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Carolyn's Vintage Diorama Nativity
Carolyn shares this vintage nativity as a free download…
Carolyn Loshbaugh — Aka Maddie Hobbes or Dolliemouse
A love of creating with paper…
(18158 views)

Carolyn Loshbaugh's “Southwest Nativity for Children” incorporates authentic Indian design elements.
"I'm afraid," Carolyn says, "I might have mistakenly showed a basket from the Hopi and not from the Navajo." — Navajo Nativity for Children by Carolyn Loshbaugh.
She's a woman of at least as many talents as pseudonyms. "Here's the mystery on my names," she writes. "Carolyn Loshbaugh (my real name) aka 'Maddie," — my favorite doll — and 'Hobbes,' — my cat I enjoyed for 20 years. He would have loved chewing up my nativities, I think. My new cat, Peppebox certainly does! "I'm also known as 'Dolliemouse.' 'Dollie', was my grandmother's name; and I really love my computer 'mouse,' which enables me to enjoy paper even more." By any name — Maddie Hobbes, Dolliemouse, or Carolyn Loshbaugh — her words touch the heart: "My gratefulness belongs to you, Alexis," she writes in one of her blog comments, "for you have opened a world I would have never seen except for the beautiful photography, music, and rich expression of words that lift me into God's heavenly realm. Thank you again for a wonderfully rewarding spiritual experience. — Carolyn." X-acto knives, trimmers, paint, and rulers "I have had a love of all kinds of paper since I was a small child. Cutting, pasting, folding, graphics, textures, colors, art, all are an integral part of who I am. What would I do without Exacto Knives, trimmers, paint and rulers? "Making and creating miniatures for my dioramas is my passion. I make dioramas for every season and holiday. I use many forms of paper to create my other miniatures, so making the paper crèches in miniature fits into my love of paper miniatures in general. "I am a collector and creator at heart. I appreciate so much the artistic talent of ancient, vintage, and modern artists. Our ability to create is what God meant when He said we were created in His image. All our creativity delights God, I believe, and creating something beautiful that honors Him, like the crèches, is almost a form of worship and respect. "I only had one paper crèche which I highly treasured for 38 years before finding out there were others out there. Now that I found your site — the downloads are wonderful! — I am trying to locate and purchase more paper nativities. "I'm hoping I can make a Christmas tree in miniature (about 12 inches or so) and decorate it with tiny creches and candles like yourCrèche Tree which is amazing and respectful of the true meaning of Christmas. I just loved that when I saw it!
"I only had one paper creche which I highly treasured for 38 years before finding out there were others out there." — Carolyn's first 1972 Hallmark Nativity.
""My 'bio?' "It all started with you, Alexis. I had only one paper nativity to my name, which I purchased in 1972 from Hallmark [photo at left]. "I cut it out, used a brown marker on the stark white edges, and set it up for Christmas. I loved it. "I did collect other three-dimensional nativities which I loved, but none so loved as my paper one. "It was the first nativity would put up, and often left it long after Christmas was over, never knowing until last year that there were hundreds more of these 'out there.' "I have loved paper all of my life, and saved every bit of it I found as though it were the most precious of possessions. "At school, I would ask the teacher if I could take home all the scraps from our art projects which had been thrown in the trash. "When very young (early 1950's) I took my weekly allowance to a crowded one-room store owned by a crotchety old lady. 'Don't you break anything!' she would holler. 'Don't you kids dare steal from me or I'll get you!' "It was daunting — but she had colored paper on a shelf! I would pick out from her stock the colors I needed — two or three cents per page. I'd race home on my bike to make pictures, paper birds, baskets, paper dolls, weavings, etc., from my paper. "My mother about lost it when I came home from college and asked her, 'Do you know where that blue piece of paper is that I had in my 2nd drawer?' "More recently, I found pleasure in creating miniatures on the computer which I print out on paper for doll houses, doll settings and dioramas. "One day I decided to go on line and look for 'miniature paper nativities.' I was looking for something really simple, one piece, that I could incorporate into my paper Christmas decorations for a doll house. What I discovered was a whole new world of paper projects waiting deliciously on your Crechemania.com website. "When I opened your blog, the Gregorian Chant overwhelmed me, and I burst into tears. It was like angels singing to heal wounded souls.
Carolyn loves researching — and unearthing — vintage nativities, like this vintage crèche by Betty S. Hessemer that appeared in Jack and Jill magazine. Unfortunately, Carolyn also found out that it is still under copyright, so we cannot share it with you.
"The Nativities and paper, combined with my love for God, were a fabulous fit! They filled me with His presence, love, and a sense of purpose as I began downloading and seeking to learn how to preserve these beautiful creations. "I began looking for paper nativities everywhere! I figured out how to search successfully on eBay, and although my income is tiny, started where I could. Just like a kid again, I was putting back money to save for the big ones I really wanted such as Kubasta's. I only have one real Kubasta so far, and I would say that his are in my 'favorites' category, especially those with snowflakes. Kubasta really hooks my inner 'kid.' "Kubasta's illustrations scream out - "I love people, I love life!" His work is always done in perfect proportion and perspective, with numerous tiny details that show he's comfortable whether with pompous or poor. Dogs, cats, birds, plants, fat and skinny people, musicians, laborers, heavenly angels, foodstuffs, buildings, varied dwellings, light and dark - all are important to him. Commoners and Royalty are level at the foot of the creche. He always combines these with such a rich variety of homey details and vibrant colors. And his genius for configuring such detailed pop-ups was not wasted, even though he considered his architectural skills as his "real" talent. "I love his "snow nativities." The first nativity Svatava sent was his "Cesky Betlem." There was a blackbird sitting in a snowdrift atop the manger! Snowfall at the creche was new to my Western mindset. He captures joy in every face and those happy faces are contagious - making me happy, too. I want to be on that street with the others walking to see baby Jesus, bringing my gift, alive with hope. When I see his work, I am a kid again, swathed in awe. His perspective changes my perspective. "Right after signing up for Crechemania in January of 2009, Svatava Vizinová contacted me saying she would like to trade with me for 'cribs. I told her I only had one, but I would be happy to share. "What she sent back to me was overwhelmingly intoxicating! I found myself sitting at the computer day and night, learning how to scan, learning techniques on Photoshop, then putting what she sent me into pdf's so that she could share with others to keep this awesome European tradition from literally disintegrating, as paper does with its acidic content. [Crèchemania's version of Svatava's nativity is available as a Free Download.] "Svatava has been a wonderful mentor. I had never before seen any Czech nativities, or European ones for that matter. I have learned so much from her. Her heart for the cribs is genuine, and she accepts her place in sharing them as an honor. This gentle, unassuming person is quiet outwardly, but her understanding of life peppers every correspondence with humor and wisdom. She's an amazing woman with great intelligence, forbearance, and talent. "At this date, I have approximately 75 nativities which I have purchased, and many more which were sent to me as jpegs or pdfs from wonderful Crechemania.com friends. "Being able to share like interests with friends all over the world is an amazing result of recent technology. These new and fascinating friends may be older, younger, richer, or poorer. It just doesn't matter what we look like, where we live, or what we've accomplished when we share our passions. There is a measure of anonymity that allows us extra freedom to reveal our hearts. We are not trying to mirror someone else's face, figure out what that person wants, or trying to impress. We are more ourselves on the Internet than when we are with our own family, in that regard. And the awesome energy that comes when you are linked with another of like interests is so affirming. You are not alone anymore. "So I was delighted to share the Premium Specialties crèche as a Free Download, because it was made in the USA way back in my childhood, in 1951. Although the figures look like the traditional European stereotypes, the barn has a definite "Wyoming" look to it (that's where I grew up). I've never seen another one like it anywhere. "I'm still in love with paper, Alexis; still in love with this new adventure, and especially in love with the awesome spiritual sense illustrating the only time in history God became one of us. "The best part is that I am understanding God more and more as I continue this new spiritual journey, all the while respectfully appreciating the many hands that have uniquely forged and kept this wonderful custom of affordable nativities alive." Warm regards, :o) Carolyn


More about Carolyn Loshbaugh — Aka Maddie Hobbes or Dolliemouse:


Carolyn Loshbaugh



I have had a love of all kinds of paper since I was a small child.

Cutting, pasting, folding, graphics, textures, colors, art, all are an integral part of who I am.

What would I do without X-Acto Knives, trimmers, paint and rulers?




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