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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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 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.
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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.
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 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.
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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.
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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-
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Chavi – a little burst of life

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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.

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Also, I love names that end in ‘i’.

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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…

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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

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Nice pocket!  what do I use it for?

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never mind.

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Is this my nice soft box?

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I’m cartwheeling in now!

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IP Flips are Here! Gwendolynn, Rosie, and Macy

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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:

GWENDOLYNN,
ROSIE,
MACY


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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).

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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!
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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.

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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.


GWENDOLYNN

Purchase Gwendolynn Here

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

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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

ROSIE

Purchase Rosie Here

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

SOLD OUT

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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

MACY

Purchase Macy Here

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

SOLD OUT

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Magdi, Little boy in the world

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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! http://flipagram.com/f/bSZs7hPX3O

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.

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

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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.

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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.

http://hyenacart.com/dollectable/st/6830/12973/Magdi-Little-Boy-in-the-world

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!

 

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Ashlynn girl at home in the woods

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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!

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Nina Nina bo bina and where I am right now

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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Memories of Harold Hubert

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

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

 

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He so strong and steady

 

 

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Handsome.

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his love was accessible

heathers's dad 5How I remember you

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Hold me close

 

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Tell me your stories

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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

 

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now I try to walk in your footsteps

 

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and me….

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of course with the rainbow pants

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just a little girl….Made strong by your being

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You gave me your heart

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now I have my memories and your heart

inviting play dad

In memory of Harold Hubert

 

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Goodbye 2014…Hellooooo Now!

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It is funny. Doll making doesn’t really need to have a seasonality, doesn’t need to be marked in years, but I strongly feel a yearly pattern to my doll making.  Every January feels like a fresh start, a time to look forward, set goals, like an empty slate ready to mark exciting new beginnings.  But this post is a look back upon last year’s seasons.  Spring always brings optimism and new breezy fabrics,

Jax and her baby doll - a doll set from spring of 2014
Jax and her baby doll – a doll set from spring of 2014

Summer feels like a time to get things done and finish orders, but it rarely is, as its too tied up in variable kids’ activities and schedules of snacks and sunshine.

Solana Summer Child  created Summer of 2014
Solana Summer Child created Summer of 2014

 

oh and I can’t forget summer doll Francis!

Francis a doll made in the summer of 2014.  I loved her and her striped dress and her soft natural mohair locks
Francis a doll made in the summer of 2014. I loved her and her striped dress and her soft natural mohair locks

By fall, the pressure is really on! It marks the start of the busy season.  Fall is crazy for me as the leader of a family packed with fall birthdays, the start of schools, and as a doll maker, the start of the busy season and the holiday rush.

Anne, a doll made as a wishlist custom, completed in late summer 2014 with fancy victorian undergarments and alpaca hair
Anne, a doll made as a wishlist custom, completed in late summer 2014 with fancy Victorian undergarments and alpaca hair

 

Also, fall brings this craving for some of the yummiest textures of doll making, the layered wools, and knits and hats.

Lindilin, a doll made in November of 2014, a very sweet doll with lots of soft cotton and wool layers
Lindilin, a doll made in November of 2014, a very sweet doll with lots of soft cotton and wool layers

And then, the holidays are soon happening, and with them a lot of anxiety for the doll maker, the pressure to successfully close out another year of dolls, the pressure to try to get to as many custom order requests as possible, the pressure to list additional extra ready-to-go dolls as this is the time when demand really hits a frenzy.  And this year?

Havala, a little poseable doll I made in December of 2014
Havala, a little pose-able doll I made in December of 2014

well, I chose not to succumb to the pressure too much.  I only made about 26 dolls in 2014.  Just over 2 per month.  I didn’t do inhuman amounts of doll work in December.  And that is probably a good thing.

Rubrae a  little gift doll made in November of 2014
Rubrae a little gift doll made in November of 2014

 

And now it is time to say goodbye to the very last doll of 2014.  This is Juliette of the Cold Moon – the wolf moon – made in the dark quiet of late December, bridging into January.

Juliette of the Cold Moon
Juliette of the Cold Moon

She turned out to be one of my favorite dolls of 2014.  She is very tiny; a very slender 12″.  But, I’m very proud of her proportions.

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To me, her proportions are perfect for her long face and narrow head.  Often, when I’m critiquing my own work, it is the proportions of which I find myself most critical.  Another thing I love about Juliette is her innocent childlike approach to the world.  She is not too self aware.  She is just a child.  A child in a cold, dark house, but one full of wool socks, and burning fires, and glistening snow outside.  She doesn’t know true cold because she is lucky to have her family providing her the warmth.  The other seasons will come for her but right now she is living in the magic in the moment of the cold and dark.

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As I look back at 2014 there are a few other dolls that standout as turning points.  Merry was a huge accomplishment for me.  And I almost didn’t make her!  I felt pressure at the time to work on some wishlist custom projects and future ready-to-go dolls, and it really took a big push from two of my colleagues who encouraged me and believed in me to join the collaboration of which Merry was part and really let her shine.

Merry made in September 2014, was part of a 3 doll maker collaboration
Merry made in September 2014, was part of a 3 doll maker collaboration

She was the first doll of a new very large size and I felt proud of each part of her.  Usually, there is some piece of each doll that I feel unsure about.  Is her hair too thin?  Is she stuffed too firm?  Will people understand her expression?, Are her clothes singular and special enough?  But Merry seemed to make herself.  I’m not sure if it was her story and fate that helped her along or if it was just the coincidence of being the right doll, at the right time – but There was Merry.

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Another doll I’ll always think of as being very special was a custom doll I made named Eowyn.  She had two very different roles, that of fearless warier, and that of fine medieval lady.  Her silk fighting costume and elegant silk dress were both memorable and very different from my past designs.

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Eowyn, a brave warrier, and a lovely lady

 

And, there were many many more of course. If you want a look at all of them – the class of 2014 is on Pinterest here:  http://www.pinterest.com/invitingplay/inviting-play-2014-dolls/

I love them all and I can’t wait to start meeting the class of 2015.  There really should be another post about 2015 Inviting Play plans.  We shall see.  Thank you for supporting me, loving my work, and pushing me to get better, and allowing me to be me.

 

 

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A Fair Hair Pair; Silka and Saully

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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

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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

 

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