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July 2011

Hoe gaat het u al?

I can't seem to stay away from FairyLand, and now that I think about it, I realize how profoundly my life was shaped by fairy tales. I was a fortunate child, because I always received a new book for my birthday and for Christmas, and since my mother and I lived with my grandparents and two youngest aunts until she remarried when I was six, there was always someone to read aloud to me.

One of my favorite possessions was a book of Dutch fairy tales. It was old, and I am not sure now who owned it first; possibly my young aunts, perhaps even my mother when she was a little girl.

And one of the stories that fascinated me most was The Legend of the Wooden Shoe, which began, "In years long gone, too many for the almanac to tell of, or for clocks and watches to measure, millions of good fairies came down from the sun and went into the earth...."

I loved hearing about the oak tree where the babies lay among its branches before they were found in their cradles by other children (perhaps a stirring of this childhood memory helped in the creation of my Treetop Nursery, too). And it was in that book that I first learned of Moss Maidens, fairies that lived in trees; perhaps my first exposure to the archetypal Green Man figures. And, of course, there was the kabouter, with his long full beard and tall red hat, who taught people how to make wooden shoes.

I was always so intrigued by those klompen, or klomps, and wondered how it might be to wear them, and somewhere in my childhood I had an Aha! moment when my mother said, "Quit clomping around like that. They can hear you down the road!"

That story, and windmills and tulips; Hans Brinker and his wooden skates; the little boy who saved his country by sticking his finger in a hole in the dyke; and, of course, boys and girls with yellow hair wearing wooden shoes, formed my first affectionate connection with The Netherlands.

All my life I have loved windmill cookies; the ones with the chopped almonds, usually purchased, but sometimes made by my mother during the holidays. In the 60s at an auction in Montana, among other items in a box that I bought, I found a wooden cookie press with the image of a windmill which I hung over the counter in my kitchen. And a few times I used my mother's cookie recipe to make my own version with that press - no small feat for a basically non-baker. lol

In the early 70s I was prowling in a local Goodwill Store, and there, lo and behold, was a pair of REAL wooden shoes. Perhaps they had been merely someone's souvenir and were never intended to actually be worn; there was no way of knowing. But I didn't care. I had my own pair of Klompen! I tried them on and decided they were better in theory than in practice. I gave one of those shoes to my mother, and for years I filled my wooden shoe with tulips or daffodils every spring. And, of course, somehow I managed to accumulate some little klompen, as well, although I never consciously set out to collect them.

Fast forward to retirement and my love affair with online miniatures groups, and then my online friendships with delightful people who actually live in The Netherlands. Some years ago I wrote in to one of my groups about my wooden shoe and mused about miniature versions. As a result I took part in a one to one swap with Heidi van Wijk of The Netherlands (I hope this is the correct spelling). I sent her Texas and Southwest items, including a flower arrangement in a cowboy boot, Mexican food, and various fabrics, and she sent me miscellaneous fabrics, a pair of miniature yellow wooden shoes, a tea set and a beautiful knitted spread.

Because I have been having carpal tunnel problems I recently made a decision to limit my miniature time to creating projects with things from my stash that require the least amount of fine detail work with my hands.

And in looking through my UFOs, I found the bag with Heidi's swap, along with some additional pieces I had added; hence this setting, both a recollection of my childhood and a tribute to some delightful people who have enriched my life.

The windmill is a resin piece; the tart tins are copper. I found the piece of Dutch blue work and framed it.

The daffodils were made by my old friend, Dawn Weaver. I added some shading with chalks.

I love Chrysnbon; can't even count the ways I have used it over the years. I didn't do a thing to these pieces. The sunflower pot is a bead; the lid came off a little silver compote in my stash. The shoe is a resin piece which I gave a wash.

The plates and sugar bowl and creamer are inexpensive pieces.

Believe it or not, this coloful pot, which I just love, was a stick pin. Yep, had a long silver pin with a clasp thingie on the bottom. I don't recall where I bought it, however, or when. It's been in a drawer waiting for the right spot for a long time.

Can't have a Dutch setting without some goodies. I printed out a whole page of Dutch cookies and managed to duplicate several of them with ready made items in my stash. I wish I had one of those windmill cookies to add, but didn't want to use my hands any more than necessary at this point.

Well, here I have decided to call it quits! It all fits nicely within a 6 inch tall glass dome.

The little Mitty books are quite popular children's books, I understand. The little female rabbit has many adventures.

Somewhere on the internet I came across a tutorial on making this teakettle, but for the life of me I don't recall where, or exactly when I made it. Despite its rather primitive appearance, I have quite an affection for it, since I don't really do clay stuff much any more because of my hands.

I purchased the tulips from Grandma Holly, which came by the dozen as separate stems. Aren't they great? I cut the stems down and curved them somewhat for a more natural look.

I used a Golden Oak stain on the large handmade wooden shoe. No clue as to where I got it, but I have had it for a long time. Since it was overscale, I never really thought it could be used, but love that it works in this particular setting.

The little shoe and pitcher were in my stash, as were the copper pieces. I noticed when I was Googling that people like copper in The Netherlands, just as I do. Copper adds both warmth and shine to a setting.

The jointed teddy bear was a Christmas find at Hallmark's years ago. The color is not quite right here; it's actually a bit more brown in appearance.

Since I took these pictures, I have reversed the teakettle so the "best" side of the little base faces forward.

My daughter Dana made the gold braided rug for me many years ago. I have used it in various temporary settings, but think it will now stay permanently here.

I wanted to showcase Heidi's wonderful knitted throw so that as much would be visible as possible, so decided to have it spilling out of a trunk. The trunk was painted gloss white originally; I painted it spruce blue to go with the color scheme of this setting.

Here are a few of the other things that the trunk holds.

This was the "old" story book from my childhood. The picture is of Queen Wilhelmina, who abdicated so that her daughter Juliana could rule, and then Juliana did the same for her daughter Beatrix.

Here is a copy for you, if you want. Notice that the one in the trunk has been aged with chalks and a wash.

The stein is an "antique," as is the praying angel. The large pillow in the trunk was a gift from my friend Michelle Lyons.

I had placed the angel with all my klompen pieces; I don't remember why now, but decided she looked like she belonged, since she had a blue background under the gold!

This intricate wicker rug beater was in the bag with Heidi's swap and the other things; I am not sure now if she sent it or not.

I remember my mother hanging rugs over the clothesline and banging away with a broom to get the dust out, and have done the same thing myself at times. Too bad we didn't have a neat instrument like this!


The trunk looks greenish here, but in actuality is more blue. I also have a collection of gnome stuff, including some envelopes with a skating gnome depicted on the flap. I cut off one, first coated the top of the trunk with glue, then smoothed on the picture. I dry-brushed around the edges with the paint.

Here, flipped over, you see him skating along. Maybe this was a kabouter who made wooden shoes and is taking some time off.

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NOTES:

The primary display piece for this setting was a little hutch (not as shiny in real life as it looks here), which I believe was handmade; perhaps an Ebay purchase. I figured I would just start with that and see what happened.

This picture shows the early stages of the cupboard when I had the yellow shoes on a shelf.

At that time I had thought I was going to use a chair for the throw, instead of a trunk. Once I decided on the trunk I noticed that the shoes - one of the main things I wanted to emphasize - didn't show up well enough when the trunk was in place.

I substituted a Delft cup instead and used some of the earliest tulips I ever made. Ideally the stems would have been kept to their original length, but the height of the shelf precluded that. Notice the droopy foliage. Perhaps they are several days old, or need fresh water! lol

These shoes were made by Henneke Stringer, Heidi wrote me. They are so neat that they deserve to be sitting up front!

The blue heart pillow is one I made way back in the 80s in a Saturday workshop with Pat McNally. It's appeared in various temporary settings over the years. For this one, I added the Delft embroidery, a printie. I cut out the shape, painted the white edges with a black marker, coated the back with glue and allowed the paper to soften before pressing it into place on the pillow. The blue shelf edging I cut from some scrapbooking journaling pieces.

This little stein would've been okay with a wash to suggest pewter, but I wanted it to look like some special painted ones I had seen in a collection belonging to a retired military family who had traveled to The Netherlands.

I first gave it an overall coat of parchment, then used my paint pens for details. It helped to use my third hand to hold it while I peered through the magnifying glass as I painted.

Lastly, I used a Golden Oak stain pen to soften the colors.

I wanted to suggest a bit of dimension for the sampler frame which I tucked under the teakettle stand.

After cutting out the center of the second picture, I covered the first picture with clear contact paper, then glued the frame on top. A black marker along the edges gives it a finished look.

Another use of paper was the Dutch embroidered tea towel, another printie. I made it a bit wider and after coating it with glue and folding it to the back, allowed it to soften somewhat. I then finger pleated and shaped it into place.

I went to a lot of trouble to clean up a printie of the Dutch strawberry sampler and was very pleased with the result. However, I couldn't figure out where to use it, so it is saved for another time. So are the initials of Queen Juliana which I had originally planned to put on mugs.

Thank you again, Heidi. I treasure those pieces you so kindly sent me, and I hope you will enjoy seeing your handiwork again. It was fun putting this little setting together, and fortunately, I didn't wreck my hands doing it, either. lol

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

This little project stirred up a lot of memories connected with wooden shoes.

Pat Jackson wrote, "Your Dutch scene made me recall a song or part of it the was Clip Clop Clop.  About a young couple who had to run away and marry due to a baby coming and the young village teens danced in the streets with their wooden shoes to mask the sound of them running away as the girl's father wouldn't let them marry.  Thanks again for all your stories, Pat."

I wrote her and asked for more details on the song. She responded, "Sorry I don't know the name and only remember one chorus of the song.  I do know that as she sung it we would clap both hands on our knee on the clip and clap our hands together on the clop clop parts, making a rhythm of shoes on the stone.
The verse I remember is
Clip Clop, Clop
Clip Clop Clop
See how they run
When friends clitter clatter
These 2 are made one
With a baby's pitter patter clip clop
It brings happy news
and makes them very happy for good wooden shoes.

I don't know where she learned it as we have no Dutch in our heritage.  
If you find any other info on this song can you please let me know. Pat"

MORE NETHERLANDS CORRESPONDENCE:

"I think being half dutch myself I am always drawn to all things dutch!

The carpet beater is called a Mattenklopper.  My Oma used to use it to warm my father's backside sometimes too, but he said that was better than the wooden spoon, it didn't hurt as much.  

My father broke his wooden clog once fighting with another boy, when he clonked him on the head with it, but apparently he had a black eye from the swipe the other boys clog took at him!  His father had to mend it with leather straps and staples to hold it together as it was split down the middle and with 7 pairs of little feet in the family it wasn't possible to just go and buy another pair. 

I have had klompen to wear in the garden and they are wonderful when you wear them with a pair of thick socks.  They actually keep your feet quite warm because of being wood.   We watched them make clogs when we were in Holland (many years ago) and it was fasinating to see a piece of log get formed and shaped and turned into a clog!!

One thing if you wanted to add is a small bag of clear cellophane twist, filled with black circles (flattened) and tied at the top with a twistie to simulate the zoutedrop (dutch salty liquorice)that the Dutch love.  Or a roll of peppermints - a must for church on Sundays! 

I enjoyed the memories your display gave me.  Thank you. 

Diana Posthuma in New Zealand.  ( It will be 60 years ago in Jan next year that my father immigrated to NZ)"

,,,

"Many years ago (I think maybe the 1939 World's Fair in NYC) Mom bought a real pair of wooden shoes from the Dutch pavillion.  For her whole life after that, she wore those shoes to the beach!  They were perfect, she said, for walking in the sand.

I can still see those shoes sitting on the beach blanket as she read a mystery book or chatted with my teenage friends (she answered EVERY question they ever asked without blinking an eye.  They loved her!)  She said the shoes were perfectly comfortable.

Hugs again, and thank you for being you.  Mud"

(Mud later:

"Once again you have stirred up memories!  Way back at the 1939-49 World's Fair Netherlands Exhibit in New York, Mom bought a real pair of "Klompen."  For years and years and years they were her "Beach Shoes."  She could walk on hot sand without hurting her feet, they made great weights to keep the blanket from blowing away, and they "marked" her territory!  Anyone who came to the beach club and spotted those shoes knew Mom would be there soon (I used to get to the beach early, set up our blanket and all the ones leftover from the day before, and put the Klompen at the edges of my "display."  The lie down in the middle, fall asleep, and wake up to find the whole gang sitting around enjoying themselves.) 

She ALWAYS used those shoes all Summer, and I think of her every time I see some.  Thank you for all the lovely memories you keep giving me!"

,,,

"I love your Netherlands Dome....especially the lovely afghan your friend sent. It brought back wonderful memories of my groups visiting the folk art museum in Hindeloopen, Keukenhof gardens ablaze in color, the restored village Zaanse Schanse (that's a pitiful version of the actual spelling) that includes windmills actually grinding peanut shells for their oil (until
then had never quite known what their function was!) as well as wooden shoes being made - they wear really thick socks with them, Wanna, otherwise, I think their feet would be one big blister! The wedding version of wooden shoes intrigued me - intricately carved on the outside and left a lovely natural wood color. I bought a miniature pair. MOLLY CROMWELL"

,,,

"Though we're German, my family also seems to have accumulated klompen in many different sizes over the years. Including a few miniature ones in my stash. Now I have some inspiration on how to use them. Thanks for another great story and scene. Monica G in Dover, DE"

,,,

"I'm half Dutch since my father and grandparents (Oma & Opa) are from there. Your
project has brought back many fond memories of them (my grandparents have
since both passed away) and my trip to The Netherlands that I had with Oma in
1992 (I absolutely loved Madurodam!). I, too, have a few pairs of mini
wooden shoes, as well as life-sized ones and a few Delft Blue collectables. It's
one of my goals to complete a mini project having to do with this part of
my heritage, so thank you for the inspiration! - Corena :0)"

,,,
"In The Netherlands , we used to get our Christmas presents on St. Nicholas day, Dec. 6. Traditionally, you put your wooden shoe next to the fireplace before going to bed on the 5th, and like Santa, the Saint would come down and put goodies in your shoe overnight.

I throw this out in case anyone has a surfeit of klompen. You could create a St. Nicholas vignette, with a chimney and fireplace, decorations, and a series of wooden shoes in front with goodies in them.
Or, if you were really, really bad, you'd get a birch switch and a handful of coal!

Among the more traditional (i.e old-fashioned) goodies, are oranges, nuts, sweets, a large pictorial spice cookie (speculaas or taai-taai), and one small gift. You should be able to google most of these items, if you click on "images".

Imagine a black and white tile floor, with the odd turkey-red rug, painted wooden furniture, a pretty mantel clock, some candles....

St. Nicholas in miniature! Marijke in Canada"

and Marijke again ...

"I was reminded of the klompen factory because I was at an open-air museum recently, Village Historique Acadienne in northern New Brunswick, Canada. The site features buildings from before the Acadian expulsion (to Louisiana, among others, the period of the poem Evangeline (Longfellow?)and into the 20th century. It has buildings etc. from 1770 to 1930. In the earlier settings, the interpretive staff wears wooden shoes; however, they are not the French version, but klompen from The Netherlands with Dutch labels and tied with Dutch flag ribbons (horizontal stripes of red, white and blue).


If I remember correctly, French sabots had lower shoe backs, and leather or metal strapping over the vamp part. The British had their own version, clogs with wooden soles and fanciful leather tops with backs, unlike the Scandinavian ones of the hippy era, which were mule style. Anyway, I was reminded of the klompen factory. Marijke

AND LASTLY:

Elinor Hare, who had a machine where she could make embroidery, was intrigued with some of the Dutch embroidery, a strawberry sampler, that I had cleaned up in my graphics program and printed in paper.  I couldn't figure out where to use it in this scene but figured I would use it somewhere else. Elinor wrote me, asking for my address, and not too long after that I received a piece of REAL embroidery that she had duplicated  and framed  for me from the picture of the sampler on my website.  it is a real treasure and I managed to fit it in to my scene.

I need to take a new picture of this little dome setting showing Elinoir's special unexpected gift. I understand she is retired now, and I wish her great happiness.

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Copyright <>Juawanna Newman . All rights reserved.