Show Schedule 2012 – Updated with new Show in Kingston

The busy Christmas market season is starting on Friday. This year I will be participating in six fairs in and around Toronto.

There will be new/additional items for each different fair. However, especially the Olive Sparrow Children are sold on a first come, first served basis. So if you would like to see the largest selection of dolls, I hope to see you this Friday/Saturday.

I am very excited about new doll clothes, childrens fairy tote bags, large felted flowers perfect for the nature table, and other good handmade goods all with the Olive Sparrow touch.


Special Event for my market visitors:

Participate to win a 20cm Olive Sparrow Doll

(for details, visit me at any of the shows or
visit me at all shows to increase your chance to win).


November 16/17, 2012 (Friday/Saturday) – Toronto Waldorf School, Richmond Hill

November 23 (Friday evening) – Cranberry Market – Guelph

November 24 (Saturday) – Mulberry Waldorf School – Kingston

November 30 (Friday evening) – Westdale Children's School – Hamilton

(see attached details)


December 2 (Sunday) – Waldorf Academy (formerly Allan Howard Waldorf School) – Toronto

December 8 (Saturday) – London Waldorf School – London

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

(details to follow)





Saturday, November 24, 2012: 
Mulberry Waldorfschool in Kingston




 If you have any questions, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail.


Trial and Error

It takes a lot of time, trial and error to arrive at an Olive Sparrow Child whose body shape and proportions are visually right to my eyes. When I made my first dolls I used some of my old patterns from years past (as in patterns from the 80's) and traditional Waldorf doll patterns found in the standard instruction books. Although I have sewn and created for more years than I'd like to admit publicly, I was somehow of the opinion that the dolls had to be "just so" and who was I to think I could alter something as established and well documented in Waldorf Doll-making circles. 

Over time, and through viewing many other doll-makers' creations, I decided that I wished to have a doll that was visually pleasing to my own sense of proportion.

I prefer a doll that has:

  • long legs (but not out of proportion),
  • a neck (except for the baby-doll that is next on my plan), 
  • the head/body proportions of a primary school-aged child (6 – 9 year old),
  • an oval, but roundish face, 
  • arms and legs that are free-moving, 
  • arms that are at a comfortable "hanging" position, yet can be wrapped around a childs neck to return a hug 
  • for larger dolls the ability to sit freely (for the smaller ones to sit propped up), 
  • largish feet, to wear shoes comfortably
  • proportionate hands and thumbs (those thumbs are always a pain to sew),
  • a body that can easily be held in a childs' hands.

Last year I re-designed the bodies for the 44/48 cm and 52/55 cm dolls and am very happy how they turned out. The 35cm doll has always been a favourite though. The smaller, yet still substantial size is ideal for children of 2 years and up, especially if they have shorter hair and simpler clothes. The pattern I have used in the past had many endearing features, yet was at times very frustrating to sew. Hence planning a new body pattern has been on my to-do list all year. 

As I'm now getting ready for this years shows, the time is now. Two weeks ago I was rolling heads, as I often slightly adjust my patterns to fit the heads. They are my starting point for proportion and sizing of the body. Last week I spent two days playing with skin fabric, pencils and wool stuffing. 

These are some of the samples I arrived at.


Two different arms, two different legs. I like my babes to be on the plumper side, as I feel they are more child-like. I also do like larger feet. My heads on the other hand are smaller rather than larger. Once a doll has their hair added, the head automatically becomes bigger. 

Arm shapes.


I made one doll with the left-most pattern, but after it was finished, decided that I prefer my older arm pattern. It is important though to not just draw and imagine the dolls as I would like them to be, but to actually sew and stuff sample limbs. Holding these samples in my hands and working with how the fabric behaves when it is being stuffed leads me to the right shape.

If you look at the right-most hand, you can see that the hand is smaller, longer with a less defined thumb. This was caused by aligning the pattern differently on the skin fabric. Since the skin fabric is a knit, that will affect the direction of the stretch when the limb is stuffed.  

The first of the new 40cm (aka the 35cm that grew larger) doll is now almost finished. In the morning I will embroider the face and get the hair ready. Hopefully I'll get a chance to take some pictures to show you. 


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.                   



Mother Earth and her Fairies

Time has slipped by me again – time that was busy with a trip to Montreal to deliver artwork to my agent, purchase paper for my art and seeing friends. I also dropped by Loyalist College where I will be teaching a 4-day wet-felting class in July to meet the lovely Heather Cockerline who I have been working with. 

Back at home I have been busy felting flowers and creating dolls for the two Mayfair Festivals I will be attending this coming weekend: Westdale Children's School in Hamilton on Saturday May 26th from 11am – 3 pm, and Halton Waldorf School on Sunday May 27th from noon – 4pm.

These fairies, star children and Mother Earth will be available at the shows (if you have your heart set on them, I recommend you come and visit me in Hamilton, or send me an e-mail before the show). They are 6" and 8" tall. 


I am also working on a new group of Olive Sparrow Children that I will keep under wraps until the show. (A girl has to have some secrets.. giggle)… There are a couple of large 52 cm dolls as well as smaller ones available. 

Other Olive Sparrow goods – playsilks, crowns and doll clothes will also be available. 


The Olive Sparrow Child – Baby Dolly

Aa dear client requested if I could possibly make a small baby doll in a sling for her daughter's birthday. Although the deadline was very tight, timing worked out wonderful to create this little as of yet unnamed baby. 

She is about 9.5" or 25 cm tall.


Cuddling in her sling.


Wearing teeny-tiny diapers that close with little snaps. 


The sling fits a 44cm Olive Sparrow doll with the baby snuggly cuddled around mami-doll.


Fluffy baby hair.


Wearing her itty-bitty hat.


Smilling and waiting for her pickup at the studio. 


My client and I discussed that they baby should be somewhat unisex in appearance, so that her daughter could pretend to either have a baby-girls or a baby-boy. I think that was successful, as both my husband and my son couldn't right out say which gender the baby is. 

While working on the baby, I also started another small doll. I just picked out the colours for her clothes and hope to work on her later today – now, I'm going to let Huxley create some bean bags on the sewing machine – a first for us and we're both very excited. 


Each doll is made up of the following materials.

Skin: 100% cotton (Swiss-made to Öko-Tex-Standard 100)
Stuffing 100% “green-processed” wool batt from Canada
Hair: 100% Wool, or a Mohair/Wool Blend
Clothing: 100% natural fibres (linen, cotton, silk)
Shoes: Recycled felted wool sweaters, or pure leather
Face: 100% cotton Embroidery Thread

Each doll is created individually by artist Monika Aebischer, the proprietor of The Olive Sparrow. She sources and uses only the highest quality materials in her creations – swiss-made skin fabric, Canadian green processed wool stuffing,  wool/mohair for the dolls hair (often hand-dyed by her). Hair for the Olive Sparrow Children is made by crocheting a cap that is sewn to the head, allowing for replacement should it ever become necessary (although most children will object to this, as it changes their doll dramatically). For the wispy hair, a special german mohair is used and a labour-intense technique, for the loose longer hair each strand of wool is individually knotted into the crocheted cap. This is the prime technique for doll-wig creation.

Doll clothing is made from up-cycled vintage and clothing fabrics, in either pure linen, cotton or silk. Up-cycled fabric is wonderful for doll clothes, as the cloth has been washed soft, gentle and free of textile manufacturing products. Monika also felts used woolen sweaters to use for doll shoes and clothing. She knits the doll’s hats out of prime quality knitting wool. Each seam on the doll’s body is sewn twice to allow your child to fiercely love their Olive Sparrow Child. Clothing is sewn with finished seams and some are fully reversible.