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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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.

SOLD OUT

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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JennyB Enigmatic Soul

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inviting play weird closeup

Let me in!  Show me who you are?  are you shy?

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are you just lost in imagination?

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I can see there is confidence in there.  Be bold!

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you will have to reach out sometimes – be the one to offer your hand first

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Its ok to sit alone don’t let people tell you it isn’t

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I watch you struggle to process something for which there are not words and I think: “JennyB,  you are enigmatic.”

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I started working on JennyB many weeks ago.  At first I was working under the assumption that she would be one thing.  Something, an idea, that was stuck in my head, running thru my idyl thoughts, a memory from school days and I couldn’t get the name or the person out of my head.  Well, and then the weeks pass and the stitches mount and it turns out the hair you thought would be perfect is all wrong.  And SO, she is who she is and nothing more and always hard to define.   And JennyB is she.  Enigmatic.

With JennyB, I am once again experimenting with some mild pose-ability.  Buried deep in her muscular skeleton structure she has armature that allows her arms, legs, and neck to bend and hold their position.  The armature does not extend through her shoulders and hips so she can not hold her arms up or out but she can bend them around something.  The armature is not a 100% natural material.  However, by weight, JennyB is still mostly made of wool and cotton, and she feels just like my other dolls to the touch.  JennyB can stand against a wall and sit on her own.  and she is large (23″ tall) and hug-able.

It is no secret that blue and grey are the colors I gravitate toward and always want to use for my dolls.  So JennyB has comfortable cotton jeans and a blue cotton t-shirt and a snuggly warm wool vest in really yummy Madelinetosh yarn that I crocheted with a raised diamond stitch. (Its red wooden buttons made JennyB very happy! ) Of course she has cotton undies and socks.  Her dress is an organic Japanese linen that I just love and her boots are leather, lined with linen, and fastened with  etched metal buttons.

JennyB will be auctioned in the Dollectable shop on Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 7pm Eastern and 6pm here in Minnesota.  Her auction is SHORT – just 15 minutes.  The link for her auction is here:  http://hyenacart.com/dollectable/st/6830/13240/JennyB-an-enigmatic-Inviting-Play-girl-23-tall

 

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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

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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.

inviting play merry standing 2

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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Merry Amité the search begins (part 4!)

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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/

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Merry Amite – Broader Horizons (or part 2)

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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/

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