seed pod newsletter
Two Lanterns
© 1999 Maria Pahls
primitive pals #054
© Copyright 1998 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends:

we try our best to release the archive issues to match the seasons but sometimes we fall behind. please be sure to check out the other seasonal issues in the earlier archives for a virtual treasure trove of inspiration.

primitively yours,
maria pahls
drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers

snail mail brings a note from lisa gaines, here is what she had to say:

"..ive been working my you know what off lately trying to get ready for my biggest show of the year the august lititz pa,however i did sneak some time last week to get over to the library to see the seed pod gallery. everything was incredible! each with it's own unique spirit...very interesting garden tips, since mine is weed city you've shamed me into going out there for an hour yesterday"

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

on aging black fabrics... see tips & techniques below

remember to check the daily conversation topics over at the seed pod bulletin board

tips & techniques
project idea: jack o lantern necklace
  • tiny (2 1/2")dried gourd (round or dipper style)
  • leather cording and 5" doll needle
  • wood burning tool with pointed "pen type" tip
  • orange shellac or stain
clean your dried gourd using a mild solution of bleach and water by gently wiping. dry thoroughly. poke the needle thru both sides of the gourd neck about 1/2 in. from the top of the stem. remove needle. with pencil draw a jack-o-lantern face (suggestion-two triangle eyes, triangle nose and zig zag mouth.) use the preheated wood burning tool to burn the face into the gourd. the longer the tip rests on the gourd the deeper the burn. follow with orange shellac or stain. re position the needle & use the hole in the top to help suspend the gourd for painting & drying. when dry string thin leather cord thru the gourd to form a necklace...or substitute wire or string to make a tiny lantern for display or for a doll.

(primitive ponderings issue #53)
"some black reacts well to the product " fade fast" with hot water and soap in the washing machine. the sun works on some if you have the patience and time. i have had good results with dying dark blue and or brown cloth, black, than bleaching this( use vinegar to stop the bleaching). a cleaner containing bleach such as soft-scrub (TM) works with various stiff brushes. i get really good effects by painting light color cloth"-annie moon

"usually i would prefer to use a dark dark brown cotton and over dye it with black,that way it appears that the black has faded to brown. also for black skinned dolls try painting on the skin. use acrylics to apply a base of brown then apply black to the top of the brown. when dry lightly sand the black to give a nice "old leather" effect. using sandpaper on black fabric is a good idea too to imply wear."-maria


i have this huge bag of old buttons. some came from an antique shop where you used to be able to buy a big bag for $5. with those, there are a few left from my mother's sewing box, quite a few i discarded(kicking myself now!) and some that i have received in swaps and others i begged and pleaded with friend's mother to part with (she finally yielded to my whining). i used to keep them together in a huge jar. when i needed a special button, i dumped the entire thing out and sorted out the possible candidates. these days i enjoy separating them by size or color or use.....of course i buy more and more buttons and this job is never done!

i enjoy using small baby buttons for doll eyes and mixing the size (giving a doll one slightly bigger and one slightly smaller eye).- or just give the doll one eye and make it seem like the other was lost long ago. of course now and again i use a button or two on a doll's dress or a bear's vest, but mainly i like them for eyes or jackets. two of my patterns use buttons for joining a arms to a doll or bear's body which is kind of fun. i've seen dolls out there that have a string of buttons for their arms and legs and some that have buttons in their hair....i thought a doll with a little wool or velvet hat that had lots of buttons on it might be nice too.

bracelets, small muslin hearts covered in gobs of white mother of peal buttons, mini angels with their gowns covered in buttons and even a santa with a robe embellished entirely in white and off-white buttons are all wonderful uses of buttons i've seen.

did you know that one hundred years ago, victorian girls collected buttons on memory strings or charm strings. they played a game among themselves to see who could be the first to gather 999 buttons. it was said that the giver of the 1000th button would be the young man the girl would wed. there are several folkloric accounts that give reference to the charm strings and as many versions of rules for their gathering.

then as now they came in every imaginable material, shape, and size. today,whole, original charm strings are a rare find and can be told true by the determining the age or condition of the string or wire on which the buttons are strung and if all the buttons are made during the proper period. representing a wide range of 19th century arts and crafts and are a "charming" part of american folk art.

modern buttons still come many shapes and sizes but materials are more limited to simple metals, plastic,wood and sometimes glass. olde buttons would be a wonderful way to embellish a country wardrobe, sewn in a row around the bottom of a skirt, or covering a vest front. decorate some socks with them! stitcheries and samplers too, these days, have no shortage of vintage and specialty buttons.

if you are in the mood for old buttons, check your community garage sales (the old ones on cards are collectibles), thrift stores and antique shops. you can also get buttons from the sources in burlap sack.

if you just can't find that special button you are looking for,try making your own from the wide range of polymer products available today.

"buttons buttons every where on my dress and in my hair..."

here is an article on a shop often featured in victoria magazine called tender buttons:


anyone looking at cyndi's fantastic papier mache lanterns and containers would surely think they have stumbled onto a treasure trove of vintage halloween and holiday collectibles. well that would be half true! these wonderful whimsical containers are modern folk art and truly are treasures.


CYNDI: I started collecting candy molds about 15 years ago. Received my first one from my dear, late Mother-in-law (a tiny little Santa mold from Germany which turned out to be my favorite Christmas present that year.

She and my mother were the biggest influences on my creativity. My mom could make wonderful things from nothing. Being from a small town in Maine where there were (and still are) NO craft stores available.

My Mother-in-law also encouraged me -- as she was an artist and poet -- somehow she recognized my creativity in me even before I did. Then I started collecting more Santa molds and making chalk ware and beeswax with these molds. I ventured into wood folk art work. Soon, tired of one-dimensional wooden crafts, I decided to try sculpting clay heads and other 3-dimensional Santas. I have been making folk art Santas for the past 15 years and doing local Christmas shows.

Recently, Frannie (of Crooked Tree Hollow )and I went to a prestigious antique show in Maryland where we came upon wonderful paper mache halloween lanterns - which used to be affordable! -- we were shocked at the $300+ price tags they now carry!

So, I said Frannie, we CAN do these ourselves! She said: "When" And I replied "TOMORROW".

Which we did! Called a few Crooked Tree Hollow friends and we all gathered and "played" with this new (to us) medium.

Everyone had a ball but kept referring to my creations and asked if I would show them how I did these lantern / containers.

That day, I came up with a pumpkin, devil, witch and a black cat. Because of my sculpting of my Santas and my painting background -- it came fairly easy to me- just all seemed to come together! Before, I knew it, I was asked to teach classes and had a ball! Next Frannie got me in touch with Holly Berry Hill, Dee Faust, invited me to create some patterns for her catalogue. Since creating those patterns, I have added other containers: vegetables, watermelon man, rabbit, bear, Santa, snowman, and other seasons and holidays .


CYNDI: I have a pretty successful line of "Beady Babes" (Tiny wearable dolls made from antique quilt scraps, glass and antique beads and other natural materials.) NO PLASTIC ! In this line, I have created a golliwog, santa, snowman, mammy, witch, bear, gardening and other theme dolls. also LOG CABINS, Folk Art painting, floor cloths, and primitive cloth dolls.


CYNDI: This is a fairly simple process to do -- but would take quite a while to explain -- I do have several patterns available which covers all aspects of reproducing these candy containers/lanterns.


CYNDI: Wrap "seasonal" candies in cellophane and tie with a festive paper ribbon -- and give these as a gift that can be used over and over by simply putting a votive candle in a glass container and hanging these lanterns anywhere! (If you place them near a lamp or sunny window -- you don't even need a candle for them to glow. Use them AS candy containers at your next party. Use them as a part of your table centerpiece. Each seasonal or theme container has it's own unique uses: Watermelon-man for your next garden party -- hanging from a nearby tree branch with either candies or (if at night) lights. Use your imagination!

CYNDI: Watermelon Man because he is so cute and was easy to make and is quite unique! (and) Santa because Santa's have always held a special place in my heart!
'Watermelon Man' © Cyndi Rowe

burlap sack

frost creek
carries bulk rusted tin: rusted sheets 6x14

"tender buttons"
c/o diana epstein, 143 E 62nd st,nyc ny 10021 (212)758-7004

to contact Cyndi Rowe
         77 Stratford Drive
         Severna Park, MD 21146
         (410) 647-8908

for antique halloween collectibles:
       tom pritchard
       4905 drew ave. a.
       edina, mn 55410
       phone: 800-473-3815
jack-o-lanterns, candy containers, noise makers, german imports, tea set, ratchets (see issue 74).

book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

collectible halloween (pamela e. apkarian-russell)
a schiffer book for collectors - 1997
isbn 0-7643-0281-7

halloween collectibles: a price guide
by dan and pauline campanelli
(l-w publishing & book sales, 1994
isbn: 0895380277)
available from:
international arts, antiques and collectibles forum ltd.
1095 washington st.
po box 69,
norwood, ma 02062
(781) 762-4209

halloween in america: a collector's guide with prices
stuart l. schneider
schiffer publishing, 1997
isbn: 0887407072
phone: 610-593-1777 to place an order

candy container collectors of america
P.O. box 352
chelmsord, ma 01814-0351
jeff bradfield
90 main st.
dayton, va l1811

spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

teresa reynolds of the u.k. has a newsletter. she gives away stuff (pattern charts and the like) to the readers. she has a link to her email at her site.

button sites,many with lots of links

sampler site

a touching little story "love me love my rag dolls too"

visit HGTV which had an episode on collectible treasures about halloween collectibles (enter episode #204)


"Rock'd in the cradle of the deep,
I lay me down in peace to sleep."
        Emma Willard (1787-1870): The Cradle of the Deep.

"no man ever stands so tall as when he stoops to admit he's wrong."
        not sure if this is the right wording or who
        said it, but i wanted to pass it on anyway.

here's a few more i'm not sure of the writer, but still worth sharing...

"May peace attend the path you tread
and roses deck your downy bed"

"There is a language in each flower that opens to the eye
A voiceless but a magic power Doth in earth's blossoms lie."

"When two fond hearts as one unite
The yoke is heavy and the burden light"

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