I never had a true appreciation for them until I became an adult & started making dolls for family members--topsy-turvy girls, cats, dogs, rabbits, some even with paper mache heads. There were some simply dressed and others in fancy fashions.
A recent flea market visit in McKinney, introduced us to a curious doll maker. Julie Miller, creator of Polka Dot Pig Primitives, reminded me of my love of the handcrafted doll. Prompted by friends, I purchased a doll for myself. It brought back those wonderful childhood memories that will never escape me. It's not just the doll, it is what they make you feel.
Yesterday, my next door neighbor's 8 year old granddaughter, Lou Lou, rang my studio doorbell. There she stood with her tablet under her arm, anxious to show me a doll she had found on a YouTube Channel. The doll she showed me was not the doll she wanted -- she wanted us to make her own version of that doll. She told me that she wanted a "mellow" looking doll.
For the last four years, her summer vacations have been spent learning the art of sewing. I bought Lou Lou her own sewing machine two years ago, so she could continue "working" at home.
This was the first year she came to my door with a specific project in mind. How do you turn that down? After viewing her online doll, I showed her my recently purchased doll. Her reaction was the same as mine -- love at first sight. Now I had a reason to make dolls! Somehow, I couldn't do it for myself. I needed an 8 year old push to light that spark again.
From the time we looked on YouTube to her bandanna getting ponytails, it took only an hour. We wanted it really bad; and I don't know who wanted it most! We were in little girl heaven . . .
I drew a pattern that we both agreed on, used scraps of cotton for her body and chose perfectly mismatched buttons for eyes. Being bald is one thing, being naked is another. I remembered I had recently bought black bean tamales from Texas Tamale Company and had saved their little tamale bag. Lou Lou was over the moon for the tamale sack dress idea. We cut slits for the arms and the bottom of the sack for the hem. But what to do about hair. Lou Lou did not want yarn and the hair store was closed. So I pulled a little calico scrap from my studio trash, cut a triangle and tied it to her little head. It wasn't quite right yet. I went to my trim box, snipped off two tassels from a fringe trim and sewed ponytails to her tiny scarf. We used pearlized pins as earrings which also held her scarf on her head.
I believe the look on Lou Lou's face was the same as mine when I bought my doll. I can relate to that exact feeling of "doll love". I hope all girls have felt that feeling -- it is indescribable.