Tabitha's Mountain Rhapsody Family Artist's Byway
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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.
Let’s talk about gourds.
It’s getting on that time of year when there’s a slight chill in the air, folks are going apple picking and the pumpkins are ripening. In the supermarkets, you’re going to see various shapes, colors, and sizes of gourds. The term “gourd” is usually used to refer to pumpkins, squash, and decorative gourds. These as well as melons, and cucumbers are all members of the cucurbit family of plants. Gourds have been domesticated for thousands of years, and have been used for everything from food to musical instruments. Today, many gourds are grown purely for decoration.
Decorative gourds, of course, are grown to be decorative. Now, most cucurbits contain a chemical called cucurbitacin, which can give them a bitter taste. In high enough concentrations it can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most cultivated squashes can’t produce enough cucurbitacin to hurt anyone; the ability has been bred out. However, if they happen to cross-breed with a wild gourd, those genes can resurface. So, if you grow squashes to eat, do not save the seeds. Leave it to the professionals.
Now, when preparing any kind of gourd, whether it’s a pumpkin, squash, or decorative gourd, it’s usually best to wear gloves. This is because the juices of most gourds contain a different chemical which in some people (such as myself) can cause contact dermatitis. It’s temporary, but it’s uncomfortable. And don’t worry; once the squash is cooked, it’s perfectly safe to handle and eat. The irritant is burned off in the cooking process. This is not true of cucurbitacin, unfortunately. Happy gourd-ing!
So my friend Jennifer, who feeds my yarnie habit at every opportunity, shared a picture of some adorable baby booties. There were no links with the pictures so I had to go on a quest for the link to the baby shoes. Of course I turned to Ravelry to find the same or similar designs! During my hunt I found the lovely designs of Deborah O'Leary Patterns. Thanks to Jen who always does her best to keep my skills sharp :)
(Editorial note: btw, crafty facebook pages that randomly take photos from designers pages and don't post the links? That is not fair to the designer at all! It's very frustrating to both those who might want to work the designs and those who might like to commission the work done.)
Deborah O'Leary lives in Los Angeles, California. She's a mom of three children and creator of fabulous knit and crochet patterns for her fellow fiber addicts. She is a self described knit and crochet addict. her dedication to beautiful and practical designs shows in every stitch.
While my work mostly involves home decor and children's clothing/accessories, I want to point out Deborah O'Leary's fabulous purse patterns. These bags have great details that really create standout accessories. There's more than enough to keep felting addicts happy for quite a long time. I've never been particularly adept at felting so I appreciate those who are able to create classic felted pieces.
Speaking for myself, I have to say that designers who both are able to create beautiful patterns in knit and crochet are some of my favorite go to designers. I never have to worry about searching all over to find a pattern. I go directly to these designers for any immediate pattern needs. Deborah O'Leary will likely become a "go to" designer, especially for baby gifts! Such a fantastic variety! Cute clothing pieces, photo props, blankets, and baby cocoons. LOVE! :) 💝
There are so many blanket patterns created by Deborah O'Leary that any knitter or crocheter is virtually guaranteed to find something that suits them. Usually I pick a few of my favorites to share however, Deborah O'Leary Patterns are all beautiful! (how does she do it?)
Baby cocoons are some of my favorite projects. They are good for use when a baby needs a little extra snuggle (with proper supervision of course) and are super fun photo props!
When looking for infant clothes Deborah O'leary has created some patterns that are too adorable to pass up. I love the little pants, hats, and diaper covers. I think diaper covers are not only super cute but also serve a practical purpose. Especially if you use cloth diapers.
It's time again to talk about our NEXT con! The Upstate Comic Con, held in Massena, New York, is on September 28-29, so this will be our first two day event. As a result, things are getting pretty crazy around here!
Okay, so it's not that bad. But there is quite a bit of hustling to get everything ready. I just cleared out my trusty drawer unit to put all my wares in. My first theme will be My Little Pony, and BOY do I have a lot of inventory. But of course last year, I was cleared out of ponies before the end of the event! If I sell out, my backup plan is to unpack my Monster High and Disney Dolls. Below is a sneak peek of my stock of Princesses (and other friends!).
Remember everyone, September 28-29th in Massena! It's a great family event, I hope to see you all there!
Now, when collecting wild materials, one must be careful. For example, if you wanted to use dried leaves in some sort of collage, you would need to be sure that those didn’t come from a poisonous plant. You also need to check local, state and national laws on collecting wild materials. You should never illegally collecting an endangered species or disturbing it’s habitat. It is illegal to take anything from a national park. State parks may have different rules regarding collecting, depending on your state. You should ask a local forest ranger to be sure. You also need to check with property owners. You wouldn’t want to get in trouble for trespassing.
In general, it’s best if you’re going to use natural objects in your art projects, it’s best if you find them in your own yard. Use them wisely and safely.
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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.