Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Making Peg Dolls & More

Since an early age I’ve been telling stories through dolls I’ve made myself. It’s such a part of my life that all these years later I still do it, whether it’s with my daughters or on my own. My latest book, The Stumpers, isn’t any different in spirit from the fairy houses and families of dolls I made as a child. To me, this kind of storytelling is a way to dream out loud, to bring my vision of a beautiful life into the world.

This is probably why I fell in love with the peg dolls of Margaret Bloom. Her dolls have been part of the magic at Castle in the Air for years. All of us at the shop adore the interpretations of classic stories, complete with directions for making them yourself, that she included in her first book, Making Peg Dolls.

That book gained such a following that Margaret has collected 15 new projects and techniques for a second book, Making Peg Dolls & More, just published by Hawthorn Press.

Taking her simple and sweet scenes as a starting point, Margaret is quietly creating an entire world that shares borders with our own. Making Peg Dolls & More includes toys such as marionettes, spool snakes, and tops alongside ornamental and practical projects like pincushions, wall hangings, and the delightfully scented “comfort friends” dolls that are filled with soothing herbs. Art takes new meaning when we incorporate it into our lives with projects like these.

Castle in the Air is glad to help spread the word about Making Peg Dolls & More as part of Margaret’s blog tour. You can check out other people’s posts about her work at the links below.

2/2: The Crafty Crow
2/3: Clean
2/4: Castle in the Air (you are here!)
2/5: Salley Mavor / Wee Folk Studio
2/6: Remedial Eating
2/9: Forest Fairy Crafts
2/10: Bella Luna Toys
2/11: Ben & Birdy
2/12: Twig & Toadstool
2/13: Wee Wonderfuls

Are you ready to welcome Margaret’s magic into your life? Get your copy of Making Peg Dolls and Making Peg Dolls & More at the Castle in the Air Online Shoppe.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Writer’s Digest Awards Commonplace Mouse

If you’ve ever written a book of your own, or even just dreamed about it, then you’ve likely seen Writer’s Digest.  It’s a printed magazine and online resource for people at any stage in their writing careers, complete with writing prompts, lists of grants and retreats, and an online forum where fellow writers can share their literary triumphs and troubles.

One of the ways Writer’s Digest encourages quality self-publishing is through its awards programs. We entered some Dromedary Press titles in their most recent Self-Published Book Awards competition—which accepted titles from the past five years—and were delighted when Commonplace Mouse received an honorable mention!

Here are some of the comments the Writer’s Digest judges had for Dromedary Press:

“I’m in love with this book!”


“Outstanding and beautiful production! The best looking self-published book I’ve ever seen!”

The entire list of winners in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards will be published in Writer’s Digest this coming March.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Grand Transformation: Crescendo

We’ve been in Venice all year at Castle in the Air, in spirit if not always in the flesh. It seems like ages ago we were stood in Piazza San Marco dressed head to toe as birds, jesters, and mysterious dames, so much has happened here at home in the meantime.

Like the water lapping the walls of Venice, the Grand Transformation occurs in waves. As visitors pass between the striped gondola pillars at our front door they witness the latest wonders—glass ornaments piled on trays as high as their heads, like desserts in a dream…the pyramid decorations spinning in the breeze…the incredible array of holiday cards…

A stone archway topped with the lion of Venice beckons friends into the classroom upstairs, where our teachers lead the final classes of the year, give crafting demonstrations, or just spend the day working quietly on their own, happy to share their knowledge with the curious.

Castle in the Air has taken on an even more festive mood than usual over the past few months, hosting many merry evenings for artists near and far. The masks on the walls take our thoughts back to Sergio Boldrin’s visit and the magic of that night.

In unexpected ways, our magnificent masquerade of a year has led to our dropping some of the masks we’ve worn in the past. We were so happy to see John McRae unveil his Dresden jewelry collection, and what a crowd came out to cheer him on and take home some of the treasure. Our launch for The Stumpers was equally festive, the song, dance, and feasting lasting long into the night. Gatherings like these seem to affirm the importance of letting down our guard a bit and sharing more of ourselves with the world.

And there’s still so much more to discover! If you’re nearby and haven’t yet come to swim in the spectacle, I hope you will. This really is Castle in the Air’s most amazing year yet, and all of us are so grateful for your help as we ferry our dreams across into this world.