Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Happy Halloween!!

You may have noticed we're pro-holidays and pro-dressing up around here. Have you checked out the awesome doll costumes up in the shop? (Check clothing shop!) Did you see the amazing Hortense the Horror go by in her pumpkin box?

Whether you're celebrating or skipping, partying or trick-or-treating, I hope you have an awesome day today. Around here we tend to like the dressing up part and the candy part of Halloween, but skip over most of the really scary parts.

This year, Max announced in early September that he wanted to be Buddy the T Rex (from Dinosaur Train) for Halloween. I got a sweatsuit, dyed it orange, got all the felt bits I needed, we had some design consultations and trips to the craft store ..... aaaaand he announced last week that he wanted to be a ghost. *sigh* Of course. Not a fancy ghost either, more of a sheet-over-the-head kind of ghost. Except he wanted a big hole for his whole face, so really he ended up with a white poncho. When I asked him how people would know he was a ghost he said "I'll jump out and yell BOO!! at them and then they'll know." Silly me.

So, Max is going to be a ghost. I made a super easy poncho out of polar fleece, so it'll probably end up being a winter coat also. I'm calling it a win.

Last night Max announced that Matt and I needed to dress up too. (!!) Ok, time for a super-last-minute costume idea! Hooray for Google and Pinterest! A quick search found me this great idea: Last minute Despicable Me minion costume. I love Despicable Me (watch it if you haven't yet; the minions are totally the stars!) so this had some immediate appeal. Plus, I could make two; one for me, one for Matt. And since they're just hats, I can even wear it to work: bonus!

I mostly followed Make and Takes tutorial, but here's how I did mine:

My big departure was the base hat. I didn't have any yellow stocking caps lying around, but I did have some yellow fleece, so I made my own.

I started with a square, about 18" each side.

Now, the smart thing to do here would probably be to fold it in half and trace an existing cap to get your pattern but, 1) I don't have any other stocking caps 2) I often don't do the smart thing. Instead, I decided to drape it over my head and staple it into a pattern. Yeah, you heard me:

Let me tell you, it was even more awkward trying to photograph it happening! So yeah, I really did drape it over my head and kind of staple around until it felt right. I suppose a measuring tape would have been a good way to go to. Ah well!

One I took it off my head again there was a lovely staple-outline of where to sew, which I proceeded to do:

 Then I just trimmed outside the seam, turned it inside out, and tucked in the bottom edge a bit. Voila!

Ok, now for goggles. I too used a lovely toilet paper roll, cut into 1/2 - 1" sections. I opted for covering my sections with duct tape instead of silver paint though. Not only did I skip drying time, but duct tape adds a tiny bit of strength.
Then just staple two together for two-eyed goggles, or skip straight to stapling black elastic to the lenses.

For the hair, I poked holes in the fleece using a thick needle and just threaded the pipe cleaners through.

That's it! Overall I'm very happy with these as speedy costumes. I'll try to get some action shots tomorrow, but here are the finished products:
Tonight night my little ghost will have his very own minions.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe hoilday!!


Monday, October 29, 2012

New Bud(dies) to snuggle

Happy Monday, everyone!

I thought I'd share what (or rather, who) we've been workin' on this week in TansyLand. We have some new Bud Babies in the shoppe!

Meet Daffodil, Sunflower, Bluebell, and Clover:
blanket baby dolls natural doll bamboletta handmade
our newest blanket baby Bud Dolls
Our Bud Dolls are handmade from extremely soft cotton velour and their little heads are stuffed with clean carded wool.

Clover is a light green Bud Baby with fair skin, dark brown eyes and rosy cheeks.

All of our dolls are a true collaboration from the 3 of us. Our Bud's heads are shaped and stuffed with wool by Cady, while their bodies and cute stocking hats are sewn by Robin. I then hand-embroider their sweet expressions, and add red beeswax to help their cheeks become warm & rosy.

waldorf handmade blanket baby pocket doll bamboletta
Sunflower is a yellow and brown giraffe pattern Bud Baby with blush skin, brown eyes and rosy cheeks.
 and did I mention that they're HUGE - a good 15" of cuddle-time. That is quite a bit bigger than the average sized pocket or blanket doll. Totally snuggly.

waldorf doll blanket baby pocket doll tansy dolls bamboletta stocking stuffers
Bluebell showin' off her size
These Buds are just perfect for babies, but don't leave out older kiddos who love zee cuddly friends! My 4 year old loves these little guys. I have a feeling many of these will find their way into wee one's stockings this Christmas.

Daffodil is a light yellow Bud Baby with tan skin, violet eyes and rosy cheeks.
We're working hard like Santa's elves getting handmade goodness ready for everyone to bring into their families for the holidays. These softies will be in the Shoppe this Thursday.

Tansy Dolls bamboletta pocket dolls blanket babies waldorf handmade all natural
See ya on Thurs!
 Have a wonderful week, friends!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Holiday Gift Guide Part IV: Tiny Treasures

Wow!  Time is seriously flying by!  I'm already posting part FOUR of the Tansy Dolls Holiday Gift Guide.  If you haven't seen parts 1-3 yet, you can click on the links below to check out the fabulous shops!  Plus if you haven't already done so, you can earn extra entries into the Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway by sharing Part I, Part II, and Part III on your Facebook wall. What's the Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway?  Glad you asked.  :D  One lucky reader who enters the Tansy Doll Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway will win $30.00 to put towards any ONE shop featured in the 6 part series gift guide. All you have to do is click here and enter by following the directions.  As each part of the gift guide goes live, there will be additional ways to earn entries, so keep checking back!  

Here's a reminder of the schedule:
Sept 14 - Waldorf Inspired Toys
Sept 28 - Transportation, Fairies, and Lil' Artists
Oct 12 - Clothing and other Wearables
Oct 26 - Tiny Treasures
Nov 9 - Pamper Thyself
Nov 23 - Dress those Walls

Tiny Treasures

Have you ever done something and then later wondered what the heck you were thinking?  Yeah well to be perfectly honest, I'm sort of feeling that way about today's gift guide.  Not the gift guide itself but I am curious what I meant when I first chose "tiny treasures."  To be fair, I'm half way through the Fall term of my third year in a doctoral program...its been go, go, go since school started so I'm not terribly surprised that I'm a tad forgetful.  

Anyhow, today's gift guide still features fabulous shops and items but the mix of items is a bit more eclectic.  Heh.  I tried to go with smallish but I'm not sure that all of them qualify as "tiny" though all of them certainly are treasures. Honestly, I should have just changed the title to "Stuff Robin Loves!"  *Hint, Hint* Just kidding...sort of.  

For just $44.00, Gordon could be mine *ahem* yours.  He measures at about 9 inches tall and 8 inches wide and has the cutest little embroidered face.  Seriously, isn't he just the sweetest little furball ever?  And if green isn't your color, go check out his friends.  They come in just about every color imaginable, plus you can buy a custom monster if you have something very particular in mind.  Check out Curious Little Bird on Facebook.
At just $18.00 AND free shipping, these hand wire wrapped pyrite and dyed quartz are both fun and affordable.  If you like statement pieces or know someone who does, this is the shop for you.  Midwest Beauties has a knack for putting together bold accessories that really stand out!  Psst...I own a few of her pieces myself. ;)  Check out her Facebook page for updates on new listings.  
This particular set was sold for 120 pounds, which I believe works out to about 190 and some US dollars. Her shop looks sold out so I imagine her cute little animals are in high demand.  But seriously, check out the wee little things that she makes!  I can barely stand the cuteness.  Maybe this is what I had in mind when I thought up the category "tiny treasures."  Check out her Facebook page to find out when she uploads next.
For 18 pounds or a little over 29 US dollars, you can bring home a sweet little wee mouse.  You get to pick the balloon color but er...does anybody else just want to adopt all seven of the cuties?  Check out the other little figurines, everything is so stinking cute.  Psst...the little sewing mice are beyond adorable and I want need one.  You know, in case, Santa is reading this; its good to cover my bases.  ;)  Check out her Facebook page for updates!
These sweet little cat coin purses are a steal at $17.90.  Aria and any cat person would be ecstatic to get one.   Shoot, I don't even care for cats all that much and I'd love one.  Be sure to check out her other little coin purses as they are super cute as well.  Follow DooDesign on Facebook.
One of these days, I will own one of these scrappy little owls. I don't know what it is about them, but every little owl that she makes I fall in love with.  Maybe its the texture and look of all the fabrics she uses.  Maybe its the fact that every single one has his/her own unique personality.  Whatever it is, I WILL own one.  The mystery grab bag is a great deal at $25 or pick the perfect one for you for $40.  Follow Wassupbrothers on Facebook for updates.
For just $45 you get a tiny self-sustaining terrarium on a silver or gold chain.  Who doesn't need a little bit of nature to carry around their neck?  I think if I owned one of these, it would be my favorite necklace.   Follow With Roots on Facebook
Each little Macaroon trinket box is only $10.  I'm not even sure what I would store in these sweet little boxes but trust me I'd come up with something.  I love everything about them.  The shape, the size, the muted colors, the polka dots... *sigh*  Yeah, these are pretty fabulous.  Follow TheLittleTreeHouse on Facebook.
$6.25 gets you four handmade buttons of your color and size preference.  TessaAnn has some mad polymer clay skills.  Check out her other buttons for some seriously talented detail work.  If you have any friends who sew or make accessories, get them some of these buttons. They will love them and if they don't, I'll send you my address.  ;)  Follow TessaAnn on Facebook for updates and discount codes.
Dude.  This little mousie has so much character I just want to reach into the screen and scoop him up.    Most of the  mice in the shop cost about $68, although there are a few for $55.  Each one is sweeter than the next.  I had a lot of trouble picking just one for this giveaway guide but I went with the little mouse with a book as reading is one of my favorite hobbies.  Their little faces kill me with their cuteness.  Follow the artist on Facebook.  
Two more gift guides to go...  Its been a blast hunting down shops for the perfect items to include and I'm looking forward to putting together the last two.  I've found so many talented artists and designers that I seriously see no reason why I would even think about buying corporate.  If you buy from any of the shops or like their Facebook page, we'd appreciate it if you let them know that you saw them in Tansy Dolls Gift Guide.  


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Felted Dryer Balls

Dryer balls. Sounds almost dirty, doesn't it? But what the heck else do we call them? They're balls of felted wool that you toss in the dryer.

Anyway, I've seen these things all over Pinterest recently, and decided I had to give them a try. The tutorial I like best is over at Here's the tutorial. All you need is some wool and some old pantyhose, so that's a great craft for this house. :-)

So what are these weird looking things for? Well, basically you toss them in the dryer with your laundry instead of dryer sheets. They absorb moisture from the clothes, then release it again as they dry, which helps everything stay nice and fluffy. They also cut the static out the same way dryer sheets do. But get this - you just keep using these balls! They're not disposable! And they even make your laundry dry faster!

So - pretty, better than dryer sheets, reusable, energy saving, all natural... I'm sold!

These would make a great gift (about 3 of them to go in a standard dryer) and you could make a batch of homemade laundry soap to go with them. (Remember that tutorial?)

Ok, so first you need to get a hold of some wool and some pantyhose you don't mind ruining. The wool can be wool batting or stuffing (say, if you happen to make wool-stuffed dolls, for example); wool roving; wool yarn; even old wool scarves, sweaters, or blankets. You need to make a tight little knot or ball with the wool, about the size of a tennis ball.

They will come out best if there's at least a fuzzy-type wool on the outside, like roving or batting. (Wool roving can likely be found at your local craft store, or certainly online.) You can use the yarn or old clothes for the inside, then cover them with roving or batting, for example. Once you have a nice ball, stuff it down into the toe of the pantyhose and tie a knot right above it to keep it tightly packed.

Inner core on the left, ready to stuff ball on the right.
Keep making balls and stacking them in until you either have enough or run out of room.

Ok, now go toss them in the washer on hot. I put mine through with the heavy laundry. You can do it twice if you're unsure (not a terrible idea to run it twice if you have a front loading washer). Then run them through the dryer.

That's it! Cut them free and you're done! You now have lovely, reusable dryer balls! (Really, who's going to come up with a better name for me?)

I made a set each for Robin and Lesley too. Shh! Don't tell; it's a surprise!

I hope this project goes great for you. Let us know how your turn out!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Dollmaker's Children

What's that old saying?  The shoemaker's children always go barefoot” or something like that? Yeah, well, screw that. (I'm aloud to say "screw" on our blog...right? Cady? Robin? No? hah.)

Anywho - the point I'm trying to get to is that I am super excited to start working on our own kid's very own dolls for the holidays!!  Woo hooo!

As we (Robin, Cady, and myself) have been working on sooooo many fun dolls this year, our poor 4 year olds (we each have one - that's how we met, ya know?) have been not so patiently waiting for their own special friend to love and snuggle. Who can blame them, really?
bamboletta custom waldorf doll fig and me dragonflys hollow green goat nanerjoy
Stella, wishing with all her heart, that mom would make her a stinkin' doll already.
 We decided to let them each be the lead designer in their own Tansy Doll creation and here's what they came up with:

Max: would like a 10" doll with warm brown skin, green eyes, and long brown hair with red streaks in it.

Aria: would like a 16" doll with blush skin, brown eyes, medium waist-length brown hair with a mix of light, dark and reddish browns.

Stella: would like a 10" doll with blush skin, violet eyes, and long blue, white & silver hair with silver sparkles and red streaks in it.

Ever: is too young to decide so mom gets to chose (muuuwuuhhahahahahah!) so we're going with a 16" doll with dark brown skin, brown eyes, and curly blue hair in a crochet cap (to minimize hair-eating ;)
bamboletta custom waldorf doll fig and me dragonflys hollow green goat nanerjoy
The kid's color choices

bamboletta custom waldorf doll fig and me dragonflys hollow green goat nanerjoy
Stella's yarn choices - check out that sparkle! woot!

This is seriously so fun for me and I can't wait to see their little faces when they spot their special dolls under the Christmas tree this year.

Now, you just know I'm going to be blogging about these in-progress in the weeks to come, don't cha? ;)

And speaking of custom beauties, we finished 2 this week! A sweet-cheeked 10" named "Ivy" and a 16" with some seriously awesome sparkly pink streaks in her hair (our first sparkly doll!) Here's their pics (before cheek blushing and dressing):

bamboletta custom waldorf doll fig and me dragonflys hollow green goat nanerjoy
Green-eyed Ivy

bamboletta custom waldorf doll fig and me dragonflys hollow green goat nanerjoy
lil' Miss Sparkles
Have a great week, everyone!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Art with Aria: Collaborative Doodling


It started with just a few doodle books.  You know the ones I'm talking about, right?  Have you've seen those books that are filled with simple black and white drawings intended to prompt creativity and inspiration.  Aria loves them. Lately, I've been thinking about ways that I could be more involved in the creativity process.  Sometimes it can feel like I'm just the gatekeeper of the art supplies. That's not such a bad thing on the days when I just need a little breather, but occasionally I'd like to be more engaged in whatever project I've set up for Aria.  Art and creativity are good for everybody, after all.  

This project is inspired by the doodle books that Aria loves so much. I started by drawing very simple sketches on some paper.  I'm not the best artist around, but that doesn't really matter much because to Aria anything I draw is a bona fide masterpiece.  So if you're feeling self-conscious about your art skills.  You really shouldn't let it stop you from doing this project.  I'm sure your kids will love anything you draw as well.
The key is to keep it simple.  The idea is to let your child fill in all the details.  For this round of doodling fun, I decided to go with a boat in the water, an ice cream cone, stems and leaves, and rolling hills with clouds.  Aria was very excited and understood almost immediately what we would be doing.
After I had drawn the basic sketches, Aria set to work adding in the details.  She was very insistent that she was only going to use orange and purple.  I did point out that she could use the whole spectrum of colors available to her, but she set me straight.  ;)  

What does a boat in the water scene need?  Why fish of course!  And not just any fish, but strange little creatures from the depths of the ocean: the catfish complete with kitty cat ears, the skeleton fish, the planet fish, and the tiger fish.  Apparently these are fish discovered by ancient scientists who are very old.
The great thing about this project was that it really encouraged Aria and I to have a conversation about the process of creating the artwork since it was truly a collaborative piece.  

Good thing Aria chose orange as one of her two colors.  She filled in the rolling hills scene with a lovely row of pumpkins!  Yes, I think she is in the Halloween spirit. 
We were in a bit of hurry since we got home so late and Aria's bedtime was around the corner, but next time I think it would be fun to get Aria's input into the scenery.  She was really into this project and was already telling me midway through that we should do it again.

Aria colored in the bottom of the clouds with a black marker because she said it was "night time."
This was a huge success. Both of us had a blast.  It was a great way for me to be more actively involved in an art project with Aria.  I of course will still encourage her to explore her own creativity without momma's "interference" but it was a fun lesson in how to engage in a collaborative project.  Its never too early to learn how to work well with others.  And really some of the most innovative ideas are the result of collective action.   

This also might be a great project for a small group to create together.  Once the initial scenery is drawn, each person can add his/her own doodle to the piece for a great group masterpiece. We'll definitely be adding this one to our frequent flyer project file. 

Lots of exciting stuff happening in Tansy Dolls land.   We reached our goal of 500 fans.  We are participating in Forty Toes Photography's 20,000 fans giveaway.  Check out her Facebook page so you don't miss it.  There are already a TON of great vendors involved and so many lovely prizes to be won, including $50.00 in Tansy Doll(ars).  Heh...sorry couldn't help myself.  We are gearing up for the holiday season.  We hope to be at a few local craft fairs here in the Pacific NW so watch our Facebook page for the official announcement and details.  And don't forget to enter the Tansy Dolls Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway for a chance to win $30.00 towards any one shop featured.  


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting ready for the Faire

I love a good craft fair. I love seeing all that handmade goodness concentrated in one place. Craft fairs are wonderful because they not only let you see all sorts of beautiful arts and crafts, but let you get up close and personal with the crafters themselves. I love being able to pay compliments directly to the artists and ask questions that will actually be answered with knowledge and attention.

That being said, I've never really had my own booth at a fair. I've had a spot at a counter, shared space, and even had my own table, but never a real booth. You know how a lot of crafters have a special booth that makes you feel like you're in a tiny store of their own? That's what I've never done. It's been very exciting working on our very own Tansy Dolls booth in preparation for Craft Faire season. Yes, there are faires all year, but there are many and varied ones as we move into the holidays (whatever your holiday of choice may be.)

When we decided to apply for a local show or two, we realized we were going to need an awesome booth. Yay: project! Lesley came up with a great design concept, then we all built and collected and decorated like crazy. We don't know for sure where all we'll be yet, so we'll have to get back to you about that part, but I wanted to give you guys a sneak peak!

It started with crates, which meant it started with wood. Lucky Max got a trip to the hardware store. 

home depot shopping trip

Then I built the crates at home. Well, in the driveway. That part was fun. I especially loved that I didn't hurt myself (pretty common with a hammer) and didn't even mess up my nail polish. I'm not even usually a nail polish wearer, but since they guys at the hardware store were skeptical of my building skills I wanted to show them up, even if only to myself.
diy homemade crates

Next up was painting. Lesley and Robin helped pick the color from sample cards, then I put the kid to work!
diy painted crate

He really loves painting, especially big projects, and was a great little helper on this one. Here's some done ones:
teal diy milk crates

Most of the rest was shopping. We found a great tablecloth and backdrop, then did some accessorizing. Here's the test run we did in my driveway:
craft faire booth
And a lovely closer shot:
craft faire booth

You also might recognize this prop bed from the IKEA Bed Makeover I did (parts 1 & 2):
craft faire booth

You'll have to tune back in to find out where we'll be and when. And after we've been out and about we'll share some real action shots too. :)

Hope to see some of you soon, but near or far, go find yourself an awesome craft faire of independent crafters to visit! You'll be an addict like me in no time!

Also, I'm thrilled that we were able to raise at least a bit for Art ala Carte at our first charity auction yesterday! They are raising funds to move into a new space, and their online fundraiser goes just a few more days. If you'd like to help out check or find them on Facebook. Good luck Art ala Carte! We'll see you soon!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Goodbye, Kealoha!

When I first finished Kealoha, before she had a name, I loved the warmth of  her tan skin and how her rainbow hair reminded me of sunny skies and summer adventures.

Tansy Dolls Waldorf bamboletta dragonflys hollow fig and me

"Ah hah, our first Hawaiian gal," I thought and promptly started looking up Hawaiian names that meant rainbow or sunshine. Nothing seemed quite right until I stumbled upon a name that meant 'the loved one' and that was that. In hopes that someday she would be just that, well-loved, in the arms of her very own family.
Tansy Dolls Waldorf bamboletta dragonflys hollow fig and me
Kealoha with her cute crown & purse
 And now the day has come for us to say goodbye to lovely Kealoha - and in a quite exciting fashion! If you've been following us on fb, you may know and had probably entered our huge 16" Tansy Doll  free giveaway. It was pretty darn exciting there on Saturday night after a buildup of 2+ months and hundreds of entries - it was finally time to generate a winner!

The lucky Anna M's name was drawn and she announced the good news to her 2 daughters that day to let them choose their special doll. It makes me smile to think about her 2 cuties excitedly looking through our available dolls and finally deciding to bring Kealoha home.

Tansy Dolls Waldorf bamboletta dragonflys hollow fig and me crowns princess
Kealoha's white crown & matching childrens crown

Tansy Dolls Waldorf bamboletta dragonflys hollow fig and me
All wrapped up!
She begins her exciting journey this week all the way to Russia (awesome!!) to meet her new family and receive many hours of snuggle-time, I'm sure.

Tansy Dolls Waldorf bamboletta dragonflys hollow fig and me
the loved one

 I am looking forward to hopefully receiving pix and news about Kealoha's new life in Russia with Grandma Anna and her two new mommies. The thought of that long distance connection sparked an idea -  I would love to have families that adopt Tansy Dolls join us here on our blog as guest bloggers to share a sweet story or insight about their doll's new home or fun times they have together.

How fun would it be to have a collection of adventures from around the world? I'm thinkin' pretty darn awesome.
Tansy Dolls Waldorf bamboletta dragonflys hollow fig and me
happy travels, Kealoha!

Also - I'd like to mention our special Tansy Doll Tuesday event happening tomorrow - we'll be having our very first auction with 100% of proceeds going to help one of our favorite local mom-run businesses: Art a la Carte in Portland.
Please join us on fb if you'd like to participate - bidding starts at just $50! (for Amelia, a $200 16 " Tansy Doll)