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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.
Hello All! Lyn Wilson at your service! The Tabitha’s Mountain Rhapsody Family Artists wanted to share with you some of the ideas we’ve used recently. Some of these ideas have been pinned to our various pages… some we’ve kept to ourselves. Welcome to the “Aladdin’s Cave” of ideas we’ve selected just for our readers! This may become a regular feature on our blog!
Lyn’s Appliq-able Stitches:
Truth be told… I’ve only taken one commission this summer because I wanted some time off :) I’m a little bit of a free spirit. I like to try unstructured ideas just to see what I come up with for an end result. I do this with knitting, crocheting and even with my cooking (no I haven’t blown up the kitchen yet LOL) This month a friend said she needed a crocheted blanket for her little one. I didn’t really feel like using a pattern from my collection therefore I struck out on my own with a crocheted sampler of stitches. I call it the Ultra Violet Unplanned Textures Baby Blanket. You can find the “recipe” on my facebook page @Out of the Parc Designs. I may or may not add an applique to the blanket however, I do have some applique patterns in reserve. Below are links to some fabulous stitchionaries and applique patterns. Should I add an applique or not? Let me know in the comment box on this page :)
By far Hopeful Honey has been my favorite stitchionary to use on my Ultra Violet project. She has a full spectrum of stitches PLUS video tutorials! http://www.hopefulhoney.com/stitchionary/
The Fiber Flux blog is always an excellent “go-to” resource for knitters and crocheters. There are a myriad of tutorials on the Fiber Flux blog and YouTube page: https://www.fiberfluxblog.com/p/crochet-tutorials.html
Undoubtedly newstitchaday.com is one of the top stitchionaries on the web. There are videos to accompany almost all the stitches. https://newstitchaday.com/category/stitchionary/crochet-stitches/crocheted-texture/
Appliques are great fun and they add a nice touch to your handmade projects. We use them quite a bit in our work. Here are some links to applique pattern collections:
50 Applique patterns to choose from
https://www.allfreecrochet.com/tag/Applique All Free Crochet offers 20 pages of appliques! Everything from hearts to sharks. Wow!
Lastly, but absolutely not least is Stitch & Unwind’s collection of great appliques https://www.stitchandunwind.com/crochet-afghans-applique-patterns/.
The Carving Block
When I first learned to carve, it was almost entirely from YouTube videos; mostly because I wasn’t sure where else to look. I found that videos can be more helpful than books or diagrams, because you can actually watch the artist at work. Here are some videos on carving that I’ve found beneficial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlIr95-ZlCc A guide to carving wood wizard figures
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXY3wuRn5yo Carving owls with just one knife!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EVr-HnOKBY Some pointers on wood carving
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh8Le3azTPM A guide to carving wood-spirits
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymFKg2DKnMU A traditional American-Indian carving of an eagle’s head
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0STVrABZPnk And one of the first carving videos I ever watched.
T.K.’s Kostume Korner
When you peruse the aisles of specialty shops like Spirit Halloween stores or even the Disney Store, you can usually find a selection of costumes for children. Many of these options are… well, they lack a certain something. Little kids love to dress up any time of the year, and sadly, a lot of these costumes aren’t built to last. But what if I told you that fun for kids was right at your fingertips, if you have the skills, or are willing to learn?
For girls who love 18 inch dolls and their 14 inch sister type dolls, check out all these beautiful clothes from ABC Knitting Patterns! https://www.abc-knitting-patterns.com/category-crochet-doll-clothes.html So dainty, I love it!
Next up, we have a selection of free dresses and accessories for the sewers, (and some No-Sew selections too!) from Rebecca Page: https://rebecca-page.com/product-category/all-patterns/category/free-sewing-patterns/page/1/ All you have to do is sign up for her free newsletter. I especially love the possibilities for the Patsy Party dress for adult Comic Con Cosplay. https://rebecca-page.com/product/patsy-free-ladies/
Who could you be? A 1950s-style Princess like Cinderella or Belle? Marvel’s Agent Carter? Wonder Woman? Even Lois Lane!
More 18 inch goodies can be found at Pixie Faire: https://www.pixiefaire.com/collections/free-doll-clothes-patterns
Lots of great stuff here, and they run sales often for the paid patterns.
For general boredom busting fun as summer goes on, check out My Froggy Stuff! This mother-daughter duo make life more fun every week with their tutorials and the fun of unboxing dolls. Here are two videos to get you started.
And that’s our Pinning list for now! We hope you enjoyed perusing our “Cave of Wonders” and hope to see what you make next! If you want to keep up with our crazy crafting adventures, you can follow our page on Facebook
here: https://www.facebook.com/Tabithasmountainrahpsodyfiberarts/ We have so much fun over there, and we hope you come along for the ride.
Admittedly, shopping the Facebook Marketplace seems... fraught with peril. You know, of the Stephen King novel, ax murderers, evil clowns in sewers variety. But once you think about it, it's not that much different than Ebay, really. And a whole lot safer than Craigslist! Facebook has a lot of rules and safeguards in place to keep you safe while you shop.
You can find all kinds of local goodies, from toys, to yard sale ads, to vintage furniture. A lot of times, the items aren't that expensive, but good quality. For instance, my mom bought a huge bag of curtains for practically the whole house for 20 dollars! They're not cheap curtains, either, they're very nice at one point expensive curtains, the lady who sold them to us was just downsizing.
My brother got himself a rather beat up duster that he uses for his gunslinger/Firefly Browncoat costume, not to mention to keep himself dry shoveling walks in the wintertime. Yeah, it doesn't particularly look that spiffy, but it does the job.
As for myself, I've made most of my most recent doll purchases on the Marketplace, and mainly from one person. The prices, even with shipping, are better than Ebay most of the time. I have never had a bad interaction with anyone I've contacted over the Marketplace. Because everyone is pretty much local (my favorite doll vendor is the farthest away in Syracuse), you're dealing with your neighbors and friends. In fact, it's a pretty good way to meet your neighbors. I got to meet a lovely lady who was downsizing her kid's toy collection this last time and purchased a lovely Monster High bus. It's gonna be a sweet prop for my photos and table. That was a lovely interaction and I hope maybe I'll be able to buy from her again.
In short, Facebook Marketplace is a great resource for the thrifty person with an eye for finding the diamonds in the rough and good for the local economy to boot. I would really encourage our readers to give it a try, you never you what you'll find!
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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.