Thursday, August 29, 2013

Public Announcement regarding Etsy's new feedback system

I just wanted to make the following public announcement concerning the recent changes in Etsy's feedback system:

Dear valued Customer,
I apologize to you for the changes that have been made with regards to Etsy's new feedback rating system.
I did not ask for them nor do I like them.
I am very sorry that Etsy has chosen to wipe out all buyers' feedback records. I had no choice in this matter and was not informed of this action until it was finalized. I loved being able to thank you via the feedback system, and I am very sorry that I can no longer do so.
Secondly, I want to inform you of one of etsy's new policies. It appears all feedback customers leave on the site will be visible with the customer's name attached to it. I want to assure you that I respect your privacy and this was not my idea. I hope that you will still be willing to leave feedback for my little shop. It is so important for the survival of a small home based business like mine.
I also want to apologize in advance for the emails you may be getting from the Etsy reminding you to leave feedback for me. I am not the sender of such mail, and I have no control over the new system.


I am deeply saddened by the changes eTsy has made with regards to feedback. I will continue to deliver the best service I can via that site but may have to look for a new venue in the long run.
Thanks for reading this and being a supportive customer of my little shop through the six years I have been on Etsy.
Sincerly,
     Ulla


PS: If you have any question regarding the new system You can find a lot of information here https://www.etsy.com/teams/7716/announcements/discuss/12890737/

Monday, August 26, 2013

Doll Heads for Sale

I think the best gift you can give a child is a handmade toy. It's tough if you cannot afford a cute waldorf doll made by a famous doll artist. That pricetag of around $200 and up just seems whole lot of money. But once you consider that up to 20 hours of labor can go into a single doll, her clothes, and accessories in order to get every little detail right - you may think it's a bargain.



Have you ever considered making a waldorf style doll yourself? Maybe if you put your mind to it you could get it done by Christmas?  Well, the hardest part about making a doll is the making of the head. Even after years of making them it still takes me, the professional, about an hour on average to make a good doll head. I dedicate about two days a month to just that task.



I am not sure whether you noticed. I recently added a couple of doll making supplies to my Etsyshop. For those of you who would like to create your own professional looking doll, I definitely recommend buying a dollhead. I think the head of the waldorf style doll is the most important part of the doll. You can have the finest materials and greatest pattern, but if the head doesn't turn out, your doll will not look so great. When making a waldorf doll you have to remember: "It's all in the head!"

Want to give it a try? Then "head" on over to my shop and purchase a head. I am not sure how many I will be selling this season. For now I am only offering the size that is suitable for 10-12 inch dolls. I think that is a good size for a starter doll. If you need a bigger or smaller size you can send me a personal message.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Going Primitive

This week we experienced the first power outage of the summer.

Luckily many steps of my craft are done by hand. So I was able to finish off this lovely Native American Waldorf style doll and her horse despite the powerlessness. Yay, for handwork! I keep thinking should we ever be thrown back into the stone age because of one catastrophe or another they will need people who know how to make stuff with their hands.





Lucky us! Considering how hot it has been it was bound to happen, right? With all air-conditioners cranked up to wazoo or every fan in town spinning non-stop, I was counting on it to happen. But it never did until the day before yesterday. No power for about 6 hours.




It's funny when the power company calls to leave you a message to let you know that they are working on fixing the problem on the phone that is not working because of said power outage. Haha!

Driving during a power outage sure makes for a challenge. Looks like most people forget basic traffic rules when the lights are not working. Do you know how to take turns, people? Seriously! My daughter was freaking out, and I was glad to make it home in one piece.

Since the power wasn't restored on time to cook dinner the family went out for Chinese food. Ha, better drive to a restaurant outside the neighborhood where they have power. We learned that lesson about two summers ago.





It was rather weird coming back to a steaming hot house and walking in with flashlights.

It's a terrifying thought. What if the power didn't come back on? Power outages are always a sobering experience in that we realize how spoiled we have become. I think my the little primitive pony I sewed up during that time goes well with this theme. She is so simple and sweet. The kind of toy a stone age person without sewing machine would have come up with. Still I think she is perfect, and I am happy to have found a good home for Yellow Feather already.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Feeling Rich

today I want to share some photos of our beautiful garden. I am so lucky to have married a guy with a green thumb. he makes every corner of yard look pretty. this spring we put in new raised beds since our old ones were falling apart. You can see some photos of this project here.

Our new raised beds have provided us with many a meal already. Remember that Kale salad recipe? Last night we enjoyed the last of the Kale crop. I had never made Kale chips before though I saw recipes posted all over the Internet. All I did is wash the leaves, remove the stems, toss the greens in olive oil, sprinkle some pepper and salt on, baked them in the oven for about 15 minutes on 350 degrees in the oven. Wow. They are as good as they say!


Zucchinis galore. The kids love to make zucchini brownies or muffins. Last week I made a zucchini pesto soup to die for. Brushed with olive oil and baked in the oven, they make for a great side dish. But those zucchini keep coming at us. It's funny when you miss to pick one - out in that green jungle of leaves. Hubby found one yesterday and remarked how it rising out of the bed like a giant green blimp. Perfect image.

What to do with all that bounty of zucchini? I think we will take some over to the local shelter today. They are always looking for donations of food.

Next are the tomatoes. Finally! We never buy fresh tomatoes from the store.Those hard round waxy tasteless globes at the store do not deserve the name tomato. Instead we have decided to live on the memory.  For 9 months we have lived in anticipation of the most scrumptious fresh ripe fruit a gardener can grow.

We had pizza magherita twice this week. Tomatoes with mozzarella and fresh basil sprinkled on about every other day. And then the kids just eat and eat the tomatoes fresh from the vine as they walk by. It's been a feast for about two weeks now.

We have grazed on fresh herbs like cattle on a pasture. Picking fresh dill and basil and throwing it in any dish you can think of.




And the master gardener didn't forget to sprinkle in some flower seeds amongst the food. Because we don't just live through our stomachs. The eyes get to feast on bright colored cosmos and hibiscus growing in and around our raised beds.

I love our garden, and I am filled with gratitude that we are able to have it. The paint on our house may be peeling, and we may have slipped a little deeper into debt this summer because our fridge died and we had to buy a new one. But I can't help it but feel rich and happy when I look at those green luscious garden beds.

 Life is good!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Winner of August Giveaway...

Are you ready? Big Drummroll. And the winner of the GermanDolls August Giveway



for a $50 Gift Certificate at my Etsyshop is:  Jessie Taylor Goodwin. I will contact you. Or if you happen to see this please contact me with your wishlist.

Congratulations, Jessie!

Thanks so much for all the great comments, sharing my links, and being supportive of my small business in general. I wish I was rich and could send everybody a price. You are all such lovely followers and people.

Much Love,
    Ulla

Friday, August 16, 2013

Racism in America

I am really upset this morning. Had to go to the dentist at 8 am. Not my idea of fun exactly.
But that is not the resaon why I am upset. In fact, my dentist is a really nice guy. He does a super job. It's mostly the concept I don't like. And memories of some childhood trauma - an experience with a really bad dentist I had when I was five years old.


No worries. My teeth are fine. Everything went really well, except for the wait.  As I was sitting there waiting for the dreaded check-up to start I happened to check my Facebook stream. First thing I notice is a horrible racist joke that one of my FB friends posted. I don't want to repeat it. It's one of those Obama jokes that people who are not happy with the political landscape like to indulge in these days.

What the heck? I don't know what to say. Don't want to loose this old friend. I have known for the longest time that our political views don't match, to say the least. I do believe that we all have a right to our opinion, whether it's in politics or religion. I say let people live and do their thing. But where do you draw the line? How do you tell someone that you care for and love that this is wrong? I definitely don't want to say it in public. But here is this nasty post staring back at me - part of my Facebook "stream of consciousness",  and I don't know how to respond. Do you just let it go when you see such things?



This goes right with what we are trying to teach our children these days. The other night we watched the movie "Little Big Man". I took a photo of the cover that has a summary, in case you haven't seen this movie. It's a great movie to teach kids about American history and about racism.

I look at my friend's post this morning, and I wanted to cry. But I couldn't since I was in the dentist's chair.

Have we learned nothing? Racism is very much alive and kicking. If you don't believe me watch that movie with your kids and then watch the news. And then think really hard about what you post on Facebook every day.

Growing up in a place where genocide happened on a large scale I cannot put up with this type of humor. I am sure there were lots of jokes about Jews circulating during the Nazi era. I wonder if people had stood up against it things would have turned out differently.

Where do you draw the line?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cooler nights and a Fall baby

What a relief! The nights are finally getting cooler in Colorado, and this German gal can sleep again. I have had fall on my mind for a few weeks already. Wishful thinking.

 
 


To celebrate the colder temperatures I dressed up this Waldorf style baby doll in her sweet fall garb. Is it too early for the pumpkin patch? I don't think so. Anyways she is ready for the cold mountain air. Her sweet little brown sweater will keep her cosy ans warm. 


Fall baby with needlefelted pumpkin toy


The pumpkins and squashes are growing nicely in our community garden. It won't be too long before we can make some pumpkin pie and soup again. Ahhh, how I love this time of year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Whose clothes are these?

You'd think that a doll maker would make a doll first and then sew the clothes for it. Not so with me.

I have built a wonderful stash of fabric over the years. The most highly prized ones are imported fabrics from Japan. I just can't get over how cute these prints are. They live separated from all other fabrics in a special built-in drawer.



I did not know about Kawaii prints until a customer turned me on to them. It was about 4 years ago when a customer sent me a yard of this darling panda print. Her daughter loves pandas. and she asked me whether I could make her a dress. I told her that I could not afford to buy a yard of fabric that cost over $20 plus oversees shipping to make one dress. It just wasn't feasible for my little business.

So this very kind customer sent me a yard to make that special dress and told me keep the leftover fabric.



Once I worked with this fabric I was hooked. I have since ordered a few more yards in Japan or US suppliers who import from there. Waiting for a package from abroad is always very exciting. Though very expensive, I think these fabrics are worth every penny!

Just check out this little set in the photos. After that first yard that was given to me as a gift I ordered a couple more. Now I am down to the last few inches. So I made one more precious panda set. It comes with a little polka dotted bonnet (another lovely fabric from Japan) and matching undershorts and matching baby. I crocheted a pair of black boots to go with this lovely outfit.



Who will be the lucky doll who gets to wear this very special set? Any suggestions?

 I am thinking she may look kind of Asian to stay with the theme...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nap Time

I just love the two photos of my miniature waldorf style doll baby I took this morning. I wanted to share them on my blog.

Don't throw away your fabric scraps! You never know what may be hiding in the smallest piece of fabric...I found another little tiny baby in it.

I originally imported this lovely fabric from Japan.



This little sweet pea is ready for a little morning nap...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lillian

Meet little Lillian, or Lilly for short. Isn't she lovely? I just finished her yesterday. She is the perfect little waldorf doll friend. Soft and cuddly, and quite well behaved as well. She didn't fuss at all when having her picture taken. Some dolls love to pose while others can be quite bratty. Not Lilly!

Could her sweet demeanor have to do with her clothing?

 Pink and green are two colors that look so great together. I am not sure why I waited so long to put a set like this together again.



What are your favorite color combos?
We may have to do another photo session outside when the weather is right.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Professional Photos by Nicolette Bardos Photography

Last month I had a lovely photo shoot with a local photographer named Nicolette Bardos. I am so grateful that she took the time to meet with me and take some awesome pictures of my waldorf style dolls.


I am thinking of using this group shot for a new shop banner



When you sell products on-line great photos are key. Since most of my customers live far away - some even half-way around the globe - it is very important to have good pictures of my waldorf style creations. I think I have gotten better at taking pictures over the years. I have learned to pose the little ones in my studio, make sure there are no stray pieces of thread on a shirt, or iron a dress before we have a photo session.




But going out into nature with a real professional was truly amazing. My photos are so pedestrian compared to what Nicolette can do. I don't know anything about cameras and lenses. Last year I finally figured out that taking a photo at high noon - when the glare is the worst - was probably not such a good idea. Silly me.




My photo shoot with Nicolette took place at a nearby park. I especially love the photos she took close by a small tree. After all, that's what waldorf style dolls are about: Nature! I think I'll have to go outside more often, get a new camera, and lots more practice. Maybe in another lifetime my photos will be nearly as good as the ones taken by Nicolette...


Usually Nicolette takes photos of people. Please, visit her blog here to see some of her amazing work. If you live in the area and need photos taken you should consider hiring her.

Thanks so much for your time and lending me your wonderful talent, Nicolette!



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BonBon Babies

I recently sewed up a new dress with two smaller pockets, instead of one, for my waldorf style dolls. Of course, I had to put little babies in the littler pockets, too. Turns out my regular mini pocket dolls were too big. So I had to make even tinier dolls. Their heads are just ittybitty things.

My hands got a tad tired. All the tiny parts are sewn on. I NEVER use glue in my creations!




I love them so much. They remind me of visiting my grandpa's kitchen when I was little.

My opa was a mountain of a man. In fact, I was pretty scared of him when I was a child, because he was so big and often yelled at people. He lived to be 93 years old. In his final years he wasn't able to get up from his chair much. May explain his grumpiness...

Whenever I went to visit him he'd point to up to his old white kitchen cabinet. There was a chair parked next to it. I'd have to climb up on that chair to open one of the glass paneled doors, and look behind some dishes for a jar of candy that he hid from my aunt and dad. The supply of candy would change often. My favorite kind was the candy that is wrapped to look like a strawberry, with a red wrapper with little dots to look like seeds, and a green tip that made it look like a strawberry husk.

This is one my fondest childhood memories of my grandpa in Germany. I have no clue how he kept that jar always full when he never even got out of his house or even the chair from what I could tell. It was one of  one of those big mysteries.

I think I will wrap up my tiny babies like Opa's candy. Or bonbons as we call them in German. It's a word we adopted from the French language. Bon means good in French. And if something is that nice, you got to say it twice, right!



GermanDolls Bonbon Babies

I may not use the strawberry wrappers. But, as you all know, I am kind of partial towards little sweet things that one can stick in a pocket, and I very much like the idea of a twisted paper candy wrapper. I think they will go well together.



Maybe I'll hide a jar of little dollies on my shelf for my grand kids some day. I hope I can skip the grumpy part...

Monday, August 5, 2013

If you won GermanDolls Giveaway...

I hope you have entered in my Giveaway for this month. If not there is still time. In fact, you have exactly 10 days left to leave your comment on this post here. IT IS THE ONLY WAY to enter. Leaving a comment on Facebook will not work. It often breaks my heart to see how people won't read the directions and think they have entered in the drawing when in fact they have not.

So I want to repeat the rules one more time:

1. YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT or two or three or more to increase your chances.
2. YOU MUST LEAVE ME AN EMAIL ADRESS OR SOME WAY THAT I CAN EASILY CONTACT YOU.

What could $50 get you at my shop? Well check out this little cutey pie I have added to my shop.



I just restocked my beloved waldorf style blanket dolls. They are $35 a piece. You could get one of them. I think this type doll is such a fun way to introduce people to the world of Waldorf style dolls. They are so simple and gorgeous.





$50 could buy you a little blanket sweety plus one of my little minis who range around $15. So don't tarry and enter now!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

what to do with small fabric scraps?

I have been working hard on cutting down on my fabric buying and collecting. It is tough though when there is so much temptation out there. I'd call it a occupational hazard. When you are a waldorf style doll maker you just can't help it. I have been making dolls for over 10 years. With each year my collection of cute fabrics has grown.

I have to put on my tunnel vision when I go to the fabric store and head straight for what I need so I don't come home with more yardage.



I have to stay strong and not do searches for fabric on Etsy or the Internet in general. There are entirely too many cute fabrics out there.

I am proud to report that I have been rather successful in my quest this year. I actually have half-empty fabric bins at the moment. I point to them whenever my husband complains about my business taking over the whole house or grumbles about not having a dinner table to sit at. For years I have been trying to explain to the family that it's a cutting table. Who needs a formal dinner table?




To stick to the topic though: what is it people do with their fabric scraps if you are not a quilter? As I have managed to shrink my pile of whole yard cuts I find that I simply cannot throw out the smaller scraps of fabric or little remnants. Our church quilting group turned them down. I did some friendship peg dolls with the kiddos at school. I also dressed card stock Easter bunnies a couple of seasons in a row. But I need more projects to use up the bags of scraps. I keep telling myself that I have to use them up or say Goodbye to them soon.

Well, in the photos you can see my latest idea of using them up. I sewed some pumpkin fabric scraps onto one of my wee pocket dolls. I think it turned out pretty darn cute. But please let me know if you have any other ideas for using up precious little pieces of fabric that are just too good to be thrown out.

I hope you visit Linda's Creative Friday this week. I am always excited to see what people have come up with each week!