Things are a little topsy turvy around here

Oh hello dear blog that I once upon a time kept up with. I’m afraid that your faster and more convenient social media competitors have relegated you to a back shelf. But I thought I would like to do a post on these most recent dolls of mine.

Having spent most of the summer delving into the world of needle felting and waldorf dolls, I took a little rabbit trail into waldorfs that weren’t needle felted. Easier, less time consuming and more cost effective for my shop, I thought a simpler, more small-child friendly doll would be a good addition.

So I started these. The first one I posted sold in hours, the next two had interested buyers before they were finished. Then I had a few custom requests. The interest was not just in their simplicity and lower price- but in the fact that you get two for the price of one. They are topsy turvy dolls- a pretty vintage idea (and a pretty strange one, I’ll admit) where the doll is in fact, legless and two headed. These strange deformities are, however, well covered by a generous skirt, so that, with a simple flip of the dress, you get two dolls in two costumes.

To make things even more fun, I’ve taken some inspiration from Disney and produced a set of fairy tale topsy-turveys. Cinderella was an obvious first choice- servant on one side, princess on the other.

But what about Sleeping Beauty? Disguised peasant girl wandering the forest discovers that she is really a princess- then ends up being cursed anyways, but gets a lovely crown and princess gown (not to mention a prince) to compensate for her losses. (And yes, I know her dress is blue and gets changed to pink later, but I already had a lot of blue dresses!)

It was easy to jump off from there. Next I tackled a struggling waitress from New Orleans who finds herself in love…wait for it….with a frog-

And then a long-haired, purple-clad, tower dweller who sacrifices her golden locks when need demands, replacing them with a cute brunette bob.

And of course the mermaid who wanted to be where the people are. I had a really hard time figuring out a way to make her fins look convincing. These dolls take a fair amount of creativity. We’re going with these for now with possible improvements in future.

And last but not least, a poor and obscure village beauty who longs for adventure and finds it (and a famous golden dress) right in her own back yard!

You guys- these were so fun to make. And my brain is swimming with other ideas and is more than open to custom suggestions. They are soft and cuddly and very sturdily made and even some of my boys love playing with them (on the sly, of course). I don’t need to tell you that my daughter has claimed every single one as soon as it is done. 😂

They’re all on my shop tonight! Let me know what you think and if you’re interested!

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Brown eyed girl

Hello friends. I’ve been a little busy of late with summer VBS, several family birthdays and a triple order for some customized dolls but I wanted to take a quick minute tonight to introduce someone else to you.

This is Hazel. She’s my fourth attempt at a Waldorf inspired, natural fiber art doll and I’m finding each one to be a little easier. I’m never quite sure which direction that little starting sphere of wool will take me. It’s part of the fun of needle felting. After a few hours of sculpting, it appeared that Hazel was going to end up with some lovely, round cheeks. So in keeping with that look, I decided to add a few dimples and sculpt more of a smile into her slightly wider mouth. She ended up looking so cheerful and rosy and brown! So I figured brown with a hint of blush would be her theme in the clothing department as well. Her skirt is as full as I could make it and her rosy pink bolero and green belt accentuate the floral motif of this particular calico quite well.

Her hair, in my humble opinion, is the best I’ve done yet. It’s taken me a while to figure out the best way to do these cotton jersey wigs, but I think I’ve finally figured out a better method. Not the easiest of course, but it just hangs more naturally on the head and is easier to style.

Here are a few shots, in no particular order. She stands a little taller than her sisters- about 15 inches.

She’s on my shop tonight! Let me know what you think! Thanks!

A Penny for your Thoughts?

I’m finding, now that school and work are done for the year, that I have a lot more time for sewing. That being the case, I thought about hitting the ground running this summer and really filling up my shop. It’s already too hot outside to do much else. But then, seeing all the things that need to be caught up on around this house after such a crazy year, I figured I would rather keep taking the sewing easy- stitching a bit of clothing here, felting a bit of wool there and generally not stressing about it.

Waldorf dolls, even more than my regular dolls are all about the process. Each detail takes time and consideration and shouldn’t be rushed. And why would I rush? Simply to say I have made such and such number of dolls this summer? My demand is really not that high right now. And so, I’m not setting myself any sewing goals, other than to continue learning and improving this delightful new doll making method.

And now for the title of this post. I’d like to introduce you to Penny! So called because of her coppery blonde locks. And because she’s so bright and cheerful looking.

She turned out a little more petite than my other attempts. There’s no saying just how big their heads will be when you start out with just a little ball of wool. You just keep adding a bit here and a bit there, trying to make sure the cheeks are an even size and the chin isn’t too big and the forehead isn’t too tall or too short. Then you have to cut out the body to fit the head. So Penny ended up a couple inches shorter than my other two dolls- a little over a foot tall.

I felt she needed a hat, because it was just really cute when I put it on.

Even without her hat, her hair makes a lovely, coppery golden crown. I really do love this jersey hair. It’s so much fun to play around with.

And this skirt. It’s pretty great. I made a several layered lace petticoat underneath to make sure it stood out nice and full and then did a full- gathered, floral, circle skirt over the top so it could be as fluffy as possible. She also has a simple, embroidered, white peasant blouse for a top that gathers at the top with a draw string ribbon and ties in two sweet little shoulder bows.

She’s on my shop tonight! Let me know what you think and feel free to pass this on!

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!

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. ☺️