Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ABC Wednesday---D Is For Dolls

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt's Place.

These lovely little ladies are my babies...no...I take that back...WERE my babies! As you may or may not know I spent a few years creating little projects like this and selling them at local art fairs. I've found that peace for my soul can most often be obtained when I am creating. So what's so special about them? They're just DOLLS! Oh...if I had only known the secrets that these "just Dolls" were hiding...

I started my business making pillows...and truth be told that's where my heart lies...I get so much joy out of creating those silly pillows! I've dabbled in many other things...jewelry...gift bags...personalized Christmas ornaments...holiday decorations...gingerbread swags...wall hangings...gift boxes...samplers...Dolls...and on and on and on. I can't remember when they started speaking to me...other than it was before they even existed! I DO remember sitting at my dining room table...in our cramped little condo...and thinking, "I need to come up with something in an upper price range." That was a valid thought. Every item I had made and sold thus far had been priced at less than $20. As I sat there lost in thought, my eyes settled on one of my Ragamuffins. Again, I don't know how many I had at that time, but they've also done their share of whispering to me over the years. Ragamuffins are a very special line of cloth dolls designed and created by my very special friend Carol from Rose Creek Cottage. At one point I lined all of them up on my stairs and took a "class picture" for her...but I digress.

Where was I...ah yes...my eyes fell upon one of my Ragamuffins and I immediately said, "I know! I'll make Dolls!" Oooooohhhhh...if you only knew how BRAVE that thought was. I grew up in a home where creativity wasn't exactly welcome. Anything other than the norm set by the household was more or less ignored. I had come to the conclusion looooong before that day that I was not creative and couldn't possibly learn to sew let alone make any money at it...and yet I did. So it was decided. I'm going to make Dolls! Because, hey! Carol makes Dolls! I'll make Dolls.

Taking a GIANT leap of faith I took one of Carol's Ragamuffins, and two other cloth Dolls that had been given to me for gifts, and stripped them. I didn't take any of them apart...although I thought about it! ") I studied the way they were constructed, decided on which features I liked from all three of them and made a pattern for the body. I don't know how many I made...maybe 35? 40? Once the bodies were finished I stripped those other Dolls again and started looking at how the clothes were made. Remember...no previous experience with anything like this save two years of Home Ec. in Junior High. It took me forever. The bloomers almost did me in! I couldn't figure those things out to save my life! LOL But eventually I got the hang of it and the girls found themselves clothed in yards of pretty calicos...and bloomers of course! The hair was fun...all manner of different colors and styles...some with hats...some without...a pretty lace collar here and there...and then the faces. I sweated over those forEVER. I was sure I couldn't draw...practiced on paper for months...but if you've ever drawn on fabric you know it certainly is different from drawing on paper. I finally bit the bullet and started drawing. I don't know about you, but I was pleased. ;) You can't imagine the sense of accomplishment I felt. I had done something that I never considered possible for myself...and had somehow managed to satisfy my insanely ridiculous standards of perfection. Lesson learned? I CAN do anything I set my mind to.

Those Dolls have made many a trip in their blue, 18 gallon Rubbermaid tub. I've sold some...nothing major...some have been given as gifts. But I could never force myself to make any more of them. As gratifying as the journey was making them? I found I just didn't enjoy it. Lesson learned? Just because your friend is successful at something, doesn't mean you'll be...DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

And so, recently, I pulled those Dolls out of storage, gave them each their own personal, private photo shoot, and put them up for sale on etsy. Around the same time I was doing this, I had the distinct pleasure of introducing Carol to my daughters. Hope, who doesn't even LIKE Dolls, thought it was the most awesomely cool thing that Mama's friend "Cawol" made Dolls...and Claire? Claire is her Mama's daughter...she loves Dolls. I pulled two of my smaller Ragamuffins from their shelves and put one in each of the girls' rooms. As I was doing that...I'll be darned if those two bright eyed little cuties didn't whisper to me, "Hey...I bet Hope and Claire would like a Doll that YOU created too." So, I chose 6 or so for Hope to pick from and asked her if she would like a doll that her Mama had made. "YEAH!!!!" I laid them on her bed and she immediately pointed at the dark haired beauty in the red and cream toile. "I want THAT one Mama! She looks just like the pillow in your chair!" She's right. The fabric for her dress was left over from the pillows I made for our wing chairs. For Claire, I narrowed the choices a bit and placed two of them in front of her. She snatched the blue eyed girl with the panda at her neck. "MAMA!!!!" was all she said. Lesson learned? Those Dolls were made for a reason. Because some day...almost 10 years in the future...two precious little girls would chose one for themselves...that reminded them...of their Mama.

By the way...Claire refused to pose with her doll for a picture today. Hey...she is a diva...she has that right!

There are a few more of those dandy little Dolls waiting for their photo shoot after which they will be making their etsy debut as well. You can visit them...along with some of my other handiwork, by clicking the link to my etsy shop at the top right!

Be blessed y'all...and always be open all the wonderful lessons that are placed in front of you!



P.S. I'll bet there's a couple of you that thought I was going to blog about something else for *D*...didn't you? Nope...guess again...maybe when we get to...oh...say...*V*? ; )

9 comments:

nonizamboni said...

What a fun post! Thanks for sharing the story of your dolls' beginnings and the sweet photos.
Happy Wednesday.
p.s. Yes, blogging IS cheaper than therapy in the long run!

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Your dollies, both flesh & blood and stuffed, are darling. Lovely "D" post.

Kat said...

Aww. That is so sweet. You were destined to make those dolls! I love it! What a great story. :)

Reader Wil said...

Wonderful story about your wonderful dolls. You've got a lovely beautiful daughter..I am sure your children love the dolls.

Tumblewords: said...

How lovely - dolls are surely a great part of heritage. Nice post!

Carolina said...

Lovely Mel, great story! Took a look at the Etsy sight, saw the 'Guests'-pillow you mentioned recently! Haha, great one. Loved the 'Out of my mind'-one too. And your Santa Claus christmas decoration...big smile! (oh and I love Hope's pink camouflage trousers ;))

Jay said...

What a sweet story! I'm glad you gave your girls a doll each - they could well become family heirlooms, handed down to their own daughters. 'The doll that your Grandma made for me when I was your age', perhaps?

Now I have to go and find out what the other 'D' might have been. :)

Mel said...

Thanks to all of you for your sweet words!

And Jay? Good luck on your quest...I will tell you it's not the same as *your* D. ;)

pictureeachday said...

Ah, beautiful! I am so sad that I missed ABC Wednesday last week! There's something so special about a doll handmade by someone close to you. I'm sure your daughters will keep them someplace special forever--I know I have with a doll that family member made for me when I was a baby.

And, I looked at the Fiesta dishes for quite a while too before I ended up buying the ones I did. I think they and the Fiesta ones are in a very similar spirit :)

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