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

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Blaumachen: Shades of Aqua, Blue and Green

I am back at work after a short summer break, including a wonderful kayak tour with my friend Linnéa (will share more photos with you in the coming days). The quiet, the nature, the many shades of aqua and green truly did us good. 

In my mother tongue, German, we have a beautiful word for when we skip work or take a day off: blaumachen
Literally translated, it means "making blue". While the explanation isn't 100% accepted by linguists, it is being said, that the word blaumachen comes from dyers. In the old days, when craftsmen used natural dyes such as indigo or dyer's woad, the last step of the dyeing process was to expose the fabrics to air. During the drying process, the fabric turns blue (due to air oxidation), all you had to do was to wait - and to take half the day off.

Today I spent the afternoon dyeing some wool, silk and cotton fabrics in the garden. Amazing how differently they all turned out, in shades of aqua, blue and green, like a deep forest lake.
In the pictures number four and five you can see a wee glimpse of a dipped and dyed dress made from vintage silk, in aqua and green, for a little custom doll girl that I am going to finish. I am so glad that the colours turned out exactly the way I imagined...

Warm summer evening greetings from Skåne,

Juliane

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Summer moments

Summer moments. 

Taking a swim in Bosarpssjön late in the evening, picking chanterelles in the forest and flowers in the fields. Moving the desk and the table with the sewing machine outside in the garden. Counting tomatoes and chilies. Drawing sketches, painting old windows, meeting new friends, eating cake and the neighbour's raspberries. 
 

(all photos originally posted on my Instagram)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

From the garden to the plate

If there is something that fills me with instant gratification, it is dark soil under my fingernails and a basket full of homegrown vegetables from our garden. Nothing beats picking ripe berries and digging up the first potatoes of the year. Just the imagination of snapping a crisp sugar snap makes my fingers itch.

Walking down the meadow to our kitchen garden is like walking down a hallway to a pantry, filled with the finest, mouth-watering food, ready to make its way from the garden to our plates. Yesterday's pickings from the garden included carrots, red and black currants, almond potatoes, radishes, onions, rhubarb, a handful of tiny forest strawberries, beetroots, lettuce, raspberries, sugar snaps, oregano and parsley. 

Swedish summer at its best!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Monday in my studio, week 29

The new week started with a lot of energy and a good portion of perfectionism. 
An almost finished custom doll on my work table, a freshly picked bouquet with lavender and mint on the window sill, a cup of tea within reach...

I am just making the right nostril a little bit more neat, I said to myself. Just three stitches.

Then perfectionism took over. And it happened. The needle broke.
Inside the head.

Still, I was full of energy. Such things can happen, right?
And I removed a few stitches. Nothing. 
I took the doll apart, gently. Removed the string around the head to pull the fabric up from the bottom of the neck part. No luck.
I removed all the stitches of the mouth, the eyes, the ears. 
I removed the first layer of fabric, the second.
I removed about thirty, no, three-hundred-and-fifty-six stitches. Maybe even more. (Probably a whole lot more)

No luck.

I removed the nose. 
I removed the cheeks.
I removed the chin. 

Somewhere, deep inside that woolen head (that no longer looked like one), the top of a needle was laughing at me. Humiliating, to say the least.

That doll had been almost finished monday morning and only a few moments later I knew I was thrown back at least 18 working hours! I started to feel the urge to burn huge fabric piles, the urge to embarrass myself by dancing naked through the village, hysterically laughing, to open a bottle of red wine or to throw some porcelain on the floor (one of my friends has a special drawer with old plates just for such occasions). 

I did none of the above, fortunately. Instead, I took a deep breath, did some laundry, made myself a strong coffee and continued. Patience is my second name when it comes to work and now, eight hours later, the head is ready to get covered with the first layer of fabric again. 

Dear week 29, your start was rather bumpy. You taught me a lesson, less perfection, less perfection. Now thank you, and can we please continue in a more modest way? No more broken needles this week!

;-)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Hot pink, cool turquoise

Hot pink and cool turquoise is the colour combination of this little girl who already found a new family some time ago. 

Her sweet smile reminds me of a very warm and sunny afternoon when I took these photos and tells me that summer is just a few moments away on a rainy sunday morning like this. It is the perfect weather for sorting photos, enjoying the quiet in our house and having yet another cup of tea while our wellies in the hallway are waiting for a quick walk through the wet meadow, down to the raspberry patch.

Enjoy your sunday!