Monday, May 16, 2011

Doll Making Kits

It is time again for more customixed doll making kits!  If you are interested in getting a kit, please e-mail me at appletreehouse at att dot net on Tuesday, May 17th between 7 and 8 pm EDT with the following information:

Light, medium, or dark skin
eye color (blue, green, brown)
base hair color (blond, light brown, dark brown, red, etc...)
Fun colors you like for the art yarns AND colors you DO NOT like (most of my art yarns have multiple colors and I will do my best to select something that has none of a color you don't like)

The kits have the materials needed to complete a 10 inch doll... there are a few supplies that you will need to pick up at a local craft shop.  More info on what is in a kit here:

Here's a pic of a mama-made doll from a custom kit:

At 8 pm EDT, I will start looking through e-mails in no particular order and the first 10 that are requesting yarn colors I have on hand (this makes it quicker for me to customize the kits and gets them to you faster!)will have a reserved listing set up for them on BigCartel which will be available for 24 hours, if it is not purchased by you it will be available to all.  I hope everybody has a great evening!

xoxo Debra

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Easy Art for Kids and a New Friend

We take arts and crafts pretty seriously at our house.  Countless hours are spent selecting new materials to use and finding things to recycle and re-purpose. My dining room table is rarely used for dining, it is "Craft and Project Central" much to my hubby's dismay.  When my friend Stephanie started offering weekly downloads for under $5, I knew we were up for a fun time!  Stephanie's signature doodly artwork is fun and detailed, and it appeals to all ages.  Here's a link to the download we used:

I printed our download on to everyday printer paper and my daughter went to work.  Here's what she did with some typical, everyday art supplies that most families have:

She started coloring in parts with crayon...

Then used some colored pencils...

And what is a craft without paint?  We decided to use watercolors so she could add more color without totally covering up the crayon and pencil parts of her art... just make sure you do the watercolors last as the paper can tear if you use crayon or pencil over it.

Almost done... just needs some stickers....

A little black marker, and then we got it laminated at the local office supply store.  Next, I helped her cut them out and punch holes in the top.  She then proceeded to my extensive yarn stash and made:

Bookmarks!  These will make great little end of the year gifts for her best friends at school.

Thank you so much Stephanie for the wonderful downloads... you are a great inspiration, and we had so much fun!

 Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ Ѽ

And now on to other fun stuff... I made a new friend!  My good buddy Melanie of The Melamoose Co. on Etsy introduced me to a lovely lady named Amy, the creative wonder behind Loves Me Not, a fantastic clothing line.  You can find it here:  They had an idea to do a doll based on the latest Loves Me Not collection... Amy would send Mel fabric from the collection to make a special little dress to fit a 12 inch Apple Tree House doll. 

Please meet Brianna  Ѽ

Brianna is a 12 inch doll with light skin and a super soft, full head of hair made from mohair and 2 wool thick thin art yarns (over 600 strands in all!) applied in the usual fashion so it can be styled many different ways.  Her dress is just too cute for words, Melanie outdid herself yet again!  I love collaborating with friends and am happy to know Amy... I hope we get to do this again!

If you are interested in purchasing her for $175, there will be a comment style upload on Facebook.  It will start tomorrow about 9 am EDT, there are 3 requirements to be eligible:  leave a comment under her pic, "LIKE" both The Melamoose Co. and Loves Me Not on Facebook (there will be a hyperlink with my post and there are links on my page now) and either leave a comment on their pages or enter their giveaways.   At 9 pm EDT, I will draw a name and if all is in order, a custom listing will be set up on BigCartel that will need to be purchased by 8 am EDT.    The giveaways they are offering are pretty incredible... check it out!  And as always, thanks for being a friend of Apple Tree House  Ѽ

xoxo Debra

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quality and the Scoop

What is quality? 

qual·i·ty (noun) high grade; superiority; excellence

So, if you  use only  superior materials, you will get a quality item, right?  Sadly, this does not seem to be the case anymore, even in the handmade tradition of Waldorf inspired doll making.   So what sets Apple Tree House apart from the rest of the pack?  With all the dolls available out there, I get asked this question a lot.  Since I do not own any Waldorf inspired dolls other than the ones I have made and I have nothing to compare to (just the opinions of my kids), I asked a few well respected, established doll makers for their input.  Here is what one of my doll making friends had to say:

"...the skin of course is a factor (if it's really thin chances are...) but in my experience is the assembly of the doll (how well you sew it, both machine and by hand) and in the procedures you use to shape the head and stuff the doll, that's where the secret lies to make a good doll." 

So while the materials are important, good materials will not hide substandard craftsmanship. Even the highest quality doll skin will not cover over flaws such as a poorly made head or a very badly stuffed and stitched body.  While it is important to use the best materials you have available to you, especially when you are offering dolls for sale to the public, there is nothing wrong with using materials that may be more readily available domestically, especially when you are still learning the craft and it is reflected in your pricing. 

So, if you are an aspiring doll maker or a mama who wants to make something special for your little one, do not be scared away from wonderful family owned companies like Weir Dolls and Crafts (I do purchase some of my supplies from them) and the many WAHM Etsy sellers who offer many high quality items for doll making and other handwork crafts. 

What can a consumer do to make sure they are receiving a well made item?  It is important to be informed, whether you are buying something mass produced at a major retailer or something hand made on Etsy.  Buying a few dolls from various doll makers and "inspecting" each and every detail to ascertain "how it is done" is not an acceptable way to learn how to make dolls nor does it make you an expert in how they are created.  There is a lot of trial and error involved and learning to make good dolls to be sold, and it takes time, it cannot be rushed, this is not a way to "make a quick buck".  So if you see a doll maker (or doll clothing maker) all of a sudden selling off dolls made by other doll makers, it kind of makes you wonder.... I will let you draw your own conclusions. 

The very 1st doll I ever made next to a more recent creation ... notice the natural evolution of the pattern and face.  I have spent many hours experimenting with every aspect of my doll making and am so pleased with the way things are changing as my skills grow and I learn new techniques.

So much about handmade is subjective to opinions.  Some people like longer thinner dolls, some like chubby dolls, some like 15 inch, some like 8 inch.  I personally like dolls with a lot of hair.  In my house, a doll is not done until my kids say "She has too much hair" and giggle.  We are fortunate to have many well-made options available.  Please rest assured that I will continue to hone my craft, always use the finest materials available to me, and that each and every doll I create is made with the same amount of love and care I would give to a doll that I was making for one of my beloved children.  

Speaking of my kids, I thought they might doll-nap these little 8 inch gals!  They will go into my Etsy shop (link on the right) 5/11 about noon. 

There is also a special gal that I am working on as part of a collaboration with The Melamoose Co. and Loves Me Not .
She has been specifically designed around the latest Loves Me Not collection, her adorable dress has been lovingly crafted by Melamoose.  She wll be available comment style on my Facebook page on Friday starting at 9 am EDT.  There will be more details here and on my fan page on Friday.

And keep an eye open for more news on the Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom Shops... thanks to all of you, Apple Tree House made the cut!  

xoxo Debra

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Giveaway!!

The Giveaway is now closed... thanks to everybody who took the time to vote and enter!!

I am so very pleased to be able to announce that Apple Tree House made it into the Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom Shops!  I was a late addition (Ashley of LilBlueBoo had to talk me into entering!!), but thanks to all of you, I made it in 5 short days.  I am so deeply moved by the support you have all shown to my little doll shop.  To say thanks, I would like to offer an 8 inch custom Apple Dumpling as a giveaway.  Here's a pic of 's clothing model sitting pretty in my mug (available at )

There are 3 ways to enter:

  1. Follow the blog and leave a comment on this post
  2. "Like" Apple Tree House on Facebook and leave a comment here:!/AppleTreeHouseDolls/posts/200012993370029
  3. Share the news on your personal Facebook profile page with a hyperlink (type@AppleTreeHouse in your post to hyperlink)
The fun starts....NOW!!  And it will run thru Monday, May 9th at 9 am EDT.  I will announce the winner here at 10 am EDT.

Thanks again for all of your support!!

xoxo Debra