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Making a First Waldorf style Doll for Infants and Toddlers

This post is a tutorial of sorts. It shows the main parts and steps to make a simple Waldorf style doll for a young child or infant. I love these dolls because they are a great way to introduce children to Waldorf style toys. They are soft and cuddly. They make a wonderful lovey or soft little pillow for a kid to rest their head on. PLEASE, don’t forget to read my disclaimer at the end of this post. You will not find templates or a pattern here. I am only giving general instructions and the basic photos to show how it is put together!

It’s been a while since I have made one of these simple beautiful dolls for a young child. But I was asked recently to make a doll for a young girl. I had been procrastinating on this task for much too long. Maybe because I was out of practice making this simple style doll.  I had to dig for my old pattern.

In order to make such a doll you need the following ingredients:

  • 6-7  ounces clean carded sheep’s wool
  • stockinette for making the head
  • string for making doll heads
  • small piece of doll skin fabric for making the head and hands  8″X 8″
  • cotton velour fabric – I’d buy a half yard (you will want to make two dolls once you get the first one done…)
  • sewing thread in matching colors
  • embroidery thread for the eyes and mouth
  • re bees wax crayon for blushing the cheeks
  • wool for embroidering the hair
  • dollmaker’s needle and regular needles, scissors, and lots of patience and affection for the child to receive the doll

1. Cut out the parts for the dolls body and hat. This doll can be any size you want. My doll measuresd about 12 inches when finished. But you can design this doll according to your needs. Just make sure the arms are not too long or too short and everything is in proportion. I leave drawing the right-sized pattern to your imagination. Your head maybe bigger than my doll’s. Make sure your hat/bonnet reaches from one side of the cheek over down to the other side to cover it. So just measure it and make the hat as big as you need to.

2. Make the head for your doll. You can find plenty of books and places on the internet that explain how to make a head for a typical Waldorf style doll. I am not going to go into any of the details about heads. Note that the muff (part that is tied off at the bottom on a typical waldorf style head) needs to be longer than for a regular dress-up doll). Sew the little hat together at the back and drape it over the head cheek to cheek. Sew it on at the neck but don’t sew around the face yet. You must wait until the face has been embroidered!

3. Wind two small balls of wool for the hands of the doll and cover them with skin fabric by tying it around the little balls.

4.The arms/midsections consists of a rectangular piece of fabric. This piece will be sewn together at the bottom, right sides together leaving an opening in the middle. Once it is turned inside out after sewing the arms you will cut a small hole at the top.

5.Your perfectly shaped head, covered in your favorite color skin tone, will be inserted into this small hole and come out at the bottom where your left the three inch sized opening. Sew the head on tightly!

6.Stuff the arms with wool from both ends. Then sew on the little ball-shaped fists of your baby doll. You need to make gathering stitch around the velour material and then sew each ball on firmly.

7. Next you must stuff the rounded body/pillow part of the doll. Once it is full of fluffy wool do a gathering stitch around the top and insert it into the 3.5 inch opening . The muff part from the head goes in the pillow. Sew the the two parts together securely. Make sure to sew around a number of times so that no wool can get out.

8. The last thing I do is embroider the face and hair. It’s exciting yet scary at the same time. The dolls hat is not sewn on securely until the face is all finished.

 

DISCLAIMER: Please, note that all sewing and stitching must be done with great care. Use small stitches and go around multiple times so parts CANNOT come lose or wool come out of the doll. Always check your toys’ stitching from time to time to make sure that wool is safely contained since it could pose a choking hazard to a young child that still puts objects in their mouth. THESE TOYS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE KEPT IN CRIBS OR USED AS CHEW TOYS.
Ulla Seckler is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.

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Tutorial: “Ruler” Growth Chart

Six and a half years ago I started looking for the perfect growth chart, and never found one. I wanted something that would be durable so that I could track my children’s heights throughout their lives. I have found a couple of them, but they fell apart, and since I’m so bad at recording things in books, I have no idea about the heights of my girls over the last 6 years!
I thought maybe I would just use a wall, but finding a wall that I wanted to track the heights on has proven difficult. We have lived in 3 places since we started having kids…2 trailers and a rental. So there has never been a “permanent” wall where I wanted to start marking.
A few months ago, I was just perusing Pinterest one night (as usual), and I came across this growth chart. It was so perfect I could barely stand it! It’s big, it’s moveable, it’s simple, and it’s beautiful…to fit into any decor we may have over the years! I followed the link to this great blog to find out how to make it….then I procrastinated about 4 months before I actually got around to doing it myself !
If you want to make it, here’s how I did it. It’s seriously easy…otherwise I NEVER would have made it!
Ruler Growth chart
Step 1. Head to your local home building centre and pick up a 1x8x8 board. I paid $3 for mine.
Step 2. Find a saw (or ask your hubby to help if he won’t let you touch his tools) and chop 2 feet off, so the board measures 6 feet long.
Step 3. Stain your wood. I love the “true brown” of a walnut stain, but you can use any that you like!
Step 4. Once it’s completely dry (usually a full day), it’s time to make it pretty! I suggest putting on a great movie or show after the kids go to bed to do this part. A glass of wine makes a great companion too!
Step 5. For this step, you can use a black sharpie, or a paint pen. I used a sharpie because I couldn’t seem to find a paint pen anywhere in town. Using a ruler, mark off the height lines. The are spaced 1 inch apart. I made them 1 inch long, and every 6 inches, made that mark 1.5 inches long.
*sidenote for the absentminded, like me* I found I made way less mistakes when I started at the 1 or 1.5 inch mark rather than at the edge of the board. If I did that, sometimes I went over my mark. Make sense?
Step 6. Time for the numbers! First, I found a great font called DIDOT in our microsoft word for mac program (although there are tons of great ones online too!). I printed off the numbers 1-6 in size 200, then I cut them out….but cut them so there is a square of white around each!
Step 7. On the backside of each letter, trace around it in a fairly thick pencil line.
Step 8. Place the number, with the front side facing up, in the place you want it on the growth chart. I put the 1 at the first 6 inch mark, so the chart ends up being 6.5 feet.
Step 9. With the pencil, trace around the number carefully, with a fairly heavy hand. When you are done and lift the paper off, you should see a slight indent of the number, with a light pencil line to help you trace around it. Use the sharpie to carefully trace around the number, then fill it in.
Step 10. Repeat steps 7-9 for all 6 letters.
Growth Chart 3

 

Step 11. Mount a sawtooth picture hanger on the back of the chart, and hang it wherever you would like it in your home. If you change your mind, you can always move it!

I can’t help but think of what the chart will look like in 20 years…with all of my children’s’ heights on it, and possibly starting into grandchildren’s heights!
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Free Knitting Pattern: Valentine Hearts

My boys and I love making handmade cards for friends and family, and nothing says I love you, like a hand~knit valentine heart.
Here’s how to make one {or a dozen!}
Supplies You’ll Need:
Size 6 {4mm} Knitting Needle
Worsted Weight Yarn
Darning needle
Abbreviations:
sts = stitches
M1 = make one stitch by lifting the running stitch
from the row below and knitting into it
K1 = knit
ssk = slip, slip, knit
k2tog = knit two together
Hint:
Slip the first stitch in each row for a nice finished border
Directions:
Cast on 3 sts.  Turn
K 3 sts.  Turn
K1, M1, K1, M1, K1.  Turn
K 5 sts.  Turn
K1, M1, K3, M1, K1.  Turn
K7 sts.  Turn
Break yarn.
Slide all these stitches to the end of the needle and repeat the last section again.
Don’t break yarn the second time.
You should now have both tops of the heart on one needle.
Making sure both pieces are ridge side up, knit across.  Turn
K 3 more rows.  Turn
K1, ssk, K to last 3 sts, k2tog, K1.  Turn
K across.  Turn
Repeat the last two rows until 2 sts remain.
Bind off.
Finishing
Darn in ends, coaxing the heart into shape.
To make a larger heart, add more increase rows to each top piece.
To make a taller heart, add more plain rows between each decrease row.
For the valentine card, I hand stitched the heart in place with a bit of embroidery thread and a very sharp needle.
Enjoy~
Elizabeth Murphy   Come join me under The Sitting Tree for stories about my life as a wife to my best friend, proud mama of three unschooled boys, obsessed knitter and lover of Mother Earth.
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Make a Mandala Spinning Top \ Dreidel from an old CD – Tutorial .

To make this Spinning top you will need:

An Old CD, a marble, paper, scissors, glue, hot glue gun.

You may also need, depending on the type of decoration you choose to apply to your spinning top: colored pencils or markers, colored paper, or whatever you fancy like stickers, glitter. Etc.

dreidel tutorial

1. The first step is to choose how you want to decorate your Spinning top.

There are a few options:

* Print out a pre-made Mandala and color it in.

* Print a blank circle and design your own Mandala.

* Print blank circles on colored paper, fold and cut, to make a paper-cut Mandala.

* Print a blank circle and decorate it freestyle with markers, stickers and glitter (this option is suitable for the younger kiddos).

I have drawn four Mandalas for your use, the first page has Mandalas with large areas to color in, suitable for younger children:

Large mandala

The second page has Flower themed Mandalas, with smaller shapes to color in:

Flower mandalas

When printing make sure you print “true to size” and NOT “Fit to page”.

If you want to make a Hanukkah Dreidel, print out one of the Hanukkah themed Mandalas. These were made by Tehila, an Israeli kindergarten Teacher who has kindly allowed us to use her artwork on our blog.

Hanukkah mandala1

Hanukkah mandala2

Hanukkah mandala3

To print blank circles, click here:

Blank circles

2. After you have printed your selected Mandala, cut around the the outer circle and then cut out the small circle in the middle, where the disk has a hole (you can also color first, and cut later, of course).

making a Spinning top

If you are making a paper cut Mandala, cut two circles, in different colors of paper. The first circle will be the background, and you only need to cut a blank. The second circle will be the Mandala itself. Fold and cut.

 making a Spinning top

3. Color in the Mandala. Coloring Mandalas is a meditative and calming activity. I had a great time making mine.

making a Spinning top

4. After you have finished decorating the paper circle, you can glue it to the disk.

If you are making a paper-cut Mandala, first glue the uncut circle to the disk, then, spread open the paper-cut and glue it on top of the first piece of paper.

making a Spinning top

5. Using the hot glue gun, glue the marble to the center of the disk. The marble should poke out of both sides of the disk – the top half of the marble is used for spinning the spinning top, and the bottom half is the point on which the spinning top spins. It is OK if the marble sticks out on top a bit more than the bottom. Sorry I could not provide a better photo for this step, my daughters did not allow me to glue their marbles…haha)

making a Spinning top

5. Spin!

Happy Hanukkah!

making a Spinning top

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Make a Mandala Spinning Top \ Dreidel from an old CD – Tutorial .

To make this Spinning top you will need:

An Old CD, a marble, paper, scissors, glue, hot glue gun.

You may also need, depending on the type of decoration you choose to apply to your spinning top: colored pencils or markers, colored paper, or whatever you fancy like stickers, glitter. Etc.

dreidel tutorial

1. The first step is to choose how you want to decorate your Spinning top.

There are a few options:

* Print out a pre-made Mandala and color it in.

* Print a blank circle and design your own Mandala.

* Print blank circles on colored paper, fold and cut, to make a paper-cut Mandala.

* Print a blank circle and decorate it freestyle with markers, stickers and glitter (this option is suitable for the younger kiddos).

I have drawn four Mandalas for your use, the first page has Mandalas with large areas to color in, suitable for younger children:

Large mandala

The second page has Flower themed Mandalas, with smaller shapes to color in:

Flower mandalas

When printing make sure you print “true to size” and NOT “Fit to page”.

If you want to make a Hanukkah Dreidel, print out one of the Hanukkah themed Mandalas. These were made by Tehila, an Israeli kindergarten Teacher who has kindly allowed us to use her artwork on our blog.

Hanukkah mandala1

Hanukkah mandala2

Hanukkah mandala3

To print blank circles, click here:

Blank circles

2. After you have printed your selected Mandala, cut around the the outer circle and then cut out the small circle in the middle, where the disk has a hole (you can also color first, and cut later, of course).

making a Spinning top

If you are making a paper cut Mandala, cut two circles, in different colors of paper. The first circle will be the background, and you only need to cut a blank. The second circle will be the Mandala itself. Fold and cut.

 making a Spinning top

3. Color in the Mandala. Coloring Mandalas is a meditative and calming activity. I had a great time making mine.

making a Spinning top

4. After you have finished decorating the paper circle, you can glue it to the disk.

If you are making a paper-cut Mandala, first glue the uncut circle to the disk, then, spread open the paper-cut and glue it on top of the first piece of paper.

making a Spinning top

5. Using the hot glue gun, glue the marble to the center of the disk. The marble should poke out of both sides of the disk – the top half of the marble is used for spinning the spinning top, and the bottom half is the point on which the spinning top spins. It is OK if the marble sticks out on top a bit more than the bottom. Sorry I could not provide a better photo for this step, my daughters did not allow me to glue their marbles…haha)

making a Spinning top

5. Spin!

Happy Hanukkah!

making a Spinning top

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Recycled Calender Gift Box Craft

Why, oh why did I never think of this cool craft? All those years of putting beautiful calenders into the recycling bin when I could have turned them into something really beautiful and useful: Gift boxes. This is another really wonderful craft we found in Ecology Crafts for Kids by Bobbe Needham. Don’t throw away your old Calenders!

All you need is:

old calenders pages, the bigger the better or other beautiful square pieces of paper

scissors

a bit of tape

How it’s done:

  • Fold your rectangular calender page over from one corner to the other side to create a square. Cut off the access paper from your rectangular shaped calender page to create a square sheet. Basically this box is based on Origami techniques

  • Fold the other corner over and create a diagonal crease from corner to corner.

  • Open the square again and fold the corner towards the center of the diagonal line you made. You created another crease. Take the corner once more and fold towards the center of this crease. Now you will have three creases.

  • Repeat this process for each corner of your square. Make nice deep creases.

  • Once you open the paper you will see little square shaped creases all over it

  • Then take scissors and cut into the paper along the creased lines. Cut two squares deep.

  • Repeat this process for the opposite side of this corner!

  • Make the sides of the box by lifting up the long uncut sides and folding in the corners towards the center. Next lift up the cut corners and fold them over the sides of the box. Now you have one part of your box.

  • Take a second calender sheet and make a slightly smaller square out of it. The crafting book didn’t say that but we found that if you use squares of the same size your boxes will not go together easily. You have to squeeze the sides to make it fit together.

  • Repeat the folding process on that smaller square sheet. You will end up with two halves of a box that can be put together as one box. We taped down the corners in the center so they wouldn’t pop up.

I know this sounds very complicated, but once you get the hang of  it,  it’s really easy to do.

My daughter was so intrigued by this project that she turned page after page of calenders and magazines  into little boxes. Then she decided to peddle them for a few cents to the neighbors who surely needed boxes for their Christmas gifts…

 
Ulla Seckler  is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.  Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.

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Pencil Holder Tutorial

The pencil holder is a perfect gift for any child who loves to draw, and it has been one of the long time staples in our family. Each of my kids has one. It’s great for keeping the little one busy in the car or airplane, or while waiting at the office. It fits easily inside a purse or a diaper bag, so it will be ready when you need it.

Here is a quick and easy tutorial on making this lovely gift.

Use thick 100% wool felt made from sheep’s wool to make the pencil holder extra durable.
You need 2 rectangles: one 15″X9″ and one 15″X3.5″ for the pencil pockets, plus any necessary wool felt for applique.

 

If you want the outside of your holder to have any applique make it now on your big piece. Cut out the paper design and pin the pattern to the wool felt. Cut out the felt in the pattern design by following the edge of the pattern.

Place the applique on the lower right side of your big piece and blanket stitch with a cotton thread around the applique shape. I used a matching white cotton thread.

You can add some ornaments for more holiday glitz using tiny running stitches with a contrasting thread.

When you’re done with the applique, take the small rectangle and place it on top of the wrong side of the big piece.  Pin them together to keep in place. Blanket stitch with a contrasting thread all the way around the outside 1/8″ from the edge. Fold in half a 24″ piece of ribbon and insert 1/2 ” of a folded end on the right edge between two layers of wool felt. You can make a button and a loop instead of the ribbon if you’d like.

 

Divide the length by how many pockets you’ll need for the pencils. I made 10 pockets, each for two pencils.

Find the midpoint of the pocket rectangle at 7.5″ and mark the middle line. Then make a line  every 1.5″, until you draw all 9 lines. Sew nice straight lines from the top of pocket to edge of fabric using a backstitch. If you’re using a thick wool felt, you can easily avoid harming the applique on the other side by going through only half of the thickness with your needle. Remember to do a couple of extra back stitches at the beginning of each row to reinforce.

Finally it is ready for the pencils!

 

 

 

 

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Nina’s Yo-yo Hair Pin Tutorial

When my daughters were little I used to make these Yo-yos to decorate their dresses and hair.  It’s a very easy and fun project to make with children requiring only a few simple stitches and your imagination.

A Yo-yo is a circle of fabric gathered up at the edges and sewn together. This little craft has been first used in the 1920s as a home-made decoration on quilts. Later, designers began using the Yo-yos as stylish and fashionable ornaments in the hair, on clothing, or as elegant jewelry. Yo-yos are easy to make using colorful fabric scraps. A single Yo-yo can be attached to a hair pin or hair band, while several Yo-yos can be stringed together to make a necklace.

1. To make a YO-YO hair pin, trace around a glass or lid onto a piece of cardboard. You can make different size cardboard templates, ranging from 2 to 3.5 inches in diameter.

2. Cut out the templates and trace around them with a fabric marking pencil on the wrong side of the fabric.

3. Use a strong quilting or button thread to baste stitch around the entire edge of the yo-yo to gather.


4. Pull the thread to gather the fabric into the center of the yo-yo.


5. Pull the thread tightly and tie a knot in the center.


6. To make the top “fabric button”, make another Yo-yo with a smaller diameter. Place the smaller Yo-yo face up on top of the bigger yo-yo, and sew them together in the center. You can stitch a bead or a button on top of the smaller Yo-yo.  You can also place the smaller Yo-yo face down (see the lowest image).

7. Attach the finished Yo-yo to a hair pin or a hair band with a strong thread.

Have fun!

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Tutorial: How to make a back to school Waldorf doll angel

Going back to school is a time that is filled with lots of emotion. For some children it is a time of anticipation, reunion and celebration of an environment they love. For others it is a time of isolation, structure and limitation. Either way, a special surprise is most welcome on the start of any school year. This tutorial is to create a simple little autumn angel that can be easily hid in a school bag, lunch pack or placed on a pillow for the first day of school.

Supplies needed:

  • A fat quarter (I used 2 scraps of different cotton fabrics)
  • Thread
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Skin coloured jersey scrap
  • Stuffing
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Paper and a Pen

Ability requirements: These instructions are for a very basic doll that can be completely hand stitched or machine stitched. This version is not suitable for very small children as it doesn’t have the reinforcements to make sure it can withstand a good chew/ tugging match. I have also minimally used any technical information (like right/ wrong sides of fabric, fabric bias touching, grain, hidden stiches etc) as I wanted to make it accessable to anyone. When I did use a technical term I tried to provide a link. If you know enough to know about these terms, you would also know when they are implimented.

Step 1: Place your the palm of your hand on the sheet of paper and loosely use it as a size guide to make a half oval shape

Step 2: Add a 1/4 inch seam allowence to the outside of your half oval.

 

Step 3: Place your thumb in the very centre of the straight edge of the oval. Mark either side. This is going to be your neck hole.

Step 4: Fold your fabric in half. Line the straight edge of the oval up against the fold in the fabric. Cut both layers of the fabric around the round part of the pattern only. If you open it up after cutting, you should have a long oval.

 

Step 5: Draw a right angle triangle a third longer than the half oval. Cut off that bottom 1/3 and you should have a triangle with a flat bottom edge like the one in the photo below. This is going to be the hat.

 

Step 6: Fold your material like you did for the body. Place the edge of the triangle onto the fold. Cut around the hat except for the folded edge.

 

Step 7: Turn your hat inside out so the coloured parts are touching. Sew a straight seam up the long angle. Fold a bit of the open edge over and iron. See photo below. Please note: I have used a surger for the angle seam but you don’t need to. You can do this by hand using a straight stitch.

 

Step 8: You do the same thing again with the body of the angel. Put the pattern sides together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam around the round part of the body. Then you need to cut a little opening for the neck. Your pattern will have the marks on it which you can use as a guide. Just a little bit wider than your thumb.

 

Step 9: Turn the body right side around by pulling the fabric through the hole. Then stuff it with your stuffing.

 

 

Step 11: now take your square scrap of flesh tone jersey and fold it in half. It should be wide enough to put your thumb in and long enough to cover your whole thumb. Sew a straight stitch up the long side and across the top. Turn inside out.

 

 

Step 12: Push stuffing in to create a round ball at the end of the tube.

Step 13: Tie a piece of embroidery floss 3/4 of the way down the ball.

 

 

Step 14: With a piece of embroidery floss, sew two small eyes. I use two simple stitches per eye.

 

Step 14: Take hat, turn inside out so that the colored side is facing out and tie it onto the head of the angel. Sew the hat onto the head. I use a ladder stitch.

 

Step 15: Place head into body. Sew around the neck attaching the body fabric to the head.

 

Step 16: Tie off securely and enjoy!

 

Written by Rachel from Oast.  A Waldorf doll maker from Canada living in the rolling hills of the English countryside with her daughter, her gestating son and her awesome husband.

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Tutorial: How to make lavender play dough

I have found this to be the perfect afternoon activity to do with my daughter. She helped me make our first batch and I have since given it away as birthday gifts. Here is what you will need:

1 cup sea salt
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
Food Colouring
Lavender Essential Oil
Step 1: Put all ingredients into a large pot over low heat and stir.

Step 2: Keep stirring! While the mixture is starting to firm up, add in 10 drops of lavender essential oil. I sometimes use 8 drops of lavender 2 of rosemary. The first batch I ever made I just used 6 drops. I can smell the lavender but it wasn’t quite enough for my taste. It is easy to add more so start off small and keep adding to suit your taste. I like using lavender because of its antibacterial properties.

Step 4: Once the dough starts to get too firm to mix and really starts pulling away from the sides of the pot, let it cool a few minutes until it can be handled. Then take it out of the pot and kneed it until soft and smooth. If after a bit of kneading it is sticky, add a touch more flour or place back in to the pot and warm up again. If it is too stiff, wet your hands with water and knead the dough again.

Step 5: Form the dough into balls. I make three balls for the primary colours. Create an indent in the ball and add food colouring there. Kneed again until food colouring is equally distributed. You can then colour combine. Blue and red = purple, Yellow and blue = green and so forth.

Step 6: Create! Play! Mould and Sculpt! Or… let cool to room temperature and then store in an air tight container in the fridge when not in use. I have had my batch for a couple of months now and it is still going strong. Once it starts getting funky, toss it and make more. Creations can be baked. You will have to experiment with your own oven for temperature and duration. Enjoy.

Written by Rachel from OAST