Seed Pod Newsletter
"Angel of Thanks" © 1998-99 Maria Pahls
Order a Print
Seed Pod #058
© Copyright 1998 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends:

it is at this time of year that we give our thanks for all that we have been blessed with. really we need to do this more than once a year, more than once a week even, how about daily? my good friend anne day always says "honey, if i can put my feet on the floor and get out of bed, it's a good day and i'm thankful". so let us keep thanks giving on our minds daily and try to complain less and give thanks more often....

i myself would like to say thanks to the folks that make this possible, the kents here at homespun peddler, my family for their love and support, my friends and faithful readers for supporting this effort and mostly to God for blessing me with the talents and energy to pull this off.

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

gloria bowlin met fannie turgeon!

"I just met & had a nice conversation with "Fannie Turgeon"! Sweet lady! Finally got to go to the Ohio Farm House, about 100 miles form me.........and her being there with her dolls was the bonus! I already had one, but now I own another, and it's signed to me, personally! She also has a fantastic line of stitcheries! Also saw Debbie Tibault's newest collectibles. She used to do mainly Santas, but her stuff looks mostly like 'old' chalkware now. Great stuff..........this shop has fabrics TO DIE FOR! I sure bought enough of it! Can't wait to go back and spend more $! Well, I'd better go make something! New fabric inspires me!"


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


I prefer to use a good quality fiberfill, unless the doll needs to have a good "seat" for sitting! Then I would use poly pellets. Not too keen on the idea of using any kind of foodstuff for filling my dolls. I work too hard on constructing and embellishing my little treasures, to have them destroyed by little critters of any sort. I suppose sometime in the future, I might want to try something else, and it would definitely be non edible! The only complaint I can give on fiberfill, is that some of them make dolls lumpy! and that's why I use the good stuff!" - BUNNIE

"I mainly use Fairfield polyfil because I like its texture--has lots of body over the silky more expensive type. I saw some wool stuffing recently but it was so expensive I didn't buy any. I would love to try it though. I also have a neighbor who does woodworking and I asked him to save me some sawdust, so I'm anxious to try it. One point in stuffing with polyfil is to always use small pieces to stuff with. If you stuff with larger pieces, you tend to have gaps in the body of your project. It takes longer but the end result is worth it." - carolyn

"As far a a weighting material, my favorite to use is sand. Sometimes I even use it for hands and feet and then follow with Poly-Fil. The weight gives the dolls, etc. a "hanging out" relaxed kinda look! (Kinda like what I like to do!) I am very anxious to try sawdust (my husband is a carpenter so it is on hand and free.) I've never tried wool but I'm thinking that if I get a few sheep I would not only have Santa's beards but free stuffing too! Now there's a reason to go out a buy a few sheep." - kim

these days i use a number of items to stuff with. for rag dolls i use shredded muslin with a bit of polyfill here and there to smooth out the head and make it really full. i like the weight that "rag stuffing" gives. for some smaller dolls i've been using pellets in the body then followed by poly fill to give it a little weight and as an aid for sitting. dolls that i make for my children usually are wool stuffed because of the wonderful quality wool has to naturally warm to the touch. when i want to keep it simple, polyfill is the best... i would like to try saw dust and even do something with sand some day as well just to compare. - maria

on collecting #56

"I love anything old!! When I was a teenager I started with antique hatpins. After 100+ and all their holders I moved on to Hair Pictures. I am a retired barber,when we had our first daughter I quit to stay home with her. We antique all the time so hunting the mourning wreaths gave me a challenge. Well, after about 20 pictures and some jewelry you run out of wall space,so on to someting new.Old christmas!! I really like the real old but I don't have the $$$ to spend so I am for the 30's to the late 50's. I love the old feather trees. I have 5 so far. My 3ft I keep up all year long. When we put the xmas away I strip it then as I buy all year long I put it on it. Nice old xmas is getting harder to find. When my aunt and uncle moved last year they had a big sale.I bought the old playpen that my mother and her 2 brothers stayed in . The railing was made out of old handles still had the old oil cloth on the floor. I now keep my rubber face santas in it . I think once a collector always a collector!! I am very grateful my husband has the same habits!! I keep telling our girls they will have lots of goodies some day. Hope they keep them!! Now that primitive is so popular all my dolls fit right in." - twila

on scare crows #57

"I have two headless ones at the moment. Our neighborhood has a fall fest where each family brings clothes and can stuff them with straw the neighborhood provides to make a scarecrow. I threw away the straw year after year till I saw a friend who had a whole family lined up in front of their house because they saved them from year to year. Now I have three - the one that still has her head is dressed in child-sized overalls and has a burlap head with no features. The headless ones used to have pantyhose heads, but they've rolled off to who-knows-where. The neighborhood provides felt and glue to put features on the scarecrows. My favorite heads that I have seen were my friend's scarecrows - they had used the legs of the pantyhose for the arms, leaving the panty part for the head, and had stuffed the head with straw, leaving the straw sticking up out of the top for the hair. Somehow, I have not been able to duplicate that to my satisfaction." - debee

"i go crazy with scarecrows...i used to burn them and scatter ashes on the garden cause that's what you're supposed to do, but now they just deteriorate on their own. i always did a christmas one the day after christmas, using all the papers and ribbons, then hung popcorn and birdseed balls all over.. i have done a witch on a bicycle, a crying bear... i now have a prayer wheel.. i see the connection if no one else does.... i yearn to do THE FOOL ON THE HILL, i live on the end of a ridge and can just see a huge guy, at least 15-20 foot high, but doubt the time, energy and $$ this would entail... maybe a doll makers gathering in the blue ridge mtns. and he could be a group affair... back to the scarecrows that have lived: i have used buttons for eyes and mouth, painted features, used old coffee pots, watering cans [have a small scarecrow with watering can head as a doll
flower pots, frying pans with painted faces, always try to do a new one for halloweeen, enough for now... soon again" - annie moon

tips & techniques

what's cookin' with felt?

just the other nite i was trying to dry some felt that i had painted fabric stiffener on. since i didn't have time to let it air dry, i microwaved it on a piece of waxed paper.

this was gold felt that i had previously dyed with black rit (TM) dye to produce a muted gold. the dye didn't penetrate the fabric too well and actually seemed to just rest on the surface. the fabric stiffener, which had reactivated the dye, began to dry, and the felt started to harden. each time i removed the felt to reposition i noticed that the parts that were driest began to resemble raw hide (for lack of a better word).

when finished hardening it no longer looked like the original felt, but something, i thought, quite different. it was easily cut into the stars i had intended it for, but i decided not to paint over the felt as i usually do and instead leave this textured "raw hide" stuff as is.

I was thrilled with this "discovery" and plan to experiment with rust colored dye to see if i can get a rusted tin effect in the future. ~maria

caution: use common sense if trying this technique, note that fabric may be HOT and temperature settings vary which will give unpredictable results.

simplistic decorations - paper chain garland

using brown craft paper or blank paper grocery bags cut out a long strip about 2 1/2' long by 2-3" high. carefully fold the paper in a fan-like (accordian) manner making sure the folded ends of both sides are stacked exactly on top of one another.

next trace a shape from side to side on the top piece of the folded "stack". the sides of the traced shape should extend to both of the folds. note that the shape doesn't have to cover the entire fold on both sides, rather just enough so that when it is cut there will be a small area of the fold remaining to keep the shapes joined) carefully cut out the shape. unfold.

sponge on paint to one or both sides if desired (when dry steam iron using a thin cloth to cover painted paper to re-flatten). add as much painted detail as desired or leave as plain brown paper.

this garland could be any number of shapes that apply to the season such as pumpkins for halloween, gingerbread boys for christmas,even stars. it is alot of fun and very inexpensive. hang garlands by punching holes in end shapes and attaching wire or string. join garlands to form longer chains.

wooden garland

using the pre cut wooden shapes found in most craft stores, some paint, wire and a drill, you can create a unique wooden garland to hang across a hallway mirror or small window. for halloween you could use stars (drill holes in two of the points for stringing), pumpkins made of small wood balls with a skewer piece inserted for the stem and a hole drilled thru the center, spooky pumpkin men made from the ready-cut gingerbread men (sanded and skewers inserted for arms & legs & stem). christmas might be represented with small houses painted as cabins, stars, snowmen in any number of shapes (flat or 3-d). attach your painted shapes with wire, curling wire at the hole to hold a space between each shape. have long wire loops at the end for securing garland.

burlap sack

michelle biondo
(featured in victoria magazine)
pressed flower broaches under glass
then type in "biondo" or call: 216-486-5349

book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

Mary Emmerling's Quick Decorating (American Country Series)
Clarkson Potter
ISBN: 0517704676

Mary Emmerling's American Country Cottages
I E Clark
ISBN: 0517583658

Mary Emmerling's American Country Details
Crown Pub
ISBN: 0517583690
spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

miss fannie turgeon (donna gilbert)

lacis needle work supplies
3163 Adeline St
Berkeley, CA 94703
tel (510) 843-7178
fax (510) 843-5018

basic applique info


frost on the punkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the foddler's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the gujineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bare-headed,
and goes out to feed the stock.
When the frost is on the punkin
and the foddler's in the shock.
They's something kindo' hearty-like about the atmosphere,
When the heat of summer's over
and the coolin' fall is here,
Of course we miss the flowers,
and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetisin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning
of the airly autumn days
Is a picture that no painter
has the colorin' to mock
When the frost is on the punkin
and the foddler's in the shock.

The husky, rusty rustle of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries-kindo' lonesome-like,
but still A-preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the meddler, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in their stalls below-the clover overhead!-
O, it sets my heart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the foddler's in the shock!

boy in leaves - © Maria Pahls

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