Marta!

It’s so fun, naming dolls. I haven’t really done it in the past, figuring that most people like to name their own dolls. But there’s something about these sculpted waldorf dolls. Something about all the labor that goes into them- the starting with a simple wool sphere and somehow sculpting a face out of it with no pattern. It makes the creative process seem, well, more creative! Each face slowly emerges under your fingertips and is so individual, you just have to name it!

I chose the name Marta because it reminds me of things soft and sweet and loveable and this girl is just that- all pinks and pastels and it brown eyes and soft, fluffy clothing. I’m just gonna leave a photo dump here and you can let me know what you think!

She’s on my shop now!

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A first

Last week, I took the plunge and started on a dollmaking method I’ve been curious about and admired from a distance for a while. Waldorf dolls have been around for a long time and the idea behind them is to keep things simple- facial features minimalistic so as to promote imagination and make sure all materials are from natural sources. I have made a few basic waldorf dolls but what I’ve really been itching to try are their more labor intensive relatives- natural fiber art dolls.

These dolls are daunting to attempt. They involve a curious method of sculpting a three dimensional face using nothing but a pile of soft wool and a special needle. This method ends up looking something like this.

Yes, this took a while. But it was so much fun. And I was a little amazed that I was able to make a recognizable face out of it on my first try!

Then this sculpted face is covered with a ‘skin’ of soft, stretchy fabric. In this case, I used my favorite unbleached organic cotton jersey. Then a couple simple eyes are stitched and the fun nose and 3D mouth emerge.

I didn’t have a pattern for her- I was just waiting to see how big her head turned out before I added limbs. And those were sketched out and went on pretty easily. The really nice art dolls use fine quality mohair for the doll hair. This stuff costs a fortune and adds quite a bit of value to these dolls. I wasn’t ready to fork over that kind of money until I knew I could actually make one of these. So I stuck to my good old cotton jersey yarn, which I really like. And it makes these less of a collectors item and keeps them suitable for children to play with, which is what I want for my dolls.

Then, of course, there was the clothing. I had a lot of fun designing this ensemble. The blue, linen fabric for the dress came from my stash of remnants, leftover from one my old dresses. The darling (if I say so myself) eyelet coat came from a skirt my sister donated. The shoes I made from velvet with ribbons, because when you’re a doll, you can get away with stuff like that.

Oh. And I gave her ears. That’s a first, but probably not a last.

So here she is. I’m calling her Natalie because she might represent the birth of something new. We’ll see. I love my other dollies too. But who says I can’t do both?

She’s on my shop tonight!

Always on the lookout for inspiration

I’ve thought about digging through literature for some doll inspiration for a while now. Last year, I made my daughter a Ladybug Girl doll for her birthday but due to copyright restrictions, I couldn’t sell them. But there are lots of books out there in the public domain with little girls for heroines and the first one that came to mind was Anne of Green Gables. Of course, trying to imagine a favorite character as a doll is somewhat difficult- everyone has their own idea of what she really looked like. But I figured the red hair- the gray/ green eyes- the puffed sleeves- I should be able to at least come up with an approximation.

So here’s what I came up with. And I photographed her outside amidst the flowers, since that seemed suitable for someone like Anne.

I tried to give her a nice, dreamy, imaginative expression but there’s only so much you can do with a needle and thread.

Her clothing was a lot of fun- plenty of pinafores and pleats and of course, puffed sleeves!

But as I was sewing her, I couldn’t help thinking she needed her bosom friend by her side, so I went ahead and tried to imagine out Diana Barry with the black hair, rosy cheeks and enviable dimples. Here’s what emerged.

I just loved this tiny, flowered, pink calico. And since Anne was always forbidden to wear pink, I thought I would let Diana wear it. With a lacy, linen pinafore to cover it and keep it clean, of course.

I am selling these dolls individually on my shop or as a set. I thought it would be fun to do some doll duos (or quartets? Little Women anyone?) Here’s a few pics of them together, being kindred spirits.

Check them out here!

Just a lovely girl

I don’t have a lot to say about this little dolly. There are some dolls that seem to fight me during their creation. They insist that I redo their eyes several times. Their mouth seems to be off center or their eyebrows simply refuse to line up. But this girl came into being without much fuss, – just quietly, without much ado. Her eyes didn’t cross, she had a good hair day from the first and her sweet, lacy clothing fit to a tee.

All she seemed to ask of me is to acknowledge how pretty she was and to please find her a home here. โ˜บ๏ธ

Increasing my stock

Doll making is slow this time of year. But then, demand is low as well (most people buy dolls at Christmas) so I feel like I can take my time, sewing when I can and posting whenever I am ready. The last thing I want with this little side business of mine is to feel stressed. โ˜บ๏ธ

The next two or three dolls I have been working on are more ethnic in nature. I can tell you, working with the same ‘cream’ tone of Kona cotton ( my favorite fabric for doll skin) can get really old after a while. Thankfully, they sell many different shades that work well for dollies. (I’ve been working with some ‘latte’ and ‘mocha’ this week. Makes me wanna sew in a coffee shop.)

I’ve sold a fair number of Asian dolls in the past so I wanted to get one up on my shop again.

I’m particularly pleased with this girl’s ensemble. I opted against a frilly dress this time and went for some super girly floral trousers with button fastenings, a loose, summery blouse and a sweet, blanket stitched, suede jacket to cover all.

I’ve been enjoying doing more tiny details on these dolls as well, such as the little, hand-embroidered floral motif on her blouse. ๐Ÿ˜

So there she is! She’s on the shop. Also posted is this girl, who is fast becoming a favorite. She’s just so colorful and pretty with her contrasting darker skin and bright eyes.

Floral skirt with tulle are just about my favorite, especially when accompanied by pleated, bell-sleeved, floral-embroidered blouses.

And her hair. Well, I never get tired of playing with their hair.

I had hoped to get my other dolly included in this photo shoot but my light ran out, so she’ll just have to have her own blog post. Check out my shop for more information! Thanks!

A few more introductions

Hello again! Thank you for your warm reception of the little dolly I introduced a few days ago. She was pretty lonely on my shop so I have her a few companions- these ladies also inspired by the coming spring- dressed in lovely florals and lace.

Blue eyes and dark hair have always been one of my favorite combinations. So I took the blue eyes and made it the motif for this girl. (I also did a photo shoot with some of my favorite books because they were just sitting there and coordinated so nicely.)

Red hair is also a favorite of mine as I may have mentioned a time or two. And red hair means green eyes (for me at least). So green highlights were called for here.

And last but not least, for tonight at any rate, this sweet, dreamy little girl in pink and lace with a dainty hat. I just love her big brown eyes.

I had a lot of fun outlining this delicate little floral design on her blouse and you guys- she even has pink leather shoes. I didn’t used to like pink but it has really grown on me in the past couple of years, which is good because it’s really her color, don’t you think?

These ladies are all on my shop tonight- looking for a good home!

Whatโ€™s a year long absence among friends?

Well friends, I’m back. At least for today. After a crazy start to 2018, I find myself with a week off of work and figured it would be as good a time as any to try and push my poor neglected Etsy shop a bit. I thought I might as well do a blog post on these latest dolls of mine, since I so enjoyed making them and would like to introduce them properly, instead of just a quick Facebook pic.

I have seven dolls ready to ship although it might take me a while to get them properly photographed and up onto my shop. But I thought I would get this girly up now because she just says ‘Easter’ to me (might have something to do with the seersucker. ๐Ÿ˜‰). and believe it or not, Easter is in just a few days!

She was so pink and, well, pastelly that I couldn’t resist a photo shoot in my daughter’s doll house. Here she is!

And here is her ‘house.’ (Not included with purchase ๐Ÿ˜)

I have more and more fun designing the clothes for these little ladies. It might be spring but we all know how changeable spring weather can be so I felt she needed a little pink trench coat, just in case.

But the coat is fully removable (as are the rest of her clothing) and washable as well! So if she gets hot (or muddy) she can always take it off.

I always like to remind my customers that these dolls might seem really delicate but I design them to be played with- a lot. I remember the first really beautiful doll I ever owned- a china doll from my mother. But it was fairly fragile (duh) and one of its feet broke the first week I had her. We had to amputate. I played with her still, but it was more out of pity than anything and I was always nervous that the rest of her would break.

So when I grew up, I determined to make a doll that was as pretty as a china doll but sturdy enough for even little hands to play with. She can even be tossed in the wash if need be.

You may have noticed that I changed her hair for this second set of pics, which brings me to my second reminder.

These wigs are a special design of my own. I have never really liked acrylic yarn hair and the real wool stuff is expensive and hard to play with without it getting ratty really fast. So I make my own ‘yarn’ out of long, thin strips of cotton jersey which is soft and stretchy and doesn’t tangle. Because it’s so long and stretchable, there are a myriad of different ways to style it. This is another result of doll disappointment as a child. I never could seem to get a doll with hair long enough to really play with or one with hair that didn’t turn into a matted mess soon after purchase. And so the cotton jersey wig was born.

So that’s that. As I said, she’s on my shop, hopefully to be followed by others. I plan on selling this outfit individually as well for those who are looking for a wardrobe upgrade for previously purchased dolls.

Let me know what you think. And Happy Easter!