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A fresh start !!!

I tell myself every years now since I started this FeeVertelaine ”adventure”, that I should take the habit of cleaning the studio in January …right after the Holiday ”ToRNaDo”. I work like a little Santa’s elf from October to December  and I’m sure you can imagine what my messy studio ends up looking like… please imagine, as I will not show it to you….hi!hi!  In french we say ” Je vais me garder une petite gêne quand même!”

But yet I never did it…I was to excited after the holidays  to come back in and start making my precious dolls and toys again….

Well, believe it or not, this year I DID IT !!! …and not to mention how happy I am to start a new year in a FRESH and clean studio…So I felt like sharing some pictures  with you today … 


{ I love that my room is filled with bright light….I have big  windows to see nature….this is precious to me… }


{ Oh well I know that my little baskets  are still filled with felt pieces …but honestly how can I throw away wool !? }


{ Here is the space where I put my future doll inspiration….hummmm…. }

I always love to see other studios, so now here’s mine…. very simple, but a happy place where my imagination comes alive !!

If you are wondering what  item that I create in this ”special place” of mine, you can go visit my Etsy shop.

I hope you enjoy <3

~*I will take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful new year 2013…may your heart be filled with love …all the best to you !!*~

~Julie xo

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Tools of the Trade: Pretty Handmade Stamps

I received a new studio shot by NaturalKids Teammate Beccijo Neff from The Enchanted Cupboard this week.

I love getting a glimpse into another artist’s studio and see what they are working on. Looks like our friend from the Enchanted Cupboard is working on some mushroom stamps.

It is always so much fun to see a project emerge…


Can you guess what Beccijo is making with these cool stamps? Please, go visit her shop to find out!

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Tools of the Trade: Thread Heaven

I told you how my husband always puts sewing related items in my stocking at Christmas. Stockingstuffer item number 2 I received this Christmas was a product called thread heaven. It’s a tiny square jar with some goopey waxlike stuff in it. You are supposed to drag your thread through this substance to keep your sewing thread from tangling.

Sounds like a lot of work to drag each piece of thread through this tiny jar. It also requires patience and nimbleness. I got it after years of training! =) I tried it out when sewing one of my little miniature dolls. I really liked it. It kept my thread from turning into a knotted mess while sewing on the tiny dollheads.


The package also promises that the product “Reduces Hand Fatigue” and that it is “acid free and Hypoallergenic.” The only problem I have with this product is that it doesn really say what it is made of.

Have you ever used thread heaven or something similar to it? I think I will contact the company to find out more. Could it be a trade secret? Maybe just a little bit of softened beeswax would do the job just as well?  I am intrigued.

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Tools of the Trade: Useless Gadget

I hope you got some good Christmas presents this year. I am very pleased with my loot for sure. Really, my husband and I don’t give each other a ton of presents. It’s mostly for the kids, right? But he always tries to find me small sewing related items to put in my stocking.

Oh my, this year I got 3 different things. Two gadgets were okay. The third item was a bit of a bust. It was called a wrist magnet by Dritz company. You are supposed to wear it strapped around your wrist while sewing.

I found this thing way too cumbersome. The magnet, though very strong, did not hold my needles very well because there is not enough surface touching, I suppose. Then there was my constant fear leaving the magnet too close to my phone or computer. It could really mess up data I am being told…So why not just use a pin cushion for your needles?

Forget it! I hung it on the frige. Maybe hubby can use it when fixing something around the house – so the kids and I don’t have to be the nail- or screw -holders during the project. LOL

I’ll tell you about the other gadgets I got another day…


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Tools of the Trade: Dollmaker’s Tool

I recently received this brand new tool in the mail. I am sad to say that I have been too busy to use it much.  My fingers are itching to make a new doll but these days I am mostly occupied with shipping and finishing off other products. Maybe in the New Year?

What is this curious looking tool that kind of looks like a little hedgehog? It actually is a miniature brush for fluffing up doll hair. Looks so cool, doesn’t it?

If you want to see some samples of dolls with fluffed mohair wigs you can find them in my shop on Etsy.



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Tools of the Trade: Thimbles

I didn’t know it until just this morning – I am a digitabulist. You may ask yourself: What in the world is that? A digitabulist is what you call a person who collects thimbles. Well, my collection is rather smallish. In the photo you can see all four of them. I keep the 3 useful ones in my sewing box.

The German word for thimble is Fingerhut. In translation that means  fingerhat – a hat for your finger. This is my humble collection of fingerhats.

Number one is made of leather. Number two of ceramic. Number three brass. Number four is made of plastic.

The ceramic one was given to me by a friend who brought it back from a visit to the UK or Ireland. It’s really pretty but probably the most useless of the lot. It usually hangs out on my windowsill. Long before I knew about the hobby of digitabulism, I actually tried to slip the ceramic thimble on my finger to help push a needle through thick fabric. The thing slipped right off my finger and fell to the floor. Luckily it didn’t break. I suppose it was never meant to be used.

On Wikipedia you can learn many interesting facts about thimbles.

Besides learning a new big word and that this tool has been around since Roman times, approximately 1 AD,  I discovered that people didn’t just use them to push needles through fabric. Thimbles were used for some other interesting purposes – if you want to believe Wikipedia:

In the 19th century they were used to measure spirits, which brought rise to the phrase “just a thimbleful”. Prostitutes used them in the practice of thimble-knocking where they would tap on a window to announce their presence. Thimble-knocking also refers to the practice of Victorian schoolmistresses who would tap on the heads of unruly pupils with dames thimbles.

Well, maybe I’ll gift the ceramic thimble to my husband who is a teacher. He says it might help his students think a bit better in class…

You can find very cool pictures of antique thimbles via this link. Kind of puts my collection to shame.


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Make a Jacaranda Seedpod Gnome

It’s the time of the year where the Jacaranda tree is starting to get its summer blossoms here in the Southern Hemisphere and the seedpods are starting to fall.  The Jacaranda Tree is a beautiful subtropical tree with gorgeous purple flowers that bloom two times in a year, in early spring before the leaves return, and then again in summer after the leaves have grown.

The seedpods are perfect to craft with and create cute little gnome ornaments.  They are perfect for the Nature Table, Christmas tree, or just as a playful ornament around the house.  Here’s a brief tutorial for a craft you can do together with your kids.


Items needed: jacaranda tree seedpods (remove the seeds if the pod is opened up) that have some of the stem still attached, wooden beads (14/15mm), felt, thread/embroidery floss, needle, scissors, craft knife and craft glue.


First, select a seedpod that you want to work with and check if the bead fits over the little stem.  Shave some of the stem off with the craft knife in case that the joint is to think (be careful though!).

Cut a piece of felt in shape of a triangle that will be the gnome hat.  We made a long pointy hat, but you can shape it as you want.  Thread a needle with embroidery floss or a few strands of thread and sew the hat.  We used the blanket stitch to do this.

Put some craft glue on the stem of the seed and slide the bead on it.  Let it dry.


Take another piece of thread – this will be the loop from the head on which the gnome hangs – and thread the needle.  From the inside of the hat, find the top and stick the needle through, pull the thread through and then stick the needle back into the top of the hat again – a loop had formed on the top of the hat.  Take the two ends on the ‘inside’ of the hat and knot them securely together a few times so that the knot is large enough to not slip through the top of the hat.

Put some craft glue on the top of the bead and place the hat on it, let it dry thoroughly and you are ready.



In case you have no Jacaranda Seedpods available, you can also find the ready made gnomes in the ziezo shop

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Bountiful Farm Challenge Results

We’re having a Team Challenge!    Members of our team create a new item based around a theme – currently “Bountiful Farm.”   Here are the items that are  inspired by and crafted for this challenge!  We hope you enjoy and please be sure to  let us know how you think the participants did!   We’d love to hear your comments!

Léonï – A Little Farm Girl by FeeVertelaine
“Apple” Bamboo Baby Blanket by Tickety Bu
Farmer Outfit for 16″ Doll by Demilunes
Apples: Bamboo Hooded Bath Towels by Little Lily Bamboo
Harvest Queen by MamaWestWind
Fall Daisy Doll Sweater by luvkin
Gnome or Fairy House by Willodel
Little Red Hen Wooden Marble Set by MudHollow

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Toy on a Walk Series: Germandolls in Europe

Maybe I took this toy on a walk theme “a bit” to the extreme. I went ahead and took one of my dollhouse friends to Europe this summer. So really this article should be titled: Travels with a Toy rather than Walk.

Maybe you have been reading in the news about the Colorado Wildfires. It’s been so sad to watch. Don’t worry, our family does not live in the mountains! We are not in any danger luckily. Yet I couldn’t help but feel guilty leaving for Europe. The night before we left on our trip, the air smelled like a campfire, and it was hard to breathe.

There was a sense of guilt mixed with relief that we got out of here.

The lucky doll chosen to escape with me was a little purple dollhouse friend. She crossed the ocean with the family and made it safely to our first stop in Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona is a wonderful city. In the picture you see the little purple dolly on top of the roof of Casa Batllo. This house, an up-cycled apartment building, was designed to serve as personal residence for a very wealthy family by the great Spanish Architect Antonio Gaudi in the style of Art Nouveau. Walking through this building, is like walking on the inside of a sculpture. Every little detail is a work of art: Stairs, windows, walls, and ceilings. There are no harsh corners or straight edges. Everything is round and smooth. Each room has natural light and fresh air flowing through windows and the smartly created air vents. It’s unbelievable, and you must see it with your own eyes to believe it.

I wonder what it must have felt like to live in such a house. A house that feels so organic and natural. Check out the ceiling that looks like the house of a snail. Or take a peek into an upstairs room that gives you the feel of being inside a ribcage. That’s why the house also got nicknamed “House of Bones”.  Finally we made it to the top of the roof which has sculptures for chimneys. Every guide book has photos of the tiles of the roof that are made to look like the scales of a dragon.

Just when you think it can’t get any better you get to the roof. It’s the best part of the house. So make sure you get the whole tour.

I could go on forever about the beautiful sights we saw in Barcelona. The Batllo house is only one of many Art Nouveau buildings you can visit. There is so much more to see…

We spent 4 days in Spain before moving on to Germany. I had not been back to my country of birth in 7 years. Most of the time was spent visiting family. You can read about it on my personal blog.

Crossing the Rhine River in Bingen

 The children insisted that we see one castle at least. So we went to see the Marksburg in Braubach, Germany. There are over 30 castles on the stretch of the river Rhine where I grew up. When I was a schoolkid we visited many of them on fieldtrips. Strangely enough I never saw the Marksburg. Maybe because it is located on the other side of the river. Getting to it from Bingen, the city where I went to school, is not easy. One can go by boat, which will take you about 4.5 hours one way with no way to get back, unless somebody picks you up or you take the train back.

We decided to take the car ferry. You drive your vehicle onto the Autofaehre. It costs 6.50 Euro car, kids and caboodle and all. Takes about 5 minutes to cross over from Bingen to the town of Rudesheim. From Rudesheim you drive along the riverbank all the way to Braubach. The last 10 miles is a windy narrow road, through green forests and up the back of a green hill. You must be careful. There is not much traffic but when you least expect it surely enough you will encounter a large tourbus or truck. The kids loved this exciting rollercoaster ride through the green forests and hillsides of Germany.

On the other side of the roller coaster ride lies the most beautiful fairytale castle. I will post the complete castle tour on my blog for those who would love to see what a dwelling that’s been lived in for 800-900 years looks like inside.

The little purple dolly was quite exhausted from the long trip. She decided that she loved Germany and begged me to stay behind. Her new mama is a little girl named Paulina. She looks just like her new friend. Don’t you think?

I hope you enjoyed my Travel with a Toy. Please, visit my blog if you want to see more photos from my trip. I took over 500 pictures, and it will take me a while to sort through them…


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A Field Trip with a GermanDoll (walk with toy series)

“Go West, Young Men!”  Those were the words written by Horace Greeley, the man the town I live in was named after. Still true for the modern immigrant, though not a young man, I went to the West and discovered the great beauty of  US landscapes. Please, come visit some time and see for yourself. Colorado is amazing and beautiful and did inspire the  song  America the Beautiful after all. I often forget though, since I don’t leave town as often as I should to visit the surrounding areas.

But recently, this old lady was forced to go on a field trip with her daughter’s 5th Grade class. A group of 39 children and 20 adults partook in this adventure. Some parents traveled by car rather than the big tour bus.  Along the way we slept on the floors of school gymnasiums, offered generously as accommodations by various schools (Alamosa High School, Durango High School, Moab Middle School,  Grand Junction High School). So I want to thank the kind principals, janitors, and lunch ladies who gave us shelter and nourishment (breakfast and packed lunches). Our trip spanned 1192 miles according to Google Maps. I hope you enjoy the photos I took along the way.

When people think of Colorado, they usually think of the Rocky Mountains. Celeste and I stopped in one of the many mountain valleys to take a photo for you. Celeste was so happy to get out of Greeley and smell the fresh mountain air. Much better than the smell of feedlots that people told me I would get used to after a while…

Our next stop was at the Great Sand Dunes. They are a truly amazing geographical feature unique to the US. Don’t miss them if you visit the State of Colorado.  The largest dune towers 750 feet high. You need to bring lots of water and strong legs to hike to the top. When high winds kicked in, our group had to turn around. The sand got into our eyes, and it became hard to see where we were going.

Still the children enjoyed rolling around and playing in the biggest natural Sandbox of the US. The large, main dunefield covers approximately 30 square miles, but there are many more square miles of smaller dunes in the sand sheet surrounding the main dune field.

We all rolled down one hill and then hiked up another. Unfortunately Celeste lost a shoe in the process. So we decided to go barefoot for the rest of the trip.


Our next stop was Mesa Verde. If you love history, you must take a tour of the cliff dwellings. In order to get the full picture you need to have the courage to climb up to 32 feet tall ladders to see ancient houses built by the ancestral people who lived here over 800 years ago.



For our last stop we hopped across the state line to the Moab Desert, Utah. I can’t believe I have never visited there when it is practically around the corner from our house. For many folks in our group, getting to see this beautiful National Park was the highlight of the trip. We all know the images of the arches from commercials and iconic photographs. They are famous in Germany too. So for me getting to see them with my own eyes was a real treat.


Celeste even tried to climb Delicate Arch. She didn’t quite succeed but looked very cute trying.


Celeste says she had a lot of fun on this trip but she was glad when we arrived home again. Traveling is fun but takes a lot of energy. I hope you get a chance to visit beautiful Colorado and the West of the US some time. It’s much more beautiful than any photograph or painting can convey. You must see it with your own eyes!

Happy Travels!