Greetings to all of you from Alkelda Dolls! My name is Farida. I make wool felt dolls for children’s creative play and storytelling, though teens and grownups have been known to bring my dolls to their desks for quiet inspiration. The dolls can travel in your pocket, too– just be sure to tuck them into a silken bag to prevent the wool from “pilling.” This is my fourth year with the NaturalKids Team. As a little background to my shop’s name, when I started on Etsy, “Alkelda” was my username. Alkelda (pronounced “al-kell-dah”) is an apocryphal English saint whose name means “sacred spring” or “holy well,” and whose feast day, March 28, is my birthday.
Here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, autumn is in full swing. I ran by Lake Washington for the first time in months, and was happy to see two of my favorite trees with their vibrant array of red and yellow hues. I was inspired to make these yellow and red leaf babies for the shop:
In the realm of academics, the blue math gnome provides some wise counsel to the Ladybug Witch (with removable hat) and Ladybug Child. The counsel may be this: “Regardless of your natural skill levels, the things worth learning require time, patience, focus, and determination. Ask for help and clarification when you need it, and persistence in learning what you need to know. I am here for you, and you are not alone.” Speaking of witches, I have some salamander and bat themed friends who would be most willing to be part of your Halloween Fairy tradition (whereby the Halloween Fairy gets the child’s candy and receives a present in return).
Elsewhere in the shop, the Black Heart Queen (a tribute to rock and roll musician Joan Jett) and the Grey Knight are in the early stages of courtship. The Grey Knight enjoys composing sweet, sentimental songs on his lyre, while the Black Heart Queen’s songs have a bit more edge to them. Regardless, both kinds of songs celebrate love and friendship.
Speaking of music, I was fortunate enough to attend a week-long guitar camp this summer. I returned home with renewed interest in learning new skills and new songs. I’ve taken up ukulele as well (I wrote a blog post on Saints and Spinners blog post about that new passion), though guitar will always be my first love. Here I am on Orcas Island, as the sun sets, learning on guitar the chords to Lucky Man, by The Verve:
This week, I’m playing a William Butler Yeats poem set to 12 bar blues by The Waterboys, called The Lake Isle of Innisfree. If any of this talk makes you feel like you want to take up an instrument, but you’re not quite sure, I recommend watching The Mighty Uke. Making music is indeed within reach!
As the weeks progress, I will be featuring December festival dolls along the lines of angel-fairies, Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus), St. Lucy (Santa Lucia), and more. Please feel welcome to drop by for a visit. My fellow NaturalKids Team members would enjoy saying hello to you, too.
Warm regards, Farida Dowler
Farida Dowler of Alkelda Dolls is a musical storyteller and dollmaker in Seattle, Washington, USA. She was recently featured on Jama’s Alphabet Soup Indie Artist Spotlight. Farida is trained as a children’s librarian, and would enjoy talking about children’s and teen books with you if you were so inclined.