Monday, December 31, 2012


Wow, this year has gone so fast, maybe because I was so busy ;-)

I am ending the year on a high note, I just finished stitching the first panel for my casket.

It is stitched on 90 count silk gauze with Pipers silk, I used French knots for some of the hair to give it texture and some of the details I outlined with back-stitching. There is a total of 5148 stitches in this tiny piece that measures 21mm wide by 18.5mm high. And I stitched this in 14 days, about 2 hours a day.

I also finished the first casket, posted it on Friday and the new owner received it today, I always stress when my hard work disappears into the postal system, so it always a relief to hear that it has arrived safe and sound.

I wanted to sign the casket in a way that would also reflect the stitcher's name since they are going to spend lots of hours designing and stitching for their casket. My daughter helped me to design the label for the underside of the casket, it has place for them to fill in the year when they have completed the stitching.

I made the hinges from very thin pewter, I made them big for lots of gluing surface, since they will be hidden by the stitching and only need to be functional.

The hinge for the lid.

The finished casket, I am almost done with the dome top casket and will show that one to you in my next post.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement this year, I am looking forward to next year and some new challenges.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May 2013 be a great year for each and everyone of my wonderful Blogger friends. 


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support and friendship through this last year. May you all have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends.

Here are some photos of my favorite doll that I made many years ago, she is dressed in all her 1890's finery .


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Casket: Ten Drawers

I have been working on all the tiny drawers of the casket over the last week or so, the casket has a total of ten drawers.

All the pieces of these drawers are so very small, so I will first show you how I work with them. Instead of trying to glue tiny pieces of paper to the wood, I find it easier to cut one long strip of paper and glue all the wood pieces to the paper.

Here all the sides are already glued to the drawer bases and I am busy gluing the fronts on, before gluing the fronts on I gently cut away the paper where the glue needs to go.

The trickiest part is gluing on the teeny tiny strips to the front that frames the velvet paper. I start with a long strip and glue it to the short sides with the help of my Lego blocks to keep it straight until the glue starts taking.

Busy drying. After the glue has dried, I cut the extra wood off and do the same to the other short side and then fill in the two long sides.

For the outside paper I cut long strips and start covering the drawers by first gluing the bases down. And yes, I forgot to take photos of the rest of the process. Basically I cut the drawers off the paper strip, cut out the back corners, glue the back first and then the sides. Once everything is nice and dry, I color all the exposed wood edges with the silver marker. Lastly I glue in the velvet paper and add the little drawer knobs which are jewelry findings.

All the drawers in place, you can only see four of the ten drawers here.

With the top row unpacked there are five now, so where are the rest?

Well, now you can see seven drawers in the blue casket, we are getting there slowly.

The top row of secret drawers unpacked from the blue casket, they are a bit shorter than the middle row because the drawer knobs need to fit in behind the sliding panel.

The blue casket completely unpacked and yes, there are ten drawers ;-) And remember under the center top removable ink tray there is another little hidey hole.

Have a wonderful day

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Victorian Berlin Wool-work

Wow, I see I last showed you this piece of petit point way back in August, well, I finished it this week. It is cross stitched onto 58 count silk gauze with Pipers Floss silk. The chart is a photograph of an original Victorian chart from Raffaella Serena's book Berlin Work, Samplers & Embroidery of the Nineteenth Century.

So, which one did I stitch?

You didn't have to wait too long to find out ;-)

I framed it in a 140 year old photo frame from the Ambrotype period of  photographing. Because I was a bit worried that the brass coating of the frame would damage the petit point, I lined the inside with paper. I mounted the petit point with scrap-booking tape onto a piece of plastic and then stitched right through all the layers with my sewing machine. Yes, I do weird things with my trusty 26 year old Singer and it has never given me any problems.

The outer frame is rounded, hollow and made from a very thin piece of brass, it was dented in one place when I bought it. So in order to prevent that from happening again I used some half round molding to fill the frame with.

I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

In its place in the dining room, for the photo I held it in place with double-sided tape, I still need to figure out what I am going to do with the back before I add some chains with which I want to hang it on the brass rod. The antique shelf was also bought at Lucy's.

Oh, yes, if you read the history of the Ambrotype in the link I gave you and was maybe wondering about the original photograph in the frame. You can still see the image of a young Victorian girl on the glass when you put it against a dark background. I bought the frame in 2011 at Lucy's Doll House in Camden, Maine on the way to Guild School in Castine.

Have a wonderful week

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More Drawers.

The casket is coming along nicely, I finished the wide bottom drawer and I like that here at least you can see quite a big piece of the marbled paper.

Putting in the tiny strip of velvet paper however........ you can use your own imagination here ;-)

And then I made some more secret drawers as per the original.

Here they are busy being pushed into place.

Pushed in all the way, now I need to make the four short drawers that will go in front of the secret drawers and the two long ones for the last two open places. All six the drawers are the same width, so, I discovered that I have to cut a total of 240 drawer fronts and backs for all twenty of the caskets, wow!

So far each casket has a total of 65 wood pieces times 20 caskets equals 1300 tiny wood pieces in total and there are a lot more to come, what was I thinking?!?! :-)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A very tiny drawer!

When I first realized just how complex the construction of the real caskets was with all their secret drawers, I really wanted to recreate it in the miniature casket too. Because of the size of the caskets I at first wasn't sure that there would be enough space, especially considering the thickness of the wood, but when I stumbled over the idea of using plywood, I thought it could be just possible. And well, here it is, I made the tiniest of drawers for the pincushion and I just love it.

I photographed it with a regular sewing pin to give you an idea of the size of the drawer.

The secret drawer in its place, now what shall we hide in there?

Well, these two little things were for sure the most difficult items to build for the casket, just because there is almost nothing to hold on to, tweezers were definitely used a lot here. The rest of the drawers are going to be huge in comparison and easy to build after this tiny one.

I am really enjoying this project and it is a lot of fun to see it come together as I pictured it in my mind.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Flowers from Ilona

Yesterday's post brought me a wonderful gift from Ilona, some of her wonderful roses. Words just can't describe how beautiful and fine Ilona's roses are, they are just beyond amazing and the colors are so true to life, I am not sure that my photos will do them justice, but here they are.

This was a surprise gift, I knew it was flowers, but not which kind, secretly, I was hoping it would be roses, they are my favorite flower, here is the box they came in, with a hint of the contents :-)

And wow, aren't they just gorgeous, the detail are just amazing, can you see the bud on the red rose on the left and the top pink rose on the right?

I just love the colors!!!

They look so real.

And then, underneath the roses, another surprise, some letters on very thin paper with a writing feather, these will find a home in my casket.

Thank you Ilona for the wonderful gift, your flowers are a real work of art, they will find a special vase and place in my dollhouse and I will treasure them forever, blogger friends are just some of the best. I am often still amazed at the friendships we built with people that we have never met and that lives far away in other countries.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Casket: The pincushion and sliding panel

The last few days I spend on working on the pincushion with it's secret drawer and the finishing of the front panel. A lot of time was spend on just thinking and trying out ways of making the pincushion so that it would be fairly easy to take out so that one can have access to the secret drawer. In the end I decided to use some of my lace pins cut short, the heads are probably a bit large, but I think pins in the 17th century probably had bigger heads than modern ones.

For the sliding panel front I cut very small strips of wood and glued them around the edges of the sliding panel to create a frame for the velvet paper. The real old caskets had some flat tape added to finish of the velvet, but first of all finding a flat tape less than a mm wide just isn't possible and the applying it is another story. Although my method might not be quite historically correct I like how it looks. The brass escutcheon is from Cat's Paw and was colored by the permanent silver pen to get the right look.

Here you can see the pincushion out of it's compartment and you can see the space for the secret drawer that I will build tomorrow, I just ran out of time to still do that today. I also plan on starting the big drawers this week.

Have a great week.