Saturday, August 30, 2014

My New Multi Holiday and Multi Season Mixed Media 3-Level Collage Art Blocks



My mother always loved to decorate for the various holidays and various seasons and loved decorating her home with handmade decorations either she had made or were made for her by her children.   So, when my mother down sized and moved into a senior citizen apartment many years ago she didn't have a lot of room to store or display her seasonal and holiday decorations.

In thinking about this over the years I thought about handmade decorations that could be left out for several holidays and several seasons.  Something that wouldn't take a lot of room.  Something you could bring out in September and leave out until March.

Well, light dawned on me one day and multi holiday and multi season mixed media 3-level collage art blocks seemed to fit the bill.  The multi level wood blocks would be perfect for a multi seasonal multi holiday mixed media collage decoration that could be left out for many months.

Since the Fall, Christmas, and Winter seasons are my favorite times of the year I thought my blocks should have a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side.  And, best of all, they could be left out for 7 months.  All you'd have to do was turn the block for the season or holiday you wanted.

I ended up creating two 9" x 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" 3-tier mixed media collage art block towers with  a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side and two 4 1/2" x 2" x 2" mixed media mini art lock towers with a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side.




Fall, Halloween, Christmas, and Winter 3-Tier Mixed Handmade Media Art Collage Cube Tower  - 9" x 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"

If you're looking for a decoration that doesn't take up a lot of room and can be left out from September 1st until March 31st our 3-tier Fall, Halloween, Christmas, and Winter mixed media art collage cube tower would be a perfect fit.

With a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side all you have to do is turn the block for the season or holiday you want.

Our decoration is perfect for anyone with limited space for displaying decorations and limited space for storing decorations.




Fall, Halloween, Christmas, and Winter 3-Tier Handmade Mixed Media Art Collage Cube Tower  - 9" x 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"

If you're looking for a decoration that doesn't take up a lot of room and can be left out from September 1st until March 31st our 3-tier Fall, Halloween, Christmas, and Winter mixed media art collage cube tower would be a perfect fit.

With a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side all you have to do is turn the block for the season or holiday you want.

Our decoration is perfect for anyone with limited space for displaying decorations and limited space for storing decorations.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My New Multi Season Multi Holiday Mini and Large Mixed Media Tower Decorations



My mother always loved to decorate for the various holidays and various seasons and loved decorating her home with handmade decorations either she had made or were made for her by her children.   So, when my mother down sized and moved into a senior citizen apartment many years ago she didn't have a lot of room for her seasonal and holiday decorations.  She ended up giving some of her cherished decorations away.  She just didn't have the room to store or display them.

In thinking about this over the years and thinking about my own need to down size a little on my decorations I thought about handmade decorations that could be left out for several holidays and several seasons.  For me that would mean something I could bring out in September and leave out until March.  But, what kind of form would be conducive to that?

Well, after experimenting with the mixed media art dolls I had learned to make in my latest Artful Gathering class and thinking about multi level wood blocks a light bulb went off in my head.  The multi level wood blocks would be perfect for a multi seasonal multi holiday mixed media collage decoration that could be left out for many months.

Since the Fall, Christmas, and Winter seasons are my favorite times of the year I thought my blocks should have a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side.  And, best of all, they could be left out for 7 months.  All you'd have to do was turn the block for the season or holiday you wanted.

For the graphics I decided to mainly use some of my own doll graphics that I had created for my custom fabric lines.  However, I didn't have quite enough so I added some free graphics from The Graphics Fairy, free graphics from The Vintage Moth, free graphics from Antique Clipart, some Victorian graphics from "A Victorian Lady's Scrapbook" Dover Pictorial Archive paperback CD-ROM that I bought from Amazon, and some Victorian graphics in the public domain.



I ended up creating two 9" x 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" 3-tier mixed media collage art block towers with  a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side and two 4 1/2" x 2" x 2" mixed media mini art lock towers with a Fall side,  a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side.


I also had some other solid wood blocks that were  6" x 2" x 2" and 5 1/4" x 1 3/4" x 1 3/4" wood blocks that I made into mixed media collage art blocks with a Christmas side, a Winter side, and a Halloween side.


I also had two solid wood rectangles that were 4 3/4" x 2 1/4" x 1 1/4" that I made into mixed media collage art rectangles with 3 Christmas sides and one Halloween side.


I also made two 3 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 2" mixed media collage artist trading cards (i.e. ATC's) with a Halloween side and Christmas side.

I was pleased with the way all the art blocks turned out and decided to try my hand at some bigger blocks so stay tuned - there will be more.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ghosts, Goblins, and Witches, Oh My! How About Ghosts, Dracula And Frankenstein?



Well there's only a couple months until Halloween, or what's formerly known as "All Hallows Eve." And, I can hardly wait.

Now you might be wondering why that is and you may just be asking yourself - "Is she a witch?"   Well, I was born in a state famous for witches and it's quite possible that someone in my family line may have been a witch, but the reason is much simpler - I'm a crafter and crafters LOVE Halloween.

Why is that?

Well, you see Halloween has become a favorite holiday of doll makers and crafters because there are so many different types of dolls and various types of crafts that you can make for this one holiday.

Ghosts, goblins, and witches. Oh my!

Frankenstein, Dracula, and vampires. Oh,my!

Bats, pumpkins, and skulls. Oh my!

Skeletons, monsters, and witches brew. Oh,my!

Candy corn, costumes, and haunted houses. Oh my!

What a wondrous holiday for crafting.

So, of course, in thinking about Halloween I began to wonder how this all started. Well, the answer lies in the true origins of Halloween and the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. November 1st for the Celts marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. So the night before the new year the Celts celebrated the Festival of Samhain, who was the Lord of the Dead. The Celts believed that during this festival the souls of the dead (including ghosts, goblins, and witches, oh my!) returned to mingle with the living.



In the Druidic, religion of the ancient Celts, the Druids would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops, animals and sometimes humans, as they danced around the fires. The season of the sun would pass and the season of darkness would begin, oh my! On the morning of November 1st, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take it home to start a new cooking fire. The fires were intended to keep the homes warm and free of evil spirits such as banshees, oh my! It was believed that at this time of the year invisible "gates" would open between the real world and the spirit world, oh my! Movement between both worlds was possible, oh my!

In order to scare away the evil spirits the Celts would wear masks and the children would wear costumes. Halloween costumes have traditionally been monsters such as vampires, ghosts, witches, and devils, oh my!

Why?

Well, in 19th century Scotland and Ireland the reason the children wore such fearsome costumes was the belief that since the spirits of the dead were intent on doing harm that night, the best way to avoid this was to fool the dead spirits into thinking you were one of them. Monsters, vampires, and skeletons, oh my!

So, we know the reason for the costumes. Why carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns? Scary faces on pumpkins to boot, oh my! Why do we put candles in them and set them on the porch, oh my? This tradition is also derived from ancient celebrations and actually began with a turnip. The Celts would hollow out the turnips and place lighted candles inside to scare off the evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, they discovered that the pumpkin was a much larger substitute for the turnip. If it's larger, it's scarier. If it's scarier it will ward off evil spirits.

But, why are they called jack-o-lanterns? Well, it all started with an Irishman (of course) named Jack who was forced to roam the earth with just a burning coal inside his pumpkin to light the way for him. He had to roam the earth forever because he had never performed a single selfless act his whole life, oh my!


But, why the door-to-door trick-or-treating you ask? Well, once again we go back to Ireland where there was a custom of farmers going door-to-door to collect food and materials for the Festival of Samhain and the bonfire. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who didn't received bad luck, oh my! When the Irish immigrants came to America the door-to-door trick-or-treating came with them and thus the traditions began.

So, once again crafters and doll makers have tradition and folklore to credit for a slew of wondrous crafts and dolls to make for Halloween, oh my! It's one of my favorite times of the year.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Little Witch History!



With Halloween comes the most recognized of the villains - the witches.

That got me to thinking a little bit about witches. And, of course, when I get to thinking about something I inevitably wonder about their history and what started the fear of "witches?" This fear might better be defined as a "manic craze" that lasted for hundreds of years. YIKES!

Now, I might be a little more curious about "witches" than I should be. You see, I was actually born in the state that is notorious for witches, witchcraft, and witch trials. Plus, in my genealogy search I found there may be a witch or two in my family in the past! YIKES!

Maybe I'm actually a modern day witch? Nah!!!! Witches don't like Victorian dolls - or do they?

So, where did it all begin?

The most notorious of the witch lore was the Salem witch trials and the Smithsonian.com website has a wonderful history of the Salem witch trials entitled: A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials - One town's strange journey from paranoia to pardon - Smithsonian.com, October 24, 2007 - - By Jess Blumberg. It is well worth reading.

But, before the witch trials where did the fear of witches begin?

Maybe the place to start is with the definition of a witch.

So, what exactly is a witch?

Well, according to The Free Dictionary a witch is defined as:

1. A woman claiming or popularly believed to possess magical powers and practice sorcery.

2. A believer or follower of Wicca; a Wiccan.

3. A hag.

4. A woman considered to be spiteful or overbearing.

5. Informal A woman or girl considered bewitching.

6. One particularly skilled or competent at one's craft: "A witch of a writer, [she] is capable of developing an intensity that verges on ferocity" (Peter S. Prescott)

Well, that's a pretty broad definition. Just being an ugly evil looking old woman (i.e. hag) can get you defined as a witch. With that definition a lot of us are in trouble! YIKES!

Maybe a sorcerer, magician, or devil worshiper is more like it. I tend to think that most everyone would classify a witch as someone who can cast a spell over you. Wouldn't you agree? If so, that person is practicing witchcraft.

According to Wikipedia.com "witchcraft" is defined as follows:

Witchcraft (also called witchery or spellcraft) is the use of magical faculties, most commonly for religious, divinatory or medicinal purposes. This may take many forms depending on cultural context.

The belief in and the practice of magic has been present since the earliest human cultures and continues to have an important religious and medicinal role in many cultures today.

"Magic is central not only in 'primitive' societies but in 'high cultural' societies as well..."

The concept of witchcraft as harmful is often treated as a cultural ideology providing a scapegoat for human misfortune. This was particularly the case in the early modern period of Europe where witchcraft came to be seen as part of a vast diabolical conspiracy of individuals in league with the Devil undermining Christianity, eventually leading to large-scale witch-hunts, especially in Protestant Europe. Witch hunts continue to this day with tragic consequences.

Since the mid-20th century Witchcraft has become the designation of a branch of modern paganism. It is most notably practiced in the Wiccan and witchcraft traditions, some of whom claim to practice a revival of pre-Abrahamic spirituality.

The word witchcraft means "craft of the wise" and witchcraft is thought to be the oldest of religions.

As with many things in folklore some believe the roots of witchcraft come from the Celts living between 700 BC and 100 AD. The Celts and their religious leaders, the Druids, were spiritual people, who worshiped both a god, a goddess, and believed in reincarnation. Some historians say that witches date back to the days when the goddess was worshiped. During that time there was great respect for the powers of nature and for women as the creators of life. However, there are some who believe that witchcraft was alive well before the "Druids" and around 1800 B.C.

Witches, in fact, were respected members of the community up to about 1,000 A.D. They were valued for their ability to ease pain, heal people, and heal sick animals.

The religious beliefs and practices of the Celts became known as Paganism. Some say that their any beliefs and rituals spawned many of the practices associated with witches, such as: concocting potions, mixing ointments, casting spells, dabbling in the supernatural, forecasting the future, and performing feats of magic. These practices and many of the nature-based beliefs held by the Celts and others became known as witchcraft.

So, what led people to a fear of witches or, in other words, witch hunts, which is a search for witches? The inevitable result being burned at the stake or lynched? Yikes!


Around the 14Th century with the rise of Christianity and demise of paganism witchcraft became branded as "demon-worship." Witches became feared because with their knowledge of healing, herbs, hypnosis, etc. they could do things that the majority of the population and the religious leaders could not do. This was too threatening so the Christian Church taught that those claiming to heal outside the context of the Church (healing through faith and prayer) were thought to have obtained their skills from the Devil.

When North America started being settled witchcraft was practiced by some of the early colonial settlers in order to help the early settlers save their settlements from attacks by the Indians.

In some instances, the witches were put on trial before being burned alive or hung. I'll bet the witches wouldn't agree that they had fair trials - now would they? More like mass hysteria leading to execution would be a better description. Mass hysteria led by instigators who had an ulterior motive for persecuting the wrong-doers.

Witch hunts in Europe started around 1480 and went until 1700 during which there were anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 executions. By most accounts people were accused of witchcraft in order to explain some human misfortune that couldn't be explained else-wise. Something supernatural. Something that bewitched someone causing them to behave in an anti-social manner.

However, not all witches were the same. Some were bad witches and some were actually good witches. Some were sorcerers, some were midwifes, some were just plain healers.

In the Christian religion sorcery came to be associated with heresy and the denouncing of one's beliefs, which of course was very threatening to religious leaders of the time.

In Europe during the medieval times the fear of witchcraft rose to the level of mass hysteria resulting in numerous witch hunts. It was believed that the witches had entered into a pact with the devil and were being directed by the devil himself to commit unthinkable acts. Hundreds of thousands of people (mainly women) were executed, tortured and imprisoned.

In Europe witches have typically been women. As with a lot of beliefs, witchcraft began with the pagan belief in witchcraft that was associated with the goddess Diana, who was the ancient Roman goddess of the moon, the hunt, and chastity.

Most witches were thought to have the ability to cast a "spell" upon someone - good or bad. Some were also thought to have the ability to conjure up the dead and/or ability to talk to the spirit of a deceased person. Some early Christian authorities believed that witches made deals with the devil to gain power over infertility, child welfare, or even revenge against a lover. Witches had the power to disrupt marriage. All of which were seen as acts against the church.

According to folklore witches inevitably had the mark of the devil - which was a brand placed on their skin to signify their deal with the devil. YIKES!

However, not all witches were "evil." There were "good" witches or "white" witches who were able to heal the sick, who meditated, and brewed potions at the request of the person inflicted. These potions could heal the person inflicted versus causing them to act against their will. Good healing power, in other words, power that was beneficial was tolerated and acceptable behavior.

Within witchcraft itself there were different levels of "magic." "Black magic" is used to harm another human being. " Green magic" is used to align oneself with nature. "White magic" is used in an attempt to better oneself and align oneself with the needs of society. It does not entail harming other human beings. "Grey magic" contains an ethical code that is particular to the practitioner. "Folk magic" is a mix of many rituals; herbalism, faith healing, curses and hexes, candle magic, etc. and has thrived in rural areas for centuries.

Evil powers usually attributed to witches were the ability to make food poisonous, the ability to fly on a broomstick, the ability to make people sick, and make crops fail.

The most famous witchcraft incident in the North America were the Salem witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts. These were a series of hearings before a local magistrate prosecuting people for witchcraft. Between February 1692 and May 1693 over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned. Twenty nine people were convicted of the felony of witchcraft with 14 women and 4 men being hanged for it. One man was crushed with stones to get him to admit he was engaging in witchcraft. He never admitted it.

However, the belief in witchcraft didn't just exist in Europe and Pagan or Christian folklore. It existed in South America, Asia, Egypt, ancient Babylonia, India, Japan, Africa and in many of the well known world wide religions. In fact, in some cultures in Africa a belief in witchcraft exists even to this day.

Whether or not there actually are "witches" with special powers as foretold throughout history and throughout many regions and religions remains to be seen. What will remain is the folklore of the "witch" and their "evil" powers which will forever be associated in western culture with "Halloween" or "All Hallows Eve."

Witches are a favorite creation among artists and crafters. However, Halloween has also become a favorite of doll makers and crafters because there are so many different types of dolls, doll patterns, paintings, sculptures, graphics and crafts that you can make for this one holiday.

It might be ghosts, goblins, and witches. Or, Frankenstein, Dracula, and vampires. Maybe, bats, pumpkins, and skulls. Even, skeletons, monsters, and mummies. You also have candy corn, costumes, and haunted houses. It's definitely a wondrous holiday for crafting.

You can even design your own fabrics using all of these wondrous characters like I have.


So, this leads us to another question. Where did "Halloween" or "All Hallows Eve" start?
The answer lies in the true origins of Halloween and the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. November 1st for the Celts marked the beginning of a new year and the coming of winter. So the night before the new year the Celts celebrated the Festival of Samhain, who was the Lord of the Dead. The Celts believed that during this festival the souls of the dead (including ghosts, goblins, and witches) returned to mingle with the living.

In the Druidic, religion of the ancient Celts, the Druids would light fires and offer sacrifices of crops, animals and sometimes humans, as they danced around the fires. The season of the sun would pass and the season of darkness would begin.

On the morning of November 1st, the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take it home to start a new cooking fire. The fires were intended to keep the homes warm and free of evil spirits such as banshees. It was believed that at this time of the year invisible "gates" would open between the real world and the spirit world. Movement between both worlds was possible, especially for the witches.

In order to scare away the evil spirits the Celts would wear masks and the children would wear costumes. Halloween costumes have traditionally been monsters such as vampires, ghosts, witches, and devils.

Why?

Because in 19Th century Scotland and Ireland the reason the children wore such fearsome costumes was the belief that since the spirits of the dead were intent on doing harm that night, the best way to avoid this was to fool the dead spirits into thinking you were one of them. So, you would dress up as a witch, monster, vampire, and skeleton.

So, we know the reason for the costumes. Why carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns and put scary faces on the pumpkins to boot?

Why put candles in them and set them on the porch?

This tradition is also derived from ancient celebrations and actually began with a turnip. The Celts would hollow out the turnips and place lighted candles inside to scare off the evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, they discovered that the pumpkin was a much larger substitute for the turnip. If it's larger, it's scarier. If it's scarier it will ward off evil spirits.

But, why are they called jack-o-lanterns?

It all started with an Irishman (of course) named Jack who was forced to roam the earth with just a burning coal inside his pumpkin to light the way for him. He had to roam the earth forever because he had never performed a single selfless act his whole life!

But, why the door-to-door trick-or-treating you ask?

Once, again we go back to Ireland where there was a custom of farmers going door-to-door to collect food and materials for the Festival of Samhain and the bonfire. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who didn't received bad luck! When the Irish immigrants came to America the door-to-door trick-or-treating came with them and thus the traditions began.

I, personally, have made many witches and have designed many witch doll patterns for my Linda Walsh Originals website. 

Whether your favorite Halloween monster is a witch holding a jack-o-lantern, a ghost, a goblin, a vampire, Frankenstein, skeleton or mummy, it's safe to say that Halloween will remain a favorite holiday among children and among crafters.

Of course, one of my favorites is the witch.

After all - all us "hags" have to stick together!

Don't we?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Little Pumpkin History!



For some reason I got to thinking about pumpkins the other day.

And, as you probably know - when I get to thinking - well, watch out! There may just be a history lesson coming.

Pumpkins are a big part of the Fall line-up. Whether they are used as food or used as decorations or carved for celebrations they have a big role. So, I got to thinking about pumpkins and the history of pumpkins. How long have they been around and what started the jack-o-lantern craze?

Artists and crafters have long had a fascination with pumpkins. The reason has to be because they are so versatile and no matter what type of arts & crafts you like to create - there is a pumpkin that can be made. They can be cute, delightful, and whimsical. Or, they can be downright scary and frightening. They can be wholesome or a little bit naughty. Kids love to draw them and carve them. I, of course, love to create pumpkin dolls and especially love to create custom pumpkin fabric.

My research tells me that pumpkins originated somewhere in Central America between 5,500 and 7,000 B.C. and have been used as a food staple ever since.

So, what exactly is a "pumpkin?"

Well, according to Wikipedia.com"Pumpkin is the name of a plant that refers to certain cultivars of squash, most commonly those of Cucurbita pepo, that are round, with smooth, slightly ribbed skin and deep yellow to orange coloration. The thick shell contains the seeds and pulp. Some exceptionally large cultivars of squash with similar appearance have also been derived from Cucurbita maxima. Specific cultivars of winter squash derived from other species, including C. argyrosperma, and C. moschata, are also sometimes called "pumpkin". In New Zealand and Australian English, the term "pumpkin" generally refers to the broader category called winter squash elsewhere.

Pumpkins, like other squash, are native to North America. Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use, and are used both in food and recreation. Pumpkin pie, for instance, is a traditional part of Thanksgiving meals in the United States, although commercially canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie fillings are usually made from different kinds of winter squash than the pumpkins frequently carved as jack o'lanterns for decoration around Halloween.

Pumpkins, like other squash, are thought to have originated in North America. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500 BC, were found in Mexico.

Since some squash share the same botanical classifications as pumpkins, the names are frequently used interchangeably. One often used botanical classification relies on the characteristics of the stems: pumpkin stems are more rigid, prickly, and angular (with an approximate five-degree angle) than squash stems, which are generally softer, more rounded, and more flared where joined to the fruit.

The color of pumpkins is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them. The main nutrients are lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, the latter of which generates vitamin A in the body.

In America the pilgrims learned about pumpkins from the Native American Indians who would cut the pumpkins into strips and then cook them over the fire. They called pumpkins "isquotersquash." Very quickly pumpkins were added to the diets of the pilgrims.

However, the pilgrims decided to cut the top of the pumpkin off and scoop out the seeds and then fill the pumpkin with honey, milk, and other spices and then baked it in hot coals. This concoction eventually became pumpkin pie as we know it today.

The pilgrims, in turn, brought pumpkin seeds back to their European countries where it became a popular part of the European diet.

In addition to use as a food staple, pumpkin shells were dried and cut into strips. Then the strips were weaved into mats.


For the Iroquois the pumpkin was grown together with corn and beans and the three became known as the "three sisters." As with many things there is a legend surrounding the "three sisters."

According to Iroquois legend, a pregnant woman who was living in the sky world wanted to have some bark of the root of the great tree that grew in the sky world. Her husband scraped the dirt away from the base of the tree to expose the roots and while doing so created a hole. After her husband had obtained the bark the woman leaned over and peered into the hole that had been created. She lost her balance and fell through the hole to the earth below and subsequently become the first human on earth.

She eventually gave birth to a daughter who grew up and and became pregnant herself with twins by the West Wind. Just before the twins were to be born they got into a fight in the womb about how they were going to be born. The left handed twin did not want to be born in the usual way and, instead, forced himself out through his mother's left armpit which subsequently killed her. The twins buried their mother and after doing so noticed that corn, beans and pumpkins sprouted from the spot where she was buried. The three later became the main food staple of the Iroquois.

Every Spring the Iroquois women would plant corn, bean, and pumpkin seeds together. They would dig holes and into each hole would put one corn seed, one bean seed, and one pumpkin seed along with a dead fish. The dead fish fertilized the ground while the corn stalk provided support for the bean vine to climb. The pumpkin plant provided ground cover to keep the weeds out and the roots of the bean added nutrients to the soil.

Eventually with the arrival of the Irish in the 19Th century the use of pumpkins for "jack-o-lanterns" was born. The Irish already had an ancient tradition of hollowing out the inside of turnips and placing lighted candles inside to scare off the evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, they discovered that the pumpkin was a much larger substitute for the turnip. If it's larger, it's scarier. If it's scarier it will ward off evil spirits.

So now we know about the history of the pumpkin. But, why are they called jack-o-lanterns? Well, it all started with a stingy Irishman (of course) named Jack who was a miserable old drunk. He like to play tricks on everyone including the Devil himself - which, of course, was very foolish. Well, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree and then placed crosses all around the base of the tree. The Devil couldn't get down from the tree due to the crosses so Jack made the Devil promise not to take his soul when he died. Jack removed the crosses and the Devil climbed down from the tree.

Years later, when Jack died he was told by St. Peter at the gates of heaven that he would not be let into heaven due to the life he had led on earth. Since the Devil had promised Jack he wouldn't take his soul Jack wasn't able to enter hell, either. So he was forced to roam the earth between heaven and hell in darkness with just a burning coal inside his turnip ( i.e. "Jack O'Lantern) to light the way for him.


I, personally, have made many pumpkin dolls and and various decorative crafts using my custom pumpkin fabric.

So, pumpkins have been around for a long time. They have become an intricate part of the Fall season and Halloween. I suspect that that they will continue to be a popular tradition of families and children for years to come and, as a result, popular among artists and crafters as well.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

She's Been Waiting Seven Years For A Name!



Sometimes you get so busy things slip your mind.  Little things like forgetting to pick something up at the grocery store or an errand you wanted to run. Little things of no consequence to anyone.

However, when you forget to give someone a name - well, that's a big NO! NO! At least as far as the "dollies" are concerned.

I had intended to name this particular doll back in 2007, but forgot to follow through. No big deal as far as I was concerned. Not so as far as the "dollies" are concerned. You'd think I committed the worst crime in the world. Since peace in the Walsh household is heavily dependent on the "dollies" moods and attitudes I knew I had to fix this and fix it quickly. The last thing I needed right now was another "riot" from the Dollie Storage Room.

To give you a little background on this doll she was made for me to use as the Spring and Summer display that I have on the cabinet in my front hall and is not for sale.

Every season I change the front hall display and she stays there for the two seasons which suits her just fine.

Of course, my sister also loves her and I have to be careful that when she comes to visit during the Spring or Summer that she doesn't steal her. She keeps threatening too.  I told her that she can't have her. But, I half expect to see her hanging out of one of her suitcases.

So, she says, "Fine, then I'll take my namesake." Well, her namesake is similar to this doll and is the doll I used for my Debra (LW027) pattern. She, however, is in a very fancy faux blue suede and white lace outfit. She's beautiful, too, just not as much of my favorite as this one is.

I keep telling my sister that she can't have her either as she was the doll I used for my Linda Walsh Originals pattern so I have to keep her to support the pattern. Just in case I need to take more pictures. When I told my sister this I got one of those "yeah, sure!" looks. You know what I mean.

So, she presented me with a list of 54 of my handmade dolls and crafts that she would take instead. All free, of course. Isn't family wonderful! I keep telling her that I'm still reviewing her list. I didn't tell her that I tried to burn it! LOL LOL

I told my sister after I made her namesake that she was the largest Victorian I had made and was a pain in the.....! So, I named her after my younger sister, Debra. Ha! Ha! However, I did clarify that the pattern was a pain. You, my wonderful sister, are not.

In any event, I'm getting off track again. Back to the Victorian doll. Since faceless Victorians are my favorite she, of course, is faceless. So, not only is she faceless but now she's gone 7 years without a name! Shame on me.




She is a 27” Victorian doll wearing an 1853 walking dress. She has a fancy lace and ruffled trim lined navy jacket with double stand-up collar and mid-length gathered and lace decorated sleeves. Her jacket is also decorated along all the edges with lace trim - inside and outside. The outside is flat lace while the inside is gathered lace that hangs down below the bottom hemline. The jacket is waistline length and ties in the front with two sets of ribbons.


Her dress is bi-colored with the upper being white and the bottom being a coordinated blue & white fabric. The dress sleeves are gathered and the sleeve cuff is the same fabric as the lower part of the dress. The lower part of the dress is three tiered with two over-skirts. The top over-skirt and second over-skirt tier are each decorated with gathered lace. Each over-skirt tier is gathered at the waistline and the second over-skirt tier is also gathered up the front center line and back center line. There is 4Th level of gathered lace around the waistline of the dress. The upper part of the dress is adorned with two small silk floral decorations.


She has a very fancy multiple-tiered gathered lace & floral trimmed lined hat covered with white and peach silk flowers all along the top of the hat. A large band of the lower dress fabric is used to secure the hat to the head and is tied under her neck in a large bow just to the left of her chin.


Her red wool rove hair is tied in a large bun along the backside of her head and semi-covered by her hat.


She also has a lace trimmed slip underneath her dress. One of my sister-in-laws Mother's old peach colored lace scarf is draped around her shoulders as a shawl.

Her arms are wire-shaped and covered and she is wearing lace gloves. She also has a fabric covered head and covered square wood base. Her inner body is supported by a dowel and is covered with fabric and lace. She is stuffed with a ton of old bits of fabric to mimic some of the dolls of old days.

I told the "dollies" that I've decided to call her Vanessa Lynn. So, now she has a name. In fact, she has two. I hope this makes her happy, makes the "dollies" happy and restores piece to the Dollie Storage Room. I've got my fingers crossed.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Gotta Love Scarecrows, But A Teddy Bear As A Scarecrow!



You can't be a doll designer or doll pattern designer and not have one, two, three, four or more scarecrow dolls. They can be primitive, classic, scary, well-dressed, tattered, large or small bodied, cheerful, scary, etc. It doesn't matter. They're a staple of every crafter. Why is that? Why are we so enthralled with them? I'm not sure, but I'd like to find out.

That got to me thinking about scarecrows and their history. Oh, boy! Another research project. For all my blog readers you know how I HATE research projects!

The definition of a scarecrow is 1) an object for scaring birds away (i.e. an object in the shape of a person dressed in old clothes, set up in a field to scare birds away), 2) a poorly dressed person (i.e. somebody who wears ragged clothes) , and 3) something frightening, but not dangerous.

They say that farmers have been making scarecrows for more than 3,000 years with the earliest know written fact being written in 1592. In the 1700's the farmers in the American colonies needed more and more grain. The farmers decided that neither they nor the scarecrows were sufficiently protecting the crops so the towns started to offer bounties for dead crows.

Well, things went too far (which is what usually happens) and so many crows were killed that in the 1800's the colonies had a severe problem with an over population of worms and insects that had previously been eaten by the crows. The worms and insects were destroying more crops than the crows had (that figures). So the farmers took to making scarecrows again.

While they have traditionally been known as scarecrows they have had several names and have taken on several forms. In Pennsylvania the German farmers built human looking scarecrows called "bootzamon" or bogeyman. The "Bootzamon's" body was a wooden cross and his head was a broom, mop top, or piece of cloth stuffed with straw. He usually wore old overalls, shirt, straw hat, and red handkerchief around his neck.

Sometimes more than one was built (everybody needs a little company, even scarecrows). The German farmers even had a "bootzafrau" or bogeywife. After all, every scarecrow needs a partner, don't they? The "bootzafrau" was usually dressed in a long dress or coat, wearing a hat or sunbonnet, and was placed in the opposite end of the field. So, you had a "bootzamon" on one end and a "bootzafrau" on the other end. Wonder which one really wore the pants in that family!



During the Middle Ages the German farmers made wooden witches and put them in the fields at the end of the winter. They believed that the witches would draw the evil spirit of winter into their bodies (which is why they were so ugly) so spring would come.

In Egypt, scarecrows were used to protect the fields along the Nile River from quail. The farmers would put wooden frames up with nets and would hide in the fields to scare the quail in to the nets. Once captured they, of course, would take them home and eat them.

They say that in Greece 2,500 years ago that wooden scarecrows were made to look like Priapus, the son of the god Dionysus and the goddess Aphrodite. According to legend Priapus lived with vineyard keepers and was very ugly. When he played in the fields he was so ugly the birds were frightened away. Maybe it's me, but if Priapus was the son of Aphrodite (wasn't she the goddess of love and beauty) I would think the crows would have flocked to him.

Japanese farmers hung old rags, meat, fish bones, etc. from bamboo poles in their rice fields. They named their scarecrows "kakashis" which means smells badly because they would set the sticks on fire and the smell was so bad that it drove the birds away. Of course, it probably drove the neighbors away, but that's a different story.

In Medieval Britain the scarecrows known as "bird shooers" were live boys 9 years old or older. I bet you're thinking I'm going to tell you that they were tied to the wooden crosses and hung in the fields. The young boys patrolled the fields carrying bags of stones which they would throw at the birds to chase them away.

After the Great Plague in 1348, when approximately half the population was killed, the farmers started to stuff sacks with straw and hung these in the fields as there were not enough little boys around to scare the birds away. They would stuff the sacks with straw and make carved heads out of gourds.


Most of the Native American Indian scarecrows were adult men. They would sit on raised platforms and would howl and shout at the crows if they came near the corn. Creek Indian families actually moved into huts within the corn fields during the growing season to protect the crops from birds and other prey. In New York, the Seneca Indians soaked their corn seeds in a poisonous herb mixture that would make the crows fly around like crazy and scare the other birds away.

It's been reported that one of the scarecrows used by the Navajo took the form of a teddy bear, which was hung from the top of a pole. That's a new one for me. A teddy bear as a scarecrow. You'd think the crows would want to cuddle the bear not fly away from it. Could be a new doll line. Hmmm.

In any event, the scarecrow has clearly been around a very long time and clearly has taken many forms. Whether you believe in the tradition or not scarecrows are loved by artists, crafters, writers, and children the world over. For doll designers and crafters we just can't have enough of them. I know, I can't.

I, personally, have made many scarecrows and have designed many scarecrow doll patterns for my Linda Walsh Originals website. 

I have also designed several custom fabrics using some of my scarecrow designs.   My Fall Custom Fabric Designs Collection can be seen HERE.  

For crafters it really doesn't matter whether you are a crafter of primitive crafts, Victorian crafts, country crafts, etc. No matter what type of crafter or designer you are we all still have one thing in common: we are all still in love with scarecrows. I know I am and I suspect you are as well.

Gotta Love Stick'em and Collect'em Wooden Doll Ornaments



My Mother and I did a lot of shopping together and thought that, instead of shopping, it would be nice every once in awhile to get together for a few hours a day to complete a quick and easy craft project.   So, I put together a few ideas that I thought might be fun to do together.

One of the quick and easy craft projects I thought we could do was to make a collection of little doll ornaments made out of popsicle sticks.  Unfortunately my Mom and I never got to put them together for one of our crafting days so I decided put them together and create free e-patterns to share.

So, please meet the Stick'Em and Collect'Em Series of doll ornaments.

If ever there was a "wild and crazy" bunch of dolls it would have to be the "Stick'em and Collect'em Series" of wood stick doll ornaments.

They love to be collected and can will fit in with any primitive, country, Victorian, shabby/chic, or vintage home decor.

They just love to hang out with each other.

Stick'em and collect'em. They'll fit right in.


"Susie, Stick'em & Collect'em" is the prankster of the group.  She just loves a good joke and loves punking her friends.  Watch out she may pull a prank on you.  Her free e-pattern is here.


"Sammy, Stick'em & Collect'em" is the most inquisitive of the stick dolls.  She's always wondering why this or why that.  So much so that it drives the other stick dolls crazy.  She's probably got a question for you.  Her free e-pattern is here.

Gotta Love Candleweeds Here's Larry's Free E-Pattern


If ever there was unusual cluster of wood-crafts it would have to be the Candleweeds Family. There's Will, Larry, Bill, Harry, Barry, and Phil.

They were born several years ago and were made from upside down unpainted candle cup holders I saw at a local craft store.  I was looking for a quick and easy craft project that I could make with my mother.  Something that could be created in a couple of hours. Something we could do on one of the crafting days we liked to have.

Unfortunately, I never got a chance to make these with my Mom so I decided to make them myself and then create free e-patterns to share.

After creating the free e-patterns I decided to create free coloring and printable pages so you could color your favorite Candleweed or cut out their printable.  They're a fun group of individuals who just want you to have fun with them.


Larry is the class clown of the Candleweeds Family.  He loves to laugh and loves to play practical jokes on the rest of his siblings - something the rest of his siblings are not always happy with.

He's made from a 3" upside down wood candle cup holder with a painted head and part drawn, part painted face.  He has a fringed scarf wrapped around his neck and a full head of spiked red hair.

His free e-pattern is here.

For more information on all my free e-patterns, e-printables and e-books please CLICK HERE.

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