Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I recently wanted to make a special gift for a friend who collects BLACK DOLLS ONLY. I visited the website of another friend who I knew makes them, because I had no idea what they should look like. Sue from Rabbit Hollow Prims had some cute ones and after I saw them on her website, I was able to turn one of my white snowmen into a black snowman for my friend. If you click on him, you can make the photo large for better detail. Isn't he just the cutest?
Friday, December 4, 2009
I've been making snowmen ever since Halloween and wanted to share. Some of these are still available at Country Spirit in Tomah Wisconsin. Most of them have Christmas tree lights or candle lamps that light up. They range in size from 24" to 52" tall. My favorite is the little guy on wooden skates (top row left side).
The snowman in the top right photo shown has a hobby horse style red nosed reindeer just visible over his shoulder. The pattern is available at The Prim Pattern The snowman with the swag of greens is dripping with icicles (click on the photo to enlage it for better detail.)
Monday, November 2, 2009
It was only 32 degrees and very windy so the witch had a winter coat under her shawl.
This person is sitting under a table with her head poking through.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This coming weekend, September 25th to 27th, there's a wonderful fall festival in Warrens, Wisconsin called Cranfest. There are thousands of vendors with country, primitive, antique, modern, new, and used items not to mention all kinds of food and entertainment. If you're in the area you might want to go.
I consign my dolls in a shop in nearby Tomah Wi called COUNTRY SPIRIT. It's on Superior Avenue near downtown Tomah. You can find out more about the shop by clicking on the shop name and it'll take you to the website. I wanted to show you a little of what's in the shop for the weekend. If you click on the photos it will enlarge them.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I just made 2 scarecrows that fit bib overalls and shirts I’d found in a thrift shop and the clothing fit the scarecrows perfectly even though one was size 4 and the other size 8. Each required a different body pattern but it turned out to be so easy.
HERE'S HOW TO DO IT.
Cover your table with taped together newspaper. Lay the pants in the middle of the paper with the shirt tucked in. With a sharpie marker draw a head that looks in proportion to the body. This is drawN just like any old rag doll so don’t get worried that it’s technical—it’s not. Now draw a neck about ½’ long and draw along where the shoulders are. Pull the sleeve over the top of the clothing and mark where the sleeve was but continue on down along the side of the pants to the level of the crotch. Draw a straight line across this body. Next you’ll cut 2 from muslin and sew up the side, around the head and down the other side. Turn right side out and stuff with rags and sew the bottom of the body shut.
Using the pattern again—cut 2 layers of burlap the width of the head but 3” longer than the head. Sew the sides and top and turn right side out and pull over the head. Cut a Triangle of dark brown felt and stitch this in place for a nose. I stitched a smile with 2 strands of black crochet thread—or 4 strands of embroidery floss. Sew 2 - 1” buttons in place for eyes.
The next thing to do is measure the sleeve. Subtract 2” and divide the number in half. You’ll cut 4 pieces of the arms. I used an old blanket for the arms but quilt batting would work very well too -----I cut 24” wide by that measurement . Roll each piece like a jelly roll and stitch along the edge so it doesn’t unroll. Using double thread in your needle, stitch one to the body where the arm should be. I used about 36” of thread double for each of these because you want it loose and I didn’t want it to come undone. After stitching the first piece to the body—stitch the second piece to the bottom of the first piece…end to end with big stitches so it can move like a joint. Do the same for the other arm.
Now put the shirt on and tuck the burlap inside the neck opening. Button the shirt cuffs. Measure about 40 - 8” strands of raffia and stitch through the middle so you have 80 - 4” strands. Fold in half and tuck into a sleeve end. Sew through the sleeve and raffia several times. Tie a length of jute around the sleeve. Finish the other arm the same way.
Measure the pant legs like you did with the sleeves and cut your 4 pieces attaching them to the bottom of the body where legs should be. Put on the pants and attach raffia inside the pant legs.
You may want to add raffia hair, an old hat, a witch type hat, an old straw hat……….the Possibilities are endless. The best thing about these scarecrows…they sit beautifully wherever you put them.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
If you click on the photos, it gives you a much larger view so you can see detail.
I'm so terribly behind in my blog posts as well as my sewing but I do have a wonderful new creation I have to share with you. I've been making pumpkins and made a really nice fall wreath with pumpkins and crows. I showed my friends who said at the same time "oh Lucy, you should use this idea on your windows"....these were windows I'd purchased and I was applique'ing a homespun star to be framed in each opening.
So I followed Cheryl and Sandy's advice. I added a windowsill to the frame and painted the entire thing black. I added pumpkins, grapevine ribbon to one and grapevine to the other and different cats to each. Aren't they wonderful? I'm almost embarrassed to say I quite impressed myself!
I also discovered a wonderful trick I want to share with you. I had a box full of purchased "silk" fall leaves on swags as well as bushes...but they're just way too pretty for primitive use. I experimented with them and discovered you can coffee stain then which is nice but even better than that, you can paint both sides with your slimy,coffee/cinnamon stain and they dry to primitive perfection. They sound like fall leaves, look like they might have a bit of dried mud on them and smell heavenly!
The new Lemon Poppyseed offerings are available..check out everyone's shop. There are a lot of them, but we have some amazingly talented ladies there.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I've added several new patterns to my website this week and have more started. The nice cool nights and mornings, even though it's only August, make it so much easier to look ahead to fall and winter.
Tomorrow I'll try to post some photos of my flowers. I've turned wash tubs, pails, tool boxes, wheelbarrows and old chairs into containers for them. I even have an old bicycle in the front yard with flowers in the basket and on the book carrier on the back fender.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Debra from Monnie Bean's Folk Art asked how I keep up with keeping ahead of the seasons.
It's not always easy and I work differently from a lot of designers and crafters. As many of you know, I advertise in Country Sampler magazine and the ads must be placed 6 months before the issue reaches the news stands. Because I have to make items to send in for the advertising, I always make at least one extra of each item. If I'm not tremendously busy filling orders at the time, I mentally stay in that season long enough to cut out and do the machine sewing on at least a dozen items for that same season. I might get a few finished but my goal is simply to start them. That way when it's closer to the right time to finish them....I have a huge head start and it seems almost easy!
During the last 10 days, I finished 2 witches and 4 pumpkin people and I still have several scarecrows, a wizard, and 3 more witches started BUT I have to wait to finish them because......
I have to have 3 items to finish for a Country Sampler ad so they're ready to mail by July 25th. These are for the Dec/Jan issue so I'm planning on an angel and 2 snowmen. I'll be working on them this weekend and as soon as they're done, I want to cut out clothing for some of the 11 Santa bodies I have finished and sitting naked in a box in my studio. I made some of these bodies back in January, 2 in February, and the rest when I was making the dolls for my Oct/Nov (which is the Christmas issue) Country Sampler ad. As soon as the clothing is made..I'll go right back to Halloween (because that's the next holiday), get the started items finished and 8 to 10 more cut out and the machine sewing done....then I'll switch gears again and get the Santas dressed. Why do I jump back and forth? It seems less like production sewing when I do that. I've also noticed I dress them more creatively when I don't do them all at one time.
How do I work on Christmas and Winter items when it's so hot outside? I have several tricks. My studio is air conditioned but before it was--I'd turn on 2 window fans on opposite sides of the room--both directed at me. I'd tuck an ice cube in my bra and I kept a bowl of cold water and a wash cloth handy to wipe my face...often. I was chilly enough to believe it was winter. Playing Christmas music and even having a Christmas tree nearby help a lot too.
The snowman and lady in the photo are made from a felted wool sweater (remember when your favorite wool sweater got tossed into the washing machine by mistake?). I've just listed them at Country Fried Primitives. Hope this answers some of those questions and feel free to ask more.......It helps when I don't know what to write about!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I received an email earlier in the week from a lady from Ohio that listens to Prim Sisters Talk Radio. She and her husband were traveling from Chardon, OH to St. Paul, MN for the holiday and a family reunion and was wondering if the trip would bring them close enough so we could meet. We arranged that she would phone me when she was within 100 miles and We would meet at Country Spirit, a shop in Tomah, WI. We spent about 45 minutes together and had a great visit. Both her husband Tim and my husband Tom were there and talked almost as much as we did.
The photo on the right (took a lot of retouching to make it even visible--my husband took it and must have had his finger over the flash but......)is Carol on the left and me on the right.
The photo on the left is Carol's shop in Ohio. Carol owns Farley's Country Store in Chardon, OH. She makes the most amazing folk art creations. She was taking gifts to family members in Minnesota. You should also keep up with her blog...she's promised me she'll post photos of her wonderful dolls and critters. Her blog is listed on the left...Butternut Creek Folkart.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Last summer a neighbor moved abandoning 10 cats, none of which was spayed or neutered. I don't know if the one in the photo was one of theirs or one someone else abandoned. She arrived at my house one day, scrawny, tiny, matted, and pregnant. I've got her tame enough to let me pet her. As soon as I can find her kittens, I'll capture them and they'll take a trip to the vet for spaying, neutering and hopefully I can find a home for some of them. I'll keep the mother. My cats tolerate her quite well and hopefully I can find someone to take her kittens.
Friday, June 19, 2009
We have noisy new neighbors but you've gotta love them. I've heard them for a couple of months, banging on my trees and earlier this week I saw them flying in and out of that hole. The photo with just the head showing is one of the young ones.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to photograph a woodpecker going into it's nest? Of course part of the problem might have been that my cat was hanging around to see what I was doing.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I got home and decided I wanted some time off and some more vintage things to "play" with. My husband and I got in the car and went to a thrift shop about 18 miles away.
Along the way, we spotted a garage sale where I scooped up 3 pair of shoes to recycle on my dolls for a total of $1.75.
At the thrift store, I got 2 men's shirts and 2 suit coats--1 was wool__to cut the buttons from (each shirt has at least 8 buttons, the suit coats had 2 large and 4 1/2" buttons on one and 2 large and 6 - 1/2" buttons on the other. The wool coat will also make scarfs for snowmen and the other coat and the shirts can be used as rag stuffing. I paid less for the clothing than I would have had to pay for a card of 4 buttons in the store. The wool coat was $2 but there were the 2 large buttons, 6 - 1/2" buttons and all that wool so it was a great bargain. I also purchased a hand embroidered dresser scarf that I can cut in half and make 2 aprons from.
From there, we went to several antique malls but I didn't find anything exciting that was also affordable. On the way home, We did stop at another thrift shop where I got a huge polyfil stuffed pillow for 50 cents and another nice wooden frame for 25 cents.
Friday, May 29, 2009
This witch will be in the August/September issue with several other items. If you click on her picture it takes you to my website and a complete description. (I do 2 ads in both the fall and Christmas issues.)
I'm still working on lots of Americana dolls for summer and the 4th of July but it's never too soon to start thinking about and creating for fall and winter. If you think it's too warm to create and craft for those seasons--close your curtains and turn a couple of fans on directed at your body to cool you off. Get out some inspiration for the season you're working on--magazines, a Christmas tree, a Halloween witch, hand Christmas lights in your crafting area... If you can't see it's a nice summer day, and you're surrounded by the season, you'll be able to create!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I'm still working on Santas, snowmen, and an angel for the October/November Country Sampler ad. I hope to finish them tomorrow---if only I can get Santa's robe finished, stained, and dried. I have my fingers crossed.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I have moments when I just want to quit but I'd be so bored by the second day...I don't do sitting around well. I do like to read but I'd rather listen to an audio book while I'm sewing.
I can honestly tell you 2 big tricks that work really well. The first is for stress....get out doors and take a walk. It really helps. You can walk as fast or slow as you want. OR, take a bicycle ride. Both get you outdoors and the fresh air is invigorating. I also get a lot of ideas while walking. OR try gardening. It's also a great stress reliever with lots of benefits....flowers, fresh veggies, and of course exercise and fresh air.
The second trick is for that "I just can't do this anymore" feeling. You know, when you work in an office, you get coffee breaks and a lunch break. Working at home I always take a luch break but I've learned to give myself 2 ME breaks. They're my answer to a coffee break and I have to do something other that the "job" I was working on.
I started a doll (Bewitching Bess--she's the pumpkin witch shown in a previous post) in March. I cut out the body and during my breaks I slowly worked on her with no idea where I was going with the design. I spent probably 2 weeks on the body/face. When it came to arms and legs, I must have cut them in 4 different sizes each to find something that worked with her body shape. Her dress took more than a week to design. It was so much fun to allow myself that much time to create a special doll. If you click on the picture of Bess, it will take you to ETSY where I've listed her and there are more and much better photos there.
So, when you feel overwhelmed or "burned out" allow yourself to play. My next ME project is going to be an ART DOLL! I'll post a picture when I finish her but don't expect her too soon...I also have to get my flowers planted and vegetables set out in the garden.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Bess has been my "ME TIME" project for the last 2 1/2 months. When I need a break from the demands of making primitive dolls, I do something else I want to try. It saves "burnout".
I had so much fun creating her. I love playing with fabric and seeing what you can create by combining fabrics, needle sculpting, and painting. I like to recycle (only now it seems to be called upcycling because you're taking a discarded item and making something better, newer, or more valuable than you started with). I purchase shirts from the thrift shop and use the buttons for eyes, and I use the fabric for clothing if I can and "ragg" stuffing if I can't.
Bess's hair is rayon cord that my mother purchased in 1942, just after she got out of high school. She started crocheting a purse and gave up and the cord was still in her cedar chest after she passed away. Untwisted, it makes wonderful creepy hair.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I found a great new web site called MIXXMADE that I have to share with you. It's a community made of groups that you can join or not. Even if you don't join the groups, as a member of MIXXMADE--did I tell you it's FREE-- you can read posts by other groups as well as see who belongs and what they're doing.
Mixxmade is having their grand opening right now. I started a group there called PRIMITIVES & FOLK ART We're looking for new members. I'm not sure what exactly we're going to do there and I'm open to suggestions but I do know we can post links and photos and tell about ourselves and our art.
There are also groups for Etsy, Artfire, Recycling, Fiber Arts, Art Dolls, Marketing, Ferret lovers. Not only those but more and if you don't see a group that's your "thing" you can start one that is. Check it out. It's great to find a place where you can learn and associate with like minded people.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Yes, I'd realized before then that I needed to clean and put things away but it was like being smacked in the face. I started to make a list of containers to purchased so I could sort things and put them away when I realized.......that's not the answer. Instead of starting in my studio, I went to my garage and spotted 15 plastic storage drawers with tools and woodwork items in them. I like them. You can see through them, and stack them quite high and still get into the bottom drawer without unstacking the whole thing.
I took the drawers off the shelves in the garage (the shelves in the garage are the height of 2 plastic shoe boxes apart so I wouldn't be causing a lot of inconvenience by switching storage containers) and emptied them --- all 15 of them. Then I used the plastic sweater boxes and shoe boxes I had in my studio (but rarely put away because of the unstacking problem) and resorted everything on the floor of the garage into the new containers. This resulted in re-organizing most of the 6 foot by 6 foot storage rack in the garage.
The next step was to wash all the drawers and let them dry. Meanwhile, I started picking things up in my studio and cleaning off the shelves. When the drawers were dry, I brought them in and put them on the shelves. Next I cut enough labels so I'd have one for each storage drawer. I sorted things and put them in the drawers and then I put a label on each drawer so I wouldn't spend even 1 day trying to remember where I put things.
I started at 8:00 AM Saturday and worked until 6:00 PM and Sunday I worked from 7:00 AM til about 5:00 PM, but it's so nice to walk in and be able to find things without spending 20 minutes looking.
I'm not quite done....I want to refold my fabrics and sort them by color AGAIN but that has to wait until next weekend. I accomplished so much sewing today and t was just because everything was so much easier to find. When I get that fabric resorted---WOW, there'll be no slowing me down.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Diluting the paint de-stabilizes it so when the doll is dry, more paint sands off and it looks older and more worn. I compare the look to my grandma's oil-cloth tablecloths where most of the paint was cracked and worn off.
What is needle-sculpting? Quilting is stitching vertically through the layers of a quilt to hold it together. Needle sculpting is stitching horizontally (although for fingers and toes it's done vertically) from one spot to another, pulling the thread taut to define a shape such as a nose, mouth, finger..... Pulling the thread taut is the part that makes the sculpted area stand out.
When were you first introduced to the primitive dolls, and what drew you toward them? I started making dolls professionally in 1980. Always cloth dolls - but at first they were for children. Eventually I started making dolls for grown-ups. There were anatomically correct babies, then collectibles like Little Lulu, and Annie and her dog Sandy. I eventually gravitated toward country dolls and started consigning with a huge new gift shop in a converted barn. Then in late 2002, my dolls sales dropped to almost nothing. A new friend mentioned that I should make primitive dolls. I had to do research - I'd never heard of them.
The big differences with primitives and what I had been doing previously was the staining, the lack of hems, and the worn and aged look.
I've totally fallen in love with the process as well as the finished look. There aren't many restrictions with primitives. They are art done by regular people with varying talents. Primitive dolls are at home with antiques and "old things" like nothing else could be. I've added the term folk art to my dolls but only because the word primitive scares many people.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Yesterday I spent time with friends working at building a new website. When I got home, I finished another America doll and stuffed, needles-sculpted and stained 3 more dolls.
This morning I listed this terrific weed collector doll on Etsy. She's available as either a mailed pattern or an epattern.
Today, it's still raining so I plan to cut out some more dolls and stuff, needle-sculp and pant.........great rainy day activities.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I can't find the photo of my wheelbarrow, but I just wanted to add...you don't need an actual garden to plant flowers and veggies. Last year I planted them in 2 washtubs, 2 watering cans, 2 wheelbarrows, (all these were rescued from where I found them waiting at the curb for garbage pickup), a well used picnic basket and a bushel basket. the baskets were lined with garbage bags.
Then I found 2 old chairs that had originally had drop in seats. With some chicken wire I got from.....you guessed it, the curb.....I shaped a basket that fit in the opening and went for a walk. There's a shady place near the woods where lots of moss grows on the sandstone rocks so I scraped it off and lined the wire with that, filled it with potting soil and planted flowers. Sphagnum moss from the garden center works equally well. You just want something to keep the soil from falling through the wire. You have to water every day but the results are beautiful.
In the photo you can see the chair on the left side of the garage door and on the right side are 2 canning kettles with flowers.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
With sales a little on the slow side right now, this is the perfect time to join Twitter, start your blog, join Etsy, join facebook, design new items and make new items.
It's also the perfect time to take a class, learn something new, read a great book, or even plant a garden. The garden is great for exercise, looks wonderful and helps save money on groceries. Oh, yes, you can plant vegetables right along with your flowers. I plant tomatoes behind my marigolds. I plant green peppers in the middle of my old rusty wheelbarrow with petunias around the edges.
My side yard was dug up for plumbing repairs and rather go to the expense of having it leveled and a new lawn put in, we moved the bird bath and a garden arch to the middle of the space and planted vegetables and flowers with paths between. Beautiful, satisfying to work on, and we get tons of compliments.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I've often thought about what exactly primitive is. I know the dictionary definition basically says that anything handmade qualifies as primitive. We all know how many ways artists, designers and dollmakers create their dolls.
I was once told primitive dolls look like they were made by a 5 year old who knew nothing about sewing. Well I was once a child beginning to sew and even back when I was 5 years old, I tried to hem my doll dresses. They may have been hemmed with 2 inch long red stitches, but I tried. I tried to make their faces look like real faces. They got mis-matched eyes if I couldn't find 2 buttons alike but I tried to make them similar.
So when I think of a primitive doll; I think that whoever made the doll, where ever in time or place they made it, , did the very best they could with the materials at hand. That's why so many of my dolls have fingers and toes. That's also why I needle sculpt noses and lips as often as I do. There are so many different skill levels, but practice improves your skills. I'm sometimes astonished at how a doll turned out.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I've finally listed on ETSY . I've also joined TWITTER. I've also joined Facebook and started this blog. I'll try to keep you updated on all my newest projects.
This morning, I've also listed new items on LEMON POPPYSEEDS
and COUNTRY FRIED PRIMITIVES.
I've got a wonderful Americana doll.