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?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lt3IOdDE5iA
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:  http://hyenacart.com/penpals2016/st/8306/93867/Jasper-age-11-in-wool-and-cotton-with-cardboard-weapon-

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!


Nina Nina bo bina and where I am right now


I have just finished working on Nina.  invitingplay waiting for her clothes - Copy

I just adore her.  From the get go she didn’t have much of a back story or pages of plans or sketches.  On the advice of a fellow doll maker, I simply followed my gut on her and didn’t agonize over specific color and style decisions.  I made her and for her just what pleased me at the moment.

inviting play nina in the garden10 - Copy

She is easy; she has the braids I coveted as a child.  She has the complexion I covet now and the colors that make me feel happy.

inviting play nina's boots

Fancy?  nah.  but who needs fancy all the time?  I hope images of Nina bring you pleasure like she did me.

inviting play chubby tum

Here’s a little shot of her body in all its glory. ha.  As you can see,  she has one of the rounder bellies I’ve made.  She doesn’t seem to be mind being naked any more than a toddler.  I’m still working on bringing in some ability to hold poses in my dolls.  I just really like how they can bend and hold their legs and arms in bent positions.  I think the thing I like about the armature testing the most is that the dolls still look and feel like my dolls.  I haven’t had to alter my pattern and they are still mostly wool.

inviting play nina looks down at flower 2

The last piece I made for Nina is this whimsical flouncy jacket.  I had it in my head the whole time I was working on her but wasn’t able to finish designing it till just now right before I send her off.  I think it adds a bit of romance as well as practicality for the cooler seasons

inviting play nina picks a flowre

Nina was sold at Dollectable on Hyena Cart on June 1, 2015.

inviting play nina in the garden13 - Copy

Another thing I’ve been working on is writing down my current thoughts on doll making and the doll making journey.  Doll making affords a lot of solitude and time to listen to my inner thoughts.  In the past I haven’t bothered to document any of them but lately they seem to want to come out.


Memories of Harold Hubert


Its hard to know exactly what to write about this duo;

inviting play holding hands 8

this pair separated by a generation and connected by love, eyes, memories, and scraps of fabric.


heater and dad2

inviting play standing suspenders

He so strong and steady



Heather's dad 5


inviting play close up of dad

his love was accessible

heathers's dad 5How I remember you

inviting play shorts face on

inviting play heather and dad17

Hold me close


inviting play shorts with fish and fishing pole

Tell me your stories

inviting play dad with hand outstretchex


your arms calling us to you – well perhaps you were motioning the dog to come for your secret ice-cream rendezvous –  but your arms were open to us anyhow


inviting play his shoe

now I try to walk in your footsteps


heather red boots2

and me….

inviting play heather's undies

of course with the rainbow pants

inviting play heather standing

just a little girl….Made strong by your being

inviting play heather and dad15

You gave me your heart

inviting play suspenders 4

now I have my memories and your heart

inviting play dad

In memory of Harold Hubert



A Fair Hair Pair; Silka and Saully


They go home tomorrow this pair.

inviting play whispers

Silly and sweet too

Inviting Play Sauly and Silka

His undies make me smile

inviting play saully legs

And how sugary sweet she looks in her best dress

inviting play Silka in her best

I wonder what they’ll do in their next life

inviting play saully legs 2

Where will they go?

inviting play boots and knees

What will they play?

inviting play silka head shot2

inviting play sually

Fare thee well Silka and Saully

Inviting Play Sauly and Silka



Merry Amité the search begins (part 4!)


It felt so good to run away from Lady Davenport.  I kind of wanted to just keep running and running and running. I would just keep imagining that I was back home in the grasses.

inviting play merry in the shade

Running and running with no cares.  However, we were getting hungry and our hunger brought us back to reality.  We needed food and we needed to find our parents – or at least figure out how to contact them. We had a little money so we decided to find the train depot.

invitintg play alone in the street2

Right outside the station, as I was scanning headlines on newspapers.  I saw something I really can not speak about.  All I had to do was point it out to Thekla and Noortje.  My world came crashing down.  It was something unspeakably awful that the newspapers were showing.  And it seemed we were right in the center of it.  Our train ride idea vanished and we were running again.

inviting play side view satchel

running running running.  later the running was walking.  Sometimes we’d walk alone and sometimes in pairs and sometimes all together.  we had to be very careful as the authorities had been alerted and were on the watch for us.  We needed to hide in plain sight.

inviting play alone on a bench

Noortje and Thekla were very worried about me – it seems I stopped talking.  I let them make all the plans.  I withdrew to my imagination.

inviting play standing on the rail3

We ate what we could.

oh those apples would be so nice
oh those apples would be so nice


It was beginning to be cold.
inviting play bag lady 3

Eventually, we realized our goal was to find permanent homes and families.  We all took turns questing alone. I enjoyed my time alone.  I really did ok for myself.  I know I’m too trusting, too naive.  But, people like me and they want to help me.  Thekla and Noortje were much more proactive about their wanderings.  They looked at maps.  They planned.  They adventured in an organized way.  They had fun together.  They found temporary homes in Europe with dollmakers and … I found one too – back home.  I managed to fall under the gaze of the right wealthy family at a playground, and they helped me find my doll maker.

inviting play writing letters 4

Once in my home I began to open up a bit about the tragic death of my parents.  I wrote and received lots of postcards to and from Thekla and Noortje.  It seems they share my strong desire to find a new permanent home.

inviting play writing letters 5

In just 1 day, tomorrow, on Friday. September 26, 2014. At 8:30pm EASTERN and 7:30pm Central time – I will begin looking for my new home.   Here is the link to my auction:  http://hyenacart.com/amitegirls/st/7694/91693/Merry-Amit-22-Inviting-Play-doll- I have so many questions about what will happen and who will love me.  I know for certain that wherever I go, I will keep a very strong connection with my friends Thekla and Noortje.  We were born as soul sisters in separate lands but lived some significant days together.

Merry, Thekla, and Noortje.  The Amité soul sisters
Merry, Thekla, and Noortje. The Amité soul sisters


To read part 4 of Thekla’s story:  http://vergissmeinnichtkuss.blogspot.com/2014/09/thekla-amite-new-beginnings.html

To read part 4 of Noortje’s story:http://www.liefmonster.com/


Merry Amite – Broader Horizons (or part 2)


inviting play book5

My mom was a highly connected, thoughtful, intellectual and always had invitations and opportunities of one kind or another.  Institutions, associations, organizations, and busy people asked her to join in projects, committees, boards and foundations. One day she came home with the exciting news that she was asked to go on a very big, long term adventure and we were to go too. She was asked to help start-up a big new company in a far away city in a very unknown part of the world.  And I was essentially asked to start a new life.

Although I pleaded and begged to go along on the early reconnaissance trip that would set up our permanent stay,  my parents decided against it because it would be too dangerous before everything was figured out and at the very least they needed to have a house rented before I could join them.  Instead, I would be going to stay in the care of a lovely woman called Lady Davenport. And so, my parents arranged for  Lady Davenport to take care of me for a few months until they could have everything ready in our new home, in our new place in our new life.  Then, they would return to collect me.  Don’t worry, they promised, they would mail many letters and make many phone calls.  I would expand my horizons.  I would leave the hollows of my childhood. 

Finally the day came.  My parents left, and as they were boarding their flight, I was meeting Lady Davenport.  Just hours after that I also met two other girls, Thekla and Noortje.  Thekla ‘s and Noortje’s parents were following the same business opportunity as mine and it seemed they were sent on the same horizon expanding adventure as  me.  We were all left  in the care of Lady Davenport.

inviting play coat selection

I was very relieved to get to know Thekla and Noortje.  Each day I felt a sense of gratitude that I had them.  Somehow, it lessened or at least dulled the pain I felt with my parents leaving.  I would come to depend on them enormously as we all came to understand that Lady Davenport was not the nice trustworthy caretaker my parents promised she’d be……

To be continued.

To read whats going on with Thelka:  http://vergissmeinnichtkuss.blogspot.com/

To read what’s going on with Noortje:  http://www.liefmonster.com/


Harriet the birthday sister


Harriet’s little brother is having a birthday.

inviting play Harriet

Harriet’s mama made her a new dress for the occasion

inviting play harriet in the garden2

Birthday parties are not mama’s strong suit.

inviting play harriet back of hair

Tension is a little high.

inviting play harriet hands crossed

The house is busy with lists and chores.

inviting play harriet lounging

Harriet is bored. Mama said “go be bored up in your room Harriet”.

inviting play harriet undies
Harriet watches for the guests

inviting play harriet window

“oooh, I think they’re coming”

inviting play harriet shoes

Harriet’s mama will finish her new school outfit after the birthay.

Harriet is 19″ tall and will come with a lovely light cotton dress in blue flowers (blue is her favorite color) that closes in the back with a snap and a button. She has navy blue mary jane style shoes which close with a vintage German glass button and she wears cotton undies (of course). Harriet will also come with a casual outfit consisting of blue pants and a cozy top.

Harriet’s hair is made from domestic angora mohair locks which I purchased raw from a small goat keeper here in the United States. I first organized them and wefted them and then I washed them several times and dyed them and finally made them into a wig for Harriet. They are very soft and warm and natural and represent hours and hours of loving handwork. Harriet is made for the adult collector or older child (9 and up). Her hair can’t be brushed but each lock can be combed gently over a finger and spritzed and scrunched to restore curl. Some shedding will naturally occur but Harriet’s hair abounds with curls.

Harriet will be for sale on September 1, 2014 in the Dollectable shop. Please message me for more information Julie.colby@gmail.com Thank you very much for your support of my handwork.


Solana Child of Summer


Solana appeared right after the summer solstice and it was clear in every way that she is a child of summer.

inviting play solana with shoes

I made this ex-small size doll again because of a customer request on my wishlist – and I had so much fun making that one – I knew I had to make one for July Dollectable (which is today if it is July 1st when you are reading this).

inviting play solana standing

I wonder what Solana feels with the warm sun infiltrating her body through her skin.

inviting play solana close up

no worries about sun screen or dehydration – just that good bright sun warming her wool. I’m a little envious.

inviting play solana picks a flower 2

you know those long summer evenings… its still light out – you are supposed to sleep but you aren’t sleepy at all?
inviting play saying hi

not at all?

inviting play trying to sleep

Solana’s hair is made from mohair fabric (teddy bear fabric). I love using it because it is soft, natural and totally safe and tested for use on toys. It is a bit unruly however. Solana doesn’t care. she loves feeling it beneath her hands. She often rubs and caresses it at night when she is trying to fall asleep.

inviting play touching hair

All she wants to do is swing endless hours on the rope swing

inviting play swinging 1

– high through the trees – just like the birds.

inviting play swinging 3 best

Summer child is freedom

inviting play swinging

inviting play solana loves flowers

Solana Summer Child
Solana Summer Child

inviting play shoes close up

Solana will be for sale on a first come first serve basis here: http://hyenacart.com/dollectable/st/6830/39025/Solana-Summer-Child-9-Inviting-Play July 1st, 2014 7pm eastern (6 pm central).

Thank you for your support of handmade dolls and doll artists!