Valentine’s Day

Winter continues its cold grip on the area where little Anne lives with snow on the ground. As a good Norwegian she dresses warmly from the inside out. She puts on her skis so she can go to visit her good friends nearby. The sun is high in the sky.

IMG_3542 contrasted and highlightedOn the way who does she meet? She had already met the little snow people on her evening ski trip. They are shy and rarely come out, except to greet the big snowman. As little Anne skis on,  a snow man,and two forest nisse also  suddenly appears and she stops and greets them. She asks what is new in their part of the woods. As they are talking two little bear cubs appears tumbling around in a mock fight. They had gotten bored sitting in the cave waiting for their mother to wake up. Little Anne stops to look at them having so much fun. She continues on, when she hears a strange sound, a little sad lullaby coming from somewhere among the trees. There beside the trail among the trees she sees a little snow hare, looking so sad, singing to itself.

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Other good news is that the review of my book Ronnaug Petterssen – The Artist And Her Dolls came out in the winter issue of the United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC) recently. I just received my copy her here is the review for you. The book is available through Amazon.comimg028 UFDC scan 2

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Winter Is Here

Anne skiing 1 3540Winter has arrived for real in  the  northern hemisphere. It’s time to  bring out the woolens or fleece; long underwear, warm scarfs, mittens and hats.  Here in the US snowy cold came with a vengeance this week. I have learned that it is good to keep warm clothes on hand, so one can dig them out when the need arises, which may not be every year where i live. It is a terrible to feel really cold. So this is what little Anne has done, dug out her warm clothes, because she has decided to go skiing as soon as she can get her skis prepared. Maybe even tonight, since the trails where she lives are lit. Wooden cross country skis need to be re-waxed each year, a laborious effort, but well worth it. Old wax or smøring or klister as it is called in Norway, may just be the wrong kind for the weather that day and Anne has a pair of wooden skis. It can be a bit tricky if you don’t know what you are doing. Modern skis are not as tricky, often they don’t need waxing at all.

Sking near Svolvær early 1920s

Rønnaug and Wally preparing their skis in the mountains near Svolvær early 1920s

When I was young it was a job done perhaps after Thanksgiving so one was ready as soon as enough snow fell. Then we’d be out on the trails on the weekends and also evening because Oslo has many trails that are lit so people can go and ski after work. Rønnaug Petterssen also skied a great deal. The last time she was on cross country skis was when she was 74 and visiting Svolvær, where she had lived in her youth and by 1975 was renting a cabin.

Sking with a friend in Kongsmarka outside Svolvær

Petterssen (l) king with a friend in Kongsmarka outside Svolvær

She like most Norwegians had skied since she was a child and her father had been an eager competitor in ski jumping.

My grandfather, Hildor Petterssen

My grandfather, Hildor Petterssen

For most Norwegians skiing is in the blood. I remember attending a skiing nursery school just outside Oslo when I was very young. After I moved to the US there were a few times when we had big snows and using skis were the only way to get to the grocery store when we needed more milk and bread.

Bodil waxing skis for Easter skiing in the mountains

The author waxing her skis for Easter skiing in the mountains

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Happy New Year

angels ok 2014What a year it has been, with ups and downs as it is for most of us. On the upside, I was finally able to get the book about Rønnaug Petterssen, my mother, published, a project that took just about eight years to complete. But in the end the wait was almost providential, looking back over the project. If the book had been published any earlier, there would have been photographs of dolls i do not own myself or have easy access to that would not have been included, which would have made the book less complete. Because of this I have met so many wonderful and gracious collectors who  were happy to photograph the dolls they owned. Without them it would not have been quite the same. I thank you all.

meleney_artist&herDolls_72dpiAfter the book was published at the end of July, I have tried to work steadfastly on the marketing, a sometimes tedious, but very necessary part of book publishing today. From this new ideas have sown their seeds and are perhaps ready to germinate. The marketing also revealed that the interest in dolls and specifically Rønnaug Petterssen dolls exists almost all over the world. It has been exciting to see where in the world people live who have found the website. This excitement is shared by Rønnaug Petterssen’s grandchildren: Eric and Karen. The book was included in the libraries of three museums; The Norwegian Folk Museum, the Emigrant Museum and Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum. They all seemed interested in offering the book for sale at their museum shops. But to date none of them have, much to the chagrin of an American group of art lovers who went to Oslo and visited the Folk Museum, ready to buy copies. The leader of the group is a former museum director himself and he had promised. What a shame it is. So if anyone of you have the inclination and perhaps connection, do nudge these three museum.

snowman 3538And now as 1914 turns over a new leaf and becomes 2015, I will start more seriously with the new project I have in mind, some of which may include the dolls. I will keep you appraised as ideas mature into reality. In the meantime, I wish you all a most healthy and happy New Year. images

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Almost Counting The Hours

Angel face_2578The Christmas angels have been put on display. Their sweet little faces casting their eyes reverently down. Live candles casting a soft glow over them. These angels are as as synonymous with Christmasto me the litle nisse. As long as I can remember they went on display on top of our large radio, together wish small tulips and hyacinths that my mother had forced.. Out house was decorated usually right up under Christmas eve as is customary in Norway and the tree “unveiled” on Christmas eve, resplendent with live candles and the prerequisite bucket of water stationed close by.  But then, the Christmas decoration did not come down till January 6th when the angels at home12 Days of Christmas concluded and one could take down all the decorations and begin to greet the days which were becoming lighter and lighter with each passing day.

images When my children wee young I, as had my mother just like so many mothers, both past and present, baked the 7 different variety of Christmas cookies. We had; fattigman, krumkaker, pikekyss, sandbakkels, Berliner kranser, hjortetakk, pepperkaker, goro, kokossmakroner, sirupsnipper, and other and please do not forget kransekake and pepperkakehus. images (1)

I don’t bake much these days, unless I spend the holiday with my grandchildren, but I have made a batch of Stewed rutabagas and Norwegian sourkraut, two favorites of mine with almost any dinner during the holidays. Also a bottle of Linie Aquavite, another staple to help the digestion of the fatty dishes that are served during this period.

6 Lux adBecause Norwegians, as other Scandinavians celebrate Christmas over 12 days, one does not have to consume every one of all the calories allotted to these festivities, rather they can be spread out over many days and over many meals like lunch and dinner and coffee and a late night snack, leaving plenty of time to go out in the fresh air and walk, ski or ….. inbetween.

angels ok 2014All the best to you and your loved ones for the season.

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Holidays Approaching

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetWhile I am working on a more Christmasy photo tableaux of dolls for you I wanted to remind you not to forget the doll lover or lover of Norwegian culture with a  little gift. Amazon will even gift wrap it for you and mail it anywhere in the world your friends may live, all at the click of a button.

Christmas on Karl Johan

Christmas on Karl Johan

I for one always miss Norway at Christmas, whether it be in Oslo, in Bergen, or Røros or somewhere else in the deep snowy forest.

imagesIt may be cold, but it is easy to dress for that. Going for a walk, watching the steam rising from your breath into the crisp air, is a joy.

Frognerseteren in winter

Frognerseteren in winter

Then come inside again, to a nice fire in the fireplace and something hot, be it, coffe, cocoa or some mulled wine (gløgg) maybe at Frognerseteren.

Here in Washington we generally have to dream about a proper winter, have it dance in our heads like sugar plums. But tonight we have our annual Christmas dinner of the Norwegian Ladies Club, something we all look forward to here. All the traditional foods and drinks will be served in a festive setting, with speeches, songs and warm togetherness.

 

Salted and cured meats

Salted and cured meats

If you don’t know Norwegian Christmas foods, I hope you will have a chance to taste it at some point: the pickled  herring, the cured meats, the breads, the ribbe, pinnekjøtt, the special Christmas beers and akevitt, the cakes and the fragrant cookies and not to forget kransekake and multekrem (cloudberries in whipped cream).

Just delicious and please do not forget to set out a bowl of rømmegrøt and a tankard  of beer for the nisse, so he will behave and keep your home and animals safe for the next year. He is a good friend to the King of the Forest, the Norwegian moose.

A nisse and the King of the Forest, the moose

A nisse and the King of the Forest, the moose

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Happy Thanksgiving To Everyone

Anne 39cm_3380Little Anne is going to visit friends in the mountains for Thanksgiving. It is snowing where she lives, and she knows it will be cold up there. But Anne is well prepared. She has taken her woolens; ski pants, jacket, a warm scarf , mittens, hat and warm boots out of storage where they have been since last winter.and aired them well.

Anne’s visit is to Kristin and Anders who live way up on a farm on a hillside in the foot hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is looking forward to cozy meals by the fireside and brisk hikes on the trails and a chance to spend time with her friends.

The jacket was originally created in the late 1930s and when the play doll production was shelved it along with other things became clothing for my dolls. Anne is one of those dolls. The trousers, hat, scarf and mittens was created in the manner of styles of the era and from original felt and yarns. See photograph from ca 1939 below.

skiing dollsThe happiest of Thanksgivings to all.

Check the ad out in the Antique Doll Collector for the month of December.

To buy the book, click the image below

Little girl from Finmark

Ronnaug Petterssen the artist and her dolls

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The Takoma Park Book Fair Is Here

The Halling girl a cousin received

The Halling girl ca 1939

It is getting rather exciting. This Saturday from 2-5 pm is the 5th annual Takoma Park Author’s Book Sale and Signing, to be held at Trohv, a home goods store located on Carroll Avenue in Takoma  Park. About 20 authors will be there and the offering of books span a range of types of books from poetry to thrillers and biographies, to living and collectors items. Come browse, see, be seen. Come and  meet old friends and make new friends and taste and sip some refreshments provided by a few of the restaurants here. I look forward to meeting you all.

A big stack of books arrived today, I have my Square, I’m ready.

Update. The following restaurants and eateries are graciously providing snacks and nibbles among them; La Mano, Republic, Marks Kitchen, Capital City Cheese Cake, Middle Eastern Cuisine. I hope you will join us

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Happy Halloween, Next The Book Signing Party

funny-carved-pumpkin-facesHalloween  is a relatively recent addition to celebrations in Norway. According to sources this day of dressing up in costumes and carving pumpkins was relatively unknown in Norway ten years ago. Actually pumpkins are hard to come by, but one can carve large turnips and gourds in a pinch. Today it has many celebrants and it is a big business for whose who provide the goods needed to dress up and have a party. In my day many Celebrated All Saints Day, but it was a day when people might go and visit the graves of loved ones to light candles for them. It is a far more serious day than Halloween.

Julebukk , by John Bauer

Julebukk , by John Bauer

What we did have that was great fun and a little reminiscent of Halloween was going “Julebukk“. It is a festivity celebrated during “RomJulen” between Christmas and New Year and children would go to a few houses, knock on their doors and then get a present, a cookie or a piece of candy. It was strictly confined to one’s immediate neighborhood. As children we looked greatly forward to it.

Now on to another great event coming up on November 15. A wonderful home goods store, Trohv, in Takoma Park has offered to host this year’s Takoma Park Book Festival. It is an opportunity to meet and chat with the authors, have books signed and perhaps get a head start on the gift giving. It will be held between 2 and 5 pm, so come and help us celebrate and meet old friends and perhaps new ones as well and have something to nosh on, provided by Takoma Park restaurants.  Follow Takoma Park Book Fair on FaceBook for more information on the books and he authors where .

The witch  in the woods

The witch in the woods

you will find all the books that will be presented and read a little more about the authors. I will of course be there with a smile, my pen sharpened and  a stack of books. Further information can also be had at Mainstreet Takoma. I hope to see you there. Please feel free to spread the word to anyone you think would be interested.

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetIf you were planning to get my book, but haven’t done so yet, click on the image. If you wanted it signed, contact me and I can send you one directly, inscribed with whatever you might wish.

 

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Identifying The Dolls Correctly

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetClick the image to buy the book from Amazon.com

I was looking at the stats today to see where people live who have checked out this website. Lately a visitor checked us out from Novo Sibirsk and just yesterday I sent off a book to Alberta Canada. In all people in 15 countries have visited this website and that gets me excited for sure. Thank you all for the interest you have shown. There have been visitors also from India, Thailand, Philippines and Japan and of course Australia and Brazil. It just warms my heart.

Girl from Kautokeino, ca 1965 45cm

Girl from Kautokeino, ca 1965 45cm

It has been interesting to see what is offered for sale of dolls, the condition they are presented in, if the costumes are correctly identified, etc. etc. It does not matter so much which site they are offered on. This is one of the reasons I finally wrote and published the book. I can easily understand why costumed dolls are misidentified. It isn’t easy to keep so many different costumes appart, if one is not Norwegian. I have to use reference material if I look at the costumes from Poland, Sweden, Hungary, Greece, for sure. Also my mother Rønnaug Petterssen began making dolls during a time when the regional costumes were more standardized. By that I mean everyone from a specific distict wore exactly the same design. In the last couple of decades, it has become more common to go back to the earlier way of doing it, with often some variations within that region.

Sami girl ca 1936, 15cm Courtesy Sandy Smith

Sami girl ca 1936, 15cm Courtesy Sandy Smith

Something that should not vary is that a doll  should be presented with whichever costume parts it was obtained with and the costume parts should be correctly put on. If one uses the book as a reference it should be fairly easy to see how each of the costumes are to be presented. A doll should not be sold with costume peaces obviously made from newer materials without being  so marked, nor should a doll be offered for sale with costume pieces that do not belong to that doll or that costume.

An interesting question came up with a small pre-war Sami doll recently.  Did it depict a boy or a girl. Usually a girl wears caps  and boys wear hats that sit more on top of the head. But in the Lule and southern Sami  costumes for example the men and women wear same type hats.

Sami boy ca 1936-37, 17.5 cm

Sami boy ca 1936-37, 17.5 cm

Just about all the men’s costumes have shorter skirts (the part that is below the belt) on their Kofte (costume). The women wear much longer skirts. The dolls depicting girls also have longer hair than the boys. I understand that all this may seem confusing, and certainly it helps having a reference guide like the 3 volumes of Norwegian Costumes, by Bjørn Sverre Hol Haugen which was published in 2006.

 

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Book Signing Party

meleney_artist&herDolls LIGHT_300dpi widgetTo Buy the book click on the image.

I just got the word today that I and my book will be part of the Takoma Park Annual Book Fair which will take place for  the sixth year on November 15 from 2 -5 PM, at Trohve, a home good and gifts store in Takoma Park. Light refreshments will be served. Trohve does a lot of community events and we are lucky to have such a nice and accommodating venue to be in. The store is located on Carroll Avenue one block north/east of the Metro station. More details to come soon.  But mark your calendars, I would so love to see you there.  Besides there are many great restaurants to have you dinner if you stay late. Do come and check Takoma Park out if you haven’t been here before or in a while.

Samisk barn

Sami girl courtesy Sandy Smith

I also received word today that a Norwegian antique doll fair took place last weekend at the Viking Ship House a historic cultural art museum in Oslo, not far from the Norwegian Folk Museum. The attendance was great, the selection of dolls wonderful and the book was a great hit. Some of the collectors there who had bought the book were using it as a guide to find new treasures. It will please me greatly if it will increase peoples understanding of what they own, what they may buy and what they  may sell. I hear the same from collectors who have attended doll fairs here in the US as well.

Then there is the issue of those outfits who offer author’s books recently released in the same internet stores as the author, in direct competition with the author. I understand reselling such book, in this case at a doll or antique fair, but on Ebay and Amazon I don’t understand. Goes against my sense of fair play.  Just having my say and all. But I guess this too is a form of flattery.

Next week I will talk a little more about identifying, especially the early souvenir dolls.

As one collector told me: “Your book really helped me see the doll in clearer detail…such as face fabric, painting and stitching of features.Th  wedding couple I own have the stitches (for the facial features) but I never noticed them before.”

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