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.



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!


Goodbye 2014…Hellooooo Now!


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.

inviting play juliette 1

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.


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.

inviting play paradox
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.




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 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!


Renni Pip for the Dollectable Pippi Handmade Doll Exhibition


inviting play Renni Pip on a fence

Some girls are adventurous

inviting play renni pip closeup

Some girls are unusual

inviting play renni pip on her house

Some girls have tremendous strength


inviting play renni pip sitting

Renni Pip is all of those and more.

inviting play Renni Pip with a bit of dandelion pollen on her shoes

You make me laugh little Renni – pollen on your shoes. inviting play Renni pip head shot

Renni Pip will be available June 1st, 2014 in the Dollectable Hyenacart shop.  She will be for sale comment style.  She is 14″ tall and made from my size small pattern which is a thin doll.   So, she is a small doll with big spirit.  She comes with dotted cotton undies, mismatched socks, leather shoes with vintage glass button closures, and a dress and maybe a surprise or two… who knows?

Update: Well – the surprise is over, over the weekend, she got a one -of -a-kind grass green sweater with some sweet little blue patches and a snuggly soft merino wool hat.

inviting play rennis sweater


Alaina finds an Amphibian





I believe all kids are nature kids at heart

inviting play alaina head shot– but some kids … some kids are just born with an innate appreciation for beautiful natural creations. These are the kids that will choose a walk over a board game. Alaina has always been this sort of kid. Her most favorite days are picnic days. Each person in the family packs their sandwich of choice, a block of cheese gets thrown in, some crackers, an apple for everyone. Jump on the bikes – and transport to the park, the edge of the river, the pond. Lazy and slow (even though running is often involved) with discovery walks through the trees. She is  fascinated with the urchins and insects and animals.

inviting play just tree frog on the tree

There is nothing more delightful than being the first one to spy a little living secret on the ground or on the tree.

inviting play alaina and tree frog

Sometimes she keeps her discoveries a secret and other days she makes little friends of the small living treasures.

inviting play alaina holding tree frog

This is the way Alaina will live her life: quiet and noticing. Appreciating the small and beautiful – teaching others by example; to know her is to be in awe of her natural respect for this kind of beauty. Eventually she’ll have children. She’ll encourage their own discoveries – and show them where the amphibians like to hide.

inviting play alaina talking to the tee frog

Alaina has long, wefted, bleached camel fiber for hair and tan colored cotton skin made in the Netherlands.

inviting play for trenne

As I do so often, when I’m designing clothing for my dolls, I started with her dress fabric – I love this fabric and I thought it looked so pleasing with Alaina’s eyes. I made the dress to be short and full, a breezy, romantic, blous-ey dress to show of her leggings and boots. Sometimes I tweak existing patterns I’ve designed for other dolls, but I often design totally new pieces for each doll. Definitely I reuse shapes from other dolls’ attire – but I change each one to fit the look I’m trying to achieve.  I love this aspect of doll making.  I have to admit that frequently, this stage hangs me up as I perseverate trying to come up with “just the thing”  – but most of the time I work through dressing a doll very quickly.  I can’t wait to see what each one will look like with their own custom attire.  The thing I’m most excited about with Alaina’s clothing are her boots.  Alaina is the proud beneficiary of my first pair of leather tall boots.

inviting play boots for trenne

They go all the way up to almost her knees. She wears hand knit socks underneath them for comfort. I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to fasten the boots (they open in the back). I don’t have the skill to put in a teeny tiny zipper, the leather was too thick for snaps, and I don’t like to use velcro, so I made sort of bolo tie closure. I don’t know if I’ll ever recreate these exact boots again, but I do know I’ll make more leather boots.

inviting play alaina boots in grass

Alaina’s tree frog is another new Inviting Play design. I love crocheting free form animals. I don’t use any pattern at all – I don’t focus on symmetry.  I don’t count.  I just go for it and add stitches as I see the need for them.  Its so rewarding to see a little urchin come out of just a ball of yarn and a hook.  I completely understand that I really should write down my stitches or at least write a description of the work – but that would take all the fun out of it – so, I don’t.  will there be another tree frog?  I don’t know – but I know for certain it won’t be the same.

Alaina and her wee tree frog were commissioned by a family member of a lovely woman,  who happens to be on my customer wish list, to be a special gift.  I feel honored to have made her.  The next doll I plan to write about (and hopefully soon as she is one that has been perseverated about)  will also have some boots…

inviting play alaina and frog 3