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Apple Cake Table Top Puppet Story Set for Brazil

121205 Old Woman with a basket of plums in the kitchen firewood stove miniature world

Please check back later, I am still working on this page. Pardon the mess! – Jzin


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A Special Order for Brazil.

My children and I love the story of “Apple Cake” by Nienke van Hichtum!

We made a homemade puppet show for Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum for my child’s 6 year old birthday. Click on the image below to view that homemade puppet show.

Homemade Puppet Theatre of Apple Cake by Nienke Van Hichtum. Our wonderful audience

November 2010. Apple Cake homemade puppet show for Nunu’s 6th birthday.

December 2012. I received a request to make this table top puppet doll set for some children in Brazil. Between chopping wood and carrying water, I managed to finish making this set by April 2013! Thank you Eli for your supreme patience!

I decided to make these figures as lovely as can be to delight little children who will be experiencing the magical story. I thoughtfully made the dolls not only for this story, but also to be flexible enough for many other uses. I wanted them to be archetypal enough to fit in many other stories besides this one. (yet I do get carried away adding details coz that is just too much fun to do!)  I also hope that by simple modification, the can also be used for the season table.

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Handmade Love and Excerpts from The Story

There was an old woman who took a fancy one day to eat an apple cake. She had plenty of flour, sugar and butter, and enough spices. But the one thing she did not have was an apple. She did have plums: a whole tree full of plums, the roundest and reddest that you ever saw. Well, you cannot make an apple cake from plums, even if you try your very hardest! – Nienke van Hichtum.

The Old Woman’s plums: the roundest and reddest that you ever saw.

130420 handmade and painted synthetic clay plums on braches.

… she took a basket, filled it with plums and covered them with a gingham napkin. “Well,” she thought, “it may happen that I come to a place where there are apples and no plums.”

130421 Old Woman doll at Mason Park

The Goose Girl with feathers.

130420 Goose Girl, Feathers and Geese

… said the Old Woman, “better one person happy than two disappointed. Just hold out your apron.” And right away she emptied her basket of plums into the young woman’s apron.

130420 Old Woman giving plums to goose girl. Reef point

They laughed and smiled like happy children, and then they went round the garden gathering the loveliest flowers for the old woman: roses, lilies, lilac, violets – what a beautiful bouquet!

130421 Needle felted husband and wife embracing

At once his face lit up, the frown vanished from his forehead, and now he was the handsomest and finest young man that ever the sun shone down upon.

“Fair exchange is no robbery,” said he, laughing, and taking a gold chain from his neck and dropped it into the old woman’s basket.

Here is the young man sans cape, gold chain and frown:

130421 Sunday Irvine Lake North

“Yes, yes,” said the Old Man, “but red apples are poor company when you are lonely. I would not miss them if I had a cheery little dog barking on my doorstep.”

121220 Old Man in Honeysuckle bush logo

… And the Old Woman was on her way home with her basket full of lovely red apples.

130420 Apples on disc on bean bag chair in piano room

Saturday, April 20, 2013. Reef Point, Crystal Cove state beach, below. My handmade cast of Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum set made for Brazil order. Monday, April 22, 2013. Hurray! This set sold on my Etsy store CastleofCostaMesa. They will be leaving Costa Mesa and making their way to the hearts and childhood memories of Brazilian children. What a  wonderful thought! Obrigado, Eli!

130420 Intrepid Reef Point sunset group photo Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum

Cast of Characters: My Crafting Journeys

The Old Woman who wanted more than anything to eat an apple cake.

November 28, 2012. Wednesday. Last night, Eli from faraway exotic Brazil wanted a set of Apple Cake dolls for her 5 year old children. I enjoy making the dolls, so I started crafting the head of the Old Woman the very next day during our weekly local  Wednesday morning craft group get together. My first version of handmade “Old Woman” looked on in the back as I needle-felted the head of the new doll.

121128 Needle felting the head of the Old Woman Doll in Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum

Rolling roving into a ball for the head. Here is the first picture of the crafting process.

December 2, 2012. Sunday. Crafting the Old Woman in the car in the soft autumn rain while waiting for my child in Chinese class. Here, I just finished needle-felting some Cotswold wool roving for the Old Woman’s hair. Such joy to work with this beautiful material.

needle-felting cotswald sheeps wool roving onto The Old Woman miniature doll

Lovely Cotswold wool locks used for the Old Woman’s hair. About $5 or so a small bag from The Company of Angels store or Piecemakers in Costa Mesa. Otherwise has them too.

Cotswold wool, locks, Santa beard wool, wool locks,  spinning, doll hair wool, lock spinning  averages 3-4 inches from Bennie  3 0z

I am savoring my quiet little piece of crafting heaven in the microcosm of this car in the rain. Now, the Old Woman’s  hair and bonnet are done.

Old woman with bonnet being handcrafted on dashboard at Chinese School parking lot

Her glistening eyes were hand stitched on with blue glass beads from Piecemakers Country Store. The rest of her facial features were needle-felted on.

The Old Lady miniature doll back view. Bonnet and bun

Blue is a color of benign kindness. White polka dotted periwinkle 100% cotton fabric from Piecemakers. Robert Kaufman. The old woman’s removable apron is 100% cotton made in Japan. Piecemakers store in Costa Mesa has nice fabrics!

Vintage crochet doily from one of my favorite craft stores in Costa Mesa, The Piecemakers Country Store.

Vintage doily from Piecemakers Country Store, Costa Mesa, California, USA

Monday, December 3, 2012. At a leisurely pace of working, finally I finished making this doll. What a joy to make! She put on her crochet shawl, carried her basket of (beeswax) plums and off she went, in search of apples for her apple cake.   Her apron and shawl are removable. Her bonnet is stitched on, so it is not removable. Materials Base: yellow wool felt, hand-dyed by Christine Newell. Apron:

December 8, 2012. Wednesday. Voila! Done!

121205 Old Woman with a basket of plums in the kitchen firewood stove miniature world
Another view of The Old Woman in my daughter’s homemade Cinderella’s doll house kitchen.

121205 in Cinderella's kitchen square logo

Compare my current version of Old Woman above with the original doll below. Here she was used as Snow White and Rose Red’s widowed mother in our homemade fairy tale, “Snow White and Rose Red by the Brothers Grimm”.
Once Upon a Time. Snow White, Rose Red and Old Widow in front of cottage.Post Pretty. Handmade Waldorf Fairy Tale puppet theater. CastleofCostaMesa.Com

Homemade puppet show for Nunu’s 7th birthday, “Snow White and Rose Red by the Brothers Grimm”.
Here are the handmade accessories to go with The Old Woman…
130421 Mason Park still life

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The Goose Girl

December 12, 2012. Wednesday. I started making the second character to my “Apple Cake by Nienke Van Hichtum” puppet dolls set. I made the Old Woman last week. Now this is the young gooseherd. Here is what I managed to complete so far at craft group today.

121212 Jzin's doll making work in progress 2

The next day… December 13, 2012. Thursday. It rained last night. I enthusiastically took my camera out to the cherimoya tree in the morning to photograph the dew drops. Here is the goose girl doll between the dewy cherimoya leaves. The smell of the herbs and fruit trees after the rain was lovely.

121213 needle-felted goose girl in progress between dewdrops in the cherimoya tree

December 20, 2012. Thursday. The goose girl with a removable apron for gathering goose down.

121220 Needle-felted goose girl in cherimoya tree 2

The geese were proudly handmade (with help) by my 8 year old volunteer assistant, my daughter Nunu (not her real name).

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The Couple in the Garden.

The first time we performed our homemade puppet show, [click here to view our homemade puppet show for Nunu’s 6th birthday], we deleted the scene for the quarrelling couple because I did not like the negative energy. Here, I made the couple.

April 17, 2013 Wednesday. I started and finished making the wife doll today.

The wife likes to emphasize her points with grandiose hand gestures.

Most of the work was done on the sandy beach at Balboa Peninsular as my boys were playing around on their spring break. It was very windy and I decided to weigh this doll down using the beautiful sand and seashells of Balboa Peninsular!

April 17, 2013. The husband. I started making this doll today. Nunu paused in her piano practice and said he looked like Marius from Les Miserables.

April 19, 2013. Friday. The Husband.

April 21, 2013. Sunday. My boy was hanging out in the trees as I photographed my dolls this morning. Here are the Couple in The Garden for the Apple Cake table top puppet show set. I needle-felted them this week.

130421 Mason park V in tree and dolls photo


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The Handsome Young Man whose face was so gloomy, he appeared as if he had not a friend in the world.

February 23, 2013. I started needle-felting the head of this doll. In the back, you can see the felted Fairy Tale playscape I was working on for the Waldorf School of Orange County 2013 Spring Gala and Auction.

130223 Needle-felting head for Handsome Young Man for table top puppet show of Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum

April 15, 2013 Monday. Yay! Finally I finished making this doll. This one took me a long time because I could not come to terms with the achronistic costume in the story book. This costume is centuries older than the rest of the casts member’s costume. Finally, I said, “I can live with that.” and made him in older costume anyway. April 17, 2013 Wednesday. I changed his face. I like him better this way. April 19, 2013. Friday. Newport Beach backbay, California. This photo was taken as I was busy photographing my dolls and my mother was busy photographing my children climbing a big tree.

130419 The sad handsome young man. Newport Beach back bay. Logo

The young man’s hair is needle-felted with the finest Golden Royal Muga luxury silk fibers from India.

130420 Golden Royal Muga Silk Top Roving Luxury Fibers from Assam India.

This is the only naturally Golden Colored Silk fiber. Muga Silk is unique to the Assam region of India and this special silk was reserved for the exclusive use of royal families in Assam for 600 years. Muga Silk is known for its deep gold color and its glossy, fine texture and it is one of the most expensive and treasured silks, a true luxury fiber and it is naturally organic. Click here to jump back to the menu on the top of the page. Whee!

The Poor Woman, Her Babe and The Little White Dog

Click here to view the Etsy listing. April 16, 2013 Tuesday. I started and finished making this mother and baby doll today. Yay! These figures were thoughtfully made for flexible and multiple other uses. The poor woman and her babe can also be used as Mary and baby Jesus for your nativity scene.

130419 Poor woman and her babe and white dog dark valley

By removing the raggedy shawl, the dolls will have a different appearance. The mother can also appear as a flower fairy for your season nature table, when holding fresh seasonal flowers. These characters can also appear in other fairy tales as the archetypal mother and child figures.

130418 Mother gazing lovingly at her babe in arms. Needle-felted woman in white with baby.

April 17, 2013. I changed her face. She looked too sleepy and melancholic before.

Friday April 19, 2013. The Little White Dog greeted me on my to do list in the early morning light in the kitchen.

Can you find my “Castle of Costa Mesa” logo? The logo placement is an homage to Titian and other painters who like to embed their signatures into the works themselves.

130419 Little White dog on paper logo

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The Lonely Old Man

December 16, 2012. Sunday. Needle-felting the old man. His shirt is recycled from an old bed sheet.

121216 Lonely Old Man from Apple Cake needle felted miniature doll

December 20, 2012. Thursday morning. Done! The lonely old man, not so lonely anymore after he met a little white pipe cleaner canine friend! Photographed in the morning sunshine on a chilly morning in the playgroup yard.

121220 Needle-felted old man and little white dog in playgroup yard 2

… in the honeysuckle bush by our craft group gazebo …

121220 Needle-felted old man back view in honeysuckle bush 2

He is listed on Etsy here!

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Visit My Handmade Dolls Page

Click here to view my other handmade dolls. I take custom orders. You can contact me on Etsy. My store name is CastleofCostaMesa. Thank you!

Sleeping Beauty at the window. Square.

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