Memory Makers

I’ve always been a girly girl and enjoyed playing with dolls. I could lose myself for hours making up stories and adventures for them. One year my mom made me a ‘fabric shop’ out of a cutlery drawer insert.


When we were clearing out storage items it was recovered, and she shipped it to me.


The ribbon cards that used to fill the paper cubbies were reduced to just 2, but everything else was still part of the kit.


The matchbox drawers hold buttons.


The contents were in dire need of a bath after 22 years.


Going through everything was a trip down memory lane.


Each piece of fabric came from an adult, child’s or doll-size version of a garment hand-sewn by mom once upon a time. Some of my dolls and I had matching jumpers.


While I have taken a sewing class and do own a sewing machine the little store didn’t predispose me to dressmaking.


Though I remember making a tiny doll sweater for a Barbie with my babysitter, knitting and crocheting has only happened sporadically in my life.


Still, the scope of imagination this store held could fill a storybook. I set the shop up on my fireplace mantle for some further reminiscing.


There is even a fabric swatch of the jumper I wore in this picture.


Childhood nostalgia is fun.

Siepie en Takkie

Recently, a young girl inspired me to incorporate dogs and cats into a pendant. To my surprise, my zoo collection of vintage stamps didn’t have a ‘domesticated’ cat and dog.


Instead, Jip en Janneke came to the rescue. This book was a staple in our household, with me being Janneke and my brother as Jip.


Jip and Janneke are young children (pre-schoolers) living next door to each other and who have all kinds of adventures. Takkie is Jip’s Dachshund, and Siepie is Janneke’s cat, who are often part (sometimes forcibly) of Jip and Janneke’s games.


They were created in 1952 by famed children’s writer Annie M.G. Schmidt and the iconic illustrations were created by Fiep Westendorp. We listened to the records (langspeelplaten) recounting Jip en Janneke’s adventures, and even today their stories are quite relatable.


So I fiddled with the rubber stamps issued by Hema to create a pendant that would be fun for a young lady.


It took a few tries to get the stamp to print well.


Then I wrapped the waxed paper into wire.



Unfortunately I am unable to locate information about the ‘angel policies’ of Hema-issued stamps, so for now this shall be the one and only pendant I’ll create with Jip en Janneke illustrations. I’d love to make more though, they are so cute!


For young cat lovers I highly recommend Annie M.G. Schmidt’s story Miss Minoes (or also Minnie), about a cat who turns into a lady after “eating something from the garbage tin”.

Minoes boek

The movie is also charming, and sometimes turns up on Netflix.

Minoes collection

What’s your favorite childhood book?

Radvent: Writing

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. 
~William Wordsworth

Last weekend I visited Piccolo Theatre’s Holiday Panto (ends tomorrow, December 17). Jessica Puller did a fabulous job writing Space Wars. I thought it would be a Star Wars vs. Star Trek type show, but the geekery was far better than that. This review gives a good synopsis.

Piccolo Theatre Space Wars Poster

I proofread a script for a roommate once and have such admiration for scriptwriters. All the nitty-gritty of how people open a door, which way they face etc. takes a lot of patience I think. My training has been all about cutting text where possible and avoiding redundancy (thanks Ms. Fusco and Dr. Schiff!), but in a script all that detail is necessary.

Princess Lasertron’s Radvent on Writing is quite insightful.

Radvent Writing by Princess Lasertron

Image re-blogged with permission from Princess Lasertron

This March I read my old diaries, all 30 of them (in three languages), and found that I had some very insightful perspectives. I keep a quote book where I jot down good passages from library books, and ended up quoting my 16-year-old self in there quite a bit!

reading diaries by Maike's Marvels

Writing has always been a part of me, no matter how many times I had to relearn how to write as we moved from country to country. I made up stories in my head all the time. My cousin and I were collaborators on a few ‘romance novels’ in our teenage years. We even drew blueprints of the farm on which we would live happily ever after with our handsome husbands (the boys we swooned over at the time).

early stories by Maike's Marvels

Our Barbie dolls had a lively correspondence too!

Barbie correspondence

Writing is very therapeutic for me. I find that when I haven’t journaled or blogged for a few days my thoughts are muddled and darker. As Princess Lasertron states, writing gives your ideas form. It also helps process events and experiences.

gathering quotes over the years

To-do lists give my days structure and help me cluster errands together so I don’t waste gas or muscle-energy running out several times a day or in different directions. I’m not as scatterbrained when I jot down mundane tasks and my days feel more productive as I check things off.

There have been times, both when writing in a journal or when writing to a friend, that I felt the message didn’t come from me but from the universe/a higher power. I have been told that my correspondence has arrived at times where people needed the message they read in my pages (now e-mail). I firmly believe that we can find messages like that on a daily basis. I even played with recognizing those messages on a recent outing.

MarvyMaike writing holiday cards

Here are two tips for holiday-card writing. Instead of the usual holiday and new year’s wishes, focus on the recipient a little more:

  1. Thank the recipient for something they did for you this year.
  2. Mention a trait or experience that you admire them for.

The gift of appreciation carries much further than any gift card ever will.

Holiday cards by Maike's Marvels

You can see my holiday cards here.