Author: Stephanie Finnegan

Fabric of Their Lives

The fascinating thing about Brook Burns is how her so-called mundane, steady-paycheck job en­hances her imaginative, soul-soaring, part-time vocation. By day, Burns is a mild-mannered residential lending agent, but at night, she allows her penchant for pretending, her bias toward make-be­lieve, to run free. Working with number crunching and mortgage re­quirements means Burns knows a thing or two about zoning and amortization, prime rates and escrow. When she heads home in the evening, she is the founder of a land steeped in the love of learning, which welcomes all dreamers and where the greatest currencies are individuality and talent....

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2007: A Year to Remember

Songwriter and philosopher John Lennon said it best: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Such a random chain of events led to Henry and Zofia Zawieruszynski trading in their Polish mailing address for a home and business nestled in the American heartland. “Henry’s mother was born in the USA,” Zofia shares, “and we came to visit her in 1988. She was living in Minnesota. Be­lieve me, we had no plans to emigrate here. We planned to visit her and all of Henry’s family for a few weeks. And then a few months went...

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Creative Spirit

One of the best parts of being a dollmaker is the chance to create something out of nothing. It’s a heady experience to take a handful of fabric, threads, wool and buttons and con­vert them into a huggable and appealing character. For the creative team at Käthe Kruse, one of the most alluring factors of dollmaking was the chance to create a new lingo, to make the make-believe real and to dabble with a little bit of spiritualism and mysticism. They were able to do all this via their Feng Shui line and their popular Guardian Angel doll as...

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Family Matters at Dolls by Pauline

Doll collecting is a small world. The artists routinely make them­selves accessible to their collectors; collectors share real-life stories with their favorite magazine editors; and all members of the industry bond over works of art that recall personal, individual triumphs or global, recognizable truths. It doesn’t matter what continent or country a doll enthusiast hails from, as he or she is part of a larger and more loving community. The notion of belonging to a worldwide family of doll fanciers is especially palpable at Dolls by Pauline. The company, which had been spearheaded by the late Pauline Bjonness- Jacobsen,...

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Drama Queens

For those of us who are addicted, and there are millions of us, it’s nearly impossible to believe that the Sunday-night antics of the Wisteria Lane ladies only debuted less than three years ago. The loves, laughs, triumphs and tragedies of this quintet of charismatic women initially flickered across our TV screens in October 2004. It’s staggering to think we’ve only been enchanted with these Desperate House­wives for a bit more than two years. They’ve so enraptured us as a culture, become such a part of our lingo, it feels like a decade, for sure! The fact that these...

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Born to Be Loved

When you have the opportunity to chat with Ken Werner, president, consumer products, of the Middleton Doll Co., you find yourself in the presence of a man who takes his role seriously, but not himself. Werner’s good-natured self-ribbing is evidenced by his job description: “chief baby-doll guy.” And he further proves he is a good sport when he reveals his confirmation name: “Christopher; I thought I might be the reincarnation of Chris Columbus.” Though a 15th-century explorer and a 21st-century corporate head may have little in common on the surface, Werner does share a spirit of adventure, a desire...

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