The year-end festivities provided me with some much needed relaxation from the nutty season of winter fairs and craft shows, custom dolls and cookie baking for our clients. I have not listed 2016 workshops. There are some new ones: learn to make a ruffled felt scarf or felting with long locks. But I am also offering some well-loved repeats. If you have already done a workshop with me, you are welcome to book the same workshop again and make a project of your own with my guidance – let’s say you took the bag making workshop, you can book that workshop and this time make a bag that is more involved – with additional features. Each felting workshop is for only 4 students – this allows me to give you extra close attention and help you to realize your felting goal.
I am planning to offer some other workshops for later in the spring – dyeing, expandable felt and carved felt – if you would be interested in one of those, please drop me a line.
The latest 11 Doctor doll – made for a client in Australia in August 2015
I am currently spending time at the studio setting up my supplies into more of a store-like setting. I am planning on keeping “store hours” for a couple times a week starting in mid/late February – stay tuned for further notice. Keep your eyes open for an official opening notice that I will post.
Interested in staying in touch? “like” my facebook pages (both my Monika Aebischer and The Olive Sparrow) and add them to your favourites, subscribe here on the website and you will receive occasional updates. You can also find me on “TheOliveSparrow”.
Happy creating – I am really excited about all 2016 will bring. It will be a pleasure to teach so many of you to realize your creative dreams.
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.
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 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!