Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Spring walks and candied violets (a recipe from our garden)

Spring walks and candied violets, like every year at this time. This spring, I picked violets in the overgrown garden of an abandoned cottage nearby. If you want to know how to make candied violets (and how to preserve spring moments), please take a look at the recipe here.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Making Doll Wigs: Three Shades of Mohair

Do you want me to share a little dollmaker secret with you?

When I make many dolls, with different hair colours, I usually end up with small leftovers of mohair yarn, not enough for a whole wig but way too good to throw away. One option would be to simply re-order certain colours, but with all the gorgeous yarns that my friend Debbie offers for doll makers, my chests and drawers would soon be brimful.

Recently I have started to mix different colours of mohair for the wigs. The hair looks so much more real with its lustrous nuances and so rich in colour. It adds a certain "sparkle" to a doll, makes it look truly alive. I simply crochet in rows, and every now and then I use a different colour. In the end, the hair looks as if the top layers were slightly bleached by the sun.

For Ylva's hair, I used three different shades of brown mohair. Together with her freckles and the sunkissed skin tone, it makes her look like a child that spends long days in the soft spring sun. 

Also, I made her a detachable hair piece, a fishtail bread (also made from strands of mohair in different colours). Isn't it interesting how much the facial expression can change just by adding such a detail? Both the first and the very last photo in this post have been taking in (almost) the same position and same light, yet Ylva's expression is different. She looks more well-behaved in the last photo (though I can reassure you that she is not, she has a mind of her own, really!).

Ylva will be looking for a new family tonight. And I? I will probably rummage my chests and drawers, starting a studio spring clean! 

Warmly,

Juliane


Luxembourg Lace

The other day I received a beautiful package from one of my closest friends, with beautiful lace, doilies and haberdashery that she inherited from her grandmother in Luxembourg. Washing, hanging to dry, pressing and ironing all these doilies is something I am going to do during the weekend - and pondering over what to do with these treasures. Making a curtain for my studio perhaps?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Ylva (and the wicked, wicked wolf)

Fridays are baking days and Saturdays are basket days

And as every Saturday, I tell her: 
Here is a loaf of bread and a bottle of juice
Take them to your grandmother
She is ill and weak, and they will do her good

And as every Saturday, I remind her
To walk quietly and nicely through the woods, with her basket
Down to Grandma's and that she'd hurry up
So that she'd be back in time for lunch
And off she goes, as every Saturday morning
Late in the afternoon, but still no Ylva in sight
Half an hour later I see her trudging up the hill
Without her basket, without her little bonnet

Why are you so late? I ask (and I try to sound stern)
Because of the wicked, wicked wolf, Ylva says
And slumps into the grass, reaching for the biscuit tin
On the garden table. I am hungry as a hunter!

Wait, wait, I say. A wolf? In our woods?
Word up! Ylva says, munching a cookie
So, you are telling me you are five hours late for lunch
Because of a wicked, wicked wolf, in our woods? I ask

Yup, Ylva says, munching a cookie

Have you possibly been sitting on a tree stub
And watched the dragonflies in the blue spring sky?

I certainly did not! Ylva says
Did you possibly look for pheasant feathers
In the old gravel pit, although I told you
To walk quietly and nicely through the woods
Straightway to Grandma's? I ask

Well, like I said, Ylva replies
'twas because of the wicked, wicked wolf
Were you possibly counting pine cones
And lined them up on a fallen tree trunk
Just like you did three weeks ago
When I had sent you down to Grandma's?

Certainly not, no pine cones this time, Ylva says
And she sounds convincing
The snail shells then, I continue
You didn't possibly try to find some
By the riverside although I told you
To walk straightway to Grandma's?

What makes you think that? Ylva says, with a sigh
No snail shells this time then, I say
But did you possibly pick flowers
For hours on end, thimbleweed and squills
And have forgotten the time, simple as that?

Not at all! Ylva says. I am telling the truth
It was because of the wicked, wicked wolf!
Or were you possibly daydreaming, for hours
On a forest glade, in the soft green moss
And forgot your basket and bonnet when all of the sudden
You recognized that the sun was low and you hasted home?

Don't blame me, blame the wolf! Ylva says
I did as you had told me to
 I walked quietly and nicely through the woods
With my basket, with a load of bread and a bottle of juice
Down to Grandma's, and I tried my best to hurry up

I walked straightway and did not run off the path
To be back in good time for lunch 
When all of the sudden I had to sit on a tree stub
And watched the dragonflies in the blue spring sky

And I was thinking, long and hard
For maybe five hours, if not more
'Is it true that wolves eat little girls? And if so, why?'
And that took me a while
 She says, and is reaching for the biscuit tin
***
 Ylva is a 53cm/ 22" cloth doll, handmade with natural materials and made with a lot of love and care. Her face is sculptured/ needle-felted, she is thoroughly stuffed with organic sheep wool. Ylva has a sculptured posterior, dimples in elbows and knees, a bellybutton and ears. For an even more natural look, her wig is made of three different shades of light-brown brushed mohair yarn. Ylva's pretty fishtail braid is a detachable and elastic hair piece made from doll mohair.

I grew up in Germany, and the collections of folk tales by Brothers Grimm are very dear to me. As a child, I knew most of the tales by heart, and you can still ask me (almost) anything about little red bonnets, six swans and golden balls in ponds. 

Ylva is an old nordic name, it means 'wolf. Inspired by the richness of detail and the beautiful colours of Swedish folk costumes, I made her garments that would suit a Little Red Riding Hood in the deep Scanian forests.

Ylva comes with a pleated swinging skirt, a little bonnet, undies, shoes with matching socks, comfy leggings, a long sleeve shirt with lovely embellishments, a warm scarf and a stripey apron and a delicate batiste nightgown, all made from GOTS certified and/ or vintage fabrics as well as pretty little buttons, trimmings and lace that I have had in my boxes with fleamarket treasures.

While most of my dolls are made on a custom basis, Ylva is looking for a new family via an auction. Her listing can be found here, the auction runs 8th of April from 6-9 pm EDT.

Enjoy the Easter weekend!

Warmly,

Juliane

 Additional note: Wolves are not wicked (and they don't eat little girls).
If you happen to meet a wolf in the woods while on your way to Grandma's, be polite and wish him a nice day.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Happy Bunny Time!

I hope the sun is shining in your neck of the woods
And that you can pick lots of daffodils (and find an egg or too)
Happy Bunny time!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Last minute DIY - Easter eggs with red cabbage dye and pressed flowers

The evening of Holy Thursday you recognize that tomorrow it is Good friday, you still haven't dyed eggs - and the shops are closed already and there is no chance to buy craft supplies and egg dye? Welcome to the club!

Although I should have known better, Easter came rather unexpectedly this year. Neither did we have enough onions in the house nor spinach - my usual ingredients for natural egg dyes. Luckily I found half a red cabbage head in the fridge and a handful of spring flowers in the garden - all I needed for a quick Easter DIY (plus some wallpaper adhesive/ glue and vinegar).

Perdita and Fidelia, our feathered friends, provided us with fresh eggs which I boiled until hard.
I chopped the red cabbage, put it in a pot and added about 1 litre of water, mixed with half a cup of vinegar and let it simmer on the stove for an hour or so.
Once boiled, I removed the cabbage by straining everything through a colander. I saved the liquid in a small pot and let it cool down. Over night, I added the boiled eggs to the cabbage dye (which made them turn from a pastel lilac to a dark blue).
Today in the morning, I picked a handful of thimbleweeds, primroses, tiny violets and leaves of parsley and bishopsweed. I placed them on kitchen paper and covered with another sheet of paper. Then I put the flat iron on the lowest heat setting possible and "dried" the flowers by gently ironing them for a few minutes. 

**Whatever you have in your garden or on the window sill will work fine. You can use geranium or parsley leaves, snowdrop flowers, tulip petals or quince flowers from your backyard - whatever you find pretty to work with**
The last step was to gently apply wallpaper adhesive or any other water-soluble craft glue with a small paintbrush on each flower or leave and place it on the egg.
Allow to dry (and don't mind imperfection ;-)
Have a calm Holy Thursday and enjoy a spring walk, a fresh breeze and bird twitter! Also, don't forget to pick a little bouquet of wildflowers for the Easter table before you walk back home...



Friday, 27 March 2015

A (late) winter flower

Eranthis hyemalis, also known as winter aconite. 

When I was looking through photos I have taken since November, I found this Kiki doll. She was a custom order that has traveled to her new family when spring was still far, far away.
She looks like a little flower in all the brown and green, just like a winter aconite...

Warmly,

Juliane

Monday, 23 March 2015

Pea Soup and Pancakes

Thursdays are my bravest days
It is pea soup and pancakes for lunch
On Thursdays, that is. Every week

Except from when the cat of the neighbours
Run away, an early winter morning 
And came back four days later
And Mrs Miller had a bad cough and -

Well, let me get back to pea soup and pancakes...
Thursdays are my bravest days
Because I have to go down into the cellar
To get a jar of strawberry jam for the pancakes

And let me tell you something!
The other week a rat, as big as a badger
Or maybe even bigger
Was hiding in the dark
behind a jar with pickles
I bared my teeth, I snarled a bit
And then it ran away 
Through the cellar, up the stairs and -

Well, let me get back to pea soup and pancakes... 
Thursdays are my bravest days
Because I have to go down to the neighbours
Through the deep, deep forest, because of the pancakes

And let me tell you something!
The other week, a wild boar
With bloodshot eyes, was chasing me
 I climbed up a tree, quicker as quick
And there he stood, snorting with rage
The scariest wild boar I've ever seen
And then he started 
Ramming the tree and -

Well, let me get back to pea soup and pancakes... 
Thursdays are my bravest days
Because down at the neighbours I have to pick up eggs, 
a whole basket of them, for the pancakes

And let me tell you something!
The other week, the nasty cock
Started to pinch me
First my arm, then my bum
And then he began to drag me
Towards the dunghill
Luckily I caught hold of the clothesline
In the very nick of time and -

Well, let me get back to pea soup and pancakes... 
Thursdays are my bravest days
Because in the pantry, I have to get 
The huge storage glass with flour for the pancakes

And let me tell you something!
The other week, I climbed first on a chair
Then on a stool, then on a pile of cooking books
And stood on tiptoes
Like a circus artist 
In heady heights
Seven metres above the ground
Just to reach the very top shelf

And then I turned my neck to the right
Just a little bit
And then I looked out of the window
And then I could see the church steeple
In the neighbouring village
And then I even catched a glimpse
Of Mrs Miller in her dressing gown 
When all of the sudden, I heard a voice and -

Gretchen!! Gretchen!
 
Gretchen! I hear mother say
With a very stern voice:
First finish your pea soup
And then it is pancakes!

Thursdays are my bravest days
Because on thursdays, it is pea soup
So thick that you could slice it with a knife

I take a deep breath
Put a bit of soup on my spoon and -

***

Gretchen is a 54cm/ 21" tall custom doll. She traveled with a play suit, long sleeve, a reversable pinafore dress, undies, leggings, socks and crocheted Mary Janes and a head scarf (as well as an extra pair of shoes for the muddier months of the year). Also, I had to cut her a fringe. She insisted.

*** 

P.S. In Sweden, traditionally you get served pea soup and then pancakes on thursdays. Although, I have to admit, I never had that combination ;-)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Spring Sewing

Spring sewing in pink and lilac, just like the crocuses behind our house
(thank you, Sophie @mapetitevalisette, for sending me these beautiful vintage bobbins with sewing silk thread as a little gift from France)