Friday, December 24, 2010

A Merry, Merry Christmas from All of Us

Best Wishes from the Artists of Cordwood Cabin this Holiday Season!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A festive table setting for the holiday (or post-holiday season) -- complete with pumpkins...

Monday, December 6, 2010

An eBook Giveaway Opportunity!

Good news for people who love free books! A good friend of the Cabin is giving away a copy of her first published e-Book to celebrate the experience. Entitled Only in Novels, this lighthearted romantic novelette was released by White Rose Publishing on their website (see the all-new book trailer for the release below).

Check out the book at White Rose Publishing's website HERE (Kindle and other digital editions available).

And enter to win a free copy HERE at the author's chic writing blog The Paper Doll. This giveaway is hosted in conjunction with a fellow Cabin-er's scribbling journal Writing in a Cordwood Cabin on Blogger. Good luck and happy reading!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pie Time

For Thanksgiving, the cabin turns its fondest thoughts from crafting ...

... to baking. This classic pumpkin pie was the centerpiece:

This is the loaded pear and plum pie is based on a magazine piece on a pie baker from Mission Beach, California ... does this classic cherry (although I folded in an additional serving of the pastry cream recipe included with another recipe for apple-cranberry pie).

Bon appetite!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Celebrating the Season

The new Christmas wreath for the cabin ...

... and the old Thanksgiving window display.

A little bit of everything for the holiday season, no?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from Cordwood Cabin

A very merry Halloween, from all of us to you ...
we hope it will be filled with treats, and lighted pumpkins, too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Attention ... Important Annoucement from Reggie!

Attention! Calling all Crow's Life Blog readers! The fantastic Halloween adventure of Reggie and Friends is now in progress and drawing to a close -- don't miss this opportunity!

Hurry over to catch up on past episodes and witness the stunning conclusion! Click the Crow Button on the right side of the blog to join the story in progress!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Turning to the Page Phantoms

Is it the unnamed fear of The Turn of the Screw?

Or the two-faced audacity of Dorian Gray?

Our favorite? The irresistably evil Madame Defarge.

Basket o' Heads, Ye Trick or Treaters?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Ghost Girl

Even a ghost fancies a little masquerade for Halloween ...

This spooky sight (and her skeletal paper mask) are available on Etsy this week; click HERE to visit them up close.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Tour of the Ghostly Gallows

We didn't have to look hard to find a few old friends who made the gallows a less-than-welcoming place. From our most sinister Headless Horseman to Quantril's Bones ...

... to one of our all-time favorites, the Raven Poe.

Quite a grim figure, isn't he?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Revisiting the Haunted Hollows

There were quite a few favorites in our first series, from Hob the Goblin King to Harry the Hooligan.

But our favorite was probably Irving the Undertaker: a grim sort of figure, whose sinister smile was innocent enough, I suppose...and whose business card was no doubt legit --

...but there's something about him that just isn't quite normal.

Happy Halloween from friends old and new.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spooooky Recommendations!

Check out this and THIS for tips on creating a splendid Halloween pumpkin (after all, it's never too early to start practicing, right?)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Ghost Girl

Even a ghost fancies a little masquerade for Halloween ...

This spooky sight (and her skeletal paper mask) are available on Ebay this week; click the Cheshire Cat on the right to visit them up close.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Skeleton Jangle

Mr. Bones plays a sinister tune. Hardly a need for those bones in hand with those long and knobby fingers, eh?

Click the Vanishing Cheshire Cat on the right to visit him on Ebay this week ... as he serenades visiters with his grim tune.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chills and Thrills this Fall

First, we visited the Haunted Hollows ... then the Ghostly Gallows ... and Page Phantoms

And now: the big unveiling of our new fall series of sculpted dolls is --

The first doll is ready to make his big debut both here and on Ebay, so stay tuned!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dancing Down the Moon

Witch Hazel is ready for a jig 'round the Halloween bonfire ... she's quite flexible when it comes to dancing.

Cut from prim muslin and handpainted, Hazel's jointed limbs are poseable, her body ready to be propped up in a primitive chair or stand or perched on a shelf as a decoration...

She's quite a jolly soul, with her cheerful smile and funny little stripey stocking legs.

Her primitive skirts are cut from raggedy cheesecloth and sewn beneath her painted-on bodice and hood; a primitive broom and a stiffened muslin witch's hat accompanies her.

See Witch Hazel up close in our Etsy shop, Cabin Crafts!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Up in the Halloween Sky

It's a bird, it's a plane ... no wait, it's a giant Jack o' Lantern! Up in the Halloween sky, little Bobby pilots a grinning pumpkin through the silvery nighttime stars...

Handpainted with a metallic enamel sheen, this light-bulb-turned-ornament is trimmed with gold Christmas tinsel. A tiny paper mache baskets dangles below from gold threads, with a double-sided Bobby in pumpkin clown pajamas (he's cut from a reproduction vintage Halloween card).

Bobby and other holiday balloons are on display HERE in our Etsy Cabin Crafts store.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Helpful Hand from Witch Heloise

Need a floor swept sparkling clean? Tips on adding a shine to that cauldron's surface? Just ask Witch Heloise for her tips on working a little Halloween magic (she'll even bring her own broom).

Her green eyes and brown curls are accented by a faded, raggedy dress of muslin pieces and a painted-on bodice. One muslin hat, stiffened with paint, perches atop her head. Heloise has no legs, but a wooden skewer a la puppet-style dolls.

See Witch Heloise up close in our Etsy Cabin Crafts shop.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Of Ghoulies and Ghosties and Funny Wee Beasties...

Now that the patriotic season is behind us, what lies before us? For primitive artists, the answer is simple: Halloween.

We've just started on our Halloween lineup -- ideas are in the works, sketches are being made, and the all-new line of sculpted dolls is being discussed (with plans, of course, to top last year's "Page Phantoms" and the "Ghostly Gallows" of the year before).

Many of our newest creations will be appearing on Etsy, which is something new for us; traditionally, our Halloween merchandise is concentrated on Ebay. While the sculpted dolls may still appear on Ebay, as tradition dictates, their cute, whimsical, and sometimes macabre friends may be finding places in the shop as soon as we can make them.

From balloons to thaumatropes to shelf sitters and dolls, we never know what Halloween will bring -- short of surprises, that is. In the meantime, we'll be showing off a few of our favorites from the past as we try to inspire ourselves to surpass them!

As for the primitives world at large, we encourage you to visit the work of Old Farmhouse Gathering on Etsy. They'll be hosting their yearly Fall Celebration in the coming months, which features a variety of handmades, folk art, and primitive creations -- check out their current work by typing "ofg team" into the Etsy search blank.

And be prepared from some scary sights in the coming weeks.... mwah ha ha ha ha!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Ghost of Halloween Yet to Come

"Boooooooo.... I'm here to haunt you, dear readers, with my spooky presence...the shape of things yet to come on All Hallows Eve --"

You're no Halloween Ghost -- we all know you, Reggie, under that sheet.

"All right, all right, you win. But can I still put it a word for my blog?"

Of course you can, Reg.

"Thanks much. Greetings and salutations, readers! The all-new Halloween story for 'A Crow's Life' is in progress for readers eager to catch up with my exciting adventures! Catch up with the latest installments and stay tuned for the exciting episodes in the coming months!"

An all-new Halloween story, Reggie? Isn't it a little early?

"Well, you're hardly one to talk. Besides, the sooner the better when unfolding a super-scary adventure for the masses, right?"

I suppose you're right, Reg. Folks, click the Crow Button on the right to visit Reggie-the-Crow's personal blog and see what chills and thrills unfold this fall...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Thaumatropes

I just love these little ornaments. Reminiscient of Victorian childhoods, of summer crafts and holiday creations meant to amuse small fingers and grown-up minds alike, the thaumatrope is far more creative than a simple circle or standard "bird and cage" design.

My first acquaintence with them was the "Addy" American Girl doll, which features the thaumatrope design as a popular toy for Addy and other girls her age. While the story features the most basic design, more complex creations were equally as common in post-Civil War and Victorian America. The opening monage to Masterpiece Theater's Little Dorrit features a series of creative thaumatrope designs, spinning to reveal their two pictures joined in harmony.

The steps for creating one are simple: two matching pieces of paper, glue, a small hole punch (optional) and a bit of thread or ribbon for the cord. Tips on making one are linked HERE and to the side under our Featured Article button, including free images for unique thaumatropes and holiday designs.

In our shop, you'll find sheets available with unique thaumatrope images, pre-printed and ready to cut with different size-and-shape templates included -- both all-season images and holiday designs. We'll be adding Halloween sheets soon, perfect for Halloween kids' projects, craft activities, and trick-or-treat designs (cords and glue not included).

Try drawing your own for something new or personalized -- with a sailor and boat, for instance, or a knight and dragon. You can "draw" them using Paintbrush or a computer graphics program or color them by hand with pencils or markers -- just make sure to cut out the images and position them so when the thaumatrope "spins" the two sides form a single picture.

To test any thaumatrope's size and alignment before gluing, fasten the sides together temporarily with a tiny daub of glue or nonpermanent adhesive and spin. Make any necessary trimming or adjustments afterwards before permanently assembling the thaumatrope.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Irish Eyes Smilin'

Brave and true with her flag of green, Erin sails above the Emerald Isle in a shamrock-embellished balloon.

Painted with green enamel paint, this modified lightbulb includes gold enamel shamrocks painted in a random pattern over the surface. Decoupaged to the front is a green and gold Irish harp cut from a reprinted vintage St. Paddy's Day card.

Below in her paper-mache basket, young Erin is fastened between the gold thread cords. Double-sided and cut from reprinted Irish clipart, Erin is glued sturdily in place.

Sail away to the Isle of Green on a holiday tree branch and share those endearing young charms!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

True Red, White, and Blue

The Fourth of July may be only one day, but patriotism lives on in Sam's heart all year long.

Painted in bold, crackled colors of red, white, and blue, this mini lightbulb balloon is a glass ornament perfect for patriotic holidays or the branches of a Christmas tree. Its primitive stripes are accented with a band of gold enamel paint and a series of faded white stars stenciled across the blue field.

Below, in a basket of paper mache, is Uncle Sam himself among the gold cords and Christmas tinsel trim. Cut from a reprinted vintage holiday card, Sam is double-sided and glued securely to the basket's floor. There's a loop of gold thread fastened to the top for hanging the ornament from a holiday tree branch.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Maps

All those who wander are not lost -- J.R.R. Tolkien

Who doesn't love the feel of adventure from looking at a map? There's something aesthetically pleasing about their bright colors and exotic locations, which is why we own so many tucked away in shelves or pinned to walls. From National Geographic inserts to handmade fabric replicas, travel maps scream adventure to the average passer-by.

Making a map by hand is relatively simple, as seen in these photos of Santa Claus's navigational map...

... with tiny landmarks painted by hand inside the rolled-up surface.

The muslin is painted, then tea-dyed and treated with "prim primer" and cinnamon. The painted surface is sanded in place to create worn spots, holes, and faded colors. The bit of gold glint is from metallic enamel paint, added for embellishment.

In the past, walls were covered with an array of maps, from South American civilizations to the Anarctic. Applied with sticky tack to the surface, the banners would sometimes fall without the support of thumbacks; any tears were re-patched on the back with tape and the map was doggedly re-applied to the surface.

Antique maps are often hard to come by (and expensive), but the effect is well worth it when beautifully framed and displayed -- especially the "tapestry" style cloth maps of old. Make your own using the tips offered here or make up a creative kid's version using crumpled brown paper and craft paints. From pirate treasure maps to lost civilizations, the possibilities are endless.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Those Endearing Young Charms ...

This wee little lad's a bit late for St. Paddy's Day, but not for the all-year-round holiday shop. His balloon is handpainted with gold shamrocks against the crackled green surface; a vintage reproduction shamrock greeting card is decoupaged to the front, surrounded by gilt enamel paint.

The little lad with the wearin' of the green appearance is cut from a vintage reproduction St. Paddy's Day card. Secured in a gilded paper-mache basket, he dangles below the green balloon.

Ready for a ride above the Emerald Isle -- or perhaps just a trip around the Christmas or holiday tree.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We Interrupt this Regularly Scheduled Broadcast ...

... with breaking news: an all-new episode of "A Crow's Life" is in progress! Yes, I repeat, the all-new adventures of the handsome and intelligent crow and his supporting cast are now appearing in a new fall story.

Click the Crow Button on the right to experience the horrors which lie in store for Reggie and his pals or use the link HERE to join the story in progress and catch up with the first episodes!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Disney Fun Farm

This came in the mail today. Freshly ordered from Ebay, it's a blast from the past ... and one increasingly hard to find, since one of the set's key components was recalled during the 1980's.

The original tractor I owned was yellow; the original farm dog was eaten by its real-life counterpart, a German Shepherd mix breed named Lady, who was devoted to children (but a sucker for soft, chewy plastic toys).

My sister absolutely loved this plastic orange chicken and named it "Scruffy". He appeared in several childhood games involving dogs, cats, intrigue, and a plastic orange racecar and helicopter I purchased specially for him one Christmas.

She still has the racecar and helicopter somewhere. Along with the original "Scruffy", now living up to his name after a childhood of complicated and daring adventures.

Daisy was my favorite. I eventually isolated her from the box and caried her around in my pockets, along with a plastic Playskool peg-style Minnie Mouse (another story for another time). Mickey and Minnie gradually disappeared into the Realm of Tiny Lost Plastic Things, where most miniature childhood toys eventually go.

I hope they met up with that Polly Pocket cat we lost. And the Barbies' Thanksgiving turkey, too.

Last time I saw the original pig from this set, he was a grimy little figure in a tin box with a series of plastic puppies, whom I think "adopted" him into their family.

I have no idea what happened to the original weathervane and silo top. In fact, I forgot it even had such feature until this one arrived. It now joins the remainder pieces in the game closet when not on display, next to the plastic fort, Barbie Christmas ornaments, and other treasures in storage between seasons.