has given me the chance to savor all the little details. Some of the details that fascinated me was when he talked about Christmas presents, everyday presents of food and his appetite for reading. Leroy was given so many presents of food on a weekly basis! You can get a feel for what types of fruit(and sweets!)were available in his area of the country too. He mentions many times receiving cantaloupes. I have been studying the Civil War for most of my life and had not realized that they had cantaloupes (though I’m not a food historian by any means!). He also talks about the quantities of peaches his family receives. That should come as no surprise as peaches as a staple in Georgia even today.

The diary spans from 1860 to Leroy’s death in 1865. It is sad that as you read this dairy you can see his heath deteriorating but through it all he maintains his good spirits and sunny outlook. If you are interested in reading this diary I will link it below as well as the book that is all about his medical condition. The editor has done a fabulous job on this book and we hope to see her do more in the future!

The War Outside my Window

I am Perhaps Dying

Origins of Memorial Day

Memorial Day officially started in 1868 as “Decoration Day”. General John A Logan, the Commander in Chief of The Grand Army of the Republic, proclaimed “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,”. This specific date was chosen since it was not an anniversary of any battle.

By 1890 all states had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Southern states did not honor their dead on the same day until after WWI. Eventually Decoration Day was becoming known as Memorial Day. It was first called this in 1882. In 1968, it was officially made the last Monday in May to make a three-day weekend for federal employees. This finally went into full effect in 1971.

Our group The Civilians of Gettysburg, does an 1860’s Decoration Day ceremony in front of the soldier’s monument at the National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA. We do poetry readings, talk about the origins of the holiday, and sing a few hymns. Sadly, I did not get any photos of the ceremony since we like to keep modern devices out of the public view for events. But we did get photos afterwards in the cemetery.

Have a fun weekend and remember to honor those who have fought for our freedom.

Civil War Battle’s with Cats!

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Yesterday It was a beautiful day and I actually had some free time(gasp!). I decided to take a walk since the weather was so nice and I ended up at an fun and offbeat attraction Gettysburg called ” Civil War Tails at The Homestead Diorama Museum”. If you like cats, the civil war, history or dioramas you will love this place! I figured this museum would have beautiful dioramas and the rest would be ok. The rest being the tour portion.

I was partially wrong.

The museum does have beautiful Dioramas. But Rebecca (one of the sisters who gave me a tour) was knowledgeable beyond what I find in most museums! As I was looking at the dioramas, she was regaling me with the history of every scene and going into technical detail on how they were constructed! I was blown away. Right now this is a very small museum but they are working to expand right now.

So now for the important details:

This museum is run by two sisters Ruth and Rebecca Brown. They are both awesome!

There are a grand total of 8,500 cats in the museum but *only* 6,000 are on display in the dioramas. That’s a lot of cats. Rebecca told me it takes her only 7 minutes to make one cat. If she is sculpting a horse with a cat rider that takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.  That’s impressive.

And there is only one dog in the museum:

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There are 3 huge dioramas and many small ones. Currently they are in the process of making Little round top.

Now I will leave you with the photos and the website to get more information on this wonderful attraction!

The Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints

 

This is what Currier and Ives called itself. The name says it all! If you go to antique stores, browse eBay etc. etc. you have probably seen these cheaply produced but colorful lithographs before. They vary in subject matter from landscapes to pretty ladies to kittens. But the subject of today’s post is not those subjects but Mourning prints.

During the Victorian years  (1837-1901) there were many popular types of mourning art for a person’s walls. One type was hair wreaths or hair art. These would have been  pricey unless in the case of the hair wreath, you did it yourself. Another type of mourning art was embroidered mourning pictures. Think of these as a huge investment and to own one you needed to have money to “burn” so to speak. What did the average person in the mid-19th century do for “mourning art”? Currier and Ives had the solution. They were selling every other genre of cheap artwork and then added mourning art to their repertoire. These were printed so that you filled in the name and dates of your loved one or loved ones. Many you find today are framed in the “Currier and Ives” style frames. This is a simple frame that has a thin layer of veneer on it.

I have several in my house and LOVE them! They adorn my living room walls for all to see. After staring at these for a while, I decided to reproduce one for Lydia Ann.

There were many to choose from so I just picked the first one I saw and went from there. I figure I can make more at a later date if I want to(which of course I will!). After I had the images printed to the correct “scale” for Lydia Ann and other 16″ to 18″ antique dolls; I contacted a company to custom make the frames for me.

After waiting for a little bit for those to arrive and assembling the pieces; voila! We have doll wall artwork!

The finished project:

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Then after I took the first photo I couldn’t stop myself from playing dollhouse:

 

Here   is the link to buy your doll her very own copy of this limited edition product!

If you want to see more period style artwork for dolls comment on this post or contact me through my shop on Etsy with your suggestions!

Two Year Blog-a-versary!

birthday-cake-2-year-oldTwo years ago to this day I did my very first blog post on Lydia Ann the Traveling doll. I didn’t have any followers and had no idea what I really wanted to write about. I think I have figured out a flow to my posts now after two years, finally!

So thank you to all my followers and lurking readers who aren’t following the blog (I know you are out there).  I hope to write more and be around for many more years! Now join me for some cake and mixed drinks!

 

Berlin Wool Work Slippers Supplies

The last post on this subject I showed you different examples of berlin wool work slippers for dolls. We also had Mr. Wikipedia help us out on what exactly this technique is. Essentially this is not a hard project, just time consuming. Time consuming because of altering your doll shoe pattern, finding supplies and actually doing the work.

So here is my post to help you out in this process should you decide to tackle it!

First off you need supplies. I started with this pattern. Yes it is a patterns made for the reproduction Huret’s but I resized it for Lydia Ann’s feet. What ever pattern you use it just needs to be close to the shape you are looking for. I just happen to have had this pattern since I am currently costuming a Huret doll.

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Next you will need the “canvas” or the fabric. I will apologize in advance here because I don’t remember what my fabric was called. I swear I thought it was called Penelope cloth but then I looked it up and that is definitely not what I am using. So look for needlepoint fabric in 16 or 18 count. I don’t even know what size fabric I am using either. I am sorry for the lame vague advice. Sue me. I had it in my stash. I bought way too much of it years a go and need to use it up.

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The next thing you will need is thread. I am using two different types of thread. One brand is Bella Lusso. I did not buy my thread from here. I found mine on eBay since I try and grab eBay bucks whenever I can. This thread is pure merino wool and is beautifully soft to work with. The next brand is basically over dyed Bella Lusso thread; its called Thread Worx in crewel weight. I bought mine from an independent embroidery shop but I know there are other places that carry this thread. This thread is also pure soft merino wool.

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I want to take a minute to talk about the threads to use in this project. I used what I had on hand except I did order the Bella Lusso thread. For 19th century needlepoint type  projects over dyed thread is almost non existent.  I used what I had in my stash because if I did not I would be wasting mumble…mumble…..mumble…… amount of dollars that I spent on thread. I will not disclose how much I have spent that day in the independent embroidery shop. Nobody.Will.Know.That.Ever. So if you aren’t using what you have in your stash buy the correct stuff and go for basic non over dyed thread!

 

So now that I have bored you all with my supply list(with almost no photos! gasp!) stay tuned for the next post about starting your project!

Berlin Work Doll Slippers

 

 

 

French fashion Doll wardrobes contain many beautifully made hats, bonnets, dresses, outerwear and shoes. Among the shoes was more than likely one pair of Berlin wool work slippers. You might be asking yourself “What is berlin wool work?”, I have an answer for you from Mr. Wikipedia( he is so smart except when he is not). Berlin wool work is explained as follows:

Berlin wool work is a style of embroidery similar to today’s needlepoint. It was typically executed with wool yarn on canvas.[1] It is usually worked in a single stitch, such as cross stitch or tent stitch although Beeton’s book of Needlework (1870) describes 15 different stitches for use in Berlin work. It was traditionally stitched in many colors and hues, producing intricate three-dimensional looks by careful shading. The design of such embroidery was made possible by the great progresses made in dyeing in the 1830s, especially by the discovery of aniline dyes which produced bright colors.

This kind of work created very durable and long-lived pieces of embroidery that could be used as furniture covers, cushions, bags, or even on clothing.”

You can find many different patterns for Berlin work in the fashion magazines of the 19th century. I have seen bags (of all sorts), suspenders, chair covers, foot stool covers and slippers. Slippers and bags are my favorite type of berlin wool work! Now if you want a basis of comparison with another needle art, Berlin wool work is similar to needlepoint. Now take a lesson from me and don’t ask your local needlework store for Berlin Wool work supplies. They will look at you funny; like you have three heads. Just ask for Needlepoint supplies.

The next few images are From the period of 1859-1865. These are a few of the variety of slipper patterns that were published. They put out some crazy patterns and some simple ones are well.

My personal favorite out of those is the green with a white bow. Simple yet elegant. Obviously you can see how gaudy these designs could get.

These next few images are going to be of original DOLL sized Berlin wool work slippers.

This next pair is a professionally put together pair of slippers. You can see the attention to detail in the piping around the sole and how perfectly the sole is attached to the slipper upper.

While searching out examples to show you I found this latter pair of Berlin work slippers. These were made around 1890 probably for a Bebe style doll. Look at the floral detail on the toes!

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I wish they put something in the photo for scale because they look like full size slippers! I assure you they are not.

Stay tuned for my next post on reproducing these tiny treasures!

Miniature Doll Mayhem!!!!

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OK so there is no mayhem involved but it got your attention right? Right! This project has been in the works for a little bit. Every time I thought I was done with it, BAM! I was missing something to go further. But I was able to finish my sample last night and another little doll is in the works for the shop as I type.

So you know that you could get china heads and parian dolls in small, medium and large sizes (not the actually size classifications for dolls by the way…) BUT did you know that during the 19th century you could get tiny dollhouse sized dolls too!

These were not just for dollhouses though. They were just another size you could buy and play with. Most girls in the 19th century did not have dollhouses but they had imaginations and that’s all you need! So you could have a couple of whatever sized dolls you owned and could play for hours. The dolls need not be the same size to have fun.

I own a few original 19th century teeny tiny dolls. Both have been redressed through the years. The larger 7″ one by me and the small 5″ one by the previous owner.

Here is the 7″ girl:

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And when I received her many years ago:

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She is much happier now. Can you see her smile? She was redressed by me years ago as her original dress was in tatters. One of her arms was shattered and put back together during ownership by another. Also she is kind of bow legged but I still love her.

My little 5″ girl was dressed in red polyester by a previous owner but its not horrible. I wont replace the dress just yet.

Here’s my little 5″ girl:

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Here is the reproduction 5″ doll posing with her “sisters”!

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She has sweet childlike face and is dressed in a lavender printed cotton dress with drawers peeking out.

She will be available in my shop later this week. I will have two of these girls in this print dress. If you want one of these cuties in a specific fabric contact me!