Seed Pod Newsletter
"The Gift" © 1998 Maria Pahls
Seed Pod #062
© Copyright 1998 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends:

i know a gal who once confessed that she paints her front door to fit the season or her mood. i know a man who's home changes each time i walk into it- it is NEVER the same place twice. i admire people who can drive themselves to change so often it's just the thing to keep life interesting. granted it does take some extra drive and motivation but the end result is well worth it. most people who are passionate about their art do have that drive, perhaps something to ponder....

primitively yours,
maria pahls

Winter Border - © 1998 Maria Pahls

drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers

a note from debee:

"Just wanted to tell you all about the class we had at Crooked Tree Hollow with Lisa Gaines a few weeks ago. I took the Saturday class but had to drop in on the Sunday class to see what folks had come up with.

What a variety of styles and levels of "primitive"! We fashioned our head/shoulder plates from paper mache and brought them dried to class. Then, Lisa taught us how to coat them with wax (she had some mixture of waxes - I forget what all was in there) and how to attach a body/legs/arms - oh yeah, there was some painting going on there, too.

The wax smoothes out the roughness of the paper mache and gives the head a sort of shine or patina that adds character. I went for a sort of traditional style - I was trying for a late 18th c. wooden head look - I like what I ended up with. I also did a snowman head. The wax really adds to the lumpy snowman look.

If you ever get a chance to take a class with Lisa, grab it! Her work is really primitive and charming - I was able to yell "MINE!" first and get a sample of her work - a hanging snow angel with wood trim wings in antique clothing - a baptismal gown and a white antique child's coat - holding a christmas tree and a snowbaby (it was the snowbaby that did it for me - I couldn't LIVE without this doll!) She has a rusty tin star coming out the top of her head (the angel, not the baby). I love her!

If you live in the area of Pennsylvania, you can see her work at the Lititz, PA show .

Snowball Fight - © 1998 Maria Pahls

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

new: joke:
what is the politically correct term for bald dolls?
answer: people of scalp

tips & techniques

do you ever get a lid or hose faucet that just won't budge and you wonder "am i turning this the wrong way?"... well a simple rhyme to remember when faced with this situation is LEFTY-LOOSEY... RIGHTY-TIGHTY that way you can remember to turn clockwise to tighten and counter clockwise to loosen... also try holding the lid and turning the jar or container to get better leverage.


lately i have seen this idea every where. a pomander is a fragrant and simple gift that anyone would enjoy.

take a fresh orange and pierce with a thin skewer then insert cloves each time you remove the skewer. do this in a pattern on the orange (spiral, lines,or random). roll in a mixture of orris root (fixative), cinnamon, and nutmeg or other fragrant herbal or spice powders.

use a long hat pin to affix a hanging ribbon in the top or display a half dozen in a bowl-give each guest one in a cellophane bag when they depart or place in a thrift store bowl or tea cup,nested in a bit of shredded paper and tied with a beautiful ribbon. (these can also be scented with oils in place of the ground spices).

as an alternative cover a styrofoam ball with moss and stud with anise,pods,nuts,dried flowers etc (any thing small and decorative). you can spray paint the balls brown before starting to conceal any white that will show through. again use the oils to scent.

like stained glass

to add sparkle to a sunny window string at varied lengths dried orange, lime & lemon slices on clear fishing line. slices can be dried on the oven rack at 200' until transparent but not brown or burnt. be sure to insert a small thin wire for a hanger before drying.

luminary tin can project
(this one i had in my files,not sure what the source is)
  • Empty pineapple cans (without sharp edges) *
  • Water
  • Old towels
  • Hammer and nail
  • Votive candle
  • A hot pad or trivet
  • Tracing paper (optional)
  • Rubber bands
* Pineapple cans seldom have edges that will cut or scratch anyone but use caution anyway.
  1. fill the can with water and freeze it.
  2. Remove the can from the freezer and place it on towels.
  3. Use a hammer and nail to punch holes into the can.
  4. Let the ice melt, dry the can and add the candle.
  5. Set the can on a hot pad or trivet before lighting the candle.
When the candle is lit don't touch the can - it may get hot.

Option: Create a pattern on tracing paper and use rubber bands to attach it to the frozen can. Punch holes along the lines on your design.

as an alternative make a candle reflector

you can buy sheets of 26 gauge nickel silver and create a template for a long rectangular shape that is rounded at the top. (this can be cut with metal snips while wearing protective gloves) the final surface should be one inch wider and seven inches longer than a tart pan with a candle in it (just base it on the size you have) you will want to have another 4 inches at the bottom of the form to bend in to rest the tart tin on...

the shape of the reflector will be like an "L" with the candle in a tin sitting on the horizontal line. you can use a nail to punch a decorative pattern in the tin or scallop the top, use an awl or a flat head screw driver to make crimps and dimples in the nickel. you can age this with metal blackener if desired or maybe instant rust.

white stockings

sharon andrews sews simple stocking shapes (you can make a template out of cardboard) from vintage white linnens. try sewing a layer of croched lace table cloth over one side of the white sock base before doing the side seams for a wonderful layered look.

needles and lucky numbers

i have been fortunate to have only had close calls with lost needles. with 3 children around i need to be extra careful... tho even with out kids, no one wants to step on a needle!

that is why i have a system for keeping track of them, i have a case with a piece of wool in it. i keep seven or thirteen assorted needles in there at all times. when i finish with a needle i never stick it in the chair arm, if its not in my hand its in the case. i have a habit of falling asleep while sewing at night so i always make a point to count them to be sure i didn't drop one while nodding off. so far it has worked out well...

when i do drop a needle on the carpet i have 3 techniques for locating it. one is to put my head on the floor and get a bugs eye view (this is also good for finding contact lenses) I actually lay my ear to the floor and look,you'd be surprised at what you can see from this angle.

if that doesn't work, put a nylon stocking over the end of a shop vac and vacuum the area. the stocking may keep the needle from going any place depending on the angle its sucked in.

and last you can turn out the lights and shine a flash light in the area. the needle should sparkle a bit when the light hits it.

Skating Snowgirl - © 1998 Maria Pahls

Brettun's Village Leather Scraps
302 Lake Street
Auburn, ME 04210
(207) 782-0861
Leather scraps left over from shoes, leather furniture, etc.
$2 a pound.
Minimum order is 10 pounds.

book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

nordic knitting
by susan pagoldh
interweave press
call (800) 645-3675 to order

Christmas Ornaments, A Festive Study
by Margaret Schiffer - 1997
(Schiffer Book for Collectors)
ISBN: 0887408788
to order (610) 593-1777

Christmas Ornaments,Lights, and Decorations:
Collector's Identification & Value Guide

by George Johnson
Collector Books, 1996
ISBN: 0891457461
available from:
International Arts,Antiques and Collectibles Forum, Ltd.
1095 Washington St.
PO Box 69,
Norwood, MA 02062
Phone: (781) 762-4209
fax: (781) 762-8708

spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest

jennifer woollatt's site

shari lutz's site:


The holly's up
The house is all bright.
The tree is ready, the candle's alight
Rejoice and be glad, all children tonight.
p. cornelius german carol

it's good to be children sometimes.
and never better than christmas.
Charles dickens

Mark Twain on Christmas...
The approach of Christmas brings harassment and dread to many excellent people. They have to buy a cart-load of presents, and they never know what to buy to hit the various tastes; they put in three weeks of hard and anxious work, and when Christmas morning comes they are so dissatisfied with the result, and so disappointed that they want to sit down and cry. Then they give thanks that Christmas comes but once a year.
from "Following the Equator"

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