Thursday, December 31, 2015

Greetings from Germandolls

Sorry for not being around much this year. All I can say in my defense is that I have been consumed by my two jobs. My new one as German teacher and the old one as a Waldorf doll maker. I am not complaining. I have loved going on this new adventure while holding on to the joy of creating dolls with my hands. In fact, I think I have found the perfect recipe for finding happiness.

It's been a very exciting year and I very much look forward to what the new year will bring.
I am ready for more teaching. And I am also anticipating the immense joy of bringing new doll babies into this world in the New Year. Hopefully I will be able to write some more posts on both topics (teaching and doll making) in 2016. If you don't see me here stop by my facebook, Instagram, or see my doll shop on Etsy.

2015 has been a wild ride up to the very end. Literally - since I managed to get into a car accident yesterday. Luckily I am fine and so is the other party involved. Please, remember to always pay attention to stop signs and be aware that others driving may not be doing so. Another thing I learned is that Iphones do not work when it's bitter cold outside.

So I remain wishing you a Happy & Safe New Year, my friends! Don't ever leave the house hugging your loved ones and telling them how much you care about them!

See you soon!



PS: My shop is packed with lovely Waldorf Valentines and Easter is just around the corner ...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fleeting Summer Days

Have you missed me? If so I do apologize. I hope your summer has been as busy and fun filled as mine. If you are following me on Instagram maybe you saw the pictures of the vacation our family took. We flew to Boston and visited the Maine coastline for a week. It was beautiful and just the kind of vacation we all needed. So much to see there. Loved the Lobster roll and all the delicious seafood. We saw lots of lighthouses, stuck our feet in the Atlantic Ocean, feasted on all kinds of seafood, visited witchy museums, walked in the Pilgrim's footsteps and so much more. Maybe I did get a bit a carried away by the whole experience... upon commenting about wanting to retire in Maine  various Facebook friends rained on my party, pointing out >how awful< the weather in North East was come winter time. Not suitable at all. Is that so? Any locals who would like to comment?





Anyways. It was a great vacation. I hope you got a chance get out this summer and see something new too.  Maybe you want to share your list in the comments?

Though our vacation lasted only a little over a week I have not found the time to write a post about it. The dolls in my doll studio are glaring at me accusingly. Why are you ignoring us? Well, life is taking a new turn for me right now. I recently received my contract for my new job. I will be teaching German at a Middle School this fall. So since my return from vacation I have been consumed by planning German lessons for the students.

But dear fans of germandolls, don't worry! I will still be making and selling dolls. Just yesterday I finished this darling set of Waldorf angel baby dolls. It was fun to touch a needle and thread after all this time.


But here I am on my new journey as German teacher... So wish me luck I accomplish great things in that area too!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Do you Dance?

I wish I had learned how to dance when I was a little girl. It was never part of my world. There were no dance studios for learning classical dance in the area where I lived, and even if there had been any, my parents would never have been able to afford it. When I was growing up, dancing was limited to a ballroom dance class you took when you were 14. The class was intended to give you an intro to couple dancing, so you would know how to waltz at your wedding. Other than that, you went to the Disko (dance club) on weekends and moved to the beats as best as you could. Hmm, I am glad there are no videos of me doing that. Since I lived in the German countryside, the nearest Disko was about an hour's drive away. It was called Revolution Number 9. Oh boy, did I get in trouble with my dad for sneaking out for an evening of dancing when I was 16...


I am definitely having a blast sending my girl to classical dance classes and watching her grow as a dancer. It is hard to believe that she has been dancing for 10 years. I am so very proud of her for being promoted to start Pointe this summer. She has worked so very hard all these years. It's tough going when one is not naturally gifted with a flexible body. I am sorry, baby! I wish I could have passed down that gene to you. I think, generally, Germans are stiff people and more suited to marching.

Three years ago I did take a dance class with some friends. It was a lot of fun but unfortunately I didn't last past my first recital. I mean, I am really glad I tried it. It took a lot of guts to get up on that stage and dance with the youngsters. I am definitely not blessed with that talent, and when you are older it's an even greater challenge...

Maybe down the road I'll try again. I saw this pair of red tap shoes in this year's recital. They really seemed to be calling to me: You need to dance again...We shall see. Have you ever tried dancing?


Other than that, it's been a rather slow start to the summer. We had to wait to plant our garden since it kept raining over here. We have enjoyed having fresh lettuce from the garden that we planted earlier in the spring. I hope you are enjoying the sun and time with your family - maybe even a trip somewhere nice?


Friday, May 29, 2015

Hello, Summer!

May has been a crazy month for me. What is a Waldorf doll? Hmm, I forgot. The doll shop with sweet handmade dolls has been pretty much abandoned this month... Poor babies!

I could have spent every single day at school helping out as a substitute teacher. I ended up working around 15 days total. It has been a total eye-opener and makes you appreciate teachers so much more. Frankly, I don't know how folks do it when both spouses have a job? Who cooks dinner, does the laundry, picks up the house? In our household it appears that DH didn't mind the cooking part. He cooked us many a delicous dinner when I came home.

But laundry? Not much help there. Is it true that I am making a huge mistake by still doing my teenagers' laundry? At least that's what I am being told by the office staff at school. I suppose my thinking is: Soon enough they will move out and leave for college, and I will miss them so much. I may even miss those mountains of laundry... Sniff!


But for now summer is on, and we will enjoy every moment of it. Yesterday we went out and bought a board game to enjoy as a family. Who still plays board games? There must be folks since there is a thriving business in our otherwise dead downtown neighborhood, selling mostly boardgames and other nerdy items. Have you ever played Settlers of Catan? I have always wanted to since I heard a lot of good things about that game - AND how could one go wrong with a game MADE IN GERMANY?

We were finally able to turn our garden plots after the torrential rains stopped here. All of May was pretty much a muddy mess in these parts. But how can one complain? I, for one, love the rain. One rarely meets like minded people in this town. They are all miserable and grumpy while I happily skip over puddles. I think to myself, you just wait. Once the thermometer hits 100 you will think back and wish for a cloudy grey sky.


Dolls? What are dolls? I have not had time to make any. I did take some photos of little Wilhelmina over here though. We agreed that she looks super cute in her patriotic outfit. I had to take the photos indoors. Once the ground dries up we will have to have a photo shoot outside...

Have a good summer or HAGS - as the kids write into yearbooks. Definitely an acronym I had never come across until I had kids in school in the US. Here I was thinking they were talking about old ladies. What about old ladies? Do you know how to say old lady in German? Alte Schachtel would be the equivalent. Well, take care and HAGS to you!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gutes Buch

For Christmas this sweet friend of mine in Berlin sent me a box filled with German books. Danke, Nanette! Du bist ein Schatz! It's tough to get in some time for reading these days. As I get older, I find that I am much pickier and that it takes a sehr gutes Buch (very good book) to make me want to read. Especially since I am having a hard time staying up past nine pm in the evenings. At first I struggled with the novel Die hellen Tage ( Bright Days) by Zsuzsa Bank. I am glad I didn't give up on it. Now that I am half-way into the story, I have barely been able to put it down. I am not sure if it is available in English translation yet. But if you speak and read German you should definitely give this beautiful novel a try.


Now the doll children are quite mad at me for not spending enough time with them. Little Miranda and her baby bunny commented that the book cover is all right. But personally, they would prefer it if I spent more time on finding them a good home... Dolls.
Today it is overcast and the weather looks very much like German weather. In other words it is the perfect day for curling up in a chair with a good book and getting lost in the German language...

Monday, May 4, 2015

$1 Dress for your Waldorf Doll

More fun coming your way this week. I made this cute artsy collage of one of my Waldorf doll dresses. I made it to fit my 10 - 12 inch Waldorf baby dolls. I love this romantic roses fabric. It's perfect for the dolls as it is getting warmer now. What do you think? If you would like to buy this cute doll jumper for only ONE Dollar please visit my Facebook Fanpage today and enter in the drawing! Don't forget to read the rules. You must follow all of them to be entered in the drawing.

I hope you have a great week! I am still a wee bit tired from last week. Why do the weekend seem so much shorter now that I am teaching?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

German Almond Bread

If you are following me on Instagram you may have seen photos of this delicious German bread I have been baking.
When I was growing up in Germany we always had a sweet treat for our Sunday morning breakfast. My mother or one of us girls would bake it on a Saturday afternoon. I believe it was a great tradition, and I have been trying to continue this tradition in my own family. It's a little piece of home that I was able to carry with my to America. The good thing about traditions is, that you can carry them in your head and heart, and they don't take up too much space in a suitcase...

So here is the recipe for the amazing almond bread.



Preheat oven to about 400 degree Fahrenheit

ingredients:
500 grams wheat flour
2 tsp dry yeast
50 grams sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
250 ml milk
1 stick of butter (unsalted if you have it)
200 grams almond flour

The original recipe asks for 100 of almond flour and 100 grams of skinned chopped almonds. But since I found these giant bags of almond flour and blanching, peeling, and chopping almonds is not my favorite thing to do, I just use almond flour.



How to make it:
Put milk in a small saucepan, add the stick of butter to milk, melt the butter on low temperature on stove top.

Mix all the ingredients together. You can knead it by hand but a Kitchen aid mixer with hooks will greatly simplify this task.

You may want to add a bit more flour if the dough is very sticky.
Cover with a towel and let the dough rise for about an hour or until it has visibly increased in size.

Knead the dough and braid it or twist it into a pretty knot. Brush with milk. Bake at about 400 degree Fahrenheit in preheated oven.

Do you know how to say breakfast in German? It is called Frϋhstϋck. I hope you have time next weekend to bake this treat for your family! It is wonderful sliced and slathered with some homemade jam, Nutella, or just some butter.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Win this Doll!

Remember Agnes? She is the sweet little doll in the surgeon outfit I made for the fundraiser to help out dollmaker Alexandra Boyle.

Today you will get another chance to win her in an auction on Hyena cart! It's a wonderful website. If you have never visited please do sign up today! Bidding on my doll starts at ZERO. So if you have been ogling my dolls for a while but not able to afford one THIS IS YOUR CHANCE to own this wonderful doll! Agnes was made with tons of love and will bring many hours of fun play time to a child.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

German Teacher - Deutschlehrer

Who is the German teacher? That would be me this week. I had the privilege of substitute teaching German at high school this week. I had a blast! I snapped a few photos of the classroom as proof for you. Oh boy, was I nervous about the whole affair. I mean really. It's my mother tongue. And after utterly failing at substitute teaching some math classes I should have felt great about this. But I was afraid of the high expectations that came with the subject. Turned out the kids really liked me. I talked about the German education system with the first year German students. The older students were excited to hear about what it was like to grow up in Germany - including my story about the fall of the Berlin Wall...


I had so much fun. But I am pretty tired. How do these teachers do it every day? When I get home I am just plain exhausted and want to fall asleep on the couch. But then the house does not pick up itself, nor do the dishes do themselves, and let's not even mention the pile of laundry in the basement. I suppose that is what weekends are for.

Well, wish me luck! The way it looks there is more teaching German in my future... I am happy! Really happy! I mean I miss my sewing machine and the dolls. But I feel that this is a wonderful opportunity for me.

Some of the kids I teach are a bit loud and rascally like little Miranda here. But I am sure that in no time I will figure out the ins and outs of class room management. If you are a teacher and reading this post of mine, maybe you can give me some pointers.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Earth Day Giveaway

Let's get the week off to a good start with a Monday Morning Give-away for one of my Pocket Dolls! If you would like to enter, please visit my Facebook fan page and follow the rules stated below.



What to do to enter?
1) Be a fan of my page
2)like the picture and comment
3) Do something nice for the planet & tell us what you did! For Example: Save Energy by Hanging your laundry instead using a dryer

Winner will pay $1 & shipping to receive the little doll & blanket in photo. I will pick the winner from comments & announce Winner Wednesday Evening 9pm. Winner must claim price within 24 hours of announcement or I will pick another person.

 *This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.*

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Social Media

What is your favorite Social Media? Do you have a Facebook page, Pinterest, twitter, and tumblr accounts? I have to say, I really love Instagram. I know I said it a couple of posts ago but I have to say it again: It is so much fun to connect with people through photos.  I love how you put out one photo of a little Waldorf doll with a short comment and immediately you get tons of likes and sweet comments from folks all over the world. So if you don't see me over here on my blog, you may have more luck finding me on Instagram.


If you want to join in the Instagram fun though, I highly recommend getting an iPhone! My old dinosaur of a phone broke down a couple of weeks ago. It was time for a change. At first, it was tough having to ask the kids constantly to help me with my new phone. Funny how in the modern age the tables have been turned, and the kids become our teachers. I was very grateful when my daughter helped me set up my first Instagram Giveaway. And I am really of proud that I will be able to handle the next one all by myself. Hint, hint... My 600 followers Giveaway is coming up soon!


I am so behind when it comes to technology, not just because of my age, but also because of having grown up in Germany. When I came to the US as an exchange student in the 1990s, I could not believe that one could actually look up books in a computer data base. At the library of the John  F. Kennedy institute in Berlin looking up books for a research paper consumed hours. Libraries in Berlin had these chests with wooden drawers filled with index cards. You had to go through index cards manually to see if a book was available. Back then, I typed all my papers on an electric typewriter (which I thought was advanced) my sister had brought back from a trip to China.

Oh well, the good old days are over. Life is fast and furious. I hope you are enjoying some lovely spring weather. I did, until this morning, when it started sleeting outside, and I had to go save our lettuce beds from the icy assault. See you on Instagram!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Auction for Alex

Today is the day you can bid on the surgeon doll I made for the Love For Alex auction. Please help raise funds for Alex' family.




The doll I am selling on behalf of Alex is called Agnes. She is 12 inches tall and has dark skin color. She will come to the winner of the auction in her sweet surgeon outfit plus another set of clothes for when she is off duty...

                                                                   Happy Bidding!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pink Bathrobe for Waldorf Dolls

I had a very productive day yesterday indeed. I had bought a small piece of pink terrycloth fabric for another project a while ago. I think it was meant to be turned into a pink bunny toy or something along those lines. Now I felt guilty because you should not buy materials and not use them. Especially if your house is small and you don't have unlimited resources of funds either. So I brought said material up from a tote in the basement. Now it sat on a chair and was looking at me accusingly for a number of days. Why did you buy me?

Then I had a really good idea. Why not make a doll bathrobe for my Waldorf dolls. I have been wanting to make a bathrobe for dolls for a long time. My daughter's doll Arissa said it too.  Being a very messy child she needs a lot of baths...

So I drew a sketch. Yay! Probably not my greatest work. But it took only about a minute to appear on this scratch piece of paper.


Next I cut out the pieces of the robe and stitched them loosely together. I have to say, the neckline took a while to figure out. I ended up having to drag my daughter's bathroom downstairs and check how it was constructed. I am glad I was able to figure it out.

I get so excited when I design a new piece of clothing. It's so much fun to figure out the little details. Ever noticed those little loops  on a bathrobe where the belt goes? Why just put one pocket? Well, since the bathrobe usually overlaps in the front you could never use the second pocket anyways.

Creating the belt and loops was a challenge. But no robe can be without them.  You surely don't want your doll to end up in a compromising sort of situation...



Since my frugal ways have led me to buy fabric in very small quantities,  (I hope my husband is reading this) there was just enough fabric to make a second robe. I thought about putting the robe on one of my finished dolls but then decided to list the robe solo in my shop. So if your doll needs a bathrobe please buy it quick - before I change my mind and put it back on another doll that demands a bathrobe.

May your day today be as productive and fun as mine was yesterday!

By the way, do you know that the German word for bathrobe is actually very similar to the English word? It is Bademantel. Or in direct translation that would be: bathing coat. Makes perfect sense, right?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Love For Alex

Today I want to share with you about my friend Alexandra Boyle. She is a dollmaker who lives in South Africa. Her business is called Angelique's Angels. In March of this year Alexandra was diagnosed with a brain tumor. You know, I have never met Alex. It's kind of a weird thing - this age of the Internet. You make friends you will most likely never meet or see in real life. Many of my Internet friends are friends I have made through my art - customers and other dollmakers. This business of being friends with someone you don't really know is often a bit strange.

Some of my customers I have known a great number years. I have seen their children grow up on Facebook. I feel like they are family to me... But then there is the weird money thing. We got to know each other because they bought a doll or two from me.  My customers support me and are devoted to the success of my business. I love them so much I just want to give them everything for free. Those friendships are beautiful but still complicated.


Then there are the friendships with other dollmakers around the globe. Many of these dollmakers I have known for years. We have met in various sellers' groups or touched base in different selling venues. We have followed and admired each others work. I often wonder what it would be like if we actually got together in a room and had a day of sewing together? How much fun it would be to visit each other's studio and share the excitement about our work! BUT then there is another side. How can you be friends with someone you are in direct competition with? You  admire and adore their body of work yet at the same time you may suffer from pangs of jealousy at times. Also there is the problem of copying. Is it imagined or real? Where does the fine line between copying and being inspired start or end? It's complicated...How do you deal with negative emotions you have?



This year I had an epiphany of sorts. I decided to stop worrying about these things any more. It's been much easier since I got another job as a teacher. Don't get me wrong, the dolls are still really important and I try to get in a few stitches every day. But it's been very liberating to have another source of income and not worrying about selling or not selling my work. Now I am able to just go into my studio with a happy heart and sew for the fun of it.

This whole situation with Alexandra has brought life even more into perspective for me. It's been absolutely amazing to me to see the community of dollmakers around the world come together to help out a friend on the other side of the world. To see the outpouring of love by so many people for someone they have never met in real life. A Facebook page was created where a multitude of dollmakers meet and share contributions and donations to help Alex. It has made me so happy and glad to be part of this community of totally amazing women and doll artists.

Each day I look with great joy at the wonderful collection of natural dolls and handmade doll clothes that people have brought as offerings to the Love For Alex site. I am praying for Alex's healing, and I want to thank her for healing me by bringing us closer as a group of doll making friends - connected through our love for handmade dolls.

Please visit our fundraiser site and consider bidding on any of the miraculous dolls and sweet doll creations.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

I love Spring

Yes, I do love Spring! Slowly the grass is turning green again and little flowers are popping up everywhere. Color. I love color. All color. People always ask what is your favorite color. I can never give an answer. How can one pick with so many beautiful colors around? So I had to make me a set of Waldorf Rainbow babies this week in celebration of all colors.


March ended up being an awesome month in my Etsyshop. Easter shoppers came late but better late than never. I am full of hope for the rest of the year. I have tons of projects sitting here. Custom orders to finish. New fabric to wash and cut into. ( Oh dear, I have to confess: I sinned and bought more fabric...)


Also, I got this great book on photography in the mail this week. It is called Light, Science & Magic by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua. Can't wait to read it. Looks like it is full of physic's lessons. Oh dear!

I hope with the help of this book I will figure out how to take better photos of my Waldorf dolls. What I would really like to know for one: Why does the purple baby in my photo of rainbow babies not look purple? In real life this color baby is such an awesome color. But no matter what I do in the photos it ends up looking drab, and dark - really dark blue rather than purple. Any ideas why that is?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

500 Follower Instagram Giveaway

I love Instagram. I really think it is the best place for me to share photos of my Waldorf dolls and doll clothes. Sometimes I am kind of amazed when I search for artists and cannot find them on Instagram. Why would a famous photographer with gazillions of followers on Facebook choose not be on Instagram?


I think it's the best of all social media because you can connect at lightning speed via a single Image to people all over the planet. Like the photo from this post. It was taken by Lindsey Bonnice from Livesweetphotography. Her photos are the best! Her daughter is the cutest and I enjoy following her stream every day.

If you have a small business and are not on Instagram yet you should definitely join. It's the easiest and most fun way to share your work! I am learning new things every day. Like what hashtags to use and how to do a Giveaway. If you want to participate in this Giveaway please find me on Instagram.
One lucky person will get a $25 gift card to shop at my Etsy store.

The rules to enter in the drawing are very easy:

1.Become a follower
2.Like the photo
3.Regram the picture (that repost this cute photo). You must do all three!

I will draw a name on Tuesday and announce it on Instagram. Have fun!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Biting the Hand that Feeds Us

I know there is this saying about not "biting the hand that feeds you". But what if that hand doesn't feed you enough to survive? What if a creature is being downright starved to death? It's very sad for the animal in question. Selling handmade Waldorf dolls on Etsy, one feels a little bit like a starving exotic animal these days. Luckily, I don't solely rely on that income but I know there are some folks who do, and I feel very sad for them. You may wonder what do wild animals have in common with artists selling their crafts on Etsy? To understand my analogy you may want to read April Winchell's article from March 17th, 2015. As always April hits the nail on the head.

To get a break from work, school, and obsessing over my non-sales on Etsy, our family took a little trip to The Wild Animal Sanctuary located near Keenesburg, CO yesterday.



 What is it?

quoting from the brochure we were given:
"Take a walk on wild side as you stroll over 350 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves, and other large Carnivores on one of the longest and most unique elevated pedestrian walkways in the world. The Wild Animal Sanctuary, located 30 miles northeast of Denver, recently completed construction on its monumental "Mile into the Wild" walkway."



The young woman who gave us the intro to the facility told us that there are currently 400 animals living there. All of the animals at the facility have been rescued from situations where they were kept by people under the most deplorable conditions. One wonders what kind of person would keep an exotic animal chained up in their backyard? Or there was the story of animals living on the back of a pick-up or others living in small crates. It was hard listening to these stories of terrible abuse and suffering. How could people do these things to such beautiful creatures?

We walked above the fenced in areas where the animals live now. Usually they start out in smaller fenced in spaces and cages, that are more like what they are used to in their previous life. All of the animals were born in captivity so they don't know about hunting. It was kind of amusing to see herds of bunnies hopping around among the lions and tigers who couldn't care less about them. The rescued animals are circus animals, zoo animals, or many of them were held as pets. As the animals recover and grow acclimated they get moved to bigger habitats where they learn to live together in groups.



It took us about an hour and a half to walk the whole distance of the elevated walkway. We stopped many times to look, listen, and marvel at the beauty of what we saw. At one point the lions in one of the larger fenced in areas started calling to one another. I think there were 3 different prides living together in that particular enclosed area. One male started roaring and then another male lion responded to his call saying something back. Soon enough a third guy chimed in with a message to the others. And all of a sudden it was like a concert of lions their sounds reverberating around us. I have no words to describe that moment. Amazing and wonderful don't cut it. If you are ever in the vicinity or if you live in Colorado you  MUST visit The Wild Animal Sanctuary. I am not too fond of zoos and caged animals. But this place is different. It's a happy place. A peaceful place. And I find if kind of funny how all these wild animals have found paradise on the Prairie.

Maybe some day the handmade artists on Etsy will find a new home like those lions and tigers did. Dear Etsy, I am sorry if my blog post bites you, but you have not kept the promise from when I first joined the site, and I know a bunch of artists who would make a run for it if someone started a sanctuary for us.




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Puppenecke

When I was a child my parents sent me to a Catholic Kindergarten in Germany. Kindergarten in Germany is not part of school. It is more like a daycare and similar to what Americans refer to as Pre-K. It is usually cheap and affordable for parents since it is mostly funded through the churches. My parents paid a nominal fee for us kids to attend an all day program. Kids could come and go during the day (8 am - 5 pm) for as many hours as parents needed care for their kids.


Now I loved going to Kindergarten. Since life was often tense in my folks' home, Kindergarten was a welcome escape. In the photo you can see my Kindergarten class from 1974. I wonder what happened to all of my little friends from those days.

We were taught to address all our teachers as "Tante" (aunts, since they were all women). I loved most of my Kindergarten aunties. They were loving and sweet and taught us many things. In the photos you can see some original work from my Kindergarten folder. Imagine that! I still got it after all those years - carrying it across continents...

Figure 21. Tischdecken - How to set a table

We learned our German ABCs, colors, numbers and pretty much the same stuff  kids in the US are taught in Preschool programs. But there was ONE thing I hated about my Kindergarten. There were two play areas. One area was equipped with dolls and referred to as the Puppenecke (in translation doll corner). Across from it was a cool play station with cars and train tracks. What really bothered me about Kindergarten was that whenever I wanted to play with the "boy toys" the aunts would tell me that it was reserved for the boys and that I must go over to the doll corner. Gender stereotypes suck. It's not the first time I have written on this subject.

Figure 4. At the candystore - Im Bonbonladen
It's kind of ironic that I grew up to be a doll maker despite these early childhood experiences that didn't exactly inspire me be very fond of dolls. I surely hope that education models have changed since my childhood days in Germany. I like to imagine that all boys get to play with dolls and all girls get to hang out in the train corner and race cars these days.



Looks like I grew up to be a big strong woman. Check out the shoulders in my self-portrait from when I was 6 years old! I still remember that striped sweater, blue skirt, and the high knee socks, of course.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Surprise Box

I was feeling kind of tired and defeated last week. After working so hard on redoing my listings on Etsy, taking new photos, listing more items, rewriting descriptions over and over again - still, no orders in sight. So I went to take a nap. Nothing wrong with a good mid-day napping session, right?

Then there was a knock on the door. It was a delivery guy with a big box. My first thought was that it must be a birthday present for my daughter since it was her birthday that day. But I was wrong. It was a box sent by one of my customers who lives in another country.


I was floored. Then I felt tears welling up. How did she know? Or was this just a coincidence that this package should arrive on such a day when I was feeling really down and out about my little business?

Besides a whole bunch of amazing candy, the box held this totally groovey doll bed complete with mattress, pillow, blanket, and box of doll bandages. The theme of the box was obviously CARE & LOVE, since the blanket and the box had matching Red Cross signs sewn and painted on them.

Right now, I want to take the little dolly band - aids and stick 'em on my doll business. It is obviously ailing and in a bad way, and I just don't know how to fix it. If this downward trend continues it may not be worth to have my Etsy shop any more and I may have to close it.

However I want all the people who have been a fan of my work to know that I am utterly grateful to them. Even if I have to quit my business I have enjoyed every minute of being able to share my work with the world. I have made the most wonderful friends through my doll business and I feel utterly humbled by the kindness I have received from this customer and many others who have supported my art since I opened my business in 2008.



Via this post I want to thank you all and especially, dear Jennifer and Claire, who put together this magical box. I have never met you in person but I will always remember your kindness and thoughtfulness!


Much Love,
xo ulla

Friday, March 13, 2015

Who Came First? The Chicken - Egg Question

Was it the Chicken or the Egg? I have been pondering the age old question this week. What do you think?



While pondering I came across this darling fabric in my stash and couldn't help but make the doll clothes you see in the pictures.  This cute set is listed in my Etsyshop now. I think it would make lovely filler for a child's Easter basket. I got out my felting needles and made a tiny chick to go in the pocket. It is very small though. Keep in mind that it is NOT MADE FOR LITTLE ONES who still put toys in their mouth. Also, don't lose the little chick. It would be a tragedy!

The kids are on springbreak. It will be a fun week. No rushing to school, no lunches to make, no activities and sports. No money for a vacation either. But who needs to go away when you have a great imagination?



Now what shall I sew next today?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Birthday Cakes...

Looks like I am on a roll here. Three days of blogging in a row... Oh boy!

Today is a a special day here. My baby girl is turning 14 years old. So I had to sing her the special German birthday song this morning. It is the song I woke up to whenever I had a birthday as a little girl in Germany. This is how it goes:

"Komm schnell herein. Komm’ schnell herein. Es ist Geburtstag heut’. sing 2x
Im Kreise sind wir alle, die ganze Kinderschar. Und wϋnschen dem Geburtstagskind viel Glϋck und auch Hurra! 

"Come in quickly! Come in quickly. There is a birthday today. We are all in a circle, the whole group of children. And we wish the birthday child lots of luck and Hurray!"

I have no idea where this song came from. But that's the sound we would wake up to as children on our birthday.



Except for that one year - when my parents forgot -  my 12th birthday. Can you imagine? I was quite upset with my mom. How could a mother forget her child's birthday?

But since then a lot of time has gone by. Being a parent myself, I have learned so much. How life can get so busy and you forget important things. Or you get so rushed that you mess up. Like my daughter's birthday cake I baked late last night. Did you know that German kids get their birthday cake first thing in the morning for breakfast? At least that's how it worked at my house.

Can you say NON-non-stick. The famous Rotweinkuchen (red wine cake) just wouldn't come out of the pan. A crumbling mess....



Luckily I was able to save it by sprinkling lots and lots of powdered sugar on top.

But who can blame my poor mother for forgetting a birthday. I have long since forgiven her. I don't know how she did it, with 5 kids and a full time job. Now I just wish she was here with me to celebrate my baby doll's birthday.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Photo Backdrops

I have been trying out new backgrounds for my photo shoots. The backgrounds that came with a light box I bought on eBay many years ago are losing their luster. The white one, especially, is on it's last leg. I also don't like how one can see every little piece of lint or fuzz on white. But I cannot bring myself to spend money on new equipment at the moment. So I thought why not use some of the beautiful fabric I own. The only problem with using fabric is that it gets wrinkly. I have to iron each piece before I can take pictures. I hate ironing.

In fact, I dislike it so much that I had an agreement with my husband when I married him I would never iron his shirts. I guess the ironing trauma stems from my childhood and years of watching my mother iron every single item that came out of the laundry - with the exception of socks maybe...Ugh. I am a good German. But not that generation German I suppose. I'd rather live with wrinkled fabric...




I think the photos I took yesterday look quite pretty. I am a huge fan of the bunny picture in particular...

I would really like to own some new wrinkle free backdrops. Like a sky with clouds pattern. Or maybe some rustic wood backdrop. I just cannot afford right now. Oh well, I have lots and lots of fabric...


Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring is coming...

I can feel it in the air. Spring is on the way. As much as I love spring,  I don't care much for the springing forward of the clock. It makes people grumpy. I read in the newspaper that it's actually not good for our health. Supposedly heart attacks go up by 21% with the changing of the clocks.  Are you a fan of daylight saving time?




Well my day started with a very grumpy teenager around here...A trying morning. But now everyone is gone and I am enjoying the peace of my little studio. When stressed out, creating new dolls is the best therapy.

I realized it's been a long time since I made a little felted leaf buddy. I found two little pre-cut felt leaves waiting in my basket. I must have cut them out a long time ago. So all I needed to do is transform them into little cozy beds for the dolls.



Then the peaceful work was interrupted again. Just one of those days. Teenage boy forgot something. Another trip to school to bring the forgotten items. Oh well.

It was good to come back and finish the little ones you see in the pictures. I'd say a very productive morning - against all odds.