Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Tough Decisions

Don’t we all face tough decisions? I don’t think I’ve ever had to choose between chasing a cat and begging for a cookie but I still understand what the dog is going through.

This picture is made of: bark, oak, cockscomb, poppy seed, banana peel, orange peel, gray poplar, parsley and maple.

Monday, November 28, 2011

On Duty

This cat is alert and on duty. He has examined every leaf and is on the lookout for birds in the sky and other creatures and humans below. Even if he doesn’t take a swat at any of them, he just has to know all that is going on.

This picture is made of: gray poplar, mulberry, maple, hornet nest, cotton and banana peel.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thing To Be Thankful For

Yes, it may be overused, but it is true that if I listed everything that I have to be thankful for I’d be here all day, and so would you. Instead I would simply like to zero in on one thing I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful that my parents chose to homeschool me. Most people my age have to be at school seven hours every day, five days a week, equaling 35 hours every week. That doesn't count their endless hours of homework. With a 180 day school year you’re talking 900 hours a year. I couldn't spend 900 of my brightest and most awake hours and maintain my business at the same time.

Of course my parents give high value to education, but my business is an important part of my education. If my parents had put me in school, my business would surely be much smaller. Truly, I don’t think it would exist at all. I’m so thankful for the time, money, thought and love my parents have invested in my hand-crafted education. I could still be an artist if I went to a public school, but I wouldn’t have time to really put my heart into what I do or share it with others.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where I'll Be Sunday...

I will be demonstrating and selling cornhusk creations while my dad and brother provide the "live mountain music on the porch".

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Come Celebrate during the Northeast Georgia Arts Tour!

Tour is November 11-13, 2011


The Saturday Shop


Sarah’s Lavender Cottage

Our part of the show is Saturday only, November 12, 2011
10-5 p.m.

The Saturday Shop ~ John Kollock’s gallery will be filled with an assortment of new paintings. In addition there will be all of his latest prints and books. John is always delighted to discuss his work and the background and history of each piece.

Sarah’s Lavender Cottage ~ A place to see 16-year-old Sarah Samsel’s scenes made from pressed flowers, leaves and other plant material. She will also be showing cornhusk dolls and other items. Sarah will be demonstrating pressed-flower art.

Nathaniel Samsel ~ 2011 Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Champion Nathaniel Samsel will be playing carols and other music on his dulcimer and banjo throughout the event. Nathaniel is 13 years old.
450 Bybrook Trail, Clarkesville, Georgia; for details call: 706-754-9200
For more locations on the arts tour visit:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lately I've been on a mission to add some guy dolls to my collection. This one kind of reminds me of Freddy Eynsford-Hill from My Fair Lady. I also made a cowboy on his horse but I still need to take pictures of him. We'll see who comes after that.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mother and Son

I've been attempting to come up with some new cornhusk doll designs. This is one a recently came up with.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Great Anniversary

Today is one of the greatest days of the year. Today is the anniversary of something good happening to the world. An event that has improved the lives of many: it's Dad's birthday! I simply could not have a better dad and neither could my siblings. Dad is very patient and level headed. He's a man of faith and honesty. He's helped me through difficult situations, he never complains and he's joyful and creative.

One thing I really admire about Dad is his work ethic. My dad is a freelance outdoor writer. That's totally what my family lives off of. Dad works so hard, yet he never lets his work take any priority over his family. He takes the time to look at a catalog with my little sister, he'll read a book to Asher or take me to California for a pressed-flower conference.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This is me.

This picture is made of: thyme, cornhusk, bark, banana peel, corn silk, statice, alyssum, cantaloupe peel and smoke tree.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bye With a Bang

In the spring we are delighted to see new leaves forming on the ends of branches. After that we enjoy large green leaves for months. Before the leaves fall they seem to put on a grand finale. They turn more striking than they have during the rest of their existence and then fall. Did you know salmon are like that too? The pictures of jewel colored salmon are actually near the end of life of the salmon.

This picture is made of: maple, cornhusk, banana peel, mulberry, dill* orange peel and cinnamon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank You Family!

The grand opening for Sarah's Lavender Cottage was a success! To read about it click here. I would like to thank my family for the many ways they helped this show happen.

Dad~ spent many hours helping me heat press images onto t-shirts and other things, moved furniture out of my studio, helped put up my sign, spent all day at the art show and blew up 90 helium balloons.

Mom~ made price tags, cut out price tags, inspired me, cleaned my studio, helped give it finishing touches, packaged note cards, made five dozen cookies and 200 mini muffins, relieved me of home chores during the week leading up to the show and helped me figure out what to wear.

Nathaniel (13-year-old brother)~ blew and weeded around my studio, put together most of my sign, was cheerful company while I made doll after doll and ate many of my Tootsie rolls.

Asher (6-year-old brother)~ a friend who kept me company. He worked on his sheep while I worked on other cornhusk things. He tried to help package note cards.

Autumn (4-year-old sister)~ understood that I couldn't really play with her while I was getting ready for the show but was kind to me through it all.

Eli (2-year-old brother)~ encouraged me to pick up my stuff when I was done with it and was always happy and energetic.

I thank God for the family he placed me in. All of us would help any of us with our dreams. Thank you, family for everything!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meet the Dollmaker at Harvest Festival

If you’ve ever wanted to step into the painting of a well-known artist, John Kollock’s upcoming Harvest Festival of Arts & Crafts might be your best chance. John Kollock of Clarkesville, Georgia will be releasing his latest print, The Dollmaker, and Sarah Samsel, the cornhusk doll artist who is depicted in the picture, will be making cornhusk dolls as part of the festival. In fact the festival will include the Grand Opening of Sarah’s Lavender Cottage, Samsel’s studio/gallery.

The Harvest Festival will take place Sept. 10 at Kollock’s gallery, the Saturday Shop, and at Sarah’s Lavender Cottage, both of which are on the home property of John and Nancy Kollock. The Saturday Shop will feature original watercolor paintings, prints, books and cards by John Kollock, who has been painting and writing about the country side and rural activities of his Northeast Georgia home since the 1950s, along with watercolor paintings by his daughter, Kathleen Kollock.

Samsel, 16, is perhaps best known for her “pressed flower pictures,” one of which took third place in the pressed flower competition at the 2011 Philadelphia Flower Show. She will have plenty of original pressed flower pictures to show inside Sarah’s Lavender Cottage. However, she will be demonstrating the art of cornhusk doll making throughout the day. Samsel’s dolls and various printed items of her pressed flower pictures will also be available. As part of the Grand Opening, Samsel will give away a framable oversized postcard image of one of her pressed flower pictures to the first 50 attendees.

Nathaniel Samsel, Sarah’s 13-year-old brother, will provide live banjo and dulcimer music throughout the day inside the Saturday Shop. The 2011 Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Champion, Nathaniel Samsel will leave Clarkesville a few days after the show to travel with his dad to the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas to compete in the national mountain dulcimer championship.

Refreshments will be served, and there will be a give-away. Festival hours are 10:00 to 5:00. The Saturday Shop is located at 450 Bybrook Trail in Clarkesville. For directions or additional information, call (706) 754-9200.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Too Fancy

My new website is coming together nicely. I have had a lot of correspondence with the designer, Amanda Kaylon. We're working on putting up the art galleries. She said I should try to get true colors since I'm selling online and suggested that I take pictures of my dolls in natural lighting. That is the opposite of what I had been doing. I was finding a dark place and taking pictures of my dolls with a flash. I guess I was being too fancy. I have since discovered my friend was right, natural lighting is beautiful! Working on a website has been an educational experience and a business experiment. It has also been a nice opportunity for me to get to know Amanda Kaylon better since we write back and forth so much.

Natural light is also good for photographing framed artwork

Friday, August 12, 2011


The technique I used for this horse is one that I use a lot for making trees. I cut lots of tiny strips out of different shades of leaves and organize them on my tree, using where sunlight would hit the tree as a guide. This is the first time I’ve used this technique with an animal. As I was working on it my dad mentioned that it might be neat to make the whole picture with the little strips and not just the horse. I learned this way of making trees from a World Wide Pressed Flower Guild class.

This picture is made of: Raspberry, gray poplar, lamb’s ear, seaweed, maple, nandina, poinsettia, mulberry, money plant and aucuba.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Four Things

It has been a long time since I last blogged! I offer no good excuse for that but I hope to be better in the future. I have four things I would like to mention:

1. I named my studio! It is called Sarah's Lavender Cottage.

2. I have a show coming up this Saturday at Unicoi State Park. For more details click on my "Schedule of Events" (located at the top of the blog).

3. My friend Amanda Kaylon is setting up a website for me! She is the designer of and The goal is for me to sell online. It has been nice getting to correspond with her about fonts, colors and other pretty things.

4. I have been expirementing with using the same technique I use to make trees for making a horse picture. This is how it is coming along.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Maybe they'll be found after a new pair is bought.

This picture is made of: hydrangea, bark, tendrils, maple, aucuba, parsley, dill ground orange peel and cinnamon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Fair Lady

“I despise those gowns with sort of weeds here and weeds there,” said Professor Henry Higgins, the main guy in My Fair Lady. I found it ironic that I made that gown entirely out of weeds. Julie Andrews played Eliza Doolittle on Broadway before Audrey Hepburn was filmed in the part. It was decided when casting Eliza that Julie Andrews was not a famous enough actress so they offered the part to Audrey Hepburn. Audrey Hepburn wanted them to accept Julie Andrews, but when she was told it was to be either herself or Elizabeth Taylor in the part she accepted it. I enjoyed blending the many shades of birch bark to make her face. Eliza was a flower girl in the movie. I’m a pressed-flower girl.

This picture is made of: aucuba, birch bark, corn silk, statice, pampas grass, maple, Queen Anne’s lace, seaweed, skeletonized magnolia leaves, money plant, various other leaves and some grass heads.