Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to All

History of Thanksgiving
"What is Thanksgiving and why is it celebrated?"

For thousands of years, mankind has set aside a day each year to celebrate bountiful annual harvests. Before the establishment of formal religions, many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits. Harvest festivals and Thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians.

What is the history of Thanksgiving in United States? The initial "Thanksgiving" feast, held in 1621, was really a traditional English harvest celebration. The Pilgrims shared it with the Native Americans because they had taught the colonists to plants crops and hunt wild game. Without the Native Americans, the Pilgrims may not have survived the harsh winter and been able to celebrate their first harvest of plentiful crops in the New World. The colonists' first harvest feast lasted for three days. Food was served all at once, instead of in courses, so people ate whatever they pleased in the order that they desired. The more important members at the feast were given the best pieces of meat, while the rest of the diners ate whatever was closest to them. Since the Pilgrims didn't use forks or plates, they ate their meal straight off the table with spoons, knives or their fingers. They used large napkins to wipe their hands and also wrapped it around food when it was too hot to hold.

The history of Thanksgiving demonstrates that feasts like the one at Plymouth were held throughout the colonies after fall harvests. However, all thirteen colonies did not celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time. In 1789, George Washington became the first president to declare Thanksgiving a holiday. By the mid-1800s, many states observed the Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the poet and editor, Sarah J. Hale, had begun lobbying for a national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In 1863 he gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring the last Thursday in November a day of Thanksgiving.

In 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November. Controversy ensued, and Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains. What is Thanksgiving today? At its heart, it's a holiday where family and friends congregate to catch up, reminisce, tell jokes, share scrumptious food and generally give thanks for all the good things in life-exactly what they did at the very first Thanksgiving. (reprinted from

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Doll Friends,

Michelle and Kathi

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I am very excited and must Share....

I have made an acquisition for my daughter Natalie for x-mas. I am very excited and must share. I feel safe as she does not read my blog...being only 4-1/2 yrs old. HA HA!
I found this artist on Etsy that makes Paper dolls using your child's face. The shop is called Amarias Paper Works. I sent her a picture of Natalie and she took her face and added it to a hand painted paper doll body. Then the clothing are hand painted and reproduced and magnetic so the child can change and outfits. The artist, Amaria was so easy to work with. She to is a working at home mom. She live is Australia. This is the picture I sent her of Natalie:
I sent her pictures of Natalie's ballet leotard, described her favorite Princess and a causal out fit with lots of colors and butterfly's she might wear. This is a jpg of the doll:
She was even kind enough to include another cute dress as a bonus. I am so excited to give them to her. I almost feel like I want to give me to her early or late so they won't get lost in the shuffle of the x-mas crazy. Aren't they CUTE!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Take Good Pictures

I while back on my Teka and Zoe Blog I posted several articles on my trials and tribulations on Photography (see full set of articles here: ). Although the articles speaks mostly of my Jewelry, which has been more challenging than my dolls, the information is good all around. It has taken me a long time to get to were I feel that I take reasonably good pictures of my goods. In the past articles I never got to actually showing you what my set up looks like (see above). It is a EZ CUBE Table Top Studio. It isn't pretty as it is set up in the back garage. I have also learned since this picture was taken- Don't have natural light streaming in if you have bulb lighting. I actually use Trumpet Daylight bulbs now(to the right). I use these bulbs as they remain cool. I used to used regular photography bulbs but after being turned on for any hour they got HOT! Burn you hot! To mix the color of natural light with daylight bulbs it sometimes gave me a pink cast. I fought it for a long time. YUCK! So I now close the blind and just use the bulbs and even have the same type of bulb in each light. My camera goes on a tripod in front of the tent. I have also added an additional light on top of the tent as sometimes at night it is too dark. Having 3 kids and working at home I do not have the luxury of taking pictures outside in perfect nature light. I have also learned the hard way that if you adjust your exposure on your camera it is sometimes better to go a bit darker than overexposed which is harder to correct in editing. Also, harsher light can mess with the color even when you use white balance. When you look in the picture above showing my setup you will see the piece of travertine tile I bought to shoot on. If I only knew...It has an annoying pink sometimes yellow undertone. Look for this kind of thing in your backdrop. I purchased a tan velvet paper once that had a weird red undertone when photographed. Not good. I wish I had gone grayer in tone in my stone. But I did find a gray rock that I can use as a prop that helps balance the color. I spend more time editing to get rid of the pink then I should have to. But it has helped to cut out the natural light. Here are 2 pictures right out of my camera unedited. One on the more yellow rock that sometimes give pink undertones and the same earrings on the gray rock. They were taken during the same photo session, same light.
But the best part of my photography is that I finally took the plunge and bought a nice camera that I LOVE. I got a Canon Rebel XT. LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I use the white balance on my camera but sometimes I just put it on the dummy settings and get good shots without messing with it. I pretty much always take numerous pics of the same earrings in the same setting but adjust the white balance and exposure 2 or 3 times. Then I know I got the shot. Plus I may jiggle even with the tripod. Or if I use auto focus it may focus on the rock not the piece. I learned in my last session no matter how much you focus your camera you will never get the shot in focus if you do not have your glasses on. HA! I have a hard drive that is full of 3/4 bad shots 1/8 good shots and 1/8 am happy with shots after editing. Below are some some shots of dolls. The first one is an old doll picture before the EZCube..notice in the picture the harsh shadows? The second picture is one in taken in the table top studio. Much better I think.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Doll Size Zippers

Dolly Zips are Here!! After much sourcing, then procrastinating and now finally taking the time to scan and list. I have the little 4" doll zippers listed on my web site. See them here: Doll Zippers

Saturday, November 6, 2010

So proud to show off.....

I have been working on these little buggers for months. I took the pictures and for some reason just did not want to show them off. I worked so hard on them to get them right I just wanted to keep them to myself. But now is the time to show them off. Push them out of the nest you might say. It is a marriage of my two loves: Enameling and Miniatures. I have been a miniaturist for years. When I started to make jewelry and then enameling I have been thinking about these little houses for a while. I finally had a "free" evening...put aside everything else and just started to figure it out. First making then little house out of card stock. Then out of copper. AL LOT of crooked little houses later and I managed to make one. Then I thought I better see if I could actually do it again...more crooked houses....and I managed to get 4 more. The bodies are made of copper, windows cut, roof and door cut and soldered on. I choose to solder them even though it took extra time because I did not want them to fall apart in the kiln. Things also expand and contract when they are heated and cool in the kiln so cracks could form. You can find them on ArtFire: Teka and Zoe.