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Al Young Studios Newsroom
Hand crafts Articles

Simple knits for cherished babies

By Elspeth C. Young

Several years ago I stumbled across Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight—a delightful British volume which immediately attracted my attention.  I hurried home with book in hand, two skeins of some wonderfully soft and rustic-feeling wool (bought for pennies on clearance), and my no. 5 needles; and I eagerly set to work tackling a matching stockinette–stitched cap, sweater, and booties perfectly sized for a newborn's first winter.  You might have caught a glimpse of the finished outfit snugly tucked into a friendly basket near our antique singer sewing machine on page 12 of our Just David issue, but there just wasn't room in the Journal for more than a passing glance, and I thought it was high time I recommended Knight's delightful designs... Read more »

Tags: 2011, Hand crafts, Recommended reading

A string bag fit for Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise

By Al R. Young   "And Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise brought a salad with him in a string bag." ~The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher

Though originally designed with Eric Kastner's thoroughly delightful  Emil and the Detectives in mind, Elspeth's unique pattern for a whimsical string market bag is also an excellent fit for the Alderman's "string bag" seen in Beatrix Potter's illustration from The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher (pictured below right).

So, while we're busily working away on the upcoming summer issue celebrating Beatrix's beloved Tales, you might pull out your Emil issue and have some hand-crafting fun... Read more »

Tags: Vol. 9 No. 5, 2011, Hand crafts

Of tams and terriers . . .

By Al R. Young Poor Greyfriars Bobby had to patiently linger once more, much as he did in Eleanor Atkinson's beloved story; though this wait was due to a major computer meltdown here at The Studios.  He's off and "louping" now, however, and should show up in some mailboxes as early as today.

Baroness Burdett-Coutts, the patroness of many a good cause, who magically materializes in Greyfriars Bobby as "the Grand Leddy;" was much older than she appears in this endearing portrait when she came to visit Bobby... Read more »

Tags: Vol. 11 No. 3, 2011, Hand crafts

The domesticated thistle

By Al R. Young If like most gardeners you prefer that the beauty of the Scottish thistle contain itself to the house, rather than inflict its thorny presence on the perennial border--you might wish to reopen the pages of the Little Lord Fauntleroy issue of The Storybook Home Journal (Vol.6 No.3) where Ashton, Elspeth and Al remade a forlorn thrift store Grandfather clock over into the fabulous treasure pictured here.

Or if you prefer to ply a needle rather than a paintbrush, try the handsome thistle design, below, by Paula Kate Marmor from her treat-of-a-website, Elizabethan Blackwork: The Blackwork Embroidery Archives... Read more »

Tags: Vol. 6 No. 3, 2011, Beauty and home, Hand crafts

Nestling into Eastertide

By Al R. Young
Every year since our first Spring issue, A Girl of the Limberlost, subtitled "Keeping to the Seasons," we've tried to keep the Easter season in mind as well.  There have been painted eggs, rabbit rolls, bunny breads, floral cakes, Easter cookies and more.  (See Easter Baking 2010 for a little taste.)
One of our favorite projects for Easter, however, is still the bird's nests we created for A Girl of the Limberlost--it's a satisfying bit of crafting that we recently recreated to share with a dear friend... Read more »

Tags: 2011, Easter, Hand crafts, Holidays

Hand-painted candles

By Al R. Young The Hearth article in this year's Christmas issue of The Storybook Home Journal featured hand-painted candles inspired by Dickens' novella, The Battle of Life and The Pickwick Papers. We simply couldn't resist the idea of personalizing candles to brighten Christmas and the coming year (besides, they made marvelous Christmas gifts!). The article provides detailed visual and verbal instructions for creating candles embellished with mistletoe, sweetbrier, and delicate Christmas greenery... Read more »

Tags: 2010, Christmas, Hand crafts, Holidays

A little bit of brightness

By Al R. Young A bit of brightness from Sophia Hawthorne that we didn't have a chance to include in The House of the Seven Gables issue of The Storybook Home Journal (just sent out,) was a portion of a letter Sophia wrote while husband, Nathaniel,was at commencement exercises at Bowdoin College in Maine.
At the time children Una, Julian, and Rose were ages 9,6, and 15 months, respectively. The children were attempting to come up with ideas to cheer home upon his return:

Concord, Mass. 1852
August 30th, Monday... Read more »

Tags: 2010, Beauty and home, Hand crafts, Home quotes

Creating faux hand-painted tiles

By Al R. Young Elspeth hand-painted about 60 tiles for the Workshops project in our most current issue of the Journal: Vol 10 No 2 Mama's Bank Account. They match the tiles she painted for an earlier volume of the Journal: Vol 4 No 6 The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi). Here are some tips for painting some faux tiles of your own to accent any wall in the home.

Elspeth used semi-gloss white latex interior paint to coat each tile two times. (Use a soft, natural bristle brush rather than a synthetic one in order to minimize brush-strokes... Read more »

Tags: 2010, Hand crafts

Norwegian rosemaling

By Al R. Young For the upcoming Winter issue of The Storybook Home Journal, which will feature Kathryn Forbe's beloved classic, Mama's Bank Account, Elspeth has been painting a wooden heart in the style of traditional Norwegian rosemaling. The finished heart and step-by-step folk painting instructions will be featured in the Journal's "Hearth" article.... Read more »

Tags: 2010, Hand crafts