primitive pals newsletter

"nessie's rabbit ride"
© 1999 maria pahls
primitive pals #043
© Copyright 1998 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends:

thanks for taking the time to stop by and read the seed pod. since the newsletters have been posted there has been such a warm & wonderful response, full of positive and uplifting comments! all of your notes mean a lot to me and i appreciate that you take the time to write! thanks too for your support through purchase of my patterns~really makes me feel special that you all like them so well!

enjoy the newsletter!

primitively yours,
maria pahls
drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers
carolyn p. had this to say when she read that nancy settel would be featured this issue:

"Maria, my eyes lit up when you mentioned Nancy Settel. I have a favorite shop in Salem, VA that is about an hour away from where I live that carries all of her candles. I have ordered directly from her, and at one time she sent me a small brochure of things they sell and I ordered from that. She's a really nice lady. I just sent her a note to see if she had a new brochure. Placed in a metal bowl and surrounded with spicy rosehips/quince slices/pinecones, etc. her candles are right at home! Recently, I bought a blown glass globe to place over the candles. It's gorgeous like that and they seem to burn longer. Gooseberry Patch carries the globes and also some of Nancy's candles. I just wanted to tell you about her product from a very satisfied customer."

with the mention of the chair spindle dolls recently, shari lutz wrote in about a doll that she saw:

" I saw something like it in a shop, the head, though was made of a turned around wood sugar scoop. features were crudely carved into it. The body was an old chenille quilt, attached bag style. Legs and arms were spindles. Wings were old sticks. I just adored it, and should have gotten it ----- it made a huge impression on me."

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

dee m. wants any tips on opening your own shop:
"My friend Kate and I are about to embark on renting a shop in the next couple of weeks so that we can sell our wares so to speak. I am excited but a little afraid at the same time so any useful tips on opening one's own shop would be gratefully accepted. Keep up the good work."

primitive artist interview
nancy settel

one of the best ways to "make a house a home" is with candles. something about their warm glow radiates through to the soul.

those who enjoy decorating with a primitive style probably already know the candles of nancy settel. nancy was one of the earliest pioneers of the grungy primitive style candle. rolled in spices, lumpy - and well, they smell good enough to want to eat - these candles are perfect for the finishing touch to any decor - especially folksy-primitive.

nancy and her husband bill call their business "sheepish grin, inc." her candles have graced the pages of books and magazines such as "country living gardener seasons at seven gates farm" and "early american life". sold in almost every corner of the united states as well as australia, japan and england production of these distinctive candles uses up 20,000 pounds of wax per year and 400 pounds of spices per week. (you may have seen her candles in the movie "nell" - with actress jodie foster, who fell in love with the candles while shopping for the movie set.)

with their home furnished and decorated with american primitive pieces from the 17th and 18th century, nancy and bill settel like to draw inspiration from their surroundings.

if you like candles and you like primitive you will want to request their candles at your favorite shop!

pp: for those readers who have not seen your candles, could you please describe them?

ns: "oh my, how do i start? my candles are very very primitive they are lumpy and bumpy and rolled in herbs & spices!"

pp: tell us a bit about your business, how it was started, how it developed to where it is now.

ns: "i'm and antique dealer specializing in early painted antique furniture. i couldn't stand new, pretty smooth candles but i love candles so i decided to try making them in early 1993. the 1st month i even had an account in japan!"
pp: would you consider you methods and your finished product to be in any particular category?

ns: "very primitive! oh yea!"
pp: how did the exposure in 'country living magazine' and 'seasons at seven gates farm' book effect your business?

ns: "all exposure is helpful but of course 'country living' and 'seven gates' was wonderful. we had already grown very large by the time that came out but you always have to keep growing."
pp: are there any colors or scents that are your favorite:

ns: "my favorite has always been "a humble heart" spice fragrance. rolled in 6 different spices(cinnamon etc.)but now it is "pantry box spice" a french vanilla black candle rolled in spices. i love black furniture and accessories."
pp: what types of things inspire your work?

ns: "my painted furniture! i think what things would be set up in a 1700's home (probably a log cabin!)and try to imagine what a housewife then would have to work with."
pp: are there any concerns about imitators?

ns: "when we started our business in early 1993 one of the smartest things we did was to copyright our candles - a long and costly process but well worth it. i dislike the business side of it and try to hire people to do the icky stuff like that so i can create and antique. i have 3 warehouses full plus my home looks like a 1700's house (30 years old). we love hearing from others who love antiques and living this life like we do."

tips & techniques

judy jaques shares how to make DECORATIVE dipped bee's wax candles. these should be used for display purposes only and are not for burning.
protect your work area with craft or news paper and wear old clothes. over heated wax can be a burn or fire hazard so use caution.

decide what you will hang your candles on to dry. an old clothes drying rack or a dowel between two chairs are a few suggestions.

to melt wax, make a double boiler: use an old pot and a clean metal can. put chunks of wax in the can and set can inside pan. add several inches of water to the pot. using a low heat on the stove top the wax in the can will begin to melt as the water surrounding it heats. stir with a stick occasionally.

use pieces of heavy string approximately 10-12 inches long for each set of candles. dip both ends of the string into the wax (leaving the middle 3 inches undipped for holding) then hang to dry. repeat for all strings that you have cut and continue to dip then hang, dip then hang until the candles are the desired width. take care not to hold the ends in the wax too long or the hot wax will melt the wax off the string.

(for decorative use only)
Nancy gibbs shared more on hardening techniques for dolls (#42).
she uses a technique based on Helen Pringle's recipe in which you combine a mixture of acrylic gel and acrylic modeling paste in a 1 to 1 ratio. use your fingers to apply to the doll's face after needle modeling, but before painting, you can use fingers to spread it -it does dry quickly. for a smoother less marked appearance spray lightly with water sand thoroughly once it dries and reapply. repeat this process as desired,the more coats, (thin ones--thick ones crack), the smoother your final finish. paint as desired. nancy says she usually paints the flesh color in two layers, sanding between, then the features such as eyes & lips etc. you may wish to varnish, crackle or apply other techniques to the hardened surface for a variety of looks. the finished result is vinyl-like and smooth to the touch.

Nancy also says that a product called Instant Microwave Stiffener, available in craft & sewing stores gives a nice overall hardening effect as well.
more on stiffening
For stiffening fabric such as doll heads, sculpt or shape as desired then coat STIFF STUFF by BEACON. once dry paint with acrylics. Beacon also makes one of my FAVORITE glues. FABRI-TAC... I love this glue! It's stringy but has quick hold, dries fast, and stays stuck. I like it alot better than hot glue. ~toni
crackle with "hide glue"
a simple and inexpensive way to age with a crackle effect is by using Hide Glue. available at most hardware stores (look for the ugly brown bottle). paint the base coat on the doll in the color of your choice (this is what will show through the cracks). next apply the glue to dry painted surface (use an old brush). once glue is dry overpaint with the top color of your choice (which will crack & reveal the first color).stain or seal as desired. ~priscilla
tea dyeing in large quantity
to efficiently stain stuffed doll bodies and save your hand from all that trigger squeezing try using a pump sprayer... this is a large canister used for bug spray or houseplants with a pump on the top. you pump it then use a trigger to release the spray. they hold about 3 pints of tea or coffee dye and can be purchased at any hardware or garden store. just remember to use fresh dye free of debris or it will clog the nozzel. sharon andrews

burlap sack
mail order resources section
a43smcanburl.gif nancy settel's information:
         sheepish grin, inc.
         "BRANTWOOD" 100 Williams Rd.
         Elkton, MD 21921
         Closing Business:
         all items retail while supplies last

lots of you folks like to use interesting things such as dried pomegranates,rosehips and artichokes to decorate is a source for all three plus other stuff too:
The Seraph
420 Main St.,
Rt. 20, Box 500
Sturbridge, MA 01566
order at: (800) XSE-RAPH.

heart to hand pattern company
box 3484
hayden, id 83835
phone (208) 762-0372
($2) mild primitive style patterns, some country using applique, wooden accents and paint to create folksy style dolls and critters.

book wormie   book reviews
books of interest
Wire (Everyday Things)
by Slesin 1994 ISBN: 1558597921
stuff made from wire,such as egg baskets,dish drainers ,etc.
spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest
jan patek quilts

here's gooseberry patch as mentioned


Unless above himself he can erect himself,
how poor a thing is man.

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