Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Antique ribbon work...a love story

Hello friends,

As I have mentioned before, I am a collector.  I have many objects that call my name, but none is as dear to me as my antique ribbon work.  If  I had a chance to gather up only one collection, you know, before the meteor hits or something,  it would be my ribbon work without a doubt.  Do you know what ribbon work is?  Well, if you don't mind indulging the scholar in me, refill your coffee and let me tell you a little bit.

Women have been adorning themselves and their clothing since time began.  I have no doubt that Eve, shortly after donning those well placed fig leaves, set out to jazz them up with some additional petals or leaves somehow.  During the first quarter of the 20th century, women had more time than in previous decades to spend making their world lovely (thanks Industrial Revolution), and pretty it up they did.  They began making intricate flowers out of silk ribbon and adorning garments and all manner of boudoir items with them.  Entire books and magazines were devoted to the art and craft of ribbon work, showing housewives how to adorn everyday items with ribbon. The craft became so popular, studios in France employed women to make rather ornate silk ribbon bouquets.   They would generally be put on a background of crinoline or buckram which could then be basted on garments after market, if you will.  It allowed the flowers to be removed if the garment needed to be cleaned.  Many of the leading department stores in the teens and 1920's carried the exquisite French imports which could then be added to your own garment if you didn't wish to make your own.  I presume that these stores probably carried some of the beautiful French vanity items which were also adorned with ribbon work.

While I am sure this is an exaggeration, it sometimes seems as though anything that didn't move got fancied up with ribbons and ribbon work.  It is these items that make my heart skip a beat.  Since being introduced to these 1920's treasures by a dear friend over 15 years ago, it has become my obsession quest to find and collect examples of it.  I shared some of my collection of powder patters a while back.  You can read about it here.  This morning, I took advantage of the nice light in my bedroom and shot photos of my collection of 1920's hats bearing ribbon designs.  In my next post, I will show them to you up close and personal, lots of pictures, not so much text, so come back and visit again.

Until next time,
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's the little things that make me happy

Isn't it amazing what really gets you all fired up?  I have spent several hours over the last few days picking out and printing up fun graphics from The Graphics Fairy to turn into cards to organize my lace yardage.  Speaking of The Graphics Fairy, isn't it awesome how much more beautiful homes, studios, offices, and other spaces all over the world are because of Karen and her unbelievable files?  There must be hundreds of thousands of projects created because she has made it so easy for us to access her treasure trove.  But I digress...below is my almost completed project.

Since things are shaping up in my studio, I've been a busy little bee making pretty containers and dressing up bottles and jars to hold buttons and the huge amount of floatsum that I seem to attract in the name of art.  Lace is something I'm fairly passionate about and, while there is something magical about a huge heap of beautiful lace to dig through, the reality is, you can damage it or just plain not be able to find what you had in mind for a particular project with the piling and digging system of "organization".

So, I began the process of finding cool graphics to make card that the lace could be wrapped around, making it easier to deal with and, naturally, PRETTIER to look at.  I had no idea how much lace I had until I started trying to corral it.  And this, mind you, is only the yardage, not the short little pieces or the very large pieces.

I must say though, I think my goal has been accomplished:  I wanted to have a visual display that not only allowed me easier access for projects, but that made me happy to look at it just as it sits.  I printed on cardstock and then put pretty vintage wallpaper on the back (which I forgot to photograph-bad blogger, no biscuit!), then edged with a little distress ink.  If I were to start over, I'd put the cardstock onto thin cardboard and then add the wallpaper to make it a little more substantial, but it turned out okay as is.

My houseful of boys just ignored my printing and pasting as long as food was tossed in their general direction on a fairly regular basis and the heaps of lace weren't in the footpath.  I've given up trying to get high fives or raves from Mr. FL on this kind of stuff.  He just isn't into it although I think he likes seeing me happy puttering and that counts for something.  Besides, I've got you girls (and even a guy or two) who think this all makes perfect sense, right?

On a related note, my shelves in my studio closet of dreams are installed and painted.  I think I had to do the lace project just to occupy my mind and hands so I wouldn't rush the paint drying process and end up with lots of pretty stuff stuck to my un-cured shelves.  On a very happy note for me, by the time I hit my next day off (day after tomorrow, but who's counting???), I should be able to start loading them up.  I am SOOOOO excited about that.  Do you think it's odd that I asked my husband after the last shelf was painted to join me in the closet for a glass of wine?  No, of course you don't think it's odd, cause you get me, right?  And if you don't, you'll humor me and keep it to yourself cause you guys are nice like that. We dragged a couple of chairs in and spent a little time talking before dinner that night and I was so happy and giddy over the closet (could have been the paint fumes I suppose...).    Well, I'm going to get my little post posted and link up to a party or two.  Why don't you come along?  Digressing again, but is anyone else having to force themselves to get off of Pinterest and actually do something?  Yikes, it's like virtual crack.  Does that make me a crack ho???  Oh well, this too shall settle down, I'm sure.

Until next time,

Linking up with:
White Wednesday
Wow Us Wednesday
Feathered Nest Friday
Vintage Inspiration Friday
Home Sweet Home
At the Picket Fence Inspiration Friday
Thrifty Things Friday
Potpourri Friday
Friday at Redoux
Creative Things Thursday
Saturday Night Special 
Brag Monday

UPDATE:  As a fun aside, look at the cool pic I found on Pinterest.  According to the pinner, it means life is made of small happiness, in other words, it's the little things in life...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romance is in the Air...and so is a Sweet Discount!

Happy Valentine's Day!  Since this is a day of love, I thought I'd share one of my little romantic collections with you.  Back in the day, a lady had a collection of handkerchiefs and once they were all ironed and ready to go, she wouldn't want them to get rumpled.  She no doubt had on hand a handkerchief keep that she could keep in the drawer to store her pretty hankies in.  As was the case, then and now, we ladies liked to make our functional items pretty, so you will find all manner of hanky keepers or holders if you keep your peepers open.  Many (most that I've seen) are constructed of silk in and out and fold over like a piece of paper with some type of either button closure or ribbon tie.  I have a few of these being the collector that I am, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you.

This romantic little couple is basically a transfer on silk.  I know how we do this nowadays, but I am not sure of the process they used back then to put the image on the silk.

This gorgeous one is embroidered with silk thread.  LOVE the basket of flowers, don't you?

This one is a combination of the transfer for the face and hand painting all around, including the beautiful pink flowers.

This fabulous pansy design is hand painted.  Pansies were a favorite of the Victorian era I believe since you see them pop up on all sorts of decorative items from china to silk to canvasas.

I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my favorite things and I hope you all have a wonderful day with those you love, especially if there is a special someone in your life.  As a thank you to my blog readers and my great Etsy customers, I am offering a very SWEET discount of 30% off ANY ITEM in my Etsy shop, Elegant Farmhouse.  Now is the time to buy yourself a treat or a gift for someone else...just enter the discount code IHEARTYOU at checkout.  This deal is sweet, but just like that Valentine's candy, it will be gone fast as it expires in 24 hours.  Jump on it before noon Pacific time tomorrow , February 15th.  I will be sharing this post for White Wednesday; join me, won't you?

Until next time,

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

White Valentine's Wishes for You...

What did we do for inspiration before Pinterest???  Well, I for one am thankful for the bounty of beauty that lies on this wonderful site.  Yes, I am addicted.  I'm sharing some of my favorite white hearts which I will try to properly credit, but if I miss something, please let me know.  I'm sharing my white valentines with White Wednesday over at Faded Charm.  Stop on by and drool over all of the lovely shades of white.

Until next time,

Photo credits left to right:
Not a perfect system for crediting back to the original source, but it is the best I can do. If you see one of your photos and the credit is incorrect, please send me the correct link and I will happily update. Thanks!
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Sunday, February 5, 2012

A peek at what I've been up to...

Come on in...I am meeting with my handyman tomorrow to discuss shelving for my studio closet of dreams, but I did promise you a peek last week, didn't I?  So come hither and let's get a feel for what's been going on.

Old Victorian front door, pulled out of a neighbor's dumpster pressed into service as my closet door (after MUCH restoration by DH I must add).  A pretty lacey stencil added to maintain a little visual screen...and I already had the stencil on hand from a project from 10 or 12 years ago.  YES!

I am SO pleased with how it turned out, even though it isn't "perfect".  Neither am I, so we go together!

Dare I say it?  An ORGANIZATIONAL system is in place on one side of the closet for my pretty papers and other altered art supplies.  I dream that it will stay organized.  Time will tell I'm sure!

Functional display pieces FINALLY serving the purpose I intended oh-so-long-ago when I began collecting them.  I think I'm in love...

Pretty storage up close and personal.

The back wall which will have shelves.  I love it.  Getting my inspiration here led to the relentless pursuit of vintage wallpapers for a few years. ("inspiration" might be a bit of a stretch-I copy-catted plain and simple.  Pam Garrison, you rock and just remember that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery).  Just between you and me, I MIGHT have gotten a little carried away collecting the papers as I think I could completely paper several closets .Insert sheepish Judy grin here. Luckily, I have discovered that doing mixed media projects with old wallpapers is WAY fun!  Yes, you are correct, much of the pretty papers will be blocked, but the goal is to have what's sitting on the shelves be pretty too.  I have some awesome storage containers waiting. 

Love the very functional plug in the middle of the wall.  I have a reason for putting it there which you will just have to wait to see.  I tried to pretty it up as much as possible.  If it bothers me, I may cover it with wallpaper too!  I'm just afraid I might not be able to find it again!  LOL!

Well, that's all you get for now.  Cross your fingers that the handyman can start this week on those shelves and then I'll do a full reveal of the finished project as soon as possible.
Until next time,

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