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If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. (Albert Einstein)

Posted by annette on October 21, 2012 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (1)

The importance of Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are essential to childhood

After reading these 2 articles about Fairy Tales, you may.....

Enjoy reading "The little Red Hen" to your three and four year old.

or many of the other Fairy tales available. Here are a few with age recommendations. Please be sure to read first and judge if your child is ready for these stories.

Fairy tales for Four Year Olds

Fairy tales for Five Year Olds

Fairy tales for Six Year Olds

A day in the life: inspiration

Posted by annette on September 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I can't help but get inspired by the world and talent around me!


Child of Faerie, Child of Earth is one of my favorite books. Its illustrations are beautiful and inspiring.

A few years ago the girl in the book was inspiration for a dolI I made.


There is one illustration in the book that I really want to create in wool. In order to do it right and to avoid any copyright issues, I searched for the illustrator's contact information. This was not easy, but eventually contacted this gallery since they seemed to have a way to contact the artist.


My inquiry may seem strange to you, but I am trying to find contact information for Jane Dyer. I am a fiber artist and the illustrations  in "Child of Faerie, Child of Earth" are so inspiring. I would like to ask her if I may "put" at least one into fiber.

I would appreciate if you could forward my email to her, so she can reply to me in her time.

Thank you,


My email was forwarded to Jane Dyer and I had to be patient and hoped that eventually I would hear back. After 5 months I was rewarded!

Hi Annette, Well it’s only 5 months later, but Jane would be happy to have you create one of her works in fiber. You can reach her [email]. Let me know what it looks like when you are done!.


R R.Michelson Galleries

I was given the email address and was able to start a wonderful conversation with Jane. Up to now I have not been able to create this wall hanging, but I feel that the time is very near for me to get started on it. Sometimes the time that needs to be spent on doing the right thing will prevent the start of a great creation.That is the trouble when in the moment of inspiration, you can't get started. It will eventually happen, and I am looking forward to it. I chose this path, because I feel it necessary to respect other artists' property and strive to do the right thing when inspiration stikes.

Waldorf-inspired Dolls

Posted by annette on September 21, 2012 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

" ......a handcrafted doll is one of a kind, an individual which carries the spirit of the maker in its stitches and absorbs the spirit of the child who loves it." -- Maricristin Sealey



I love this quote; it captures my passion as a doll maker. My dolls now go by the name "Ringalina Dolls", but in 1985 when I started on the path of a doll maker, they were known as Waldorf dolls. (Here's another great article about Waldorf Dolls, definitely worth reading.)

".... a handcrafted doll is one of a kind" - no question about it.  When I create a doll, I take great care to keep in my thoughts the person I make the doll for. With custom dolls, I often get emails from the parents with a picture and a little description of their child. I create a picture of the child in my mind, and I work that picture into the doll. It is hard to put it into words, but it is an expectation of how the doll should be. With the dolls I create without a child in mind, I let them develop, let them tell me who they want to be. Then the right parent has to come by and adopt them.

"Which carries the spirit of the maker in its stitches" - this is the reason why I hand-sew the doll. I want the doll to carry my spirit, not the spirit of my sewing machine. It may sound strange to most people, but I find it very relaxing to sit and put one stitch after another. Of course it takes more time, but there is no "rattatata" sound from a machine, and no frustration when the machine gets stuck or the thread bunches. I stuff the doll with my bare hands, because I don't want to feel a stuffing tool between my hands and the wool. I stuff my dolls very tightly, which causes the doll to be not be as flexible in the beginning. Over time though the flexibility will come, because the wool will compact and the doll will "absorb the spirit of the child who loves it."

When I receive emails and photos from happy familiies who have adopted one of my dolls, I love knowing that the spirit of their maker and the spirit of the child who loves it have united in a completely unique experience.

Hi, Annette --

Thank you, again, so much for the wonderful doll.  When Taz opened his package, he was jumping around, hugging him and exclaiming "I've wanted this my whole life!"   He loves his little buddy!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!



Hi Annette,

I thought you'd like to see a photo of the moment Musette opened 'Grace' on her birthday.  Clearly, the doll is perfect for her.




Meet the Artisan: Annette of WoolCreations

Posted by annette on September 10, 2012 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

How did you get started with WoolCreations?

I used to teach 6th,7th and one year of 8th grade Handwork and 1st through 8th grade German at our local Waldorf School. When my youngest wanted to switch to a public school system, I felt it was very important to be more available to his needs. During my teaching years I was also not able to be as creative as I wanted to be. My creative juices were all flowing into teaching my students. I started WoolCreations in 2006, about half a year before I stopped teaching. I started to make Waldorf dolls when I was expecting my first child (1985), but I didn't create a business till 20 years later.

What was the turning point where you decided to pursue WoolCreations as a business instead of a hobby?

I guess the main reason was to be around when my children needed me. I could schedule my time around the family's needs and always make them the #1 priority, but still have a fullfilling job. I love working from home and much like June of Rising Sun Earthworks, I get into these intense work sessions/inspirations. I will not need a break and forget time altogether.

What's your favorite thing about what you do?

The freedom! There are so many things one has to do when running a one-woman business. The talent that initially brought you to start your business is just the start. In my case it was doll making and felting. I had to learned book-keeping, photography, web design, advertising, customer service, packaging, finding and ordering the right materials, developing and improving, the list goes on and on... It is like being a mother. A mother is teacher, nurse, magician, therapist, cleaning lady, driver, coach and and and..... Some of these needed skills will come easy to you and some will be difficult, but you won't ever be bored.

What is your family like?

I have 3 adult children, 2 of which are married with children and 2 of which are in the Military. That makes 1 being married and in the Military, sounds like a riddle or a math problem, lol.

My husband of 29 years are expecting our 4th grandchild in November. Last year our daughter and her husband were deployed for 9 month and we were "parents" to their 5 and 2 year olds. This year our son was deployed to Afghanistan and he returned just a couple weeks ago. Our middle daughter, who is expecting lives in Florida and works as a Newborn and Wedding photographer. We don't get to be together very often, but we love it when we do.

Since I am so endless proud of my children I want to share the Homecoming video my daughter put together of her brothers return. They are together in one frame, both in Uniform. Be prepared you may need tissues for this. Thank you to all Military men and women for their service and a big thank you to their families for their support!

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

To explain the flamingo balloon in the video.... My husband send a flock of flamingos to Afghanistan shortly after our son deployed and created this fb page http://www.facebook.com/FlamingosofDemocracy?ref=ts

A very warm welcome....

Posted by annette on September 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Universal Mama is excited to announce new members joining in September!

A very warm welcome to these five very talented women....

Sharie ~ Little Pitterpat

Sara ~ Woolies

Dana ~ Srgoddess

Cystal ~ Lilikoi Lane

Danielle ~ Doodles Jewels


It's all very well to have courage and skill

And it's fine to be counted a star,

But the single deed with its touch of thrill

Doesn't tell the man you are;

For there's no lone hand in the game we play,

We must work to a bigger scheme,

And the thing that counts in the world to-day

Is, How do you pull with the team?

They may sound your praise and call you great,

They may single you out for fame,

But you must work with your running mate

Or you'll never win the game;

Oh, never the work of life is done

By the man with a selfish dream,

For the battle is lost or the battle is won

By the spirit of the team.

You may think it fine to be praised for skill,

But a greater thing to do

Is to set your mind and set your will

On the goal that's just in view;

It's helping your fellowman to score

When his chances hopeless seem;

Its forgetting self till the game is o're

And fighting for the team

Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

Crafts: Autumn Bouquet

Posted by annette on September 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Autumn in poetry has often been associated with melancholy. The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn grey, and many people turn inward, both physically and mentally.

That does not mean that we can't have fun!


by Elsie N. Brady

How silently they tumble down

And come to rest upon the ground

To lay a carpet, rich and rare,

Beneath the trees without a care,

Content to sleep, their work well done,

Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly

Until they nearly reach the sky.

Twisting, turning through the air

Till all the trees stand stark and bare.

Exhausted, drop to earth below

To wait, like children, for the snow.  

 DIY project: autumn leaf bouquet, how cool is that?


the last gasp of summer

Posted by Scarlet on August 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

School starts next week for us, so kiddo and I have been trying to jam as many summery things as possible into the last few days. We took a quick two-day camping trip this week to the foothills of Mt. Baker.


Mt. Baker

It's been a few years since I've made huckleberry jam and I've been craving it, so we went up to our usual berry patch I wasn't really sure we'd get any this year, since my husband was up there in late July and said it was still covered with snow. Not very promising, but since we were in the area anyway, I thought it was worth a try.

Heather Meadows

We saw an exposed outcropping of basalt columns, with snowmelt trickling over them like a very, very expensive water feature.

basalt columns


Gorgeous, yes. Also chilly (low 50s) with a brisk breeze. Some years, we try picking around Labor Day, and the berries are past their peak. This year, they hadn't really started. We found one ripe berry (which I dropped into the underbrush, waaaah) and four sort-of ripe ones. (That reddish one in the photo below is sort-of ripe. They're deep purple when fully ripe.) And many, many green ones. I'd guess they're still two or three weeks from ripening, which puts them perilously close to not ripening at all.


Even the wild blueberries weren't ripe yet, and the heather was still blooming. Freakishly late. I do like how they grow intermingled, though.

heather and wild blueberries

a day in the life: shipping

Posted by Scarlet on August 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I run an every-other-month, hand-dyed yarn and spinning fiber club, where members get to choose one of two colorways, the type of yarn or fiber, and the quantity. Yesterday, I started shipping this month's orders. Here's a little peek:

Because there are several combinations of colorways and fibers, I have multiple checks to make sure that everyone is getting the right order. These are some of the semi-solid orders. I print out labels, and write the colorway and fiber/yarn on each label after checking it against the original email order. I label each braid and skein and bag it. You can see samples in little plastic bags in the front there--each of those includes a business card with the customer's name on the back. The card gets matched with the order, and then the order is put into a polymailer and sealed.

Meet the Artisan: June of Rising Sun Earthworks

Posted by Scarlet on August 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)



This week, our featured artisan is June of Rising Sun Earthworks. June's gorgeous pottery can be seen on the craft show circuit in New England as well as at her Etsy shop. Recently, she's also added lampwork beads to her product lineup.

What do you like best about what you do?

My favorite thing has two facets: The first is about the process or making of my product. I am my own boss; I can stop working anytime to rush a family member to a lesson/job/emergency room (yup), I can decide not to work for a week when I need to destress, or I can work late into the night when I am "in the zone." (more on that later). The second facet is that I love making things that become part of my customers' everyday lives. When someone reaches for an RSE mug every time for their morning coffee because it's their favorite- that right there is what makes it all worthwhile.


What's your favorite way to spend time with your family?

My favorite way to spend time with my family is... just spending time with my family. Ours is a house full of laughter. Our family life is packed with "in jokes," lots of pranks that sometimes backfire, and silly songs that my husband makes up (much to the embarrassment of the kids). We are an extremely close knit family; we eat most of our meals together at the table, sit together to watch TV or a movie after dinner, and enjoy much of the same music and playing and singing songs together. There are many other activities that we all enjoy and take part in togetherl.


What does your typical work day look like?

My typical work day goes like this: I get up by 6:30 a.m. because although the twins (17 years old) are old enough to get themselves ready for school, I have this need to see them and tell them I love them before they head off to school every morning at that time. Then every other day I work out for 1/2 hour. I make coffee, feed the animals, linger by the pond, then spend some time eating breakfast while communicating online with fellow WAHMS and customers, and goof around far too long on Facebook. I try to get into the basement studio by 9. I like to listen to books on tape while working.


Lunch is dictated by when my stomach starts growling- usually not until 1 or 2. I eat lunch in front of the computer while, again, spending too much time on Facebook. After an hour, I hit the studio again.


Now, if I am watching the clock, I try to finish by 4 or 5 so I have time to make dinner for the family. About 25% of the time, though, I hit what I call "the zone;" a half hypnotic state (I'm only sort of joking) where I just want to keep working and during which I am crazy productive. If that's the case, I don't notice the time until my husband comes home, at which point I tell him to order a pizza or make dinner himself (luckily I am blessed with a very understanding guy).


Then I will keep working until maybe 10 p.m. or later, and eat a cold dinner, shower and collapse into bed. Yes, I take my showers at night, because my work makes me so incredibly filthy! This gives me a very interesting hairdo when I wake up in the mornings.

Meet the Artisan: Scarlet of Huckleberry Knits

Posted by Scarlet on August 10, 2012 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

This is the first in a series on getting to know the artisans of Universal Mama. This week, we'll meet Scarlet of Huckleberry Knits.

How did you get started with your business?

I first learned how to knit when I was 6 or 7 years old, although after college, I didn't do very much of it. When I had a baby in 2004, I picked it up again, and started a hobby business knitting pants for babies. I fell in love with hand-dyed yarns and decided to try doing it myself. Pretty soon, I had way more than I could use myself, and started selling yarn as well as knits. It wasn't long before I was focusing just on yarn.


In 2008, I decided to see just how far the business would go, and picked up my first wholesale account with a local yarn shop. In 2009 and 2010, I started doing the regional circuit of yarn and wool shows, and that's when things took off. I quit my day job in February 2011--it was my Valentine's Day gift to myself--and I've never regretted it.

100% silk spinning fiber (roving)

What do you like best about what you do?


My favorite thing is also my least favorite thing--I do it all, from the actual dyeing to designing ads, from shipping to cleaning up my messes (and dyeing can be very messy). I love the variety, but when I'm under a deadline, it would be awfully nice to have someone to delegate to. Especially the photography. Styling the yarn and fiber, trying to find the angle that brings out the best features, and processing the photos just takes so much time.

Sock yarn, in the Winesap colorway


What does your usual work day look like?

It's pretty hit-or-miss during the summer, but during the school year, I'll bring my child to school and then come home and eat breakfast while reading my email and making my to-do list for the day. I'll put the yarn that I'm dyeing that day in buckets to soak while I mix up dye. I'll dye the rest of the morning, with a break to do stretches because it's hard on my body to stand on a concrete floor for hours at a time. During my lunch break, I'll pack and ship any orders that I didn't do the night before. Then I dye some more before leaving for school pick-up. After kiddo is in bed, I'll do computer work like customer emails, photo editing and product listings, and pack orders. When I'm getting ready for a show, I'll usually also dye at night, but I prefer to do that in natural light because I can see the colors better.


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