Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Take 2: Changing the Lighting/Daytime

Today is the day of the surgery. I am terrified. The saga of money continues. I already got a phonecall this morning at 8AM making sure I was coming for the surgery and bringing in another check. I am going for it without the full anesthesia since that would cost 285 smackeroos more. With just a local it's only $246. Yay! Good thing I sold some doll clothes last week.

To keep my mind occupied and not thinking about this afternoon I worked on my photos. Unbelievable what a difference just the lighting can make, folks! I went outside in the frontyard. It was around 8.15 AM. We are actually having a partly overcast day today in Colorado. We don't get too many of those here. In the article on outdoor photos I read, it said that overcast days were the best. It is so very true! My photos already look soooooooooo much better. You see for yourself and tell me what you think. I barely had to fiddle with these photos. No more washed out faces on the doll. I can only recommend doing this.

Rule Number One: Must remember to Take photos in the early morning hours on an overcast day!

I think the next thing I need to work on is getting a tripod or something to hold my camera. It was pretty cold outside and my hands were shaking quite a bit. Not sure what was worse the cold or the thought about this afternoon's surgery. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please, will you!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Working on Improving my Doll Photos

The other day, as I was discussing the slump in sales with my collegues from the NaturalKids Team, the subject of photography came up. I don't think my pictures are awful. If they were I probably wouldn't have managed to sell dolls at all. But like most things in life, there is always space for improvement. How does one convey the sweetness and true beauty of a handmade doll to the customer?

If you have good photos in your etsyshop people are more likely to pick your item for treasuries. Apparently one of my items made it to the frontpage on Etsy last night. Figures I missed it. I really wish I had a screenshot of the grand moment. It's been years since I made it to that desired front page spot. Does it matter? Well, the more views from potential buyers the greater the chances that people will find your shop and you will sell your wares.

I am sad to report that my shop got around 1,300 views last night and lots of people made my shop a favorite yet I didn't get a single sale. Wah! Hopefully they'll be come back later today and shop...

But let me get back to the subject in question: How can I improve my photos when I can't afford to sign up for an on-line photography class with the expert or a new fancy camera?  So I have decided to start on a quest this last week. I want to improve my doll photos working with what I have: Cute dolls & my old beat-up first generation digital camera.

I took the photo of the two gnome dolls you see above in my backyard last week. My goal is to improve it over the next few days. I will try different day times and follow some advice that I found on various websites this morning. Please feel free to critique my photos and share ideas and tips on getting better digital photos!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cutest Gnome Set

Elf 8, originally uploaded by germandolls.

Pictures can't convey how cute this little guy is...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Medical Scare...

I am sure you have had one or two medical scares in your life. I hate going to the doctor to begin with. I think it sucks even worse in the US. In Germany, at least, they always treated me with respect when entering a doctor's office. Here the first question has always been: Do you have insurance? Or even worse: Hand over the money, now! That's what happened to me at the dental surgeon's office this week. Despite having dental insurance (lucky me!) I had to hand over a check over $65 before they would even look at me. After they had my check and a copy of my insurance card, I still got handed a stack of forms asking me the same question (Who will pay for this? Wait, didn't I just pay for this consult?) about six million times.

Let me tell you folks, there is a lot to be said for the German system and National healthcare. In Germany you can get in with any doctor if you need to. Sometimes that may mean sitting in their office for a few hours and waiting for an opening. Hey, I have done that here when I had an appointment. But if you need to see a doctor in Germany they will see you if you are willing to wait. In the US there is the calling up and them telling you:
"Oh, it will be 5 weeks until doctor soandso can see you." I just can't shake the feeling that doctoring in this nation is all about cold hard cash - or the fear of not getting it. Forgive my language, but it's all screwed up.

But let me start at the beginning. My medical scare started at the dentist's office last week when I went for a regular check-up and routine cleaning. Of all doctors, I fear the dentist most. Unfortunately I have been blessed with terrible enamel and I have to go to the dentist on a regular basis. Sigh! During this last check-up my dentist found this little mass or lump on the inside of my cheek. I thought it was just a cankersore that never healed up. But my dentist didn't and gave me this weird-scare-me-to-death-look. So I decided to go see the other guy - dental surgeon - for an opinion. You know, at the other place where I had to hand over the check.

Silly me. I felt like I had won the lottery because somebody happened to cancel their appointment because of blizzard conditions out East. Yay, lucky me again. So in this photo you can see me sitting in the lovely yellow chair anticipating my demise. Well, the guy turned out to be really nice. He thinks it's nothing serious. He'll cut this weird little bump out next week. Better sell me some dollies to pay for that mess.

But honestly people - if you knew what it's like to be living in a different place where you don't have to deal with the money stress on top of the medical scare stress you would all vote to have every single person  insured in this country. It's just more civilized.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Staying Motivated...

I have been down a bit of late. Can you tell? Maybe it's just the time of year. The dark and the cold are not helping. The constant swing in temperatures. One day it's unseasonally warm. The next day we get an arctic cold blast. The weather very much reflects my mood these days.

If you ever wanted to be a professional dollmaker I can give you one piece of advice: Don't do it! Right now I feel like the Fellowship of the Ring in Lord of the Rings. Remember the part where Gimli says about the mission?

"Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?"

Now how does this translate into being in the doll making business? Well, I am feeling like I am dying in a sea of doll makers competing with each other right now.

Sales in my shop are just as up and down as the temperatures. Right now they are mostly down. I work so hard every day. Yet I feel like I will never be able to support myself doing what I do. Right now I have a number of very cute dolls listed in my shop yet they are not selling.  So I start having major doubts about what I am doing.

Are my photos not good enough? Did I price them too high? I worked so many hours on this one, can I let it go for less? How much are you willing to pay for this one-of-a-kind handmade doll that took me 10+ hours to make?

Yet, I know there are dollmakers who never seem to be able to keep stuff on their shelves because they are so very popular. Some don't even make the dolls themselves any more. How do they do it?

Am I shooting myself in the foot by having too many things readily available in my shop? I look at other dollmakers' shops and they always appear to be empty - until that next "upload" that fans are impatiently waiting for.

Somehow I can't help but wonder if this demand is real or is it being artificially created maybe. What is human nature? We always want what we cannot have.

Would I do better to take all my listings down and just sell one item at a time? Should I start a "No-dolls-or -doll -clothing - EVER -available" website?

I have been looking to my Etsy team for advice and answers. Have I told you how much I love this group of people? They always manage to cheer me up when things get a bit rough. I'll just keep plugging along and  hoping that people find me. I am just a hardworking gal who loves to makes cute Waldorf style dolls and doll clothes that bring smiles to people.

Hopefully my story will have a happy ending like Fellowship of Ring's mission. Go Frodo!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bunny Herder

This is Tessa, a 12 inch Waldorf Style Doll I just finished. She has brown hair and green eyes. I just listed her in my Etsyshop together with 2 outfits. One is a mermaid costume and the other a beautiful pink dress with dill flowers on it. First I wanted to list her simply as a mermaid. But she looked so adorable in that pink dress with the brown bunny in it...

In this photo you can see Tess hanging out with a whole herd of bunnies I felted recently. They keep multiplying. I made a custom set of 3 rabbits. I had an order for one white, one black, and one black & white bunny. The mixed color dude gave me quite a bit of attitude.

In the last picture you can see the three bunnies hanging out on the lawn in front of the house. I think they enjoyed the rays of sunshine after all the snow and cold we have had in Colorado.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Now here is a photo of the cutest vintage dress. The winner of one of my Giveaways on my FB page posted it on my fanpage this morning. The sweet little doll that I made gets to live in the pocket of this fun vintage girly top. I also learned a new thing today: What does S.W.A. K. stand for? Sealed with a kiss.

Thanks so much, Jennifer!

How cute is that! Hope you have a wonderful day with your loved ones and get showered with love.

P.S. Don't forget to show a little kindness to the random strangers too!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Where did Creativity Go?

I am not sure what's going on. But I seem to have a  problem with rabbits in my little studio. For some reason they are multiplying like - Bunnies. LOL

It's been a while since I needle felted so I have poked myself one time or two maybe. Ouch! But I love felting in public. It's always a conversation starter with adults and kids. They are totally fascinated by what I can do with a needle. The Oohs and Ahs are quite encouraging. So I keep going till I run out of wool.

I am also hoping to set a good example. A woman who was watching me work the other day said to me: Wow, you know I used to knit or crochet while going to my sons games and waiting for the action to start. Now I have my phone and I just mess around with it.

Just imagine how much creative energy gets lost these days because people - grown-ups and children alike waste so much time on phones, Ipods, and other electric gadgets. If all of that time could be put into creating stuff. Hmmm the world might be completely overrun with cute bunnies like this one?

I think I have to stop myself and work on some little lambs or chicks. The world needs all kinds of cute creatures. So stop wasting time playing games. Get creative kids, big and small!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Never Say Never

Never say never they say. Have you ever been in the situation that you cooked a meal so perfectly that you thought to yourself: Wow, this is so delicious, how did I do this? Next question: will I ever be able to make this again? Well, my husband and I like to cook together. We have this one recipe that we had struggled with for years. We really liked all the ingredients in the dish. But for some reason the meal was never as delicious as it sounded. Until one day when we managed to make it just right. The meat was perfectly browned. The curry powder used was fresh and of good quality. The amount of lemon juice added was just right. After we reached such perfection we sadly decided to never cook it again. There was just no way we would reach such culinary success again.

But the other day we were working on the menu for the week. We just ran out of ideas. So the perfect spinach-lamb-curry popped up. We had not made this dish in many years. In fact, we had not made it for so long the kids had no idea what we were talking about.

So we decided to cook it together as a family. In German we have a saying: Viele Koeche verderben den Brei. (In think in Enlish it’s many cooks spoil the pot.). I don’t like that saying much because I think that working together as a team when it comes to cooking is actually really great. It changes cooking from being a lonesome boring chore to being a fun family activity.

If you are not opposed to eating lamb meat and like to try a new dish you can find the recipe on the NaturalKids Team blog today.

Was it as good as that one time we made it? Nope. But practice makes perfect, right!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Beautiful Redhead

redhead 1 copy, originally uploaded by germandolls.

This is a truly amazing doll. Check out the little chicks on her shoes. Every detail is perfect!