Ciela, Girl of the Autumn Sky 23″ Handmade Doll by Inviting Play


We’ve come round to fall again.  The weather is turning.  The skies this time of year are mesmerizing and inspiring.  I often feel a surge of hope and happiness and inspiration and wonder just by opening the door and gazing upward.  So, under the blue blue skies of September, Ciela was born.  20160930_083730Oh she took her sweet time.

She was supposed to be complete by last Dollectable Day but then time marches on and now she lives under October Skies.

20161013_144409Ciela has the Inviting Play armature system; Buried deep inside her woolly tissue is a muscular skeletal system that allows her legs and arms and neck to bend slightly and hold gentle poses.  Although floppy at the shoulders and hips, she is very firm and feels just like a wool doll without armature.

20161014_120046Ciela has long black hair made from commercially wefted yak fiber.  She wears it down, or in braids, or in messy buns.  It grows really fast.  I can’t tell you how many times Ive had to trim her bangs!

20161013_144108I took her to a place you can look down at the Mississippi river and see the leaves turning on the bluffs.  I said, “look you can see the leaves all different colors and the cold waters of the Mississippi”.  And she said, “look at the sky”

20161013_143940I will tell you a story now.  Ciela isn’t the first sky inspired doll I’ve made.  She has a brother made several years ago now… many years ago…Cielo.  He was a boy of the autumn skies.  I’m telling you:  “there is something about how the sky looks this time of year.”  But anyway I will show you wee Cielo.  He is living example of how my dolls used to look many years ago.   Can you tell Ciela and Cielo were both made by me?

Cielo, aptly named, is a watcher of the skies. You'll often find him cloud or star gazing.
Cielo, aptly named, is a watcher of the skies. You’ll often find him cloud or star gazing.
Cielo, watcher of the skies, is an 8 inch Inviting Play Forest child. He is a traditional waldorf boy
Cielo, watcher of the skies, is an 8 inch Inviting Play child.

Back to Ciela.  She is the largest doll I make.  Very tall, quite big. “The bigger the better”, she says.

20161013_144628Ciela wears a light blue long sleeved t-shirt,  and green linen pants.  She wears striped socks, cotton undies and wooley slippers.  Her dress is another linen.  I bought this particular piece of linen to make a top for myself – but I half knew I never would.  If I did, I would have made a top like Ciela’s, something comfortable and baggy, with some asymmetrical things and wooden buttons.  Ciela also has a cozy soft woolen hand knit cap.

20161013_144313 I usually make something else for my dolls before I ship them.  I’m not sure what it will be for Ciela.  Earlier she wanted blue jeans and a warmer layer (brrrrrr its getting cold!).20161014_115526


Ciela is not a children’s toy.  She was designed to be played with by adults.

Thank you for supporting handmade dolls, doll artists, and Inviting Play.  It is only with your support, that I am able to bring these wool souls into the world.  Thank you.

Purchase Ciela Here !  A Buy Now paypal button will be added in this box at approximately 7pm Saturday Oct. 15, 2016


23″ Ciela, Girl of the Autumn Sky by Inviting Play. Ciela’s price is $850 plus shipping. Please select a shipping option (USA (adds $40) or international (adds$75)). Shipping overages exceeding $1 will be refunded.
















Jasper age 11 in wool and cotton with cardboard weapon 23″ handmade doll

After some colleagues and I completed our Minime Colaboration (May 2015), we discussed future collaborations and this idea of an all boy doll exhibit arose out of our discussions.  Boys.  we all know them, we birthed some of them either in the flesh or in our imaginations.  We love them as friends and brothers, dads, sons and lovers.
Yet as dolls, boys are more rare.  So often we have pressure to make the next pretty face, the next beautiful girl.  But what is a cherished boy if not beautiful?
And so, this exhibit is in honor of the boys we love in our dreams, imaginations, and in our homes.  My first son who is eleven, is Jasper and he was my muse for this doll.
This is a recent picture of him taken after a long day of playing outside.
 And, in fact, my son was also a co-collaborator on this project as well.  He served as the doll’s mind and thoughts and wrote his penpal a letter on parchment paper that he made himself.
He designed his sword and armor and he made them with cardboard, wood, tape, a bit of leather, and school glue and water.  There is an original dragon sketch on the chest plate that my son thought would bring dignity and courage to the look.
 In addition, and importantly, I often ask my son for advice on colors and style.  He has always been a maker from the time he was a baby and usually has a really definitive idea of what he likes and doesn’t like.  He chose the old tarp fabric I used to make the doll’s cargo shorts from several choices I was toying with.
Jasper the doll has the Inviting Play armature system; buried deep inside his woolly muscles is an armature that allows his legs and arms and neck to bend and hold gentle poses.  He is firm and feels just like a wool doll without armature.  He’s also perhaps the biggest and oldest (has the longest most mature proportions) doll that I have ever made.
 His hair is made from alpaca fiber and has been dyed in a variety of natural shades of strawberry blonde.  It is a boyish mess of curls and strands and defies the comb and brush.  Jasper likes to sweep aside the too long strands from his eyes with his hand.jasper close up
Jasper the doll is a anatomically correct made to represent a prepubescent boy.
Jasper will come with cotton boxer briefs, socks sewn from real socks that my son’s Oma knitted for him, wool and leather hiking shoes that fasten with a bit of elastic over wooden buttons, weathered cargo shorts with an overlarge collecting pocket and a loop for hanging swords, knives, or wands; a soft cotton blue t-shirt, a hand-knit hat made from soft alpaca yarn, and a couple other goodies and layers.
Jasper the doll will be for sale in the Slugs and snails Hyena Cart store on May 26, 2016 at 8:05pm Eastern time:

Chavi – a little burst of life



Chavi is a hebrew word for life.  and at a time when I was allowing myself to wallow in the appreciation for the life of a Prince; a genius who created the music that was the backdrop to my coming of age years… she popped up and came to life.


Also, I love names that end in ‘i’.


When I began on Chavi, it was rainy.  And dismal.  and cold.  and so she has long layers and a snuggly wool top.  But on the morning of her sale…


It was a sun burn your knees kind of day.

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Wearing purple of course!

Chavi sold at Dollectable on May day, 2016 and now I’m getting her ready to fly away home.  She has a sunny disposition and today she is full of antics


Nice pocket!  what do I use it for?

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never mind.

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Is this my nice soft box?


I’m cartwheeling in now!

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IP Flips are Here! Gwendolynn, Rosie, and Macy


Welcome to the first ever post where you can actually purchase a doll right here – on my website!  At the bottom of the post you’ll see 3 Inviting Play dolls available for purchase by clicking their Buy Now Buttons.  To jump straight to buy one of these dolls, click on their names:



I designed this flexible weighted small doll in late December and made the first one for a Dollectable giveaway upload on January 1st (missed it??  tune in next year for the biggest handmade doll giveaway on the planet).


I decided to make a few more with a very special purpose in mind; to finally sell my work on my own platform – my website.  Until now I’ve had to rely on third party platforms like Etsy or IndieCart to sell my work.  Now I am attempting to sell my work directly from the Inviting Play website via Paypal.  So here they are.  The IP Flips!

IP Flips are small 12″ dolls with weighted bodies and poseable limbs and necks.

20160221_110211The limbs are both sewn and string jointed for strength and flexibility and all and all these dolls have a lot of movement and pep – hence the name, IP Flips.


These particular flips have plump bodies and lovely natural mohair locks for hair.  They have a soft cotton onesie sort of t-shirt sewn on their torsos that acts as their underwear and cannot be removed.  They wear IP flippy striped cotton long socks and they each have a dress and handknitted gnome hat.

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The first IP Flip is Gwendolynn. She has tan skin, brown eyes, and dark brown almost black curls. She has a dress from a gorgeous Japanese print in double gauze cotton.  I call it a Monet dress.  And she has striped cotton socks and a handknit wool hat.

Her price is $350 plus shipping (international is $50 and domestic shipping is $20). I refund shipping overages exceeding $1.


Purchase Gwendolynn Here


12″ IP Flip Gwendolynn Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.


The second IP Flip is Rosie.  She has natural blonde locks for hair given to her by a gorgeous angora mohair goat and blue eyes.  She has a navy blue linen dress, cotton striped socks and a hand knit hat.

Her price is $350 plus $20 shipping.  I charge exact shipping and I refund overages exceeding $1


Purchase Rosie Here


12″ IP Flip Rosie Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.



The third IP Flip is Macy.  She has natural Black locks with a silvery sheen for hair given to her by a gorgeous angora mohair goat and black eyes.  She has a lovely cotton print dress, cotton striped socks and a hand knit hat.

Her price is $350 plus $20 shipping.  I charge exact shipping and I refund overages exceeding $1


Purchase Macy Here


12″ IP Flip Macy Natural Fiber Art Doll $350 plus exact shipping.



Under September Skies – Mandy


really its true.  Mandy.  She believes in the greater good. Sharing with neighbors.

inviting play many hands up

Gardens and humanity.

inviting play mandy on the grass2

She is earthy and disciplined.  She does things for the right reasons.

inviting play mandy stretching

She excels at individual sports and math.

inviting play sitting in undies

She is intrinsically kind.  Her greatest desire is a dog.  She is neat and she is an introvert.  She is working on her flexibility and her strength.

inviting play mandy core 4 wm

She is all that but you can’t hate her because she doesn’t believe that stuff about herself.  She earnestly thinks she’s regular with flaws.  And there’s something about that attitude that makes her silly and lovable.

inviting play mandy  one leg stretch

She does have freckles but they are light because she is young and because she protects her skin diligently.

inviting play mandy smart one

Mandy under September Skies

inviting play feet

inviting play Mandy on the grass


Magdi, Little boy in the world


Magdi.  A small boy – still a gentle soul – more dreamy sweet animal than boy of the world – but soon:  very very soon he will be out in the world.

meanwhile Ip room 5
catch him just waking up!

by himself.  He’ll have to fend for himself, make decisions for himself, interact by himself.

inviting play magdi sitting on a house

he’ll have to learn the difference between recess and gym and he’ll experience his first understanding of just how long a day can be.

inviting play peaking hand on tree

his gentle dreams will give way to the conventions of school, kid culture, and society.

inviting play sitting on a house profile
but for just a moment longer he is little.  He sits lost in his imagination.
He stands with purpose and plans for his next adventure.

inviting play magdi hand in pocket

Magdi stands at 15.5″ tall.  He is stuffed with wool and buried deep inside him he has a muscular skeletal system that allows him to hold his limbs and neck in poses.

meanwhile Ip room 6

He is very firm and feels heavy and solid.  He has light tan skin, deep black eyes, soft black shaggy mussy hair  made from mohair fabric and tiny ears.
He wears:
striped cotton boxer shorts style undies that can double as play shorts,
a long sleeved soft cotton palest blue t-shirt,
owl pants made from Japanese cotton with a linen pocket,
cotton socks,
a crocheted hat in shades of denim blue wool,
a wool sweater with cables hand knit by Deborah of Mini Me Woolies * (I normally make everything my dolls are dressed in but I couldn’t resist buying this snuggly sweater from Deborah to use for one of my dolls),
and hand dyed 2-tone blue leather shoes that close with an elastic loop over a leather button.

inviting play dangling feet

I made Magdi, a sweet and small and innocent boy, in honor of my own such boy, Ellis, who turns 6 tomorrow.  Together Ellis and Magdi represent all the sweet little boys who have to start a new bigger kid phase in life – their mom and me time must come to an end – their quiet playing on the carpet time will be more limited.  Sending Magdi out into the world is like sending out a little prayer hoping that as they go out into the world, they hold on to some of their dreamy, childish adventures!


inviting play magdi peaking

Magdi is not designed or intended for young children.  Please play with him if you are 8 and up.

Magdi will be for sale in the shared Dollectable shop on Tuesday September, 1, 2015.

His listing will be comment style – which means if you’d like to purchase him you enter to have your name drawn.  If more than one person enters, than the software automatically picks the buyer.  Payment is due immediately.

meanwhile back in the IP room 2

Please note: NO ANGELS /  ONE ENTRY PER HOUSEHOLD.  I’m leaving his drawing style listing up for many hours (4pm – 11pm Eastern) in hopes that if you’d like to enter to take him home, you will be awake during daylight hours for at least some portion of the drawing window.  As such, there will be no need for angels and you may only enter 1 time per household. Thank you!



Ashlynn girl at home in the woods


I made Ashlynn during the heat of the summer.  Actually, I was making several little beings and Ashlynn spoke the loudest and said: “me, first!  I promise I’ll be easy”.  And, easy she was.  inviting play ashlynn wm

After she was in one piece, stuffed with her muscular skeletal system…, she came with me to my family’s cabin in the north woods.  She is not the first doll to come along but her temperament fits right in with the ones who do.

inviting play ashlynn 7

There in the cabin she and I set up a cosey sewing nook in front of wonderful windows.  Allowing us to make her clothing while looking at dear and pileated wood peckers and children hunting forest treasures while we worked.

inviting play clothing closeup

Ashlynn did get to go out into the beauty of the forest – but only for a short controlled time.  She made the time count tho and I was able to snap lots of gorgeous photos of her.

inviting play ashlynn - how big is the box

And just like that!  she sized up her box – jumped in and was gone to the other side of the world.  Fare thee well Ashlynn!


Delia a great deal of love


Delia Delia Delia – you are my most patient girl.

inviting play Delia gdbye sweet girl

This is you before you had hair (knitted cap made by Deborah Burtnett Minner)

louise pink overalls 2

You patiently modeled for me as we tried many different clothes for you and for Dollectable


delia floral dress 1

But you knew what you wanted!

hand dyed, lined,  leather boots
hand dyed, lined, leather boots

inviting play Delia for Julie

Some denim shorts (to show off the boots) – with her play overalls hanging in the background!

inviting play delia 3



A doll gets invited to a sleepover and things are not as straightforward as they would seem


inviting play baby and jules on a stack 4

Jules is my minime.  She is approximately 15″ tall.  She isn’t me exactly and I didn’t model her after me at a certain age, but she is a representation in doll form of me throughout my childhood and to a certain extent, a representation of who I am now.

inviting play first collage

As I child, I had yellow yarn hair blonde colored hair.  My best friend used to literally use that phrase with me:  “you have yellow yarn hair”.   She’d say she could always see me coming in the sea of kids passing in the hallway at school; no one else had yellow yarn hair. Now, I have dishwater blonde hair that blends in unoticeably but we won’t dwell on that.  I didn’t have uniformly curly hair and I certainly didn’t have smooth straight hair so I chose brushed mohair wig for Jules’ hair to represent the kind of poofy uneven unsmooth hair of my childhood.

inviting play overalls collage

Now let’s talk about Jules’ overalls. I love overalls.  I loved the ones my mom made for me as a kid and I put them on my own kids every chance I got.  I chose to make Jules’ some red ones because I really don’t think there is a better color for overalls?  Jules’ overalls are made from Japanese double gauze fabric which has a whimsical pink star print on them.  They fasten in the back with one carved button.  She wears them over a soft striped t-shirt in organic cotton.

inviting play me with dollsThere is no way I could send Jules on her way without a doll.  I loved baby dolls as a super young child and as an almost too old child.  I wanted them to look like babies; the bigger the better.  I had very little interest in doll clothes or fancy doll accessories – all my baby dolls needed were their diapers and receiving blankets. So Jules has a baby doll of course.  I made the baby in the IP Fix style which is a weighted floppy style and the doll has sparse babyish mohair fabric for hair and wears just a diaper and cap (please note:  this baby is not suitable as a real baby doll for actual children as it has a pin for a diaper closure and is weighted with small parts) . In the photo above, I’m about about 10 and on a family camping trip.  The baby doll is wearing a real baby nightgown.

inviting play sleeper collageJules comes with some cozy cotton footed pajamas.  Except for the three months of summer, I pretty much always slept in pajamas like these as did my siblings and cousins and all the kids of my childhood.  Did you?  When we ran dragging our feet on the wall-to-wall carpet we’d send up sparks from the static electricity in the dry winter evenings.

inviting play blanket collage I was a blanket baby and a blanket kid and I may have even brought it to college with me as well.  It was made by a great aunt of mine and it was thin and cool to the touch; smooth cotton sheeting material with very little batting. The one I made for Jules isn’t quite the same but the pattern and colors are reminiscent.  She can use it as a sleeping bag or a security item – it will make her feel cozy and safe.  The lady reading to me is my maternal grandmother.

inviting play grey sweater 8In this photo you can see Jules wears a cozy, soft grey hooded sweater.  I didn’t have an exactly similar one, but throughout my life I’ve worn some version of this comfort item.  I had a hooded sweatershirt with muff pockets as a kid that I wore on camping trips as a layer to ward of mosquitoes.  I can still conjure up the smokey smell from the campfires.  As a mom, I essentially live in grey sweaters in the 8 months of winter.  I made Jules sweater from an upcycled lambs wool sweater and it pulls over her head without closures.

inviting play shoes2

Full disclosure, I did not have shoes like this as a child.  Nothing I had resembled these.  But the spotted corduroy fabric they are made from makes me happy and is among my all time favorite fabric – so it seemed fitting for my minime to wear these shoes and I’m sure she loves them.

inviting play nose to nose bestAnd now just a few thoughts about this collaboration:  I was surprised to find this project to be very very challenging!  I found it very complicated to make a doll to represent myself while maintaining my brand and style of Inviting Play doll.  The question was, how do I make a doll in the same manner and style as the other dolls I make and sell but still distinguish the doll so as to have  the very flawed and human characteristics of myself?  And then, how do I make this doll appealing?  Few of the dolls I make exhibit beauty over other appealing factors but I do always attempt to make appealing dolls.  but how can I make an appealing doll of myself?  Moreover, how can I send this doll out to a party with the beautiful minime’s of seven talented and BEAUTIFUL doll makers?  A lot of insecurities arose in this process and a lot of self examination.
I’m fond of Jules.  I hope she carries with her the good parts of my spirit. She is currently at a sleepover with 7 other minime dolls made by other independent doll makers.  (

inviting play jules3

Jules and her baby and her clothes, blanket and pillow shown in these photos will be for sale via 1 hour auction on Sunday June 21, 2015 at 4pm Eastern.  (3pm Minnesota time).  The other dolls at the sleep over will be auctioned at different times the same day :

To see the photos Megan McGinnis of Mon Petite Frere Dolls took of their sleepover please see and following links to the other doll maker’s pages.