Seed Pod Newsletter
hayseed    © 1998 by Maria Pahls
"Hayseed" © 1998 by Maria Pahls
Seed Pod #30
© Copyright 1997 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends,

i wanted to share a few ideas for fall...hmmm let's see. how about some leaf impressions/poundings (like martha stewart does). you lay a leaf on fabric, sandwich both leaf & fabric between two pieces of blotting paper and hammer it with a rubber mallet. the pigment in the leaf (or fern) stains the fabric and leaves a permanent impression. these would be neat framed, embellished with stitching or poetry or sewn as the front of a tiny pouch that you use to carry loose change and your license in... making dried fruit to hang from garlands would be interesting too. you can set them in a low oven for several hours. i think you paint apple slices with lemon juice to keep from getting yellow... how about tracing some leaf shapes onto wool then cutting them out and making a stitchery of them in dark fall colors or sewing the leaves end to end to form a colorful garland. just let the season inspire you!

primitively yours,
maria pahls
drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers
saundra s has been working on some boo and witchie poo patterns by sonja of hickety pickety:

" I recently received the Hickety-Pickety pattern "Boo & Witchie Poo" and LOVE IT. I made two Boos & 3 Witchie Poos but still have the bats and the sign to make yet. I couldn't wait to display the one I plan to keep in my living room but hope to do the signs later today. I bought another of Sonja's patterns "Ginger Blue" but haven't made her up yet. Now I want to purchase some other patterns of Sonja's ."

karen b sent in this note:

" I'm guilty of not writing, goes...I've been on vacation and really working like crazy in my studio trying to get some more primitive quilts made. While I was on vacation, I visited a new shop in Englewood, Colorado..Cricket was GREAT! LOTS of things in it though not too many new ideas, there were a LOT of variations on the old stand- bys and my favorites. They had some wonderful snowmen, made up for display and had the patterns and kits there. I bought one and about 8 other patterns and 4 kits...they were having a sale, so...figured I'd better stock up!!! The only thing they lacked were quilts, wall hangings, things like that...the main attraction in this shop, for me anyway,was that they had used antique tools, like a yoke, and potato masher, all old and rusty, and made the wonderful swags and hanging floral arrangements with them! Dried flowers and lots of buds and pods...My FAVORITE!!! They were very reasonably priced, but I had to for-go this time, I had no way to fly it back home"

judie nemo sent in a letter about various items,here's a part of it:

"Hi...I went to the Country Folk Art show last week. It was very clear that primitive was overtaking "country cute". The most popular booths seemed to be those with the rustic, time worn appearance. Dolls were everywhere. A lot of Annies, angels, harvest dolls. I was attracted to the really odd ones and there were many. Of course there were also many where I could name the patterns used as I went through the booth. I saw a lot of doll pins. Some with bumble bees, frogs, and holiday figures like witches. The booths that seemed the most crowded were a combination of dolls and decorative pieces. Lots of papier mache stack boxes, lamps, signs, swags and things. There was a great booth full of framed primitive samplers and pillows. They were tea dyed. It seemed just about everything in the building was tea dyed! I have been working on an ethnic Santa. I bought 5 pounds of dark wool from someone on the net. It was like a sheep in a box!! The wool ranges from black, through dark brown and into the grays. So now I am trying to design someone to wear it. I made the Santa of muslin, then painted the head and hands with acrylic paint. I antiqued the face and used the black wool for beard. I think it turned out great. Now I will have to dress him, haven't figured out what he wants to wear yet! I am also working on some angel pins. I made the face/head from a wooden split egg shape. The hair is from the wool. I made a halo with a circle of grape vine. I backed the egg with a collar shape from felt, and wing shapes made with two layers of felt. The felt is primitive stitched with floss than coated with "Stiffy". This stiffens the wings but also gives them a very old look. I think the pins will sell well. I have been having so much fun collecting little things for my primitive swap partner. It makes you use your imagination! I was just in a bottle swap in one of my other groups. You send your swap in a 2 liter soda bottle!! It was a new one to me, and also my postman! The look on his face when he delivered it, was priceless. I sent her a primitive spice angel. She looked so great peeking out of that bottle."

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

from me:

i was just wondering about how/where you all work on items. write in and tell us if you have a studio or if you use the good ole kitchen counter for creating. tell about how the supplies and patterns and equipment are organized or unorganized!

i will start off by telling about my sewing room...that actually sounds too contained, my stuff is spewed into 4 rooms total. i do small non messy hand work in the family room where i can watch the kids, listen to music, keep an eye on dinner etc.... i do painting and gluing in my kitchen where i can have easy clean up. tin cutting, sawing, hammering etc are all done in the "shop" in our basement. it also has metal shelving that was put up specifically to house my craft stuff. i keep glues, tin, paints, wooden stuff, wire, tools and large items on them. and the room i probably am in the least is the "sewing room"...its got a clunky old kenmore machine in it, large plastic storage boxes with my fabrics and dried flowers. my own patterns/templates are all in manila envelopes with labels on them for saving time. generally i trace the patterns to cardboard that i have recycled from cereal boxes to make them last longer. the pieces fit well into the envelopes. most of my big fabric boxes are organized by type of fabric. i have woolens and flannel together, homespun, clothing that i will use for cutting up, a cutter quilt box and scraps bag these boxes are kept in a closet with my other supplies like embroidery floss, doll hair fibers, rulers and special scissors and markers and miscellaneous stuff. i have a little cabinet next to the machine with thread and notions. finally just got rid of a table that was more in the way than anything else and am just left with more plastic boxes of finished items like ornaments. i added some extra shelves in the closet and have stuff piled to the ceiling in there. including my unfinished items that i'm stalled on or bored with. for the family room i just keep current projects there that i am working on at the moment like stuff to cut out or embellish. i also have book shelves in this room which is where all of my kindred spirits pattern books are (seems like i just buy their patterns and no one elses!) and other craft and inspiring books are as well. hope this wasn't too boring! maria
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tips & techniques
highlights of tips sent in by readers

donna o sent in this letter:

"I wanted to share my different techniques on aging. I will let you be the judge of weather or not it will be of any use to the members. just in case I do something differently I thought I would share these ideas:

Quilts: I like to fade fabrics first by laying them in a sunny spot for a few weeks or leaving them on the clothes line, in most cases this works, but I recently bought a terrific pattern/ugly color for a wall hanging I want to make. It has been sitting in the sun for at least 6 months now and that sucker won't fade. I do have a fading kit that I bought with the intention of fading reproduction fabric to repair antique quilts when authentic vintage fabric can not be found. I think I will have to resort to using it!

For wall hangings I prefer to not pre-wash the fabric or the cotton batting, and use a tan Rit dye to over dye the finished quilt. By not pre-washing the batting or fabric I can get a little bit of a pucker from the shrinkage that helps to add to the aged look.

For mild staining of dolls or ornaments I put my fabrics in a vat of tea and stir. If I want defined stains I do not stir while tea dying.

For staining a finished doll (such as I do when someone gives me a doll as a gift) I wet a tea bag and slap the doll silly, this does give a blotchy look in some places. NOTE: if you get the doll too wet it will drip down to the back of the doll (assuming you lay it flat to dry) and then there will be big ugly blotches on the back. It is best with this method to dab the doll with a damp tea bag and let it dry. Then if it is not stained enough do it again.

For a really "wicked" staining, lay your wet fabric/quilt flat - you will probably want to have plastic wrap under it to protect your work surface - and open a tea bag and sprinkle the tea around on the fabric, used coffee grounds will work for this too.

Another thing I have discovered, adding a bit of cinnamon to the water when steeping tea gives a nice warm color. You have to rinse off the specks of cinnamon when you are all done staining - but it sure smells great while you are working."

The Seed Pod talks with
that pattern gal from HICKETY PICKETY:
----------- PP: In your own opinion, what is the difference between "country" and "primitive"?

HP: "I guess I would say that "country" is more suitable for traditional type of homes which would account for 99.9% of the way people decorate and the .l% left can use "primitive" in their homes... "primitive" to me means stuff that shows alot of use and made with lots of flaws or has acquired alot of flaws thru out the years. "Primitive" always has more of the hand made qualities than "country"... but even tho we try very hard to make our stuff have that "primitive" appeal, at best we can only get a "crafty-primitive" look. only time can give a true "primitive" look."

PP: What makes the best subject matter for primitives?(i.e. animals, scarecrows...)
HP: "The only animal that truly is primitive in my opinion is the bear... scarecrows, witches, and other seasonal type of things will never go out of style... the doll will always be around... the fads such as frogs, gardening theme dolls, moose, etc... those are the type of things that are dated... just like geese were... I feel that dolls made small (l8" or less) are the best bet... even small frogs, etc... will have longer life... large items lose their appeal much faster because of the space required to display them... best make things that don't/ won't be outdated quickly or not at all...
bears will always be in style, everyday type of dolls, 'raggedy anns' and just plain o rag dolls will always be around... rabbits are just about as accepted as bears anymore I think. Some stuff if made out of wood will be accepted forever to... such as crows or perhaps even painted cloth crows, but not crows as dolls except maybe very small ones... size has alot to do with how crafty an item looks, smaller things seem to look more primitive than real large things...

PP: If you were to create a starting up kit for a primitive artist, what would be the "must have" items it would include.
HP: "I think that store boughten material in big prints for instance the faddish type of fabric with sunflowers, etc. will make your crafts go out of style much quicker... homespun checks, and flannels are your safest bet... paintin' your own fabric is even safer... would have to include then paint, cheap watercolor paint brushes, wood stain, some wood for accessories, etc... and of course the basics, glue gun... etc... and of course Hickety Pickety patterns!!!

PP: What colors do you most associate with primitives?
HP: " The dark colors like cranberry, navy, green will also be in ... the other colors like moss green, slate and mauve are fine if bought in a homespun or flannel... keep away from prints... they show the date they were bought too easily... stay away from faddish materials with lit'l figures and such on them... they are toooo crafty lookin'... muted colors are good too, grays, rusts, browns, etc...

My opinion is best that us "primitive" lovers can do is just keep our stuff very handmade lookin' and basic....not a lot of detail and stay away from perfection... there is a big difference in somethun bein' made well and primitive... and somethun bein' just junky and poorly done... alot of women have the philosophy that "primitive" means not well made... they aren't very educated... it has been very disheartenin' for me to learn while on the web the past 6 weeks how uneducated other crafters are about the "primitive--folk artsy--whimsical" style of crafts... I guess not everyone can have good taste, Huh??

I would like my stuff to be even more "primitive" but like so many of you that do this for a business in order to stay in business you have to try to please some of the majority or you won't be in business for long....since "primitive" is still NOT in demand in so many places you have to hold back a bit....I always say, "those who do primitive have a imagination, those who do cute don't....someone that does primitive can take a cute pattern and turn it into a primitive one....those who only do cute can not see thru a primitive pattern and make it cute...." "Funny tho, when most people buy a doll or a piece of linen in an antique store or at an auction they try to get it as clean lookin' as possible, many won't even buy them if they appear too soiled....and here's us idiots spendin' our time tryin' to make our stuff look dirty....."

thanks sonja!

burlap sack
mail order resources section
catalog is $2.00
newsletter bimonthly $l each
7l5 South Elm
Wellington, KS 67l52
(3l6) 326-7281

Acorn Pattern
345 New Mills Ct.
Schaumburg, IL 60193
ph# 847-985-6437
Brochure $1

Cricket Thicket
3673 S Broadway
Englewood, CO 80110-3610
book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

"creating early american dolls"
by kay cloud
isbn# 087588 3540
(this book is out of print but check it out at your local library)
spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

karen samuelsons cloth doll connections page-lots of stuff here!

HICKETY PICKETY catalog page on Homespun Peddler

kindred spirits catalog page on Homespun Peddler
poetry and verses to use for samplers etc.
no spring, nor summer beauty
hath such grace,
as i have seen in one
autumnal face.       (john donne, "the autumnal")

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