Monday, 1 September 2014

Monday in my studio - week 36

Another monday, a new week that started with the nicest late summer weather. 

Already in the morning, I switched rooms, from my studio to a sunny spot in the garden, where I sat until now, stuffed limbs, typed emails and made doll heads.Today we even picked the first grapes of the season that grow behind our house - within an arm's length actually. The vine tendrils are happily framing one of my studio windows, I just have to open it to pick grapes for a quick snack while working, isn't that convenient? 

Yesterday on a fleamarket near Stockamöllan, I found this vintage play stove, made in GDR.  When I was eight years old, I once visited a girl that had exactly the same little stove. We miserably failed trying to make pancakes in her room (the stove works with with hexamine fuel tablets) and turned everything in a total mess while our parents were chatting over coffee and cake, and the afternoon ended in a lot of ranting and quite a few tears. I am not sure that they ever could get those small play kitchen pans clean again. Funnily, I had totally forgotten about that incident until yesterday, when I found the little stove under a pile of fabrics ;-)

The week will be a busy one, but tonight's highlight will be the choir practice that has started again after a long summer break. I am very much looking forward to meet everyone again, and to spend the evening singing...

From a late-summery Skåne I am sending you a warm breeze, hoping your week has started smoothly and with sunshine,

Juliane


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Pillow Parade

Yesterday evening I sorted boxes with old fabric scraps, when all of the sudden my fingers started itching. Oh, I thought, I should better not sew anything but see to it that this mess gets cleaned up.
(I must confess that I have a gentle tendency to not complete certain tasks, especially when they are boring)
 I could write a long post about how I tried to avoid to give in to the temptation to leave that chaos and to start with a more fun project, but in the end, I could no longer resist and made eleven tiny pillows as props for Smultron Cottage

The amount of fabric scraps got slightly reduced, whereas the amount of cosiness in Kiki's little house certainly has increased, which is at least something. My studio, however, looks like after a tornado thanks to that pillow parade. Sometimes I do wish that my 1:6 scale thinking could also get applied to all the real housework. In the blink of an eye, with just a dapper wave of a hand, floors would be clean and windows shiny again!






Tuesday, 26 August 2014

New in the webshop - doll clothes

Six clothes sets, a long-sleeve dress and comfy leggings, are waiting for you in my webshop. Each set is made of colourful organic/ GOTS-certified fabrics and with a lot of love and costs 50€ plus shipping. 

The clothes fit a 50-55cm/ 20-22" Fröken Skicklig doll or any other doll with similar measurements. The trimmings and cuffs are elastic, the dresses have a half-opening in the back for easier play. Due to a risk of choking hazard (contains small parts), these doll clothes aren't suitable for children under younger than three years of age.

Dress and leggings of each set can be easily combined with other pieces from this little upload. Get ready for autumn, chilly evenings and dress your doll in colourful and comfy clothes!

Warmly,

Juliane

UPDATE
All six sets have found a new home already 
(wow, that was really quick!)
Thank you for your fantastic support!



Monday, 25 August 2014

Monday in my Studio - Week 35

Another monday, a new week. Since 8 o' clock, I have been sewing, stuffed doll limbs, crocheted shoes and braided a little girl's hair for a photo shooting in the garden. 
At noon, when my eyes started to get really tired, I took a short lunch break, put on my wellies and grabbed a basket. Half an hour later, it was filled with lots of porcini and with chanterelles.
Back home, I cut fabrics, oiled the sewing machine and did paperwork.
Then the neighbour passed by with cake (always welcome), the tea kettle sang a cheerful melody while I was quickly ordering fabrics - and on my work table I have still a few doll dresses waiting to be finished (you will find them in my webshop tomorrow). That is what I call an efficient work day!

And if someone of you knows of a helpful fairy that is good at needlework and proficient in mycology, please send her my way. I promise I'll share that slice of butter-cream cake with her.

Warmly,

Juliane

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Some special kind of happiness: Loppislycka

In the past years as a German expat in Sweden, I have learned that, in order to feel loppislycka, a special kind of Swedish flea market bliss, you'll need sharp elbows, alert eyes and a proper breakfast. Most of all, you'll need a good strategy. I usually write a list with things I want to buy - four, five items I will be looking for. Once I am at the flea market, I act strategically and try to find the top-priority thing on my list, then I work my way forward and down the list. 
(In 95% of the times I visit a flea market, that list prevents me from mispurchases)
 
Once a year there is a loppis, a big fleamarket in Sösdala, where we live. Already at the cashpoint at the small supermarket you can tell that something important is going on, it doesn't happen too often that people are queuing there at 10 a.m. on a saturday.

I got slightly nervous yesterday when I saw Lina, my sweet neighbour, in front of the line - because I knew she would have an advantage of at least three (!!) minutes. We amused the waiting crowd by loudly proclaiming our strategies in how to be the first at the flea market table with fabrics and haberdashery. Once I was finished, I ran as fast as I could to catch up.
Three minutes advantage! And the flea market had already started!
My first finds were so called Allmoge objects, small copper and brass things that people usually collect for display in type cases. It was the table with only a few visitors and a first rush of loppislycka started to kick in when I snatched a coffee kettle, a little brass handbell, a tiny coffee grinder and a properly functioning oil lamp - the perfect miniature props for a certain girl who never can have enough things in her little cottage!

A very pretty yellow doll's pram caught my eyes, too, but alas! it was already sold to a very happy family (also, it wasn't on my list of must-haves). I found a beautiful tea service, vintage tins and pastel bedside lamps but opted for stainless-steel mixing bowls instead. A book on preservation of veggies and fruits made it into my basket as well as two slightly old-fashioned - in regards to the perception of women - kitchen almanacs from the 1950's. If I don't want to make umpteen hedgehog cakes or read the guide on how many pillowcases a good homekeeper should have in the linen press, I might paper a room with all the pages ;-)
After an hour and three or four rounds, I called yesterday's flea market a successful one. I suspect my neighbour for having caused quite some diversion though by sending a handful of friends, the parent of a student, the pastor and the chairman of the local permaculture society my way for a chat, but I tried my best to stay undeterred, focusing on the next thing on my list (my sincere apologies to you all if I seemed very unapproachable yesterday, I had a mission to fulfill ;-)

For those of you who wonder who of us two was first at the table with haberdashery and fabrics - the answer is: none of us. I didn't see a single jar with buttons nor did I find any fabrics, something I had hoped for. It didn't do any harm to my loppislycka though. One day later, all the brass and copper finds are polished, the kitchen accessories clean and shiny, we are having a late sunday tea, flipping through kitchen almanacs from the 1950's - and I slowly get cravings for tinned pineapple, canapés and for a slice of hedgehog cake ;-)

Warmly,

Juliane


P.S. And just for the record: my neighbour is a very sweet and warmhearted person. Really, the best neighbour one could ask for! 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Monday in my Studio - Week 34

Week 34 has started with me picking a quick bouquet in the garden, still in my nightgown, with six candles on a birthday cake, breakfast in bed, unwrapping of gifts and two birthday songs, one in German, one in Swedish. I sang quite flat, as I use to early in the mornings (Also, I hadn't had a cup of coffee then, a must for me to feel like a human being before I start with the day)

In Sweden, the school holidays are over, and everything is getting slowly back to old routines, even the weather, it feels like autumn. We took it rather slow today in the forenoon though, but I sneaked away for three hours or so to work on a few drafts for a new project - something I look forward to finish this week. I love to do sketches, but I rarely find the time for it, and the more I enjoy it once I am sitting at the plotting table or at my easel...

Hope you too had a lovely start of week 34, with lots of sunshine and something nice to look forward to.

Warmly,

Juliane


Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Birthday Party for the Cats, the Peacock, the Dog and the Chickens

Today we went to a fantastic birthday party. 

Our friends have a small farm, and every year, just before the summer holidays are over and school starts again, they invite family and friends to a party with lots of cake, balloons, flowers, colourful buntings and nicely packed gifts.

We spent the entire sunday forenoon with making gifts for all the animals. For the two cats we dried catnip and made small scenting sachets from fabric scraps, one with a H (for Hedda) and one with an A (for Azzar). 
Blixten, the dog, got a paper bag with carrots (he loves carrots). For Rullgardina, Lill-Babs, Lavendela and Nypon, the chickens, we picked nettles, marigold and mallow flowers. And Påvel, the peacock, got his very own LP, a record with Calypso music because he likes music a lot (although, if he could choose, he'd probably pick raisins).

Oh! We wish we could go to an animal birthday once a week! But alas! even if you are a peacock, a cat, a dog or a chicken, birthdays happen only once a year...
 

Have a lovely sunday evening (hopefully less rainy than ours)

Warmly,

Juliane 



Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wednesdays are Egg Days

During summer, wednesdays are the days I look forward to the most. I bring packages with orders to the small post counter at the supermarket in the village, and on my way back, I stop at Nytorp 2089, a small farm between Sösdala and Häglinge. 

Our neighbours grow organic vegetables and rear goats, Linderöd pigs and poultry. By the roadside, Jessica and Peter have a small stall where they sell vegetables and herbs, homemade oils and honey. It is open 24/7, quite convenient (if you ask me), the green version of the around-the-corner supermarket in a city, open around the clock. It happens quite often that I take a late evening walk through the forest and come home with veggies that we don't grow ourselves, potatoes and garlic for example, or a small pot with perennials that I want to plant in our garden.

On wednesdays, I pick up the weekly egg delivery at Nytorp, with eggs in all colours and sizes, kindly provided by Jessica's and Peter-s free-range chickens. Free-range puts it mildly - 'all over the place chickens' would be more precise, the chickens are everywhere, in the garden, between pigs and goats, even in the fields of a neighbouring farmer. Until we have our own chickens, hopefully next year, I am glad that wednesdays are egg days at Nytorp.

Thursdays are the days of the week I look forward to the second-most. In Sweden, it is pea soup day, a dish that is traditionally served on thursdays. I have eaten pea soup about ten times in my life, I am not too fond of it, which is why here at Snogerups Gård, we turned thursdays into making-and-baking days. Flan caramel with wild raspberries (see above), vanilla custard, lemon curd, Swiss rolls and meringues - you name it. And while that might sound as if I have traded the fabric scissors for a cooking spoon, I can reassure you that I still make dolls. But if you work from home, sewing, ironing, stuffing doll limbs all day, you need a few non-dolly highlights every week ;-)

Tomorrow we will have a lovely guest - Iris of Rosenrot Puppen, one of my German doll maker colleagues, comes and visits us for coffee and cake. Which is why it is highly eligible to have an egg day and a making-and-baking day to prepare for guests ;-)

Warmly,

Juliane


Monday, 11 August 2014

Monday in my Studio - Week 33

Week 33 started with bright sun, paperwork and then a basket full of doll limbs that needed stuffing. I won't lie - as a doll maker, stuffing doll limbs is the part of my work I am least fond of. As usual, my weaker self constantly tried to distract me, with the most absurd ideas, pickle gherkins, for example, or defrost the freezer and call the vet. Activities that surely are useful, but not on my priority list when it is dolls I have to finish. 

However, back to the stuffing. In the late afternoon, with blisters on the palms of my hands and still not all limbs finishes, my weaker self all of the sudden came up with the brilliant idea that it was about time to rearrange my messy studio. A few moments later, I found myself sorting out material, moving shelves and tables and putting up a pretty vintage hook rail for all my scissors, measuring tapes and crochet hooks. A beautiful yet heavy cabinet with glass doors, found at a flea market last week, moved in as well. It now houses all the jars with buttons and ribbons, cotton reels and a lot of other things. 

My inner self seems to be quite satisfied with how the week started - and I count blisters, unstuffed limbs and the remaining hours of today. With a bit of luck and with two busy hands, I might be able to finish a doll or two tonight. Off to cook a very strong coffee ;-)

Friday, 8 August 2014

Woodland Expedition

Every evening they wonder, why these two fellows are just so so tired.

But if you'd spend all day on expeditions in the woodlands
Hunting ladybugs and earthworms
Hiding under lupin leaves, like huge canopies
Clambering up pebbles, climbing on bushes
You'd sure get tired by the end of the day!

These two dollies with auburn hair and big brown eyes are on their way to their new home, a little boy and a little girl, far away in Australia. I am sure that lots of adventures will be waiting for them down under. Both are well prepared for all those exciting expeditions and travel with snugly beds**. Nothing beats a hot cocoa and a warm blanket after an exciting day in the green, right?

Have a lovely weekend!

Warmly,

Juliane




(**Little Mi and Little Mo sets, each with a dolly and a hot-water bottle cozy. Both were a custom order)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Monday in my studio - Week 32

Week 32 has started like the weather, dull and broiling, with heavy thunderstorms and dark clouds, in marked contrast to yesterday when I spent most of the afternoon dyeing fabrics in the warm sun.

Our house had been turned into some kind of hospital ward the past two days, with me acting as nurse. Despite my tiredness, I finished the garments for a custom doll. I saved poppy seeds for next spring and decided to keep the empty seed pods, they look so pretty on the windowsill. Candles and tea in the afternoon and a pile of paperwork while listening to the dribbling rain. 

The weather forecast prognoses heavy thunderstorms in the coming days, but I feel very safe: Three new books - or old ones, depends on how you put it - called Svenskt Husmoderslexikon I-III, The Swedish Housewife Encyclopaedia, from 1952. Whatever happens, whether we will sit here without electricity or internet after yet another thunderstorm, with no chance to ask Google, there is plenty of helpful advice on wound care, pickled cucumbers, clothing care appliances, nervous diseases and how to tie a tie. You never know...

In the evening, I picked sweet peas and saw a beautiful young fox walking through the garden, across the mossy dry stone wall and into the forest. I keep my fingers crossed that the new week continues as nice as that...

Sending you a summer breeze from Snogerups Gård,

Juliane

P.S. Did you read the interview (in German) that Sonja of Fein Gedacht did with me? Take a look here.

An interview about making dolls, vintage dresses, the heart and soul...

Good morning and happy monday everyone!

Some time ago, Sonja of Fein Gedacht, a German journalist and blogger, asked me for an interview. It was a sunny morning when the two of us met for a talk, me sitting with the laptop on my knees in our garden in the heart of Skåne, Sonja sitting in her office, 800km farther south. As usual, I was pretty much nervous (strange how one can feel confident on a big stage but oh so insecure in interviews) but thankfully, Sonja knows how to ask the right questions and how to make her interview partner feel open and relaxed.

I am very happy how the interview turned out - you can read here more about my approach on making dolls, vintage dresses and the reason why I don't put my soul in my work.

The whole interview is in German and you may want to use Google Translator. Sonja has decided to translate the text into English as soon as possible though, knowing that a lot of my readers and customers are living abroad and don't master German, so stay tuned.

I will be off to get some sewing done - see you later for the regular monday in my studio post!

Warmly,

Juliane