Archive for the ‘art doll’ Category

I’ve been spending some time over the past few days making some new hand-embroidered toys.  I used all natural materials to create the toys:  wool felt, sheep wool stuffing, cotton embroidery floss, and cotton stockinette fabric.

Wool felt zebra…only 3 1/2″ tall.
I made a zebra like this one about a year or so ago that I gave away.  Made another one this weekend for my daughters who enjoy playing with dolls.  Miniature animals – whether they are stuffed, carved from wood, or glass – make their way into the girls’ play time and imagination.  
Since the zebra is for the girls, I decided to make a PDF pattern of the zebra that’s available in my shop (Harvest Moon by Hand) so anyone can make one.
Another thing I made this weekend was a doll.  The pattern is from The Birthday Book – Celebrations for Everyone by Ann Druitt.  I’ve had this book on my shelf for some time now, and just pulled it out recently for some ideas.  I was pleasantly suprised to see all the different patterns for children’s toys.
Walking Star Boy
One of the patterns is for a “walking star boy and jester.”  I started with the walking star boy since that was the first pattern and seemed a bit easier than the jester which requires a bit more sewing/embroidery work.  The doll stands about 8 inches high (with the hat).
I haven’t used stockinette fabric before, so this was my first attempt at trying to make a face and hands.  I chose not to put a face on the doll because then whoever plays with the doll can imagine what it looks like and its expression – the doll can be happy, upset, resting – whatever the girls want the doll to express – rather than having the same expression that dolls typically have when they’re purchased from a store. 
Olivia was sick all day, so she rested in bed while I sat by her and made the doll. She chose the colors of the doll’s outfit and hair; and enjoyed watching the doll-making process. By late afternoon, the doll was completed…just in time for her to hold onto as she rested.
Olivia resting with her new doll
In addition to providing comfort, the star boy provided Olivia with some entertainment while she was laying in bed.  Because the doll has a horizontal slit in the back, two fingers can be placed in the legs. In this way, the star boy can “walk” and move around which is a bit different than other dolls the girls have. 
Star boy kicking some felted acorns


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Each year, the girls look forward to decorating the home for Valentine’s Day.  Last year, I made a variety of window stars that I put on the windows.  After the holiday, I packed them away to use again this year. 

It was so easy this year to decorate the main window in the dining room.  Here’s what it looks like:

As the girls and I looked through the bin of Valentine’s Day decor, we came across the paper cuttings I did last year for each of them.  One chose red paper as the backing and the other chose pink.  We hung the paper cuttings with a couple more window stars in the living room.

Since I just put out the winter nature table scene on the dresser in the dining room about a week ago, the girls and I decided to keep it up.  So this will stay up for a little while longer (perhaps right after Valentine’s Day it will be changed to another scene).

Winter Nature Table
Since we decided to keep the winter nature table where it was, Olivia suggested putting a Valentine’s scene on the bookshelf.  The table is more craft focused rather than nature focused since the winter nature table has the nature elements (e.g., rocks, sticks, pinecone, walnut shell beeswax candles). 

Valentine’s Day Items

The display on the bookcase has hand-embroidered gnomes made from wool felt and sheep wool stuffing from sheep who use to live here.  The elf clogs are hand-embroidered and made from wool felt as well.  I made a pair for each of the girls using their favorite colors.  The wet-on-wet watercolor lanterns are made from watercolor paper, kite paper, and tissue paper.  The girls made them a few years ago.  The two cards are handmade featuring origami designs made from Japanese paper. 

The picture is of Casey who died 3 years ago on the day before Valentine’s Day.  An artist painted the picture in exchange for some of my work.  It’s been a treasured picture…and one that has been the focal point of several displays.

I like to make a few new things each year, so this is a new window star I made.  It follows a base pattern that I use for another star, but I changed things up a bit to create a new pattern.  Here it is:

I also made a couple of miniature bears from a wool sweater that I felted in the washer/dryer.  The bears are holding a paper bunting with Valentine’s Day theme paper.  The bears are available in my shop, but I’m going to make another set so the girls have something else to decorate with in future years. 

Bears (made with a felted sweater) holding a bunting

The other item I just started making are bendy dolls with wire, beads, and wool felt.  I use a length of wire and two different size beads to create a miniature human form.  The clothes are hand-embroidered onto the wire frame.  The hat needed to be hot-glued onto the bead head in order to stay…otherwise it just slips right off.

I’m doing some for my shop as well as some for home.  The girls like them because they can bend and be posed in different ways.  Here is the trio of dolls that I made this weekend:

There are still a couple of weeks until February and some more things the girls and I want to do before then that relate to the holiday….more crafts, recipes to try, and activities to do.  Next week, I’ll post some more Valentine’s Day ideas.
Family room window with winter-white stars

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Math Gnomes
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

This is a set of Waldorf-inspired math gnomes that I made for a customer for my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

The gnomes stand between 9-10” inches tall, and each is needlefelted by hand. Sometimes I use 4 barbed needles at a time and at other times only a single barbed needle (for example, when attaching the curly sheep wool to the face and body or creating the math symbols on the bodies).

Each gnome has a different math sign on the body – addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and equals. Individual gnomes and combination of gnomes can be used in combination with natural tactile elements (e.g., pebbles, gems, acorns) to make learning math more tangible.

There are many Waldorf-inspired stories using math gnomes on the internet. You may choose to use one of the stories as they are presented…or create your own stories.

The gnomes are made from sheep wool – the interior core is from cream-colored wool from sheep that I raised at Harvest Moon’s organic farm. The exterior (colored) wool is from a variety of textile artists who hand-dye sheep wool.

For a set of custom-made gnomes or other needlefelted items, please visit my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand.

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Have wanted to make this ornament now for some time. Green and purple are my favorite colors, so that’s why I chose them for the dress.

I’m going to make one for each of the girls with their favorite colors. I’m going to look for a slightly lighter shade of brown for the hands, feet, and face. I think this one was a bit too dark to show the facial features.

The felt is all 100% wool; and the ornament is stuffed with wool from sheep that I raised. The hand-embroidery features the straight stitch, blanket stitch, back stitch, French knots, and lazy-daisy stitch.

I have some hand-embroidered ornaments in different styles in my Etsy shop; and also take requests for custom work. Please contact me through my blog and/or through Etsy for more information.

Here’s the back side of the gingerbread doll ornament:

Back of Gingerbread Doll Ornament


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Winter Nature Table
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

Olivia helped set up the winter nature table. It’s a combination of handmade items that I’ve made, others have made (e.g., Soft Earth Art in New Zealand made the pretty display in the back with the two wool figures), items I’ve purchased at the local Waldorf school, and natural items that the girls and I have found on nature walks.

I like that the elements are natural – the dolls are made from felt, cotton fabric, and sheep wool (depending on which one you’re looking at).

Olivia (and sometimes Sophia) will play with the different components on the table, creating stories that change each time they visit the table.

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This is a Sandman doll that I made recently. It is made with fleece and felt and is incredibly soft to the touch.

He wants to help a young child fall asleep at home; be a travel companion in the car; or comfort someone who is sick or at a doctor or dentist appointment.

Every part of the toy is hand-embroidered – there are no loose parts. The face, stars, hands, and moon are all blanket-stitched onto the doll. The Sandman is then hand-sewn together using the blanket-stitch around all the edges.
He is stuffed with sheep wool – from sheep that I raised on my organic farm. The Sandman measures about 7 3/4″ x 4″ wide – a perfect size for small hands to hold.

The Sandman doll is availabe in my shop, Harvest Moon by Hand at http://www.harvestmoonbyhand.etsy.com.

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I made a variety of gnomes for my Etsy shop, Harvest Moon by Hand. This trio is in autumn colors, and are made from wool felt and stuffed with wool from sheep I raised.

They do not have faces because then children can use their imagination to give the gnomes “feelings” based on what they are playing.

My daughters love to have toys that are more “open ended.” I find that their play is more imaginative when the dolls or toys like these gnomes.

I also include hand-embroidered toys that I make on the nature table so the girls can play with natural elements (e.g., pinecones, stones, sticks) and the toys. It’s amazing what stories they can come up with given a few simple, natural items.

The gnomes are available through Harvest Moon by Hand at http://www.harvestmoonbyhand.etsy.com

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