Created for all:With a touch of magic

Created for all:With a touch of magic
Since the 11th century

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Twas the night before peace;
When all through the world;
The children were praying for the wars to all cease;

The stockings were hung on the line by the fire;
To dry not to be filled, since no work since August for hire;

And I in my robe and mom in her gown;
Had just settled in to our beds to lie down;

A short poem it is, when the world is torn apart;
With the economy, the politic, and Lord knows where to start.

So with a whistle and a yell, let the Holiday begin;
To forget for a moment all our troubles and then;

With a hoof and call, and a snap of his wink;
Down the chimney comes Santa to remove all the stink;

Happy Holidays!!!


Upcoming Nutcracker Events


Everyone knows that Christmas time and Nutcrackers go hand in hand. All of us remember the first time we went to the ice skating rink or to a Nutcracker play, the first tree lighting event or the first snowball fight with friends and family. It's what makes us all closer this time of year. But I feel the nutcracker community are close year round, Christmas just gives us a chance to shine a bit brighter. I wanted in this blog to allow people to comment and share their favorite Christmas memory. I know for me if was the Christmas of 1985. I was 11, and my grandparents had decided to spend the night. The fireplace was lit, and crackling, a warm glow dancing off the walls and ceiling. In the corner a meager Christmas tree stood like galent decorated toy soldier adorned in his finest garland and ribben. That night, I didnt think about presents, or decorations, but the warm turkey cooking the small oven, an excitement that Santa would be arriving any moment, flying across the moonlit sky. Outside, unlike today, there was a blanket of snow covering the lawn and all the vehicles. A freshly built snowman slumped over being held up by a tattered broom. I still remember his carrot nose and raisen eyeballs. The most fond memory of that Christmas was the fact that it was my last Christmas with my grandpa. I didn't realize it then, but he would pass on the next Thanksgiving holiday. I still see his rosy face and tall frame standing in the kitchen door with a glass of apple cider and a piece of pumpkin pie. Christmas I think hold so many fond memories for us all. So if you would share a memory or two. Tomorrow I am going to list some of the holiday events going on throughout Nutcracker country. Tonight let us reflect on what our families, our memories, and yes our favorite nutcrackers, mean to us. God Bless

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Steinbach Nutcrackers:From humble beginnings to worldwide acclaim

Today's post will break down the creation of Nutcrackers with each week, telling the story of how these beautiful and handcrafted collectables came to be. Today I want to speak of the Steinbach family and their historical contribution to the carvings we now know today as nutcrackers. It all began way back in the 13th century. Many of the Steinbach family were successfil architects, merchants, and city officials including judges, others had special talents as wood carvers. One member of their famous family, Erwin, was responsible for planning and building the Strasbourge cathedral which is belived to be the very first piece of Steinbach artin the world. During medieval times the Steinbach family were not isolated from economic problems. Like other families in their area,they were persecuted and feared for their lives due to wars and religious beliefs and ultimately decided to relocate to the German area of Erzgebirge.
The Erzgebirge is a mountain range in eastern Germany, drawing its name from the translation, "Ore Mountains," The Erzgebirge today is a region in the state of Saxonia, Germany that was once part of the German Democratic Republic until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The area of Erzgebirge is roughly 90 miles long and 30 miles wide and its rough climate is the target of cold and bitter Russian winds. The countryside is a beautiful collection of castles and other ancient structures. These along with the wonderful snows that the region is blessed with during the winter months makes it a very popular German vacation area. The cultures and traditions of this area date back to the first settlers in the 13th century. During the 16th to the 18th centuries the Erzgebirge region was a very wealthy area due to the large deposits of silver and tin. The mining industry was very lucrative during this time. When the metal mines wound down, miners were forced to search for other ways in which to support themselves and their families. Many of the miners had taken up woodcarving as hobbies and when they searched for alternate sources of income, the woodcarving became their livelihood. The traditional methods of creating nutcrackers, candle arches, Christmas pyramids and incense smokers paved the way for the beautiful German collectibles that now has collectors from around the world.
The Steinbach Company or, Steinbach GmbH – Vereinigte Werkstaetten Deutscher Volkskunst, maintains two production workshops to produce its beautiful and whimsical nutcrackers. There is an older plan in Hohenhameln in northern Germany. This plant was opened after the Steinbach family moved from the Erzgebirge region at the end of World War II. During that time the region was under Soviet rule and small business owners were seeing a fair share of problems. After the end of communist rule in Europe, Christian Steinbach built a second factory in Marienberg which lies at the very heart of the Erzgebirge region.
The Steinbach family has endured persecution, relocation and a world of other trials in their nearly 200 years of production. Their beautiful nutcrackers today are among the most popular German treasures. Besides the popular nutcrackers, the Steinbach Company also produces incense smokers, music boxes and an array or ornaments.
In February 2007, Herr Christian Steinbach, who had led the company for several decades, passed away. It was he who made the Steinbach name the popular and highly known name that it is today. Karla Steinbach, Christian’s daughter, is now responsible for the Steinbach GmbH. She is the sixth generation of Steinbach’s to head the family company.
The Steinbach nutcrackers are a very popular source for collectors. With their elegant and beautiful designs and their sometimes downright whimsical and comical expressions, these collectibles are known the world over and the Steinback name only ensures that they are made with the utmost quality in mind and centuries of tradition. From the early days in ancient Greece when Aristotle created an instrument in which to help break the hard shell of edible nuts, nutcrackers have been a popular instrument. With the implementation of design and hand carving, the Steinbach’s have made them a treasured decoration. With the Nutcracker Suite being so vastly popular, nutcrackers have gained in popularity as well. Many museums in the Erzgebirge area offer a glimpse into the earlier versions of the nutcracker, most in the form of authority figures such as kings and soldiers. While these are still popular items today, the nutcrackers that the Steinbach Company produces also take on the shapes of famous characters such as Civil War heroes, US Presidents, the Phantom of the Opera, and fairy tale characters such as Alice in Wonderland, Hickory Dickory Dock and Old King Cole. Some say that there is a nutcracker for everyone. No matter what interests you, there is a great possibility that you will be able to find a nutcracker that is perfectly suited to your own style and taste. It is because of the creativity in designing these nutcrackers of various people and styles that has made the Steinback Company so widely popular and well known. During the 18th and 19th centuries most were simply depicting authority figures. Once Herr Christian Steinbach widened the range of nutcrackers that the company produced, their popularity gained in significant waves.
Steinbach pushed his family’s business over the top with regards to fame. With this creative mind and his ingenuity he ensured that the nutcrackers produced by the Steinbach Company were unsurpassed with regards to design and beauty. With his eye for quality and insistence on using methods that invoke tradition, he ensured that all customers of Steinbach products would always return for more. Many nutcrackers from the Steinbach name are exclusive and limited edition which only helps to propel them into popularity. Their value increases and collectors strive to find just one piece of an exclusive line in hopes of adding it to their already full nutcracker shelves.
It has been noted that Herr Christian Steinbach brought the Erzgebirge nutcracker to a completely new level. Each year new models and designs are produced and each is a huge success. Herr Christian Steinbach was a man of great honor and great vision. He is credited with the success of the Steinback name and spent many hours signing his nutcrackers for collectors all over the world. Spending time with nutcracker collectors was a joy for Herr Christian Steinbach and he is a man who is sorely missed among collectors and manufacturers alike.

The History of Nutcrackers