I got a new job!
Baby X is leaving our home for good at the end of August, but I have a nice little side job to keep our budgeting going after he leaves.
I am helping (and learning even more) to make Waldorf dolls for a lady that sell them here in Princeton. She just got a big contract from a toy company and needs help making them. I've made a few on my own, but I'm even more excited to help her. Her dolls are beautiful and so sweet, and I can't wait to learn even more from her.
The 3 dolls I made. We only kept the bottom one.
Waldorf dolls are pretty special and expensive.
They are made of all natural material and are filled with wool. (The wool makes waldorf dolls feel warmer than most dolls, since the wool gets warmed by your body heat).
They have neutral facial expressions so that kids can imagine them feeling a range of emotions. Ella (the bottom one) for example is usually sad because she wants a cookie and I won't give her one. (Madeleine yesterday, "Oh no!! Ella sad!" "Why she is sad?" "She crying. No cookie. So sad.")
Usually since they are pretty expensive, a child only will have one or two dolls at a time. The thought behind this is with few dolls then a child will love and appreciate each doll more.
We found this to be true in our home. Madeleine currently has four dolls, and it seems like the sweet spot for her right now. She plays with all of them frequently and we have enough dolls for when friends come over. If you want to read more about the benefits of having less toys, I recommend the book, Simplicity Parenting. It's a pretty boring book, so I didn't actually finish it, but the part I did read was amazing and has influenced my parenting. It kind of reads like a text book.
Waldorf dolls come in all shape and sizes. I have found that materials for a larger doll cost start around $60, and the smaller ones are closer to $40. But the real cost is the amount of labor that gets put into these dolls. Each of my dolls took me a day or two to make. I think this is pretty typical and dolls tend to start around $100 a doll. (I think the average is probably closer to $150. The toy store I think is selling them for $130 each) Some doll makers' work are incredible and they spend weeks on each doll. Their dolls are auctioned off to doll collectors that can easily end up over $2000 per doll.
Here are some of my favorites.
This little doll is from Bamboletta, one of the most well known doll makers. She cost $135.50. You can check out their page here.
You might not be able to tell but this doll is made extremely well! Her face and body was carefully sculpted with needles. You can check out this doll maker facebook page here. If I remember right, I think her dolls run around $350-$700.
The queen bee of doll making is this maker in my book. She's incredible. Her facebook page is here. If you scroll down on her facebook page she has a video of her making the faces. She said some dolls take 80 hours to make the faces! Seriously so much work and love go into her dolls.
Now you might be like wow. Why would anyone spend that much on a doll? Well, Waldorf people in general appreciate and pay for people's craft. I like them for that a lot. But don't worry if you want a doll, there are also places to buy them used. You can get them as low as $30 and they are still in pretty great condition. We have bought two that way.
Also, there is also the option of making your own. There are so many people who have put their own patterns up on pinterest for free. They have great directions and if you have the time, it pretty simple. I used this tutorial for the first doll I made. She has a link to the pattern and everything.
And last but not least, I think, is introducing your child to a doll. Another amazing doll maker (seriously, I would love to see one of hers) put up this great way about how to introduce a doll to your child.
It might be silly to some people to put this much work and money into a doll, but dolls and kids have strong relationships. Sophie is basically a member of the family in our house. Madeleine's dolls give her comfort when we can't and she role plays frequently with them. They have been potty trained, had their noses blown, and even given pep talks.
Dolls are special, and I really love the fact for these special toys are not something that is quickly bought. They are generally carefully loved and thought out from when they are being made to when they are being presented to the child.
One of my favorite things was taking a knitting class here in Princeton and mentioning that I wanted to make clothes for one of Madeleine's dolls. My teacher got excited and told me she had made her daughters some years ago. She brought them to the next class. They were so beat up. The hair was tangled and the skin of the dolls were broken. She told me that despite the fact her daughters were in college that these dolls were still loved and part of the family.
I like the non-disposable nature feeling that it gives these dolls. I like that they are eco friendly. I feel like they line up well with some of our goals, and I'm so excited to make them.
Let me know if you have any questions.