little jenny wren

3 Jan 2009

I received a lovely present today from a
Flickr buddy.

This wonderful picture from the cover of a 1936 magazine.

Isn't it beautiful.

Check out Lulu at home's other pictures if you can , she has some wonderful vintage pictures and she is a lovely person as well.

Some time ago dear
Tami sent me this Jenny Wren picture and I couldn't share it because I couldn't upload it .
This morning I realised that I could send it to Flickr and then post it.
So it is the same Dickens character but a different artist of course.

Jenny Wren is a character in the Charles Dickens book "Our Mutual Friend".

The character makes doll's clothes for a living and works in a small room surrounded by dolls ...mmmmm.... that sounds familiar.
My father isn't an alcoholic though and I don't have to walk with a crutch.

I actually named my blog and shop Little Jenny Wren because that was what my Gran called me.
She got it from the
Mother Goose rhyme of Little Jenny Wren and I think there are many Jennys around with the same nickname.
It was a happy coincidence to find out about the other Jenny Wren.

I have been feeling a little glum this morning thinking about the CPSIA legislation that seems to mean that I will no longer be able to sell my dolls to any American customers.

I have a feeling that even if the Handmade Toy Alliance manages to get exemptions for hancrafted toys from microbusinesses it will only be for US toymakers and the rest of us will be left out.

I have enjoyed making dolls for people from all over the world and almost half my dolls go to the US.
I have met some wonderful people through making dolls for them and it makes me feel quite sad to think that is being taken away from me.

My dollmaking is still largely a hobby, selling is a way to make more dolls without filling my house with dolls .
The US had been my most appreciative market and, as of Feb 10th, it seems that market will be closed off to me.

I guess some good will come of it, I can't see it yet but it's there I'm sure.

On a completely different note, do any of you use a grain mill to grind your own grains for breadmaking?
We are thinking of buying one and some first hand accounts of what is good and not so good would be appreciated.
Also for those who live in Australia, where do you buy the grains?

28 Responses to “little jenny wren”

  1. Hi Jenny,
    I certainly hope you can continue to sell your dolls here in the US. I am anxiously awaiting the vote on the 5th as I count 110 dolls sold in 2008.
    As for grain mills, I have a whisper mill and have had it for about 7 years. I make bread 2 or 3 times a week and love its ease of use.
    Jan in Maine

  2. So sorry to hear that about the new legislation. Laws are so arbitrary and don't take in the little ones who need to have an exception.

  3. The CPSIA legislation makes me sad as well. I sent a letter to my senators and legislators.

    Fiona loves her doll. I think I love it even more.

  4. Hi Jenny,

    I am a silent reader of your blog, and wanted to thank you for all the wonderful reading. I have had a grain mill for many years, and I love it. The electric ones with a "stone" centre are the best. Mine was from Germany, but I wouldn't know where to get them here. "Kialla" in Queensland take online orders for grains.
    Hope that helps, have a happy 2009
    Tanja from Sydney

  5. Hi Jenny,
    I buy grain produced by this company:

    I am pretty sure they will ship interstate - depends on how much you buy I suppose.

    BTW love your blog and read every chance I get.

    Good luck with the grain mill - on my list for when I finish working outside the home.


  6. i'm in the U.S. so of course very upset if this becomes law! i suspect it won't last, though...there will be absolute uproar over it.

    love the story about your nickname. i had no idea!

  7. That is such a lovely illustration...xx

  8. Hi Jenny,
    I live in the US but I have a Wondermill and love it. It is was called the Whispermill but it changed a few of years ago. I have used it for all kinds of grain and have not problem with it.


  9. I didn't know about this new legislation sucks. Thinking of you friend. How ironic that I just put a new doll in my etsy shop. I hope you will still sell lots of your beautiful dolls to the rest of the world. xx

  10. Good evening Jenny
    I didn't know about the Charles Dickens book, Our Mutual Friend nor have I read the Mother Goose rhyme. Over the years my husband has said "You must have been named after a female donkey"! To which my Mother replies that her name is actually Jennifer, and my daughter was not named after a female donkey! Even though I love donkeys, especially the miniature donkey, I think I would rather have my name associated with the beautiful wren.

  11. Hi Jenny- in Tassie you can order organic grain through Biodistributors in Sheffield, and they deliver for a small charge.I have ordered flour through them and am also thinking of grinding my own grain. According to the book Nourishing Traditions, the Jupiter grain mill from Germany is the mill of choice and through ebay I located a place in Byron Bay that sells them. They're over $600 though, so I am currently looking at getting a little cast iron manual one.hope this helps.

  12. Hi Jenny, I can understand how glum you must feel about your dolls it may not happen, I hope not. There is so much red tape, I am sure this will not happen quietly, there are to many people out there who love handmade.I love the photos related to your name, how nice. best wishes Julie.C

  13. Jenny, I hope that you will continue to be able to sell your dolls to the US. We will be wanting to add siblings to our new doll that we bought from you for our own Little Jenny Wren, age 5. Plus she has a baby sister and two older sisters that adore her new doll. Thanks for sharing your craft with us in the US. Hopefully, the vote will fail.

    rixja in FL

  14. I forgot to add that our Little Jenny Wren was named after a character from the Thornton Burgess Bird book. Great book for children and adults!

    rixja in FL

  15. Happy New Year, Jenny! Interesting to hear about the origins of your nickname, I've wondered about it a few times.


  16. I do grind my own grains (although I am in the USA). I like to use half freshly ground whole wheat with half unbleached bread flour. It gives us nutrition plus a softer texture.

    My daughter often uses 100% wheat that she has put through her grain mill.

    It is so sad, I see the USA coming under more government controls all the time. There seems to be nothing the average American can do about it.

  17. Hi Jenny,

    I have been wondering about whether the decision had been made about selling handmade items in the US. I also believe the outcome will eventually affect Australian toymakers. If the legislation passes in the US, how much longer until we are awaiting the same decision here?

  18. Hi Marlya, I have been thinking about the same thing. I would hate children to be given unsafe toys and there are probably unscrupulous people making handmade toys who make substandard items. It's just tough on those who are doing the right thing and have to jump through impossible hoops or go out of business. This US legislation will certainly lead to much less choice for people buying toys but hopefully they eventually get the legislation right and give a good working model for other countries to follow.
    It may even lead to parents wanting handmade toys fro their children to try making their own and discovering a talent they never knew they had.

  19. I'd just put a note that said "for adult use only" and continue business as usual.

  20. Jenny, I'm so sorry about this stupid legislation. What a backwards, twisted logic produced it, I don't know. It looks like a war against independent businesses. Hope it doesn't come to pass here in Israel.

  21. Hi Jenny,
    I live in NSW and buy whole grains from Demeter Farm Mill, some of us have got together and formed a non-profit co-op to get grains in bulk at a wholesale price. I have had a Whisper Grain mill for more than 10 years now and it has been very good. If I was buying another mill I would look at the Schnitzer brand, as they have a model that also does flaking (e.g. making rolled oats from the whole grain).
    Hope this helps,

  22. What a perfect nickname for you!

    I presented you and your blog with an award for your cultural and literary values. No obligation to do anything with it, but come by my blog to pick it up!

  23. I LOVE my Nutrimill!! I bought it last year at this time and use it multiple times a week. It is wonderful.

  24. Thanks everyone for the grain mill and grain info.

  25. Another quiet but loyal reader here...
    Anxious to see how the new law pans out...and I just have to ask, have you been swamped with doll orders from here in the US? And if not, do you think you'd have time to squeeze in a doll or two for me before the law goes into effect? :D
    Robin in CA

  26. Hi Robin in CA, I have been swamped but I could just manage one more doll if I try really hard.
    Email me at and we'll see what we can work out.

  27. Yes I use a grain mill - I love it - it was quite expensive but over the years it has been an investment - it is a Nutrimill

  28. I, too, can not believe something like this could become a realization in America. Hopefully enough people will voice their opinions and it will not become a reality!!

    TO your other question...we bake our own bread and we use a Nutrimill. I LOVE it!! It is definitely worth the money and a lot of people have told me that it will last a lifetime. We buy our grain from

    Thank you for a WONDERFUL site! You are such a blessing.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.