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Yes, We're Retired

At least some days we are! Actually retirement began on November 30, 2005,followed by the journey of a lifetime across the US, connecting with my SCA federal agency partners and our family. But that is history. Our local bookstore owner asked me at a Boxing Day party how many hours a day I worked making dolls. I don't really call it work, but it is about four hours daily that I play at creating treasures. To hear from a customer that her doggie doll "is really extraordinary. It was such a pleasure working with you throughout the creative process," makes it all the more favorite four hours a day.

What did we do in our retirement in 2013?

We had two great Vermont Crafts Council Open Studios; studied those web stats to make improvements; created three fabulous events, especially wheat pasting a mural and writing stories; received a testimonial to beat them all from Bobbie; delighted to fill a request to share my Welcome Center success with the VT Legislature; created Baby Leona for Doll Castle News magazine; welcomed, with Silvio, a couple hundred visitors to our home and gallery; extended praise to my extraordinary team who deserves a raise in the next year--Eileen, Patty, Linda; and for my inspiration, Lew, I made enough to buy Lew a new Canon camera, portrait lens and camera bag; improved our photography studio props; and heard all the joy from happy customers, many returning again and again. We celebrated 45 years of doll making and I was featured in the Rutland Heraldnewspaper. Then there are those other eight hours of a daylight - church stuff, cooking, dishes, laundry, playing, gardening, cleaning, shopping, making lists in my journal, loving Silvio and taking care each other and our family. I won't count dreamtime, but I am always busy at that - cashflow, doll construction, dreaming up new ideas, or rehashing the old. Looking ahead I might need to consider five hours a day making dolls.

For 2014 we have three Welcome Center invitations, first January in Hartford on I 91South. The Vermont Bike Tour Company is setting our studio as a destination on their bike tour program. I will present the Bundle story at the Castleton Women's Club in March. We are already signed up for spring Open Studio. There are a dozen orders on the docket already. And we hope to publish a book this year, beginning with the Cats Who Sew and then a favorite Gossip Chair story about Gretchen and Wendy. Lew and I will fill our marketing hours with new ways to entice the doll lover to buy whether it is a Sale Doll, a new design or an old favorite through the web, with our beautiful brochure, on posters and through this blog. Lew reminds us of the old advertising favorite: The Three B's - beasts, beauties and babies. We have them all, including our own Barbie. It is delighting me to create Miranda, a mermaid for granddaughter Bea's January birthday instead of a Barbie doll mermaid!

This year's Christmas wreath, gifted to me by my daughter Kate, reminds me of our hallmark - the circle of love from start to finish to make your doll, a connection to our Maker and the earth, and for me warm hospitality. Spending an hour with me, the artist, you don't just get to pick or create a doll, you get Bonnie Watters, doll maker.Your visits inspire us to spend more time doing what we love to do. Stay in touch in the new year

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