What would you be likely to find if you stumbled upon my maker’s burrow? Cupboards full to the brim with fabric and wool, coloured swatches and thread scattered about, and the stuffing that brings the toys I create to life. Did I mention fairy lights? Always fairy lights!
When I was a little girl I was focused on making clothes for my dolls, dressing them for the pretend worlds we spent time in together, and popping them in their pajamas before tucking them in at night. Later, after reading Rhonda Hetzel’s book “Down to Earth” I was captivated by the idea of simple living and homemaking as a way of life. There was no turning back from discovering I could make what my family needed, make a life as a stay-at-home-mum, learning and creating as I went.
Becoming pregnant with Eddie, I was determined to make everything I could for him, including his toys. I taught myself what I needed to know and one Christmas decided to make my niece a doll as a present. This was the moment where I realised making toys brought everything I had learned and loved together into a little character. Knitting, sewing, embroidery, crochet and an imagination fuelled by the illustrations of Phoebe Wahl and Emily Winfield Martin; the mice from Brambly Hedge; and Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter novels.
Whilst the making of each doll follows the same steps, the dolls themselves are the one-of-a-kind pieces that can only come from every individual stitch I sew. Think colourful delicately embroidered hair and faces, Liberty of London fabrics, and miniature pieces of clothing that give a nod to my own style and the styles I admire in others.
Stuffed with 100% wool from my local woollen mill, these are heirloom dolls, handmade for children and meant for tea-parties and gentle play. Carefully chosen cottons and linens combine with tiny laced felt boots, crocheted wraps and knitted cardigans to form beautiful characters that deserve to be smothered with love by a little someone.
Sometimes you’ll find me creating my dolls to the soundtrack of audio books, knitting You-Tube channels, and nostalgic movies on repeat. If the weather is nice I’ll take my stuffing outside on a picnic rug whilst Ed is playing in the garden. I love the trees and bushland that surround our little brick home, our chickens scratching the earth around their coop, our enormous dog, my husband Wal and our son Eddie.
When I’m not creating dolls, I’m making porridge early in the morning and tending to the fire if it’s cold; walking to the local café for coffee and knitting something for Ed whilst he runs for the swings. Though it has to be said, I’m my happiest burrowed into a nest of blankets by the fire, the rain drumming on the roof, with my knitting, my two boys…and fairy lights.