Custom Doll – The 11th Doctor from the TV Show Dr. Who

I had a fun project to create a 11th Doctor doll from the TV Show Dr. Who for a client that purchased one of my custom spots through the Etsy shop.

All the patterns for my dolls are my own. I work on creating proportions that are visually appealing to me. Creating the pattern for the Dr. meant that I would have to create a brand-spanking new pattern – a man-doll. Although I could have used my regular pattern and put it into a simple version of the 11th Dr. clothes, I wanted something a bit different and new.

Looking at a picture of the 11th Doctor makes it clear that the actor has very long legs, a somewhat large head and beautiful sparkly blue-green eyes. His hair is always a bit messy and he’s a fine dresser!

His body features a manly chest and shoulders. His legs are quite thin and, well, leggy. For his face I created more adult proportions than in my regular dolls – I look that I’m planning to repeat in the near future with some other dolls that I think will want to be created.

Sewing the clothes made me tap into sewing skills that I had not used in almost 20 years. Back then, I used to work for the buyers of a fabric store chain and I sewed virtually everything I wore: Faux-fur winter coat, stretch velvet leggins, drop-waist rayon flower print dresses, blouses, trousers, skirts and a wedding dress, including a boned top with 20 yards of skirt fabric for an evening ball (I got to participate in a group opening dance). I have sewn a few things in the past two decades, but nothing terribly challenging (except perhaps my real wedding dress). I’m now reacquainted with the buttonhole feature on my sewing machine, the sewing of lined men’s jackets and shirts with real buttonholes.

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed creating him and having the photo session.





For more images of the 11th Dr. come check out my Flickr-Gallery

If you have a passionate 11th Dr. fan at your house, I would be delighted to make other Dr. dolls – each one of course to be its very own personality.

The Story of “Rosemary” and Violet – my youngest client and her doll

Last December I had the pleasure of meeting a very, very special seven year old girl at one of my Winterfairs at the local downtown Toronto Waldorf Academy. For this article and to preserve her privacy, I will refer to her as Rosemary.

Rosemary is a budding creatrice herself – making wonderful little needle-felted angels that she sells at craft markets – of course with the help of her lovely mother.

Rosemary saw my dolls at one of here friends (the little girl that got Keagan for Christmas) and really wished for one herself. As she had been saving her money earned at the craft fairs, she almost had enough to purchase a special Olive Sparrow doll for herself. We talked about ordering a doll that would be her little sister, looking like her, yet of course beeing different. We also talked about making payments, versus saving her money first before she made the decision, making a deposit for a custom doll spot, clothing ideas, hair, skin and eye choices. Rosemary was so sweet and did the very wise thing of telling me that she would think about everything and letting me know if she was ready to get the doll. She also told me that she had one more craft fair, and would know after if she had enough money for the doll. As Rosemary and her mom live just up the street from my studio, we agreed that if she decided to go ahead with a doll, I would work very hard to make it for her in time for Christmas.

A week later, Rosemary herself called me to ask if she could come by the studio to put down a deposit (her mom afterwards told me that this was the only thing she was confused about – she thought that a deposit would mean the doll would be more expensive). When Rosemary and her mom visited my studio, we choose options for clothes, hair colours and knew that the dolls eyes would have to be the deep, deep brown that Rosemary has.

I worked many late nights leading up to Christmas, and a day before Christmas Eve Rosemary and her mom came to our home to pick up the doll.


Violet – 38 cm custom doll


Violet – full of giggles and sillies

Early in the new year, Rosemary called me to tell me all about the doll, which had told her had the secret middle name of Violet, and how the two of them were going everywhere together. I had never had the chance to have a dolly talk with one of my little clients and was moved of how the dolls impact a little girls world. Rosemary also told me that she had a little bit more money and wanted to come by the studio to purchase another outfit for Violet.

At this point, I should probably share with you that I name my dolls, but always tell my clients that each doll has a secret middle name that it only tells to the person with whom the doll comes to live.

When Rosemary was at the studio, she saw an outfit that was more expensive than what she could afford. We talked about her options and she did become a little bit upset (as any 7 year old would), that she didn’t have enough money for all the items she wanted. I told her that I would put the extra pair of pants aside for her – whenever she had the money to call me and they would be here for her.

Last week she came by the studio with a her mom and a friend to purchase the pants. She showed me a beautiful little bag she had made for Violet and a needlefelted guinea pig that fit inside the bag. I am smitten with Rosmary and think she will become an amazing woman when she is all grown up. Having a wonderful, rambunctious son in my life, yet having the chance to meet the young girls that play with my dolls fills my heart and soul!


“Rosemary” with Violet her doll she paid for with her own money.

Keagan – 48 cm tall and so sweet

Keagan was the second last custom doll for 2012. Instead of nattering on about him and all the adventures he will have, I'll just let the pictures of him speak…












I took the following picture to show some of the textures in Keagans' outfit. When I design a doll, I always ensure that a child will have many different types of natural textures to feel. Here we have very soft felted angora wool, merino wool, soft but a bit less so, linen fabric, buttons, boiled wool, the twists of the shoe cord. The blue of the shoes is fabric taken from woolen tights the that "J" (who will be living with Keagan) wore to bits when she was smaller. 

Keagan will also be living as the brother to a doll I made a few years back. His hair is custom dyed and matches the other doll's hair in tone, although not in texture, as she has straight hair. 

I love making boy dolls so much. They can fly and are full of beans!


A Quick Review

The past 10 days have been a flurry of activities and lugging of the portable Olive Sparrow shop. I also got to meet with so many of you that have come and visited me at the fairs. 

Here is a bit of a recap to share with you.

Friday and Saturday (Nov. 16 and 17) I had a large booth at the Arts and Crafts Fair of the Toronto Waldorf School in Richmond Hill. On the way there, the front wheels of our beloved, yet ancient mini-van started smoking. Taking frequent breaks to let them cool down, I was determined to make it to the fair – which I did – just. I was so lucky to have my wonderful felting buddy Jan helped me with the set-up. Car-car (don't you name your car?) stayed there overnight, while Manon of Shoe Babou gave me a ride downtown and back the next day.

Here a quick look of the booth:


This was my third year at the show and I feel blessed to have seen many of my repeat clients again. I also got to chat with many new clients. 

On the Sunday after the show I took Huxley to see "the Man in red on his sled", and a visit to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). Since we didn't score even one candy cane, we treated ourselves to cake in their eatery that always makes me think of Switzerland (it's something about the layout, the colours and general feel). This time of the year is a challenge to my mothering role – my soul is torn between my duties on all fronts – as a mother, a creator of Olive Sparrow goods, a gardner, a housewife, an artist, the maker of all the baked cookies with gift clients with, taking care of me. Yet despite the challenges, I love the flurry of activities and even giggle at the state of the insides of our car – packed to the roof with show booth items.

Monday to Thursday this past week was spend sewing like a mad-woman at home and getting some painting done at the studio. I was able to finish up 3 more Olive Sparrow Children (they had still needed faces, hair and clothes) and sew shoes for all the larger dolls that didn't find their forever families at the TWS show. 

On Friday just before 2 pm I got on the road to Guelph (about 100 km's east of Toronto). I was able to visit my pregnant friend Catherine and her family there for half an hour before heading to the Trillium Waldorf School for the Cranberry market.

It was so relaxing to set up there, as I had given myself ample time so I didn't need to stress and do my usual heart-pounding, adrenaline pumping spiel of racing to be ready for opening time. There was a piano in my vendor room and a group of children played piano and the recorder for me. As a thank you, I let them have a rock fight. You read right. This year I am selling wet-felted rocks, originally intended to be used for nature tables, play scapes and decoration. Through interaction with the kids I realized they had a hoot trowing "rocks" at each other in play. What fun – and there are still some bags of the rocks left for my next fairs. The children commented on how interesting it felt to hold these textile stones in their hands. 

The booth set-up is different at each fair I attend – In Guelph, I had rented two tables, which is really what is needed to justly present all my goods. Luckily Catherine (not my pregnant friend, but a super-sweet and wonderful co-ordinator of the fair) was able to get me that much space.


Here some close-ups of each table:



Because I had some extra time before opening, here a few (pardon me for the blurriness) doll close-ups:


Alice 38 cm – available


Elsie – 38 cm – available

The Cranberry fair closed at 11pm. At 11:40 pm, my goodies where packed up and I drove back home to Toronto. After getting into bed at 1:15 am, I rose again at 4:30 am and was on the road at 5 am to arrive in Kingston (about 250 km's west of Toronto) by 8:30 am for set-up at the Mullberry Waldorf school for their Winterfair. (I did have a 15 minute nap at one of the rest-stops and arrived full of energy in perfect timing to walk my stuff up to the 3rd floor of a lovely old and large school house. The building reminded me strongly of my own primary school in Switzerland – must have had something to do with the size of the class rooms and the spacing of the stair steps.

Even though my attendance was confirmed only a week ago, I was still able to rent two table spaces. Lois and Patricia that coordinated the fair were absolutely lovely to work with. 


All the people I met at the school were strangers to me, yet I was made to feel completely at home and welcome by everyone that came to look and/or purchase my goodies.


As promised in my earlier post, I wanted to show you the 20 cm Olive Sparrow Child that I will be giving away in a contest I am holding at all my shows this season. I know that my dolls are not attainable for everybody that visits and gives me such lovely words for my work – I wanted to give something back.

Here is quick image of "Mimi". 


The contest will close on December 16. 2012, the day of my last show this year.

If you would like to put your name into the draw for a chance to win her,  visit me at one of the shows I will be doing over the next two weeks and fill out a ballot:

November 30 (Friday 6 pm – 9 pm ) – Westdale Children's School – Hamilton 

December 2 (Sunday 10 am – 4 pm) – Waldorf Academy (formerly Allan Howard Waldorf School) – Toronto

December 8 (Saturday 11 am – 3 pm) – London Waldorf School – London

December 16 (Sunday noon – 5 pm) – Rima and Friends – Wise Daughters Craft Market – Toronto (Junction)

Off to bed for me – I am planning on sewing more doll clothes and hopefully finish a couple more dolls until Friday.


Show Pictures

The shows I did a couple of weekends ago went well. It was lovely to meet so many new people and exhibit my work. I "hired' our son to be my helper for the day on Sunday. He was amazing! I still remember when I was pregnant that I just thought that our son would come along to the shows, play quietly behind the tent, get used to the life of doing shows and start helping with little things. As I told him the day of the show, he was not that kind of a child when he was younger. Whereas I have seen the children of others be the perfect assistants and quiet companions, my son was always too active (although I did have him along at an art exhibition when he was a mere 6 weeks old and that was a wonderful experience). Now, at eight, he can help me unload the car, set-up the tent, watch the booth for a few minutes, and also, especially at a Waldorf fair, go about doing activities that he likes to do and enjoy him self too. 

Here are a few pictures of my show tent to share with you that come from far and away. 


Welcome to the lair of the Olive Sparrow (give me a shout-out in the comments if you spot the little birdy – he always travels with me). 


Fairy tote bags – sized just perfectly for children to use as their lunch bag, a carry-all to take ballet slippers to class, a toybag to bring just a few precious things along on an outing or for momma to use as a small handbag.



Playsilks – look soon in my etsy store for an update in colours and sizes.


Hats and pants for three sizes of dolls. I love seeing all the clothes laid out like this and ready to be combined with tops to every doll-mommas own tastes and desires. 


Dresses, tunics and skirts. I am already excited and inspired for the new clothes ideas in my mind.  


The doll table – with Olive Sparrow Children (11 in all, although one was hiding in this picture) – the plan is that early next week the dolls and I will go on a photo outing – there are a few lovely places I have in mind to take photographs. All in preparation to have them listed within the next 2 weeks. They are all very excited to find their future families. In this picture you can also see wet-felted flowers, hand-dyed dress-up crowns both for children and their dolls, as well as Floppy dolls, nature-table fairies and Mother Earth (from the previous post). 

Shows are a wonderful way to share my work and to inspire moms that make their own dolls for their children. I also enjoy setting up the displays and seeing the expressions in the face of children when they respond to a doll. It's always a tad sad too though, to see how some of the parents really love to get the doll for their child, yet simply can't afford it. That is also why I offer doll-making workshops. I had planned to hold one this coming weekend, but it seems that after the summer vacation will be a better time for it – summer is to be outside and enjoy the weather and time with our families – I love the coming of September and the return back to hand-work and preparing for the holiday markets. 

PS: If you would like to receive advance notice of the dolls becoming available for sale, please send me a message to: and I will add you to my early bird list.