Puppenwerkstatt Kukalka hinter den Kulissen

Whenever it is silent around here on the blog (or also on Instagram or Facebook), this usually means that behind the scenes is all the more going on …

KuKalKa Doll Studio

There is always something to do in a doll studio: like sewing dolls obviously.
But also: write and pay invoices, make an inventory list, contact suppliers, place orders,  documentation, launch projects, sort ideas,… and daily tasks and chores like cleaning up after a workday. Finally, I am trying to bring a reasonable structure into the daily, weekly, monthly processes. Design a work schedule and plan which can also be implemented in my daily routine. To find work life balance between working from home and being the mommy to a baby and a toddler.
Currently, I am sorting things out still doing all at the same time and trying to stay sane.

Puppenwerkstatt Kukalka hinter den Kulissen

Thinking. New dolls, new patterns, new shop, new website, new ways, new perspectives … Phew.

The Easter days are just fitting now.
A little break, vacation, peace, reflection, …. and then? Restart?
Let’s see what the mental retreat brings with it.

Puppenwerkstatt Kukalka hinter den Kulissen
In the meantime … as said before – if it is quiet here, it usually means behind the scenes it’s all the more busy, here in my little doll workshop.

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As I mentioned recently, I sew a lot of larger dolls lately. And I love it.
But I also love the possibilities and variety that makes doll making.

And a special doll got stuck in my head for a while now and I’ve been itching to finally having the time to sew a smaller, simpler doll again.
A very simple one.
A cuddly one.
A small one.
One that can be carried along everywhere, maybe sitting in a little pocket …

Kuschelpüppchen Kukalka

That’s  when “Maluschka” came along…
She’d buzzed around my head some time now. And finally I had the time to let my hands make this dolly…

Kuschelpüppchen Kukalka
Maluschka is about 6 inch small and has tan skin made of Swiss cottontricot.
She also has a wonderfully cuddly, soft body made of yellow nicky fabric with orange dots. The doll is filled with fluffy soft sheeps wool.

She has very soft redish-brown hair made from mohair wool. Her the face is embroidered in the classic style of Waldorf; She has pastel green eyes and only a little smile. But she also has a small nose.
The Cheeks and nose are lightly colored with red bees wax chalk.

Kuschelpüppchen Kukalka

And even though Maluschka does not need clothes, she still insisted on even more cuddlyness.
So I had to knit her a little woolen scarf with a wooden flower as a button.

Kuschelpüppchen Kukalka
Maluschka loves kids and wants to tag along everywhere they fo. Her curved legs are perfect for small children’s hands to grab on. She also fits well into small pockets, from where she then likes to gimpse out curiously.
Even if it may not look like it, she’s often shenanigans afoot and always gets into trouble. ;>
But she also is a very good listener … and likes to offer comfort (because she is so cuddly).
Maluschka can not stand to be alone for too long, so she is waiting for someone to take her on adventures now and would love to become a childs little friend, soon.

Meanwhile she found a doll friend here in the doll studio – Mididoll Masha felt a strange bond and connection to cuddly doll Maluschka in an instant. ;)
So she will keep her company until I have finished sewing Maluschka’s some more little friends …

Kuschelpüppchen Kukalka

PS:
If you would like to adopt a doll like Maluschka, simply send me an e-mail
and pre-order one for 24, – €  now … or you could also wait until the other Maluschkas will appear in the shop or on the blog. ;)

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Wunschpuppe Kukalka.de

After a prolonged baby pause, I find myself slowly getting back to business and everyday life. Now  having done a thorough spring cleaning at the doll studio, all shines like new again.
And I finally can let my restless hands get back to work and let them execute whatever my always spinning creative crazy mind comes up with.

 

Wunschpuppe Kukalka.de
Alas there is only little space for dolls in my order book, because I have a few other projects or I first have to start or end. Nevertheless, I would like to take the proper time for every doll I make. Therefore until summer, I can offer only few custom order spots.
Soon, however there will be a current price list and more information about ordering dolls up again as well as new ready to adopt dolls in the shop.

 

Until then here are a few impressions from a custom order doll, who went to her new home last week already:

Wunschpuppe

I do not know what it is with these red haired dolls….
but they have a hold on my little heart.

Wunschpuppe

Especially when they have freckles, too …

…And such an occupying personality.
Uhm, yeah, …why don’t you go ahead and read for yourself:

Wunschpuppe Kukalka.de

It seems like this one has a very peculiar (but all the more charming) little personality.
Although, with her 17 inch she of course is “a big girl” already. ;)

Wunschpuppe Kukalka.de

As soon as she saw the light of the world in my little doll studio, it began…
Of course, she did not want to remain naked. So she quickly demanded some undies: “But with a bow and it hast to be green!”
Yes of course.  I would not want her to catch a cold.

Wunschpuppen Kukalka
Then we had agreed on an airy summer wardrobe, a light little dress… but quickly she added: “But I want lace, too… and also I need socks and nice shoes!?”
Of course, she did. So shoes and socks it is.

Wunschpuppe

 

“Good. But now there’s still something missing… something… yellow!”
Hm? What?
Excuse me? Something yellow?
Oh well, for the sake of it – her desire is my command:

Wunschpuppen Kukalka

 

“But I also need some jewelery …and a clip for my hair!”
Of course. A little lady needs appropriate accessories.

At this point I was all like “Well, that went well.”
But I noticed quickly, I spoke too soon…

 

… Shortly before her departure, she was suddenly insisting on boots:
“After all, it’s still chilly… it’s not summer, yet!”
She’s right, of course. So I sigh and go back to the sewing machine.

Wunschpuppen Kukalka
“But I need a nice dress matching the new boots now, too!”
Oh… ok – she’s right. The boots do not match the first dress at all. ;)
And how can you resist this eyelashes batting gingerhead anyway?! No, at least I can not.
So again, her wish is my command:

Wunschpuppe Kukalka.de

 

“But now I still do need something warm to travel in. What if my mama decides to take me out on an adventure on a chilly summers evening …”
Yes, of course – she did. Who wants to argue with that?
So I quickly browsed the wool stash and then swung the knitting needles. Her wish was my command:

Wunschpuppe Kukalka.de

 

“Yes, now it’s all good… now I can leave, sure enough my dollmama is already waiting for me!”
And then, leaning back, she was finally satisfied.

Wunschpuppe

Phew. No one has said being a doll maker will be easy.
But after having had a big say in nearly everything, she could not be sweeter now… Dolls, right?!;)

 
So finally she was ready to go on her journey to a new loving home. Ahead a whole dolls life – hopefully full of hugs, kisses and exciting new adventures…

Wunschpuppe Kukalka.de

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Now it’s over already, the #marchmeetthemaker Challenge on Instagram.
And yes, I have posted one photo a day all of march replying to the challenges prompts.
It was fun and though some were quite challenging, I did enjoy myself answering the questions.
Also it introduced me to some cool new things like the Hyperlapse App or Boomerang which I will make use of more often from now on.

 

If you missed out on my daily posts and like to catch up, here they are all compiled in one blog post…:
Day 1: You

Hello Kukalka
So here is a pic of yours truly, Nat (holding my doll Sima). :>

 

Day 2: Favourite to make

“So #marchmeetthemaker asks for “favourite to make” today so obviously it has to be dolls for me.
I can’t even say I love doing the big ones or the flashy or small simple ones…
I really do love making all of them equally. It’s the variety and endless possibilities they bring…”

 

Day 3:Worspace

kukalka dolls

“Welcome to my workspace on Day3 of #marchmeetthemaker: fortunately I have my own little studio under the roof with enough space for the dolls and my stuff & though I do work from home, if the doors closed I am at work truly…
I am pretty organized too: on the left table space is my sewing corner, in the middle -under the window I create and handsew the dolls, while on the right table half I draw ideas and do paperwork.”

 

Day 4: Tools

tools dollmaker

“Day 4 of #marchmeetthemaker prompts for “tools”.
Dollmakers tools: So honestly this is only a small amount of constantly needed and ever changing tools.
Some are quite obvious like airerasable pen, needles, thread, cutter, scissors, iron, and different wool stuffing sticks, etc, – some are custom made like the wooden rod for making doll hair lengths -and some obviously not on this pic like my sewing machine, overlock, hemostads, etc.
Please feel free to ask if you’d like to know more about one or the other tool though..”

 

Day 5: Boomerang

Day 5 #marchmeetthemaker is Boomerang: stuffing doll limbs can be an exhaustive activity…

 

Day 6: Raw Materials

Day 6 of #marchmeetthemaker: raw materials.
I stuff my dolls with german sheep’s wool and use organic (gots) doll skin fabric.
I to this day never fail to be amazed myself about how from such simple materials a doll with sometimes such a big personality can come to live…????

 

Day 7: How it’s made

Nat Kukalka Dolls

Day 7 of #marchmeetthemaker – “how it’s made”: although there are many seams on the dolls body that can be sewn with the machine, there are still plenty stitches that have to be done by hand. It is truly a “handmade” toy- Starting from rolling the wool for the head, stuffing the limbs, attaching the head to the body by handstitching (to even being able to repair the doll by hand if needed)… So many steps involved in the making of a doll done by two hands loving their busy tasks.. Continue reading

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If you are already following my dollmaking journey on my Instagram account here, you probably already know, that I am taking part in the Instagram challenge called #marchmeetthemaker.
Like I already wrote in my last blogpost it is all about meeting the maker behind (the doll).
And although doubted my endurance and commitment at first, it turned out to be quite fun and I did not miss a day yet.

Puppen filzen

At the end of the month, I would also like to post a summary of all the prompts I answered here in the blog, so be warned. ;)
For the prompts were wonderfully varied; for example the task for day 18 was to create a short time-lapse video with the hyperlapse app on the mobile phone. So sure enough I wanted to show the needlefeting of one of my doll’s heads.
However, I have just filmed the beginning of the process for the clip, since in real-time this was already adding up to being 25 minutes long! Accelerated to three and a half minutes (or to only one minute for instagram that is), it turned out look quite differently.
So here is the three minutes version of my video I have up now on my You Tube -channel:

As I said before, this is only the beginning – many, many hours and so even more stitches go into such a felted face, before one can be satisfied (although unfortunately never completely if you are me) with the result…

Also I do not always felt over the gaze of the already tied head, but sometimes I do felt the head right away and then first cover it up with the gaze and afterwards pull in the mouth and nose line with yarn. And I do have a slightly different technique when felting smaller heads rather than when I do larger ones, etc. So this can only be a small insight into the possible beginning of the work on such a felted doll head.

After all, the video gives a little view into how to begin to work out the physiognomy on the dolls face by starting with adding wool bit by bit, adding some for the nose and chin and then working your way on the lips. Surely every dollmaker, who uses the needlefelting technique on a doll has her own preference and go about. I am fascinated by the possibilities of further development, which the needle felting technique opens up in dollmaking (I have already blogged a bit more about it here, here and here).

 

Needle felting Ooak Dolls

I however, like many of my dollmaking colleagues, do not only needlefelt the face but find it often fitting to corresponding work on the other parts of the dolls body as well.
I admit having a little obsession with bony dolls knees:
Puppen filzen
But also a cute, round felted dolls bum or belly can be so adorable.
The possibilities are as diverse in their own degree of elaboration as in form itself.

I like to think the options are endless and am fascinated by the way a felted doll can look so different and uniquely endearing compared to the “classic” ones. Whether you like it personally or not, is like often just personal preference. I also do think both have their own charm and the right to exist because more so often less is more.
But does this necessarily mean that they are mutually exclusive? What are your experiences with felted ooak dolls?
I am curious: Do you prefer the classic type or do you like the dolls to be to more detailed?

:)

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This month a challenge on Instagram started called  “March Meet the Maker” running under #marchmeetthemaker initiated by Joanne Hawker:
“…this challenge is to help small businesses such as you and me to tell the story behind the brand.
It also aims to give an insight into the face, process and hard work that goes into creating all of the beautiful products we have to offer. […]
All you have to do is post a daily photo to Instagram relating to the prompt of that day and tag it with #MarchMeetTheMaker to take part. It’s that simple!…”

Of course yours truly is taking part in this challenge, too.
But even more exciting ist the possibility it brings to learn about so many other creative and inspiring makers there are. All being different in themselves but united by their love to make and create, driven by the passion for what they do and the urge to transform their ideas into matter.
Dare to take a look – and you will also be amazed at how colorful and diverse the “Makerversum” is …

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From time to time, I  join the “Yarn Along”, a link-up ofGinny at Small Things. It’s about showing what we knit & read. Clicking on the Yarn Along image at the end of the post will lead you to the linkparty and you can view all the other posts. There are also more photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flicker.

 

stricken hören

At the moment i am mostly knitting some more dolls clothing and accessories.
On my needles currently seen here is a shawl for dolls.

Since reading while knitting has shown to be a bit difficult (At least I have not perfected that one for myself yet) I like to listen to the audio books.

Currently I am listening to
“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North:

“Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.
No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside.
‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow…”

 

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