This is why I’ve been hiding…


My Olive Sparrow Booth at the Toronto Waldorf School Candlelight Vendor's Fair.

Selling my blankets, hand-dyed felt crowns, festive banners, playsilks and dolls. 

A detail of the Olive Sparrow Children:


There are eight children, of which six have found a home, the other two will be in put into my Etsy shop within a weeks time. 

Here is your chance to meet them one-by-one.

Bella will be Ayla's new mom. Ayla is about 44 cm tall. Bella's mom adopted Ayla before the TWS show, but Ayla came with us anyway, as she didn't want to miss out meeting all the people at the fair and having fun with her friends.


Her tunic is sewn with french seams from a recycled linen-mix mens' shirt, a bias neck closure and an alpaca-silk drawstring, from the same yarn as her knit hat. Her capri pants are made from a vintage pillow cover. 

Ayla is a beautiful layed-back girl, full of spunk, yet a very gentle soul.


Kayla has also been adopted. She is about 35 cm tall.


Kayla's hair is hand-dyed merino yarn from Switzerland, extremely soft and beautiful to style. It is a crochet-cap and hand-knotted wig, which allows for many different styles to be created.


Her over-dress is fully reversible, and suitable for both winter and summer wear. She currently wears it over a handkerchief linen shift and lilac bloomers (but, please don't share that information with anybody else…giggle). She wears booties made our of up-cycled felted wool.

Below you can see her with loose open hair and the darker side of the outfit. The dress is based on a pinafore pattern that crosses over in the back, so a child does not have to worry about buttons or other closures. 


Kiran's Grandmother adopted Lars and he will stay with her until Christmas, when he will move in with Kiran. Lars is 33 cm tall. His hair is crochet with the loop technique that Joy's Waldorfdolls describes in her wig-making instruction booklet.


Lars' hoodie is sewn from a T-shirt Huxley wore a couple of summers ago, he also wears linen-cotton pants and leather shoes. He was the first of the children to be adopted at the fair.


Here he is sitting with Reka (who is still available for adoption). Reka is the smallest of the children, measuring a mere 21 cm in height. Her price is $125 CDN. 

She wears a silk hat with a daisy button, and an embroidered, tailored light green linen dress. Her hair is hand-dyed merino wool in an open style. Under her dress you can see a little bit of her floral, cotton capri pants. Her crochet shoes are the same silk as her hat and close with a daisy button.


Reka would be a great doll for a slightly older child, as she is a bit harder to dress.


Lina is 43 cm tall and has a body that is on the plump side (my own pattern). She gives the best hugs. Lina has been adopted together with Mia (you will learn about her next). 

Lina wears a tunic, a cotton batiste and sequin skirt over linen capri pants, as well as a hand-knit hat. Her hair is crochet with the lovely technique that a few of my admired german doll-makers have shared with me (links to their dolls to follow in one of my next posts, in which I would like to share my learning curve about the dolls). Lina's shoes are also made from up-cyled felted woolen sweaters.


Lina with Mia and Silas


Sweet Mia, she is 26 cm tall and has been adopted to the same home as Lina, and I will also make another boy (a brother to Silas, that will look very similar to him).

Mia wears a tunic made from the same fabric as my favourite linen shirt is made out of, as well as white handkerchief linen pants and a reversible pinafore (a pattern I drafted, based on a pinafore I wear for spinning). Her hair is also a crochet mohair type wig.


Here you can clearly see the little bit of embroidery I added to the pinafore. Mia is wearing it with the lilac side out to show you how it matches her kerchief.


Silas, my big boy is 44 cm tall and such a wonderful big brother. He has been adopted as well. 


Silas is dressed up in his finest linen shirt, striped linen pants (made from an up-cycled men's shirt), and his warm wollen felted west. His kerchief adds a little bit of extra spunk to him, don't you agree? His shoes are suede and look very dapper. His hat has earflaps not to keep him warm, but to make him look cool, because, well, as we all know, big brothers have a reputation to protect. He has been adopted for a little girl that is quite a tomboy, so I'm sure he is set for a wonderful life of adventures. 


Last, but by now means least, here we have Pia, the other girl that is still available for adoption to a new home. Pia measures about 43 cm in height and costs $195 CDN.

For her hair I combined the brushed mohair technique with the loop-crochet technique, which gives her a beautifully unruly head of hair that she likes to tame with barrets and little pig tails. Pia is quite a girly-girl and wears a dress over her capri pants. To make sure she stays nice and clean when playing with the other children she wears the lilac side of her pinafore out, yet when she gets ready for an outing, she likes to wear it's white linen side. 



Pia's shoes are made from an up-cycled purple wool sweater and keep her feet cozy even in cold weather. 



Here you can see a detail of her dress showing the french seam.

Pia, Kayla and Ayla pretending that the craddle is a boat on hight seas.


This concludes the introduction of my first collection of Olive Sparrow Children. I was overwhelmed by all the beautiful encouraging compliments I received at the fair and feel blessed to being able to make three custom dolls for some very lucky children this Christmas. I currently still have room for one more custom order to be completed by December 20th as well. 

I hope you have a beautiful week ahead, leading up to our festive season.

Catch-up post number 1 – Waldorf-inspired Knight

It is now or never!… (isn't that a song from the 80's?)… but I will spend the next few posts with things that I've been meaning to show you since the beginning of the year.

Today I would like to share a very special present that I made for Huxley at the beginning of the year. For Christmas 08, I had made him a knitted horse with a knights armor in wool and felt. It was on his wish list and came together late one night last year. 

Early February 09 I went on a train to travel to Kingston to do jurying for the Organization of Kingston Women Artists and while on the trip there I finally finished the knight to go with it. 


Here he is riding the dragon-lamp in my room at the hotel in Kingston (how perfect is that and how lucky for our little knight)


Back at home I fashioned him a quiver, a dogwood bow and arrows.


He has blue eyes just like Huxley.

Sir Knight is constructed from a pre-made doll armature from Switzerland. I then fashioned a bound head in the waldorf doll tradition and sewed arm-skins and a body for him. The legs are wrapped in some wool and then he wears his velvet pants overtop. The tunic, undershirt and hat is made from wool felt and stitched with silk thread. 

The horse is knitted from a pattern in Toymaking with Children by Freya Jaffke an essential book to rasing my little one. I wish I had had it years ago, before I let any other toy into our home. For the horses armour cloth, I made a paper pattern and then cut and sculpted more after it was placed on the horse. It then got embroidered and embellished.

For christmas this year I plan on making Huxley a King and a Queen and maybe a couple more knights. A wooden play castle would be fabulous too, but I think we would need to purchase a scroll saw, and we just don't have the space for a wood shop in our home.  

It is a constant challenge living in a large city like Toronto and trying to only let natural toys into the house. One of my husband's clients is a major Canadian retailer and we receive the large Christmas catalogue already in summer. Huxley found it this year and has taken to pouring over it with glee and a constant "Mommy, how old do I have to be for this? Mommy, I want a toy that looks real like this and is made from plastic!" (that one just about broke my heart). It is so challenging to know exactly what to say, because to be frank, it isn't a child's concern why certain toys are better for him/her than others. I'm at loss sometime of what to say, and scientific answers have slipped out more than I would like to admit. Of course, his wanting something does not mean that I will buy it, yet I can't fully disregard his desires either.

When I see blogs of waldorf families that live in rural areas, and I envy the seeming ease in keeping their little ones innocent. But we are not living there, and considering our life, we are living a fusion-waldorf lifestyle. A challenge, but this is who we are. 

What is your approach to a child's wish for "real looking, plastic toys?"