Handmade Crafts » Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog The blog of West Virginia handmade art and handmade crafts. Wed, 11 Jul 2012 14:48:29 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.5 en hourly 1 Natural Beeswax Candles From MountainMade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/natural-beeswax-candles-from-mountainmade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/natural-beeswax-candles-from-mountainmade#comments Mon, 06 Sep 2010 05:00:24 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=985

MountainMade offers a variety of natural, handmade candles.

MountainMade offers a variety of natural, handmade candles.

MountainMade began making beeswax candles in 2005. We had a full-time candle-maker who perfected the craft. She created an amazing stock of inventory. Traditional tapers, votives, pillars and jar candles are available as well as signature candles like our River Rocks and Candle “Sticks” and Log Pillars.

Beeswax burns cleaner and longer than traditional paraffin candles. It will burn in a pool and drip less, a great plus for any candle lover. Better yet, no overwhelming fragrance. Beeswax emits a natural honeycomb fragrance all its own. We also add balsam fir and cranberry scents to some of the candles we create.

We now make candles as needed. I have been the MountainMade candlemaker for 3 years. I have made thousands of River Rock and Stick candles, by pouring (and back filling) beeswax into the silicone molds. It’s a lot of fun and I can make dozens within an 8-hour day.

I have recently gotten back to dipping tapers. This is challenging because Natalie, the original candle-maker, perfected her craft by making them every day. She set a standard that demands that our tapers be long and smooth (no bumps or lumps). This sounds simple, but can be harder than you think. And that distinguishes our tapers from other hand-dipped tapers. Most have imperfections that you can see and feel.

The dry rack we use will hold 56 pairs of tapers. Eight racks are strung with a cotton wick before marking (each taper is almost 10 inches long) and dipping into the “hot box.” The smooth texture is created by dipping several times according to the temperature of the waxed surface. This takes a while and then the candles have to dry or cure before each pair can be cut from the rack, cleaned and packaged. Then you clean, rewick the racks and do it again.

Patience is key to making a beautiful candle. Jar candles can be a challenge, too. Like the River Rocks the wax is poured and I back-fill several times. The glass changes the chemistry of the wax and achieving a smooth top that doesn’t sink can be hard. Patience and practice. I’m gearing up now for winter and the much loved Tree Tumblers and Tree Jar candles.

Making candles is a little messy, but it’s lots of fun and achieving mastery is a great kick.

MountainMade also sells candles made from Soy (The Soy Shoppe) and Hemp Oil (Home Towne Candles). Like beeswax, they burn cleaner and longer than paraffin candles.

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West Virginia’s Very Own Marble King http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/west-virginias-very-own-marble-king http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/west-virginias-very-own-marble-king#comments Wed, 14 Jul 2010 20:19:40 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=933 Marble King

Becky Henderson (far right) of MountainMade launches a Marble King marble down one of the toys at the gallery.

West Virginia is known for its rich tradition in fine art glass and marbles. Did you know that Marble King, Inc., was founded in 1949 by Berry Pink and Seller Peltier in St. Mary’s, W.Va.?

The factory didn’t move to Paden City, W.Va., until 1958 when Manager Roger Howdyshell relocated the factory after the original one was destroyed by fire. Howdyshell, who purchased Marble King in 1983, was the first to create cat’s eye marbles and veneering marbles.

Marble King, Inc., is still owned and operated by the Howdyshell family. The factory is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is touted as “The world’s best known and best loved quality marbles.” Marble King marbles have been featured in the movies Goonies, Hook and Home Alone.

Marbles aren’t just for tournament play. MountainMade is proud to carry Marble King Marbles and several Mountain Craft Shop toys, heirloom toys that family and friends will enjoy for generations.

Made from real wood (no plastic!) harvested here in West Virginia. Simple treasures and mind teasers like the Marble Trick, shuttle Puzzle to the beloved Marble Trees and Marble Chutes.

There is fun for kids of all ages. Of course, when you pick up the Marble Blister Pack of Marbles you’ll learn how to play those old marble games and what a “mig” is and why a shooter is called a “taw.”

So, what are you waiting for? Get your game on!

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Celebrate Graduation With The Perfect Present http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/celebrate-graduation-with-the-perfect-present http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/celebrate-graduation-with-the-perfect-present#comments Mon, 03 May 2010 17:00:39 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=740 It’s been a cool spring here on the mountain, but we are ever reminded of the evolution of time. For many here in West Virginia and around the United States, a new journey is about to begin.

Students are preparing for final examinations and graduation. Many are preparing to venture into the work force in pursuit of their dreams and others still will be continuing their academic careers.

It is a time of mixed emotion for the student, family and friends. All of these graduating individuals will soon be starting anew and needing all the help they can get as they begin to make their mark in the world.

We wish these young adults an adventurous and joyful road ahead. We have selected a few items that may help make their transition from youth to adulthood an easier one, all beautifully made tools for the home and office.

Four lamps by Annie Simcoe, in three colors and two patterns, are available through MountainMade. Let the light shine in and remember the threads that bind us together. Each lamp is priced at $150.

Nature-inspired officeware

These three affordable pieces are (l-r): Leaf Letter Opener by Jeff Fetty ($29); Leaf Key Chain by Thomas/Work ($12.95); and Nature Wrap Key Chain by Thomas/Work ($12.95).

Journals by Jill Jarom with Coptic Binding

Record your travels through life with these three Journals by Jill Jarom (l-r): Coptic Binding/Dk Brown Tree ($75); Coptic Binding/Lt. Brown Tree ($75); and Coptic Binding/Reddish Straw ($65).

Case Book Journals by Jill Jarom

Also by Jill Jarom, three blank books for notes or adventure diaries (l-r): Case Book/Paste Paper ($50); Case Book/Lt Br. Cloth Tree ($50); and Case Book/Gr. Flax Falls ($50).

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Meet The MountainMade Team http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/meet-the-mountainmade-team http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/meet-the-mountainmade-team#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2009 17:19:31 +0000 Becky Henderson http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=35 Meet the MountainMade staff members who support West Virginia artists.

Meet the MountainMade staff members who support West Virginia artists.

Behind the MountainMade.com website is a small, dedicated staff eager to make your visit to our website an enjoyable experience. All of us in some way contributed to delivering our artisan works to your door. We are deeply committed to MountainMade’s success and will strive to become one of your online bookmarks.

It takes quite a few people to seek out and gather the works of West Virginia artists, get it all to our retail locations and gallery, and ship off items purchased via the website. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the people who help make a handmade market possible, we’d like to introduce you to a few people.

When you visit our website, you’re likely looking to shop. Our Retail Manager, Gary Carr (front right) is responsible for selecting the product you see on the website and in our retail locations. He is always on the lookout for new artisans with unique and interesting products. When Gary’s not shopping for MountainMade or overseeing retail locations, he’s in the kitchen. Gary caters and is known for his baked goods, which are featured at a local coffee shop. (Try his cookies.)

Since we’re talking website and computers, Mike Broderick (front left) is our IT guy. Mike keeps our systems running efficiently and economically. Since this includes our point-of-sale system on the website, he’s always on call. But when he’s not here, he’s pursuing his music. Mike plays the violin and mandolin in Wolf Creek Session, a blend of traditional Appalachian songs and music deeply rooted in Celtic influences. Almost any night of the week, Mike can be found performing in the area.

From an office hidden in a corner in the back of the warehouse, Carrie Nestor (back, second from left) oversees the inventory and our computerized inventory system. From the moment the inventory is delivered, Carrie takes over. She checks it in and gets it posted to the website or distributed among the three retail locations. On rare occasions, she brings along her sidekick, Oliver, her son born in April. It’s our version of on-site day care.

You could call him our man for all seasons. Rich Whetzel (back, second from right), in charge of shipping and maintenance, makes sure your purchase gets to you quickly, in one piece and as economically as possible. Rich also fills in wherever we need him, from delivering and picking up product to that friendly face behind the counter. Although at the end of the day, we believe he prefers the company of his dog and two horses.

Another face behind the retail counter is Heidi Haldeen (back, center) who is also our Education Manager. Heidi can fill you in on the artisans and their products, enhancing your visit. As Education Manager, she runs our studio program and educational outreach in the community. Check studio classes for our offerings in a wide range of media, which routinely changes to meet our student’s and artisan instructor’s interests. You can also find Heidi behind the counter of her eatery located in a nearby historic tavern.

When you visit the Country Store, it’s play day with Kristie Owens (back right) as the calming influence amidst the toys. Kristie encourages you to play with the toys including the marble trees, yo-yos, Jacob’s ladder and many more. The toys are also for sale. Kristie has practice from raising her own two children.

What kind of organization would we be without our own resident “bean counter”? Stephanie Phillips (back left) is our Finance and Administrative Assistant responsible for paying our artisans, bills and the payroll. She works to make our accounting system as paper-free as possible, thus saving a tree or two.

I’m Becky Henderson (front center), General Manager, the one with “the buck stops here” sign on my door. If you have a problem or concern when shopping on our website, send me an email and I’ll make sure you receive a prompt response. .

Visit us in Thomas, West Virginia, at either the Gallery or Country Store. If you’re traveling along I-79 in central West Virginia, stop by the Stonewall Resort and visit our retail location in the Lodge.

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