Sunday, December 30, 2012

Starting New Family Traditions

I find that the hardest thing about living in a foreign country during the holidays, is the lack of extended family. While other folks spend Christmas day with grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and herds of cousins - you are pretty much alone as a family unit.

If you are an immigrant, too, maybe you can relate to this feeling? Or maybe your family lives on the opposite end of the country, and you cannot afford the plane ticket or gas money to visit this year?



The only thing we have found to soothe the pain is creating  our own family traditions. We have learned to find new ways to entertain the children during the many days they are off from school.

Last year we bought a giant puzzle to do over Christmas. After all the presents had been opened and members of the family were getting grumpy and suffering from cabin fever, I got out a 1000 piece puzzle. Since we could not afford to travel to Germany last year, we brought Germany to our dining room table. It took us 3 whole days to put the puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle together.



At first there was a lot of sighing. Really mom? Do we have to do this. But after the picture started coming together the children were intrigued and wanted to finish.



This year we bought another puzzle. It was panorama view of New York City Time Square at night. This one was a real toughy. I thought we'd never figure out a way to put these pieces together.

I think doing a large puzzle as a family is a wonderful activity to do together. It's great to work as a team. We assigned different parts to different people. Guess what? Despite the fact that this puzzle was so much harder we finished it in 2 days. Awesome job family! Can't wait to pick one out for next Christmas. Unless, dare I dream ? - we get to go to Germany?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas & Thank You

I can't believe Christmas Eve is here. The last couple of days have been rather hectic and filled with baking, cooking, and catching up on some gifts for the family. I know I say this every year: It's really tough when you run a little business that get's the busiest this time of year.

Luckily, I have learned a few lessons from going through this process for a number of years.  By setting the cut-off date on custom orders much earlier and only putting items in my Etsyshop that were finished and ready to go, my life was so much easier this time around. I still wish I had a little Elf helper to wrap and ship things for me, but alas such is life.


Looks like our pyramide stable scene needs some dusting off...No doubt I will get to it before too long!



I want to thank all the people who have helped me so much. First of all, I want to thank the people at the Post Office who patiently put up with my big piles of packages and odd requests for putting pretty stamps on my letters to Germany - when there was a line all the way out the door.

I want to say a big "Thank You" to all my wonderful customers who ordered from my little shop and left me such wonderful feedback and comments when ordering. Here is one of my favorite ones:

I was looking for a sweet doll for my youngest granddaughter, something soft and sweet, and looked at all sorts of horrible dolls until i found your lovely, sweet, soft creations. They made MY heart glad, and I hope this charming green doll will find a happy place in Helen's pockets... and we ALL love pockets!! Thank you!
 
It made my heart glad to read your note, Dear Susan! I find in times like this, when the world seems such harsh place, we must work extra hard to make things better. Every little kind gesture and word matters.

I want to thank my collegues from the NaturalKids team, particularly the folks who wrote articles and helped to keep the blog going. Rachel, you are wonderful!

I also want to thank my friends and family who put up with me and were understanding about having to cancel a lunch date or an event of making merry because I was on Elf duty. Thank you all for keeping me going with your lovely comments, patience, and kind words of support.



                       Have a Merry Christmas - if you celebrate Christmas - that is!

                       I wish all of you Good Health and Happiness for the New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Edible Christmas Tree Decorations - Christmas Bretzels

I am having a hard time going back to "normal" after the events in Connecticut last week. Discussions on Facebook are still going hot and heavy. But one has to keep moving and stop thinking of all the ugliness in this world or one might go insane...


One of the Earliest depictions of a Bretzel from the 12th Century

It's not good for the children to see us so sad and preoccupied with negative thoughts. Since the wave of orders in my shop appears to have subsided, I started on some Christmas cookies. Late - as always.

I had not thought about Bretzels in a long time. You know German folks like to hang edible Christmas decorations on their Christmas trees. I 'll never forget that first Christmas when we took our little fellow back to Germany. He was just a toddler and would crawl up to my sister's Christmas tree pick an apple from the tree and take a bite from it. We all laughed finding the apples with tiny bitemarks among the presents...Only the ones that were high up were safe.



I let me my daughter pick a recipe from my German cookbook yesterday. It was for Weihnachtsbretzels. They will look so pretty tied onto the tree with bright red ribbons. I will have to make an extra batch to give to friends and neighbors.

from Wikipedia:

pretzel
(known as Brezel in German, sometimes also Brezn or Breze) is a type of baked food made from dough in soft and hard varieties and savory or sweet flavors in a unique knot-like shape, originating in Europe. The pretzel shape is a distinctive symmetrical looped form, with the ends of a long strip of dough intertwine brought together and then twisted back onto itself in a certain way ("a pretzel loop"). Pretzels in stick form may also be called pretzels in the English-speaking context. For seasoning and decoration various glazes, salt crystals, sugar and various seeds or nuts can be used. The size varies from large enough for one to be a sufficient serving, to much smaller....

There are numerous accounts on the origin of the looped pretzels, as well as the origin of the name; most agree that they have Christian backgrounds and were invented by monks. According to The History of Science and Technology, by Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans, in 610 AD "...an Italian monk invents pretzels as a reward to children who learn their prayers. He calls the strips of baked dough, folded to resemble arms crossing the chest, 'pretiola' ("little rewards")".
 
I also thought of them in terms of little hugging arms. Maybe you could bake some and give them away. Show a little love to someone who may not expect it. They are not that hard to make. The recipe is fairly easy and does not require too many ingredients.
 
cream together using a handmixer
 
  • 100g butter
  • 200g sugar
  • packet of vanilla sugar or some liquid vanilla extract
to this mixture add
  • one whole egg plus another eggwhite (reserve the yolk of the second egg for eggwash)
sift together
  • 500 g flour
  •  2 teaspoons of bakingpowder 
  •  pinch of salt
 
add 2/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ones with mixer, then kneed in the rest of the flour by hand. Since we live in very dry climate I used about 50g less flour.
 
If the dough is very soft, refrigerate it for a little while. Our house is so cold, brrrrr,  I didn't have to.
Cut off chunks of dough and roll it into pencil-thick little ropes. Cut them into 20cm long pieces and shape them into Bretzels. 
 Put them on a greased cookies sheet and apply eggwash with a brush. The eggwash is made with the reserved eggyolk of the second egg and mixed beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk.
 
Bake at 375 for 10 -15 minutes.
 
 
This recipe makes about 40 bretzels. They don't taste very sweet and are like a hard little cracker.
 
 
 

Monday, December 17, 2012

I cannot Eat...

Sorry folks if you came here to find the names for the giveaway winners. I have to get something else of my chest first. For the last 3 days I have been sitting my little studio just feeling numb. How is this possible? How can I continue living in this violent country? I find it hard to sleep, breath, or eat. One famous quote by Jewish Artist Max Liebermannn came to mind.

While looking out his window and watching the Nazis celebrate their victory by marching through the Brandenburg Gate, Liebermann was reported to have commented: "Ich kann gar nicht soviel fressen, wie ich kotzen möchte." ("I cannot eat as much, as I would like to puke").

I am so sick of it. I am sick of turning on my computer and finding images of this on my computer. I am sick of the blame game being played and the pointing of fingers.

It's the guns.
It's mental illness.
It's the media's fault.

Really people? Look at yourselves. I don't think the answers are that easy. You cannot point to just one thing. If you want to solve this problem you must look at it from all angles and fight it on all fronts.

I grew up in a Nation that has very strict gun laws. My parents never had to worry when I went to a friend's house. Nobody in my family ever owned or used a gun. Guns are for war.
In the US they are a recreational thing. You can buy them at pawnshops or go to a gun show and buy one without background check. ANYBODY who has a mind to buy one can get one. Registered and legally owned they can do a whole lot of damage.

Mental illness. I have seen the article by the mother whose son is mentally ill blasted all over FB by friends. Yes, the US really needs to do something about health care and helping people who are not insured and mentally unstable. Mothers of children who are sick need help. Turning mentally ill people loose in the streets because people don't want to pay taxes for the health centers that provide them with medications does not help the situation. I find it ironic how nobody wants to pay taxes in this country but then there is an outcry over such facilities not being available for folks who need them.

Is it the media's fault? Does the media make heroes out of deranged people? Do you really think the boy in this case cared about the media and his ultimate motive was to be in the newspaper? I think it's gross how every little detail is shared and made public. I feel terrible for all the families involved - victims and relatives of the killer alike. Can you imagine being the person wrongly accused? But we have to take a good look in the mirror and check ourselves. This stuff sells papers. Why do people hunger to know those details. Is it because we want to understand this thing that cannot be understood?  Or is it some strange kind of voyeurism? Almost like another Crime TV show - but it's real.

Something has to change in this country. But it's not just ONE thing.

I got into the biggest argument with my own husband this weekend about guns. How this whole thing will just turn into another time wasting argument over gun control. My husband argued that it's not the guns and that we need to fight "the culture of violence" in this Nation. And I totally wholeheartedly agree to that. I think if we want to change what happened we need to start in our own households. Don't let your children play violent video games and watch TV shows or movies that glorify violence. We have to teach them the value of human life and respecting other people.
We have to spend quality time with our kids and know our childrens' hearts.

BUT we can only control our own household. We cannot tell other people how to raise their kids. It's going to take a long long time to change those things because they are so ingrained in this culture. You cannot forbid those horrible video games. Can you? You cannot stop movie makers from creating chainsaw massacre movies and forbid people to watch that stuff. But you CAN change gun laws. You CAN make it harder for people to own them. People say, he could have done this with knifes like some deranged person in China. And isn't it just as awful if he had killed only one or two people? Yes, every dead child matters. Every single one was precious. Still I believe firmly that less is better. If a life can be spared because there are less weapons to go around let's do it.

Why do we need a million safety regulations for handmade toys but a person can walk into a gun show or buy assault weapons and ammunition via the Internet?

Sorry folks I just had to say those things. It's not business as usual for me. I did go to church yesterday, and it felt good to finally be able to cry during our pastor's sermon. I want to make a doll for one of the families who lost their daughter. I am part of a group of wonderful doll makers on Facebook and we are going to send dolls to each of the families. How can they ever be comforted?

Hug your children and make ART! It's the only thing that makes sense to me right now.

I'll announce the winners of my Giveaway later today.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Coupon

The race to the finish line is on. I have started my baking spree, and as I wait for my Christstollen to rise and cookie dough to rest, I make runs to the post office and get in a bit more sewing. I even designed one more cute little Holiday outfit. My daughter has been asking for a holiday dress for her doll for years...This year I finally got it done. Plus, I made a couple more. So if you want one check it out.

It's not too late to get a cute doll from my shop or order some doll clothing to hang on the Christmas tree. So please visit my shop and enjoy this coupon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Little Lexie, A Christmas Doll


Lexi 3, originally uploaded by germandolls.

One more little Christmas Baby emerged from my workbench today. She has slightly sunkissed skin, blue eyes, and comes in an adorable Christmas dress with diapers and matching bonnet.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Snowflake Pocket Doll Giveaway

Well, it still has not snowed in Colorado. Looks like I got to keep making my own little snowflakes over here. Like they do up in the ski resorts. LOL

I am willing to share some of my snow babies with you folks. I will be mailing out ONE snowflake baby to two lucky winners next Monday. So you have until next Sunday 16th, 2012 midnight to enter.



In order to enter in the drawing you have to share my Facebook fanpage and this Giveaway with your friends. You must leave a comment including your email address here on my blog. I will not consider names without email address because I don't have time to chase down the winners. You know making snow is hard work. Got to make more and more...

Please one entry per person only.

If you live in a foreign country and would like to get your snowbaby mailed to some such place as Africa that's okay. Luckily my flakes don't melt. Just remember that your little snowflake baby will not arrive until AFTER Christmas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Comments on this Giveaway are closed. Winners are Wendy & Mojo,  and Brigid. I will contact them ASAP.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Am I a Nut?

This is our Sixth year being part in a local production of The Nutcracker. The last few weeks have been totally hectic and it all is a blur.

As if I wasn't busy enough with my little doll business, here I am rushing to rehearsal after rehearsal. Next come the performances - 3 in a row. Today is our last show. I am exhausted. And so is my child.
Before Make-up


Why do we do this? Because after it's all done we know that we brought lots of joy to people who may wonder where the snow is and if Christmas is really coming. It's been much too warm for the season. The party scene with Christmas tree, dancing Christmas presents, the make-believe snow on stage get us in the mindset for the Holiday.

After Make-up

My daughter was cast as a clown and mouse. This year was her first year as a mouse. It's hard to change from one full face make-up to another one. Luckily I have been a make-up mom in training for many years. I know how to draw each line by heart. I know the contour of the sweet little faces I work on. I can do it on the fly without panicking. Ah, and even if there is a little smudge. We can fix it right up. No sad clowns around here!

For the love of the Arts we do it each year. We are all nutty about The Nutcracker and our 100+ darling dancers who work so hard to make this show the best in Northern Colorado. Go break a leg - one more time this afternoon!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Snowflake Babies and Giveaway

Inspired by one of my favorite wintersongs growing up in Germany, I created a bunch of little snowflake pocket babies this week.

It's been much too warm for the season in Colorado. We really need some snow. So maybe my wishful thinking about snow will help bring us the much needed precipitation?


Here are the German lyrics to this old German folksong:


Schneeflöckchen, Weißröckchen,
wann kommst du geschneit?
Du kommst aus den Wolken,
dein Weg ist so weit.

Komm, setz dich ans Fenster,
du lieblicher Stern;
malst Blumen und Blätter,
wir haben dich gern.

Schneeflöckchen, du deckst uns
die Blümelein zu;
dann schlafen sie sicher
in himmlischer Ruh’.




Here is my English translation of the lyrics: 
 
Little Snowflake, little white skirt,
when will you come down?
You come from the clouds,
your journey is so far.

Come sit by the window,
You lovely star;
Painting flowers and leaves,
we love you very much.

Little snowflake, you cover us
and the little flowers up,
So they can sleep safe,
and in heavenly peace.

I will be doing a Giveaway for some of my snowbabies during the Advent season. So please, stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent Celebration German Style

Yippee! I made it this year. I actually managed to pull out the Advent's wreath from it's box on time for the First Advent.

This year we are using homemade candles that the children made from our own beeswax collected over the last few years. We didn't harvest any honey this year for fear the bees might starve again. Two years in a row we have lost all of our bees.

Hand dipped beeswax candles


I have used the beeswax for sealing the wooden buttons for my doll clothes. This is the first time we made hand dipped candles. Hand dipping candles takes a lot of wax, patience, and time. We learned that we will have to save up a lot more wax to make taller candles. This year's are pretty short. But still pretty.

What no Christstollen? Just plain old toast? The children were very disappointed. Better start making some German Baked goodies soon here...


The house is wonderfully decorated. We pulled out all our German decorations brought back from various trips to the Vaterland. Maybe you have heard the motto of the German Kaethe Wohlfahrt stores? Kaethe Wohlfahrt is a company that sells mostly handmade wooden crafts from the German Erzgebirge region.  That is where many beautiful German Christmas decorations come from. Don't fall for the fakes made in China. When you see the real thing you'll know it. The craftsmanship is incredible. It doesn't matter what time of year you go to Germany at Kaethe Wohlfahrt - "Where it's Christmas all year around".

I feel so blessed that we were able to visit the big Christmas store on the Ku'damm in Berlin this summer. I'll share some images of the new ornaments we brought back to the States. They are so simple and beautiful. That's German style Christmas for you.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ready! Set! Decorate!

Where has November gone? I am so not ready for the Advent season to begin. But ready or not here we go. we must think about decorating the house. Hubby put up some outdoor Christmas lights last weekend.
To tell you the truth, I am not much of a fan of it. When I first moved to the US I thought it was cheer crazyness how much energy is being wasted that way. Really people? Here I am hanging every load of laundry to cause less of a carbon footprint and folks are just going nuts with holiday lights.

DH doesn't go overboard like that. Still it's wasted energy in my mind but at least we agreed to upgrade to the energy saving LED type lighting last year.


 
 I pulled out my doll sized Christmas tree from storage. It looks so cute with my little angel babies starting to populate it as I make them. I need to finish a couple of custom sets for some folks.

                                                          Are they adorable or what?
 
My goal is to fill up the whole little tree with every color under the rainbow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sophie and her Baby


Sophie and her Baby, originally uploaded by germandolls.

I just finished this sweet doll and her baby. I love them so much already. I hope they find a good home for Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Deck the Halls...

I had this idea to make Christmas stockings for my dolls in my head forever. I just never got around to making them last year. So what better time to create a new product then when you are in the midst of the holiday rush? LOL

They look so adorable hanging by the mantle.





It's tough to surprise my own daughter when it comes to doll clothes and accessories. Since my workspace is just a little nook in the entryway to our home, I cannot hide things from the family. When she saw the first doll sized stocking she yelled - "Oh, that pink one is for me, right?" Being a dollmaker really puts a dent in the Santa Story...

I wish I had my own room with a key and lock to work in. But here I am with my fabric, threads, and packages spilling out in every direction of the house. Some day... Unfortunatly it might be after the kids move out.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

The house is filled with the delicious smell of freshbaked pumpkin pie. I am so very thankful for having a husband who makes blue ribbon pies. Put a dollop of whipped cream on it - it's like heaven. At least that what I imagine it to be like.

This morning I tried to convince dear hubby to make a deconstructed pie. Seems like so many people have been talking about it on various cooking shows. I dug up this one recipe that looked good. Unfortunately the champion pie baker didn't go for the idea. Tradition, you know... Maybe next year. I think I might sneak some sugar and cinnamon in the whipped cream anyways. Pst! Don't tell!



While waiting for the big feast I am working hard on some more doll orders. Luckily we are not having the party here. We will go to friend's house for our yearly International friends Thanksgiving. I am so very gratefull that I don't have to clean my crafty mess.

I am thankful for friends! What would we do without them? It would be a very small feast with just the four of us since we have no family near.

Hope you are having a good day with your family and friends! If you are traveling, stay safe on the roads!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting Ready for Black Friday

My little shop is well-stocked. I got more shipping supplies, boxes, tissue paper, and tape galore. I am ready for the storm. I hope. I just created a coupon for my fans who have been waiting in the wings. It's always nice to get a little discount, right?

So here is my cutest fan picture revamped with the info on how you can save. Just note that the coupon won't go live until Friday morning. I may have to stay up late to enter it on my Etsy. So if you have your eye on a certain item in my shop come early. I don't take any more custom order at this point.

                                             

Holy Cow! She can't believe it's 10% off...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Look what I got in the mail!

It just arrived. Check out this sweet little wooden doll bed from Quietude Quilts! I love it so much. It came packaged so nicely in a simple box with instructions for assembling it. To tell you the truth, I have not glued it together yet. I was too excited to take some pictures right away.

If you are looking for a natural doll bed, please visit Kelsey's and Jonathan's Etsyshop. They make a great products and are lovely people.

What better place to put a dollbaby who is feeling a bit "under the weather"? Little Babette gave me the thumbs-up when she saw the new bed. She crawled right in there and took a little nap. =)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Purple Angel Dolls

I just finished this sweet set of little Angels. Well, technically, only the big doll has wings and is an angel, but the little baby is quite angelic looking, too. I love angels. Have you ever felt the presence of an angel?

I feel we all need some in our lives. Sometimes they are real people who take care of us and give us a boost when things are not going so well...Sometime they are imagined beings, floating around us comforting us when we most need it.



Right now I am okay. Sales in my shop have really picked up and I enjoy the business of my little business. The constant mess in my workroom. The pieces of thread and tape sticking to my clothing as I float back and forth between my house and postoffice.

I am so relieved the stupid elections are over. No more people coming to my doorstep harassing me. No more phone terror. calls about voting for one or the other party. Best of all my FB stream of messages from friends is back to normal. I got so tired of all the hate. Thank God this is over!

The world will keep spinning and angels will keep watching over us. No matter what, we will be all right!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cutting into History

I love my Lutheran Church. It doesn't have flashy screens nor loud live rock music. The children might prefer a more modern spin on religion. I am oldfashioned and hoping my type of church will survive...

One of my best friends at church is Dorothea. She is in her late 80s and still lives by herself. We have the greatest conversations on Sunday. We talk about the kids, her grandkids, and my dolls.



Recently she asked me to come over to her house. She told me she had a couple of things I might be able to use for my craft. Little was I prepared for the gifts she bestowed on me. She brought out an old box filled with scraps of old lace and ribbons. I am not certain how old some of the pieces are. I looked up the name of the company that made the box. It  was made by the company Cradle Knit that sold baby clothes. That company was around until the early 1960s. But then my friend pulled out a brown papersack. In it she had some trim which she had neatly cut of from old pillowcases. All of a sudden it dawned on me that they were handmade pieces of lace. Some of them where created via an old technique called tatting.

Do you know anyone who still knows how to tat? These pieces are so amazing. I looked at the small size of the stitches and can only imagine how long it took to create each trim. Who has the time to do this any more?

Now here I am with a big bag to use on my doll clothes and creations. I feel so very honored and grateful to my friend. I can't decide what to make. How do you even cut into material like that?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Little Ballerina


Ballerina back at barre, originally uploaded by germandolls.

It's been 7 years since my daughter started dancing. Our little Ballerina is growing up...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Strange Kind of Club

It's All Saint's Sunday at church today. But I think this year I just don't have the energy to go to my Lutheran Church to light candles. Candles for all the people in my family who have died. The list keeps growing, parents, aunts and uncles, even young cousins. I would not want to leave anyone out. So we have decided to spend the day in the mountains instead. Maybe high up on the Rocky Mountains, I can be a little closer to all those loved ones we have lost.

A friend recommended a book to me recently. It's the novel Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. Looks like every book club in town has read it. I heard about it from many people. Kind of funny how people think that because you are German you need to read more about the Holocaust. I can tell you this much: All of my teenage school years' history lessons were dominated by this subject. We studied the topic inside out and outside in. We visited concentration camps, watched movies, and literally talked it to death. We were basically taught that the debt our people owe can never be repaid. But here I am reading another book about evil Germans. Oh wait, the book is also about the "good" Germans, but I don't want to give anything away, in case you have not read the book...



I am not sure why I get so angry when I find misspellings of German words and songtitles in books like that. It makes me wonder why couldn't the author at least have a German native do some editing and proofreading for her? I also could have pointed out to her that some of her notions of German food were stereotypical, and that we don't stick our hands in a mixing bowl while preparing Rouladen (German Beefrolls).

But I am still glad I chose to read the book. Besides the annoying stuff I found the story compelling and I am halfway through reading it.

As a teenager I would always have a little notebook while reading books. In it I would copy a passage that struck me as particular beautiful and that I wanted read over again later. Here is such a passage from the novel Those Who Safe Us. In this passage Max, one of the main character talks about death:

"The death of a parent, he says to it, is a profoundly life-altering experience, isn't it? When I was a child, I often had this feeling of God's In his Heaven: All's right with the world--that's Robert Browning. An English poet. But ever since my father died in the last war, I've awakened each morning knowing that I'll never again feel that absolute security. Nothing is ever quite right, is it, after a parent dies? No matter how well things go, something always feels slightly off..."

And a page later Anna decribes her feelings concerning her mother's death in the following way:

"It's like being in a sort of club, isn't it? A bereavement club. You don't choose to join it; it's thrust upon you. And the members whose lives have been altered."

I hope you folks reading this blogpost are not members of this strange club  I am part of yet. If you are a member, I hope you have some other members to share with and comfort each other on this day.

Love,
   Ulla

Friday, November 2, 2012

My First Hyena Cart Auction


Jammies, originally uploaded by germandolls.

I hope you visit my new shop on Hyena Cart. I started my first auction this morning. I hope this sweet pair find a good home over the weekend...

http://hyenacart.com/stores/GermanDolls/

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy November or Not?

October went by in a blur. We didn't even get a Halloween pumpkin carved this year. My porch decorations were truly lame this year. I am just not as much into it as I used to be. Maybe because the kids are getting so big? Our oldest didn't even want to go trick or treating this year. He said:" Mom, who is going to give me candy? I am too tall." Wahhhh. Why do they have to grow up so quickly? If you have young kids, I tell you, enjoy every moment with them! Before you know it they will turn into teenagers, and then what?



Despite the warm weather we sadly had very few Trick or Treaters this year. I am sure many a parent was still weary and sad about the case of the little girl abducted and murdered in Colorado. It's hard not to cry every time one thinks about it. It's tough to explain to your 11-year-old that there are real monsters in this world. You may never recognize them since they might come in the shape of a friendly neighborhood boy.

All I can do to fight the infinite sadness of such thoughts is make more sweet dolls. Maybe if each child got to love and nurture a sweet baby doll the world would be a better place?



It's All Saints Day. I am lighting a candle for my mom, my dad, and all the sweet little girls that went to heaven long before their time. Sleep tight little angel, Jessica.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Green Christmas Elf Doll ready to Go!

                            Green Christmas Elf Doll 12 inch 30cm :: GermanDolls Online Shop


{this moment} - First Snow

Here is my "special moment" of the week. Please, feel free to share your's.

based on Soulemama's {this moment} series  - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
 
. . . . . . . . . .
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Great NaturalKids Team Giveaway

when? this weekend Saturday, October 27th
where? on soulemama's blog
what? you could win a collection of Natural Kids Team toys and items valued at over $1,000

Included will be one of my little pocket angel ornaments. So darling...




Don't miss out and enter in it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting Old...

I have a hard time admitting it. But I guess one is getting old when checking out large print books from the library.

I went to the library the other day. I had just finished the John Irving novel  In One Person. It's about transgendered and bisexual people. I liked that book a lot but it kind of left me sad and depressed. I love John Irving as a general rule, but this one was very tough to get through. The book had 400 something pages too. Night after night I'd fall asleep after about reading 25 pages. Was it the sad content or my failing eyesight? I even lost a competition with my daughter in who would finish the book they were reading first. Cost me a $1. So I told the nice ladies at the library I needed something to cheer me up.


I wanted to read something in large print and a book that was funny. Success! I checked out Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fanny Flagg. It's the story of an old lady named Elner Shimfissle. She is my new hero. I hope to grow a little bit more like her every day.

Maybe time to get some reading glasses?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wagon full of Babies

I have been working hard on my first big order for the season. After 5 days of making little ones my hands are cramping up, just a little bit. But wasn't it totally worth it?

I made 34 little miniature pocket babies. They don't even all fit in my little wagon.

                                               Now on to some bigger dolls...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Getting Ready for Winter

I cannot put in words how glad I am that fall has finally arrived. It was sunny yesterday as we worked outside raking the leaves and cleaning up the yard. It wasn't exactly cool. But no more scorching heat. I am so very thankful for it!


I am also thankful for the first fire in our woodstove and being able to curl up with a book by the fire.
I am excited to get the warm comforters and flannelsheets out of the closets and get our beds ready for the cold nights.



I am thrilled to put up the last of the harvest from our community gardenpatch. We have never tried pickling peppers.

So this is kind of an experiment. We had good luck growing all sorts of peppers this summer. We harvested tons of bellpeppers, Jalapenos, and some really hot peppers called Scotch Bonnets. Unfortunately not many people around us seem to care for hot food. That's why we decided to freeze and pickle the extra produce. We used this recipe our daughter randomly chose from the internet. The jars look so pretty. You are supposed to let pickles sit for a few weeks before you can eat them. Even if they don't taste good I think it was well worth the effort.

Do you have any tips on pickling for someone who has never done it?

Friday, October 12, 2012

this moment

My moment of the week is finally finishing a set of 8 dolls. I made one from each skin color I own. I hope you enjoy my little rainbow of dolls!
 
Can't wait to finish them and dress them up!
 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Perfect German Potato Salad

Hello, October! Time for some beer and brats for the German Immigrant doll maker. Oh well, the brats in this nation are not my thing. To my German tastebuds they are either too salty, or too dry, or too fatty.  Please, if you do find a good bratwurst point me the right way. I have tried and tried. I sampled about every kind of sausage from the regular grocery store to the high end whole food stores in a 100 mile radius. In my opinion there are no good sausages in Colorado. How come?

So I'll stick with the beer and some homemade good old German Potato salad. I think it's about high time I share my mom's secret recipe. Who the heck had the idea to put Mayonaise in a potato salad? Not only is it bad for you health it is wrong - just wrong!

We harvested 15 pounds of potatoes from our community garden patch. What better thing to do than make a salad from them? Right from the ground they went into our tummy.



What you need for this recipe are the following ingredients:

1-2 pounds boiled potatoes, with the skin left on if they are new
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, crushed in garlic press or cut up finely
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
chives

3-4 sliced radishes
2 tomatoes sliced into wedges
1 sliced hard boiled egg (optional)

Scrub the potatoes and boil them whole or cut into evenly sized chunks. Cover with water and put in a pinch of salt. Boil for 15-20 minutes until tender when stabbed with a fork.
While the potatoes are boiling prepare the dressing. Mix broth, vinegar, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and vegetable oil.


After the potatoes have drained, add them still warm to your dressing and toss it.

Is this a transformer, fertility god, or a really a potato?

All the other ingredients are optional. My husband swears the radishes are not. They add a little zing. Our daughter loves the chopped eggs. Our son is a great fan of chives. So everybody is happy.


It had been a while since I made this dish. When I do I miss my mom intensely...Thank you Mama for teaching me to make the perfect German Potato Salad!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stocking up for the Holidays

I am sorry to say that I have not spent much time on my Blog lately. My time has been consumed with planning and meetings for my new website. It was supposed to be launched September 1. But the date keeps getting pushed back. I am getting a bit weary and frustrated. But all good things take a while. It's true for dolls and hopefully true for websites.



Whenever I have had a bit of downtime I have been working on small things such as doll clothes and little dolls for the shop. It's common knowledge that children like to find doll clothes hidden in their Christmas stockings or hanging from a Christmas tree maybe. Small dolls are a big hit every Christmas too. So no worries, Santa! Ther German elf is busting her chops to get things ready for you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pink Waldorf Angel


waldorf angel pink 1 copy, originally uploaded by germandolls.

This is such a cutie. I think everybody needs angel like that to watch over them...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

5 Pastel Pocket Dolls

I finished this cute set of 5 pocket dolls in the wee morning hours before going to church today. I know it's Sunday and one should really rest. But my hands can never be still and must create every day. Just like breathing.

I love getting up early. I usually rise around 4 am. How about you? Are you an early riser.

 
The only problem is I get really tired around 2PM and need a nap. Not these little guys. They are all ready to play. What a happy blue-eyed bunch they are.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hair like a Dream


candy outdoors 2, originally uploaded by germandolls.

I think her hair is lovely. It's the most beautiful yarn I have ever had the privilege to put on a doll.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Candycorn Yarn

Oh my! I received this most amazing beautiful handspun yarn in the mail the other day. I love the colors so much. It looks like the mountains in Colorado when they start changing colors. Have you ever experienced the intense golden yellows of aspen trees? Every leaf looks like a shiny golden coin. The bright oranges and browns are gorgeous, too.

 I swear my friend Anna who created the yarn does magic with colors. I hope you visit her shop and snatch up some of that beautiful yarn of hers.



Thanks so much, Anna! I adore everything you do.

Of course, I had to make a doll with it. My hands were itching all week to make a fall girl sporting this fancy yarn. Oh, she turned out so sweet. I want to keep her to myself...I will share some photos later today.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Field of Dreams

Last night we watched the movie Field of Dreams with the family. It's a rather old movie from 1989. I have been wanting to see it for many years, hearing people use references from it in different places on many occasions. Now I know why...

Field of Dreams is the story of a 36-year-old Iowa farmer named Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) who keeps hearing voices telling him "to build it." Build what? It takes him a while to figure it out. The voice is asking him to build a baseball field. Everybody thinks he is totally nuts. Especially the other farmers. But once he builds the baseball field, dead baseball players from the past start appearing and playing baseball in his field. It is a magical field. Only certain people can see it. Only the people who are believers can see it.



Ha, I love it. I won't get into the rest of the story. If you have not seen this movie you should definitely rent it. It was so perfect for me to see at this time and place in my life.  I think this movie is about lost chances and giving up on dreams. Often people have to give up on their dreams because of circumstances - lack of money, skill, opportunity. Ray's father had to give up on his dream of being a baseball player because he had to support his family. Ray's whole life is overshadowed by the fact that he never made peace with his dad after a fight.

What do we make of our dreams in life? How do we find our true calling? I often feel like Ray when it comes to my art and my little doll business. My "field of dreams" is to make a living doing what I love best. The problem is that many people around me don't see it or understand it. Some flatout think it's nuts. How do you keep your dreams alive against all odds?



I keep hearing this little voice in my head. If you keep making art,  they will come and buy it from you. I will be able to make a decent living as an artist some day, right?

Just got to keep believing in your dreams.

What are your dreams? Have you found your true calling? If not, I hope you are surrounded by a family who loves and supports you no matter how crazy and farout your dreams seem...