NOTE: To see all images of the items below, please pick up the Sunday, December 7th edition of The Morning Call.
FREE FORM TRELLIS
Climbing the walls over your untidy garden climbers? Try taming them with this airy, abstract trellis created by Pen Argyl metal artist Lisa Fedon. The trellis stands 77 inches high and 44 inches wide and comes with anchoring tubes ($170) or feet ($190) for deck or in-home use. Order at 610-863-5887, firstname.lastname@example.org or the artist's studio at 14 West Main Street, Pen Argyl.
Fisher Forge was founded in 1992 when David Fisher of Hamburg started forging as a hobby while restoring his old farmhouse. Now a director of the Pennsylvania Artist Blacksmith Association, he uses traditional blacksmithing methods to make antique reproductions, kitchen utensils, railings, gates, furniture and door hardware. His sled has a forged steel frame with swan heads. It's for sale for $127.36 at Home for the Holidays or contact Fisher at 610-562-5425 or email@example.com.
An old-time craft, theorem painting is the art of painting on velvet, and was generally practiced by accomplished young ladies in the early 1800s. Stencils, or "theorems" were used to outline the designs. Hand-made by Louise Buttery of Coopersburg, this theorum painting is $60 at Home for the Holidays. Buttery's favorite subjects include fruit bowls, flowers, cats and folk-art birds.
BOXES TO BEAT THE BAND
Hand-sewn band boxes were popular about 200 years ago and were originally created to store men's collar bands. These were hand-sewn by Carolyn Lagler of Zionsville and range in price from $6 to $25. She covers them with wallpaper or sponge-painted brown paper, and lines them with newsprint or pages from seed catalogs or old books. Buy them at Home for the Holidays, or directly from Lagler, who also makes cut and pieced lamp shades. Call 610-966-3172.
A colorful, matted and framed arrangement of real, dried flowers is $45 plus tax. Dried floral designs like this have won 11 Best of Show awards at the Philadelphia Flower Show for W. Eugene Burkhart of Blandon. A public school special education teacher, Burkhart has traveled to Japan in connection with his craft. His work is also available at Out of Our Hands, Emmaus. His prices start at $3 for floral ornaments.
Braided seagrass and dark plum reed accents give this basket a contemporary look. Handwoven by Elizabeth Hersh of Emmaus and measuring 12 by 9 by 12 inches, it's $56 at Out of Our Hands. An oak handle gives it strength and stability to hold mail, magazines or catalogs, or organize a desk or shelf.
This wheel-thrown stoneware bowl ($26), mug ($14) and platter ($29) glazed in earth-tone browns and tans made by Monica Sommerville of Allentown is sturdy and dishwasher safe. Sommerville, who has been working with clay since high school, creates functional pottery in a variety of glazes. She is a co-owner of Out of Our Hands.
Blacksmith artistry is evident in this wrought-iron basket with hand-forged leaves and brass highlights. Handcrafted by Steve Wietecha of Frederick, Montgomery County, it's $175 at Out of Our Hands. Measuring 18 inches wide and 11 inches deep, it's hand-finished with a clear coat of paint and can be used inside or out.
Flowers, bugs, seasonal cheer and garden themes, as in this 10-by-10-inch "Dragonfly Topiary" ($30 retail, plus tax and shipping) are favorites of Chris Wilsker, an artist living in Lower Macungie Township. Her drawings and paintings are produced in pen and ink and watercolor, and set in handmade frames. Her work appears in folk art shows and craft fairs, and is sold wholesale through Arbor Park Designs. To order, call 610-366-9534.
Tina Wilson of Quakertown, markets decorative and practical glycerin and goat's milk-based soaps under the name of Phyliterjam Farm Scent-ual Soaps and Pamper Yourself Products. They contain no lye and are made from natural ingredients, including essential oils. Some are in the shape of hearts, lighthouses and shells. Costs are about $4 apiece. Gift baskets and wedding favors can be custom-designed. Available at Copper Partridge gift shop in Sellersville or order at 215-529-7090 or at www.wicksnsuds.com.
HANDMADE SOAPS AND 'GREEN' CLEANERS
Dragonfly Soaps Brown Sugar Scrub with soap and a nylon pouf ($16.50) are among the many personal care, aromatherapy and household cleaning products handmade by Jackie Barth of Schnecksville. The scrub leaves skin glowing and polished; the soap contains shea butter and tangerine essential oil. Available at Cottage Crafters in the Tilghman Square Shopping Center, or directly from Jackie, who also teaches classes on making "green cleaners." Call her at 610-799-4065.
Graphic artist Donna Maria Solove specializes in portraits of homes in the Lehigh Valley area. "Although I have attended assorted art schools, I feel I learned the most under James Musselman, who taught at Allen High for many years," she says. House portraits are done in pencil, colored pencil, charcoal or acrylic paint, and start at $50. Contact her at 610-398-9333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watercolor house portraits by Jill Stanley are rich with natural touches. She's a professional drafter interested in architecture and structural design, as well as an organic gardener whose Salisbury Township backyard is designated a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Small portraits (10 by 14 inches) are $150, large (16 by 20) are $255; prices include photography and matting. Contact her at 610-797-6969 or e-mail email@example.com.
Stoneware pottery made by Emelie Swackhamer of Longswamp Township is hand-thrown on a foot-powered kick wheel and finished with food-safe glazes. The pie plate here is $50, plus tax. A pansy ring, $14, holds short-stemmed flowers around a candle, or an umbrella on an outside table; mugs, $10. Swackhamer's pottery is sold at Lennilea Farm Nursery and Landhaven Bed and Breakfast, both in Huffs Church. Call 610-845-2077 for hours and directions.
Calligrapher Jackie Shoup of Forks Township designs original birth records, using a child's name to form various figures such as teddy bears or butterflies. Other calligraphy services include envelope addressing, placecards, and calligraphy with watercolor florals. She also accepts commissions. She is president of the Artisans' Circlethe Northampton County branch of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, and a past president of the Berks Calligraphers' Guild. She'll also be at Bethlehem's Christkindlmarkt Dec. 7 and 10-14, or call her at 610-559-5941, or e-mail PenLetters@aol.com.
Pennsylvania Dutch-style folk painter Richard Freed of Red Hill uses an unusual canvas -- old wooden organ pipes. His craft began three years ago when he decorated pipes from an organ that was being restored at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Pennsburg for friends and fellow congregation members. When he learned that restorer Patrick Murphy had 200 pipes to throw out, Freed jumped at the chance. The birdhouse pipes shown here are $25 to $50 and up, depending on size. They are available at Cab Frye's Gift Barn, 914 Gravel Pike (Route 29), Palm or order at 215-679-9243 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Custom drawings and watercolors of homes are the speciality of Janet Hodick and her Freehand Studio in Palmer Township. She works from photographs, and even technical line art is hand-drawn. Gift certificates are available. Prices for home portraits with double mats range from $110 for an 8-by-10-inch drawing, to $245 for a double-matted 12-by-16-inch watercolor. Call 610-253-9280 or e-mail email@example.com.
This "Welcome Gnome" is representative of the whimsical, functional metal sculpture and furniture created by Lisa Fedon of Pen Argyl. Use it as a garden marker, porch ornament, hearth-warmer or doorstop. The 16-inch tall gnome has leather hair. He sells for $120. More of Fedon's work is on view at www.lisafedon.com. Order at 610-863-5887 or Lmfedon@epix.net or by appointment at Fedon's studio at 14 W. Main St., Pen Argyl.
Rail fans might enjoy this shelf-sitter wood block of a local rail favorite, the Wanamakers, Kempton and Stiles steam train approaching Kempton Station. Designed by 40-year WK&S volunteer Wally Ely of Allentown, the item measures 81/2 by 4 inches by 3/4 inch. Price is $20. Available at the Rigelweg Gift Shop, Kempton, or order at 610-437-0065 or e-mail DorneyBook@aol.com.
After showing her Celtic-inspired painted ornaments at Celtic festivals, Danielsville craftswoman Elizabeth Doddy got the idea of painting on the playing surface of the traditional Irish drum called the bodhran. "All that canvas calls to you. It's a perfect painting surface," she says. She sells drums for $190 and up as decorative items and to musicians. "I would really like them to be played," she says, noting the paint doesn't interfere with the sound. Order at 610-837-3417 or EDoddy@mybluelight.com.
SCHOOL DESK BOX
The Lehigh Valley's old one- and two-room schoohouses are the subject matter of Palmerton painter Patti DeLong, who has chosen old school desk boxes as her canvas. She is happy to personalize desks by carving names and dates on the inside of the lids and will work from photos of old school buildings provided by customers. Her work (she also paints houses and pets on pieces of slate) can be seen at http://psyfitrek.tripod.com. Customized desks take about two weeks to complete. Desks are $70 plus shipping. To order: firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-824-3474.
For nearly 25 years, chair caning and seat weaving have been the specialities of Jacqui Hartranft of Zionsville, a juried member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. Her inventory includes antique, vintage and new pieces. This large youth rocker is $150. Prices range from $70 for a foot-high rush stool. Contact Hartranft at 610-966-4536.
Wendy Hoffman founded her homegrown business The Herbal Pantry in 1996, putting her college education in chemistry and horticulture to good use. Her handcrafted soaps ($2.65 per bar) are deliciously scented with herbs -- from rose geranium to eucalyptus -- grown in picturesque Upper Milford Township. Glycerine soaps (small, $1.50; large, $2.50) are molded with Celtic designs. Also available: oatmeal soap for sensitive skin, seasonal herb and vegetable plants, dried flower and herb creations, and customized gift baskets. Order at 215-679-0591 (9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.), TheHerbalPantry@aol.com or visit the open house, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 17-19.
HAND HELPER SALVE
Hand Helper salve soothes and heals cracked, dry skin. Its base is lanolin, beeswax, lotion, grape seed oil and glycerin; essential oils include lemon, lavender, sage, tea tree, jasmine and clover. Jenny Leggett of Little Creek Gardens, Martins Creek, first made the salve for friends. A student of aromatherapy, she sells the salve in 2-ounce jars for $7 each, tax included. Shipping and handling is figured per order. Order at 610-258-6066 or write to email@example.com.
Birdhouses of all kinds keep Walter Kleinschuster of Whitehall Township busy after retirment from his Allentown shoe-repair shop. Hand painting is done by Rosemary Ernst. This country cottage bird house is $25 plus tax. Schools, churches, lighthouses, Swiss chalets and many other designs are $23. Prices start at $8. Kleinschuster also makes bird feeders, furniture for children and dolls, boxes, crates and benches, as well as bird-size replicas of any home. Order at 610-437-1596.
An imaginative earthenware Bird Cup is made by Barbara Kozero of Bethlehem, who teaches art in the city's school district and at Moravian College. The bird is about 1-foot-tall, glazed pink and blue with gold accents, and costs $90. The cup that forms its body can be filled with jelly beans or a plant.
Dennis Wildnauer hand-crafted this 12-inch curved, floral heart tray ($62) from aluminum with simple hand tools and elegant vintage dies. Wildnauer works in a small forge in Gemansville using techniques from the 1930s. In addition to trays, he creates coasters, boxes, jewelry, candlesticks and more. His pieces have been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.
Slate is a natural medium for this part of Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth Gohn is one of several artists who use it for a canvas. Her "House on a Hill" is a winter scene painted in acrylic, weatherproofed to hang inside or out, complete with a leather strap. Painted on a slate that came from a home in Allentown's West End in the 1920s, it's $32. At this time of year, Gohn also paints many Santas on slate. She's also a pencil artist, and takes orders for custom drawings.
PATRIOTIC UNCLE SAM
Americana Creations by John and Carol Long of Ballietsville include this 19-inch-tall Uncle Sam ($12). John Long is an Allentown firefighter who turned his woodworking hobby into a small business. Other rustic red, white and blue items include hand-painted wooden flags ($12 and $20) and crates ($7). Items sold at Cottage Crafters, Palmer Township; or call 610-799-5757 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
HANDPAINTED CANVAS RUG
A handpainted canvas rug ($132) is warm with Middle Eastern colors, says Sandys Ellis Miller, who draws many of her designs from antique oriental rugs. With six coats of varnish, her canvas rugs withstand heavy traffic and wipe clean with soap and water. Miller also paints portraits and creates various decorative items including screens and boxes.
ART GLASS VASE
Made by glass artist Harry Stuart in his studio in Pottstown, this orange, yellow and purple blown glass vase measures 24 by 12 by 8 inches. Stuart ships his vases, bowls, tumblers and sculptural pieces in "the brightest colors I can find" to galleries across the country. This vase is $400 -- if it's not sold already -- at this year's Holiday Gallery.
STONE PICTURE FRAME
Picture frames made from Lehigh River stones, birch park, sea glass and other natural materials by Carla Binder come in a variety of sizes; prices start at $29.95 and up. They're available at her shop, Creative Framing By Carla, 140 Edgemont Ave., Palmerton. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues. through Fri., and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat. Info: 610-826-8401.
Birds will eat up these edible birdhouses -- literally! Made in small, medium and large sizes for $15, $20, $30 and up, each house is unique, covered with seeds, moss, dried raisins and cranberries. When the house is bare, it can be refurbished for a lower price. Judy Browne's Coopersburg home business, Mother Nature's Gifts, specializes in natural materials. To order, call 610-965-3689 or e-mail email@example.com.
Chunky, stuffed letters by Barbara Longo spell out a child's name, while fanciful characters add to the decorating scheme. Themes include denim and teddy bears; dinosaurs and unicorns; Noah's Ark and horses. The characters feature hand-embroidered details. Letters can be one color or assorted brights or pastels. Custom designs may sometimes be offered. Prices are $25 (up to 6 letters), $40 (7-9 letters); call for prices on longer names. Order at 610-868-9224 or e-mail Flongojr@aol.com.
LUCKY HORSESHOE WREATH
Rustic wreaths are made by Laurie Lynch from the old shoes of horses on Fleur-de-Lys Farm, 440 Hottenstein Road, Maxatawny Township. Wreaths are $40 each at the farm's shop, open in winter by appointment only. Other from-the-farm items include gourd birdhouses decorated with colorful beans and corn ($25-$30), decorated garlic braids ($12) and lavender wands and herb sachets ($5-$8) made by daughter Marina. Also: heirloom potatoes, range eggs and honey. Call 610-683-6418.
Virginia Mair of Macungie painted this watercolor of poppies, daisies and iris for her daughter. She began painting as a child in Philadelphia and now paints to order from photographs, specializing in golfing vistas, country scenes, pets, horses, portraits and homes. Prices range from $150 to $250, unframed. She also creates personalized note cards with prints made from her paintings. Contact Mair at 610-965-6515.
Among the many candles made by Melissa Marlatt of Kunkletown are these candle loaves, each with two wicks. Available in these just-baked scents: cinnamon spice, banana nut bread, old-fashioned spice cake, cake bake, gingerbread, grandma's kitchen, pumpkin and cranberry. One-pound loaves are $5.99; two-pound loaves are $9.99, tax included, shipping extra. To order or request a brochure, call Marlatt's Scentsational Craft Co. at 610-381-5968 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORAVIAN THROW PILLOW
Clara Masessa of Nazareth is the hobbyist knitter behind these throw pillows featuring the landmark steeple tower of Bethlehem's Central Moravian Church and a traditional Bethlehem star. The pillows are made with ivory wool yarn locally spun by Kraemer Knitting Mills, Nazareth, and sell for $72 at the Moravian Book Shop, Bethlehem. Or buy a kit with pattern instructions for $32 at the bookshop and the mill. The pillows take about a week to complete, says Masessa. Contact her at 610-746-4535 or write email@example.com.
Triple-scented candles made by Gia McKinley of Gia's Scent-Sational Candles, Trumbauersville, are thoroughly mixed and hand-poured for fragrance down to the bottom of the jar. Sizes and prices range from 4-oz. jars for $3.50 to 26-oz. jars for $21 in about 40 scents. Order at 215-538-8188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cut-paper collages with a Christmas theme are available from Allentown artist Shirley Hartman for $300, tax included. Pieces are 18 inches by 24 inches and ready for hanging. Other themes, including the rainforest, are available for $125 to $500 at the artist's Allentown studio, open by appointment. Hartman's work has appeared in Philadelphia galleries and the Allentown Art Museum. Her many media include painted silk scarves, sold at the Old Vic Gallery, Alburtis. Contact Hartman at 610-435-2612 or email@example.com.
To mark its 100th year, Phoebe Ministries has commissioned a series of sill-sitters featuring its landmark buildings, including this one, the site of the original Phoebe Deaconess and Old Folks Home at 1923 Turner St., Allentown. Order the creation of Ron Edelheiser of Illusions Studio in Alburtis for $16 at 610-794-5132 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask about other commemorative items.
PHOEBE HOME AFGHAN
Someone with warm feelings for the Phoebe Home might want to wrap up in this 100 percent cotton afghan. Designed by staff member Mary Venditta of Allentown, the throw marks the 100th anniversary of this Allentown ministry to older adults. Order in gold, forest green, sepia, ivory and black for $39 at 610-794-5132 or email@example.com. Ask about other commemorative items.
YOUR HOME ON A PLAQUE
Your home on a plaque. Artist Lee Lerch of Moore Township will hand-paint your abode -- or your children and pets, or anything you'd like -- on wooden plaques or slates for hanging or display. Prices average $40-$50 and vary with size. Lerch also produces custom-designed stationery and Christmas cards from your photos. Order at Lee Lerch, Creative Avenues, 610-837-1948, firstname.lastname@example.org; or go online at www.creativeavenuespa.com.
Fraktur is the traditional Pennsylvania German style of illuminating documents and certificates with colored inks and watercolor. "Prince of Peace" ($48 plus shipping) is this year's limited reproduction fraktur print by Peter Fritsch, retired teacher and a seventh-generation Pennsylvania German. He also takes custom orders for fraktur birth certificates, wedding announcements, house blessings or favorite verses. Write or call him at 475 Centennial Road, Alburtis, PA 18011; 610-682-6433.
CAPITAL T QUILT
"Capital T Quilt," designed and made by paper and fabric artist Kathleen Delhagen of Emmaus, is named for the block pattern used in the center. Composed of small pieces of fabric stitched together with seed beads to give it sparkle, it's mounted on matboard with handcut decorative papers. In a frame measuring 22 by 26 inches, it's $295.