Sunday, November 9, 2014

Holiday Workbench

What defines the Holiday season for your and your family?

Opening the Advent calendar each day?

Baking cookies to swap?

Lighting the Menorah?

Drinking eggnog?

Making candles for the Winter Solstice?

Making tree ornaments and trimming the tree?


Midnight church services on Dec 24?

For many it is attending a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet.

Source: Google Images

Wikipedia states: 

The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (op. 71). The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on Sunday, December 18, 1892, on a double-bill with Tchaikovsky's opera, Iolanta.
Although the original production was not a success, the twenty-minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was. However, the complete Nutcracker has enjoyed enormous popularity since the late 1960s and is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season, especially in the U.S. Major American ballet companies generate around 40 percent of their annual ticket revenues from performances of The Nutcracker.

As I thought about this upcoming holiday season I wanted to make a Christmas fairy and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies came to mind. 

Source: Google Images

I have seen several productions of the Nutcracker, both professional and student and it is wonderful. The music and dancing lift one up above the crass commercialism that can mar the Holiday Season.

So I set to making a pair of Nutcracker fairies in cranberry and green,  I think I will make them traditional red and green as well.



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Saturday, September 27, 2014


I will be in Europe visiting my daughter till October 16th and my Etsy shop is temporarily closed.  Happy Autumn!

Alice On the Rhine

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Colors of Autumn

It has not been a hot summer here in New England and that is just fine with me.  This week it is even cooler reminding one that Autumn is coming.

Yellow the bracken, Golden the sheaves
Rosy the apples, crimson the leaves
Mist on the hillside, clouds grey and white
Autumn good morning, summer goodnight.
-F Hoatson

The colors of autumn are so beautiful-all the shades of red, orange, gold and brown.  I have been wanting to make a female gnome to go with my bearded gnomes I make, although who knows if they do have a gender.  I have some luscious fall colors in wool felt and some wooden buttons and metal charms in the shapes of leaves.  I am also signed up for several autumn swaps in some Facebook groups I belong to.  Click HEREand HERE for more info.  So I set to work imagining how the females are garmented.  Pictured are matching pairs.

Gnomes are the earth-dwelling elemental beings of myth and folklore.  There are also fire spirits- salamanders; water spirits- nixies or mermaids; and air spirits-syphs.  Read more about these beings by clicking on this article: The Four Elemental Beings by William R Mistele

I placed Mr and Ms Gnome amidst the moss and mushrooms in my yard.  I believe they eat a lot of mushrooms!

The acorns are falling in record numbers!  We have a number of large oak trees on our property so the squirrels and chipmunks are happy.



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Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer Fairies Redoux

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

More summer fairies have arrived in yellow and purple to join the pink fairy from my last post.  I have included a smattering  of fairy related quotes to accompany the photos.  The pink fairy had butterfly wings.  I wanted to vary the style so the purple fairy has dragon fly wings.  

What do you think the the yellow fairy's wings resemble?

 J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”

Andrew Lang--"Of all the minor creatures of mythology, fairies are the most beautiful, the most numerous, the most memorable."

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,For I would ride with you upon the wind,Run on the top of the disheveled tide,And dance upon the mountains like a flame.~William Butler Yeats, "The Land of Heart's Desire," 1894

Where are the fairies? Where can we find them?

We've seen the fairy rings, they leave behind them when they have danced all night,
Where do they go? Lark, in the sky above, Say, do you know?
It is a secret, no one is telling.
Why, in your garden, surely their dwelling!
No need for journeying, Seeking afar:
Where there are flowers, there fairies are!"
--Cicely Mary Barker

Brian Froud and Alan Lee, Preface of Faeries--"The myths and legends about Faerie are many and diverse, and often contradictory. Only one thing is certain - that nothing is certain. All things are possible in the land of Faerie."

Check my Pinterest board for fairies and other elemental beings Here 


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Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Fairies

Do you believe in fairies?

She is not quite done.  What else does she need?

Something on the front of her dress, perhaps?

They say fairies are often seen in places where water and plants intersect.

Her hair is made of dyed Lincoln locks readily available from many Etsy sellers.  It is so luxurious.

Her wings sparkle with beads!


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Monday, June 16, 2014

On the Workbench

After an unintended hiatus I am back.  My last post was in February!  I was down with the flu for awhile and then my mom, who had Alzheimer's got very ill and passed away. It's a terrible disease and she is now free from suffering.

I closed my Etsy shop for awhile but it is reopened with new items.  Here is what I have been working on:

It's the time of year for flowers in the northeast.  The design possibilities are endless.  A customer asked me for a trillium flower or fairy or gnome, so I will be peculating on that.

I love angels and especially the idea that each of us has a guardian angel looking out for us.  I have lots of design ideas for angels.  This one is for the winter season, a holly angel.  Holly is the birth plant for December and is a frequent decoration for the winter holidays. In days past it was believed to ward off misfortune and evil spirits.

I also love witches.  This is a white witch with amethyst colored accents.  It sold within minutes of my posting it in my shop!  Someone must have been searching at just the right time.

This is a rope doll standing about 6 inches tall.  She is a fairy tale maiden originally made as Jorinda from the Grimm's fairy tale Jorinda and Jorindle.  She holds a red flower with a pearl (made of wool).

"Nibble, nibble like a mouse, who is nibbling at my house?"  This idea for adding a mouse to the mushrooms I make has been in my mind for quite awhile.  The mushrooms in my yard are always nibbled at when I view them in the morning.  I imagine all manner of critters nibbling away in the night.

Dolores 1931-2014
her year book photo

Visit my Etsy shop by clicking HERE

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Nursery Rhyme Peg Dolls

The Queen of Hearts

She made some tarts,
All on a summer’s day
The knave of Hearts
He stole the tarts
And took them clean away.

The King of Hearts
Called for the tarts
And berated the Knave full sore
The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts
And vowed he’d steal no more.

I am starting a new project.  I intend to make peg dolls depicting characters from Nursery Rhymes.  Nursery rhymes are perfect for young children for language development and pre-reading skills giving the child experiences in repetition, rhyming, sequencing, phonics, patterns, vocabulary, memorization, etc.  I could go on and write a whole article as it can not be overstated how important traditional nursery rhymes are.

I used them frequently in my Waldorf kindergarten not only during circle or story time but they were wonderful for transition times, helping us all to gently make our way to another part of the day.

Nursery rhymes also (like fairy tales) introduce children to archetypal characters and situations in a way that young souls can take in as soul food.. Many adults are struck by what they see as images of gender-bias, aggression or evil in these traditional children's songs, poems and tales.  However, when an educator or parent chooses developmentally appropriate ones the child takes in what he/she needs for emotional growth.

As a parent, I used them often during the many times we were waiting.  Imagine being in the grocery store check out line.  Your child is fussing with fatigue or over stimulation (candy, bright lights, noise).  Take out a little peg doll and begin to recite the nursery rhyme.  Recite it for the recommended three times (or more) to distract and soothe your child.
If you would like to know more about Nursery Rhymes click here.

I find that peg dolls stand sturdily on a table for storytelling, unlike un-weighted table puppets or needle felted puppets which fall over when either an adult or child is using them.  Or they fit easily in a pocket or purse to be brought out as needed, where ever you are.

A variety of these miniature dolls can be found on Etsy.  Click here for my shop.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Grand Old Man of Folk Music

I saw Pete Seeger in the 90's at the Ben and Jerry's Music Festival in Vermont.  He was wonderful and inspiring.

Click on the link to Bandcamp hear this wonderful song.

To My Old Brown Earth-Pete Seeger 

To My Old Brown Earth

by Pete Seeger

To My Old Brown Earth cover art
00:00 / 04:08
  • Immediate download of To My Old Brown Earth in your choice of high-quality MP3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.



From the album "Pete" (1996, Living Music), which won the Grammy award for Best Traditional Folk Album of 1996.

About this song, Pete wrote: "In 1958 I sang at the funeral of John McManus, co-editor of the radical newsweekly, The Guardian, and regretted that I had no song worthy of the occasion. So this got written."


To my old brown earth
And to my old blue sky
I'll now give these last few molecules
of "I"

And you who sing
And you who stand nearby
I do charge you not to cry

Guard well our human chain
Watch well you keep it strong
As long as sun will shine

And this our home
Keep pure and sweet and green
For now I'm yours
And you are also


released 30 January 2014
Words and music by Pete Seeger, 1958



all rights reserved

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sweetheart Peg Dolls for Valentines

On the Workbench

My daughter came home from Germany on December 21 and flew back this past Saturday.  In these five weeks my blog has gotten very little attention.  Hopefully now that the holidays are over and all the visitors are gone I will get back to a routine of posting regularly.

I participated in a swap in the Facebook group: Waldorf Swap Club.  The theme was Valentine Day and I made these Sweetheart Peg Dolls for it.

I have a stash of thick, organic, plant dyed wool felt which I used for these pegs.  It's costlier and bulkier which is why I do not use it for all my work.  The colors heathery, are more subtle, more gentle due to the plant dyes.

There is also variations in how the dye took to the felt.  Sometimes it is quite pronounced but that is part of the charm of a handmade item.  I purchased it at the yearly Waldorf Kindergarten Association conference in Spring Valley, NY while I was teaching.  I think there are some shops on Etsy that sell similar felt and both Weir Crafts and A Child's Dream sell it but I have not purchased from these sources so cannot speak to its quality aside from I like both of the companies.

The dolls are in my Etsy shop.


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