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seed pod newsletter
023 Happiest doll © 1998 Maria Pahls
"Happiest Doll" © 1998 Maria Pahls
seed pod #23
© Copyright 1997 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends,

how did you find the seed pod here at homespun peddler? was it a fellow primitive enthusiast? a bulletin board? a web search? we would like to get the word out about the seed pod and *THE* site for primitive on the web HOMESPUN tell your friends if you haven't already! and if you should happen to look up or call on one of the sources or companies we list in "burlap sack" or "spider web" be sure to let them know the "primitive pals" sent ya and that you saw it on the HOMESPUN PEDDLER!

primitively yours,

maria pahls
drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers
wendy sent in a report on her favorite shops in ohio:

"I thought I would write a little about a shops in my area, Chillicothe, OH. We have two quilt shops here that are pretty nice; The Cross Patch and Creations Sew Clever.

The Cross Patch has a very nice selection of primitive doll and bear patterns and great fabrics; mostly cotton prints. The one thing I really like about this store is that whoever does the buying chooses really great shades of red....lots of dark, primitive reds which I always have trouble finding. They also have a good selection of country wools and several colors of the Kunin shaggy felt.

Creations Sew Clever has a more limited selection of patterns and fabric including Hofman prints.

My favorite shop so far in central Ohio is Calico Cupboard in a suburb of Columbus. This shop is mind blowing. More fabric than even I can look at in one trip, and walls and walls of patterns. Most of the patterns are primitives or country, and one nice touch is that they have sooooo many examples made up and on display. They have a great selection of notions. They also sell mohair teddy bear kits which I have never seen in any other quilt shop; and I thought that was fabulous. This is a store worth driving a few hours for!" Wendy

rosetta tells of her finds in massachusetts:

"..One of the best finds was in sturbridge mass - a shop called colonial crafts Thought i'd died and gone to heaven - they had the best selections of patterns, fabric etc. and all their new doll patterns had samples so you could see the final product.

My friend and I each bought about 10 patterns. One of my favorites is called Best Friends, a primitive Raggedy Ann/Andy arm in arm by Rustic Remnants. I also bought fabric, accessories there and in other places.

Antiqued through Mass, NH, and Maine - found a quilt square from 1884 which i plan to frame. My friend and I found a cutter quilt which we split in half. Another great find was a vintage suitcase to use for display. Also got a chance to go to a small craft fair and several craft malls. Too much fun!!!" rosetta

debi p sent in some info on a doll she likes:

" - sorry its been awhile since I wrote - busy trying to get ready for shows but haven't found ALOT of motivation - if anyone knows where you can purchase motivation -- please let me know ! I've been doing some work with Fruitful Hands patterns - I have done several of her patterns & just love them including one of a REAL primitive Black Santa."

debee sent in a letter about her doll club meeting and some of the treasures the folks had for sale:

"I had a ball at this month's Crooked tree Hollow Doll Crooked Tree Hollow Doll Club meeting. We have had speakers for the past few months, and so did not bring our salable dolls to meetings. As a result, I had a sewing room full of wonderful treasures brought by my fellow dollies to sell - and two of Frannie's have stayed behind. I bought them despite a promise to myself to buy nothing this month! One of the things she does is infuse magic into each doll that makes you just fall in love with it, and then to seal your fate, she under prices everything (which drives those of us who also sell dolls up a wall - Frannie always sells more than we do!).

One doll was a "leftover" from a button necklace class Frannie had - it's a 3" tall cutie made of rolled black wool (no stuffing!) and dressed in part of an old torn-up quilt with wild hair that (I think) came from her huge black wooly-haired dog, Bear. Attached to the doll (named Bessie) is a plastic bag with 3/4 of a cup of old buttons, most of which were obviously cut from clothing. For $5.00. Who could resist? (((PSSST: hey debee, i think i have this very doll! but what'd you do with dem buttons?)))

The other doll is Frances and Furrrr. Frances is about 12" tall. One eye is a button, the other a stitched star, as if she lost her button eye. Her nose and mouth are uneven running stitches. Her hair is black embroidery floss knotted in the sloppiest way that I have only seen Frannie achieve. Her legs are black cotton with stitches to represent boot laces. Her dress, apron, and bloomers are made from 4 different fabrics, homespuns and prints, but all in shades of brown. She holds a primitive black cat with button eyes and a tail made of braided strips of cloth. This doll, that I would ask $25.00 for, Frannie sold for $15.00.

On the other hand, Frannie and another doll artist I really respect were fighting over a doll I made - the angel with the star garden pick that I had made from osnaburg and had stitched the dress design right onto her body with crewel embroidery thread. Her hair and face were also stitched. The wings were from an old "cutter" quilt (the first quilt I have ever been able to force myself to cut!) The other doll artist had grabbed her first, so Frannie put in an order for another. I also sold some other dolls, and pretty well, which has given me quite a boost." debee

NOTE:to find out more about crooked tree hollow e-mail frannie at: You can also read some sample issues of their newsletter right here on the Homespun Peddler site. Just CLICK HERE

primitive ponderings
questions asked by readers, then replied upon in later issues.

accessories for primitives (#6)

"I like to accessorize with natural stuff - like sprigs of herbs from my garden, or dried herbs and rose hips. My favorite for a large doll is a necklace of bay leaves and rose hips. I also like wooden beads and seed beads for small dolls. I end up putting a button for embellishment somewhere on just about every doll." debee

"different things for different dolls, but I like buttons and natural materials like sticks and seed pods."-lynn (did you say seed pods?)

"lots of herbs, moss, dried stuff like that. tiny rusty garden tools and watering cans. i like mixing textures, i.e., wood wings on a fabric angel doll." tana

favorite fabrics (#9)
"My favorite fabrics (for anything) are homespuns. I took a quilting class this past spring, and was amazed at the lack of bright colors in my fabric stash. I ended up buying fabric to make the first wall hanging I made - and that even ended up mostly dark green, with brown, rust, and yellow. My second wall hanging is a log cabin made entirely of homespuns. The challenge was to find lights light enough to make a contrast. The effect is very subtle, and some squares had to be discarded because there was not enough contrast, but it is gorgeous, if I say so myself! I still haven't quilted it - I don't think my heart is in quilting. No little creature with personality is revealed at the end!" debee

"Red, green, gold and blue cotton fabrics. Lots of plaids and woven wool fabrics. plaid flannel too." lynn

what does primitive mean to you (#4)

" time worn, loved to death" lynn

"as rustic as i can make something; like it's been around for a hundred years -- at least!" tana

more tips on country to primitive #21

"tea dye, tea dye, tea dye. Use lots of earthy colors and weaves, plaids and checks." lynn

what do you use tin/or metals for in primitive dolls or other crafts? how do you treat the metals,what gauge do you use. (#9)

"wings on angels, stars on xmas trees. i paint the metal (sold as "roof flashing"), then antique it." tana

"I use a lot of tins and metals for my angel wings,hearts, etc. and I usually use gauge 26. I buy tin, copper and brass in a roll from an art store. It can be cut with a regular pair of scissors. To get the tin to look aged i use liver of sulfur. It sure stinks but it does the job." mary ellen
# # # # # # # #
tips & techniques
highlights of tips sent in by readers
more on crackle (# 21)

"I wanted to say I had problems with the crackle too - have a friend who uses it quite a bit but I wasn't having any luck with her technique so I tried another friends - I wanted the 'dark' to show thru on a light top - but I couldn't get it to work - I painted the 'light' color, let it 'almost' dry, then applied the crackle - let it dry, then added the dark & wonders happened!" debi p.

giving the look of age...a variety of methods

"I was dyeing a batch of fabric the other day; some with tea, some with RIT, and some that I "double dipped" when I wasn't happy with what I got the first time. That started me thinking about just what sort of things stain cloth naturally. *Age*, of course. Age tends to yellow cotton and linen, which is why we use tea. *Mildew* That leaves nasty, blackish, rosette marks that rot the cloth and sometimes won't even come out with bleach. It occurs to me that if you dipped a stiff brush in either diluted india ink or diluted black dye, and flicked it at the cloth, you'd get something that looks a bit like mildew. *Sunshine* Sun fading is sort of the reverse. It bleaches the color out of cloth. I tried accordion-folding some muslin and then dipping the edges of the folds in dye. When I opened it out, I had some nice streaks. I think that I can reverse the folds (so the light sections are outward) and get something that looks a lot like sun fading. *Grime* If clothes are washed and re washed, without bleach, and without getting all of the dirt out of them, they eventually develop a sort of over-all gray look. That's another case for diluted dye or ink. *Rust* That comes of getting wet cloth against a piece of iron. My husband ruined my beautiful -- and rather expensive -- white bathing suit that way. That's a reddish orange stain, the shape of the metal. Dribbling a bit of orange dye into some brown and then dipping the cloth into it gives sort of the same effect. The next time I dye, I'm going to try wrapping some of the cloth around one of the old tin cans that's behind the tool shed. Grungy, truly grungy!!" Dian Crayne

"When dying my fabrics I usually use tea but I have also used onion skins,(yellowish brown dye) blueberries, strawberries, beets or beet juice, and turmeric(the spice)." mary ellen

" when I want a dirtier-than-tea-dyed look, I do two different things.

1. After dipping fabric/project in tea, do not wring out and do not rinse. Take it outside, lay it down right- side up on an old towel, and let it sun dry. All the tea stain comes to the top of the fabric for a blotchy burnt kind of look.

2. This second method was mentioned in the last list, but in case you missed it, here it is again. I made a doll that was potting flowers. I wanted her to look like she had dirt streaks all over her face, clothes, hands and feet. I used a dark wood stain and streaked it on using a Q-tip. I got exactly the look I wanted." lynn

maria's borrowed 2 cents:

i've found lots of helpful info on all sorts of techniques in kindred spirits patterns. on tea dye they suggest that rather than t-dyeing a piece of fabric, that is too bright,only to get disappointing results... bleach first THEN t-dye. in their patterns, pat peak, primitive design artist, begins t-dye by boiling one quart of water to which you add one tablespoon of salt. (the salt allows the dye to be more permanent and more easily absorb into the fabric by activating the tannic acid in the tea).add about 12 tea bags to the water (fewer for lighter color)submerge the fabric until evenly saturated and allow to stew for 10 minutes,longer for deeper color. then rinse once with lukewarm water.

maria's own 2 cents:

i too was dabbling with rit dye and t-dye recently. i wanted to make my warm & natural prototype rabbit gray but old looking at the same time. i dyed her in black rit first and allowed to dry in the sun. this provided a multi-hued effect with some black,some gray and even spots of purple and maroon. then the following day i dunked 'er in a solution of tea and cheap instant coffee. this dulled the color and gave a great look. for the bears that i made at the same time with warm & natural batting i also did tea then allowed to dry,did the back sides, then allowed dry. next day 2 more dunks and the following day i brushed on the coffee & tea with a sponge brush. allowing sides to dry in-between i do this until it is dark enough to suit me.

for some fabrics,like dresses that i want to make look old, i spray on the mixture and dry in the sun when possible, just seems to turn out better....

the black dye was also great for some yellow cotton fabric and some bright orange, muted them nicely,but the purple had to be bleached first and it didn't want to fade....

as far as stains,has any one tried,say on white muslin,doing a little painting with beet juice for hearts,or mustard for stars? then rinsing out the fabric to see what happened?
burlap sack
mail order resources section
note: if a company is mentioned, generally i list the address here or in spider web. you may see repeats in this area from time to time depending on who is mentioned.

Rustic Remnants new address is
        64 Robin Hill Rd.
        Bechtelsville, PA 19505
        phone is 610-845-0164

fruitful hands
        614 Valley Vista Dr.
        Brandon FL 33511
        see web site in spider web

kindred spirits
        115 colonial lane
        dayton ohio 45429
Book Wormie   book reviews
books of interest
tasha tudor's heirloom crafts
tova martin takes a look at the simplistic and creative life of tasha tudor. the book offers views of the gardens, house and crafts. the crafts include soap making,dyeing, dolls and marionettes,weaving & spinning,heirloom sewing etc. a feast for the mind & eyes!
spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest
fruitful hands

kindred spirits catalog page on Homespun Peddler
poetry and verses to use for samplers etc.

"Beneath these fruit-tree boughs that shed
Their snow-white blossoms on my head,
With brightest sunshine round me spread
Of spring's unclouded weather,
In this sequestered nook how sweet
to sit upon my orchard -seat!
And birds and flowers once more to greet,
My last year's friends together. "          
(from "the Green Lilnnet")

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