Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Regency Era Pictoral Playing Cards - Ackermann's Repository

Queen of Hearts from an Early 1800's Card Deck

 I'm a huge fan of the Regency Period (1811-1830)  
This is the period in history where Mad King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son 
the Prince "Regent" - who later was crowned King George IV, ruled England.  

George the IV or "Prinny" as he is nicknamed in most modern Regency Romances,  
was crowned King in 1820 but lived till 1830.
I consider his entire reign to be part of the Regency period.

One of the major publications during the Regency and endorsed by the Prince Regent was
Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufacturers, Fashion and Politics.
This monthly was published from 1809 - 1828 and is a great resource
for those of us who love the Regency period. 

I find Ackermann's to be a fascinating glimpse on the time period and love the colored illustrations found in it's pages.  Now when I read my beloved Regency Romances I have a very good idea what publications of this time period were like, the phraseology, fashion, furnishings and some idea of what the interests and politics of the time period really were.

1st Issue of Ackermann's Repository from 1809 showing
the royal endorsement of the Prince Regent

 Playing cards were a major form of entertainment at this time and there was a large number of fancy decks available.  Ackermann's included one plate a month with examples of 4 playing cards from a pictorial deck over a 13 month period (Jan 1818 - Jan 1819) to show a complete 52 card deck.

I think this is a very entertaining deck of cards and hope you enjoy seeing it too.
(I'm amazed at some of the outfits and embraces depicted on the cards considering this was a general publication.  It appears the Regency public may not have been as prudish as I've been lead to believe.)
Ackermann's included ladies fashion plates, needlework patterns, and furniture in each issue
so I know this was not a gentleman's only publication. 
I have to wonder... were the ladies of the day shocked to see these cards?

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Jan 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Feb 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's March 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's April 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's May 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's June 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's July 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Aug 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Sept 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Oct 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Nov 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Dec 1818 issue

Pictorial Playing Cards from Ackermann's Jan 1819 issue

Here is an example of Regency Era verbiage from Ackermann's Repository.
These are the descriptions of the last 4 cards in the series from Jan 1819

Example of Regency Era Verbage

 I have been enchanted by the items found in the pages of Ackermann's Repository
and will be posting more images like the ladies fashion plates, furniture items,
curtains and needlework patterns in upcoming posts.

Keep checking back to see the other great 200 year old treasures 
I've discovered in the pages of Ackermann's Repository.

Thanks for visiting me here at

If you have enjoyed seeing these images from Ackermann's Repository 
and would like the opportunity to see and read an original for yourself 
they are are available on line at

Click HERE then choose the volume you are interested in.
You can then see and read them online or download 
them to your computer for future reference.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cool Textures and Scenic Images to use in Photoshop

I've been on vacation in South Carolina with family and the place we stayed did not have Internet access so I had to find a way of entertaining myself and used my camera to get some really cool textures and scenic elements that I can use later on in Photoshop.

I thought I'd share some of my favorites here but if you want the larger size file to download or you want to see all the images; please go to my deviantArt account at

Here are a few of my favorite texture shots
from the trip

Rust on an old train car at Stumphouse Tunnel in Walhalla SC
I thought this rust pattern looked just like an animal print and
this one is my favorite shot of the whole vacation.

Cracked driveway where we were staying
I love how ordinary things like rust and this cracked pavement 
can be used to create art - textures are just so much fun to play with!

Cracked paint on an old Church in Pickens SC
 The great thing about Photoshop is that I can alter a shot like this if needed 
and reduce the larger cracks if this exact texture does not work for me.

Old dimpled paint from the Church door in Pickens SC
I'm glad I did not miss the opportunity to take this shot since it takes 
a lot of time and lots of layers of paint to create this kind of texture.  
The Church was almost 200 years old.

Texture of an old stone in the Church yard
I liked both the color and texture of this stone;
so I zoomed in and took the shot.

From a tree in the backyard
I loved this curly, peeling bark that was on a tree in the back yard 
of the lake house we rented.  I took 3 different shots 
of it for a bit of variety when I go to use it.

stone stairs at Stumphouse Tunnel in Walhalla SC
These old stone stairs would be great as a scenic element.

The backside of an old tombstone - Pickens SC
 There is just something so artistic in the shape of old tombstones.
I can't resits taking pictures of them when I'm able.

I took some traditional vacation photos as well of people, places and things but I really think it's the odd pics of textures and funky objects that become my treasured vacation shots; since some of them will end up in my art or maybe someone else's art since I've started putting these types of images out on the web.

What I like to do with texture photos

I enjoy creating my own digital scrapbook paper and 
find that textures are perfect for doing this.

Example of scrapbook background paper created by using 2 of the textures
I created this background paper in Photoshop using 
2 of the above textures in less than 1 minute.

  • I created a base 12 x 12 page with the color code 4a8a90
  • I added the cracked driveway pavement as a layer on top of that and set the Layers blending style to Luminosity
  • I added the red stone texture as the top layer and changed the Layers blending mode style to overlay
Just a few clicks with two textures I took with my camera 
and I had a cool, new background paper.

The next time you are out and about with your camera;
I hope you look around to see the ordinary with new interest; 
and snap some funky texture shots of your own.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Asian Domino Art Choker - Sharpie Polished Stone Effect

I'm honored to be a guest designer for Scrolls Work Rubber Stamps during the month of June and today, using their stamps I'm going to show one of my all time favorite craft projects... Domino Art!

For those who are not yet aware - Scrolls Works is having an amazing close out sale and their remaining inventory is 50% off the original price.  Many images have sold out; however there are still some great stamps available for purchase - so don't miss out and grab them while you can.

I was searching through my collection of Scrolls Work stamps to see which images were still available for sale and decided to continue with my Asian theme for this "Domino Art" project.

Asian Domino Art Choker using Scrolls Work  rubber stamp and Sharpie pens
 One of my favorite stamping projects is Domino Art.
I find it very relaxing to make these miniature works of stamp art and by creating a 
polished stone background with Sharpie markers it is also a quick and easy process.

I designed the whimsical Asian Domino Art Choker with a large domino for the center bead 
and then strung some fancy crystal and glass beads along with some 
silver dragonflies and bell shapes on a bit of memory wire.  

This fun piece of wearable stamp art was quick and easy; 
it took me less than 2 hours from start to finish. 


supplies for creating the polished stone background
For this project I drilled my domino with a rotary tool to create the center bead in the necklace; 
however I've also glued on bails or beads to my dominos in the past to create pendants.
So, don't let that stop you from giving it a try.

The Polished Stone background on my domino was created using
Sharpie pens, 91% rubbing alcohol I put in a small spray bottle and some felt pads on a 
dauber tool (mine is by Tim Holtz) and I cut the felt pads from felt sheets I buy at the craft store.

I quickly clean my domino with alcohol to prime the surface; 
then I scribble with the Sharpie pens so I have good color coverage across the top.   

 Next I lightly spritz a clean felt pad with alcohol and then 
daub and twist the pad over the top of the domino.

I do this till I get a background I like.  
If I accidentally remove too much color I add more Sharpie pen and repeat the process.  
If I don't like the background I can quickly clean it all away with alcohol and start fresh.

Once I have a background I like I stamp my image with Black StazOn ink.

The image I used for this project is a great Asian word stamp "Kanji - Imagine"
from Scrolls Work Stamps and is still available, whole supplies last.

I find the Polished Stone effect on dominos makes a great background
for all kinds of word stamps.

 Most of the time I edge my domino art with a black chisel tip Sharpie pen.
Then I seal the top and sides with matte Mod Podge to give the domino 
a bit of wearable durability.

I wear a lot of my Domino art pieces on a simple cord but occasionally 
I add a bunch of beads to make a statement piece like this one.

Here are two more examples of Scrolls Work stamps in my Domino Art.
These I've edged with a gold leafing pen, just for a change of pace from my usual black border.

It's fun to play with various Sharpie color combinations and stamp images.
These two dominos have not been drilled so I will later glue a bail on them 
and use them as pendants on a black cord.

The left domino has a fun Asian script and Ginkgo leaves.
(both of these stamps are currently available at Scrolls Works in the Asian Antics section)
The Asian Script "Letters of Artist" is in the of Words and Text
The Ginkgo Leaf is in the Plants section under Asian Antics.

The right domino has an Asian poem and the word Wish.
(both of these stamps are also currently available ate Scrolls Works stamps while supplies last)
The Asian Poem is under Words and Text in the Asian Antics section
The word "Wish" is from "The Word Is" - Collage Words section.
It is from the Mini Collage Words Set and these tiny words are super for domino art.
(don't miss getting these if you do domino art other mini art projects)

I have no idea what the Asian words of the poem say but with a word like 
Wish or Love or Hope from the mini collage word set;
I can make it represent whatever I want it to be.

This is my Scrolls Work stamp spin on "Domino Art" and now
I have 3 great Asian art pieces to were this summer.

I hope you give it a try too.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Antique Paper Doll - Adelina Patti

My quest for Antique L&B Ballerina and Prima Donna Paper Dolls continues and I hope to one day have a full collection of these amazing little works of art.

I've been fortunate enough to have purchased some of these 100+ year old beauties over the past few years and in some situations the dolls I've purchased have had mismatched parts.  My great fortune has been that by evaluating the odds and ends I've been able to reconstruct several complete dolls as they were originally designed and sold in the late 1800's.

One of the great thing about these dolls is that they still look wonderful with parts that were not original for that specific doll head; but I'm thrilled to present the doll as she was originally intended.

Adelina Patti
She was a highly acclaimed opera dive in the late 19th century.
Adelina Patti - Green L&B Ballerina Paper Doll
From my research, I've found that the Adelina Patti head was to have been
paired with Green ballerina slippers and  arms with gold bracelets.  
Luckily I had all the parts in my current collection to complete 
this doll as she was originally intended.  

Naturally other L&B doll parts of the same size could be paired up 
with this head; like pink ballerina slippers or pink Prima Donna body parts.  
I originally purchased her with yellow Prima Donna parts but now 
I have her the way she was intended as a green ballerina.

Vintage photos of Adelina Patti

Adelina Patti - As I was able to purchase her
I purchased this Adelina Patti doll as seen above with these yellow
"Prima Donna" doll parts and though they will work well as an alternate dressing style
for this doll, the green ballerina parts do suite her best.

Alternate doll parts by L&B for their paper doll line
 This lovely set of black doll limbs were also available when these dolls were
originally made.  I love the fact that the legs are in the ballerina style yet the arms
are from their prima donna line.  A great mix of both dolls in elegant black.

I now have 2 out of 3 ballerinas from L&B set #2844
The first one is Lillian Russell - I posted about her yesterday.
The Middle one is Adelina Patti

I still hope to add the blue ballerina to my collection.

This is what the complete Blue Ballerina would look like

Till Next time...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Antique Paper Doll - Lillian Russell

One of the treasures I collect are L&B antique pressed paper dolls that were sold both under the name of the German maker L&B (Littauer & Boysen) or also by the US distributor Dennison.

These dolls are amazing in person, since they are large, heavy duty embossed lithographs.
The actual pieces for this Lillian Russell doll is around 14 inches tall assembled, when you add a torso to her.  The head portion of this doll is 4 inches high, her legs are 7 inches high and her torso 5 3/4 inches high.

One of the dolls currently in my collection is of the late 19th century Actress Lillian Russell.
Since these paper dolls are over 100 years old and getting harder and harder to get; when I first purchased my doll she did not have the correct color of ballet slippered legs.  Luckily, I've since been able to acquire the correct color of legs and now have all the correct parts and pieces.

I finally have all the correct parts for this paper doll
 It took me a while to get all the correct parts to complete this 
Lillian Russell doll but here she is - at last!

The beautiful and talented Lillian Russell
Vintage photos of the Actress.
I love Victorian images.  
It's so much fun to see the clothes and hairstyles.

Lillian Russell doll as I originally purchased her
 When I originally purchased this doll, from a nice lady in Australia;
she had the green ballet slippers of another doll - Adelina Patti
(see the next post)

These are the 3 Actress Ballerina dolls by L&B.

3 Ballerina Actress Heads by L&B

3 matching pairs of arms and legs - Blue, Pink and Green
I don't own the two sets above so I can't provide a better scan of the parts;
but I love how the image shows they were once all attached from the
manufacturer when they left L&B in Germany and wanted to show them.
( I have each of these dolls parts separately, just not the complete connected sheets 2844 and 2849)

Another look for the Lillian Russell doll

Back in October I did a project using this for a Halloween Witchy look
where I paired her head up with another set of vintage L&B legs and arms in Black.

This is the original scan of doll parts I used for my Halloween project
I started with this original scan of parts and then made some alterations in Photoshop.

This is what she looked like after I altered her in Photoshop
 I wanted a Witchy look for my project so I changed her bodice
to orange and then I cleaned up the black on her legs and gloves.

An original vintage torso for the L&B dolls
 This torso is original to the age of the L&B
paper doll and is 5 3/4 inches tall.
With the bodice in place you can dress up the doll any way you
like it or you can just cover the torso in a pretty pattern and let her be a corset doll.

The great thing about these dolls is that I can scan them in, clean them up, change colors 
when needed and use them as many times as I want in art project while the originals 
are safely protected in a special binder waiting for more lovelies to join them.  
If I'm lucky I'll find another doll or two before the year is out.  
Wish me luck!