Well, the dolls got more than they bargained for when they made the trip to Colorado in November. One day of lovely weather for the first batch of pictures, and then we got dumped with a whole bunch of snow the next. Well, don’t worry, with the sun out shining today it was actually quite a bit warmer than it looks…

…though poor Sumalee, the Thai visitor, really was quite unprepared for the cold. Her name means “Flower” I am told, and she is dressed just like one. Her outfit came out so, so lovely, I think. She is wearing a pretty necklace that actually can be shared with her new mama. 16″ doll

We also have some more pictures of Gita today. Gita is a 16″ Indian girl. She comes with a darling barrette, as well as a little coin purse on her wrist.

Next up is Ali, a 16″ Afghan boy. His hat and vest are just amazing, so detailed and colorful.

And, finally, Sonia, another doll from India, this time a 12″ one. Her name means golden, and I absolutely couldn’t resist giving her this beautiful hand spun hair with gold colored strands throughout. It is one of the prettiest handspun yarns I have ever used, I think, and certainly causes Sonia to live up to her name.

Well, there you have it, the final dolls in the Asian collection. They will be on Etsy tomorrow (Friday), time to be announced. Let me also post the prices here, too. As I am sure you can imagine, these dolls all took significantly more work than the ones I normally do, as well, the materials, which hail from all around the world, cost quite a bit more than I usually use. Between the planning, pattern drafting, dyeing, photos and material cost naturally the dolls are priced higher than normal. And, this is the reason why I am able to make special edition dolls from time to time. I’m sure you can understand, but I thought I would explain it none the less.

16″ dolls (Eun, Fuyuki, Nuha, Gita, Sumalee and Ali) are $270

12″ doll (Sonia) $200

9″ (Keiko) $165


This is a new group of dolls that I have been working very hard on and planning for weeks. The idea all started with Dianah, a lady who contacted me through Etsy, requesting that I make dolls representing different countries in Asia. She felt that many of those countries have been underrepresented in natural dolls, and I was very flattered that she thought of contacting me to see if I would be able or willing to make them. Considering that I actually have never even traveled outside of the United States, I initially felt embarrassingly under qualified to attempt her idea!  However, as I thought of it I became greatly intrigued and wondered if I should see if I could pull it off.

Fortunately- and in fact, without this I do not think there is any way  I would have attempted this- Dianah was extremely helpful- from sending me internet links of different regions in costume- to links to fabric shops from all around the world where I could get items, accessories, fabric, and trim for the doll clothing. From there it was a matter of doing what is my absolute favorite part of doll making- pulling together all sorts of different fabric, trims, hand dyed and hand spun  yarn, to attempt to make everything come together into something cohesive and fun. And, oh I am so glad that I decided to try to make it work. Let me tell you, for a couple of weeks Amy and I were sweating it, concerned that the outfits wouldn’t look right, or fit, or even be possible to pull off, but this last week, as all the pieces came together, I couldn’t stop squealing with delight with each one. It seemed that I liked each new doll that came together more than the last, and I will tell you the truth, I honestly cannot pick a favorite. If there was ever an upload where  Iwished I could keep each and every last doll, this one is it. My children, who watched in fascination, as well as adding suggestions and offers of help, feel exactly the same way, though they begged, absolutely begged to keep Nuha, the Arab girl. Her beautiful scarf I think made her end up being a favorite. As for me, I’m just not going to say, since each one speaks to me in a completely different way.

I have five dolls to show you today, since the other three are still being completed. Still to come: 16″ Afghan boy, 16″ Thai girl, 12″ Indian girl, as well as plenty more photos of Gita, the 16″ Indian girl. I will have details about all eight dolls for you shortly on Facebook. But you will need to give me just a few days to get them all done, and then, I promise, of course, lots and lots more photos. Oh, one more thing, I promised Dianah, who was so sweet to work with me, that I would reserve one of the eight dolls for her, so of course one of the dolls will not be available for sale. I do hope you enjoy the dolls as much as I enjoyed the process of making them. An extra special thanks to Amy for taking so many of the gorgeous photos, as well as to Evie, Bethany and Grace for helping model the dolls, the wonderful Tarah and Erica, of course, who sew doll bodies and heads of hair for me each week!, and thanks to all of you, for pushing me in directions I would never have thought of going, causing me to step out of my comfort zone once in a while and to try to new things I would have never done on my own.

So, without further ado, here are…

Fuyuki (16″ Japanese boy )

Keiko (9″ Japanese girl)

Eun (16″ Korean girl)

Nuha (16″ Arab girl)

Nuha and Gita (16″ Arab girl and 16″ Indian girl) – and close up of the lovely barrette in Gita’s hair

Jem and Scout

Let me introduce you to Jem and Scout, two 16″ Tumbleberry dolls. Feeling the change in the air from summer to fall brings to mind one of my favorite books, “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I feel I was fortunate enough to have not read this book as required reading in high school, reading the book for the first time, instead, a few years ago as an adult. What a wonderful discovery it was, one of those books that I never wanted to end. My favorite part about it is the way Harper Lee slowly, subtly, develops the characters through the story and by the end of it finding a respect for them and their decisions that at first introduction I had no idea was there. In fact, my  husband and I liked the characters so much we gave Jude the middle name Atticus.

To me this book, though not a children’s book, wonderfully illustrates the innocence of childhood, which is why I chose to make dolls this week inspired by Jem and Scout. It tells of fall, and back to school, and playing out in the sun all day, and brings to mind nostalgic thoughts of happy, playing children. This is what I tried to capture when I made Jem and Scout. Regardless of whether or not the dolls are exactly accurate according the descriptions in the book, this is how I have always pictured them.

Jem has a wool flannel shirt and a pair of overalls. He also is wearing a corduroy jacket for the nippy days when fall is in the air. I made him a cap, since his hair is a bit overgrown, beginning to be in need of a haircut, naturally. I gave him just a handful of freckles, leftover from long days in the summer sun. He also has a pair of brown shoes but prefers to go barefoot.

Scout has a short mess of curly hair that generally is unkempt when she is off playing with Jem in a pair of overalls and checkered shirt. Her skin is tan from lazy summer days.  I feel sure that she would always be barefoot as well, however, I made her a pair of matching lavender Mary Jane shoes that go with her shirt. She also comes with  a vintage style orange and cream floral dress and bloomers that surely Calpurnia makes her wear on Sundays. She has a matching orange yoked sweater and her hair is contained with a gray ribbon. She couldn’t find her shoes, so she is wearing a pair of Jem’s old boots.

I had so much fun making these two dolls. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Yes, that is the theme for the dolls I made this week, ending with these two, the final two today- a lonely goatherd, and Edelweiss, a little girl with a pale pink coat…

I had in my head a list of random dolls I wanted to make- Princess and the Pea, Vikings, merbabies, and the set from “The Phantom Tollbooth.” I thought I needed one more set of fun whimsical dolls to round it out- something from a different genre- I already had a modern fairy tale, an  older fairy tale, some imaginary characters, and some characters that were the stuff of myth and legends, but had existed in the past…what could it be? Then from somewhere the idea popped into my head- Two little lonely goatherds. Perfect.

What is not to love about the attire of the goatherds out on the Alps, yodeling all the day long? I knew it was exactly what I wanted, and now I had tales recognized all over the world.The image of a goatherd out on the mountain all day long, taking a sack with his lunch in it, carrying a staff to keep those goats in line, rosy cheeked, is just irresistible. I didn’t model these exactly off of the puppets made for “The Sound of Music”, as absolutely gorgeous as they are, instead, I came up with what I imagined they should like from ideas in my head, inspired by memories of that movie, sketched them out, and then went shopping. It all starts with shopping!

The puppet show scene from “The Sound of Music” has got to be one of the most recognized and classic scenes filmed, and most loved by children. When I was little I adored it, especially the part where the little baby goat dances onto the puppet stage. I think I have every second of that scene perfectly memorized. As I was making the dolls, I found the youtube clip for Evie to watch, surprised that she had not seen the movie yet. She is four, and my first viewing of “The Sound of Music” took place when I was three. Mesmerized, she giggled at all the places that I had as a child, and the second it was over begged me to play it again. I did, for her, again and again and again, letting her baby brother, who is 13 months old, watch, too. He doesn’t have a long attention span but he too could not keep his eyes off the puppets dancing across the stage. Now I needed a name for my somewhat mismatched and random “group” of dolls…whimsical characters-characters from stories-favorite characters…Of course! “A Few of My Favorite Things”, that summed it up exactly, with a final nod to “The Sound of Music” with the lonely goatherds. That’s how I had come up with each group of dolls. Each set was a timeless, favorite, children’s classic, whether an ancient story or a newer character, and hope that they aren’t just a few of my favorite things, I tried to choose a collection of characters that are on many, many other people’s lists of favorite things.

And “The Sound of Music” sums up in general the way I feel when I think of my favorite things- scenery unmatched by anything that I can think of; best feel good story ever; adorable children who harmonize beautifully; funnest songs that children love and adults hum the rest of their lives, and it sure doesn’t hurt that Julie Andrews has the singing and speaking voice of an angel…or maybe a queen. Having watched it more recently- I had to, while I was knitting the socks, the baby goat, and the hat- I am so impressed with the clothing, too. So. Much. Fun.

So many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in the movie- not the least of which is the marionette my dad, sister and I made together. We had a fascination with marionettes- and who could not, after watching the movie?- and wanted to see if we could make one ourselves.Well, it turned out we could…it worked great! This wasnt from a kit; we got a library book that showed how and put it together. And it worked! It moved, it danced (if we could only figure out how to work the controls properly- it’s more challenging than it looks). The only problem was it looked like something out of a nightmare, or maybe a horror story. It had a white face and a mouth full of teeth ,and big giant ears that stuck out. It’s our fault with the face, since we made the head and painted it. As well constructed the puppet was, somehow we were reluctant to ever play with it…it was just too creepy. So, it got relegated to the storage area in the basement. My mom hung it on the wall so the strings wouldn’t get tangled. Well if you want to know what’s creepier than a creepy looking marionette, it is a creepy marionette hanging in the cellar portion of a basement, alone, with a glowing (or seemed that way) white face and huge teeth, hanging by string from a wall. Whenever Mom asked us to grab something out of the freezer down there…well, you just ran past the puppet, trying not to look, but knowing it was looking at you, taunting you; then you would turn around to leave, face it, glare at it and run!I think my faces have improved since making that puppet!  It’s funny to think back on. And now, let me introduce you to the dolls!

Both dolls are approximately 16″ tall. The Lonely Goatherd is wearing the quintessential lederhosen with a linen shirt. I know how cold it can get at altitude, even in the summer, so I knit him some warm, wooly socks.

He also has a toasty warm cap. His hair has some fun hand-spun yarn mixed in and he is anxious to go play with someone. I think his freckled face came out charming. He is $260.

The “little girl in the pale pink coat-herd” is named Edelweiss, naturally. She is ultra feminine and begged for eyelashes.

I have never done eyes like this on a regular sized doll, and don’t intend to, at least not very often. So she is special in that way. Her hair is beautifully sparkly, and she has flowers spun into it. She has ruffly pantaloons and a skirt with an attached linen apron. She has a knitted corset worn over her shirt, and comes with a pink head scarf. Realizing in dismay she had no pink coat,  I took the scarf and tied it around her shoulder to make a shrug of sorts, and am pretty pleased with how cute it looks!

She comes with a little baby goat with a pink ribbon tied around her neck.

Edelweiss is $280.

These two dolls are really special to me, and I had soooo much fun making them. I will be sorry to say good-bye to them, though I know they will have wonderful adventures in their new homes! I have decided to give you the option in the  comments to purchase both dolls if you want to. I think they would make wonderful playmates together and parting them seems sad. If you would like to purchase both or either of these dolls, please leave a comment below.  I will pick a comment tomorrow morning.

Today we have Aqua and Coral, two darling little merbabies. They are about the size of a Thimbleberry- approximately 9″.

Aqua, of course, has lovely aqua colored hair, which reminds me of the sea- what  I know of the sea, that is, since growing up in landlocked Colorado I am not as familiar with the ocean as others are! But her colors remind me of those photos of the beaches around the Bahamas- crystal clear and blue, blue, blue. Her hair has some glittery sparkly stuff in it too. It’s a lot of fun.

Coral is orangey pink, with some yellow splashed in, too. She reminds me of a colorful fish- well, she is half fish, I suppose, right?


It was pretty funny because when my daughter saw the mermaids, her first words were, “Oh, good, you can’t see her belly!” I gave each mermaid a nice, cool, flowy top to wear, as opposed to the coconut or sea shell tops you usually see on mermaids…no reason a mermaid can’t show a bit of modesty!

I know just about every doll maker has some version of a mermaid doll…I finally decided to try my hand at one when I thought about how adorable the Thimbleberry pattern would be when converted into a mermaid pattern. After all, who doesn’t like a mermaid, especially a baby one?

Coral and Aqua are $85 each. Shipping is $6/$7/$10 to US/CAN/INTERNATIONAL, respectively. If you would like either one of these dolls, please leave a comment with the name of the doll you would like. I will pick a winner tomorrow morning. Also, if you think you have a guess as to what the theme for this weeks dolls is, you may leave it in the comment section here: https://tumbleberrytoys.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/a-week-or-so-of-fun/

If you know who/what these characters are inspired by, then please leave a comment below and tell me what the answer is! I will reserve one of these dolls for you. After the correct answer is given I will tell  you more about the story… 

A winner has been chosen, congratulations, Karen! And now, as they say, for the rest of the story…this is a really really fun story that I happened upon at the library one day back when I was young and had time to do nothing all day long besides read books. 🙂 I then always complained to my mom that there were no more good books to read…WEll, one day I came across “The Phantom Toll Booth,” and what an adventure in cleverness, puns and wordplay I was in for. I read it several times in my childhood, and recently pulled it out as a read aloud for my kids to all listen to. They quickly got caught up in the magic of the story the way I had. I highly recommend this as a great read aloud book (not all books are conducive to this, you know), but I recommend the listeners either having a copy of their own to follow along, or at least be allowed to look over your shoulder, as so much of the clever wording makes sense when seen, rather than just heard. The chapter on the visit to Digitopolis, with the large helpings of “Subtraction Stew” and the description of the steps to infinity are worth the price of the book alone. This is a laugh out loud funny book that has been compared to Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”

Anyway- about the dolls- I had the idea of making the Princesses of Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason for, oh, I’d say a couple of years now. They wear wonderful gowns in the illustrations, as well as regal princess hats like the ones I have put on the dolls here. Plus, their names are just so fun and intriguing, and since the illustrations are black and white and somewhat vague, I knew I could have a lot of fun creatively with them. When I compiled the dolls for this upload, I knew that including the story of “The Phantom Tollbooth” would fit in perfectly….If you are still wondering why, don’t worry, it will all come together on Wednesday! 🙂 It was obvious we needed a fun little Milo, and with him must be Tock, the Watch Dog. I encourage all of you to check out this wonderful children’s story when you get a chance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom_Tollbooth

The Princesses of Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason come with beautiful clothes befitting royalty, as well as the clothing they wear when they live in exile in the Castle in the Air. This clothing certainly doesn’t fall under the category of rags- it  is made from the wonderful Heather Ross fabric line, Far Far Away. Some of my favorite fabric!

The Princess of Sweet Rhyme is dressed in a wonderful silk turquoise dress with a matching hat that denotes her princess status.

The Princess of Pure Reason is also wearing silk dress and hat, this in the shade I’ve always envisioned her wearing, a lovely dusky blue.

Rhyme and Reason are both 14.5″ Tumble Friends.A quick note about the Tumble Friends: I came up with my Tumble Friends design with slightly older children in mind, the emphasis on them being fun to dress up and accessorize. As such, they are not as soft and snuggly as the other styles of dolls I make. Their bodies are sewn very simply to keep sewing costs down. Their intention is to look lovely when fully dressed, as well as have a more mature look to them. Hearing back that they can be difficult to dress and are not as soft as the other dolls (as was my intention) I decided to slightly modify the pattern. The dolls now have arm and leg seams, so that they are more flexible, and can be propped into sitting positions. However, they are still in generally designed with the older crowd of children in mind (my 9 and 11 year old daughters adore them, as do their cousins of the same age). I wanted to make a note of that here, however, so that you would understand what the intention was of the Tumble Friends dolls in the first place.

Rhyme and Reason are each $180.

Milo is 12″ Mini Berry doll, with some wild hair, since he does, after all, have an adventure in a far away land. It just seemed appropriate.

He, of course comes with his Watch dog, Tock. Tock is crocheted of wool and will always be ready to give you the time.

Milo comes with wool felt shoes and his trusty Watch dog, and costs $200.

If you would like to purchase Rhyme, Reason, or Milo and Tock, then  please tell me what story these characters are from. The first answer will get to purchase the doll they choose. The remaining dolls will be for sale on Etsy later this afternoon. Shipping costs are $16/$28/$40 to US, CAN, and International, respectively.If you think you have a guess as to what the theme for this weeks dolls is, you may leave it in the comment section here: https://tumbleberrytoys.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/a-week-or-so-of-fun/

Brunhilda and Bjørn are, as you can see, a pair of two little Vikings. Now, I know they would be greatly offended if they knew I was saying this, but they are two of the most adorable Vikings you will ever see! Naturally they try to come off as tough and intimidating, but their just plain cuteness can’t help but come through and induce you to give them a little squeeze!

I’ve had the idea to make Viking dolls for a little bit, and finally gathered materials and supplies, figured, Hey, it can’t be that hard to knit a couple of Viking helmets! and went to town, having a really fun time. Stories about Vikings have alway intrigues me, and I love the unique clothing they wear, and of course those super fun hats!

Brunhilda, the sweet little girl, is quite feminine despte what she may lead you to believe. Her hair has some really lovely sparkly gold in it, maybe from all the sunshine she gets. She is outside every moment the sun shines, though sometimes those days can be few and far between. It is summer now and she is really getting her fill! She has a linen dress on as well as a knitted corset tied with leather. Her hair is done in two braids, naturally, and tied with strips of leather. She has wonderful purple fringe boots on, because she just loves color, as well as striped plum colored leggings. I incorporated just a bit of lace-type open work on her helmet, because she really does like the pretty stuff, though she is tough as nails!

Bjørn is a wild little boy- one who is always bound to dream up some new type of mischief! He is wearing a long linen tunic, belt, and, red and brown leggings, and boots. He, too, is wearing knitted Viking helmet, that goes over his sun bleached hair. You will find him outside all day long alongside Brunhilda as they romp through the hills, play along the shore, and try their hand at fishing.

Brunhilda and Bjørn have extra rosy cheeks and a healthy dose of freckles. They are strong sturdy little friends, and have no end of adventures in store for whoever plays with them.

Each doll is 16″, and costs $230 plus shipping costs which are $16/$28/$40 to US, CAN, and International, respectively. If you would like to purchase one of these dolls, please leave a comment below. Make sure you leave the name of the doll you want in the comments section! This drawing will be open through the weekend. I will choose the winner Monday morning when I go to post the next group of dolls. After I pick a winner, the doll not chosen will go up on Etsy on Monday, at a time  I will specify.

If you think you have a guess as to what the theme for this weeks dolls is, you may leave it in the comment section here: https://tumbleberrytoys.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/a-week-or-so-of-fun/

Please don’t forget that I must manually approve all comments, so just wait a bit if your comment doesn’t show up right away. It may take as long as a few hours for me to get to it and approve it.

***The winner of the Princess and the Pea set is Melissa H. Congratulations, Melissa! Thank you all for entering!***