Forum Posts

Andrea Dodson
Jan 22, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
When you bake cookies, where do you go to buy vanilla flavoring, flour and chocolate chips? Probably to a local grocery store, right? In Tudor times gathering ingredients was not so easy! The ingredients to make basic recipes like bread and pottage (a thick barley soup with vegetables eaten for breakfast) were easy to gather from farm crops and gardens. Meat was provided by farm animals as well as milk to make cheese and butter. These items could also be bought at a local town market where farmers brought in foods from their farms to sell. Pottage simmering in the open hearth Tudor households would have had both a vegetable/kitchen garden and an herb garden. Vegetables like turnips, parsnips, onions, leeks and lettuce would be grown in these gardens. Herb gardens provided plants like basil, anise, lavender and rosemary for both medicines and cooking. A basket of fresh garden vegetables The herb garden at Agecroft Hall Sugar, spices and citrus fruits could not be grown in the cool, wet climate of Tudor England. These items were imported (brought into England) from countries with much warmer climates. Only the wealthy were able to afford to buy these imported products that came from both the East and West Indies (see map below). Sugar, for example, came from the island of Barbados in the West Indies. Other foods came to England from other parts of the Americas and the New World. These included chocolate, pineapple, oranges and lemons. By the 1600's, England was able to import tomatoes, potatoes, corn and pumpkins. The best spices came from the Far East (near China anad Russia) - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and mustartd were very expensive imports. These spices are still imported and often still pricey in our own grocery stores. Where do you go to buy your sugar and spices?
There was no grocery store in Tudor England content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 22, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
By now you may have learned a little bit about sewing. Let’s take a closer look at how your clothing would have been made in the 1600s, and what you would have done to take care of your outfits. If you were a member of the Dauntesey family, you would have the money to afford nice cloth for your outfits. In this conversation, we see the interaction between a gentry woman and a mercer (a textile merchant). The Mistress is purchasing the items she needs for a new gown: Mistress: I wish to purchase some tawny wool stuff, please Mercer: You are in luck, mistess. I hath just got some in. Tis of a fine quality. Mistress: It will serve well. I needeth enough for a new gown. Mercer: Can I get ye anything else? Mistress: Some ribbon and thread, if you please. The cloth, thread and ribbon would then have been taken to a tailor, who would have made a dress for her in the latest fashion. You can see from the picture below what one of these dresses might have looked like. Keep in mind, even wealthy women like Mistress Dauntesey would not have had tons of outfits, as clothing was still mostly made by hand. Tudor gown To make clothing last longer, it often needed to be mended. This could involve putting patches on elbows, rehemming cuffs and hemlines, or darning socks. The picture below shows a pair of repaired stockings from 1800s America. Although later than the Tudor Era, they are a good demonstration of the work that went into mending clothing. These stockings belonged to Stephen Girard, who was the wealthiest man in America at the time. Stockings of Stephen Girard Clothing was also modified to reflect changes in fashion. This was often done to elaborate pieces of clothing to reuse time consuming embroidery and bead work. You can check out the online collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Museum to see examples of this. If you could not afford to have a tailor make you clothing, you might buy cloth and pay a friend with sewing talent to make and outfit for you. There are also a few places that sell ready to wear clothing, but this industry will not take off until the Industrial Revolution. Another way to get clothing was to receive or buy hand me down items. Sometimes gentry families would gift items that they no longer wanted to trusted servants. Servants could use these items or in turn sell them. You can learn more information on clothing on our website! https://www.agecrofthall.org/dressing-the-part
Timely Tresses:  Tudor Clothing content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 22, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
"The Wolf Hunt", c. 1650 Hanging in the Great Hall at Agecroft is a tapestry called "The Wolf Hunt." Why do you think it was given that name? Hand woven pieces like this were made on large looms. The images were copied from drawings called "cartoons" that were used as pattern guides for the weavers. Tapestries were expensive to make, and owning one showed a family had wealth. They were brightly-colored and kept homes warm - some were even hung over doorways to block draughts. Some told historic or mythological stories, and others showed wonderful patterns of exotic animals and plants. What activities, animals and plants do you see in the images below? When you visit Agecroft Hall in person, you can try to find these details on the original tapestries hanging in the manor! *Hint: There is part of an animal shown at the top of the second tapestry!
What about tapestries? content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 18, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
A Tudor town bakery Hello! We are glad to have you here for this fun day of crafting! You are going to have a great time learning about Tudor England and doing some fun sewing and cooking activities! Most of you have probably done some cooking, and you may have done some sewing, too! Did you enjoy it? Which do you like to do best? We have 6 fun projects for you to enjoy. You don’t have to complete them all today, but give each one a try. You will learn a lot about what life was like in England 500 years ago and how challenging it could be to keep people fed and clothed! The bake oven at Agecroft hall where pies and breads would be baked Tudor women sewing at home From the time they were children, girls in England in the 1600’s learned to sew and cook. Most girls would become wives and mothers and keep house for their families, or they would be employed as servants in other households. But these tasks weren’t just for girls! Boys could also work in “domestic arts” positions. The domestic arts included cooking, cleaning, sewing and money management. Men were more likely to work with managing the household money, or “accounts” and would have had some education in reading, writing and math. Although girls were educated at home by their mothers, they could become professional seamstresses, or sewers. Boys could spend time learning from professional bakers and tailors. After 5-7 years as an "apprentice" to a professional, boys could move on to have their own businesses. Now that you know a little bit about what life was like in Tudor England and some of the creative jobs people could do, let's get to exploring and creating!! _____________________________________________________________________ If you have any questions or comments or want to share photos of your work with us, please let us know in the comments sections of each activity. We would love to see how you are doing and what you think of the projects. Happy crafting! Jill and Andrea
Celebrating the Domestic Home Arts:  It's Not Just a "Girl Thing". content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 18, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
Have you done any weaving with strips of paper or yarn – maybe in school or at camp? In Tudor times, weaving wool, linen and silk thread by hand was the only way to make cloth. There were no machines to do it! FAST FACTS: 1) Ordinary people could buy cheap wool and linen cloth from professional weavers and make their own clothes. 2) The wealthy could buy clothes from a tailor who had luxurious cloth like velvet and silk to offer. 3) Weaving uses vertical “warp” threads secured to a loom to give the fabric structure and strength. Horizontal “weft” threads are woven over and under the warp threads to create the weave. Mistress Dauntesey is wearing silk. Her servant is wearing linen, which cost less. Woven linen Warp and weft threads ________________________________________________________ For this project, you are going to be weaving on a circular loom! The design for your weaving is based on the colors of the Tudor Rose (shown below). The Tudor Rose was designed in 15th Century England to symbolize peace between two royal families. The union of the two families was the beginning of the Tudor Dynasty. Gather your project supplies and follow the instructions below to create your own woven version of the Tudor Rose. Supplies you will need for this activity: White cardboard circle Tape Scissors Pencil or Sharpie Ruler Red, green, yellow and white yarn Project instructions: Using your scissors, make short cuts along the lines on your circle. Number the lines 1-11. This circle will become your weaving loom. 2) Set the “warp” threads on your loom: Measure and cut a 42” piece of white yarn. Slot one end of the yarn through the slit at #1 and tape it to the circle. Bring the yarn across the white side of the circle and slot through # 6. Take the yarn to its neighbor #7 and slot it through. Continue from #7 in the following order: across to #2, over to #3, across to #8, over to #9, across to #4, over to #5, across to #10 and over to #11. Turn the circle over to the white side. Bring the end of the yarn to the center of the circle and slide it under the center “knot” of yarns in the middle. Cut the end to about 3” and knot the yarn to the center of the threads so that your warp stays secure. Beginning the warping process Warp completed on back of loom 3) Now that the warp threads are set, cut a piece of yellow yarn to 36” long. Tie one end of the yellow yarn to the cut end of the white yarn with a double knot. Cut the short ends close to the knot. 4) It is time to weave! Thread the yellow yarn through your needle, leaving a bit of a “tail” at the end. Place your needle under one of the white warp threads and over the next. Continue moving under and over the threads of the circle. *You can move clockwise or counterclockwise, just make sure you go in the same direction for the entire weaving. Beginning to weave the yellow yarn 5) After weaving 4-6 yellow circles, cut the yellow yarn to about 4”. Cut 60” of white yarn and knot this to the end of the yellow yarn. Snip excess. Continue weaving with the white yarn. Weave 8-10 circles. 6) For the rest of the project, cut and weave the following: Cut 60” of red yarn, and weave 5 circles. Cut 36” of green yarn, and weave 3 circles. *Check out this video for a live demonstration of a circle weaving project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6XK22a4GDk ________________________________________________________ Share a photo of your project with me and Jill in the comments! You can ask any questions there, too. Happy weaving!
Spinning Like a Spider:  The Art of Weaving content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 18, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
Can you find anything in your home that has been embroidered? Maybe a pillow or comforter? Embroidery is a decorative form of sewing where rich and colorful threads are used to make complex and pretty designs on fabrics for clothing and the home. FAST FACTS: 1) In Tudor England, the wealthy loved expensive embroidered fabrics for clothes, gloves, bags, and bedding. 2) Embroidery was a pastime for rich and middle-class women like the Daunteseys of Agecroft Hall. You can see reproduction embroidered pillows at the museum witih beautiful stitches like in the photo below. 3) Both men and women worked as professional embroiderers in Tudor England. You can see the tailors in the picture sitting crossed-legged on the table. This was an easy position in which to hold heavy fabrics and to ensure that no cloth or material would fall on the ground. 4) A unique form of embroidery that was popular from the 1400’s to the 1600’s is blackwork embroidery. This work is usually done with black silk thread on white linen. It was used to decorate collars, cuffs, shirts and gowns. Look at the beautifully-worked stitches in this portrait from Agecroft Hall. William Campion, 1630 5) There are two traditional ways of blackwork stitching. The first uses uniform, counted stitches. The other is called “free-stitch” or “free form” and is a more flowing and loose type of work. Work for the wealthy and royalty was often stitched with gold or silver metal threads. Counted Blackwork Free-Stitch Blackwork 6) Hand embroidery takes time and patience. ___________________________________________________________________ For this project, you are going to be following a counted blackwork pattern. You will be using the “Holbein stitch”, named after the famous portrait painter Hans Holbein the Younger. Holbein painted portraits of King Henry VIII and his children, and most of the pictures illustrated blackwork embroidered clothing. This stitch is also called “double running stitch” because it is run first in one direction then in the other. The stitching on the back will look the same as the stitcing on the front. Supplies you will need for the activity: Piece of white linen Metal needle (*or plastic needle if you find that easier to use) Black thread Pencil Scissors Alphabet and heart charts Ruler Project instructions: Gather your supplies and cut a 24” length of black thread. If you are using the metal needle, you will need to separate your thread into three pairs and use one pair for your sewing. If you are using the plastic needle, you do not need to separate your threads. Threading a needle can be frustrating, so the video below shows an easy way to do it! Because we are using two strands of thread, this method works well. In the video, the presenter is using one thick strand of thread for a specialized project, but her method will work for your project, too! Stitched Line: Using your ruler, make a 3” line on your cloth with your pencil. This is the easiest way to practice your stitch. Let’s go ahead and start stitching! 1) Bring your needle up in the open square at the beginning of your line. Make sure you leave a 3” tail at the back of the work, and hold it with your finger for a few stitches so it does not pull through. 2) Push your needle down into the next open square, and pull your stitch straight. 3) Bring your needle up through the square that is two spots away – skipping one square. Continue to the end of the line. The tail of thread at the back of the fabric Creating a running stitch 4) Now you will stitch back in the other direction. Bring your needle up where your last stitch boarders an open, skipped square. Push your needle down into the next stitched hole. Continue like this to the end of the line. Push your needle to the back. Cut your thread, leaving 3” at the end. Tie this to the tail with a double knot. Placing the needle to begin stitching back in the opposite direction Back of work looks identical to the front. Stitched Heart: For this step you will need the heart stitch pattern paper. Transfer the heart pattern to your fabric with your pencil. Be mindful of the number of square holes counted in each line. Thread your needle with 36” of thread. Let’s go! 1) Bring your needle up in one of the holes at the top of the heart. Make sure to leave a tail of thread at the back. Stitch your first running stitch around the heart. Remember to skip every other square hole. First running stitch Second running stitch in opposite direction 2) Turn your stitch around and come back in the opposite direction like you did with your line. Bring your needle to the back, cut the thread, and knot it to the thread tail. Stitched Initials: For this challenge, you will need the alphabet stitching chart. Find the first letter of your name and transfer it to your fabric with your pencil. Stitch the letter in the same way as you stitched your line and heart. Don’t forget to skip every other square the first-time through! 1) Begin stitching along the longest line of the letter. As you continue, you may have to make some choices about which direction to go in. If you have to take some creative paths to stay on the line, that's okay. The back of the letter won't be as neat as the front. 2) Work the initial of your last name in the same way. *Remember, if you “mess up” you can remove your stitches and begin again. Stitching takes practice, so be patient with yourself! Watch this video to learn more introductory blackwork stitches: https://www.sarahhomfray.com/blackworkvideos.html _____________________________________________________ Share your work with us in the comments! Happy Stitching!!
Keep Calm and Stitch On:  Blackwork Embroidery content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 18, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
I’m sure you have clothes that fasten together in lots of ways – with buttons, snaps, or laces. You might even have a belt! But do you have buttons made from silver cord or precious gems? Probably not. FAST FACTS: 1) Just like us, people in Tudor England needed to keep their clothes together! They used pins, buttons, clasps, ties, laces and eyelets. They DID NOT use zippers, though! Those weren’t invented until 1851. 2) Buttons were used as both decoration and to fasten men’s clothing in Tudor England. And, just like today, if a button popped off a piece of clothing, it needed to be sewn back on – usually by a wife, daughter or servant in the household. 3) For the ordinary citizen, buttons were made of wood and cow horn (yes, cow horn!). The upper classes boasted buttons made of pewter (metal) and silver and, for royalty, gold and gems. 4) Buttons were used on men’s doublets (jackets), pants, and cloaks. Buttons were rare on women's clothing. Here are a few examples of buttons we have at Agecroft Hall: Wooden buttons Pewter buttons Cow horn buttons ____________________________________________________________________________________ Buttons were sown onto clothing with thread, just like they are today. This project will give you button-sewing practice that I am sure will be appreciated in your house when someone pops a button! Supplies you will need for this activity: Clothing templates Scissors Felt (3 colors) Buttons Black thread Ballpoint pen Metal needle Toothpick Glue Project Instructions: A Gentleman's Doublet (jacket) and Hose (short pants). 1) Trace the template pieces onto your felt: one color for the body of the doublet (A), one color for the doublet sleeves and bottom (B and C), and one color for the hose (D). 2) Cut pieces from felt. 3) Take the body of the doublet and use your pen to mark where you want your buttons to sit. 4) Cut a piece of thread about 18” long. You DO NOT need to separate the strands. Thread your needle. 5) For each button, follow these steps: Push your needle up through the felt close to your mark. Leave a tail of thread on the back. With the rounded side of the button facing up, thread the needle through one of the button’s holes, and pull the thread through until it is snug. Push the needle through the other button hole and through the felt to the back of the doublet piece and pull snug. *You can sew your buttons so that the holes are either vertical or horizontal. Before you make your next stitch, place your toothpick between your button and the felt, and push it between the two threads coming out of your button. This will give the button room to wiggle. If this were an actual jacket, this space would be needed for the button to fit through the button hole. Bring your needle back up through the first button hole and down through the second one or two more times. Trim your thread to 3" and tie loose end to the thread tail with a double knot. Remove the toothpick and repeat the steps with the other two buttons. 6) Now that your buttons are sewn on, you can glue your clothing pieces together. Turn the doublet over to the back side. Glue the hose to the back of the doublet. Glue each sleeve to the back of the doublet. Turn the glued pieces over and glue the V-shaped bottom hem to the front of the doublet so that it covers the seam with the hose. You can cut small triangles or other shapes to embellish the hem of the doublet, and you can add rounded sleeve cording to the tops of the sleeves and decoration to the hose. Now your outfit is ready to sell to a gentleman of high status! _________________________________________________________ Do you have any buttons at home that need to be reattached? Let us know how you do with your button sewing!
Let's Button Up:  It's Cold Outside! content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 18, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
Do you like to bake cookies? Do you have a favorite cookie you like to eat? FAST FACTS: 1) In Tudor times, people ate bread every day, but sweets were a special treat. Only the wealthy could afford the expensive sugar to make them regularly. 2) Shrewsbury cakes, or Shrewsbury biscuits, are a crispy cookie named after Shrewsbury, a town in Shropshire, England. They were originally baked as cakes flavored with lemon and rosewater. William Shakespeare may have even eaten one! He mentions “cakes” in one of his plays. Today, Shrewsbury biscuits are still enjoyed in England and other countries. _____________________________________________________ This project recipe is a fun way to make this “cookie that does not crumble”. You are going to be able to get your hands right into the bowl squishing around-just make sure to WASH YOUR HANDS before you begin! Shrewsbury Biscuits recipe: Yield: 16 large biscuits or 32 small Ingredients: 3 ½ cups plain flour 1 ½ cups sugar 2 eggs ½ tsp cinnamon 1 ½ cups butter (straight from the refrigerator, not room temperature). Pinch of salt *Optional: dash of culinary rosewater for mild flavor and fragrance Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a cookie sheet. 1) In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. 2) Cut butter into smaller pieces and add to dry mixture. Use your fingers to rub in the butter. (I did this by squeezing the small pieces of butter between my fingers until the mixture turned into what felt like heavy sand.) *This step takes a bit of time, but it is a lot of fun to watch the changes. Ask for help if your fingers get tired! 3) When all of the butter is rubbed in, add the eggs (and optional rosewater). Stir the mixture with your fingers until a dough is formed. 4) Cut the dough into 16 smaller pieces. Form each piece into a ball (for large cookies) or two balls (for smaller cookies). Place balls on cookie sheet about 4” apart. 5) Using the bottom of a glass, gently press each ball down to form a circle of dough. 6) Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Let the biscuits cool and enjoy! ___________________________________________________ Let us know how yours turn out! Source: https://www.tudorsociety.com/tudor-meals-shrewsbury-biscuits/
Tudor Treats:  Baking Shrewsbury Biscuits content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 18, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
Have you ever eaten fresh snow? It’s hard to describe the taste, but it is so cool and yummy! FAST FACTS: 1) The Tudors not only enjoyed desserts with a lot of sugar, they loved creams, too. Creamy soups, sauces and desserts were numerous at the tables of the wealthy. 2) Wealthy Tudors also enjoyed making foods that looked like other things. You might, for instance, drink your wine out of a lovely white cup – made out of sugar. You could eat it when you were done drinking! ________________________________________________________________ With this project, you are going to create a delicious whipped-cream (perhaps to put on your Shrewsbury biscuits?) that looks like snow! At a Tudor table, this dish would have been served along with all of the other foods at the table. Food dishes in Tudor times were served all at once rather than one after the other, so this would not seem odd. When you have completed this recipe, you will have a lovely and yummy creation that looks like an evergreen tree in the snow! Enjoy!! Ingredients: 2 egg whites 6.5 oz heavy cream 12 tsp. Sugar *1 tsp rosewater (optional) Red apple cut in half 3 or 4 sprigs of rosemary Directions: 1) Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. You can do this with beaters or, like the Tudors, with a whisk made from twigs! A twig or metal whisk will take much longer, however. 2) Add the sugar (and rosewater if using) to the cream and carefully stir to dissolve. 3) While still beating the egg whites, add the cream slowly and continue to whip until the mixture stiffens. It will take several minutes. 4) Once the mixture has formed soft peaks, stop beating. Set it to one side. 5) Take the apple half and place it flat side down. Stick as many stalks of rosemary into the top of it as you like. 6) Place the apple on a dish, and spoon the beaten cream around the apple, spreading some of the cream on the rosemary tufts to make it look like they are covered in snow. __________________________________________________ Let us know how it tastes!
Winter Pleasures:  A Dishfull of Snow content media
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Andrea Dodson
Jan 18, 2022
In Tudor Home Arts
Do you enjoy a warm piece of fresh bread with butter or jam? Do you like soft white or seedy bread? FAST FACTS: 1) In Tudor times, the wealthy ate very fine white wheat flour bread. For special feasts, they made a special white flour bread called “manchet”. This was the most expensive type of bread to make. Manchet 2) Ordinary citizens and servants ate hearty whole-grain breads that were cheaper to produce. and healthier. 3) Breads with yeast were made into rounds, loaves, and rolls. 4) The ordinary family made its own bread at home. Wealthier citizens had cooks to bake for them or bought bread in town from a baker. 5) Special sweet and spiced breads were popular at celebrations like Easter and Yuletide (Christmas). 6) Doughs that did not include yeast were used for pies. Pies in Tudor England contained a mixture of meats, spices and fruits. Tudor pies were “lidded” pies, meaning that a high-sided pie crust would be filled and then topped, or lidded, with a second piece of dough. Wealthy families liked to WOW their guests and often filled pies with live birds that would fly out when the lid was removed at the table! The crusts of lidded pies were often reused for 2 or 3 more meals, with anything remaining being given to local beggars or farm animals. Lidded Pie 7) Biscuits, like the Shrewsbury biscuits you made in the last activity, were not the only popular biscuits in Tudor times. One baked for special occasions was the “jumble”. For this recipe, a long “snake” of dough would be twisted into the shape of a knot, kind of like the pretzels we are familiar with. Jumbles ___________________________________________________________________________ Today’s activity allows you to create a few different types of breads and pies in a miniature size! You will be modeling them with air-dry clay and can paint them when they are dry. You can even create plates or bowls to place them in for a more realistic display! Supplies you will need for this activity: Air-dry clay Paint (orange, yellow, brown and white) Toothpicks Plastic mat or piece of parchment paper Butter knife Paintbrush Project Instructions: 1) Decide which breads and pies you want to create and divide your clay into the number of pieces you will need. You might have to experiment with how much clay to use for each one. Rolls: Roll small bits of clay into balls, and use your toothpick to make a dent in the center of each one. Manchet: Roll a piece of clay into a ball, and then press down to make it flat on the bottom. Round out the top with your fingers, make four slits in the top with your knife or toothpick. Loaf: Roll a ball of clay into a short thick snake. Flatten the top and sides with your fingers to form a loaf. Carefully cut a slice of the loaf. Use the tip of the toothpick to prick the inside of the loaf and the cut piece to make the bread look airy. Lidded pie: Roll a piece of clay into a ball. Push your finger into the ball until it makes a deep hole. Flatten the bottom of the hole with your fingers. Create thin sides by pinching them with your fingers and patting them even at the top. For the lid, press a small piece of clay into a circle, making sure it is a bit smaller than the opening in your tall crust. Use the toothpick to make a hole in the middle of the lid, and prick some smaller holes around it. *These “vents” are necessary when baking a lidded pie of any sort. Attach the lid to the top of the pie by pinching the edges of the lid and bottom crust together all the way around. Use your toothpick to press a scalloped edge into the crust. Jumble biscuit: Roll a small piece of clay into a snake. Shape the snake into a pretzel by crossing each end over the other. *If your clay is too dry and starts to crack, put a little bit of water on your fingers. 4) Once your pieces are dry, paint them to look like baked foods. If you want, you can leave them unpainted to look like raw dough. *Your pieces will dry to a white color. They won’t stay the gray color of the wet clay. I mixed the colors together in different combinations to create light and dark browns. I painted the tops of my manchet and rolls and the inside of the bread loaf and piece of bread white to give them a powdered look. Yours don't have to look like mine...use your wonderful imaginations!! _______________________________________________________ Share your creations with us in the comments!
Tiny Tudor Treasures:  Crafting Bread in Miniature content media
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Andrea Dodson

Andrea Dodson

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