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!

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Ballerina dreaming

When I was a little girl, I shared a dream with many other little girls. I wanted to be a ballerina.
It was for all the usual reasons- the lovely, floaty dancing- the shiny, pointy, pink slippers- and of course the tutus. If there were tutus involved, I was in.
But I was one of six girls. My mom worked part time and we were in school full time. Ballet lessons just weren’t on the agenda. But did I let that stop me? No siree. If I couldn’t have real lessons, I would teach myself.
Those were the days before Youtube, of course, and there were no handy online tutorials I could google. But we did have a well worn VHS recording of the Nutcracker, performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet that I watched ad nauseum. I imitated the dancing as best I could, hunted around the house for ballet -type attire (one of my mom’s fluffy old slips was a pretty good tutu substitute) and thus attired, I pranced around the house to my heart’s content.
One year, I was given a pair of silky, pink, ballet-esque slippers for my birthday. With those on my feet to spur my imagination, I felt capable of starring in a ballet of my own. And one of the beauties of having five sisters was that I could make such a thing a reality. I coaxed them into joining my venture, and we started production immediately.
First, we had to decide on the music. That was easy enough. Dad had just purchased one of the first compact disc players on the market, and we were the proud owners of two cds- Handel’s Messiah and Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto. Handel didn’t seem very suitable for ballet, so that left Rachmaninoff.
Then it was decided that we were all to be flowers, as pink and fluffy as our dress-up box would allow. There we would huddle in the living room while the opening bars of the concerto began. I was in the center of the flower huddle- the self-appointed prima donna- because, if you remember, I owned the pink slippers.
Then, as the music quickened, out ran my baby sister, trailing a bright orange blanket. She was the sun, of course. She circled the flower huddle once or twice, and as she toddled away, we flowers would slowly awaken. Then I had to do my own little bit of solo dancing (the pink slippers demanded it) and after that, it was pretty much every dancer for herself. (Just imagine a whole lot of twirling)
The grand finale always included the same dramatic scene- the six of us lined up according to size on the living room stairs, and with arms gracefully extended, we would leap more or less simultaneously onto the worn brown carpet below. Despite our best efforts to land lightly, we always came thudding down like a ton of bricks, causing the cd in the player to skip around violently and bring our performance to a sudden end. It was not, perhaps, the best ballet in the world, but it has left plenty of good memories. Sometimes I still think about being a ballerina, even though that ship has long since sailed. And I will always enjoy watching ballet.

But all of this is to say, that when a friend suggested a few weeks back that I should try and make a ballerina doll, I had to mentally smack myself in the forehead. Of course! I love ballet, I love dolls, and I love tutus!

So without further ado, let me introduce my first ballerina doll.

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Generally, when I think of ballerinas, I think pink, but I only had a little bit of red and white tulle, so I thought I would see what I could make out of the materials I had on hand before stocking up on new supplies.

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A view from the rear.

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And a view of her slippers. I thought about altering the doll pattern so that her toes would be pointed down, but again, figured I would see how things looked before I made any major alterations. What do you think? Should I change the feet?

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Here is her little leotard, with the tutu removed.

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And when I put her tutu back on, I accidentally had it turned around. But I kind of like it reversed as well. Two tutus for the price of one, eh?

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So there she is. (By the way, I have already sold this doll, but I plan on making more if there is interest.). And I’ve also been contemplating some design ideas for Nutcracker dolls, what with Christmas coming and all. Or maybe just some custom ballet dresses.

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So I ask again~Feedback? Suggestions? Good places to buy lots of tulle?
Thanks!

Restocking the shelves

Last year, I set myself a goal- make enough dolls and toys to buy us plane tickets to Washington for my sister’s wedding. Thanks to all your interest and help, I achieved that goal.
Well guess what.
I have another sister getting married in Washington – and less than three months away! I thought about setting the same goal for myself this time around, but what with a new baby, and shortness of time, and the fact that I already found a super deal on tickets and bought them, that ship has sailed.
Even with the super deal, buying six plane tickets is nothing to sneeze at, so I’d like to start pushing my shop again. I figure, if I can sell about thirty 12 inch dolls or twenty of the 18 inch, it would just about cover it the tickets. So who wants a doll? Or a horse or rabbit? I’m still selling those as well.
I’m making some adjustments to my etsy site, so take a little time to think about it, but fyi, here are a few of the new dolls that will be up for sale soon.

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I have been focusing more on the eighteen inch doll these last few weeks. Here’s my brunette. I have switched them over to the new way of doing hair that I mentioned before, and she is sporting some new “pleather” shoes that I have been experimenting with.

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Here’s my blondie. She is also trying out some new items, like a striped sailor dress, and a felt hat. I hope to get better at making hats. Haberdashery is fun! Or maybe it’s just being able to use that word.

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And here is the red head that I asked for help with yesterday. I went ahead with a few freckles, just to see if I liked them. They are just tiny stitches, and can be removed. What do you all think?
I’m also uncertain about the black dress. Does she need something a little flashier to go with her bright hair, or is the subtle look better? I appreciate your feedback!

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So there we go. Hopefully I will have enough energy and motivation to really get back into the swing of things. And if you know of anyone who might be in the market for a doll, would you be so good as to mention it? These girls deserve a good home. Thanks!

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Valentine Girl

Just a quick post to introduce my next 18 inch doll.  These bigger dolls do take more work, but they are so worth it! I love the bigger size since it enables me to work  in greater detail on face and clothing.

I found a lovely piece of fabric to up cycle- a sheet really. It’s 800 thread count Egyptian cotton, and such a nice shade of brown, I had to get it.  I wanted to try some more African American dolls, but I think this one turned out looking more Native American.

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The dress is another original design, in a cheery red color, since Valentine’s is just around the corner.  The white details are done in couching, which is a method using yarn, or in this case, thin strips of cotton jersey. You trace a pattern and tack down the ‘yarn’ at regular intervals.  It’s really easy and fun!

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I also wove some buttons into her hair, just for something a little different than braids with bows on the end.

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What do you think?

The girl with the Titian hair

I have always had a fascination with red hair. I wished I had red hair as a child, and even contemplated dying it once or twice when I got older, but I never had the guts. And I could never understand why Anne of Green Gables hated her hair. She claimed it gave her a bad temper, and I guess if people called me “Carrots” all day……

Anywhooo, all that to say, I have been meaning to make a doll with red hair for a while now and I finally finished her!

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Her hair is rather vivid, but I am not sure if it is red or auburn. What’s the difference anyways? And I am totally in love with the scalloped edge on this ribbon.

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I contemplated a sprinkling of freckles on her cheeks, but was not sure how to accomplish it without her looking like Raggedy Ann.

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So there she is. I had a lot of fun with the embroidery on her dress, and I can’t decide if I like red or blue shoes best. I think the blue will win out here.

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Also I am working on changing a few things on my Etsy shop, but hopefully it won’t cause any problems if, you know, browsing turned to buying ; )

Variety is the spice of life

Well, I’m pretty excited to share this next set of dolls with y’all. I just had so much fun with them. I am leaning more and more towards focusing entirely on doll making at this point since there seems to be a lot more interest there than in the clothing. It’s actually less stressful as well, since I don’t have to worry about sizing or finding models- hah.
If I can find the time, I also want to purchase my own blog domain and change it to Climbing Vine Creations or something like that. And I would like to set up some pages on my shop or facebook for custom designing your own doll or ordering extra clothing. But one step at a time, and time is something I seem to be short on most days.
Well, without further ado, I’d like to introduce three new young ladies. Anyone want to name them?

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I have had a few people express interest in dolls of different ethnicities, so these are my prototypes, if you will.

I went with lots of rainbow-y colors for this girl.

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And this one just needed a red dress- there was no other color that would have worked.

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And for this one, well, I thought it was time for a nice sunny yellow dress, with plenty of ruffles thrown in for good measure.

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Here they all are, having a good time and letting their hair down.

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I have had a lot of fun figuring out how to make their hair, by the way. I like it better than yarn because it won’t unravel or get frizzy, and you can style it in so many ways. I have always liked doing doll hair which is why I am sticking to long hair at this point. And maybe I’m still recovering from my childhood when we got imitation Cabbage Patch dolls for Christmas one year and mine was the one with the short brown hair I couldn’t do anything with. But I loved her anyways and never let her see when I would sneak off to braid the long blond hair on my sister’s doll.

So long hair it is, unless someone would like me to try a cute little bob or something.

Aaaand one last group shot, just ’cause they like to show off their shoes.

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Twinsies

Well, two more dolls and a bunny sold. I’m on a roll! Thanks for your support folks. These two girls are almost twins, except for their eye color- brown and blue. Do identical twins always have the same eye color? That’s something I’ve never thought of before.
Anyhow, I had two slightly different shades of lavender cotton, so I made them almost matching dresses with a big white ruffle on the bottom and green trim. They each have black felt shoes with tiny green buttons.

Here is brown eyed girl,

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Here is blue

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And here they are together!

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As this new venture expands, I have lots of ideas rolling around in my head, but not enough time! I would like to do more doll clothes- hats, coats, you know, lots of cuteness. But first I want to do as many different varieties of hair, eye, skin color as I can, so people can pick and choose on my shop.
The funny thing is, I’m having the hardest time figuring out how to package them for shipping. I’d like to send them in a cute little box, but can’t find any with the right dimensions that aren’t really expensive, and I’m trying not to add to my expenses. Any ideas?