New Hat in Shop

After all the love for the walnut stripe hat, I decided to do the green up in stripes. I love the natural straw along side the green. They bring out the rich beauty in each other.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/707524576/civil-war-era-straw-hat-hand-sewn-by

Here is a look at it on one of my original blocks. While I did not block directly on this block, I did mimic the shape in a slightly larger size.

Published in: on July 14, 2019 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Meet Bonnie, the Bon Bon Doll

This weekend, GCVM is Celebrating Chocolate! The historic village will be filled with tasty chocolate recipes.

Bonnie, the Bon Bon Doll will be happy to greet you with chocolates of her own.

Bonnie is a Bon Bon doll inspired by the dolls of Godey’s Lady’s Book. She stands 19 inches tall with a reproduction head. Bonnie is handsewn, using period techniques (see below).

Bonnie’s apron is draped in ribbon, each loop holding a tasty chocolate. A wreath of sugar gum flowers circles her head. She wants to say thank you to her Museum friends for making that for her.

Bonnie’s Background

Godey’s Lady’s Book is filled with curious doll projects from pincushions, to Santas, to lamp covers. The May 1870 edition includes directions for a Bon Bon Doll.

I have yet to find another Bon Bon doll illustrated or described in detail in nineteen century publications. I am convinced I have not looked in the right place or with the right words because the artist Alan McDonald got the idea for his Madame Le Bonbon from somewhere.

Building Bonnie

The original Godey’s description had their Bon Bon doll made of cardboard, wire, and paper standing 8 inches tall and twenty inches wide. These odd proportions would have made Queen Victoria look tall and slender. Upon closer inspection, I decided the description did not match the illustration. Trying to work with the combination of cardboard and wire, I ended up with several sketches like this.

Regardless of construction, it came down to How to keep her head on? I wanted a construction that would last for more than one event. I also wanted her to stay in one piece so people setting her up wouldn’t have to fuss with her top on her bottom just right or some such fiddliness. Getting the bon bons set was going to be fiddly enough.

So, after much debate, literally months, I opted for the basic construction Godey’s uses for several of their pincushion dolls and is used for some peddler dolls.

Bonnie has a cloth body with a “normal” torso and bell shaped lower body. She is weighted with wood and has a wood dowel up her center. She stands more than double the Godeys description at nearly 19 inches and 15 inches diameter at her base before her skirts. Her head and arms are porcelain, a reproduction set. The arms were a tough decision because I really liked the idea of making almond paste hands.

Bonnie currently has a single cotton petticoat. Her dress was draped for her. You may notice her shoulder plate is slightly tilted. While this shows her personality, the asymmetry did make fitting her dress a challenge. Her collar was from the ribbon box as it seems I donated the narrow laces. Her “bow” is a little piece of cotton sateen ribbon.

Her appron is a premium cotton muslin that ties in the back. The swags of ribbon are a white cotton sateen. The rows alternate 1w and 11 loops. Each was hand pleated and stitched to the apron. The loops act as chocolate hammocks.

Published in: on July 13, 2019 at 8:14 am  Comments (3)  

Green Bonnet in Shop

It is green! I am tired. Short post.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/720958751/civil-war-era-green-straw-bonnet-hand

Published in: on July 12, 2019 at 8:26 pm  Comments (2)  

Green Bonnet in Shop

It is green! I am tired. Short post.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/720958751/civil-war-era-green-straw-bonnet-hand

Published in: on July 12, 2019 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Invention: Pinkers

This week was Inventions & Inventors week at GCVM. Today, I demonstrated the pinking machines. This post is going to be more of a reflection on how it went.

To be completely honest, I find demonstrating the pinking machines to be difficult. The come in late in my interest timeline and hit their heyday later. This means I don’t have clothes that match the dating of my easiest to demonstrate machines.

So, I already feel disconnected when I try to search for ways to connect guests with the machines. So far, I am working with three concepts:

  • What is it?
  • What does it do?
  • How does it work?

For “What is it?” the hopeful connection is a memory of or usebof pinking scissors/shears. I find only a portion of people have a visual memory of pinking scissors/shears, while fewer have a strong enough memory to feel a connection. Those that do immediately connect the concept with stopping fraying.

Next is “What does it do?” While “make trim” was the initial goal, “cuts” was about as far as most guests you and old got. This was totally my fault. I assumed a based of knowledge/experience. With modern everyday fashion, people don’t have much experience with trims. Formal attire doesn’t even use trim much. Without a personal reference, the connection isn’t going to happen. While I did have samples of pinked silk gathered and pleated in different ways, I should have had a couple finished examples. At the very least, I should have had additional dolls showing more examples in miniature.

I found I had more constructive conversations about “How does it work” compared to the others. Discussing the die and anvil pressure verses sharpness prompted more of a physical response, spontaneous nodding, then other conversations.

Beyond these components that I am reflecting on, there were a few other things from the day that stand out:

  • It turns out the Gem and Clean Cut machines do not fit on the table. I had to use the bench, which is too light to turn the handle on.
  • Early in the day, one of the kids in a camp group asked if he could call me auntie. I said that would be okay with me. He and his group continued to call me Auntie. This was a first.
  • I had another camper kid who was very freaked out my the doll I brought. It turns out he had watched that newer horror movie with a doll in it. He was 10 or 11.
  • Later midday, the doll focus changed. I had three different groups of kids I insist I look like the doll. This was sweet.

Now photos, I know you like photos. I kinda got carried away with photos of me…

Published in: on July 12, 2019 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Grandma Would Have Liked That

You know when you get an idea stuck in your head and you just can’t shake it? Or, when you have an idea of exactly what you want for something, yet can not tangibly illustrate it for others?

Well, circling between those two mental states is where I’ve been for the last week and a half.

I hadn’t had time or energy to think through what I wanted to do new with the millinery display this year beyond shifting the main table to the right. Then, the morning after school was out, I woke with the idea:

I need a ribbon shelf.

Not just any shelf would do. It had to be the shelf. And….. it had to fit the era… it had to fit the space…. it had to be easy to transport safely…. it had to be in a tiny budget. Oh, and it had to be found within a week of the coming event because I hate changes last minute.

I spent the first week of my summer recess telling myself “today I am going to stay home working,” yet, I would find myself heading to just one more antique shop. I tried each of the ones in town. I tried 7 in Mt Morris. I nearly passed out in one too hot. I almost got hit by a truck crossing the road. I gave the search one last shot at the flea market.

No luck.

Every shelf I saw was too big, too small, too heavy, too painted, too oily, too late, too pricy….. too this, too that.

After Sunday’s walk about the flea market, I resigned myself to not getting a shelf. I would make a tower of hat boxes in the corner instead. I started thinking through my band boxes, which to bring, which were not the right paper, it’s too late to buy paper, it is too expensive to buy good paper, should I paint some…

Hey, have I mentioned I am an obsessive planner and run through every detail over and over?

Yup. I am.

Then, today was my much needed massage appointment. After a quick run to the cemetery and museum, I was 20 minutes early to my appointment. Right next door is a lovely antique shop.

This happens to be the location of one of my favorite antique shops where the own used to allow me to spend time looking at the original pieces she got in. She has since retired. When the shop was gone, the building seemed so lonely. Now that it is an antique shop again, it is much happier.

I decided to pop inside just for a quick look just in case but highly doubtful since they sell really nice things.

I told the owner what I had been looking for. She said they had just sold the perfect thing, but they might have something else. As I browsed, she told her husband what I was looking for. He disappeared into the back room. He was gone for a bit, so I figured it was another no.

He came back out with a corner shelf.

My first thought was “Grandma would have liked that.”

With that thought, I was done.

It was tall, yet not too tall. It was light weight. It was a Victorian style, yet not too late. It had shelves that would hold lots of ribbon and show them off…

I was happy and sad at the same time. It was pretty with its turned spindles, finials, hand done bits, and wanting to glow wood. Yet, I was sure it would be too much.

I took a breath and asked how much.

It was in budget!!!!

I pulled out my summer allowance and bought the shelf.

While I had my massage the owners cleaned up my shelf. She was set on getting off a spot of paint and a mark of paper. He was set on dusting it well. Above and beyond.

They asked me to take a photo when it has all the ribbons on it. Of course, I will be happy to.

Published in: on July 11, 2019 at 2:46 pm  Comments (6)  

Fancy Bonnet in the Shop

This is the very first piece I’ve made with this coil trim. I Love it! The coil of fine straw is based on an original trim in the Greene Collection at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. It is currently on display. (you should check it out) This delicate looking trim edges the brim and cheektab. It ends where you will attach your bavolet.

Published in: on July 10, 2019 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  

New in shop

Do you Love Stripes?!

This fashionable Civil War era hat combines natural straw and a walnut brown straw with a tapered crown and stylish brim.

This crown is 21.25″around. The brim is 11.25″ across. This will suit an average size head.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/720060081/civil-war-era-straw-hat-hand-sewn-by

Published in: on July 9, 2019 at 10:19 am  Leave a Comment  

A Post of Lists…

Works in Progress (WiP)

  • Bonnie’s clothes
  • Pink silk pinking project (silk enroute, needing to be washed before which form the project will take is decided.)
  • Hemming runners and table cloths

Projects in Waiting (PiW)

  • Pink silk plaid dress
  • Recover a parasol (need a different frame)
  • Hood book
  • Doll book
  • Directions for awesome blue sewing case

Projects in My Head

  • Pin cushions
  • Ribbon display
  • Silk bag or crazy quilt bag
  • Gift bags

Things I Haven’t Seen Since Moving

  • Brown light cotton sacque
  • New petticoats
  • Period spoons ordered just before packing
  • The tiny doll size pitcher we found in the garden
Published in: on July 8, 2019 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  

New Bonnet in Shop

This is the classic spoon bonnet shape popular during the early 1860s. It is hand sewn in a really nice milan straw. I am very impressed with the strength of this straw. My hands got pretty tired working with it.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/719782649/civil-war-era-straw-bonnet-hand-sewn-by

I really need to make a stand with an angled/shaped top to hold the bonnets better. I have the shape in my head. I just have to make it.

Published in: on July 8, 2019 at 10:27 am  Leave a Comment