Issue #039 - We've all seen the scene in those old medieval costume movies. The King furiously signs a declaration or proclamation or secret missive. The evil prime minister rolls up the paper, melts a large blob of wax on the scroll, and the King imprints it with his signet ring. The messenger rushes out to lots of bombastic music.
Sealing wax was an early postal security system. Once melted and hardened on paper, parchment, ribbon or wire, it was hard to remove without noticeable tampering. The intact wax showed that the document was unopened, and the imprint of the signet ring verified the sender's identity. The Romans used bitumen (tar), but by the 14th Century sealing wax usually contained beeswax and resin, colored red with vermilion (powdered cinnabar). The recipe changed over the centuries, red still being the traditional color. But... you probably knew all that already.
What you may not know is that Santa Claus himself used sealing wax! We have an accurate illustration for evidence!
You can open a large copy of this illustration, circa 1910, by clicking on the image. Your Internet browser will open to the image. Just right-click and "Save image as..." to download it.
That's our theme for today in this Special Edition of Crafting With a Vintage Look:
- Our Christmas Card of the Moment #7, Sealed With a Claus.
- A sealing wax Craft from Hell courtesy of Henley's.
- Buyers speak out!.
- A visit with Carol Duvall.
Let's get crafting...
Christmas Card of the Moment #7
Sealed With a Claus
Sealed With a Claus is our most elegant Christmas design in Ten Vintage Christmas Greetings to Make.
We took our inspiration from the vintage image above, of Santa sealing his Christmas packages with red wax. First, we created a classy package, with deep red cardstock layered with decorative vintage paper and crossed plaid ribbons.
The wax seal is actually red glittered hot wax, available from most craft stores. We created a "Santa Seal" with a circular image, trimmed with decorative scissors. When the image is pressed into a glob of glue - you have a faux-wax seal that any Santa would be proud of.
This Card of the Moment is the seventh in our new e-book, Ten Vintage Christmas Greetings to Make. It is published in a convenient, high-quality PDF file format. You download it to your computer for reading or printing. The vintage images are included in high-resolution, pre-sized format, ready to print at a copy center or on your home ink-jet printer!
Just go to:
Click on the "Add to Cart" button and complete your purchase with PayPal. You'll immediately receive an email with the download link, and you are one click away from creating some of the most unique vintage-look Christmas cards this season!
If the e-book link above doesn't work for you, type into your browser:
Crafts-from-Hell circa 1916
You know from our past features, that Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes (1916) is not for the faint-of-heart. I don't know exactly who they were writing for, but it wasn't the occasional crafter. Take their recipe for sealing wax, for example.
With eight pounds of ingredients, you should be able to seal one very large letter, or several smaller ones:
The following formulas may be followed for making sealing wax: Take 4 pounds of shellac, 1 pound of Venice turpentine, and 3 pounds of vermilion. Melt the shellac in a copper pan suspended over a clear charcoal fire, then add the turpentine slowly to it, and soon afterwards add the vermilion, stirring briskly all the time with a rod in either hand. In forming the round sticks of sealing wax, a certain portion of the mass should be weighed while it is ductile, divided into the desired number of pieces, and then rolled out upon a warm marble slab by means of a smooth wooden block like that used by apothecaries for rolling a mass of pills.
Wax may be scented by introducing a little essential oil, essence of musk, or other perfume. If 1 part of balsam of Peru be melted along with 99 parts of the sealing-wax composition, an agreeable fragrance will be exhaled in the act of sealing with it.
Excerpted from Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes, Volume 1, published in 1916, New York. We enjoy sharing some of Henley's best (or worst) craft instructions, so you will realize how good you have it today.
Buyers Speak Out!
On Crafting With a Vintage Look:
"I just wanted to say thank you and tell you how much I enjoy my e-letters from you...so much fun stuff and thanks for always putting in a freebie for us...you two are the BEST!! Have a wonderful holiday season!!" Patti
(Every day we get a note like Patti's, and we want to say THANK YOU for being so generous with your kind words and encouragement. We work like little dogs on Vintage Image Craft and friends like you and Patti make it happy work indeed!)
Next up in a few days is Christmas Card of the Moment #8 - Santa, Is That You? We think of it as a window card with a comic-strip influence.
We had a lovely surprise visit from the "Queen of Crafting," Carol Duvall this week! She is vacationing in Southern California, and made a special visit to our house for a catch-up chat. We'll tell you all about it in the next issue.
Oh, slight corrections (100 years) to two of the dates in the biographical sketch of Isabella Beeton in the last issue. She was born in 1836, and started her writing in 1859. Slip of the fingers.
Just a reminder that we are out of town for Thanksgiving Week (in the Carolinas), but we'll send a couple issues of this newsletter through the miracle of time-delay technology. If you write to us, we'll be able to respond as soon as we are back on November 29.
Scott & Martin