Monday, April 30, 2012

Samplers and other Red and White Collections

Sometimes my collection isn't shaped by what I am looking for at the time.  It is dictated by what I happened to find that caught my eye.  Interpret that to mean "at a super price".

This weekend was a great antique fix for me.  I found 3 samplers at an estate sale.  I have a few samplers already, although I prefer to collect Berlin work, which tends to be wool on penelope canvas, although sometimes I find it on linen.  Samplers tend to be silk or cotton on linen.

There were so many motifs done here that I like, the prancing reindeer, the huge gates bottom right, the fountain with birds, the house!   
The next two samplers are red and white stitching.  I like the graphic look of just red and white. It doesn't have to be a sampler.  However, I was thrilled to find two red and white samplers.  I have another sampler packed away that I'll have to frame.  
Cute Red & White Cross Stitch Sampler.  It appears to be unfinished.   WXYZ should be on the bottom row.
Sampler #3 dated 1850
Tiny stitches look so elegant as script!

I have always been a fan of red and white damask.  You can easily find them on ebay, mostly towels.

Red and White Fringed Napkin

Below is a collection of red and white quilts. The collection is owned by one person, and her husband made arrangements to have them displayed so she could see them all.  Wow! My sampler obsession takes up a bit less wall space.
The quilt show above must have been stunning to attend. It was called:  Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts,” presented by the American Folk Art Museum at the Park Avenue Armory March 25–30, 2011  

Here are some more photos of the exhibit:

If you would like to read about collecting samplers - here are a few links:  

I think about how someone designed a sampler and then spent countless hours stitching their creation.  The whimsy and "elegance" of the items they stitch, from a cat to an elaborate gate--makes me smile.

Does this make you want a sampler??!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hanging Drapery...And An 18th Century German Clock!

I've been away from the computer, enjoying sun in getting back into action has been tough.  

In previous blogs, I've talked about the casita we built for my 84-year-old parents.   The project is almost done.   We don't get down to California too often to work on it, so the project has taken over a year.   I am at the window-covering stage.  In fact, last week I worked to make the drapes.   I am a drapery-making fool according to my family.   I use interlining, blackout lining, and assemble them by hand.

This project was a dream to work on.  What's not to love about limestone floors, lots of windows, and beams making up the bones of the room.

The empty room.  

  I thought about several fabric options.

Some of my thoughts were - a check with woven shades underneath. (thank you photoshop!)

However, the family thought that was too strong.  The check fabric will be used on the kitchen chairs instead.     There was one fabric that looked really nice, and I actually ordered 60 yards of it.

Drapes tried out for color.  Defective fabric was returned.

Unfortunately, this fabric had serious flaws.  The design didn't line up across the fabric.  It was actually 2" difference between the left and right.  The flaw was obvious and had to be ditched.   Unfortunately I was 2 panels into it before I realized the problem.

Note the dark color on the edge.  That's the printed fabric running off the edge--no selvage, major matching problem!
I am including the above photo as a lesson.   I have sewn literally thousands of yards of drapery fabric and have RARELY had a defect problem.  This time I was in a hurry and didn't unroll it first.   Note the brown on the edge.  Then it goes back to white.    That should have been my first clue that I had a problem.

I re-ordered the run, and it was shipped short.   It was still off across the 54".   I really couldn't order any more fabric, it was obvious it was coming from the same machine and would have the same quality problem.  So I wound up going with Richloom "Darcy" in the Birch colorway.   It has a bit of a sage or olive green in it, which really looks good in the bright California sun.  The windows are argon filled, but the room still has alot of solar gain.  It was the most energy efficient that I could order.

The drapes look great with the floor and wood painted trim in the room.  The fireplace doesn't look too exciting in the photo (much better in person), but I think when I get the huge hewn mantle on there, it will look great.   I'd like to order some shades like I have in the sample photo, but haven't found a good cheap source.  The gorgeous Hunter Douglas blinds priced out at $6900, discounted!  (really? $6900 on a room and it's not even an antique?)

I went with some cheap rods from Lowes.  Cheap rods area always a pain because they "telescope" to the correct size.  However I didn't have time for mail-order rods.  If you actually want to open/close the drapes, they get stuck on the telescoping joint.  Wood rods tend to be able to get cut in the correct length which Lowes carries, but I wanted to skinny profile that these had given the beams in the room.  I had to drop the rods down below the beams instead of running it up to the ceiling.   I contemplated making valences but thought that would be too fussy and like the idea of the roman shades.  This of course, is totally stolen from Joni at Cote de Texas.   I had to giggle, I spent the last 2 days hanging these up, and she was writing on the subject of windows  here this week,  trying to keep us all from looking too tacky.   Thanks Joni!

I have a few other things to share.  My dad loves antiques.  I remember our first big antique purchase--see the fan backed chair below?  Well, my dad and I came home with it and my mom had a fit, didn't want that junk in the house.  It was about 1966-1970 and didn't fit her modern decor.   So we squirreled 2 chairs, a writing desk, a game table and a work table into my bedroom.  Wish I had photos of that room!

18th century German  tall case clock
The fan at the top of the chair has some green paint left on it.  Odd, but still charming.  The clock was a great find.  When my favorite french antique dealer said she had a German clock, I said I had to have it.  The face is charming, an old wood painted face with roses on it.

The clock works perfectly.   My dad will love this and my mom will be happy because she's come around to loving all these beautiful antiques.    Be kind about the rest of the room.  I had to put the tv above the fireplace because I didn't make room for it anywhere else.  I didn't do french doors, I was many, many thousands over budget on stuff like getting utilities to the house. Don't make fun of my fan, in 100 degree weather, it's a necessity!  When you're 84, you can request a recliner and your daughter will oblige.  (don't make it a rocking one, that is really bad for elderly who are unsteady on their feet.  It can cause a fall and a trip to the hospital.   I spent a week with mom at the hospital in March, this is important!)

I'm not done making drapes--you can see a panel is missing, but wanted to share what I am up to.   I said think faience would look good in here.  On my last day in Calif.,   I stopped by an antique shop Wednesday and found this 19" Italian platter.

It has as wonderful feel to it.  I love the rustic hand thrown qualities.   I would love to find a wall hanger for it.  It weighs alot, and didn't work with the hangers that I normally use for my papier mache trays.  It was the perfect reward for a busy couple of days making drapes!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Easter Bunny is Coming and Other Musings

Easter has arrived in my kitchen.   

Unfortunately my camera didn't.  This is via cell phone.

These cute little German wood rabbit  figures are called Erzgebirge.  Yes, you can find Easter antiques....

Even my mom loves a chocolate bunny at 81!  Share one with a friend.  One of the highlights of my childhood was an easter basket that my Aunt put on our beds Easter Eve.  She told us she saw the easter bunny put it there, and if we went outside, we might see him running from house to house.  We were so excited, we all went outside to scout for the easter bunny.  A silly story, but it gave me a big thrill, I must have been 5 or 6.  The next day we had an easter egg hunt for his remaining "tricks".  One of 7 kids, that extra attention was so exciting.

Do something nice for someone this weekend! However, resist the urge to give a child a live rabbit.

They are so cute!
They grow up

Don't let one go in the wild once you've gotten one.  They won't survive.

Give the chocolate variety instead!

Run over to Williams Sonoma for this basket!
While you're there, maybe you'll be lucky enough to find this French Wire Egg Stand.  I got the last one in my store!

We have the jackrabbit variety visiting us daily.  There's at least a dozen on the property at any time.
Lettuce doesn't stand a chance!
Happy Easter, may it be a sunny day, somewhere.  (Rain forecasted for Portland, Oregon. Oh really, what a shock)   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fabulous 18th Century Fabric

This week I am going through linens and fabric I am selling for a friend.  It turns out the stuff is from an estate of an antique dealer who passed away about 10 years ago, or more.   There was a huge series of estate sales (all of which I missed as I was on bleachers watching high school girls play volleyball, go, um, team name now forgotten...)   However, I did manage to pick the pickers--which is where I got the Fortuny fabric for pillows I blogged about.    Apparently it was quite the sale, no one wanted the Fortuny drapes.  On my, what a problem.  Anyway, there is a bunch of interesting lace and linens I am selling for my friend who inherited it, but I am having a hard time selling the fabric.  I want to keep it all to myself.

Here's why:

18th century fabric
This is not some machine brocade that is cranked out by a fabric mill.  This design is ENTIRELY HAND EMBROIDERED!!!

18th century fabric--entirely hand embroidered!  
Notice the amazingly tiny stitches.  They are uneven, all hand-done, not machine made!

18th century fabric

Back side of 18th century fabric - note all the hand stitching.
I know people make pillow fronts out of these scraps, but I hate to do that--it seems like it would all end with me, lost to history forever.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bilston & Battersea Boxes

This weekend I went to a few estate sales.  Among my found treasures, I found some  little boxes.  Battersea boxes were made from 1753-1756 at York House in Battersea.  The village of Bilston took over making them after 1756.

They are fun to collect because of the sentimental sayings on the boxes.   As with most antiques, understanding the fine nuances of collecting these would fill a book or 2.   So lets just say I got myself an instant collection, and enjoy the patina and sentiment expressed on them!

They will look great in a vitrine table sitting in my garage.....hmmm, must move that inside!

Aren't they cute!