Welcome! Sit down, peruse these pages, and indulge in the stories my dolls arouse within your imagination...

Once Upon A Doll began with my own love of dolls, especially hand made. My kids and I collect, play with, and love our dolls, and eventually I began to make dolls of my own. Although my dolls are based upon the principles of Waldorf doll making--natural and sustainably harvested materials (like wool stuffing and cotton interlock), hand spun and dyed wool yarns for hair, hand made doll clothes, 100% wool felt for shoes--my dolls cannot be called strictly Waldorf (more Waldorf-esque), as they have definite personalities, larger & more expressive eyes, and playful mouths. Once Upon A Doll features enchanted dolls made in the Waldorf tradition with a storybook theme for that special child in your life or the discriminating collector of handmade dolls.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A few of my favorites...

Yesterday someone asked me if I could find a photo of a previous doll I've made, and looking through the photos took me down memory lane...Although I don't have a favorite doll, really...I can say that I have some favorite photos of dolls I've made.

I thought it would be fun to share some with you (a few have never even been published before.)

The photo of this little gal just captures my heart every time I look at it...everything about the composition of contrasting colors, the way she's seated, and how it looks like she's holding the plate of sushi is simply lovely:
 Sometimes a photo encapsulates the unique spirit of a doll...this one, with the muted background and bright orange and blue contrasts of her outfit, and even the way she's leaning towards us with her little fish, is perfect:
 The colors of this muted photo are divine...and the way we see her tattoos and feel her wildness because of the photo are great:
 I love it when all of the thematic elements can be represented so wholistically in a photo...from the baby dragons, to her cape and elaborately braided hair, this truly feels like the Queen of Dragons...
 The composition of her grays and blues fade stunningly into the wooden backdrop:
 I probably took 50 photos of my Katniss and Peeta set, but I love the way this photo captures Peeta's sweet spirit in contrast to Katniss' fierce protection of him, and they way they were forced to cleave to each other during the games...
 The tilt of the ground, the way her work boots are obvious, her endearing face and "we can do it!" arms... love this!
 My favorite outside shot by far...oh, those blooming colors! Sometimes I love when the composition doesn't place the doll in the middle of the frame...
 The real reason for extreme closeups are in the details: Renesmee's itty bitty vampire fangs, glinting eyes, the pin of her with her vampire parents, and of course the locket her mother gave her...
 Everthing about the soft colors in this are stunning...especially the way it focuses on her lush natural mohair yarn locks...
 My favorite photo I've ever taken of my daughter with a doll...
 I love this collage...sometimes, in order to capture the multifaceted elements of a thematic doll, it's best to reveal it in collage form...
Thanks so much for walking down memory lane with me!

STAY TUNED for my four RTG little Hogwarts witches--Hermoine, Luna, Tonks and Bellatrix--in Short Story form to be posted as soon as they are finished.

Once Upon A Doll

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Only the good die young...

When I was a child, I was a very good little girl.
I did my chores without complaint, honored my parents, loved and protected my siblings, got straight A's in school, went to church every Sunday and most Wednesdays (as well as actively took part in charitable youth organizations). I voluntarily memorized the entire books of Psalms, Proverbs and the gospel of John in junior high and read the entire Bible (both Testaments) 6 times before I graduated from high school. I read the dictionary to prepare for SATs, and my personal goal for myself was to "pray without ceasing" every day (although I never quite worked out the logistics for this one). I even worked a part-time job my junior and senior year to buy my first car.

After graduation, I attended a Christian Bible College (on scholarship), was a missionary in Mexico building houses for the poor, waited to have sex until I married (and I mean REALLY waited--no "everything but" for this good little girl). I wrote curriculum for and taught Children's Church and traveled in a gospel singing group on the weekends, too.
In addition to being good, I was also really nice and (for the most part) quite well liked. My friends were true, my name was clear, my boyfriends were respectable. My parents were proud of me. Life seemed good when you were a good little girl.

As I read over this opening, it sort of shocks me that it's true. I know people can write anything they want, and exaggeration and lying are par for the course on the internet, but I really DID all these things (and more) in my youth in my quest for goodness.

Some of you might be impressed, some might want to vomit, but stay with me...I'm going somewhere important with all of this.
I graduated with honors from college, married my preacher sweetheart in a dream wedding...and it all went to shit.

I'm not going to get into the paticulars of my descent into personal hell...it is a private story that is not only mine to share in such a public forum.

But when I arose from the ashes, from the belly of the whale, from my three days in the tomb, my goodness was dead.

Please don't mistake my meaning--this in no way is a comment on religion, monotheism, or goodness as ends unto themselves, just an honest exploration of my own metamorphosis.

The good little girl died, but I grew up.

When I say goodness died, I mean I stopped "being good". I stopped measuring myself, my accomplishments, and my worth by an outside rulebook (a moral yardstick if you will). I stopped comparing myself to any external ideal of rightness, holiness, beauty, or success. I gave up appearing to be anything other than what I was, instead following the immortal words of Joseph Campbell:

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”

For some growing up is a process, for me it was a revelation. As a little girl, I was used to revelations, so this should come as no surprise really, but like a butterfly is to the caterpillar, so I was after my good little chrysalis shattered.
Caterpillars are sweet, good little creatures...but butterflies are better.

For the most part, being an adult butterfly is glorious...there are high days and low days, but I wouldn't trade a single, honest one for the "good" caterpillar days. Not one.

For me, the good little girl was the foundation that needed to be broken for the "real" me to escape. I'm thankful for those days, as well as the suffering that freed me from them, for they form the context that created "me".

I cherish the chrysalis of my childhood, it's probably why I love dolls so very much today. A doll captures the beautiful innocence of being a little girl, as well as all the burgeoning potential slowly awakening, waiting for its release in womanhood.
A girl's doll is her friend when she has none, a confidant when she has secrets, a partner for adventures, a safe place to lash out and safely confront the darker sides of her inner world, and a reminder of her own precious beingness every day of her becoming.

The good little girl can't last...but the doll is a treasured beacon of all that is wonderful about that passing time, as well as a reminder that the child, the caterpillar, the good little girl is always a part of us. But only a part.

Some of you may be shouting a hearty "amen" to this post, others might still be longing to find their own butterfly, and still others may be painfully breaking forth from your own chrysalis. Pick up that precious doll and give her a hug, for life may be full of pain and suffering (and irritability and monotony), but it is also replete with tea parties and mountains to conquer and people to love.

It's good that the good die young...for on the other side of tutored goodness, comes the truth of your own unique brand of honest deliciousness. I call this embracing the "Yum" of life.

Embrace the Yum!

"We save the world by being alive ourselves."
--Joseph Campbell