Monday, December 1, 2008

Victorian Paper Cone Ornaments

If there is one thing I love about the Victorians, it would have to be their frugality and ingenuity when it came to recycling. I have an enormous collection of antique Christmas ornaments from about 1870 to 1906, and it is endearing to me how old pieces of Jewelry, wrapping papers, ribbons and cutouts from chromolith trading cards all were saved for later. Nothing went to waste! Items that were considered old junk or throw away were made into objects of beauty and later reused in holiday celebrations. This applied to all holidays, not just Christmas. The paper cone is also known as the "May basket or the Tussie Mussie", depending on it's season of use and adornment.

I love to craft my things in the same way and I spend hours creeping through the attic of my childhood home, ( a large Victorian farm house), and hours searching antique markets looking for sweet finds. All of my Victorian paper cones or scrap ornaments are crafted in the same style and tradition as their Victorian counterparts. The paper cones are always loaded with antique and vintage finds and will usually include some valuable antique ornaments, antique glass jewelry and chromolith scraps. The large, aqua colored cone here features a large, antique mercury glass ornament and two smaller vintage glass ornaments from the 1930's.

I generally try to preserve the integrity of the antique ornaments if I can and keep them firmly fastend to the piece, yet detachable and not glued into it. I still have an antique lover's passion for these things and it sickens me to ruin them for the "sake of art". Watch for some of my Victorian, spun glass bird cones coming shortly.....they feature rare, hard to find glass birds with spun glass tails. This year, I found a treasure trove, and I mean treasure trove, of antique Christmas things. I'm really excited to show them.

All of my cone ornaments would be great in a shabby chic setting, on a tree or hanging on a knob somewhere in your home.

All of these ornaments will be priced accordingly to the vintage and antique findings they are loaded with. The cones you see featured here are currently for sale at

Very soon, you will be able to view my work in sets on flickr. com. I have chosen to use this site as a way for my customers and friends to view my complete, online portfolio

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A preview of what's to come!

Here is a hand made box which is featured on the WSOAPP blog in the recipe section. I had pictured it stuffed with homemade Christmas sugar cookies, ( all of which are now gone, I assure you;O) ), but it will be offered in my WSOAPP store as a Christmas tag and stationary box. So many of my steady customers have been after me to sell a large quantity of tags as a bundle deal. So here's to you guys who have been writing me since October....I am bundling 20 of my best sellers in with this box. It will be offered at $50.00 plus travel fare to your home. The tags themselves are valued at $30.00. The box is a generous 9x9 inches and has been made by myself.

If you are interested in this item, hop into my WSOAPP shop to be the first to buy it when it is listed. Pictured here are just a few of the tags that will be offered. There will be two of each that are currently sold over in the shop and a few that will be surprises!

Sorry, this item has sold out!

contact me if you are interested in something similar; I will accept custom order requests up until December 21st.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The 2nd in my Old WorldFather Christmases series has finally taken shape and is ready to go out for sale. This year has been a hard year for me to work on my projects as my elderly father needs extra help and as my little one who is in second grade now is getting more active in clubs and in church. I have only created four St. Nicks this year. I have had some orders to consider for custom made, or made to customer request santas, and I will most likely get to those here soon.

I have been asked to join in with a handful of other traditional folk artists and send my work to the Early American Life Magazine for jurying to get on their traditional artisan list; and I'm excited to say, I am going to do it! So the challenge has been put out there to create my most interpretive piece of history and Americana yet, and get it to them by next spring. Hopefully, my work will be seen in next year's 2009 EAL, Christmas magazine on their tradtional artisans list.

Right now, the other two Father Christmases I made are in shops and both have already been sold. Some of my customers have written me and asked if I was using real fur on the coat trimmings as well as Cottswold sheep's wool for their beards; the answer is YES! I am using what I called "recycled fur" I have spent a great deal of time snooping through antique shops and resale shops searching for old fur coats and leather coats and belts. I painstakingly remove the stuff I don't need and process the fur or leather by trimming it into the right sized pieces that I need.
I feel that this way, an animal's pelt has been reused and not just thrown away. The figure picture here is wearing mink and his gloves were created from a very vintage sweater.

To view where this old world Father Christmas is currently being offered, check out my wsoapp shop by following the links over in the side column. He will only be offered there for a short time before he is placed in a shop.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Olde World Santas

I've been working my tail off to
finish my old world Santa clauses. I think my favorite part of creating each piece is the "wigging" part when I create his beard and hair. I don't know, call it a throw back to when I was a small child and would spend hours combing out my Barbie's hair, elegantly coiffing and styling it; either way, I love it. I probably should have become a beautician.

When I create my Old World St. Nicholas figures, I start by hand sculpting their heads and faces out of paperclay. It is close in makeup to paper mache, and I find that it is much better for holding details in the facial expressions, such as fine wrinkles around the eyes and forehead. after the drying process, I then paint the head in a portrait with real milk paints to make it resemble it's antique counterparts. I then use pure Cottswold sheep's wool, approximately one year's worth of grown on the animal's coat. I comb out the cleaned, washed and processed fibers and then attach them to the Santa's head with doll wig glue.

I think my greatest inspirations are those old antique, German candy containers. To me, they almost represent the spirit of Christmas past.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The new line of Belsnickles is nearly done

Every Fall, as the corn fields around my home begin to fire up a golden color that fortells of harvest, I get in the mood to start making my Belsnickles. I pull out my antique chocolate molds, gather up my milk paints and put in orders to all of my suppliers in order to make sure I have enough chalkware, imported glass glitter from Germany and authentic silver tinsel. I no sooner had poured my first Belsnickle this last August when I began to wonder....what is it about this little icon of Christmastime that draws me in so much? Of course, the Belsnickle is not the true Santa Clause as we know him in America, he's not even a nice character at all if you read up on several versions of his history! He was a creature to be loathed and feared by the children of our Pennsylvnania Dutch ancestors. Some accounts don't even credit this being as human, and certainly not St. Nicholas. So who was the Belsnickle?

I sat down and did some more research, being an enthusiast of all things historical. Families of German and Dutch descent would have their children leave out their shoes or socks by the hearthside on Christmas eve and over night, the Belsnickle was supposed to visit, either leaving lumps of coal and switches for the naughty or leaving christmas trees and candy for the good. Many legends ascribe elflike attributes to this being, while others just allude to something otherworldly. So this explaines why I have never found a chocolate mold or an authentic candy container Belsnickle with anything other than a stern or angry face!

Look for my full line of authentic, Chocolate mold Belsnickles this year offered either through or through Ebay. Very few of them will be up for auction this year as I now have a shop that has put in a large order.

My Rose Garden

This year has been a wonderful year for roses here in east central Illinois. Here is a picture of one of my garden favorites; an English rose by the name of "Crown Princess Margurite". I have a passion for the old world roses and this is but one of my many specimens bred by David Austin. It is planted by our east door and it's high, arching habit is perfect for framing the doorway....except for those thorns!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some of my items for sale on ETSY

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've been tagged again! I'm IT

I've been tagged by my buddy Brenda of Rusty Creek Primitives! Here's what we are to do -........
Tag the ABCs about ourselves. Each player then tags 3 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

A -Attached or single: Attached
B- Best Friend: Julie
C-Cake or Pie: cake with LOTS or real buttercream frosting!
D-Day: Saturday, Sunday
E- Essential Item: My Computer
F- Favorite Color: I have two. Black, Navy
G-Gummi Bears or Worms: They both taste the same and have the same texture, both are either manufactured in Canada or Switzerland, so I guess it does not matter weather I eat bears or worms.
H-Home town: Danforth, IL
I- Indulgences: Chocolate anything, Chai Latte, apple dumplings with lots of caramel.
J- January or July? July
K-Kids: I have one and he keeps me hopping
L-Life is incomplete without: My faith, family and creativity
M- Marriage Date: Sept 5 1992
N- Number of Siblings: 1
O- Oranges or Apples: Apples
P- Phobias or Fears: None!
Q- Quote: When pigs fly: I have too many favorites to list!
R- Reason To Smile: at the goofy antics of my six year old.
S- Season: Fall/winter
T- Tag Three: Mindy, Karen, Renee
U- Unknown fact about me: I'm passionate about history; art, my genealogy and local history, European medieval and renniasannce history.
V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals: Oppressor of Animals..... love a good angus steak! HMMMMMM
W- Worst Habit: procrastination
Y-Your favorite food: pasta, chocolate, Chicago style deep dish pizza
Z- Zodiac Sign: Taurus

Friday, March 28, 2008

An 1860 Victorian ball gown for a Parian Fashion doll

Today, I listed this beautiful gown on Ebay. It was such fun to make and I sincerely hope it brings it's new owner plenty of joy!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is another custom doll gown that was created form 90% antique and vintage materials. The body of the dress is in a champagne colored silk and the sleeves were constructed using an old, cream color silk handkercheif. The laces are antique Victorian era laces from France. There are two chemical laces made of silk and the embroidered tulle over skirt is constructed of silk too. This gown was done in a late Edwardian style as per the customers preferences. This is the first bonnet I have made.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I've been TAGGED!

I have been tagged with the "YOU MAKE MY DAY" award from my sweet WSOAPP sister Lynnie! What an honor to know I have made someone's day;-) Thank you Lynnie; It's always great to get those warm fuzzies from my blog buddies; and you have effectively kicked my very lazy heiny into gear to GET TO BLOGGIN!

So now I'm passing this award on to "spread the love around" to another of my bloggin sisters; Pea!

The rules for this "YOU MAKE MY DAY" award are to present it to those whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and just make you feel happy about blogland. Let the person you tag know they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog or by email so they can in turn pass it on. Oh, but beware! You may just get tagged several times. If that happens, just know you are really loved!

I belong to Whispered Secrets Of A Primitive Past. We are a group of professional primitive and folk style artists who originally banded together on Ebay for the purposes of cooperative marketing. Many of us now have our own shops over on and those of us who have our own blogs, I am providing the links for them at the bottom of this blog page. And be sure to check out Scroll down to take a look: it is well worth your time to hop around on the blogs to view all of the talent from these artisans and crafters, even if you are not in the market to buy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Welcome to Oak Hollow Primitives!

Specializing in:

Reproductions of antique cross stitch samplers. Using heavy flour sack cloth, and sometimes authentic, antique linen, each of my samplers are done in the style of a young schoolgirl just learning her first stitches. I then age and distress them with my recipe of natural dyes which includes walnut, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee.

Reproduction chalk ware Belsnickle Santas. Each one of these pieces has been cast from authentic antique chocolate molds and then carefully crafted to resemble their Victorian antique counterparts.

Primitive, Americana style dolls: using heavy flour sack cloth, hand dyed woolens and carfully crafted doll clothing, my dolls are one hundred percent handmade and constructed to fit the whimsical, primitive, Americana style. Some of them are designed to look like antique reproductions of cloth dolls.

Pin keeps: crafted in various styles, ranging from ultra primitive to antique reproduction.

Clothing for antique dolls: Period Clothing crafted from vintage/antique materials for antique china head, Parian fashion, Jumeau and Bluette dolls. Custom orders welcome!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Introducing an 1867 Walking Gown

I am now taking custom orders on antique doll gowns. You may contact me a if you are interested.

This is an example of an 1867 style walking gown, done on a 19 inch, Hertwig china head doll. The gown is constrcted in two pieces, just like the authentic period gowns it is pattered after: including a basque and a trained bustle skirt. I used authentic antique trims and laces in it's construction