Author: staff

Refurbished sleighs, restored bells help ring in the season

It’s been more than a century since the heyday of elegant sleighs dashing through the snow, their bell bedecked equines jingling all the way. Yet in pictures and music and memories, they remain everlasting seasonal icons. Some of these bygone treasures, such as Albany and Portland Cutters, Hudson Vis-à-vis, and brass bells enhanced with distinctive maker’s marks, though long neglected, are being rediscovered in barns, attics and sheds. Not dissuaded by rusted bolts, rotten wood, peeling paint, grunge, and grime, a coterie of dedicated self-educated artisans has taken up the challenge of returning these diamonds in the rough to their former glory. Seventy-five sleighs and counting As a boy growing up in Southeast Missouri, there wasn’t usually much in the way of snow, 77-year-old Jack Bollinger, owner of Kringle Sleigh Company in Imperial, Mo., recalled. But one winter, when the white stuff came down in droves, his minister created an indelible impression by arriving at church that Sunday in a sleigh. A successful management professional 28 years ago, Bollinger sustained a brain stroke, leaving him wheelchair-bound with time and energy to spare. Somehow, the memory of that childhood event resurfaced, inspiring him to try his hand at restoring a sleigh like the one he remembered. The learning curve was high, but the satisfaction was great, and Bollinger searched auctions and online for more specimens to revive, eventually growing the...

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Martinez has colors to dye for

If you went to Ocean City’s Delmarva Wool & Fiber Expo last February, then you probably noticed independent yarn and fiber dyer Melody Martinez and her colorful Haute Bohème Fibers booth. The expo marked the debut of Martinez’s new logo, a graphic rendition of her daughter’s profile with long flowing tresses that also graphically portray the large assortment of “fiber art for fiber artists” that Martinez dyes and sells. This year’s expo also marked the debut of Martinez’s new Palettes colorways — “specially mixed colors that all coordinate with one another.” Martinez created the Palettes line specifically in response to a common customer concern over coordinating multi-color yarns with one another, a question she often received back when she began selling her hand-dyed yarns at the Annapolis Farmers’ Market. At the time, Martinez, a longtime crocheter, was writing her own patterns and selling finished versions of those patterns at a market booth. When she couldn’t find the yarn and colors she wanted to execute her designs, Martinez began dyeing her own. Eventually, thanks to the early support of enthusiastic customers from her three years at the Annapolis Farmers’ Market and other well-known independent dyers such as Kim Russo of Kim Dyes Yarn in Virginia, Martinez began expanding her presence at local yarn shops — or, rather, “LYSs” in yarn enthusiasts’ lexicon. Martinez credits Russo with pushing her into the...

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