Lavendilly Dolls: A Faerie in my Garden

There is a faerie playing in my garden. I spotted her yesterday with her hair flowing free … She had nothing on so perhaps she’d been for a swim in the river. I invited her in to dry off and rest.

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This morning she was gone from my house but I spotted her again … saying hello to my flowers …

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… playing in our trees …

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… flying freely and happily over the lawns and down to the river …

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She said she isn’t staying long. Just a stop over before she heads up to bring some sunshine, warmth and playfulness to the mountains …

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Lavendilly Dolls: Zanna

IMG_3551Ask any doll maker and they will tell you that their dolls definitely each form a character and identity of their own. It’s true! Very often a doll will start ‘speaking’ with me as soon as I begin to sew their pieces together. By the time their body is complete I can barely stop their chatter.

You should have seen me with Zanna, choosing fabric for her clothing. She was sitting in a chair nearby, wearing some borrowed dolls clothes and I had fabrics spread all over the floor around me. The choices I was leaning towards (funky patterns, bright colours) were not at all what she ended up with. There she was, leaning back in her chair laughing at the girly fabrics I kept putting out and willing my hand to keep going back to the plain green and the plain purple.

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This was not a doll for whimsical frills and flounces. Her clothes have purpose and immediately defined her character. This is a doll who needed to be dressed practically for action. She’s fun too – she has a real sense of adventure and is prepared to take a risk. She has lace, yes … but very purposefully made into an apron pocket to keep her magic treasures and herbs in. The crochet hem on her pants is old and handmade by women in my family (yes, I have kept some for myself!). It felt right to share it, and it added to the healing qualities I kept feeling from her.

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Zanna feels to me like a healing companion. She wanted to be a connection between earth and daily living. When I made her medicine pouch and gave it to her, everything about her changed. She felt happy, like I understood her.

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Ha! I know what you are thinking. I do connect to every doll I make, but not usually as deeply as I have with Zanna. She is going on a long journey to England soon, I feel sure that this connection to earth magik that has been part of her becoming will be helpful to the little girl she is going to journey overseas with.

Her embroidered tunic has my  blessings stitched over her heart, and her amber necklace is added protection also, and will also be available as a bracelet for when Zanna’s new mother grows older. This is one powerful girl!

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Lavendilly Doll: Stawberry Baby

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Meet Strawberry Baby. Strawberry Baby is our new Lavendilly Sunshine Playgroup friend and is going to visit all the children’s homes and play with them, each in their turn. We can’t wait to hear about the fun everyone has together! Until then Strawberry Baby can have lots of playing at Lavendilly House.

Strawberry Baby is neither boy or girl, like Lavender Baby from my daughter’s kindy, Finger Prints. This means that any child can enjoy the company of our new friend. Lavender Baby became such a special part of the kindy experience and I think Strawberry Baby will be too.

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Strawberry Baby began life as Red Baby. Red Baby is about 13 years old at least. Possibly more. Red Baby was made by Valerie, the Facilitator at Silkwood School, who taught all the staff how to make dolls while I was a teacher at Silkwood. I learned how to make dolls from Valerie and I’ve been holding on to Red Baby for years because of this connection. Red Baby was one of the original dolls at Silkwood and she came home for repairs. A few repairs later, she was still here at Lavendilly House, well-loved by my own children. Red Baby’s hand fell off again and has been waiting in my sewing room for repairs for some time … and this week I walked in there determined to repair as much as I could before packing up my sewing room. Red Baby was first and I got rather distracted, so all the other things needing repairs are still there.

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Red Baby’s face had chalk on it that hadn’t washed out, an eye was loose and the hair was all felted after years of play and cuddles. So fresh skin, bright new eyes and a trip to the hairdressers brightened Red Baby up quite a bit. New skin to cover the hands too so that Red Baby was all clean and happy again. But Red Baby didn’t look like Red Baby any more, even though the hair was the same colour and style. Red Baby wanted a green beanie and then started to look like a strawberry, and so Strawberry Baby was born.

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Strawberry Baby loves the bright red strawberries on the green belt, and little strawberry flowers are sprouting from hat and red tunic. Strawberry Baby immediately went outside to enjoy the sunshine and start some brand new adventures.

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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!

Little Sunni Chalahn – Facebook Giveaway

I am calling her Sunni Chalahn. Chalahn means rainbow in the language of the Wangeriburra, which is the language group of the local Yugumbeh region that I live in. I called her that because I am hoping to see both the sun AND a rainbow soon because all we’ve had is rain rain rain for the last few days. Not just sprinkles. Steady, unrelenting rain.

Today the water in our local area rose so much that Mudgeeraba has just about disappeared under a lake of flowing brown water. It’s very exciting and it is tempting to go and have a look, which is not really advised in crazy weather, but having said that we did have a sneak peak at our local creek.  This road is now cut off at both ends. Lucky for us these creeks empty as quickly as they overflow. Today my plans were to take the kids to GOMA (the Gallery of Modern Art) in Brisbane but it just didn’t feel like a good idea when I learned that at least three roads between our house and the M1 were closed due to flooding.

So today was a home day, which meant Leggo, stories, fixing up some dry space for my poor sodden chickens – and finishing the crochet on Sunni Chalahn’s dress whilst thinking sunny thoughts. The sun hasn’t come out, but the rain has stopped finally, although it doesn’t sound like it because the gully below my house, usually dry, is roaring with the volume of water rushing through it.

Bach to Sunni Chalahn though – she is this week’s giveaway at Lavendilly House on facebook. She’s pretty excited about it. You can enter too, if you want to take her home. This is what you do:

1) LIKE Lavendilly House on Facebook

2) Comment or put your name under the photo album featuring Sunni Chalahn

3) Share her photo album on your facebook page and ask your friend to Like Lavendilly House because you get another entry every time someone says you referred them 🙂

You have until Monday 30th january, 8am to enter – and then I will announce who Sunni Chalahn’s new family will be.

Good luck!

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.