Friday, January 29, 2010

New Year's Resolutions...

Is it too late to talk about New Year's Resolutions? What are yours? I know a lot of people go on diets. Luckily I don't need to go on a food diet since I am blessed with a slim figure. I guess it also helps not being able to eat a bar of chocolate every day. I used to do that back in Germany, but my favorite kind is hard to come by in the US.
So instead of the food diet, my plan for the year is to go on self prescribed "fabric diet". It is really hard with so many wonderful fabrics around. So much temptation. I recently reveived a fabric catalog and had to hide it from myself. Oh dear, I have so many bins of fabric in the house. It will take me years to turn them into doll clothes. Why do I still feel the need to constantly add to my stash? Why, oh why, do they keep designing new beautiful fabric collections each year?

One of my favorite Fabric designers is a Japanese company called Kokka. See picture above. I can never get enough of these adorable animal prints...
I admit I am totally addicted, and it will be very hard not break down and buy some more of them when I stumble across them.
And then, once you get one colorway of a cute fabric, it leads to wanting the same plus matching fabrics. Sigh! Is there a sort of patch for fabric addicts? Tell me if there is a support group for people addicted to pretty fabrics...My husband would be very relieved to know that there is hope, and some day our house will be cleared of bins filled with fabrics...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dolly Makeover...

One of the great things about Waldorf style dolls is that they can be repaired or restored. If you have a doll whose hair got matted or all loved up from lots of play time you may want to replace the hair.
In order to do this the top layer of the wig must be carefully removed stitch by stitch. You can use a seamripper or small pair of sharp scissors. If the wig underneath is still in good shape you can leave it on. But maybe you want an entirely new hair color. You could change the doll's hair completely if you wanted to. In that case you could remove the entire wig and make a new one.

The doll you see in the pictures is little Zoe. She recently came for a visit to get a Spa treatment in my studio. Doesn't she looke like new after she got the new hair do?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chinese New Year

I recently received a custom order to make a custom dress to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Since our family loves Asian food, and we regularly drive to Denver to visit Asian restaurants and markets I decided to write a blog post about it to go along with this lovely dress I made.
My signature Pocketdress you see below features cute little black and red goldfishes swimming about. Goldfishes are considered very lucky by Chinese people but particularly lucky during the time of Chinese New Year's!

Chinese New Year's day coincides this year with Valentine's Day!
On February 14th 2010 the year of the Tiger starts according to the Chinese calendar.

Quote from Wikipedia:
" Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the "Lunar New Year" by English speakers. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī. It literally means "Year-pass Eve".
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance because of several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what they believed in the most.
Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans (Seollal), Tibetans and Bhutanese (Losar), Mongolians (Tsagaan Sar), Vietnamese (Tết), and formerly the Japanese before 1873 (Oshogatsu). Outside of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, Chinese New Year is also celebrated in countries with significant Han Chinese populations, such as Singapore, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. In countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Australia Post, Canada Post, and the US Postal Service issues New Year's themed stamps.
Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese new year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red colour paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will range from pigs, to ducks, to chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is a great way to reconcile forgetting all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone. "

Sorry about the long quote! But I found all that information so interesting and totally fascinating. I particularly like the idea of throwing out the grudges and getting rid of emotional baggage. Is this where the idea of that good old spring cleaning came from? Not only will the house be much cleaner but it will bring you Good Luck for the year. Of course, don't do it on February 14th. From what I have read, it is considered really Bad Luck to clean house on the Chinese New Year's Day itself!

Happy New Year!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Old Family Pictures / Alte Familienbilder

I am not the first person in my family who immigrated to the US. My greatgrandfather Ludwig Seckler and his wife Christine had 18 children together. Too many mouths to feed or too many girls to marry off and doweries to pay for. So in 1910 three of my grandfather's sisters where put on a boat in Hamburg and shipped off to America. America - the land of opportunity!

Recently a cousin contacted me through facebook and sent me some pictures of my great aunts. I never got to meet them, but I am ever so grateful that my cousin contacted me, and we can do some catching up...

My immigration story began in 1991 when I met my husband. It is so much fun to take that trip down memory lane and wonder about the problems my great aunts ran into. I am sure they missed family and German food just as much as I do 100 years later. =)