Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Blanket Chest For The Little Rope Bed

Somehow I've managed to get 4 projects going at the
same time, something I rarely do.  I'm generally like the
turtles that cross the yard. They're slow, deliberate &
their direction is straight ahead to their final destination.
 I'd venture a guess that once in a while "old" turtles
 occasionally leave the path and wander aimlessly
through the woods.
 I've just finished a small chip carved blanket chest for the
rope bed.  Chip carving, or peasant carving, has been done
 by almost every society since the beginning of time.  It's
the simplest form of carving, yet so beautifully intricate.
 This chip carved box was an inexpensive flea market find.
It's not old & was probably a carvers practice piece.
To me, it said "I can become a doll's blanket
chest someday, please take me home".
8 inches long, 4 inches deep & 4 inches tall.
The box was carved from a soft wood that had no
grain to it, so I thought painting was a good choice. 
I wanted the chest to look similar to an antique
Bavarian style chest. (My inspiration
is at the end of the post)
 Home Depot has sample size jars of paint
that they'll mix in any color you choose.
Very inexpensive.
I chose a BEHR paint called Liberty Blue.
After the first painting and sanding, I didn't
 think it looked old enough.
So, I took it out to the hubs workshop and had fun
 with the electric hand sander.  I banged on it with
 a screwdriver & I used a small nail to put some worm
holes in it.  Then I gave it another coat of paint.
More sanding to simulate wear & I "lightly"
antiqued it with Minwax stain.
A coat of wax for a soft patina.
It ended up like this.
 Someone did a beautiful job carving it.
It fits perfectly at the end of the little rope bed.
 A total accident.........sometimes, in my flea market
cookie mold forays I find something I just can't live
 without.  I bring it home & put it away.  Two years
 later I "find" it again & sometimes I actually wind
 up using it!
My inspiration for the blanket chest.
17th Century Chip Carved Miniature Coffer

 Learn more about chip carving here:

 Wood Working History-How To Chip Carve

Now that I have cording for piping & button
 blanks to cover, I can get back to the bedding
for the larger doll bed.

Happy Whatever you're doing!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Martha Bishop Primitive Rag Doll & Bed Update

I had hoped to work on the bedding for Aletha's bed
 this past week, but the hubby took it to his workshop.
I did peek in on Wed. to see the progress and it was
partially dismantled.  It's been re glued & has a nice
 "old" looking slat to replace an earlier replacement.
It's definitely sturdy now & even has a nice coat
 of Briwax.  The hubs does such nice work.   

In the mean time, I started some clothing for a hand
painted primitive rag doll by Martha Bishop that I have
yet to name.  Just a peek for now. 
Such cute curls.
I've finished a red flannel petticoat &
some muslin drawers.
I edged them with some vintage cluny ivory 
wool lace.
It's very prim looking.
I did button loops with heavy thread for the
 antique men's china underware buttons.
 This muslin had an open weave, much like gauze &
it raveled easily so I used french seams.
Something completely unexpected........
a white petticoat of eyelet fabric with a wide eyelet
ruffle.  Even a primitive dolly wants a fancy petticoat.
Don't you feel special when you have your good
underware on?  
I attached the tightly gathered ruffle before I
finished the side seams with a zillion pins.....
To finish the seam, I trimmed the ruffled fabric to
 about 1/4 inch.
Folded the other fabric down twice & pinned.
Stitched it with a small whip stitch.
It makes a nice finished seam.
A pretty button & a visit to the ironing board will
finish the undergarments. While I ponder the dress
for this dolly, I'll work on the bedding.
Happy Sewing!
Martha Bishop Dolls 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Raphael Tuck Dolly Postcards & Miss Ava

These oilette Raphael Tuck postcards painted by German 
artist and doll maker Kathe Kruse were sold in America
 in 1915.  I love her dolls & was delighted to find these
 postcards.  I thought you'd enjoy them too.
 Poor little fella, he's just not to sure about this.
 They were also sold in Germany, France & Holland,
written in the appropriate language.
Learn more about this extraordinary doll maker here:
 Kathe Kruse
These little wooden dolly postcards painted by British artist
Phyllis Cooper, were sold as a package of 6 in 1932.  I 
see lots of inspiration in these colorful cards!
 A few more Phyllis Cooper postcards.  Her illustrations are
just stunningly vivid & there is so much to see. 
This set of 6 are from 1924.

We are enjoying the company of our niece Emily and great 
niece Miss Ava this week.
 The dollhouse has been a huge hit!
 What's happening in your neck of the woods?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Aletha's Dress Finished

Letha Mae has finally seen her dress.  
Getting her to smile for the camera is a 
tough one, as she's a bit shy.  Inside, 
I know she's beaming!
I made her a little hankie.  It's actually cut 
from a old hankie, that I just added some
 lace to.
Her apron is made from a sheer stripped
batiste.  I added a pocket for her hankie.
Young ladies blow their nose, not wipe
it on their sleeves.
Miss Mary's dress is described as having a "full"
skirt.  I stitched 3 rows of synchronized stitches
 to gather her 160 pleats.  I removed the bottom
row, and left the top 2 rows in the finished dress.
  It's hard to see, but there is also a fold in the skirt
 to coordinate with the fold in the sleeve.
Here's a link to an earlier post on:
 Miss Mary's dress did not have buttons, but
I added 4 early 1900's milk glass as a decorative touch.
 Aletha is named after my mother & she loved milk glass.   
They're a bit too big, not the right period, but sometimes, 
that's what gives a dolly's dress all it's charm.
I stitched some old fashioned socks from a pattern I
found on Dixie Redmond's site, Maida Today.  They
remind me of the Wicked Witch of the West, but
red and white stripped socks were quite fashionable
in the mid 1800's.
Maida Today Old Fashioned Sock Pattern

Miss Letha's asked me to make a
 matching outfit for her favorite doll Jane. 

Jane the Cook is a character from the book
 The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter,
Aletha's favorite story.

 This doll was made by Fred Laughon, a
well know wooden doll and furniture maker.
You can read about him at the link below.  If
you visit pinterest, just search his name to 
see some of his lovely dolls.
Fred Laughon
  I stitched a simple outfit for Miss Jane.  She
doesn't have an apron in the book, but I
thought she needed one.  It's made from an
antique sheer gauze fabric.  It was not easy to
work with & I'll avoid it in the future.  The 
pantalettes & petticoat have cotton string ties. 

 I made button loops for the
tiny buttons with silk thread doubled.
I have a couple stitches that aren't 
pulled firmly & I didn't get all the loops
the same size.   I have to say,
it was very tiny work & my eyes and
fingers just don't do what I want
 Button it up & it looks just fine.
 Next project is doing some work on 
her oak bed and making the bedding.
It's a large one, so I will use the dreaded
machine.  I think I'll use some red
and white stripped ticking for her 
mattress and pillow.  A quilt is
probably in order too. 
 Aletha needs some shoes, but for now she'll
just have to be content with clothes!
Happy Sewing!