Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Baby

My mom and my sister Susanne who is the firstborn child in my family... The picture was taken 1963 or 1964 maybe? My oldest sister was always teased for being born out of wedlock. She had the black mark of being "unehelich" on her birth certificate. My parents married a few days after she was born...
Why? My dad's divorce to his first wife had not come through on time for the birth of his new daughter...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Too early for fall?

I changed the layout of my blog to a fall motive. Do you think it is too early? I guess it is wishful thinking on my part. I am so tired of being hot. I love fall. It's my favorite time of year. Love the colors. Browns, reds, oranges. Sorry I just couldn't wait to put them on my blog. I may not be able to change the weather but I can change the mood on my blog...=)
Dreaming of cooler days...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I am working on...

It's been a while since I made a new doll. Frankly, it's the heat that's been keeping me. It is so hot in our house these days. We have no air conditioning, and when the temperatures get into the hundreds I don't feel much desire to touch wool batting.

We are a tough bunch. Only at night we run a couple of fans to draw some cold air into the house. Living at high altitude, at least we have the luxury of things cooling down at night. So they say...Maybe I should work nights? But when is one supposed to get any sleep? Anyways. Yesterday I finally finished this sweet little doll I named Nora. What do you think?

I love her auburn tresses. She looks like quite the wild child. Her green eyes sparkle with a bit of mischief...It took me a while to find a name for her. But then I remembered a little girl named Nora I met at a barbecue last summer. My daughter was quite impressed with her since she never put on clothes the whole afternoon...Nora doesn't like clothes!

My doll is a bit more bashful. =)

Friday, July 23, 2010

German Dolls "Studio" Tour

My “studio” space is located in the entryway to our house. The word studio sounds too grand really. My little happy sewing space is barely 7x10 feet. Part of that space is taken up by a large old radiator.

The location of my creative space is a good and a bad thing. The good part is, that it forces me to keep things more orderly, since this is the room people look at first when they come to our house. The bad thing, of course, is that I must always put things away and can’t leave a big mess. But you’d be amazed to see what one can do with such a small space!

For the longest time I played with the idea of building a table over the radiator. I don't know why, but it appears, that the family gets tired of my things spilling over into the dining room/family work table. I don't understand why finding tape stuck to a book or page of homework is such a big deal...Do you?

Luckily last year my husband’s crafty woodworker uncle came and helped me ameliorate that stressful situation. I am so thankful I could realize my idea of having a side table. Together we built a new table off to the left side from my sewing table/desk. This space that was once wasted since I could not put any shelving or a table there, now serves as shipping and, cutting table. I also use it for taking photos of my dolls and doll clothes.

In one corner of the table I keep an antique Pepsi crate which I found at a flea market. The crate holds note cards, business cards, tape, and lots of small odds and ends that I need all the time…Note the gnome sitting behind the roll of tape in my tape dispenser. He is the guardian of my tape to remind the children that they have their own tape…What used to be wasted space has become a wonderful work space!

The dear uncle also built me a handy dandy storage shelf for some of my materials and shipping supplies. It is located above the side table and held in place by the window frames and some extra supports through L-brackets. Unfortunately, there is not enough room for all of my fabric. The fabric I use for doll clothes is spread all over the house in various bins and dresser drawers. Sometimes it can take me a while to remember where I put a particular piece of cloth I am looking for…I wish I could keep everything in one room. But then again it’s good exercise walking up and down the stairs to get your materials together…

If you would like to see more pictures you can visit my flickr page photo site for the complete tour. This report was inspired by Kat from Katsinthebelfry. I enjoyed visiting her work space and hope you have enjoyed visiting mine. =)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

meet my dad - The Lion...

i wish i could say my childhood was a happy one. i wish i could tell stories about having this great dad who loved me and took care of me. i wish i could tell you of a dad who gave his children unconditional love and devotion. the kind of love my husband has for our two children...
but sadly it cannot be. i know one is not supposed to speak ill of the dead. but i feel i have to give the complete picture here. i suppose i could sum up things in one image: the image of my mom driving home with us kids in the car. as we would come up the driveway to our house, she'd say: "Well kids, we must brace ourselves! it's time to return to the lion's den."

i wish i could tell you stories of my happy german childhood. a childhood filled with laughter and great joy. could tell of hours spent sewing, knitting, and crafting by the warm hearth. engaging in wonderful conversations about literature while listening to great german classical music. well, there was all of that too. but then there was the other side...can there really be no light without darkness?

i have racked my brain a million times. how did this sweet looking six-year-old boy, the dashing 17-year old, you see in these pictures turn into an abuser? my dad was beautiful and very smart. why could he not live his promise?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lots of Bloomers and a Custom Order...

Looks like I am going to go with "shorts" for the short underpants and "bloomers" for the longer ruffled pants. I must have 4o different colored sets for the shorts. Now I have to stock up on the long ones. I wonder how long it will take me to make a set of each color...But they look so sweet peaking out from under the dress! I am so pleased with them. I have decided to offer free shipping on them while I am phasing them in!

Monday, July 19, 2010

What lies Beneath...Unmentionables

I am confused with the English language once again. For a few years now I have been labeling this set of doll clothing that I sell as a "Bonnet and Bloomers" set. The reason I named the underwear part "bloomers" was because I had a strange experience on my flickr site. I had posted some pictures of doll underwear there and immediately got spam messages from various sites advertising Russian mail order brides depicting scantily clad women. Seriously...Wow! After that experience I thought long and hard about how to label my product differently to prevent this from happening. It had just never occurred to me that the usage of the word "panties" could trigger such a reaction. I am sure when I post this article I will get plenty more of this type of spam. At least I have a filter on my blog. Nanananana!

It appears there are tons of different words for underwear in the English language. Do we have that many in German, I wonder? For the English language I found the following: undergarments, underclothing, unmentionables, lingerie, intimate apparel, underlinen, underclothes, panties, panty, undies, underoos, shorts, lingerie, drawers, briefs, slips, delicates, bloomers, and knickers. I guess I have a better understanding of the word unmentionables than I used to...LOL. Feel free to add to the list in your comments.

I looked up the word bloomers. Webster's dictionary defines bloomers as
a : full loose trousers gathered at the knee formerly worn by women for athletics
b : underpants of similar design worn chiefly by girls

Looks like I have been mislabeling my sets. The undies I sold were really shorts and didn't reach the knees. But now I have created sets that are longer and reach past the knees to the ankles. What should I name them?

I am totally lost here. What would be the proper word to use for the doll clothing items I make? Plus I need words that won't lead to the afore described troubles...I'd be grateful if somebody helped me name my sets correctly. Kindly leave your suggestions in the comment section. And no indecent pictures, please! =)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Found & Lost

I am soooo sorry! Have you ever had trouble with comment moderation on blogger? I really wish I did not have to use it. But since I kept getting so many offensive comments - mostly links to nude pictures - from spammers, you know, the ones with the Chinese characters one can't read, I had to do it.

Today I accidentally rejected three comments from good people. I apologize profusely! I did not mean to reject your wonderful comments. I just hit the wrong key by accident, and gone were my comments. I tried to get them back but my efforts were futile. Looks like my comments are lost forever. Please forgive me, dear readers who left the sweet comments. I did read them on my email and appreciate everything you said, I swear!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lost and Found!

I found it! My box of old family photos which I had misplaced. I am so elated! I wanted to post a picture of my mother on Mother's Day this year but then I could not find the box. I have precious few pictures of my family in Germany. When you move a lot stuff gets lost. I can only imagine what it would be like to live through a flood or Hurricane and find all your precious family photos ruined...Luckily mine were just misplaced.

So meet my mom! She has been such a great source of inspiration for my work.
This is Frieda Johanna Stellwagen in 1960. She was born in 1936, as the second oldest child of ten children, to Martha Stellwagen and Friedrich Stellwagen. Her dream was to become a seamstress. But she never did because she could not get an apprenticeship and instead had to work to support the family. As the oldest daughter, she had to help raise her younger siblings. At age 13 she was made to live with a wealthy doctor's family to be their maid and babysitter. Her dad went off to fight in Russia in the WWII. He ended up as a prisoner of war leaving Martha without husband and provider for her ten children. When Friedrich returned from the war he was a broken and sick man. Life would never be the same for the Stellwagen family.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Doll Heads/ Puppenkoepfe

I am so sorry, dear reader! I do apologize if I bored you with my musings on soccer. But when you are German and a soccer fan, it just can't be helped... I promise I will not mention soccer again! Or at least for while...Just once more, for the records sake I have to report: Germany came in third in the World Cup. What a great game against Uruguay! Did you know that Uruguay has only 3.5 million people? Do they all play soccer? What a great team but Germany persisted. Millions of Euro spent on the sport can't lie...

Congratulations to Spain who won the title in the end! But boy, that was one ugly game! 13 yellow cards! Plus there should have been at least one red card for the carate kick by a Dutch player... Not much fun. Now I have to wait four more years for the fun to start again. Aren't you relieved I won't be talking soccer any more?

Not sure where the next World Cup is going to take place. Anybody know?

During the breaks in the games I worked on some doll heads. I admit it is not my favorite kind of activity. But I was all out of heads, and what is a dolly without a head? Doll heads are so much work. Making a number of them really hurts my hands after a while. But somebody has to the job of rolling the wool into smooth even round balls. I have no helpers or elves. Christmas is on the horizon. Curiously kids and husband refuse to be roped into this project...Sigh.

I think I was able to make 13 nicely shaped wool balls between watching free kicks, corner kicks, and goals. The secret is to get them perfectly smooth and make sure they do not have any holes or gaps, for once you stretch fabric over the wool any such gaps will show!

Voila! The perfect head! Now I just have to do it 12 more times...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good News/ Bad News

Well, the bad news is: Germany is out of the competition for the Soccer World Cup 2010. I am so sad. We watched the game at a local movie theatre. Why, oh why did I not stay home for that game? It probably jinxed us. Or was it that stupid octopus Paul who predicted that Spain would win?

It's calamari for dinner tonight! Grrrr...

The good news: Now I can actually get some work done and focus on my business again. I wonder how many hours of labor were lost by German companies. Das deutsche Bruttosozialprodukt ist vermutlich im Keller seid der Fussballweltmeisterschaft.
The German National Gross Product is probably "in the basement" due to the World Cup. It always happens...

I am still proud of our team. They fought valiantly against a very strong Spanish team. At least we don't have to get into a fight with our neighbors now. I am sure there would have been problems with soccer hooligans if Germany had played Holland in the final...

Alas, one must always look on the bright side of life!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

They Won!

Yippee! Germany made it into the next round! Die Mannschaft rocks on!
Did you hear that British commentator on ESPN? I cannot recall his name. He had no kind words for his own team, calling the English players fat, slow, and heavy, after they were defeated by Germany.
His comment on Argentina's loss:" Well, that sandbox soccer didn't cut it against those young German legs!" Harsh words. But I was happy, since everybody in the days leading up to the game had been telling me that Germany had no chance against Argentina...What will they say now? Muah!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On Flags and Patriotism...Happy Together...

It's Fourth of July weekend, and I have to make up my mind. Will I go attend the Greeley Independence Day Parade today or stay home to watch Germany play in the 2010 Soccer Worldcup against Argentina? It's a dilemma. I love going to the parade. It's the only time of year when you see lots of people in the streets, and the flags, floats, horses, rodeo queens, and marching bands look so colorful and eyepleasing.

But what flag should I put up this morning? Our family owns two flags: An American and a German flag which we fly in front of our house to represent our different nationalities. I have to say it is mostly my husband who puts up the flags - even for the German holidays and soccer matches.

Since I grew up in Germany, I have very a different attitude when it comes to displays of patriotism. I wonder what history lessons in school look like in Germany these days. But when I was growing up, the last two years of highschool history lessons were mainly spent on the evils of Nazism. The slogan "NEVER AGAIN" was pounded into our heads. Flags and displays of National pride were all part of this evil, if not commited, but allowed by my parents and grandparents.

The other day I was listening to my favorite local radio station, KUNC. They had a story about Germany and the struggle over flagfree zones during the Worldcup. If you missed it, please go here for an interesting read on this 4th of July weekend:

Of course, I am cheering for Germany this weekend. I will skip the parade this year and go watch the game now... I think one thing I have learned living in the US is that displaying a flag and a sense of National pride are not always bad. It is okay to fly our two flags together on this day. We can live together as two peaceful Nations but must remember that this priviledge had to be earned at times through bloodshed and hard lessons...