I just couldn't come up with a better title. Sorry. My head is foggy today, after I got to open a wonderful box with this little sweetie inside. It is an Anili doll, given to me by a friend who collects dolls since she was a little girl. When I started making dolls I had zero clue about dolls and what not, but little by little I have been learning about doll history, and different makers and companies, and also styles and different types of dollmaking. In this case, Anili was the daughter of the maker of Lenci dolls, and like her mother, she made dolls with felt as her medium and pressed faces. Their main characteristic being the side-ways look, which to me is so funny to see.
Over the years people have asked me many times if I am a collector of dolls, since I am a dollmaker I guess people assume I am up to my neck in dolls too. But I am not. Funny thing is that as much as I love creating these intriguing creatures, I do not feel the need to have them around me, it is more a need to create them. And even though I always gravitate to anything doll-related or toy-related when at an antique market, or book store, or museum, I still don't feel that urge, you know? I admire the work of my colleagues, but I am more drawn to surround myself with antique laces, beautiful fabrics and wools, and books and needle cases than with the "finished objects". Well, I guess my friends seem to think quite the opposite, because over the last few years I have received wonderful, if not, truly magical presents from them. The Anili doll being the last one of the lot. So I guess, in a way, now I am being turned into the unwilling collector. I have sort of a rule in my house, and that is that all objects must have a purpose, and since I have small children I suppose I will have these dolls available to them (to an extent) and they will be played with, and more likely than not, they will bear some signs of wear and tear very soon. As most dolls do.
This little mexican doll is made of porcelain or something like that, I am actually not sure. She is jointed and she sits and stands all by herself. She has the most endearing painted face and such tiny clothes and braids. I love her. She sits on my window, atop my cutting table, and every now and then I bring her down and we look at her knickers and play with her joints. My daughters are very jealous that this doll doesn't get to be played with in the play room but I am slightly terrified someone is going to step on her. This was given to me for my birthday by another dear friend, who has some of my dolls in her home, and has to be one of the most giving people on Earth. Seriously, she is constantly sending me love packages: cocoa and marshmallows, recipes, books, aprons, Easter and Halloween treats for my girls, stickers (always!), tea, a beautiful pincushion...and the list goes on. I have lost count already of all the wonderful packages she has sent me over the years, a person I have never met in real life, but who continually showers me with her love and kindness. Debby, you are one in a million! I always get such a kick of opening the packages she sends because there is always a photographic journey of some kind, and I get to see all the adventures that her dolls have at her house. She actually made me a waldorf-inspired doll, but my daughters claimed her immediately and they refused to let me take photos of her today...the poor thing was covered in sweaters and apparently was sick and unavailable.
And let's not forget Kate, a beautiful Moonchild doll made by my friend Barrie Hamby and given to me by my dear friend Cathy Carmichael, the maker of Pink Petunia Cottage dolls. I was lamenting my doll-less fate many moons ago, and then suddenly a box appeared at my door step, and my husband said :"he has never seen me jump so high". Giggle. I guess having my very own waldorf doll, when I had been making them for three years and never actually had one in my hands, was quite the experience for me. Kate has obviously joined the gang of dolls, made by me, and she rotates between the beds of my children, but mostly the littlest one claims her as her side kick. Kate likes to hang out in her underwear and is quite the tomboy little devil. We try to keep her clean, but she is is just too busy for us.
Now, as if all this wasn't enough bragging for one post today, I have to tell you that I also recently (in December) got these two beautiful books. The Princess book was given to me by my dear and super talented colleague Melinda Themerau, the wonderful and talented dollmaker of Les Poupées du Bois. We were talking about my Story Time collection, and she mentioned to me that there were other kind of less-known princesses in this world, and before I knew it, this book landed on my lap. I highly recommend it. Aren't I lucky?
And this little booklet of doll clothes patterns, it is just so flippin' cute. Although I do not read polish, it is now quite easy for me to assemble a dress or outfit, especially if I have all the pattern pieces. I have a hate-on for patterns, and it stems from the fact that I am too antsy and can't be bothered reading instructions, so this book fits the bill. I couldn't read it, even if I wanted to. It was given to me by my dear friend and wonderful dollmaker, Agnieszka Nowak, the mastermind behind Lalinda. Agnes and I admire each other quite much, and we usually chat over our dolls on our flickr photostreams. She is extremely creative, and it is a treat for me to see what she is always coming up with. Agnes thought that I would love to see the illustrations in this little booklet and she was kind enough to send it my way, and she was oh! so right! I love it. Who wouldn't?
Now, I will stop blabbing about all the wonderful treats I have been getting in the mail, and get to work on some antsy dolls over here. I loaded a few clothes into the shop, but by the time I was done writing this post they were all gone. So no time to even let you know about them. I am finding less and less time to sew clothes for individual sale, so this might be it for a while. I am shifting my eyes now to the dolls that I will have available for sale in a week or two, and a few other treats I am preparing for you too.
I promised to have the pattern for the little heart-warmer that Little Miss Matches was wearing, and I am happy to announce that a brave soul volunteered to test the pattern for me. She knit it with her eyes closed I believe and has already given me the hundreds of corrections I need to make before I go ahead and publish the darn thing. Thank you Winter, you are a life-saver!. A master knitter, who concocts the most complicated stranded knitting while "on a break", and a creative and unique dollmaker and storyteller to boot, who happens to have a penchant for testing knitting patterns of less-advanced budding designers. Have I mentioned how lucky I am? If you are in need of some ready patterns, I urge you to visit her store so you can get some knitting inspiration and guidance. For now, I will retire to make all those corrections, and I will be updating the store over the weekend with this new knitting tidbit of love, which I named Corazon. Ravelry will probably take me longer, I always forget about Ravelry!. I better go now, the dolls are starting to riot!