seed pod newsletter
Hoppy & Poppy © 1998 Maria Pahls
"Hoppy & Poppy" © 1998 Maria Pahls
primitive pals #027
© Copyright 1997 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends,

where spring is a time of "new" and of "cleaning out", fall can be a time of " pulling in" and preparing for the winter season. bringing out the darker fabrics (heck maybe we primitive folks never put away the dark stuff to begin with) -the rich colors of autumn, gives a feeling of warmth from within. yard sales are plentiful and thrift stores a buzz with activity...both with plenty of treasures to make your own. old wool clothing can be recycled as yardage for wall hangings and dolls. new life can be given to old wood children's chairs and furniture... just by looking for different uses- hang a child's chair on a wall as a wonderful alternative to a shelf...what about large wooden salad bowls or baskets, wouldn't they look great with some pine cones or woodland gatherings and some tiny pumpkins or gourds? how about painting some spooky halloween eggs piled in a bowl as a whimsical centerpiece. wood or mache eggs are available at most local crafting shops. or use yellow onion skins and marigold to create real home dyed eggs... just a walk in the brisk air of fall can be enough to provide inspiration for a project that is waiting to be tackled. happy fall! happy autumn!

primitively yours,

maria pahls
drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers
rosetta wrote in to tell us what she's been up to in the creating department these days:

" i've been busy working on halloween. some of what i am making are primitive and some are cute country. i have pumpkin head dolls who wear jeans (cut from old jeans), some witches and pumpkins made out of circles as someone else mentioned. recently i have also done some angels with rusted wings. the first one i followed the instructions on the package which said to soak them in vinegar. they rusted but a better method was mentioned in a pattern: add salt to the vinegar and it rusts even better. it may take a couple days but the result was worth it. it probably depends on the amount of humidity in your air -here in hawaii we have too much humidity!"

mary ellen just returned from a trip and had this to say:

" I went to Boston, Maine area, was home a week or so then went to Wisconsin to visit lots of relatives, ws home for three days and went to Toronto for a long weekend. Now I am home and ready to get some serious crafting done for a very big show the second weekend in Sept. I really have been working hard at. While in Sturbrige Mass. I found a wonderful craft store, Colonial Crafts They probably have more supplies and patterns than any other store I have been in. Also finished products of many of the patterns which really sold me on LOTS of patterns. I just finished 8- 42 " snowmen(Bon bon) He is great, with paper mache' head, wool coat and pants and appliques of tree, snowman, etc on front of coat. She has so many wonderful patterns."

vickie g wrote in this week:

" I have been so busy with kids, farm life and sewing. I just finished sewing two sets of snow people. The pattern is by Garden Gatherings, very cute and easy to do. They are 8 inches tall, have stick arms. They have herbs hanging from their arms and in their pockets. The also have a bird with a small wooden plate with his food on it, birdhouse, mittens and seed sack also hanging from their arms. You make their noses by rolling up a piece of fabric and then gluing onto the face. I did not do my noses this way though. I took a piece of grapevine and whittled it down to a point, on one end and then painted it a dirty orange color and then glued on the face. I like the grooves I was able to put into the nose piece, very rustic look to this couple. "

here's some of a letter from paula s,what she is working on:

"I'm currently making some gourd and pumpkin head ragdolls from the patterns in the Humble Spirits Fall book- they are different looking. The Seasons at Seven Gate Farm (#23) is a really nice book, I've had it for a while. My husband just gave me huge bag of raw wool to use for doll stuffing. I need to make a screen so I can wash the wool and try to clean it in the bathtub. "

here's part of a letter judie n. wrote in...this tells what she is working on:

" What I am working on now: I am working on pumpkin head dolls. I found some felt that is a beautiful burnt orange/paprika color. It is much more subtle and old-fashioned looking than the Halloween orange. I am making the heads from the felt and dressing them as scarecrows, also think I will try some with a "raggedy ann" type dress but with the pumpkin head. For a break from fabric I am painting some paper-mache stack boxes in the autumn colors."

sally's recent experience shows "it's a small world"!

" I just got back from visiting my sister in San Francisco. We had great fun together especially since we are both doll makers! I have told her all about Primitive pals and am trying to encourage her to get online. I met a gal in a chat room one night who also receives your nl and as we got to chatting realized that she knew my sister out in S.F. they do a boutique together! Imagine 3,000 miles away and someone knows someone. I also met Joann last Saturday by chance. I work and sell at a shop in Mass., and she and 4 of her friends came in. As we talked we realized we had more in common than our craft, we are both members of Primitive Pals! What a coincidence!

I really enjoy your newsletter. I am currently working on 18" primitive scarecrows using orange wool for the bodies, hand stitched faces, old jeans for pants and homespun plaids for shirts, wire for arms and legs covered with raffia at the openings. They came out real cute. When I finished one, since his arms and legs were so straight I wondered what I could do to hang or display and my 11 years old said "put him on a stick" I was so thrilled with her idea. I used a stick up his back(behind his jute suspenders) and drilled a hole in a wood base and viola'!!! Now I just want to spruce up the base maybe with a haystack and pumpkin."

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

on open house tips #26

"the most successful open house i've participated in advertises by flyers, signs, newspaper ads and word of mouth. that is the main thing for success. also they have it the same time each year so the "regular" customers are looking for the sale around that time. i personally, would not have the sale the week of a holiday or the weekend after thanksgiving. also if your community paper prints out a list of craft shows as mine does,you can check to see how many are listed on the same day as yours. pick a day with maybe only two or three other shows the same day. also large events such as doll conventions can detract from your sales,be sure to know what is happening in your community and plan around it....on the other hand, strategically placed signs can use other shows to your benefit. if they are taking place at a school you can have someone there passing out flyers advertising your show to leaving customers (include a map on the flyer) or put up a sign near the exit of the other shows....some communities do not allow posting flyers,signs or putting things on cars and distribution of literature. be sure to know the laws.... on ambiance...have treats for the crafters and shoppers to snack on, homemade goodies are a plus. simmer apple cider with mulling spices for a great scent, i always offer hot & cold cider. allow the shoppers plenty of room to look around and don't stand over them or talk to them when they are browsing. i set up my cash box in a separate room.~ and music! cheerful upbeat music, usually dulcimer holiday music is best...i find that music with voices or selections that may not appeal to every one tends to discourage shopping. just think of the music you hear when you go into a nice shop. i usually have my tree up and display ornaments for sale on a smaller tree and other items on a lattice screen, just so that they are at eye level. your dress is important too-sweats & jeans are discouraged at one show i participate in....most of the ladies really get dressed up in cute country type outfits. of course the most important thing you can wear is a smile!!! you can also have a mailing list that visitors can sign for receiving a post card for any upcoming sales you have. these are a few tips."-maria

"Jo ann asked about open house ideas. Four of us girls have been getting together for about 12 years now every Monday making different crafts which we use as gifts or for many years kept and had an open house every year just before Christmas. each of us did VERY well but because we all work at other jobs now we don't have the time to make as much. When we did have the open house though we had so much fun. We sent out invitations or gave them to friends, neighbors, left them at schools, offices, businesses, etc. We always had a tree up of course and a fire was always burning. We put garland and lights up and served hot apple cider and cookies. They seemed to linger around longer and bought more. We had a guest book so we could give them an invitations the following year. Someone once suggested that we sell the small muffins and cookies in packages but we never did. Two other gals that had open house every year would leave the night the show ended and go on a vacation. " Mary Ellen

on tin and other metals:(#9,#25, #26)

" Here are my thoughts on "tin". I buy roof flashing at hardware store and cut with a tin snips. Actually my husband cuts it for me. He is very protective of my hands and knows what a klutz I am. I soak the cut pieces in cider vinegar then dry in the sun. The longer you soak and the longer they sit the rustier they become. I think the thing with the "thin tin" you purchase is it is not tin at all, but steel. So the trick would be finding a source for very thin sheets of steel. I use the tin for wings on angels and for star cutouts. I use the stars for my Uncle Sams and Lady Liberty. The Uncle Sams seem to sell all year around. I am trying something new this week. I bought some sheets of embossed metallic paper in the scrapbook dept. of my local fabric shop. I am going to fuse two pieces together with paper web and cut out some wings. It will be way too shiny for primitives but I am going to try some staining gel or paint to dull them. The raised embossing should antique I hope. This should give it more of a tarnished look than truly rusted. Guess I should have waited to tell you all until I tried it, in case it is a big flop!! I use a different method on my tiny spice angels. I use tag board, actually manila file folders, and paint them with acrylics. They fool people all the time. Mix rust with black to make a very dark base coat. When dry, sponge on a combination of copper and gold metallic paint. I use a sea sponge with lots of holes. Sponge it on so a bit of the background still shows through. Then I sponge a little of the dark mixture on that so there is more depth. It looks very much like rusted tin. People who pick the angels up are usually careful not to cut themselves on the wings, until I tell them its paper."judie

"as for aging copper , use liver of sulphur. I use it for angel legs,arms, wings, and various cutouts. After I cut the wings I will often punch little hearts with a small paper punch around the outside of the wings. I just use a tin snips to cut mine. this causes the copper to have a blue-green patina. liver of sulphur can be purchased at craft stores (it smells like rotten eggs)."-mary ellen

a special table for primitive supplies and aged fabrics?(#24-26)

" I think it would be great. Every crafter likes to dig through baskets and boxes for that special treasure, that one special thing that just calls your name. I would include old buttons and pieces of embroidered vintage fabric, crocheted trims, odds and ends of decorative braid or trim. The rough dyed fabric may be perfect for those who don't feel confident or don't have the space to do it themselves. Someone who is just starting out or just in the mood to make one doll may find this the way to experience making a primitive without having a large investment in time or special fabrics. I think most doll makers love the hunt as much as the creating, and any new source for supplies would be welcomed."-judie

on using naturals and drieds (#25):

" Just cleaning sweet corn for dinner when I thought of another natural to use for doll hair I haven't seen mentioned. Corn silk. It can be dried and used for hair. I dry it outside on my potting table. I weigh it down with a piece of screening & a few rocks so it doesn't blow away. Wonder if you could dry it in the microwave? Hmmm. Makes great hair for harvest dolls."-judie

on what is considered vintage fabric:(#26,24)

"About vintage fabric, I guess it would be the same as for vintage clothing-isn't that 25 or 30 years. But I say if it looks old and worn use it."-paula
# # # # # # # #
tips & techniques
highlights of tips sent in by readers

these are all from sonja of hickety pickety

Any x-stitch pattern can easily be turned into a primitive stitchery by just tracin' around the design and of course not fillin' it in...just stitch it crudely.

Any muslin doll that is shown cutesy and not tea-dyed or anything can be easily be made primitive by painting the body, etc.....

Paint the clothing of a doll instead of always usin' printed fabrics.

Stay away from usin' so much moss for the hair all the time, very hard to keep clean and this has been done so much that it's borin'....

You can paper mache anything!!! the easiest way to paper mache is usin' the celluclay from Wal MART that comes in a compressed block....mix with water and apply........the most important thing to remember when usin' this type of paper mache is that you HAVE to apply some type of glue to your item that you are gonna mache first...of course that is craft type glue NOT hot glue...if ya don't put the glue on first the paper mache will not stick..(apply mache over wet glue) need to put any finish on after ya paint it....I always like to apply some stain on mine tho to give it a more primitive crudy look....ya could put some spray matte sealer on it tho if ya wanted....the old fashioned type of paper mache is just strips of newspaper applied on with wall paper paste...much messier method and harder to work with I think.........The paper mache method usin' the celluclay can be applied right over a muslin any doll that ya made up as a plain muslin doll try puttin' paper mache over it's head, hands and feet!!!

patterns.....everyone must utilize what patterns they have on hand.....patterns are too expensive not to look at them differently....any wood pattern can usually be turned into cloth and vice-versa......

Just because you yourself loves primitives if you are doin' crafts for a livin', make one small area in your booth not so primitive, by that don't tea-dye some stuff quite so heavily, etc.....a good business manager will always tell you that if you have a store, you better have some stuff in your shop that you personally don't like as well or you won't stay in business.....

here are some tin tips (#9,#25#26)

"light rusting:
rusting tin Pour APPLE CIDER (Must be APPLE CIDER) vinegar into an all-metal cookie sheet with sides. DO NOT use Teflon coated, enamelware, glass or plastic containers. Immerse tin into APPLE CIDER vinegar making sure the piece of tin is completely covered. Leave the tin in the vinegar for approximately 20 to 30 min. IT WILL NOT RUST IN THE PAN OF VINEGAR. Lift tin out of the vinegar and stand up on edge to dry. (Be sure to protect drying surface). DO NOT WIPE VINEGAR OFF. The tin will rust as it is air drying. The rusting could take 30 min to 3-4 hours. depending on the humidity in your area. The longer you air dry, the more rusty it looks. When tin is completely dry, it will turn a copper color with uneven streaks and swirls.

Heavy Rusting:
Must be done in a well ventilated area or outdoors. Use all metal cookie sheet with sides. DO NOT use teflon coated, enamelware, glass or plastic containers. Measure 2 cups of CLOROX or any household bleach and pour into metal cookie sheet with sides. Add 1 cup of APPLE CIDER vinegar and mix thoroughly. Immerse tin into solution. Tin has to be completely covered. It will start rusting immediately in the solution. It takes approx. 2-3 min. Lift out of solution and stand on edge to dry. It will become very rusty. Let air dry completely for approx. 1-3 hours or overnight. When it is completely dry, wipe some of the rust off with a dry cloth...this is optional."- sent in by deb m.
burlap sack
mail order resources section

garden gathering
4169 verlae cir
colorado springs, co 80916 usa
Brochure $1.50

Indygo Junction
P.O. Box 30238
Kansas City, MO 64112

two fall books:
Humble Spirits: 1997 wall hangings, pumpkin and gourd head rag dolls, pine and gourd cup candy containers, roly-poly pumpkin family from felt.
All Hallow's Eve: 1998 wall hangings of witch, pumpkin king, and black cats and more.

Need'l Love Company, Inc.
P.O. Box 672
Liberty, MO 64069
(816) 781-4833 fax (816) 781-5979
Book Wormie   book reviews
books of interest

indygo junction
humble spirits 1997
wall hangings, pumpkin and gourd head rag dolls, pins and gourd cup candy containers, and roly -poly pumpkin family from felt and all hallow's eve 1998 wall hangings of witch, pumpkin king, and black cats & more
    p.o. box 30238
    kansas city, mo 64112

autum threads by need'l love
pumpkin quilt, cat wall hanging, cross stitch and rug hooking, wool pumpkin head dolls, penny rugs
spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

mountain elves (clip art for hang tags)
poetry and verses to use for samplers etc.

"The bird a nest,
the spider a web,
Me a friendship..."
      William Blake

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