seed pod newsletter

"Folk Art Fruit"       © 2000 Maria Pahls
Order the Pattern
seed pod #065
2nd issue january 1999
© Copyright 1999 Maria Pahls
Published to the internet
by arrangement with Homespun Peddler.

Fence Post
the fence post
(editor's letter)

dear friends:

primitives my "garden of weedin'"

it is often said that weeds are just flowers without proper names. some consider the milk-weed to be on this list until they are told that it is vital in the survival of the monarch butterfly species. when it's usefulness is pointed out, a weed will usually be tolerated.

sp65-002 what about dandelions? to me they are an enchanted plant. beyond being useful for things such as salad greens and wine, they are also entertaining. the feathery yellow blooms, their sunshine yellow color, held up to the underside of little faces. "do you like butter?"( the answer is yes if you see the yellow reflecting under your chin....) remember the fun of blowing on a perfect orb of dandelion fluff?... your own graceful ballet of tiny dancers sent forth spinning and twirling on the wind.

their perseverance is challenged by those who loath their mere existence, let alone their presence in the garden. they are not easily eradicated. if even a strand of root is left the plant will resurrect itself in short order. to me this makes them just a bit magical.

primitive is not unlike the misunderstood dandelion. roots of "primitive" run deep, interlaced with the beautiful but short-lived perennial trends that change like the weather. primitives have a charm that may not be visible on the surface but when held up to your soul they give off that true yellow sunshine reflection of what glows deep within. they are humble, enduring and endearing. weeds to some- but as long as we harbor them in the gardens of our hearts and occasionally allow our "message" to be carried on the wind, we can be sure that a good number of "seeds" will find other gardens in which to take root & grow.

will we be happy with being "tolerated" and looked upon as weeds? let's strive for acceptance as a necessary part of life's artful "garden", one that has it's place right up there with the shallow rooted trends. one that cannot be plucked away and forgotten, one that is rooted deep in history and in heart.

primitively yours,
maria pahls

"weeds" by Maria Pahls

"What is a weed?
I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions.
For me, a weed is a plant out of place."
Donald Culross Peattie, The Flowering Earth

drop a line
miscellaneous letters sent in by readers

carolyn writes about an old pie safe that she bought:

I would love to go to the heart of country antique show but it's a really long trip for me and I know I wouldn't have the money to buy things I fall in love with. I'm better off at big flea markets where I can meander around and find bargains.

Last fall my next door neighbor and good friend of mine died at the age of 82. She had purchased a pie safe years before and I always told her that if her children didn't want it willed to them, to remember me (jokingly). As it turned out, none of her children had room to take it to the west coast where they live, so they put it up for sale and I bought it. Wythe County, where I live, is known for their 'Wythe County Pie safes' that were made here in the earlier years by the German immigrants. This pie safe, we feel sure, is one of those. I was really fortunate to have something with so much history and to have something that was so special to her.

Anyway, that was my last big purchase for a while. I recently found a wonderful 12-hold candle mold a few months ago for a really good price- it's sitting on my wonderful pie safe.

sharon andrews is busy as can be preparing for valley forge...

"... I just got my Cloth Doll magazine. I kept putting off subscribing. I don't know why cause it is just filled with great info. My hat is off to Maria for doing such a great job on the primitive article!

here's a note from nicol sayre:

Recently I bought a great pair of old children's shoes at an antique fair downtown. One of them was really stiff and permanently bent over but for a couple bucks i thought - Oh I can fix that!

Well I figured that I could just put that one stiff shoe in the steamer basket for a couple of seconds and it would soften up nicely and i could manipulate it to be as good as new (or old!) NEVER,NEVER DO THIS! Well in the wink of an eye faster than I could ever believe possible that little stiff shoe shrunk up and shriveled up and was a kajillion times harder than it ever was in the first place. I couldn't believe it could happen so quick!

Well after a few sobs for not leaving well enough alone I decided I better make the best of it. So I put that one shoe on one foot of a Snowgirl, wrote a little poem about how she lost her shoe in the snow and lo and behold she sold quick as anything.

so it worked out pretty well, but I will never try to FIX something that wasn't so broke in the first place.

editor's note: see resources for a product that helps restore leather

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

primitive ponderings on FRANNIES NEST,
complete with bed to sew in? (#64)

... I've always been interested in how other doll makers work and saw that frannie now has a "nest" and sews in bed. i too, "nest" and do paper mache, painting and even mod podge (in bed) which has resulted in my havinga mod podged butt!
annie moon

tips & techniques
  • whittlin' probably began not as a hobby but rather with making needed tools for daily life. knife handles, butter molds, knobs etc. were carved by hand from native woods. mass production and power tools helped turn carving of essentials into whittlin', a popular front porch past time. whittlers did (and still do) small religious wood carvings, (such as crucifixes) decorative pieces, and functional pieces like decoys and toys. tho i don't know much about it's origins i thought i'd at least mention this as a primitive craft that you might like to try. possibly a small figurine or doll head would be interesting to begin with.
    (see National Wood Carvers Assn. in burlap sack section.)

  • embroider tiny florals on scraps of cotton fabric to be used with button cover kits. what a wonderful touch this would be to your own wardrobe or that of a special doll.

  • keep dark woolens safe from linty debris. store them in a cotton sheet to prevent them from picking up the fibers. if your wool does get full of fuzz it is easily removed by wrapping a length of sticking packing tape around your fingers and pouncing it on the wool. the tape will pick up the loose fibers and leave the wool looking clean again.

  • sp65-003 dan from fried green tomatoes suggests that since we can't afford to always buy every thing we would like for our home decor to try using the theme "every thing old is new again" incorporate this by looking at things in a new way. he adds mittens and winter wares to the dolls in his collection and places folk art cloth bird decorations in nests for the cold season.


linda shares some tips from an old house keeping book on storing wool

'Beat out all the dust, and sun for a day; shake very hard and fold neatly and pin- or, what is better, sew up- closely in muslin or linen cloths, putting a small lump of gum camphor in the centre of each bundle. Wrap newspapers about all, pinning so as to exclude dust and insects.

These are really all the precautions necessary for the safety of furs, if they are strictly obeyed. But you may set moths at defiance if you can, in addition to these, secure, as a packing-case, a whiskey or alcohol barrel but lately emptied, and still strongly scented by the liquor. Have a close head, and fit in neatly. Set away the garret, and think no more of your treasures until next winter.'

here are some modern day wool storage tips:
the best place for storage is in a main living area. avoid attics and basements where the temperature is less consistant.

store wool items in clean acid free tissue or cotton sheeting.

air wool items and shake them out each season. inspect and mend any damage as unattended frays can grow larger if unchecked. clean the storage area well before returning items and use natural or store bought moth repellants (do not place on wool) always refold along different lines before returning to storage to avoid permanent creasing.


noggin made from one block of wood, having a carved handle on side opposite from pouring spout. used as a pitcher or a measuring container.

rundlet a wooden keg originally intended to measure 18 gallons of liquid-rum or water.

swigler a small cylindrical wooden or pottery stone ware keg used for rum or whiskey.

burlap sack

-it treats 3-4 sq. ft. of leather
item # ag02001682
this product was developed for museum use

National Wood Carvers Assn.
7424 Miami Ave.
Cincinatti, OH 45243
(513) 561-0627
Web site
book wormie   book reviews
books of interest

"hitty: her first 100 years"
by rachael field and illustrated by dorothy lathrop.
ISBN 0-02-734840-7
editor's note: to join the friends of hitty.
contact virginia ann heyerdahl

You and Me : Poems of Friendship by Salley Mavor
Hardcover - 32 pages (September 1997)
Orchard Books;
ISBN: 0531300455
this book is done in fabric relief by a well loved textile artist.

Kitchen Ceramics (Everyday Things)
by Suzanne Slesin, Daniel Rozensztroch
Hardcover - 160 pages (October1997)
Abbeville Press, Inc.
ISBN: 0789202883

Simple Rustic Furniture : A Weekend Workshop With Dan MacK
by Daniel MacK, Deborah Morgenthal (Editor)
Hardcover - 112 pages
1 Ed edition (February 1999)
Lark Books
ISBN: 1579900860
just becoming Available

Angel Carving and Other Favorites
Author: Ron Ransom
ISBN: 0-88740-147-3
Pulished by: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
1469 Morstein Rd.
West Chester. PA 19380

A Ron Ransom Christmas: Patterns and Carving Tips for Santas, Snowmen, and More (Schiffer Book for Woodcarvers)
by Ron Ransom, Dawn Stoltzfus
Paperback (October 1997)
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN: 0764303619

"Grinling Gibbons and the Art of Carving"
Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated
ISBN: 0810941422

spider web
web sites of members & other sites of interest
the heart of country antiques show

jean lotz-doll maker


no man can harvest sunbeams
but a dandelion can

a fairy seed i planted,
so dry and white and old
there sprang a vine enchanted
with magic flowers of gold
marjorie barrows 1937

Christmas friends by Pat Murphy and Lori Baker
"Christmas Friends"
by Pat Murphy and Lori Baker

editor's foot note: the new wool tips were found in country living magazine august 1999 issue
copyright 1999 maria pahls~the seed pod all rights reserved

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