Monday, November 29, 2010

an Etsy Christmas (dolls dolls dolls)

Dolls dolls dolls dolls dolls I've got doll's on my mind and all over my table in my studio and slowly but surely dolls are finally showing up in my Etsy shop - hip hip hooray!!!!!!
Here are some sneaky peeks:

I'd show you my studio but it's a mess - which really, is kind of a good thing! :D

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How I lost 65 lbs in 4 months (and got my life back!)

Hello.  My name is Autumn Sousanis.  I am a proud mama of 5 little kids.
 I also have a secret.
Until VERY recently, I used to be quite heavy. About 200 lbs. After the birth of my 5th baby I was heavier than ever and nothing I tried, not diet, not exercise, was working to bring my weight down.  And then, amazingly, I found an online 'fat cure' that promised to release my stored fat and - it DID!
Here's a before and after pic of me mid-way through my weight loss (after one round) the 'before' pic on the left I weighed 200 lbs, and in the 'after' pic on the right I weighed 160 lbs.

This picture of me and my family, was taken just this past Mother's Day (May 9, 2010).
That's the me that WAS.  Surrounded by my lovely family, but full of bitterness that I was so heavy, unable to be very active...some days it was hard to enjoy my lovely family...felt like life was passing me by...
here's another holding Olivia and Lucy...
We were flying kites, it was a beautiful, warm spring day in Michigan, a beautiful Mother's day...except I was about 200 lbs and hating myself...had to sit and watch, my knees were killing me...

Now, fast forward to October of the same year - after the happiest of Google searches led me down a path to rapid weight loss and total transformation, here's me NOW!

I feel like I have my life back.  If you want to know how I did it, go to this link here.

It will take you to the Trim You site (formerly known as Ketomist, and My Fat Cure before that.) where you can check out many many other success stories and where you can purchase the same homeopathic spray and follow the same Dr Simeon's Pounds and Inches Protocol and get the same online support that I did.  I can vouch for this homeopathic spray and program - because it WORKED!!!  And it worked without willpower! without hunger! and I feel better than I have in YEARS!  And, the best part? It's permanent.  At least, it sure seems to be - I did not gain weight over the holidays and it's been 3 full months of regular eating for me so far!

(Update July 13, 2012: Please check out my blog all about this subject called 'Autumn Weighs In' which is where I give you all the nifty details of my journey, including how I had another baby, gained another 65 pounds, and then, most happily, came back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 135 which is where I am again today.  I could not have done it without the spray, or at least never could have done it this fast, in time for bathing suit season!  Yay!!! I'm so happy for me, I wish I could help the whole world reach their goal weight!)

"Metabolic Syndrome."
Did I suffer from metabolic syndrome? Probably.
Following this protocol is supposed to permanently re-set your metabolism and 'fix' what is going wrong with your hypothalimus - Dr Simeons believed that obesity is a symptom of a larger problem, not the problem itself, and he was very successful in using injections of the pregnancy hormone HCG to help people easily and rapidly shed weight.  He found that 70% of his patients could expect their weight loss to be permanent but at the end of his life (d. 1970), he still could not explain exactly why it HCG worked, just that it DID work, and so he wrote his 35 pg book and left it to future generations to figure out the why of it all.  So, here we are 40 years after his death and many people are diagnosed with 'Metabolic Syndrome' these days and yet, really that is just a catch-all phrase that just refers to the metabolism not functioning well and the person is usually overweight and has a very hard time losing weight.  (Sound familiar?)
Interestingly, the metabolic hormones ghrelin and leptin that control appetite were only very recently discovered in 1994 and 1999, and we are still learning how the metabolism and hypothalimus function, and the complexities are mind-boggling.

My favorite part of all of this, though, is that I did NOT have to get the actual HCG hormone injections.  Instead, I took the homeopathic version of the hormone in a oral spray (Ketomist).
My mom thinks I've discovered the fountain of youth and my friends tell me I don't just look thinner, I look younger and seem revitalized!

It took me 2 rounds of the homeopathic 'Ketomist' spray to release 65 lbs of my 'forgotten fat stores'.  Each round took 6 weeks and I lost weight at the rate of nearly 1 pound per day for the first round, and .6 lbs per day for the second round!!! (the more weight you have to lose, the quicker it comes off)

And now I weigh 135! From size 'elastic' to size 8 in only four months!!!
I feel like a walking miracle.  So I want to tell the world: there is hope! There is a 'cure'! You don't have to be heavy!  You CAN release that extra weight and do it without killing yourself on the treadmill! Give your knees a break!  Heck, if I can do this - anyone can.  I had to take care of and feed 5 rascally kids the whole time I was losing weight and now I'm keeping the weight off easily and eating really well and not counting calories at all - it's just the BEST thing I ever did for myself!!!

So now, 65 lbs lighter, I go to yoga class, I bike with my kids, I go sledding, I take care of the house - I do all of the things I need to do and want to do and my knees don't complain anymore!
And this year, instead of sitting by and watching -  I'm flying my own kite.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A brief history of Matryoshka, Kokeshi, and Daruma dolls

Matryoshka Dolls...Babushka Dolls...Dolls without arms or legs...Weird, right? But no, we accept this form of doll almost without question.
And a doll inside a doll inside a doll? Neat idea! From Russia, right? A long time ago?  Well, not exactly...

The very first 'Russian nesting dolls' as we think of them date back to just 1890.  And, although we tend to think of them as Russian, they owe quite a lot to Asian doll-making traditions!

Apparently the story goes that Sergei Malyutin, a painter from a folk crafts workshop in the Abramtsevo region visited the estate of famous Russian industrialist and patron of arts Savva Mamontov,...

...and there he saw a set of Japanese wooden dolls representing Shichi-fuku-jin, the Seven Gods of Fortune.
The largest doll was that of Fukurokuju 福禄寿,
a happy bald god with an unusually tall crown. Inside, nested the six remaining deities.

Kokeshi dolls are generally thought to have originated earlier, sometime in the 1600's.  Did you know Kokeshi dolls were/are often nesting dolls too? 
And 'lucky' Daruma dolls! These have no arms or legs because they are created in the likeness of Chinese Zen Master Bodidharma, who meditated in a cave for 9 years, losing the use of his limbs.  He doesn't look too happy.
And check out this progression of sweet-faced young boy to a grumpy old man! Ha!

ANYway, back to my story, Sergei Malyutin was so inspired by the treasures he saw at Mamontov's estate that he began to sketch...

...and he drew a Russian version of the doll. He then had Vasiliy Zvezdochkin carve 8 nesting dolls which he then he painted. The outermost was a woman in an apron, then the dolls alternated between boy and girl, with the innermost a baby.  This set (above) was presented to the Worlds Fair in Paris in 1900 and won a Bronze medal, as well as sparked a worldwide craze for the dolls and created a new Russian icon. 

These were mass produced, and yet I still find them charming...
The wonderful Russian nesting eggs of Faberge, were created during this same period, beginning in 1885...
And today, artists around the globe create their own version of these dolls. Some are wacky, some are beautiful, some are abstract concept pieces...   

this one is by Art. Lebedev Studio...

I too have been inspired by Matryoshkas...and Kokeshi...and all! 

These are some of my Matryoshka Mamas.  I call mine 'mamazakkas'. Like Malyutin, I find I'm more inspired by the idea of family and heritage than by the idea of Japanese deities or Chinese Zen Masters... :) Like many artists today, I am having fun creating my own versions.

The idea that we, the children, are embraced...literally, figuratively...the idea that we go on to embrace our own children...that they are inside us...and we are inside them... is such a lovely, lovely concept. Inspiring, really.

An idea that has legs, after all.  :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mamazakka Shop Update is TODAY!!!

Hello! I do hope you can swing by my little Etsy shop today! :)
T O D A Y at 12:00 Noon (eastern standard time)
There will be 1 set of hollow-bodied wooden Matryoskas (pictured above). 1 set of hand-sculpted Mini Matryoshkas (this time with a Grandmother figure)
2 Matryoshka-inspired pencil holders, 2 solid wood Kokeshi-inspired dolls,
3 Mother and child pendants, and other goodies.
If you arrive at noon, please note it may be taking me a moment to upload all my items, (figured it out!)
Please remember sales are not finalized until you finish the Esty checkout.
Happy shopping!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fun with wood...

Oh the drilling and the sanding and the sanding and the drilling and the gluing and the painting of it all...
(Having some fun getting ready for my 'big' update!)

this one's a pendant...

Friday, March 26, 2010

and another sneaky peek: Rock-a-bye baby...

~ all tucked in ~ a little walnut shell cradle...

for my Etsy shop update on Monday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

another sneak peek...Matryoshkas!

like little flowers...
See, they're a garden!

And here's a Mama to watch over your pencils and pens...
Only a few more days now till my shop's update! :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

another peek...ladies in waiting

Oh, the painting and the making, the making and the so fun! 
Just 6 more days till my big shop update! :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mothering Magazine says 'Babywearing is Safe' (!)

Wow.  Apparently I'm not the only one all a'dither with lots to say on this subject! 
This should be good!  Mothering Magazine is my favorite, favorite Mom magazine.  I have a 'real' subscription AND a digital one, so I can access archives without having to buy up all the available back issues...seriously, those magazines you get for free at the OBGYN?  Leave them.  My only complaint with Mothering is that they only publish 6 issues a year.  But, they're great issues, so whatever.  Now I just need to figure out how to have a quiet house at 11:30 am on Monday...hmmmm.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dear little Etsy shop o' mine...

...your shelves have been so bare lately.  Never mind, just know I have BIG plans for you, with a Spring Update planned for March 29th!!! 

There will be lots of dolls and goodies like this that are finally nearing completion, now that the turmoil surrounding adding our new baby is subsiding... so, be comforted, my lil' shop!

And get ready for Moday, March 29th 2010 I'll be updating this blog till then with some sneek peeks, so if you are a good sleuth, you may have a pretty good idea of what I've got up my sleeve!  (here's a little something Lucy likes a LOT!  It's a good thing I'm making a few!)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Are Baby Carriers Bad?!!!

My heart aches for the parents of baby Derrick Fowler, who obviously thought that their 1 week old would be safe and sound as they carried him in his sling.

And, they are not alone. There have been other baby deaths involving sling-type carriers. Which I find shocking, but not unimaginable... just horrible.

"On March 12, 2010, CPSC issued a warning about sling carriers for babies. Slings can pose two different types of suffocation hazards to babies. In the first few months of life, babies cannot control their heads because of weak neck muscles. The sling's fabric can press against an infant's nose and mouth, blocking the baby's breathing and rapidly suffocating a baby within a minute or two. Additionally, where a sling keeps the infant in a curled position bending the chin toward the chest, the airways can be restricted, limiting the oxygen supply. The baby will not be able to cry for help and can slowly suffocate." - Baby Zone Newsletter
And yet, and yet... 'babywearing' has been one of the great joys of my life. And I will continue to wear my baby and to advocate wearing your baby(!) but with this very particular caution:

Wear your baby as you would carry your baby in your arms. Her head near your head. You wouldn't naturally hold a newborn down by your waist, you would hold a newborn close, against your chest. So a carrier designed to do that is the first kind you will want to use.

The picture above is the Infantino Sling Rider, the sling the Fowler's were using. Notice how far away

Monday, March 8, 2010

Doll bed linens...for our Mod Doll House

"Morning, Grandma!"
"Good Morning!"
I have been having some fun with my fabric piles...and made these nice quilted bed-pockets for my kid's dollhouse... the Plan Toys furniture fits it soooo nicely in style and size (but I hate their fabrics! yuck!) And remember these dolls?
I love the modern lines of this doll house, and the wood floor...My kids (and I) really have a nice collection of dollhouses...and this one has emerged as a favorite. It's even been given pride of place in the living room!
(Secret announcement: I am going to be making a few more of these dollhouses to sell in my Etsy shop! Fun!!!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A cute-n-creepy doll movie (short) : 'Alma'

Would it be accurate to say I am obsessed with dolls? I do admire dolls, have dolls about, make dolls, make things for dolls, and obsess over buying dolls, and wonder how many dolls are too many dolls...and wonder why anyone (including me) would like dolls, and wonder why anyone wouldn't...

Well, here's a cute lil' horror film, beautifully done, that kinda touches on why some people may not like dolls so much...

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ruffled pantie covers...

Don't you love her? I do. Her name is Ddung. She is such a little rascal. Apparently, she is very popular in Korea, but I only just discovered her. You can watch her videos here. You can buy her here. But you can't buy her in her classic 'outfit' of polka-dotted bloomers, no, you'll have to make her the ubiquitous ruffled panties if you want them. Or I could make them for you...someday...(when?!)...or I could at least post the pattern I made for them in my Etsy shop...hmmm...yes, I suppose I could do that...Ok. Check back soon for the pattern!

About Me

My photo
Mamazakka is Mommy blogger Autumn Sousanis; also-known-as Autumn Dunbar; and also-known-as "Mama" to six little ones, ages 9, 7.5, 5, 3.5 2 and a 3 month old! :) Busy,yes. A graduate of C.C.S. (Center for Creative Studies, School of Art and Design in Detroit) with my bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, I have finally found my calling as 'Mamazakka', maker of everything and anything that might improve your home, life and outlook. :) It's my goal to create things that truly meet Wikipedia's definition for 'zakka'; (here's an excerpt)..."cute, corny, kitschy is not enough. To qualify, a product must be attractive, sensitive and laden with subtext." Oh yeah! You betcha! Well, that's my goal, anyhow! I'm also known as an over-user of exclamation marks(!) and parentheses (can't help it) though I do try to keep my smileys to a minimum :)