Seed Pod Newsletter
Crows Posin'
"Crows Posin'"
© 1999 Maria Pahls
Order a Print
Seed Pod #056
© Copyright 1998 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends,

just a little reminder that if you find a web site listing that no longer is correct within the seed pod newsletters CLIP AND SAVE IT! then email it to me at along with the url of the seed pod page you found it on. for each "dead link" you send me, you will be entered in our monthly drawing for fun prizes!

happy hunting for those newsletter errors!

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

judie from 'the sparrow's child' talks about some of her work.

tater timmerman - © Judie Nemo "One rabbit I made turned out to be unexpectedly bowlegged when he was sewn up. I was looking through some vintage doll clothes I got at an auction last year for some trousers for him, and came across these great homespun pants. What was funny is, they too were bowlegged! So they fit him perfectly. The picture shows him in the original pair and I just designed some matching ones for future wholesale dolls. The rabbit's name, Tater Timmerman, comes from a session my son and I had one day, trying to come up with names for my daughter's baby. We were watching a rodeo on television. One of the cowboys was named Tater and I just loved it. Since my daughter did not think she would use the name for the baby, (what a surprise), I used it for the rabbit. My granddaughter, age 4, wanted to name the new baby Wilma! Since I do not think that name will get used either, I now have to design a friend for Tater.

I have been doing some pieces lately with a 30s and 40s influence and have been studying vintage dolls and fabrics to see what makes them look old. I have a lot of old baby and doll clothes that are worn and aged for real that I am trying to imitate. My husband and I spent 5 hours one Sunday at antique stores just looking and studying old dolls and textiles. Since I want to try something besides tea dying, I'll experiment with a light watercolor wash on any new fabrics I use. Maybe I will just leave them outside to get dirty naturally- there is plenty of dirt in the air with the construction in our neighborhood."

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

NEW QUESTION... tell us about the sort of things you all collect?

NEW QUESTION... do you have any likes or dislikes or tips for any sort of stuffing?

tips & techniques


STYLE: It's important to determine an overall style of the products you are selling. This is the key to deciding what style your booth or space set-up will be in a craft mall or at a show. For example: Victorian style merchandise will look elegant on props draped with velvets and satins, with those props being Victorian looking - no harsh lines or geometric bulky props. Use furniture pieces that have curves and ornate features.

Think about what is traditionally seen with your type of merchandise in furniture styles and then use those types of pieces for props.

Or, to grab the customer's attention, you could display Victorian jewelry, for example, with a display that says primitive, but it would have to be done cleverly! The merchandise must truly be the eye catcher for success.


Think of your display pieces as objects taking up negative space and making it positive space. Look at them as shapes - rectangles, squares, and so on. In arranging them, you will be creating a whole unit. When you've set up your unit, does it look pleasing before any merchandise is put into it? What shapes are the negative spaces - does it look like there are unpleasant 'bare' spots? Rearrange pieces so that what you do see of props pleases the eye, but also the spaces that you see do too.

Next, see your products as forms and be aware of how they fit in with the forms you've created already.


You will want customers to see all of your products. You have to create a visual line for them to follow. For example, if you are selling bears, you want to set them so people have to come into a booth to see them, and if all the faces are looking to the left when customers are entering your booth from the right, you have lost the first seconds of that first impression the bears should have made. The bears can look at one another, and off to the next one, and so on. to keep the eye moving and not just scan bears with all faces front without interest. Think about this in all the ways you face your merchandise.

You must be sure to fill in black spots as things sell because the eye is drawn more to that and pauses there rather than the quickly moving to see the merchandise.


If your are selling, for example, Christmas items and fall items at the same time, keep each grouped with like items. On the other hand, if you have year round merchandise and are also featuring another season, place the seasonal merchandise throughout the display so it's repeated and draws attention. If you were to group it together, someone could feel they just aren't interested in it. By spacing it out, they may see it as an item that is not just seasonal.

For booth display, repeating shapes is also advisable. Work with props in even numbers for formality and a traditional look. For example: a table with a crate placed on each end is formal. Placing two boxes on one end and one on the other is less formal. Decide if you feel your merchandise warrants drawing which crowd by how you place and repeat props.


Displays are backdrops and should not rob the interest of the customers from your products. They can be painted items, stained items, or aged items, but harmonious color-wise with your products. Props painted in primary colors of red, yellow, and blue with be garish if you are displaying aged-looking primitive items. However, if you were selling children's clothing, they would be great.


Think of customers buying 'from the knees up' and don't place small items on a low level. Use crates or chairs, or small tables to elevate the merchandise so it's easy to pick up and look at.


Try to locate a space the size of your booth in your home and do set ups for practice! When you think you've got it all 'just right', then get a mirror to check yourself. Hold or place the mirror so you see the reflection of the 'booth'. How does it look? Often this will give you the benefit of the 'objective eye' and you can reposition things. If you can't remember what you've done, then draw a sketch or write out the placement of prop pieces.


Don't buy a prop piece unless you know that the item is versatile or unless it's going to be a 'signature' piece - an item you always use for a focal point and want customers to know that's your booth when they see it.

Do add a seasonal touch to a booth's display if you are selling quite of bit of that season's merchandise.

Don't be afraid to experiment, study how other people have done their booths, or peruse through decorating magazines! Keep on the lookout for what you are drawn to and note why!

editor's note: jean ahearn is a talented doll maker and artist. She has a pattern line on the Homespun Peddler site under the name "primitive sis".

burlap sack

Creative Paper Clay, 8 oz. bags, for $3.50 per bag...
minimum order of 15 bags.
larger bags available, Visa/MC.
Creative Paperclay
79 Daily Drive - No. 101
Camarillo, CA 93010
Phone: (800) 899-5952 (805) 484-6648

hand made pressed paper cards
WHOLESALE ORDERS ONLY call 509-627-5906

book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

A Stitch In Rhyme:
A Nursery Rhymes Sampler With Embroidered Illustrations
Belinda Downes
Hardcover Knopf
ISBN: 0679976795

patchwork folk art
by janet bolton
isbn 0806913207

The Passionate Observer
Writings from the World of Nature
by Jean-Henri Fabre, Linda Davis
Chronicle Books; ISBN:
French entomologist Jean Henri Fabre (1823-1915) spent his life chronicling the insects, birds, and small mammals that resided in the fields and forests near his home in Provence. in a 10-volume collection of nature writings published in 1879 titled 'Souvenirs Entomologiques' these have been resurrected and paired with lovely watercolors by illustrator Marlene McLoughlin.

spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

Cranston Village

sharon lovejoy
author of many wonderful books & writer for country living gardener has a web site which provides information on her writings & personal appearances. her newest book,sure to be a favorite of children & adults alike is ROOTS, SHOOTS,BUCKETS & BOOTS (Workman Publishing 1999)
note: if you own any of her books and would like a free personalized bookplate, send a self-addressed stamped envelope $.33, with the desired inscription clearly printed, to:
P.O. Box 629, Cambria, CA 93428.

moondance color co.
622 spencer rd. oakham MA 01068
hand dyed wool in yardage & strip packs
rug hooking supplies & kits penny rugs too.


"Scarecrow" c penny dehoff

Crows in the Cornfield
Scarecrow at the Gate
Trying to be "Scary"
Too little too late!
Crows ate the Corn
Rabbits ate the Greens
Harvest times a comin'
But the punkin's
Will be lean!

"i am afoot with my vision...
where the bat flies in the seventh-month eve...
where the bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden
half hid by the high weeds...
solitary at midnight in my back yard,
my thoughts gone from me a long while."
walt whitman

living as we do in a hard and complex world, we find pleasure and relief
in artifacts that evoke a simpler past,even if those artifacts bear only
a superficial resemblance to the past that actually was"
jonathan yardley

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