Welcome to Finn and Fern Waldorf Inspired Dolls, where dolls are created with the finest materials and careful attention to detail.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sometimes Life Gives You Peaches!

This month was a busy one for me!   It started out with me making a big skin fabric purchase.  It takes about 2 weeks to arrive from Canada to my doorstep, so when it finally arrived, I was quite excited...that is...until I opened the package.  My heart sank.  What was this color?  Did they send the wrong one?  Where was the other color?

Quickly I rummaged through my inbox.  I looked up all my skin orders.  I had somehow made a mistake.  What had I done!?  This wasn't my go to color!  It was nearly peach!  And there was no tan at all!  sigh...what to do....well, after a few days of panic, I placed another order for my go to color, and sold off a few yards of the new peachy stuff, keeping some of it to play.  My fellow dollmakers had told me that it lightens up with stuffing.  I sure hoped so!  I figured I'd give it a try on a few little fiddles.  It was a good enough time to play around with my pattern that I wasn't fully in love with, and since I wasn't about to take on any new customs knowing I didn't have my usual colors, I had some time to play.

These three little ladies - The Ladies of Liberty - were the result.  Each one of them the perfect warm peachy skin tone I never imagined could happen.  They all don cute little brushed mohair wigs, and they are the most playful little bunch I think I've ever made.  Dare I say it, I'm in love with this color!  Sure, I still appreciate my go to color, and this will just add to my choices in dollmaking.  It was certainly a surprise in the making...but it seems to all have worked out in the end.

I also splurged on some dreamy Liberty of London fabrics this month, and it only seems fitting that they should each get a Liberty dress.  And since I had some time, I shrunk down my favorite knitted bootie pattern, and look what should happen!  Cute little buns, and tootsies, and oh my!  I can't get over them!

They will be for sale this month at The Enchanted Toybox, along with a few larger dolls that I made with the last of my skin.  In the meantime, I'm still waiting on backordered skin fabric.  Sometimes, we grow in the least expected ways...this month, my patterning improved on one of my less used patterns and I was pleasantly surprised by something new.  It sure does feel very spring like with all this newness around here now, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Soleil - Girl of The Sun!

Soleil, what are you doing?

I'm climbing Mama!  I'm climbing high!

Oh Soleil, it's not even Spring yet!  You still have a few weeks to go!  I don't think it's a good idea for you to climb trees!

But mama, if I climb, I'll get closer to the sun!

The sun?  Now why in the world do you want to get closer to the sun?

Oh mama, you are so silly.  You didn't think you could name me after the sun and I wouldn't want to get closer to it, did you?  The sun is warm!  I feel it on my face.  It warms my heart!  If I get closer, it will be even warmer!

I'm watching you, Soleil.  You shouldn't climb so high!

I'm ok mama!

I'm stuck....

Soleil will be for sale this coming Friday at The Waldorf Dollhouse.  She is 17 inches tall.  Her skin is tan Dewitt Engle cotton interlock.  She is stuffed with clean carded wool.  Her knees are dimpled and she has a bum so that she can sit properly.  She also has a belly button.

Soleil's hair is hand-wefted suri alpaca locks.  She has a LOT of hair.  I used 6 ounces of locks on her head alone!  Her weft is crocheted into a cap.

Soleil has hand knitted wool mary janes with pearl closures.

She wears a wool roving knit headband with a wooden heart button.

Her dress is cotton and closes with snaps in the back.  It has a decorative button on the front of it.  Her tshirt is organic cotton and also closes with snaps.  She also wears cotton panties.

When Soleil and I sat down to make some jewelry, she went a bit overboard and decided that she needed not one, but two bracelets - one for each wrist.  They are both very different so you can accessorize them with different outfits.

Soleil is carefully sewn to last, but she may not be the best option for a small child as Suri Alpaca can shed a bit.  She is better suited to be a mama doll.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Camille and her lucky bead

Have you ever had a lucky charm?  Something that you take with you wherever you go, knowing it will bring you good luck?

Camille does.  She has a lucky lampwork bead.  She asked me to promise I don't send her on her way without it.  Of course I did.  How could I not send her off with things that remind her of her roots?  Afterall, I made this bead for her.  Of course, I didn't make it yesterday or even last week.  I made it long before I had children of my own, when I had time to make lampwork, and no fear of small hands and hot glass!  So each one is special to me, but when Camille found that bead and showed it to me, I knew it had to be hers.

Have you ever known someone so happy go lucky?  Look at that smile.  Camille wakes up smiling and greets me every morning.  I told her I hope she keeps that up when she finds her new home.  She'll please her new mama so.  She rubbed her lucky bead between her two hands and just smiled at me warmly.

Camille is a very special doll.  I don't make a lot of darker skinned dolls, but when I do, oh, they come to life unlike any other.  I bought this nice red brown skin months ago.  With dolls like these, you wait until they call to you....until all the pieces fit together perfectly.

Her hair is wefted Wensleydale locks that I wefted myself.  In fact, I got these locks raw and cleaned them and picked out any vegetation before I carefully laid them out to weft them in the first place.  It was quite a process, but every time I look at her head of locks, I smile, because it was so worth it!  They are the most perfect locks imaginable!

She wears a corduroy dress and pants that match, a colorful layout that is only fit for Camille.  She comes wearing cotton panties and felt handmade shoes as well.  Her star is sewn from two layers of wool felt and a black elastic band connected inside of it to go around her head.  It's completely removable so you can put it where you like!

Of course, you can't forget her lucky lampwork bead that I turned myself before carefully annealing the bead.  I've strung the bead on a pretty blue ribbon that Camille picked out herself.

Camille is made of high quality Dewitt Engle cotton interlock.  She is stuffed with clean carded wool and her seams are sewn to last.  Her face is sewn using the finest Italian embroidery floss.

Camille will be available via The Enchanted Toybox on Monday the 3rd at 7pm EST.  Don't be late though!  I'm putting Camille up as a first come!  She will not be an auction!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Virginia May

Will there be Easter where I am going?  You know how much I like little bunnies and eggs and chocolates wrapped in pretty foils!

Oh Virginia...I'm sure there will be, and I'm sure wherever it may be, it will be warmer than it is here!

Do you think there will be trees to climb?  I promise I won't wear my Sunday best!

I'm pretty sure your new mama will bring you places so that you can climb trees, Miss Virginia.

You know, I prefer to be called Ginny when I'm not all dressed in my Sunday best!

I know, Miss Virginia.  I know!  That is why I'm sending you off into the world with two outfits, didn't you know?

Oh? A second outfit?  Will it be dungarees? So that I don't scrape my knees?  You know my knees won't look so pretty in this dress with scrapes on them.

Why yes, Virginia!  A pair of dungarees and a pretty bohemian cotton top.

Bohemian?  Are you saying I'm a wild girl?

Well Miss Virginia...I know all about you fiery little redhead girls.  You like so much to look your best always, but you also like to play.  You are sassy and full of spunk, but you are also reserved and well behaved when you must be.

I guess you know me well, don't you?

I do...I do Miss Virginia.

Virginia May, who prefers to be called Ginny when she is out playing with the boys and getting dirty making mudpies and climbing trees, will be available via auction on Monday at The Enchanted Toybox.  She comes with many nice things for you to dress her up in.

She has a beautiful cotton dress adorned with lace around the empire waist and a bunny button.

Her coat is made of wool and pink satin taffeta.  She insisted it be pink inside.  She told me her hair looks best with pink.

She wears a tulle underskirt.

She has on cotton panties.

Her headband is handknit and is adorned with a bunny button as well.

Her shoes are handknit cotton and I've especially picked some pretty buttons from my grandmother's vintage button box.

Her second outfit is a cotton top adorned with a wooden button.

Her dungarees are repurposed denim, perfectly worn in for playing.

She asked for a bracelet of Jade and Rose Quartz.  It has silver embellishments and a silver clasp.

As always, Virginia May is made from the highest quality Dewitt Engle cotton and stuffed with clean carded wool.  Her eyes and mouth are sewn with fine embroidery floss.  Her seams are stitched for durability.

For more pictures of Miss Virginia, please visit my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/finnandfern.  Thank you as always for stopping by to visit with us!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Anna & Elsa

As a (fairly) new dollmaker, I often take custom requests.  Sometimes, those requests come in the form of Disney Princesses.  Princess dolls can be challenging.  You don't look at fabrics the same way.  You aren't picking out what appeals to you, the creator, you are choosing what might convey this particular character the best. You study pictures of the princesses, you watch the movies (over and over!)  and you hope that your vision will best convey everything that particular princess stands for.

When I was asked to make Anna and Elsa this winter, I was excited to get them started.  It began the day Frozen came out in the movies.  We fell in love instantly.  The message these two girls have is incredible.  Two sisters who show unconditional love for each other - a bond that's always there even though they often seem distanced due to Elsa's hidden powers.  Even after Elsa turns their world upside down, Anna still cares for and loves Elsa so much that she climbs the North Mountain with the help of Sven to try and talk to Elsa.

I started my hunt for fabrics.  It began with the snowflakes..yes, of course!  Elsa's cape needed snowflakes!  Sheer snowflakes!  and Elsa's cape needed to be thick, to keep her warm.  Her dress couldn't really exist without the embroidery, now could it?  I have an embroidery machine, someone out there HAD to make Elsa dress embroidery, right?  I couldn't possibly be mistaken, could I?

In the end, if it weren't for their love for each other, all would be lost.

I made this set for sisters - who have the same undying bond with each other.  I'm not sure which one will get which doll, but I imagine they'll go back and forth interchangeably, creating a stronger bond through play.  Elsa and Anna's story might end with the two of them solving their problems with love, but through my dolls, their story goes on forever.

I can't wait to hear of all the stories these two come up with.   I just hope Winter leaves my home soon! I'm ready for Spring!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Iris - A Rainbow Doll for My Son's School

While I am a play at home mama, I do have one little in school.  It's a nice little community school.  In the warmer months, we walk every day.  Everyone finds their own little ways to help out, and I've found mine.  They are hosting a ticket auction this week.  Two months ago, I volunteered to donate a doll and create a basket for it.  It's fun to go into it thinking there are no expectations.

Of course, many of you love wefts so much, and I love the fuzz of tibetan lamb skin, but there is also something fun and playful about the yarn dolls.  I, myself, really prefer the natural looking dolls, hence the reason why I don't tend to go wild.  So the notion that a small child (Kindergarten through Third Grade!) would most likely end up with this doll led me to think about what I could do with her.  How fun for me!  She had to be colorful, and she needed to have some versatility.  And isn't Valentine's Day coming up? But most of all, she needed to embody fun.

A year ago, I made a doll similar to this one.  She was a really playful custom girl with the same type of hair.  This rainbow art yarn had been waiting in my studio ever since for a new little soul.  I've been working on her nearly all month along side my customs and my ready to go doll for The Enchanted Toybox.  She's done in time.  I created a few extra things for her because after all, I'm sure any small child would want to change her clothes and play with her!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Making a Wefted Wig with a Sewing Machine

So I hear you want to know how I make a weft using the sewing machine!  This sweet girl is a custom. I've done several with this method already and I really love it.  The first thing I do is get a square of felt.  You can measure across from front to back of the dolls head and side to side to approximate how big your square of felt should be, but I usually just cut and see about how big it is and trim it if needed.    As you can see in the picture below, I pin it from the back of the head to the front of the head first.  Then I pin it from side to side.  

After I pin it, it's time to clean it up a bit.  It almost looks like a hat for the Flying Nun!  I gather the corners so that the felt sits flush against the head.  I use pins to clean up the look.  This technique is traditionally known as draping and can be used for a variety of other purposes such as taking clothing in.  

As you can see, when it's all pinned in place, it looks like a pretty smooth cap.  Don't worry if it's not symmetrical.  You aren't trying to make something aesthetically pleasing.  It's only the host for your beautiful head of hair!  

After it's all pinned in place, you are going to take your scissors and cut off the excess.  Don't cut too close to the pins, you want to have enough to sew to close it off...

This is what it looks like when you remove the pins and before you sew up the edges.  You need to make sure the corners line up on the edges before you sew it up.  I also mark the front with chalk (here I used marker to show it clearer).

When you've sew up the sides, you can turn it inside out and try it on your doll.  This is what it should look like.  If your corners don't match up exactly, trim it up so that they match along the edges.  

Now you can start sewing your weft on.  I start in the back and work in a spiral.  I've been doing some research on youtube, and there are many tutorials on how to make traditional wig caps.  Many people do a U shape, turning the weft at the end of the U.  Then they fill in the front to create a part.  I haven't experimented with this yet, but I will be soon.  It may give better bangs, but I'm still working out how to hide the edge of the weft so that you don't have edges showing.  I'm considering feeding two edges of weft together like combs, or if you clasp your hands together, if that makes sense.  I'd love to see if you give it a try!  

When you get to the start point, overlap your weft slightly and keep working it into a spiral.  The outside edges are easier.  It becomes more slow going as you work your way in to the middle.  

Here you can see how much I overlap it.  From what I see on traditional wigs, there is more of a gap, like an inch!  Mine are close.  Dolls heads are smaller.  I suppose I could spread them out just slightly more, but I always end up with enough weft.  This particular one started at 200 inches.  I ended up with about 60 inches left over.  

Continue working in the spiral.

Uh oh!  I didn't check my bobbin thread!  This isn't a problem, it's just a nuisance.  Make sure you check your bobbin ahead of time so that you don't have to get under the weft to change it.  It's easier to change it without removing it from your machine.  Then you'd have to work it back under your foot, and that wouldn't be easier.  So make sure you have enough before you start!  Thankfully my machine warned me, which it doesn't always do!  

The spiral gets smaller!  As you are sewing, be VERY careful not to buckle your felt.  Spread it with your fingers wide.  It gets trickier as you get closer in to the spiral, so go slower!  Take your time!  

Here is the top of my head.  As you can see, the spot in the middle is very minimal.  I leave about 2-3 inches of weft to spiral up by hand.  I cut a small slit in the top using an exacto knife to stuff my spiral end into.  I forgot to take pictures of what I do underneath, but I can explain it!  Using a needle and thread, keep the spiral inside in tact and close to the felt.  Sew around the edges using small stitches to secure the inside edge of the weft.  

Using a light iron, fan out the outside weft spiral so that it evenly covers the opening.  Iron it while it is on the dolls head.  If the iron is too hot, it will burn your dolls hair...so be careful.  Set it on a wool setting.  You can also do it by wetting it down and putting a hat on it to hold it in place until it dries.  It will hold it's form.  

Here it is on the doll. As you can see, it has even coverage.

Now you have to secure it to the head.  One thing I do before I secure it is turn it inside out and make sure my felt is cut as close as possible to the weft.  Felt doesn't fray, so get in close if you can.  You can then secure it to your head using your method of choice.  Right now, my method is to use a ladder stitch to go around the head twice.  If you have other suggestions, please share :)

She's all done!  Isn't she cute?  I hope you find this tutorial helpful.  If you have any questions please ask!  I'm more than willing to help you as best as I can!