December is one of the hardest months to blog in! There are so many things going on that I simply cannot keep up. But our company has all gone home now, the decorations are all put away, and the house is quiet. This gives me an opportunity to share more of the handmade gifts that I made this year and did not have time to blog about.
I have been making gifts for my nieces and nephews whenever I thought the gift would be something that would make a memory for them. This year, when one of the families with younger children came to visit, I invented a way to keep them interested and involved when we all went hiking at a local state park. I showed them some simple wooden pin dolls I had made and instructed them to be looking for things on the trail as we hiked that they could use to make houses and furnishings for the dolls when we had our picnic later in the day. This turned out to be a successful venture which they seemed to enjoy, so when Christmas rolled around, I decided to make them their own set of dolls along with some things that would inspire their imaginations.
Wooden pin dolls are sold in craft store already formed, but I don’t live near a craft store, so I had to make do with what I had on hand. Someone had given me a package of old-fashioned clothes pins and all I had to do to convert them was to remove the “legs” of the pins. Typically, pin dolls do not have arms, but I wanted mine to have some, so I drilled out a hole at shoulder level so that I could add them.
My idea in making these dolls was to follow in the steps of the Waldorf dolls -very simple and with all natural materials. To achieve this, I used a piece of leather lacing to create the arms and glued wooden beads to each end for hands. The clothing I added was made from felted wool sweaters and was very simple in design. The faces were painted on and consisted of eyes and a small line for the mouth.
Because their mother had requested a gift that encouraged outdoor play (thus allowing her some quiet time indoors!), I enclosed some other items with the dolls: a bridge and fence of twigs and string; a wooden table made of a round of wood; acorn caps for bowls; a “fire” of twigs, gravel, and tissue paper; and a small baby and a cradle made from half of a nut shell. I included a letter to the children suggesting other things they could make and sent some other natural items I had on hand (like raffia) to work with. I took these pictures before I sent the package. I had so much fun making the things, I just had to see what they would look like outside! 🙂
Hopefully, not only will this gift help my nieces and nephew enjoy playing outdoors and using their imaginations, I hope the dolls will help them remember their vacation with us this past summer!