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!
For the past few weeks, we of Tabitha’s Mountain Rhapsody have been scouring the internet for new ways to sell our inventory to our customers. Now, the search is over. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, introducing Bonanza!
Bonanza connects shoppers directly to sellers. Sellers can sell almost anything, and there are a lot of very unique items on Bonanza. They have a little of everything. They seem to be geared specifically toward small businesses like ours.
After spending a few minutes on there looking around, we could see that they were the place for us. Soon, we’ll be starting our own store, and selling off some of our inventory. We’ll post the links to Facebook, so you can see and purchase these items yourself.
In the coming weeks, you may notice some changes to the Tabitha’s Mountain Rhapsody blog page. You may notice something you’ve never seen before on our page; ads. Yes, we’ve decided to run ads on our website to help fund our business.
Now, I know you all find ads irritating, but this really is a positive thing for our page. We get to choose the types of ads that get run on our page, so you won’t see any lewd or irrelevant ads. We decide what goes there. The funds that we earn from running these ads will help in the upkeep of Tabitha’s Mountain Rhapsody, and the money goes directly into buying new materials, business cards, or whatever we need for our business.
All this being said, we respectfully request that you deactivate all ad-blocking software when visiting Tabitha’s Mountain Rhapsody, and it would help us if you click on the ads if it’s something you’re interested in. Even if it’s not something you’re interested in, it helps. Thanks in advance for helping us keep the blog running.
May 25, 2019 was the day of Malone’s Comic Con. The Wilsons rolled up bright and early, I (T.K.) dressed as Firefly character River Tam, though a random elf chick would have also qualified, and Ian dressed as a Browncoat from the same show. The Gymnasium was bustling with vendors, upon being directed to our tables we began setting up.
When we vend, we make it a point to be friendly, courteous, and helpful to our customers, who are often kids on my end of the tables. We have fun, and want our customers to have fun at our table. Kindness and joy brings repeat customers, which is what you want. Because comic cons have a certain… reputation, we make it our task to prove that cons can be fun for the whole family.
After lunch, I decided to walk the floor and see what the other vendors had brought with them. I stopped by multiple tables and took discrete pictures of the goods. We had comic book dealers, toy and collectible sellers, and artists. One of our friends from last year, Michael Andersen or FalseMind Studios had set up his booth across from a dealer of action figures, so I said hello to him and bought some buttons for my friends in Washington state. The next table I stopped to really look at was covered with Lord of the Rings memorabilia, mostly toys and action figures. I stopped to take pictures of one item in particular, the special Gold Label Barbie as Galadriel doll. This special doll was one of only 20,000 in the entire world, I know that sounds like a lot, but Mattel sells about 10.4 million (million with an M) Barbie dolls every year according to a 2014 statistic I found. The year she was made (2004), then, Galadriel Barbies were a small fraction of dolls sold by Mattel. I had never even seen one “in the wild” before, so I had to get her photo. A very lucky person, not me *le sigh*, walked out with her when the con ended.
The main takeaways this time was a simple thing: Kindness never hurts. Though the con was very sparsely populated, kindness brought people to visit us and buy from us. I look forward to our next con (Upstate Comic Con in Massena, NY) and coming to Malone again next year!
At any rate, due to our rather overcast day I needed a little color and beauty, with a pinch of cute in my life. Thanks to Nana's Crochet Creations, I have found that very mixture of crochet patterns to share with you!
Nana of Nana's Crochet Creations is Des Maunz. The brains behind classy, fresh designs with a bit of a vintage feel. Nana's Crochet Creations has a completely different approach to sharing patterns than other designers I've covered for this blog before. In fact there was not even a Ravelry page for Nana's Crochet Creations before February of 2018! All her patterns are shared, for free, 100% on Facebook. I really like that concept because Facebook reaches so many people. What amazes me is that she's happy to share her patterns with a huge audience of people, 32, 926 "likes" on her page at the time of writing, for free! You have to see the designs to really get what I am talking about so log in to your facebook and let's get into our Nana's Crochet Creations highlights.
The majority of Des Maunz patterns are blanket/afghan patterns. They are absolutely OUT of this world stunning. There are 21 blanket patterns and you know that means I actually had to pick a few to share! 😉
It is Spring here in very Northern New York but in many places around the world folks are already into very warm temperatures! Crocheters are looking for the perfect carry along project. Blanket squares are a fantastic way to keep hands busy without having to fight the heat. Des Maunz has created some beautiful blanket squares. I like blanket squares because they make for flexibility in sizing of blankets.
Des Maunz has, of course, designed some clothing for little people AND big people. Inspiration comes from many places. I love what Des Maunz has to offer!
If I don't finish this blog up and get moving on my crocheting I won't get a chance to start the Sweet As Can BEE blanket. Thank you all for reading the blog today and thanks to Des Maunz for her beautiful work! If you check out Nana's Crochet Creations please leave a message letting her know you stopped by!
(I LOVE this designer so much that I am reposting this blog from May 25, 2018. I am currently working on her "Nana's Basking Butterflies" blanket!)
One of the biggest names in the collecting/crafting world is My Froggy Stuff. What is My Froggy Stuff, you ask? Well that is a long story!
My Froggy Stuff was started by military wife and mother LaToya Broyles in 2009. LaToya, known online as Big Froggy (her children are known by their handles Lil' Froggy and Froggy Boy only) built her business from the ground up as the wife of an E-5 Air Force member. I don't recall much about how military pay grades work from when my dad was in, but I know an E-5 doesn't make a lot (from experience). In a Military.com interview from 2013, LaToya admits as much, which forced her to think outside the box... and I mean that literally.
Lil' Froggy's avid interest in dolls caused LaToya to think of creative and cheap ways to make doll clothes and accessories that would hold her daughter's interest and even bring about a sense of accomplishment in making it yourself, rather than buying it from a store. Using recycled materials, bits of ribbon, hot glue, and assortment of random junk that many people would throw out, LaToya creates detailed miniatures for dolls of all sizes, from tiny Chelseas to big American Girls. All this was fun for herself and Lil' Froggy, but when LaToya put her craft tutorials on YouTube, along with the highly entertaining "Darbie Show", things really took off.
The My Froggy Stuff YouTube Page and Blog feature hundreds of tutorials for all kinds of great crafts which would put Mattel and the other toy companies to utter shame. I have found these tutorials endlessly useful personally. All my backdrops were made using this tutorial
So much fun, for so little money! I've outfitted my backdrops for five dollars or less! Easy way to make a dollhouse. The tutorials run the gamut from super simple to days long projects, so just bear that in mind.
If you want in on the fun, there are many ways to get in touch with the Froggies.
So, one of my most recent blogs was about carving, and what woods are good to carve with. After I posted that blog, one of our followers pointed out that I didn’t say anything about tree identification. Before you begin any kind of carving, pyrography, engraving- anything involving wood, it is vitally important that you understand the principles of tree identification. Basically, there are four factors that ID a tree; bark, leaves, flowers, and fruit. All of these combine to give you an idea of what kind of tree you’re looking at.
First, the bark. What color is the bark? Is it rough or smooth? Does it have scales or plates? Does it have furrows or ridges? Are they vertical or horizontal? Are they broken or uninterrupted? Do they intersect? Does the bark peel? This is crucial info when discussing tree ID, especially if you’re looking at a tree in the fall or winter when there are no leaves to help you.
Sometimes, bark can vary between different members of the same family of trees. Sugar maples have intersecting vertical ridges, while silver maples have deep, vertical, intersecting furrows, and the bark peels off in strips. Most evergreens have scaled, or plated bark. If it comes off in small flakes, it’s probably some type of spruce. Cedars are an exception to this rule, however. They have fine, intersecting ridges.
Next, the leaves. What color are they? What shape are they? Are they broad leaves, scales, or needle shaped? If needles, are they long and hairlike, or short and prickly? Are they in clusters? If broad, are they big or small? Pointed? Rounded? Heart-shaped? Oval? Circular? Sword-shaped? Toothed? Lobed? How many lobes do they have? Are they round lobes, or pointed? Are the leaf-veins arranged like a palm or a feather? Are the leaves simple (one leaf per stem) or compound (multiple leaves per stem)? Are the compound leaves palmate (palm shaped) or pinnate (feather shaped)? Are they alternating (zig-zag on the stem) or parallel?
Most nut trees have compound leaves; oaks being an exception. Fruit trees like apples are typically simple. All maples have pointed lobed leaves, and the veins are always in a palm shape, and nearly always have an uneven number of lobes; most have five, some three, others seven. Silver maples and red maples always have toothed edges, but sugar maples do not. Most members of the rose family have toothed leaves, and are not lobed; blackberry bushes being the exception, usually having palm-shaped, three-lobed leaves. Roses and blackberries typically have compound leaves, but apple trees, which are in the same family, always have simple leaves.
Now the flowers. We typically think of flowers as being colorful and showy, but that’s only the case about a quarter of the time. Nearly all plants (mosses and ferns being the exception) need flowers of some type in order to reproduce. Now, identifying a tree by its flowers can be a bit tricky. Some trees, like apple trees, have easily identifiable flowers. Conifers, (pines, spruces and the like) typically have small, cone-shaped flowers that release pollen into the air. Birches, willows and poplars have similar flowers known as “catkins”. Other trees, like maples, are less obvious. It’s best to look at the flower as one feature of a whole tree, looking at other features like leaves and bark before making a judgement call.
Now, flowers come in two basic types; simple and compound. Simple flowers are just a single flower on a stem; like the aforementioned apple flowers. Compound flowers actually contain multiple flowers all occupying one stem, even though they may appear to be a single flower, like daisies or sunflowers. So is the flower simple, or compound? What color is the flower? What size is the flower? Is it cone-shaped? Does it droop from the tree? Does it have petals? How many?
Similar to flowers, we typically think of “fruit” as being fleshy, sweet things like apples and plums; but really, any seed is referred to as a fruit, even pine cones. So what does the fruit look like? What color is it? How big is it? Is it fleshy, or dry and hard? Does it have multiple seeds, or a single “pit”? Is it a cone? Does it have wings? Does have a pod like a pea? Is it in a cluster?
Seeds can be very helpful in at least narrowing down to a family what kind of tree you’re looking at, even more so than flowers in many cases. Not many people know what maple flowers look like, but almost anyone can recognize the winged maple leaves. Birches have tiny seeds that fall off of spiked seed clusters. Apples are fleshy fruits with multiple seeds, plums have pits. Locust trees always have pea-like pods that split open down the middle, releasing the seeds.
Taken together, these features will help you narrow down the types of trees you may be looking at. But they shouldn’t be taken singly. Just as one wouldn’t try to identify a person by looking at pictures of their nose, you shouldn’t try to ID a tree by looking a single feature. You have to look at the whole tree. I hope this blog post has helped you become more familiar with our friends the trees. If you would like to know more about tree ID, you can visit https://www.arborday.org/trees/whattree/
For thousands of years, man has farmed animals for their fur. It is believed that the first animal to be domesticated was the sheep, and we have been keeping sheep for their fiber and meat ever since then. In the new world, devoid of sheep, man domesticated the alpaca; a relative of the camel for its high quality fiber. We typically think of wool as that itchy fiber that your great aunt made you a pair of socks out of in 1993- but it’s so much more than that! Both wool and alpaca hair have numerous uses, both in the home and industry.
Wool has a bad reputation for being hot, itchy and uncomfortable, but that’s not entirely true. Many manufacturing and processing techniques can make wool soft and comfortable next to the skin. Wool also wicks sweat away from the skin, helping you stay cool and dry. It’s a highly durable fabric, so it can worn in a variety of situations, and activities. Like wool, alpaca fiber is very durable and breathable. It’s good for cold environs, due to its ability to hold heat in. alpaca fiber is also softer than wool, and requires less processing.
In addition to all this, they’re also fire-resistant. Yes, ladies and gents, sheep’s wool and alpaca fibers are virtually fire-proof. Wool is the preferred material for firefighters uniforms, and alpaca fibers meet US consumer safety standards for fire resistance. As a craftsman, I deal with hot materials frequently, whether I’m doing pyrography or welding, so it’s good to have something to keep me safe.
When I’m doing gas metal arc welding, often sparks will fly up, and hit my scalp, causing considerable pain to your truly. In response, my mother made me a special welding cap out of alpaca fiber. Now, I wear practically any time I weld. It’s protected my thinning scalp from welding sparks since.
All this is to say that while we as humans have created a number of useful synthetic fibers, natural fibers still have important application to our daily life, and really can’t be replaced.
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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.