Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from my little Tinker ;). Wishing everyone a fun and
safe time celebrating!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Waldorf Doll Making Part 5 - All DONE!!!


She's all DONE! And we absolutely LOVE her! Taylor has named her Sally after her very favorite doll who went missing about a year ago :(. Sally was a doll bought for her by Grammie and she was well loved by Taylor. You can see a pic of Sally in this post. Taylor still asks about her and says she "worries" about her. We're pretty certain she took her out to a store or something and left her there, so I've told Taylor that I believe another little girl found her and is taking very good care of her.

So, now we have Sally the Second, in our family.

I need to say a big thank you to my wonderful friend Sarah who came over last night to help me with Sally's hair. I found a wonderful tutorial on how to make her hair (there are several different ways to make hair for Waldorf dolls). The tutorial requires a crochet cap that the hair is then hooked into. Well, I can't crochet. I've tried a couple of times, and I just find knitting soooo much easier. Sarah, on the other hand is crocheter extraodinaire! So she crocheted the cap for Sally's hair and I did the rest of her hair. (I was determined to finish her last night and I {happily} stayed up until 1:30 this morning working on her hair!

This is a shot of her with her hair down and gives an idea of just how much hair she has. I've said all along that it's really the hair that makes these dolls and I fell in-love with her once her hair began to take shape. At the same time any doubts that this dream doll would become a reality, disappeared as I hooked strand after stand of hair into her cap.

And Taylor wanted her hair in a ponytail at one point, so I took a shot of that, too. Since I followed the tutorial linked above, I gave her a full head of hair which lends itself to a variety of hairstyles with no bald spots.

Now, clearly, my hand-sewing skills need some improvement. I realize her eyes aren't "perfect" and the stitching around her neck is also not "perfect", but the smiles and squeals from Taylor when she awoke this morning to find her finished makes me think it's perfect enough. Then, when hubby brought her home this evening and Sally had a dress and rosy cheeks and beautiful pigtails, Taylor declared "Oh, Mom! You made her SO cute! I love her!" my heart melted. Ooey, gooey, melted. Really, could I ask for anything more?

{updated to include a link to the tutorial for the hair and a link to a past post about our first Sally}

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Waldorf Doll Making Part 4 - The Body

She's looking like a doll, now! In this pic, I've sewn the seams of her legs and body and the seams of her arms. I've sewn the arms to the shoulders, but the body still needs to be sewn to the shoulders, she needs stitching to define her feet (that's why she has pins in her ankles) and hips and she needs a little more stuffing. I had hoped she'd be a little plumper overall with a bigger head like I mentioned in my last post. But, the doll is supposed to be reflective of it's playmate and her playmate Taylor isn't plump at all (lucky girl is tall and slim) so maybe it's meant to be! Maybe the fact that I want the doll to be plumper is a reflection of me, ;) ha!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Waldorf Doll Making - Part 3 Making the Head

I made some progress on Taylor's doll last weekend and am just now getting around to updating here. As noted in the original post about making the doll, I'm using a pattern from Weir Crafts and I followed the instructions in that pattern for making the head. The only alteration that I made is that I formed a nose. I didn't have a tutorial and I'm not completely happy with it, and actually, the head is smaller than I'd like, too. Since the pattern is copyrighted, I can't share the details of how I made the head, but there's a great tutorial here on how to make a head. I've already decided that I will be making more of these dolls and the next one will have a bigger head with chubby cheeks and a better formed nose. Stay tuned for pics of the body!

{The head was formed like this, with the pins marking the eyes and mouth for several days, until hubby said to me very firmly "Would you PLEASE finish that. It's creeping me out!!!}

Monday, October 4, 2010

Waldorf Doll Making Part 2 - The Washing of the Wool!

Did you notice when I showed all my supplies in my last post that the doll's stuffing was missing? Well, that's because when I ordered all my other supplies from Weir Crafts, the stuffing was out of stock and I didn't want to wait for it to get back in stock. Traditional Waldorf Dolls are made with all natural materials, so I didn't want to go to JoAnn's and buy just any stuffing. I found the wool fleece that I ended up with on e-bay. It was a fraction of the cost of other fleece I had looked at. But, here's why: I would have to hand wash it upon delivery. Yep, it was freshly shaved off the sheep that wore this fuzzy coat of wool. The pic above is what it looked like when it arrived in the mail. There was also much nastiness in it and it smelled like a barn. Mostly just dirt matted into it and pieces of straw and random bits of leaves. Nevertheless, each of the 2 batches, took one wash and about 3 rinses before the water was clear. I'm sure many (most?) people would opt out of this and either wait for pre-washed fleece to get re-stocked, or head out to the store and make-do. My thinking is, where's the fun in that? I think the washing of the wool adds another step of love in the making of this doll. The scent also actually brought back childhood memories of my Dad's farm. I know, I'm kinda strange. ;)

Washing the wool was also a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon free of humidity thanks to a couple of days of welcomed rain. It was also a great opportunity to teach Taylor about where materials come from (even if she did think the wool smelled like "poop" ;) )

Prior to purchasing the wool, I did a quick Google search to see what I might be getting myself into and I found this simple tutorial on how to wash the wool. I followed the tutorial, but I also did a second "wash" with diluted vinegar and baking soda to help subdue the barnyard scent. That's Taylor joining in the fun.

After it was thoroughly washed and well rinsed, I let it bask in the sun to help it dry. After a few hours, I brought it in the house and finished drying it with a hairdryer on low heat. Putting it in the dryer would have just felted it. So, that wasn't an option.

Once it was dry, I pulled it apart (I'm sure there's a term for this step) and ended up with soft and fluffy fleece!

I still have half the batch to pull apart, this entire basket was used to create the (not very big) head of the doll. I'm trying to convince Taylor to help me because she's such a sensory seeking kid, I know she'd love the soft feel of it in her hands.

It was a very relaxing and therapeutic way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Even hubby was impressed at the end of it all, despite thinking I'd lost my mind when I started the whole process.

The scent lingered for a bit, but now it smells fresh and clean!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Waldorf Doll Making - Part I

I've been wanting to make a Waldorf doll for Taylor for, well...for forever, really. I love the simplicity of the dolls and everything about them. Now, there are some waldorf dolls that are very, very basic, and some that are quite well accessorized with gorgeous outfits. I've done a lot of research over the last few weeks in preparing to make a doll for Taylor.

The most well known Waldorf dolls that I've seen are Bamboletta, Natural Buddies, and Apple Treehouse. I also just came across this site last night, and in browsing through her shots in her flikr pool, I fell totally in love with her dolls!

The Waldorf dolls that I am so in love with cost upwards of $100 (with many closer to $200). These dolls are all handmade from all natural materials and a great deal of time and love go into making these dolls. So, while I'm certain that these dolls are worth every penny (and even more!) I don't have a hundred dollars to spend on a doll. What I do have, though, is the skills to make one myself! I just needed supplies and instructions. My desire to make a Waldorf doll to Taylor was reinforced and my confidence grew when I read this post. I love that she says "the best kind of doll for a child is a mama-made doll".

I bought the wool with the yellow label from Weir Crafts as well and the rest of the yarn is from Michael's. The variety of strands of yarn for the hair is really what makes my favorite Waldorf dolls so beautiful. I wish you could feel how soft these yarns are. I have a few other yarns that I might buy because they are just soooo soft. Bamboo yarn is amazing soft and so is the bamboo/silk blend. I could have spent more money on yarn than all the other supplies combined so I had to remember that part of the reason I'm making this doll is because I can't justify spending the money to buy one. The other darker wool is a merino blend that my dear friend Jen gave me when I first started knitting, given I don't have a knitting project for it (and I'm afraid my days of knitting are limited - read on), I decided it was a perfect addition to the doll's head of hair.

Taylor loves red and bright colors so I picked up some fat quarters from a local quilting store in all of Taylor's favorite colors. And of course, lots of polka-dots! I'll be making the doll's clothes with these fabrics.

I bought the yarn intending to knit a sweater for the doll. I started knitting with another kind of yarn and only finished casting on the stitches and then finished the second row, and a few hours later, I had pain and swelling in the knuckles of my index finger. Pretty certain I've developed arthritis. I've had varying degrees of pain in that finger and other joints since then. That was 2 weeks ago, now. I've got a doctor's appointment later this week to see what's going on and how to manage my pain. :( . Fortunately, I have a dear friend who I'll be swapping projects with and she's going to knit Taylor a doll sweater! Still working out what I'll be making for her little one.

In the meantime, I refuse to stop crafting, but I won't be able to craft as often. I have to do a lot of writing by hand for my hospice job, and I spend a lot of time typing and doing computer work for my work with Kids With Food Allergies, so crafting will unfortunately likely be limited to weekends. Which also probably means I won't be blogging as much :( .

A lot of time and love will go into this doll so I'll be posting about the progress. Taylor knows I'm making it for her as she fell in love with the dolls I've been looking at on-line. I decided to include her in the process of making the doll. She's quite excited about it and I am, too!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another Pattern Giveaway by Lil' Blue Boo

You all know how much I LOVE Ashley's patterns. I'm lucky enough to be one of her testers. You can see dresses I've made from her patterns, here, here, and here. I'm SO glad she's finally released her doll size dress pattern!

I've got plans and supplies to make a special doll for Taylor and I'm so happy they'll have matching dresses! I can't wait to get my hands on this pattern! If you want one, too, head over to Ashley's blog to see how to enter her giveaway and you could win the pattern for free!

And stay tuned, in the next few days I'll be posting the details about the special doll for Taylor. :)