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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sale Ending Soon!

My Grand Opening Celebration Sale is scheduled to end Sept. 21st, so get my handmade whimsy now and save for the holiday season! My dollhouses make great gifts, so don't hesitate! If you have any questions concerning any of my products for sale email me or contact me through Etsy.

Happy Almost Fall,
Danielle of
The Market in the Glen

Dyeing for Peace- Tips & Tricks

Along with many people all over the world our school is celebrating the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2010. We will be joining Montessori Schools around the world at 11:00am and singing "Light a Candle for Peace". This world event will start in New Zealand and travel around the world for 24 hours with each school joining in at their local time. There's a great article about in from the Examiner, so check in out for more details.

Our school decided to invite parents and do some fund raising during this time for our Upper Elementary and Middle School participation in MMUN. We'll have the usual backed goods, but also official UN gear and tie-dyed socks of various colors and sizes. My boss coined the clever slogan "dyeing for peace" and I anticipate all the kids will want a pair. I thought I would share some tips and tricks with all of you concerning sock dyeing.

Tips & Tricks for Sock Dyeing:
1. Try to get thin, all white 100% cotton socks for the best results. The thicker ones made to wick away sweat just don't dye well.
2. Be sure to pre-wash to remove any sizing or other chemicals the manufacturers use. Otherwise the colors won't be as bright or even.
3. Protect clothing with plastic bad aprons or wear what we call "painting" clothes. Shoes are the most likely to get dripped on, so don't wear them. Go barefoot because feet are much easier to clean!
4. Set up your work space outside to easily managed spills and mess.
5. If you are not using a kit, I suggest Rit Dye. It comes with very good instruction on how to dissolve the powder into hot water. It is also important to use the salt and detergent they ask for in the instructions to get the brightest colors. They've been the dye of choice for years, so trust their instructions.
6. While you are setting up your dye bath, keep the socks soaking in hot, clear water. Wet fabric absorbs dye quicker and more evenly.
7. If you are doing a big batch, you will likely need a place for some of them to sit while you finish the others. We spread garbage bags out on the grass next to our dye bath wash tubs and just piled like colors together while we finished the other. Remember that while they are sitting together they are likely to bleed, so put only the same colors next to each other.
8. Have the kids twist and rubber band them into as many crazy shapes and designs as they want. Our kids really loved this part and their designs came out great.
9. If you are doing various sizes, keep pairs together to make life easy. This takes more workspace and planning, but will result in the less stress.
10. If doing two or more colors on one sock, remember to do its matching pair in a similar pattern. Keep in mind socks come in twos, even though they will be twisted and tied separately.

The dye sets really well and after rinsing in the sink with cold water, they were all set to be washed together regardless of color. Watch for pictures of use wearing our socks "Dyed for Peace".

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Sets My Dollhouses Aside From All The Others?

Environmental Impact
The creation of my dollhouses uses a lot less fossil fuels than the plastic, big box store versions available for purchase. Almost all of the materials used are handmade by me or someone else out of natural materials using traditional methods, which create a much smaller carbon footprint. They are also much more durable and able to last for generations thus creating less waste in the end. Also, as a business we are always looking for ways to reduce waste, combine shipping, buy local, use sustainable materials and do our best to make our products with as little impact on the Earth as we can.
One of A Kind
As a buyer you can rest assure than no one will ever have another dollhouse like yours. Every dollhouse I create comes out of unique vision and the effort it takes to make each one special means that no two will ever be the same. I also use locally available materials, which means that often times the same materials are not available again for replication. This is also not a product you will find in a corporate owned chain store or lined up on any shelf with twenty others like it. You can take pride in having a dollhouse with its own unique story and a life all its own.
Fads Fade!
Unlike many popular toys and products on the market right now, my dollhouses won’t fade with the next blockbuster movie or children’s television show. They are made and inspired by classic fairy tales that have been around for hundreds of years. They are also so versatile that they can be changed, added to, adapted to fit the whims of you or your child. My dollhouses are also made durable enough with metal hinges, quality materials and with children in mind to be passed on from generation to generation creating a family history inside every one. Think of it as not only a gift for your child, but also your grandchildren and possibly great grandchildren. You can have the power to inspire generations with my dollhouses that other plastic versions just can’t hold up to.
Educational Tools
As an educator, I cannot help creating things without this at the forefront of my mind. I try to use fairy tales as a basis for my dollhouses because they are stories that bridge the generation gap. They also feature lots of repetition, which makes it easier for kids to learn. Almost all stories are derived from the basic structure of these childhood stories and are often used in classrooms to teach beginning writing. I also take pride in making them as gender neutral as possible. Research shows that pretend and imaginative play is necessary for both boys and girls in developing social awareness. They learn to negotiate many situations through imaginative play that they may not otherwise be able to do. My dollhouses allow you and your children to create whole new worlds of wonder to share for years to come.

Cost Comparison
If you compare the costs of my dollhouses to those of comparable size, quality and amount of accessories then you can see how I have tried my best to save money when possible to create something unique and affordable. I often plan a season ahead and shop around to get materials on sale in order to pass this savings on to you. I also do my best find ways of creating things in the most efficient and cost effective way, because I don’t want my products to be absurdly unattainable to the average family. Not only are my dollhouses beautifully handmade with care and love, but you won’t find anything cheaper on any market for the same quality; I know because I have tried. Think of it as an investment in art, a family heirloom, the handmade movement, and with all the added benefits of low environmental impact and no labor exploitation.    
Supporting the Handmade Movement
The handmade movement is about many things, but most of all creating quality products and creating a personal relationship with the buyers. You don’t have to worry about the exploitation of labor inherent in so many of our daily purchases because you know exactly where this product came from, how it was created and by whom. There is no corporate agenda or stock market bottom lines to meet, so you can be assured that quality materials are being used and trust the seller’s intentions. You can also feel good about supporting artists and craftsman who might not otherwise be represented because their work doesn’t represent what the galleries and boutiques deem fashionable at the moment. Many people involved in the handmade movement do so out of love for their work and struggle as parents with regular 9-5pm jobs. You can find pleasure in supporting the work they do that brings them joy. When you buy handmade you become part of the movement, so don’t hesitate to join up and spread the word!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Inspiration- The Doll House Book

Dollhouses and other miniatures have always fascinated me. They have the ability to transport you and send the imagination spiraling. I marvel at the impossible details in such minute craftsmanship. It can seem likely a really frivolous hobby, but I think it embodies the true beauty of “art for art’s sake”. I also love how they seem to mark a place and time like a record in history. Antique children’s toys really strike me as objects with stories to tell, so I never tire dreaming up what story a dollhouse might tell.
I recently came across “The Doll House Book” by Stephanie Finnegan and I highly recommend it. This whimsically shaped book discusses the origin of doll houses and follows them through time to modern day. It showcases many talented doll makers like Dame Darcy and famous personages houses like Queen Mary’s. It even has a section on my all time favorite house, Colleen Moore's "Fairy Castle", which I have dreamed about since seeing it as a small girl. It made me really appreciate how dollhouses have influenced popular culture, children and even history.