Archive for August, 2009

The Making of Linen

Monday, August 24th, 2009

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I just purchased this beautiful 19th flax braid for Carole’s Country Store. It is from Pennsylvania and has never been spun. It’s a wonderful display piece for your country home and if you like it you can find it here.
It looks wonderful in an antique rye basket, buy viagra also available in my website store.

I love all cotton white sheets, but if I can find linen that’s what I buy, but ONLY at a good price. About 12 years I was shopping for new sheets and I found several sets of Ralph Lauren 100% linen sheets in Marshalls! I bought all that they had because I loved them, AND the price was VERY affordable. I still use them, and they are even better today then they were when I first got them. Linen gets softer and finer with every washing. Did you know it is the strongest of the vegetable fibers, and is 2 to 3 times stronger then cotton? Linen is made from the Flax plant.
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Flax is a bast fiber, a woody fiber taken from the stalk of the plant. Have you ever noticed what a beautiful luster linen has? That luster comes from the waxy content of the plant. You can even boil linen, and it will not damage the fiber.

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Twenty five percent of the content of our money is made of linen. Linen can absorb up to 20% of it’s weight before it feels wet.This drawing shows the process of “rhetting”, a 2 week process where plants are spread out in a field to absorb moisture and rain which allows the pith of the plant to rot in order to loosen the fibers of the plant.

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Hackling and scutching is done before it is ready to spin into threads.

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After this long process, it is finally ready to weave into linen.

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I hope I have told you something you didn’t know about flax and linen. Next time you see a flax braid, you will have some idea of how much work goes into the making of this wonderful fabric. These wonderful illustrations were drawn by R.P. Hale.
HAPPY DAY
Carole

Rehoboth Beach and Hurricane Bill

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

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We have friends visiting us this weekend in Rehoboth Beach. We had one nice beach day before hurricane Bill made his presence. Yesterday morning we walked down to the beach. The ocean had come all the way up to the dunes.

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The waves were powerfull!

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No beach today. Maybe tomorrow.

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HAPPY DAY
Carole

The Sisters

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

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If old dolls interest you, seek there is a wonderful book called American Folk Dolls by Wendy Levitt. It’s an out of print book and is hard to find. If you are interested in purchasing this book, there are a couple copies left in my book store. On page 24 there is a picture of two dolls from New England. They were made around 1870, and I just love them.

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I have asked one of my American Artisans, Teresa Carr, if should could reproduce these fabulous old dolls.
She did, and I think they are amazing! Made of all early fabrics, look at those yummy old calicos, and real leather hands and feet, they look just like the originals. You can find these wonderful dolls in my American Artisan Store.

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HAPPY DAY
Carole

My New High Efficiency Washer & Dryer

Monday, August 17th, 2009

It’s going to be 91 today and it’s hot already. I got a new Maytag washer and dryer a couple of weeks ago, ambulance and it was about time. I have had the same washer and dryer for well over 25 years and they just weren’t do the job for me anymore. I felt like I had two strangers in my house, and they took some getting used to.

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I couldn’t wait to try them. I read my owner’s manual, loaded my clothes, poured my detergent and bleach, and pushed the “start” button. What!, where’s the water?! Ok, I had to pull up a chair to get a closer look and see what was actually going on. It was using very little water, and there were no suds. Just a gentle swishing back and forth. I wondered, “is this working right”? How could anything get really clean without lots of water and suds, plus it has no agitator! That was 2 weeks ago, and I am happy to report that I love my new washer and dryer. Now I’ll see if there is much of a any difference in my water and gas and electric bill.

I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would be painting another old shutter and promised to show you when I finished it. I finally did.

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This style of painting is the influence of early 18th century painter, Rufus Porter. I have talked quite a bit about him, and many of you know that from 1999 to 2007, my partner and I painted many Rufus Porter style murals in many historic homes in the Chester County and the Brandywine Valley area. For those of you that are new to my blog, I have provided this link so that you can learn more about this itinerant painter. If you would like to see more on my blog about him, this link will take you back a couple of years.

HAPPY DAY-btw, the larger ironing board you see in the photo, belonged to my mother. I think it’s the only one she ever owned. I remember the sound it made as she did her ironing, and having it brings back so many memories.
Carole

A Little History of Wax Seals

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

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A couple of weeks ago i went to an antique show in Rehoboth. There was a dealer that was selling collections of antique wax seals.I have always loved getting a card from someone that uses one, capsule like a dear customer of mine in Australia. Every so often she sends a lovely letter sealed with a wax seal, along with lots of lovely photographs of her beautiful country, Australia. I always hate to open it because it looks so pretty.

These three seals are from the signet rings of Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Jay. These wax seals were used during the signing of the Treaty of Paris in Sept. 1783, ending the war between America and England.

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The first Seal of the United States was created by Ben Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4th, 1776, immediately after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It was then that Congress realized the necessity of such a seal for the newly established nation. Important documents in England and the Colonies were authenticated by placing a glob of sealing wax next to the signature and impressing the wax with a signet ring. In these times wills could be easily falsified and the wishes of the descendant ignored, so wills were “sealed” by pressing a signature ring into the soft sealing wax proving that only the possessor of the ring was the true grantee, making bequests to his heirs.

With the introduction of the “gummed” envelope in the 19th century, the need for the seals was gone. It was around this time that the seal was used as a more decorative embellishment.

Today a seal is used as a personal flair to letters, notes and cards, even gift packaging. If you would like to try your own personal seal, try this, use a glue gun. Look around your house and find something personal that you could use as an impression in the hot glue, but first make sure that the item you are using for the impression is cold enough that it will not stick to the hot glue. Put it in the freezer for a while before you try it. So there you have it, your own personal seal. Let me know how you make out.
Happy day
Carole

Do You Love Sunflowers?

Friday, August 7th, 2009

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Do you love sunflowers? Yesterday was a rainy day, sovaldi sale and I felt like taking a drive, maybe stop by a couple of antique shops along the way. I took a different route then I normally would, and I’m so glad I did. As I traveled down this little road, I came upon a field of sunflowers. Oh my that were wonderful, so I pulled over to take a photo of all those little faces for as far as I could see.

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Did you know that the scientific name for sunflower is Helianthis, helia for sun and anthis for flower. Sunflowers mature in only about 90 days, and grow up to 12 feet tall. Did you know that many farmers grow sunflowers to feed their cows. This farmer did have a lot of cows, so I am thinking maybe he did.

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One of the most interesting things I learned about these amazing flowers is that their flowering heads track the sun’s movement. Did you know that? The name for this is heliotropism and it has to do with a compound that regulates the growth of the plant. It accumulates on the shaded side, and because of this, the shaded side grows faster than the sunlit side. This is what makes the stem bend towards the sun. Isn’t nature just amazing. How could anyone believe that all of this just happened by accident. I don’t think so.
Happy day
Carole

The Identure and Penmanship

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

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I know I am not alone in admiring the penmanship used in writings in the early 18th and 19th centuries. In the early 1950′s, capsule I was a young girl learning to write. Much emphasis was placed on the way I held my pencil. I remember the teacher looking over my shoulder as I practiced writing my letters, upper and lower case. I loved writing and I think I had beautiful penmanship. When my granddaughter was young and just learning to write, I thought she held her pencil the wrong way and I remember trying to correct her, even though she insisted on holding it that way. Now I notice a lot of young adults do the same thing. With all the emailing and texting, beautiful penmanship doesn’t seem important anymore.

I bought this 1823 indenture while antiquing the other day. I love the stamps along the edge. After taking this photo, I noticed that wonderful embossed eagle on the paper, how exciting it was to discover it!

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Isn’t it beautiful. I put it on my desk, along with a pair of old reading glasses. Every once in a while I look at it. It fascinates me.
The writing is so beautifully done. Love the 1823 date.

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Did you know in the late 1500′s that the development of copperplate engraving allowed for the use of very delicate type faces with many flourishes and curliques in the script-like letters? This greatly influenced handwriting, and handwriting masters began to grow in number. These masters produced beautifully written documents, and elegant handwriting became a sign of social status. I don’t know about you but I admire beautiful handwriting, but sadly we are getting away from it.

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Happy Day
Carole