Guest Blog: Theresa Baker

Ginger and Pickles guest blogger, Theresa Baker, is a Waldorf Handwork teacher and doll maker. Mrs. Baker’s dolls have long been popular sellers at Ginger and Pickles. Her dolls will be available in our One-of-a-Kind Section periodically.

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Decorating the nature table in my classroom is always fun for me. The students love all of the handmade treasures and always notice special details. The fifth graders just finished a botany block. When they saw the sprouted bulb babies they exclaimed, “Look! They have a calyx.” The thing that interested the seventh graders, who are making dolls in Handwork class this year, is that the babies have formed heads just like their larger-sized dolls.

I saw a couple of bulb dolls on etsy.com. They were similar to the first one I made (far left). I then studied sprouting bulb images and decided to use darker colors. I liked each baby that I finished better than the previous one. The most recent one (far right) is my favorite so far. I’m thinking about making another sprouted bulb baby with lily of the valley flowers forming…

 

These dolls were made with ½” and 5/8” tube gauze, cotton stockinette, cotton velour, plant-dyed wool felt, pipe cleaners, and wool batting. The clay pots are 1.5 and 2.25 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.themagiconions.com/

Who Makes Our Dolls?

All of our dolls are made by hand by special people for your special little one. This is the first blog in an ongoing series introducing our doll makers.

Abby has been a full-time, stay-at-home mom for the last five years. Of course she loves it but when she made her first peg doll she realized she could take care of her children and foster her creative energy.  Abby loves the challenge of painting the tiniest details, and the fact that she can work at home on a project that makes other people’s children happy too.  When I saw her samples I knew that these dolls belonged on  Ginger and Pickles website item.

Wouldn’t your children love to see themselves as a little peg doll?  It is simple: just take a picture of your child in the outfit of your choice and Abby will paint the peg to match your child’s picture.  If the outfit pattern has a small print, take a close up and include that too.  Also include the back of the head for a braid, or some other feature to be shown.  Order the doll and email us with the pictures and specifications at gingerandpicklesstore@gmail.com. What could be a more special gift?

You can get an idea from the pictures above.  I am sure you have lots of ides of your own: a seasonal doll, sports doll, birthday doll.  Why not order a custom dollhouse set of your own family!

Click here to purchase an Abby Doll!!!

 

 

Interview with Reg Down

Tip-Toes Lightly and Reg Down’s other books have been favorites in Ginger and Pickles for years.  Check out the interview I did with Reg Down.We decided to feature mostly local authors on our website because we feel passionate about getting their books into the hands of our customers.  We are proud to carry them in our store.  We plan on publishing more interviews with our other local author interviews on the blog.

 

MBB: What was your first book?

 

RD: My first children’s book was The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly. This book is made up of three smaller ‘books’ or adventures and I initially wanted to have them published as three picture books in full color. None of the publishers I contacted were interested and so I decided to go it alone. I’ve had no regrets. Sometimes I even shudder to think how things would have gone if I had found a publisher. I have really enjoyed the personal aspect—learning new skills, meeting vendors and readers, and seeing the business side of things grow from year to year.

 

MBB: Which came first, teaching or writing?

 

RD: First came the teaching. In fact, the stories in the first few books, The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly, The Festival of Stones, and so forth, were mostly based on stories I’d done in the classroom—in some cases for years. I think this is part of their success; these stories have been tried and tested and found true within real working audiences of children. Trust me, if something does not catch their imagination then it quickly becomes apparent!

 

MBB: Did you have a number of books in mind or wait to see how the first was received?

 

RD: I knew that I had a number of books inside me. I have years of material covering different seasons, festivals and various characters; also the mood of different countries and schools as I taught in a number of Waldorf schools inCanadaand theUSA. And remember, a eurythmy teacher teaches the younger children, kindergarten to grade 3, once a week throughout the school year. This covers all sorts of events and weather and happenings and material from the curriculum.

 

 

MBB: You have started selling other author’s books. Did that fall into your lap, or was it part of a grand plan?

 

RD: I don’t have grand plans! I do what interests and fires me up at the moment. Sometimes that’s puppetry, or writing, or artistic research—or writing. There is a business side to selling books and I have to stockpile and send out books to vendors. I have 10 children’s books and a couple of other titles and while it was supporting me it was only barely supporting me. So I took on titles from Whole Spirit Press which was closing its doors. It’s just an extension of the practical side of the enterprise. I’ve also started adding public domain books which I think are really worthwhile for children to read. The first is a footnoted and annotated edition of The Boy who Knew what the Birds said, by the master storyteller, Padraic Colum.

 

MBB: Other than Waldorf, where do you find your audience? Any surprises there?

 

RD: I had my initial niche audience in Waldorf World, as it’s called, but my books have reached beyond into the big world. All the mainstream sellers now carry my books, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s Books, etc, as well as Amazon, of course. Homeschooling parents are a big part of this expansion too. They network a lot and let each other know what engages their children. I also have a number of vendors who are not particularly aligned with Waldorf and they keep coming back for more books.Australiais also a place where I have had a lot of sales recently. All of this pleases me immensely. I never wrote the books for Waldorf children exclusively. Children are children and my tales are for all kids, whatever their background.

Grow Your Own Grass, Indoors for Easter Basket or Nature Table

Add some delightful anticipation to the end of a long Winter by growing your own Easter grass. Try this simple,  fun learning experience. You won’t buy artificial grass again. Depending on the conditions, you can have adequate grass in about two weeks. Grow grass any time during the winter in any container you like. It brightens any room. You can even grow grass around bulbs you are forcing.

Supplies:

  • Cellophane, flexible plastic or a plastic plant tray that fits the bottom of the basket
  • Rye or Wheat Berries
  • Vermiculite, Clean potting soil or fine mulch
  • Basket
  • Clean Spray Bottle filled with water

Directions:

  1. Soak the seeds overnight. Rinse with clean water in the morning.
  2. Place one solid piece of waterproof material on the bottom of the basket. Make sure it  is large enough to come up the sides a bit, but not show after the grass is grown. If you want to use colored cellophane you can have it stick out over the top edge by about one inch. It adds a nice touch. Don’t piece the plastic together or you might have leakage.
  3. Fill the bottom of the basket with the vermiculite or soil.
  4. Cover the growing medium with the seeds you have pre-soaked
  5. Sprinkle a ¼ inch layer of vermiculite or soil over the seeds
  6. Mist the seeds several times a day. If you are gone during the day, you can place a paper towel over the seeds and spray it in the morning and check it in the evening. Sprinkle again if needed
  7. When the seeds are sprouting, place them in a sunny window
  8. If the grass grows too long before Easter, you can trim it with kitchen shears

Tips: 

  1. If you haven’t already bought a basket, buy the basket and plastic plant tray liner together. There will be no need to cut the plastic to fit.
  2. For a shorter germination period (in other words you procrastinated) try this method that is used for growing edible sprouts. Soak the seeds in cold water for 1-4 hours. Drain and rinse with cold water. Spread the damp seeds in a container with no water for 1-4 hours. Repeat the rinsing, draining and sitting for four hours until you see tiny sprouts coming from the seeds. Then follow the directions.
  3. Watch for overwatering. Mold can form if you do. Once the grass is growing, it needs less water. Simply spray the grass, not the seeds

Experiment

This is really a little science experiment. If you have more than one child, use different seeds, growing mediums and soaking methods. See which one sprouts faster. What kind of grass do you prefer: rye, wheat or Kentucky Blue? I have never tried growing barley grass. One year I placed three layers of wet paper towels on top of the plastic, with no soil over or under the seeds. It worked also.

I hope I didn’t make this seem too complicated. It truly could not be simpler: soak seeds, spread and spritz. Voila! Grass. 

Can’t wait ‘til Spring!!

Send us your photos, feedback or fun departures.

Mary