2020, wow, as a kid in the year 19… something (like just after the earth’s crust cooled) you never really think that you’ll see the year 2020. Now, here I am making plans for what I will learn to do this year! Amazing! To that end, I do have a beautiful loom that I would really love to learn to use with more efficiency. It’s a double loom by Kblooms. I want to use this to make hats, scarves, maybe even strips of loom knit fabric for blankets.
As a family we have a subscription to BluPrint. This I plan to use to help me improve skills like learning better techniques for finishing projects. Perhaps making accessories for adults like shawls. As part of a more concerted effort to offer more choices in the way of accessories for those wishing to participate Christian worship. More about that at another time
Of course we can’t forget the two charities that function out of this house. Northern Adirondack Hats of Hope and Bangwe Babies Mission are vital to both our own community and the community of Bangwe in Blantyre District Malawi.
For myself, I’m looking forward to expanding my skills as a sewist. Using BluPrint classes, I want to learn how to create clothes for humans, not just my established dolls. Seeing what’s trending on markets such as DressLily, I can see things that I could make if I had the required skills. I’ve started small, some skirts for myself, but hey, progress is progress.
Another skill I want to learn is making custom dolls. With the variety of lovely things on the market and the number of customisers out there, I’ve gotten so much inspiration for things I’d like to try. It may only extend to making custom outfits, but that’s enough for me.
The third thing I want to try is making costumes and experimenting with makeup. I’ve always loved costumes and stage makeup and the art of making them, so it’s something I’ve been dying to try. I’ve always been a bit “chicken” about it, to be honest, but I have it in the blood, Mom is quite a hand with makeup and clothes. She gave me the push I needed to explore my interest in that area.
Here’s to a great new year!
We’re almost to the end of another year again. This is the time when people typically become nostalgic; looking at the past and all the things that have changed, not only in their lifetime but in the lifetimes of their forebears. We take comfort in the fact that some things really will never change. While clothing styles and tastes in decor may change with the generation or even the year, some things will always be a constant. Knitting will always be knitting; crocheting will always be crocheting; wood carving will always be wood carving.
Well, it’s time once again for the annual Winter Wonderland Craft Fair at Davis Elementary. The Winter Wonderland Craft Fair is a benefit event for the Emmaus soup kitchen, which helps underprivileged people throughout the Malone area. It’s a good charity, and we’re happy to support it.
This year, I’ll be bringing my famous wood crafts. I’ll, of course, be bringing my pyrographed boxes, which are an ever-popular item, my hand-carved walking sticks, figurines, wood signage, pyrographed spoons, and a few new items which I’m sure you’ll be interested in seeing soon.
For the Winter Wonderland Craft Fair, my sister, TK, decided to set my sights a little lower. She usually brings a load of her famous repaired toys, but she finds that that much stuff overwhelms people with all the other tables around, so she changed my tactics. She focused instead on her bags, which are popular for stocking stuffers, and some new bedding items. She has a selection of handmade blankets and character pillows in bright colors for the little ones. She believes in making things for kids that are visually stimulating to look at, lots of bright colors and patterns. But don’t take my word for it, come out and see for yourself!
It’s sure to be a good time for everyone, and I’d love to see you there. If you can’t make it, don’t despair; any items left from the sale will be posted on Bonanza! But we’d still really like to see you all there.
T.K. here with some very exciting news: Our new Bonanza store is now open! That's right, we now have a digital storefront on the newest shopping platform for makers and artisans.
Bonanza is such a wonderful platform. It is very simple to use and has a very similar layout to Ebay. All you need to do is search for what you're looking for, select your price and other parameters, and find what you need. You can find all kinds of wonderful goodies for all ages and all kinds of people in your life. I even located some Bigfoot memorabilia that I was sorely tempted to purchase for my brother.
Right now, Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody has several beautiful My Little Pony collectibles I restored for sale in the shop, with more coming soon. While they are not rare figures, they are all complete and have all the pieces to the playsets, we were very fortunate to have them all. The item I am proudest of is the Princess Cadence toy. I designed her wedding gown myself!
Trolls. Today, they are strange creatures that lurk the internet, causing anger and chaos wherever they go. This has not always been the case. There are different sides to the troll, that has been somewhat forgotten in American culture.
The trolls first appeared in Scandinavian culture centuries ago, and they still play a huge part in Scandinavian tradition today. Long ago, trolls were basically diminutive versions of the mountain giants of Nordic myth. The legends surrounding them grew and diversified with time. According to legend, they turn to stone in the presence of sunlight, just like in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Many rock formations in Norway and Sweden are named after trolls and were believed to be trolls that were exposed to sunlight.
The fiber arts world has been abuzz all this year with the word Hygge (HUUE-ga), a movement started in the Scandinavian countries embracing a feeling of warmth and calm. The hygge movement encourages people to get back to basics, get away from the electronic stimulation and busy pace of life and just be. No agendas. No lists, just cozy calm living.
The Hygge life encourages people to take time out to enjoy warm drinks, time with friends, and old fashioned pursuits like reading and crafting. In the fiber arts world, this has resulted in an abundance of items made in chunky or bulky yarns and Nordic style colorwork patterns. Bulky and chunky work up quickly, making a boon for Christmas sales. Hygge also emphasizes grey, black, white, browns, tans, and pastels more than other shades making a more neutral palette.
I appreciate the ideas of quietness and calm that hygge projects to the world. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a quiet orderly house to live in, though, the emphasis on white puts me off a little… anytime I wear white, I manage to get something on it! Through my exploration of hygge, and the intervention of a friend, I discovered the wonderful world of Moomin, the Finnish children’s book character who simply IS hygge. I’m working on a review of the cartoon available on YouTube and will be getting out books from the library for review, as part of the exploration of this concept. Thanks T.k. Wilson!
Lyn here! Hygge is really nothing new. It’s been a concept in home decor, fashion, and even cooking for years. While I’d date myself in a big way (may call for radiocarbon dating) I remember seeing my Aunts crocheting or knitting up beautiful blankets, pillows, scarves, hats, socks, mittens, decorative wall hangings and the like. The thing I liked most about it at the time was that it was not limited to the fiber arts. The current look of Hygge is broad it covers so many art forms from painting to wood crafts. Since Hygge reappeared on the landscape collaboration between the arts has been maximized.
I’m really enjoying this renaissance of this traditionally Nordic look. In fact I looked back in some of my magazines to find a copy of Selvedge Magazine from December 2007 Issue 20. https://www.selvedge.org/products/issue-20-scandinavia?_pos=1&_sid=1a664c1ba&_ss=r The emphasis of this issue of the magazine was Scandinavia. The writers of Selvedge Magazine painted a gentle portrait of a culture rooted in the past but living very much in the present. Everything from clothing to rocking chairs have some simple decorations. Creating that cozy look we all crave in the busy world in which we exist. Living in the Adirondacks there has always been a bit of the Scandinavian feel to life here but with our own flavor.
The warm and endearing nature of Hygge encompasses everything including, and maybe especially children. Family centric homes with bright, colorful touches, dot warm, placid rooms. In this link from Hygge Design there are hints of happy colors all through the sample home decor photos. https://hyggedesign.blog/2019/04/29/7-hygge-rugs-perfect-for-bedrooms/ (this page the emphasis is on rugs)
Hygge need not be expensive. If you like the look or simply want a home with a more welcoming air, there are simple ways that craftspersons can help with your design needs. Texture, color, homey touches, everything from carved wooden pieces to pillow covers. These photos are some of the pieces I’ve been working on lately. (I expect that some will be included in a sale we have coming up in December) Deep texture, calm colors with added, interest from brighter pops of yellow or blue. Just remember it only has to look rich, you do not have to be rich to achieve this look of warmth.
Good morning, followers, and a pleasant autumn season to you. It’s the time of year when folks are bringing in their season’s crops, red, orange and yellow leaves litter the turf, and many are decorating for All Hallow’s Eve. At this time of year, one often sees the ragged figure of a scarecrow peeking out from among the cornstalks.
Scarecrows of various types have been used by humans practically since the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago. They’re generally human-like in appearance and serve to deter crows and other pests from disturbing agricultural crops. Nowadays, we’ve found other means of deterring pests, and scarecrows more often serve as decorations.
manifestation of agricultural spirits. There are stories of scarecrows wandering the night, punishing those who steal crops and defending their fields from malevolent goblins and trolls. Sometimes, the spirits of dead farmers possessed the bodies of scarecrows to continue protecting their land in the afterlife.
Today, scarecrow festivals are held throughout the UK, in celebrations of rustic country life. British colonists brought the tradition of the scarecrow with them to America, and scarecrow festivals are not uncommon in rural communities in the US and Canada. They have become a fixture of rustic folk-art and an important part of our cultural heritage.
By T.K. Wilson
In this digital age, it can be very easy to take pictures and films for granted. Being bombarded by visual media all day, every day, we get used to it, not thinking that there’s a person or company behind that image. The fact of the matter is that a good deal of people don’t pay attention to how well they cite something. And that can lead to BIG trouble.
In 1998, a bill called the Copyright Term Extension Act passed Congress. Now, before we go father, I’ll explain copyright law for the rest of us who don’t speak Lawyer. Copyright is simply the protection granted to a person who creates a product (film, picture, character, invention, etc.) for the public consumption. These protections are in place to ensure that the person who created it can never have it taken from them, and thus are guaranteed the revenue from them. After the original person’s death, that protection is granted to their family or estate, whoever they name in their will. In the US, thanks to the 1998 law, that term is the author’s lifetime, plus 95 years.
This means that any images you find on the internet, if they were created AFTER the year 1923 are still in copyright. This includes fan-fiction (stories using characters from published or filmed works) and fan-art (images or films using characters from published works), which fall under the copyright of the original producer. Just because they are available for public consumption does not mean you can just snag them up willy-nilly and use them for whatever. That’s not what that word means. That means you have to give proper CREDIT and CITATION for whatever you use, and above all, you CANNOT sell it.
This may all seem very intimidating. After all, companies who publish even things like crochet and knitting patterns have very deep pockets and would think nothing of soaking the little guy. All very true, but much misery and heartache can be avoided if one cites things properly. And it’s not hard, and with tools like Google Image Search, it’s easier than ever.
In academic circles, the process can be frustratingly time consuming. I was English Major, I speak citation as a second language. However, for most casual bloggers, a simple page link or caption giving credit to the owners is all that’s required. Some sources already come under the “fair use” rules, such as stock photography from sites like Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash. These photos are copyright free, and free to use for everyone. Below is an example of an “aesthetic board” that I use for planning how my story characters will look and feel. In the caption, you can see an example of how to cite photos PROPERLY.
In order, I listed: Fox (who own the character of River Tam), WallpaperCave (for the plain backgrounds) Christopher Tin (songwriter of "Dream of Flight"), John Rzeznik (Songwriter of "Iris"), Heather Dale (songwriter of "Mordred's Lullaby") the BBC (owners of the "Frankenstein" Miniseries starring Luke Goss), Pixabay, and Unsplash (the stock photo companies)
These rules can save you a LOT of time and a potential trouble with the law. These apply to everything from blogging to Pinterest, not to mention all the headaches people go through trying to track something back. It may take more time in producing your work, but you know the old saying: "A stitch in time..."
Good day, faithful readers, this is Ian Wilson writing to you today. So this past week, T.K. and I went to Upstate Comic-Con in Messena, and we had a pretty good time there. Due to events beyond our control, we could only go to Day 2, where we had planned on going to both days.
Day 2 was good, though not quite as well attended as we had hoped, we did get to connect with a lot of our customers and fanbase. I didn’t bring a lot of my wood crafts because I didn’t think it was the venue for that. I did bring a lot of my graphic artwork, including art from my graphic novel, Legend of the Sword Bearer. Those got some interest. My sister, however, did some brisk business, selling her toy memorabilia, doll dresses, etc.
There were a lot of cosplayers there; some of them semi-professional, like Batman and the Montreal X-Men, but most were amateurs. They were a creative group of people. I felt a bit underdressed, having come as a gunslinger (it was a last-minute choice, based on the fact that the weather was cold that day). One of the X-Men complimented me on my choice of attire, however. The costumes were made from everything from fabric to metal roofing. One man came as Radigast from Tolkien’s fantasy books, and he even brought a live dove! He was probably the most popular person there besides Batman and certainly had the best costume. In all, it was fun and interesting to see all the characters at Upstate Comic-Con.
Hello there. Ian Wilson here. Sometime ago, I was surfing the internet, when I came across a strange creature which I had never heard tell of before. They call it a cama; it is a cross between a camel and a llama. I was instantly intrigued.
First, a bit of background. Most people associate camels with the Mid-East and North Africa, but the oldest camel fossils can be found on the American Continent. That is where we get llamas and alpacas. So camels and llamas have been separated for the past ten thousand years or so. When I heard they could be cross bred, I was shocked.
Llamas, alpacas and camels are all farmed for their high quality hair, which can then be made into yarn. Llama hair is world renowned for its softness, durability and warmth, but unfortunately, llamas have some pretty serious attitude issues. Camels are known to have a much more even temperament, so the Crowned Prince of Dubai decided to have them crossbred, hoping to produce an animal with the temperament of a camel with the hair of a llama. They named him Rama. To his Majesty’s disappointment, however, Rama has proven to be a bit temperamental. Well, wouldn’t you be, coming from a family like that?
Looking further, I found out that such hybrid beasts dot pastures all over the world. Animals such as the geep, half goat half sheep. Such an animal could be worth millions to the fiber arts industry; that is, if it could reproduce. Geeps are a genetic royal flush. I won’t go into unnecessary detail here, but it’s almost impossible to produce a successful sheep/goat hybrid. In all the world, there’s only one known. So that’s a real bummer.
Much more common are various cattle hybrids. Beefalo, dzo, zubron, and yakalo are various combinations of yak, cattle and buffalo. Yak and buffalo are often farmed for their durable, weatherproof, high quality hair. Most American buffalo, however, are not actually buffalo at all, but beefalo. Beefalo are cow/buffalo hybrids. They’re so ubiquitous that purebred buffalo are becoming a rarity. To my knowledge, the only herd of pure buffalo on the American continent live in Yellowstone National Park, and they are protected religiously. Zubron are basically the European equivalent. They are a cross between domesticated cattle and European bison, but they didn’t catch on over there, and now there aren’t many of them left.
Lastly, there are dzo and yakalo. Yakalo, as the name implies, were a cross of American buffalo and Asian yaks. The Canadians experimented with them back in the 1920’s, but the Males were infertile and they never really caught on. They would’ve made some awesome socks. Dzo, on the other hand, are a yakow hybrid, and they continue to be very popular in Asia, despite the fact that they, like the yakalo, are mostly infertile. They mostly use them as work animals, but their hair is also spun into yarn.
The world of fiber arts is a varied and fascinating place that a lot of people simply ignore. But really, it’s a fascinating tapestry of art, biology, and history. I’m just disappointed they couldn’t make a yakalo work out.
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.