Handmade Goodness for the Birthday Girl

I’ve been a little quiet recently, but with good reason – Aria’s 4th birthday was last week! I know it sounds cliché but I cannot believe she is that old already. The weeks leading up to it were a whirlwind of sewing, knitting and crafting. I used every spare minute to work on several handmade items I’d envisioned having done for her on the big day. The most important was a handmade doll but I was hoping to squeeze in a few other goodies as well.

I started two dolls back in November with the idea that they would be Christmas gifts for the girls. In the end, though, they were delayed – a lot – and Christmas turned to Valentine’s Day turned to birthday gifts. Aria’s birthday comes first so she’s the first to receive a completed doll. (Ani’s birthday is in November; her doll will look slightly different.)

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I used Wee Folk Art’s Knitted-in-the-Round Doll pattern, stuffed her with wool roving and customized the hair and face. I wanted the face to resemble a Waldorf-style doll and the hair to be long enough (and colorful enough) to inspire stories of fairies and root children as well as babies. The eye color matches Aria’s, as closely as possible anyway. It would be impossible to capture the light and depth and variation of color, the hints of gold, the sparkle of her eyes. But this color gets as close to her overall color as I could find.

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The dress is upcycled from a thrifted bedspread and my own pattern. It took a bit of trial and error to get the dress just right (mostly because I the first couple I started one night when I was up way too late and wasn’t quite thinking straight) but after a bit of sleep I came up with a more cohesive idea and in the end it came out pretty well for how quickly I made it. My plan was originally to make Aria a matching skirt, but something had to give, so that has been put on hold a bit. (Ravelry notes here.)

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What I did get done, in addition to the doll and her dress, was this crown.

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The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule (of Soulemama.com) includes a great crown pattern that was very simple and quick to make but resulted in a sturdy, pretty crown I hope to use for Aria for years to come. I was extremely grateful for the ease of the pattern as this item was started very late the night before her birthday and finished in the wee hours. I used wool felt (a wool/rayon blend) that was hand-dyed using plant-based dyes by one of the moms from Aria’s school. I blanket-stitched 4 stars onto the sides, one for each year. I plan to add another star or similar adornment each year for her birthday.

I loved making these gifts. They are so soft and dreamy and lovely (if I do say so myself) and without the noise and hard, artificial parts so many toys these days have. I hope they are loved as much as I loved making them. All the hard work has paid off already, though, as Aria barely took the crown off for three days, wearing it everywhere. The doll was also given this highest honor. What more thanks could I get?!?

Interestingly, the doll has been without apparel pretty much since Aria got her. She likes her better naked, she says. I think it’s the belly button.

20110518-040238.jpgFinding the belly button.

Ravelry notes for the doll are here (they are a bit sparse right now; I’ll update with all the details soon).

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