Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Natural Doll Care Directions: How to Wash and Take Care of a Waldorf Doll


I wrote an article on Waldorf doll care on my blog previously. You can read it here. But since many people who own natural dolls may have these questions I wanted to make a renewed effort at giving directions for cleaning your doll babies and clothing.

Question #1: Can I wash my doll?

If you are the proud owner of a natural Waldorf style doll, no matter who the maker is, your doll should be stuffed with sheep's wool. If you are not sure about your doll's stuffing you should ask the maker to be absolutely certain of it. My dolls are ALL stuffed with clean carded wool.

Being stuffed with real wool is of great advantage! Not only does the wool give warmth and softness,  these benefits aside, sheep's wool has natural antibactirial properties. Wool is less likely to pick up germs and dust to begin with. Wool stuffing means your doll is washable and that it is okay to fully soak your baby in water and give her/him a complete bath!

Unlike polyester filled dolls that will matt down and flatten, Wool stuffed natural dolls will NOT lose their loft. Though spotcleaning is preferable and less hard on the doll if there should be an accident (bad fall in the dinner plate or puddle) your doll can go take a bath! Here are a few points you need to remember when giving your doll a bath:


  •  make sure the water is lukewarm and NOT hot. Just as giving a bath to a sweet babe.
  • Don't use harsh detergents or cleaning agents. Best is a product you would use for a wool sweater such Woolite or a gentle shampoo.
  • You may even want to give your doll and your child a bath at the same time. Just make sure that the soap used at bathtime is colorless and a mild one. You can apply mild soap directly to a bad spot and gently massage that area. Then rinse out the doll until all the soap suds are gone.
  • After the bath you must gently squeeze the dolls' limbs and mid-section to get most of the water out. Don't sqeeze the head! Since it is formed and shaped with string it should not be squeezed or treated too roughly! Too much squeezing might damage the shape of it.
  • Set your doll on thick bathtowel for drying. If it's summer time or you live in a warm climate you can put it outside. In the winter I dry my dolls on the radiator. Depending on the climate you live in drying time may vary. Where I live (Colorado) it's really dry and my dolls dry within a day. In a humid climate you may have to wait a couple of days...



Question # 2. What about haircare? Can my child brush the dolls' hair?

A Waldorf dolls' hair is usually made of worsted wool, mohair yarns, or combinations theiroff. Sometimes dollmakers use the loopy curly kind known as boucle yarn. You should NEVER EVER brush your doll's hair with a real hairbrush. It should only be styled using fingers. Rough brushing of the hair will thin the hair out or destroy the loops of the mohair.
Maybe this has already happened to your dolls' precious tresses. Don't get too upset. It is fixable! The great thing about Waldorf dolls is that you can repair them!

Dollmamkers use varying techniques to sew on dollhair. It kind of depends on the make of your doll. My dolls usually have a crocheted wig. If the doll has long hair the hair is sewn onto this wig. If the hair is damaged you can remove the layers of damaged hair and sew on a new layer. Just search for the tiny stitches and gently undo them. You could even get creative and give your doll a whole new look and different haircolor.
I will write another article on this topic to help you out! So keep watching my blog!


Question #3 What about the doll clothing? Can it be washed?
I recommend hand washing all little doll clothes. Why? Because most US washing machines I have come across are quite violent and have ripped my own clothing - even when set on a gentle cycle - to shreds. If you absolutely don't have the time and energy you could put your dolls' clothes in a protective net and wash them on cold in a machine.
I would never do this to items made of felt though. Felt might pill or react in some funny unexpected way...


General tips and Suggestions:

If the blush on your dolls' cheeks has faded, a wee bit of red beeswax crayon can be applied. If you don't own such a crayon you can use a non-toxic red pencil to gently rub some new blush on the cheeks. Don't overdo it though! But also don't be afraid. I believe the true beauty of these dolls lies in the fact that they can take some loving and still be adorable.

My daughter has a Hispanic doll I made her long time ago. The dolls' hair is matted, and she got some spots from "eating strawberries" but my child would not have me change a thing about her. I'll never forget the trauma when her American girl doll lost an arm a while ago. How do you put a plastic arm back on? My clothdolls have never lost a limb...

But since natural dolls are made of cloth, small holes or tears can be fixed. Don't be afraid to take a needle to your doll! You may even find you enjoy it and decide to make a doll of your own!
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Please, let me know if you have any other questions about doll care. I'd be glad to share my kwowledge to help you keep your baby clean and pretty looking! If you are a dollmaker I would love to get some of your cleaning tips and suggestions, too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The True Value of Art...

Two Christmases ago I received a large number of requests for doll clothes by doll owners who own other Waldorf style natural dolls. Most of them came from Bamboletta fans. At first I was a little taken aback. I suppose, it really stung my pride as an artist. Just imagine what Picasso would have said if someone had come along and asked : "Can you please put a coat of paint on this frame of a painting by another artist?" Woah. I can only imagine his response. But I am no Picasso. Too bad.
I am just a little dollmaker. I have been around for a while. But obviously my branding has not been as successful as some other dollmakers'...It boggles the mind.


One sometimes wonders what makes one 15" natural doll worth $300- $2300 - while another beautiful doll may sell for as little as $50? How can you explain it?

I guess the value of art/crafts is a mystery to begin with. After all $2,300 is nothing compared to what some paintings might fetch in the world of painting. If you compared the price of a painting by a famous artist to the most creative amazing piece of needlework by a female - it would most certainly be lower than $2,300. I have seen amazing quilts prized at $800 and heard people call them too expensive... So even if it hurts my pride somewhat, I must say: Go Bamboletta Gals! Your works of art are not appreciated enough!



But the more I think about these issues the more torn I feel about them. Sure it would be really nice to sell my dolls for 100s of dollars. It would be lovely not to have to worry about money & certainly easier to pay the bills...At the same time, would I really want my dolls to be only available to richest of people? I think NOT! But it looks like I don't have to worry about this problem for now. I am not famous and just a gal who needs to make a living. So I swallowed my pride and started making and offering my dolldresses for other dolls. I am really glad I did.

I love getting pictures of those happy kids playing with my doll clothes. In the end: The true value of my art is the joy that it brings to kids and people!

Friday, May 20, 2011

God Bless the Child who has his Own - Cellphone ?

Oh dear, oh dear. What is one to do as a "nature" oriented parent in this age of technology and kids wanting to spend all their free time in front of a screen? One tends to think that life gets easier as the diaper era turns into distant memory and the kids become more independent each day. But what about cellphones? Since the day our son entered 6th Grade, middle school, our life has become hell in the battle over cellphones. He has wanted and needed a cellphone for about 3 years now.


We heard plenty a story of lost cellphones in first and Second Grade. But those were brushed off as figments of the child's imagination. What kid that age would need a phone?

The first time the topic came up for serious discussion was two years ago, when our son announced to my husband that he needed a phone in case he got stranded at a baseball game or practice. DH's response: What? How would you get stranded? We take you to each practice and hang around till it's over. Your mother and I have never missed a single game. We are Velcro parents...What are you talking about?"

Things got more serious when he announced that his 6th Grade math teacher had told the students he would send them homework assignments via cellphone and email. What? It turned out it wasn't really a requirement. The boy just wanted a phone because supposedly ALL of his classmates had one. Are we bad parents for saying "no"? When is the right time to give a child a cellphone? Will my child turn into a social outcast because I am not giving him a cellphone.

This morning came the last stroke. Our youngest daughter won an eraser mock-cellphone. My son's response: "Even she got a cell-phone before I did."


Oh boy! Must we cave in? Maybe I am just afraid that my kid may turn into one of those morose teenagers sitting on the sofa texting all the time and not wanting to have a regular conversation any more. I have witnessed first hand, kid's sitting right next to each other, callused hands sending endless texts like: "What are you doing?" "Oh, just sitting here texting you." How do I explain to the kids that my tweets are somehow more valuable or important? Well, they are for my business...

He is turning 13 in the fall. What he really does need is a new bicycle since he has outgrown his old one. But I know what he wants more than anything is a phone. Do I get him the bicycle, or do I let him join his texting friends? Please, I'd like to hear some opinions from other parents who have fought this battle. When is the right time to give a child a cellphone?

Useful Links on this topic:
WordHealth Organisations Report :
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/

Parents Magazine:
http://www.parents.com/blogs/goodyblog/2011/05/the-scary-news-about-cell-phones-and-cancer/

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beebuddies

I was toying around with the idea of adding a different kind of bug or insect on my leafbeds that I make for my little pocketdolls. I thought about bees for a while. I love honey bees. So here you can see what I came up with.

What color are a bee's wings? They are so beautiful but impossible to copy. The artist is limited. I decided to go with white.



What do you think? I would like to put some butterflies on the next set of leaves. Butterflies are amazing, too! Making nature inspired toys is wonderful. The possibilities seem endless.

Are there any bugs you would like to see on a leaf? Please, let me know in the comment section!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hands...


Hands

Making coffee first thing in the morning
Typing away on the computer
Gently tapping on the childs' shoulder rousing them from sleep
Making breakfast
Driving the neighborhood carpool to school
Turning the radio to the favorite station
Making dollies

Where to start?
Clearing yesterday's mess off the worktable
Rolling dolly heads
Sewing a doll body
Embroidering a pair of tiny eyes
Cutting dolly clothes
Felting a Leaf bed with a Ladybug

Cleaning house - do I really have to?
Sweeping the kitchen floor
Starting a load of laundry. Really?
Washing the dishes and putting them away
Hanging the laundry when the sun comes out
Picking up the house
Sorting through paperwork and bills
Folding the laundry
Prepping food for dinner
Emptying the scraps in compost pile

Where does the list end?
Hands of the artist and mother get tired

So for Mother's Day, this year, I received a pair of protective gloves
Will they keep those hands moving happily?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day Weekend!

What did you get for Mother's Day from your kids? Or husband, since it appears that husbands are in charge of giftgiving anyhow...


 Let me present you with pictures of the gift I received last year. What is it? It's a multitude of pots that DH bought at a local nursery called "Happy Life". He called this special installation: Shipwreck.


Now what is that supposed to mean? One wonders about the state of one's marriage when receiving such a gift....What do you think? Love it or hate it? Please, do tell!


Now I am all excited about tomorrow. How could you top off this special gift?