Sunday, September 4, 2011

I want to invite you to a musical treat:

check in at 8 PM Eastern Standard time.. If Bernie isn't on that day, check the next day.

It is quite a treat.. I promise.


music and lyrics by Susan Maskin
arranged and performed by Bernie Katzman

I've always love dolls, doll houses and miniatures. I've made dolls in the past and several doll house scenes. I even invented a new type of doll house. My skill in making dolls and miniatures is somewhat limited, but I love doing it and hope to get back to it.

I also love looking at the miniature doll houses and scenes, mini dolls, and other types of miniatures that other people make and collect. I will devote this blog to all things mini.


This story and song is based on an old Eastern European folktale.

I made this puppet show based on the very popular folktale. There
are many versions of the tale- usually changes in the types of animals.
In the puppet show, I used a horse, cow, and some chickens. In the
song based on the story, I used a horse, cow and a hen.

For the full story and pictures:
click here

here is the song

music and lyrics by Susan Maskin
arranged and performed by Bernie Katzman

translations of some Yiddish words used in the song:

oy vey- (pronounced: oy, rhyming with 'boy', vey--like vay, rhyming with day)--
an expression of frustration---

oy gevolt- (pronounced: oy, rhyming with 'boy, gevolt-- ge, as in the first part of get,
volt--rhyming with jolt.)
an expression of frustration, but much stronger

meshuggeh-(pronounced: meh, as in the first part of men, shug, like the'oo' sound in look ,
ge-- the first part of get)-- mixed up

ganse- (pronounced- gan-- as gahn, se as seh...) so much

tak'ke- (pronounced==tak-- as tahk, ke--as keh)
a word used for emphasis--meaning truly, very

tsoris-pronounced- Tsor--like "sore" with a T sound slurred at the front, is- rhyming with bliss.) trouble

kop- (pronounced like 'cup') head

Here is an improvisation of the melody , done by Bernie Katzman. What is so incredibly spectacular about Bernie's improvisations is that he has no more than 5 seconds preparation--It is all what just comes out of his head through his hands at the moment. He has a very rare talent indeed!

The Rabbi Knew,improvisation by Bernie Katzman

(for more improvisations--click here for my music blog, and scroll down on the left column.It takes a few minutes to load as music uses a good deal of computer space. Thank you for your patience!)


Please meet Emma-CLICK

When my daughter was in college, she asked for a very special birthday present. She said she wanted me to make her a doll.I didn't know what to make for her. I finally made Emma Plotzbugle. I made up a story to go with the doll. Emma is a mother who devoted all of her life and energies to her family. When she was older she decided to do something for herself . She enrolled in college. During her first term, Emma signed up for Greek, Historical Geography, and English Literature.Some people might think Emma is angry. She is not! Emma is struggling, but is determined to meet her goals. The paper she is studying (and sweating over) is actually written in Greek.


I have always been fascinated with Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass. I think that Lewis Carroll might have been one of the most imaginative human beings in history. His stories were the inspiration for the creation of the QUEENDOM OF DZITZEL.

Dzitzel is an imaginary place which is ruled by a Queen who is a bully. There are many "beings" living there, all of whom have different personality types.
I wrote stories-- tall tales actually, about these people, exaggerating these personality traits.


TRUST ME! You don't want to meet up with this
person. She's Queen... the irrational ruler, (aka) bully of Dzitzel. If you want to hold on to your nose (aka life), stay away from her!!!!

However, I guess it is safe to read about her!
Click below:




One of the characters is BARTON G. HUMPTY B. BUMBER BEGOO. Barton's character is based on Humpty Dumpty in the Alice in Wonderland sequel, Through the Looking Glass. Barton, like Humpty Dumpty, is arrogant...and probably narcissistic...both thinking that they are the center of the universe.

click below to read Barton's story:



Here are the Twoytles: Twoytle Dum, Twoytle Dee and Twoytle Three. These three inhabitants of Dzitzel are gullible. They believe anything and everything!

Do you want to know what they believe? Do you want to know their view of the globe????
click below:




Here's a speedy fellow, living and working in Dzitzel. His name is Knebulous Knee. He's very speedy, and rather compulsive.


To read about Mr. Knee, click below:




I am proud to introduce, Whatever Segatio Tertle.

Read about him... Some of you (if not all of you) will say "ya know...he reminds me of........"

Click below:



Dr. Bizel Bonheap is a busybody, and he's good at it.

How good is he at busying himself in another one's business? Click below and find out.




In Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll's sequel to Alice in Wonderland Alice walks into the garden of talking flowers. I made a scene in which I included some of the other characters from the Alice (and my Dzitzel) stories. 

click on the picture below to see more details


Alice finds peace sitting under this tree. When I made the tree,
I put names of people, places and things within the branches.
They are not visible but they are there.




When my children were young, I made some of their toys. It was a way I could show my children how much I loved them. I made a road system for my son's small cars. I wanted a doll house for my daughter.

Living in a fairly small-sized apartment, we had to make use of every inch of space.

Doll houses are often large and space-consuming. What should I do?

I made a collapsible, easy-to-store dollhouse. It was made with love for someone precious to me.

The second picture shows the house with mini-furniture and accessories.

CLICK to see more pictures


My favorite television series of all time is UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS. I watched it originally in the 1970's and have repeated seeing it ever since. The period in the series began in 1903--during the reign of Edward VII, therefore the era was known as "Edwardian."

I decided to make up my own story--set during the 19th century, when Victoria was queen. It is about an aristocratic family...the Wemberlains, who have five children. I had planned to make several scenes at different time periods, but only made three.

The pictures above show the first scene that I made.

The head cook, Mrs. Mabel Bellows and her kitchen maid, Violet Wilks, are preparing cakes and cookies for an upstairs"tea." The month and year of this scene is November, 1872.

Click the above picture to enlarge
In this second picture, I added some items (with arrows) created by
talented artist Melanie.


Please click the pictures to enlarge

In this scene, Nanny Higgins is caring for two of the Wemberlain children. Lord and Lady Wemberlain were invited to visit another estate. They took Robert, Elizabeth and Margaret who they felt were old enough for the trip.

Little Georgina is upset that she was not with her parents sisters and brother. Nanny is comforting her while the baby Anne is sleeping.

This is Nanny's sitting room in the Wemberlain country estate of Fornsby Hall.


I was cleaning my closet and found some doll/puppets I made several years ago. These dolls have a purpose: to bring cheer--and fun-- to the recipient.
The dolls are about  12 inches high.  The arms and legs are made out of circular pieces of fabric, sewn at the edges , gathered and secured at the center. 

 Fabric is also used for the body and head of the doll.

On the back of the doll there are two loops for fingers. Underneath the two
loops is a pocket into which a piece of paper can be inserted.  Bells are sewn
on to the arms and legs of the doll. The doll becomes a hand puppet.

The idea is to  put a wish or a message of cheer for a person, and shake the
doll so the bells ring. It is like ringing the message for the person. I made several of these as birthday gifts.  Many of them were clowns.

I used the  Jingle Cheer concept to make some dolls/puppets for  a series of ten stories for children  collectively called 
The Willy-Silly Stories. (click for the story menu)

The stories are about three royal children who live in WillyNilly Land.  Prince Jay, Princess Kay and Princess Fay  live in a way we can recognize.  They visit SillyDilly Land where people live quite differently. The two royal children are 
Princess Peek-a-Boo, and Prince Hop-A-Lot.  The royal children do not wear crowns..
they wear green pigs.  The people of SillyDilly land wear boxes. 

I used the  Jingle Cheer concept to make the dolls/puppets for these stories.


I was cleaning out my closet and found some marvelous fashion books from Dover. The book also had a CD which I loadedon to the computer. Since the material is presented as Royalty Free/Permission Free Clip art, I thought the images are  in the public domain. Anyway, since I
am sharing this for free, anyone interested can click on the link below and have  a peek...