Saturday, August 30, 2008

Scarlet Letters

This is the latest addition to my small sampler collection. I usually don't even look at samplers on ebay because my budget is pretty small and I hate being outbid! This one had a very low starting bid and no one else even bid against me. What luck! The really old samplers are silk on linen. After 1840, the number of samplers being stitched and their quality declined. Later samplers were more likely to be stitched like this one, with wool on a coarse open weave canvas. Many wool samplers fell victim to moths, but this one seems to have fared well. My new sampler, with its ornate letters, is similar to one in the book that got me interested in collecting samplers. It's called a Sampler of Alphabets and I just happened across it on a remainder table one day years ago. I found the samplers so breathtaking that I bought the book and began my study of this form of needlework. At one time, I maintained a website about samplers and co-founded a sampler guild here in Kansas City. I have also been lucky enough to study samplers in the archives of several museums and to attend a sampler symposium in Colonial Williamsburg. I'm not as active with them now, but I still love samplers. Here's a French sampler I own. The red and white combination was quite popular in that country. Unfortunately, someone washed this and the red binding bled, causing the linen to be stained. It's always ill-advised to wash old needlework because the dyes were not colorfast. Here's the sampler with a similar one in the book. And here's a different kind of red and white sampler--a knitting sampler. M really put herself through the paces practicing all kinds of techniques. (You can click on any photo to see more detail.) In a previous post, I showed you my favorite sampler which I thought had been stitched by a girl named Martha Lord. Now I know much more about it thanks to Susan at Miss Maddie's. Susan is a vintage textile appraiser in Canada. She did some research and was so kind to share it with me. A twelve-year old Martha Rod appears in the 1841 census of Raleigh Parish, Essex , England. This is exactly the right age for a samplermaker-- so her name was probably Martha Elen Rod and the word Lord was a religious reference which was very common in samplers. Susan also found a listing for a Hanker's Hall that was a branch of the Monmouthshire and Glamorganshire Banking Company listed in 1852. So now I know more about the stitcher and the building she chose to memorialize. Thanks, Susan!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

These are the days...

I'm a Saturday's child and, as predicted by the old rhyme, you'll find me working hard for a living many days of the week, but recently Wednesdays became a set day off for me. I couldn't be happier, because Wednesday also happens to be one of the days the retirement home thrift store is open. Unfortunately, it's a popular day with the antique dealers, too. Don't get me wrong, I really like antique dealers. I sold vintage wares once and I'd love to again. It's just that, unlike the residents who are looking for a nice blouse or the employees who seem to favor kitchen items, the dealers are like me--they're looking for the old stuff. I have realized, though, that now that I'm not buying for resale, we aren't really competing that much. Now, I mostly buy for my little vignettes and for collage, and I'm sure the nice volunteer ladies who bag my purchases find some of my choices curious. These are some of my recent finds. Even at $2.75, it's a pretty ugly pile isn't it? But look closer. Oh sure, the button jar had lots of big, brown and boring and a good number of gold and gaudies, but all of these beauties were in there too. I waited until I got home to sort through them, but while I was waiting in the drive-thru at Starbuck's I amused myself just turning the jar round and round to try to see what was inside. Those mother of pearl buttons are so tiny they must be baby buttons and those funky green ones remind me of Tic-Tacs (Go ahead and tease me, Cami--I know colored buttons always seen to remind me of candy). The pages of the old watercolor paper pad were very yellowed-- just perfect for me! Look how beautifully these images from Sandra Evertson's Les Mode Francaises tag and sachet project printed up (Somerset Life, Spring 2008, pages 96 and 97). Sandra also used brads as an embellishment and gave a recipe for tarnishing them. For a quarter, I got a box of brads already darkened with age and perfect for the project. Now I just need the right fabric to make the sachet bags. (For now, you'll just have to trust me that the green file box will look better when I get done with it. ) I do buy some things that are pretty from the start. You can see I already turned the little gold and white tiered stand into a ribbon holder. This grouping (without the ribbon) was just $5.50 (and there's a second set of the blue and white dishes not shown.) According to the old rhyme, Wednesday's child is full of woe--maybe she should come shopping with me!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Show Me Your Form Party

Tiffany at Shabby Scraps came up with the wonderful idea of a party to show off our dress forms. I love the button she designed for the event, too. You can see it on my sidebar, but be sure to stop by her blog to see the original as well as the list of the 50 or so bloggers participating. Wonder who's under the lovely lace in my photo? She'll remove her wrap and join the party when you click {here}.