End of the Doll Drought?

 

Lots of Lavendilly Dolls were born here a few years ago – and then my third child was born and all my energies went into her magical presence, along with her brother and sister. I was asked a few weeks ago if I could make a doll for a special little girl and I thought, “Hooray! It’s time for another Lavendilly Baby!”

 

Here she is. Sewing with a two-year-old is not necessarily a very productive experience! My little cheeky bubba ensured I made her a new doll of her own by smearing the first one with a bit something – so that has become hers and I had to start again to finish this little dolly, keeping her up high out of tempting reach for little arms when I wasn’t working on her. And then only working on her when my toddler was asleep, which was difficult as we keep the same hours these days. I don’t think I’ll be making many new dollies before Christmas, but I did enjoy bringing this one into the world. I love the bright colours of her clothes – all recycled fabric that I kept for something special like this. Her hair is soft fluffy mohair and her fringe doesn’t want to behave, but who’s hair does what it is supposed to do? She’s keeping it real. All the same, she will probably get another little trim before it is time to go 🙂

Welcome little one. What is your name?

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The Essence of the Simple Doll

This is Lavender Baby. Lavender Baby was lovingly created by the staff at my daughters’ kindergarten, intended to be a friend who journeys between home and kindy with each of the children in the group. This week it was my daughter’s turn to bring Lavender Baby home, and Rosella received her with the pure joy and delight that one can only express in childhood, and has cared for her as tenderly as a mother can. It did get a bit tricky in the beginning – having Lavender Baby at Lavendilly House. It was very easy to get mixed up and start calling her Lavendilly Baby 🙂

She has been shown all around our house, has been hugged, sung to (all new, original lullabies by Rosella!), tucked in and put to sleep many times a day. She’s been to playgroup, soccer practice, school and the supermarket – tucked into the sling – and she has been safely buckled into the car many times. She has listened with enraptured silence to an endless stream of stories and succumbed to an overwhelming amount of attentive mothering. I am so glad to have had Lavender visit this week, her arrival has been perfect timing. Rosella had been feeling a little low recently, but Lavender, a most special friend, has really brought her cheerful, playful spirit back.

Lavender Baby LOVED jumping upside down on the trampoline

Lavender Baby has been made in the style of traditional Waldorf dolls: simple and uncomplicated. She sparked my thoughts again regarding the destiny and purpose of a doll. I’ve written a little about it before, however for some time I’ve wanted to write about the essence of the simple doll. Rosella’s thoughtful kindy teachers intentionally created her to be neutral. Her expression doesn’t betray her own feelings, but reflects those of the one she is with. We are referring to Lavender as ‘she’, because that is how Rosella has identified with her, however Lavender doesn’t mind being a ‘he’ either. That’s the beauty of the simple doll. They are so agreeable, so ready to be whoever you need them to be. Always there to be a mirror to your soul to help you experience your feelings from outside of you. How many toys these days are created to be a part of that flexible and responsive process of growth and learning?

Every child needs at least one uncomplicated, neutral friend. This was the original intention behind the Waldorf doll-making movement.  Dolls were made to be available to a child without making a statement about what that child’s hair or clothing should look like, what they should say, or what they should do. Lavender Baby is dressed head to toe in soft purple velour (comfort is important!) and she doesn’t have to worry about fashion or how her hair is arranged. She’s just there as she is for whoever needs her. Now, I’m not making a comment on whether it is right to have waldorf dolls with fashionable hair and clothes – I’ve made a few of those for sale myself – but I also do not believe that such dolls are as readily open and available to the child’s spirit in the same way as the simple doll.

The waldorf doll market can be an expensive, competitive and consumer-based place, but at the same time it is still one worth a visit just to admire the exquisite work, from an adult perspective, put into many of these dolls. There are many beautiful dolls looking for a child to befriend. I just invite you to be conscious of your reason for purchasing. Of course you could make one yourself (it ISN’T hard!) Any time you want to buy or make a toy for your child I encourage you to ask: What is the essence of this toy? What need does this toy fulfill for my child? Will it serve my child’s inner world (growth, feelings, thoughts) or my child’s outer world (image, fashion)? Will it grow with my child as my child grows?

We made Lavender Baby a pair of overalls to keep her clean when she played outside.

Of course I know that it is fun just to buy stuff just because you want it, and I think this is less of a problem in terms of consumerism when our real needs (for example, our basic needs for health, acceptance, creativity, expression etc) are already fulfilled.  This place of security allows us to then make good (and fun!) choices based on what we want, without being consumed by the need to have more. My good friend, parenting writer Amber Greene, recently drew my attention to this article: The Boy With No Toys. It is a great illustration of how simple playthings empower our children.

The fresh abundance of joy, freedom, love and imagination that our unassuming Lavender Baby has released in Rosella has made me very aware of how much the simple things fulfill our needs faster than the fancy things can fulfill our wants. Lavender Baby, thank you for bringing us all some simple joy!

Making Waldorf Dolls: the Inner Head

These instructions are basic to make any Waldorf doll, however they have been written for you to use specifically with your Lavendilly Doll Kit. The photos were taken by my friend from Mama JoiedeVivre. I always start with the head when I begin a doll. It takes the most amount of work, so anything after this feels super easy! Not that making the head is challenging, but it takes time and patience. The doll head keeps its shape for a lot longer the firmer you make it. So don’t be afraid to roll that fleece into the tightest ball you can! Over time the fleece felts (with all the cuddling the doll gets!), which compacts and shrinks the stuffing, so to reduce the risk of the head and face changing shape then it is good to have it nice and firm to begin with.
INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE THE INNER HEAD
Take the fleece for the head and begin rolling it very tightly into a ball. It must be very tight and should not have much ‘give’ in it when you squeeze it. It is important to have a very firm foundation for the head so that it will hold its shape well when we begin the process of shaping the head.
If you have a felting needle, you can use this to hold the fleece in place, and to make the ball a bit firmer on the outside too. This step is not essential, but does make it easier.

When you are certain that the ball you have rolled is firm enough then take two lengths of fleece, long enough that about 10cm hangs down when you drape it over the ball. Cover the ball with these two lengths of fleece, crossed over each other.
      Now pull over the ‘Inner Head’. This is the tubular bandage or 2nd head piece that you have in the kit (it may be a different colour or made with re-claimed fabric). It is sewn at one end.  Make sure it is turned right-side out, with the stitching in the inside. Now gently ease this over your fleece-covered ball.
Open up the fleece you wrapped over the head and stuff inside this space very firmly with more fleece. This will make up the neck and chest and it is really important to have this section very firmly stuffed so that the head of your doll will not wobble when it is finished.
Now take a length of the linen thread and tie the neck, just under where you can feel the ball of fleece you made first. This tie should be pretty tight, but you should also feel firmness in the neck. If you think the neck will be wobbly, add more fleece now. Better to have more fleece than not enough. You still want to have a clear definition of the ball for the head, though; otherwise your  doll will have a thick neck and no chin!
Now you can sew up the bottom of the inner head to stop your fleece escaping while you continue working. Fold the edges over each other and use any stitch you like to hold them in place. The stitching does not have to be pretty, but it should hold the fabric neatly and without too many lumpy bits.

Jundi Lavendilly goes bush

This is Jundi Lavendilly. She was born here in the bushland of Bonogin, and feels so connected to this land. However, as it happens to all of us, she is ready to leave her bush home and go walkabout with some new friends … we must say goodbye to our loved ones at some stage, eventually …

Jundi’s name connects her to her place of birth: it means ‘true’ in the language of the Yugambeh community of the Gold Coast. She is also connected to the land with her amber necklace – authentic prehistoric amber beads to affirm the life sense and bring balance and radiant good health.

You can find Jundi at ETSY and read a bit more about her at Lavendilly House. You can also visit Lavendilly House to find out how to make your own doll with an easy Lavendilly Doll kit.

 

 

 

 

The new face of Lavendilly Fibre Arts

I’ve spent the whole day slogging it out in blog-land today … and although it is certainly not my favourite past time I am happy with the results!

Please go and have a look at my ‘new-look’ Lavendilly Fibre Arts Blog.

I have added Pay-Pal buttons to the site to make it easier to book your place in my felting and doll-making workshops.

I am wondering how to transfer my fleece sales to this blog too … there must be a way!

In the meantime fleece is still available for sale at Lavendilly Fibre Arts Shop.

A new little baby

This little one has gone to market with Melissa.

This one nearly made it to the markets with Melissa.

Forgive the nakedness … but I love a naked baby 🙂

And so now this little babe needs a new home … Although I fear perhaps the parting will be challenging …

Can you give this baby a new home? For an $80 adoption fee, this little one could come to you – and you will not only have a new little one to love, but also have the satisfaction of having helped Ayla’s Rainbow Foundation, because I will be donating the total ‘adpotion fee’.

Rest assured I will make sure this little baby is fully clothed before the adoption 🙂

Use the Contact form on this website if you are interested.

Updated Workshops Page

Hello friends,

I have updated the Workshops and Celebrant listing on this website, please take moment to have a look at what I have to offer in 2010.

I no longer run scheduled workshops, but will happily arrange singular or group workshops and felting parties for anyone who is interested in learning the art of felt-making and waldorf doll-making. All you need to do is contact me via the CONTACT button at the top of this website.

Blessings to you for a peaceful and prosperous 2010,

Jennifer

Doll Making Fundraisers

If you are looking for a fundraiser idea for your kindy or community group, I would be pleased to teach doll-making to help you raise funds!

$10 deposit from each doll made will go to your organisation, and the demonstration doll that is made will be donated to your organisation for a raffle.

Limbed Dolls(large): $80

Limbed Dolls (medium):$60

Limbed Dolls (small): $40

Dolls for Babies: $40

Costs include all materials except yarn for hair, and dolls clothes (although patterns for clothing are provided)

Choice of pale or dark skin tones available.

For ease of preparation and teaching I will make only one type of doll per fundraiser.

Evening and weekend workshops are available.

Please contact me via this website or on 0401442455 for bookings.

Jennifer

Doll Making Workshops in February

I’m offering more doll-making at Lavendilly House in February 2010.

Classes will be held in Nerang (Gold Coast) over three or four Wednesday mornings, 9:30 – 12:00, starting the first Wednesday in February.

Cost for Doll Workshop are $80 to make a large – sized child or baby doll. The cost includes all materials except yarn for hair, and doll clothing, although I am happy to provide simple patterns for clothes. This is an excellent price, as these dolls retail for around $120 – $160!!

It is easier (and faster) to make the dolls in a child-free environment. Please try to arrange child care for thes session. If you cannot, then contact me and we will see if we can arrange an evening workshop.

I require $10 to book your position in the workshop, with the remainder payable on the first day. The deposit for each doll will be sent directly to Ayla’s Rainbow Foundation, as will the demonstration doll, which can then be sold or raffled to raise funds for this worthwhile cause.

Places are limited so please use the Contact button at the top of this blog to book your place in the workshop.

If you would like to commission a special doll for a loved one, please also contact me and we can discuss how your doll will look. It would be a pleasure to make such a special gift for you. Commissions for large dolls begin at $100.

Jennifer

Meet Sally

As I have patiently waited out a period of illness, I have still been busy! I have piles of layed-out felt ready for the time when I have enough breath to roll them, but in the meantime I am sitting quietly and working with my hands.

And here is a little person who emerged in this space of quietness and stillness: meet Sally.

I wish Sally could stay and play with us at Lavendilly House, but she is off for grand adventures at Finger Prints Children’s Centre as I am donating her to the kindy for a raffle to find a new home with a loving family, or for a classroom doll … or for wherever Sally feels she will be of most use.

I had fun making her clothes, although you can tell I was so eager to take her picture that I haven’t ironed them yet. She even has a pair of undies on under her jeans, and I wish I had a cute top like that one. She needs some shoes, and a little knapsack to keep some treasures in. Perhaps that will be tomorrow’s task.

I am still trying to work out how to make these dolls without such a great volume of hair. Sally’s has some lovely mohair mixed through it which was very thin and soft.

Thank you for keeping me company Sally!