Thursday, April 16, 2015

Social Media

What is your favorite Social Media? Do you have a Facebook page, Pinterest, twitter, and tumblr accounts? I have to say, I really love Instagram. I know I said it a couple of posts ago but I have to say it again: It is so much fun to connect with people through photos.  I love how you put out one photo of a little Waldorf doll with a short comment and immediately you get tons of likes and sweet comments from folks all over the world. So if you don't see me over here on my blog, you may have more luck finding me on Instagram.

If you want to join in the Instagram fun though, I highly recommend getting an iPhone! My old dinosaur of a phone broke down a couple of weeks ago. It was time for a change. At first, it was tough having to ask the kids constantly to help me with my new phone. Funny how in the modern age the tables have been turned, and the kids become our teachers. I was very grateful when my daughter helped me set up my first Instagram Giveaway. And I am really of proud that I will be able to handle the next one all by myself. Hint, hint... My 600 followers Giveaway is coming up soon!

I am so behind when it comes to technology, not just because of my age, but also because of having grown up in Germany. When I came to the US as an exchange student in the 1990s, I could not believe that one could actually look up books in a computer data base. At the library of the John  F. Kennedy institute in Berlin looking up books for a research paper consumed hours. Libraries in Berlin had these chests with wooden drawers filled with index cards. You had to go through index cards manually to see if a book was available. Back then, I typed all my papers on an electric typewriter (which I thought was advanced) my sister had brought back from a trip to China.

Oh well, the good old days are over. Life is fast and furious. I hope you are enjoying some lovely spring weather. I did, until this morning, when it started sleeting outside, and I had to go save our lettuce beds from the icy assault. See you on Instagram!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Auction for Alex

Today is the day you can bid on the surgeon doll I made for the Love For Alex auction. Please help raise funds for Alex' family.

The doll I am selling on behalf of Alex is called Agnes. She is 12 inches tall and has dark skin color. She will come to the winner of the auction in her sweet surgeon outfit plus another set of clothes for when she is off duty...

                                                                   Happy Bidding!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pink Bathrobe for Waldorf Dolls

I had a very productive day yesterday indeed. I had bought a small piece of pink terrycloth fabric for another project a while ago. I think it was meant to be turned into a pink bunny toy or something along those lines. Now I felt guilty because you should not buy materials and not use them. Especially if your house is small and you don't have unlimited resources of funds either. So I brought said material up from a tote in the basement. Now it sat on a chair and was looking at me accusingly for a number of days. Why did you buy me?

Then I had a really good idea. Why not make a doll bathrobe for my Waldorf dolls. I have been wanting to make a bathrobe for dolls for a long time. My daughter's doll Arissa said it too.  Being a very messy child she needs a lot of baths...

So I drew a sketch. Yay! Probably not my greatest work. But it took only about a minute to appear on this scratch piece of paper.

Next I cut out the pieces of the robe and stitched them loosely together. I have to say, the neckline took a while to figure out. I ended up having to drag my daughter's bathroom downstairs and check how it was constructed. I am glad I was able to figure it out.

I get so excited when I design a new piece of clothing. It's so much fun to figure out the little details. Ever noticed those little loops  on a bathrobe where the belt goes? Why just put one pocket? Well, since the bathrobe usually overlaps in the front you could never use the second pocket anyways.

Creating the belt and loops was a challenge. But no robe can be without them.  You surely don't want your doll to end up in a compromising sort of situation...

Since my frugal ways have led me to buy fabric in very small quantities,  (I hope my husband is reading this) there was just enough fabric to make a second robe. I thought about putting the robe on one of my finished dolls but then decided to list the robe solo in my shop. So if your doll needs a bathrobe please buy it quick - before I change my mind and put it back on another doll that demands a bathrobe.

May your day today be as productive and fun as mine was yesterday!

By the way, do you know that the German word for bathrobe is actually very similar to the English word? It is Bademantel. Or in direct translation that would be: bathing coat. Makes perfect sense, right?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Love For Alex

Today I want to share with you about my friend Alexandra Boyle. She is a dollmaker who lives in South Africa. Her business is called Angelique's Angels. In March of this year Alexandra was diagnosed with a brain tumor. You know, I have never met Alex. It's kind of a weird thing - this age of the Internet. You make friends you will most likely never meet or see in real life. Many of my Internet friends are friends I have made through my art - customers and other dollmakers. This business of being friends with someone you don't really know is often a bit strange.

Some of my customers I have known a great number years. I have seen their children grow up on Facebook. I feel like they are family to me... But then there is the weird money thing. We got to know each other because they bought a doll or two from me.  My customers support me and are devoted to the success of my business. I love them so much I just want to give them everything for free. Those friendships are beautiful but still complicated.

Then there are the friendships with other dollmakers around the globe. Many of these dollmakers I have known for years. We have met in various sellers' groups or touched base in different selling venues. We have followed and admired each others work. I often wonder what it would be like if we actually got together in a room and had a day of sewing together? How much fun it would be to visit each other's studio and share the excitement about our work! BUT then there is another side. How can you be friends with someone you are in direct competition with? You  admire and adore their body of work yet at the same time you may suffer from pangs of jealousy at times. Also there is the problem of copying. Is it imagined or real? Where does the fine line between copying and being inspired start or end? It's complicated...How do you deal with negative emotions you have?

This year I had an epiphany of sorts. I decided to stop worrying about these things any more. It's been much easier since I got another job as a teacher. Don't get me wrong, the dolls are still really important and I try to get in a few stitches every day. But it's been very liberating to have another source of income and not worrying about selling or not selling my work. Now I am able to just go into my studio with a happy heart and sew for the fun of it.

This whole situation with Alexandra has brought life even more into perspective for me. It's been absolutely amazing to me to see the community of dollmakers around the world come together to help out a friend on the other side of the world. To see the outpouring of love by so many people for someone they have never met in real life. A Facebook page was created where a multitude of dollmakers meet and share contributions and donations to help Alex. It has made me so happy and glad to be part of this community of totally amazing women and doll artists.

Each day I look with great joy at the wonderful collection of natural dolls and handmade doll clothes that people have brought as offerings to the Love For Alex site. I am praying for Alex's healing, and I want to thank her for healing me by bringing us closer as a group of doll making friends - connected through our love for handmade dolls.

Please visit our fundraiser site and consider bidding on any of the miraculous dolls and sweet doll creations.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I love Spring

Yes, I do love Spring! Slowly the grass is turning green again and little flowers are popping up everywhere. Color. I love color. All color. People always ask what is your favorite color. I can never give an answer. How can one pick with so many beautiful colors around? So I had to make me a set of Waldorf Rainbow babies this week in celebration of all colors.

March ended up being an awesome month in my Etsyshop. Easter shoppers came late but better late than never. I am full of hope for the rest of the year. I have tons of projects sitting here. Custom orders to finish. New fabric to wash and cut into. ( Oh dear, I have to confess: I sinned and bought more fabric...)

Also, I got this great book on photography in the mail this week. It is called Light, Science & Magic by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua. Can't wait to read it. Looks like it is full of physic's lessons. Oh dear!

I hope with the help of this book I will figure out how to take better photos of my Waldorf dolls. What I would really like to know for one: Why does the purple baby in my photo of rainbow babies not look purple? In real life this color baby is such an awesome color. But no matter what I do in the photos it ends up looking drab, and dark - really dark blue rather than purple. Any ideas why that is?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

500 Follower Instagram Giveaway

I love Instagram. I really think it is the best place for me to share photos of my Waldorf dolls and doll clothes. Sometimes I am kind of amazed when I search for artists and cannot find them on Instagram. Why would a famous photographer with gazillions of followers on Facebook choose not be on Instagram?

I think it's the best of all social media because you can connect at lightning speed via a single Image to people all over the planet. Like the photo from this post. It was taken by Lindsey Bonnice from Livesweetphotography. Her photos are the best! Her daughter is the cutest and I enjoy following her stream every day.

If you have a small business and are not on Instagram yet you should definitely join. It's the easiest and most fun way to share your work! I am learning new things every day. Like what hashtags to use and how to do a Giveaway. If you want to participate in this Giveaway please find me on Instagram.
One lucky person will get a $25 gift card to shop at my Etsy store.

The rules to enter in the drawing are very easy:

1.Become a follower
2.Like the photo
3.Regram the picture (that repost this cute photo). You must do all three!

I will draw a name on Tuesday and announce it on Instagram. Have fun!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Biting the Hand that Feeds Us

I know there is this saying about not "biting the hand that feeds you". But what if that hand doesn't feed you enough to survive? What if a creature is being downright starved to death? It's very sad for the animal in question. Selling handmade Waldorf dolls on Etsy, one feels a little bit like a starving exotic animal these days. Luckily, I don't solely rely on that income but I know there are some folks who do, and I feel very sad for them. You may wonder what do wild animals have in common with artists selling their crafts on Etsy? To understand my analogy you may want to read April Winchell's article from March 17th, 2015. As always April hits the nail on the head.

To get a break from work, school, and obsessing over my non-sales on Etsy, our family took a little trip to The Wild Animal Sanctuary located near Keenesburg, CO yesterday.

 What is it?

quoting from the brochure we were given:
"Take a walk on wild side as you stroll over 350 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves, and other large Carnivores on one of the longest and most unique elevated pedestrian walkways in the world. The Wild Animal Sanctuary, located 30 miles northeast of Denver, recently completed construction on its monumental "Mile into the Wild" walkway."

The young woman who gave us the intro to the facility told us that there are currently 400 animals living there. All of the animals at the facility have been rescued from situations where they were kept by people under the most deplorable conditions. One wonders what kind of person would keep an exotic animal chained up in their backyard? Or there was the story of animals living on the back of a pick-up or others living in small crates. It was hard listening to these stories of terrible abuse and suffering. How could people do these things to such beautiful creatures?

We walked above the fenced in areas where the animals live now. Usually they start out in smaller fenced in spaces and cages, that are more like what they are used to in their previous life. All of the animals were born in captivity so they don't know about hunting. It was kind of amusing to see herds of bunnies hopping around among the lions and tigers who couldn't care less about them. The rescued animals are circus animals, zoo animals, or many of them were held as pets. As the animals recover and grow acclimated they get moved to bigger habitats where they learn to live together in groups.

It took us about an hour and a half to walk the whole distance of the elevated walkway. We stopped many times to look, listen, and marvel at the beauty of what we saw. At one point the lions in one of the larger fenced in areas started calling to one another. I think there were 3 different prides living together in that particular enclosed area. One male started roaring and then another male lion responded to his call saying something back. Soon enough a third guy chimed in with a message to the others. And all of a sudden it was like a concert of lions their sounds reverberating around us. I have no words to describe that moment. Amazing and wonderful don't cut it. If you are ever in the vicinity or if you live in Colorado you  MUST visit The Wild Animal Sanctuary. I am not too fond of zoos and caged animals. But this place is different. It's a happy place. A peaceful place. And I find if kind of funny how all these wild animals have found paradise on the Prairie.

Maybe some day the handmade artists on Etsy will find a new home like those lions and tigers did. Dear Etsy, I am sorry if my blog post bites you, but you have not kept the promise from when I first joined the site, and I know a bunch of artists who would make a run for it if someone started a sanctuary for us.