Archive for January, 2012

The Mysterious Stone Books

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I recently read an article in Early American Life magazine about stone books. I was excited to see the article. There are lots of pictures of a wonderful collection belonging to a woman who lives right here in Wilmington, sovaldi Delaware.

The reason I was so interested in the article is because I own two stone books. I bought them because I loved them. There was something about them that was so irresistible, healing they are such tiny little treasures. I love the way they look next to my early leather books.

You can see how small they are when sitting next to a pair of early reading glasses. They only measure only 1-1/2 inches high. Some are known to be even smaller, less then one inch in height! No one is really sure why they were made. It is rare to find one that is signed. Some say that they were practice for gravestone carvers, just learning the trade. Most of these little stone books were carved to look closed, but a few have been found that are open, those are the rarest of all.

Stone books were poorly documented. I have not been able to find anything about them on the internet, and I have read that only a few printed references exist. I wish I knew which ones. If you love them, I just might put them for sale soon.



Two Early Hand Sewn Dresses

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

The other day I was out visiting a friend. It was so nice to get away from my normal routine, prostate one which I have to say, sick I do love. Anyway, stuff we had a  wonderful visit. On the way home I stopped at a little antique shop that normally I never visit. I just never find anything there. On this day something was drawing me inside. Nothing caught my eye, until I spotted a dress hanging in the corner of one of the booths. It was this lovely early young girl’s dress! 19th century, maybe earlier.

I have looked this dress over completely, and discovered that it is sewn completely by hand. The workmanship on this dress is amazing. Full of the tiniest little stitches. Don’t you just love those beautiful sleeves! All the gathering of fabric at the waist and shoulder area. Then I discovered that the entire bottom of the wonderful dress was done in crewlwork, all wool. So perfectly sitched!

Isn’t it beautiful. I have always loved crewelwork. Many years ago when I was in my 20′s I made some crewelwork Williamsburg reproduction pictures. I still love them today and I still enjoy looking at them.

On a  recent trip to Ohio I purchased a piece of 18th century crewelwork. It’s gorgeous, and it has renewed my interest in this beautiful art of stitching. Gosh, maybe I already showed it to you, but in case I didn’t here it is again.

Along with the girl’s dress, I found a young child’s dress. It too is completely hand sewn and very nicely done. I read somewhere that these little white dresses were referred to as “lawn dresses”. This one will be for sale Carole’s Country Store soon.



Early Leather Books

Friday, January 6th, 2012

My most recent passion is early leather books. I can’t seem to get enough of them. My most recent purchase was this early 18th century leather book of common prayers.

It’s not that big, health measuring 6 inches high and 3 inches wide. It has the best patina. You can almost see how it was held by the wear marks on the cover. The spine is embellished with a lovely design done in gold. Besides it being so beautiful, it has a bonus! Early writings on several pages.

This is what is written on one of the pages, including spellings. Sufanna Crow har Book God give her grace Therin to look not to looks But understand learning is better house and land when house is gone spent then learning is most exlent. Jan 12 1747

In the 18th century and before the letter f was used instead of the letter s.

On the page before this one, is another writing. It says, Laurence Crow Ann Tomini 1722

Stel not this book for fear at him for her douth stel the owners name

This “Book of Common Prayer” is all original, even the inside pages. The colors are so beautiful. It’s done in a flame stitch design. Some of you might have this pattern on a sofa or chair. I wonder if the idea for the flame stitch fabric came from these early books? I have sold many early books on my website, and will continue to look for more for those of you that love them like I do. I’ll be doing some antiquing this weekend. I’ll keep my eye peeled for you.

This is another favorite. Love the inside writings, but can you imagine my delight when I turned the pages and found this wonderful ink and watercolor drawing, signed and dated, Sarah Jane Hughs 1831!

My friend suggested that the 8 on this book marking was a dollar sign, and suggested that it said $15.. It does look that way, but there is a 1 in from of the what looks like a dollar sign. Later that day I gave more thought to what she said. This book was printed 1815. Do you suppose that James McKnight was a wealthy man, and for fun he dated his book 1815 using a dollar sign? That must be it, don’t you think?

Consider the next time you give a book to someone, write something personal and date it too. I am so glad that the former owners of these books thought to do that. One day it will be very special to someone that loves collecting old books.