Let me introduce myself…
My name is Rebecca, and I live with my husband and 9 children in the “back woods” of Eastern Canada. I grew up here, and I love it. I love that I can sit out on my back porch in the early morning and hear silence. I love that I can walk down the road to a sparkling, clean lake to swim. I love the drama of the seasons.
My father and mother instilled in me a deep love for all things handmade. My dad was a Luthier. He built gorgeous one of a kind guitars. My mom was the type of “self- sufficient” woman who would make her own granola, hand-smock each one of us dresses for Easter, always had a knitting project on the go, and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in the garden. She had me sewing my first outfit when I was six years old. I’ll never forget it. So many seams sewn and then ripped out….and then sewn again. Did I mention she had the patience of a saint!? Creativity was always encouraged in our home. It was a very “organic” process. We had trunks of fabric scraps, yarn and craft supplies always at our disposal and we were encouraged to just “try stuff”. My mother would teach us the skills necessary, and then give us free reign to design and create. Of course she LOVED every single project even more than the last! A woman can always use another pot holder, right?
What inspired me to start my shop Handmaiden Canada? After six months of my husband being off work with ulcerative colitis and awaiting imminent surgery, I started to rack my brain, trying to think of a way I could make some sort of an income from the home. I have been a stay at home mom for the past 18 years, and though I’m so grateful I’ve had the opportunity to be home with my children during these tender years, I do feel I am a little behind, with very little outside work experience under my belt. I decided to start a business from the home. This was something I could do, even with a nursing baby. I opened a shop and called it Handmaiden Canada.
Now, what to sell? I started to experiment. I started knitting wool bags and then felting them. I then started making things with recycled, felted sweaters and that was a lot of fun. Then I discovered Waldorf Dolls, and I fell in love. I have always loved dolls. I watched the way my mom was with my seven younger siblings, and I would imitate her. I would nurse my baby, change her, and carry her around on my hip, just like my mom did with my baby brothers and sisters. Dolls were my first introduction to motherhood, and they still hold a special place in my heart. But there is something about the simple face, the softness and warmth, the natural materials of a Waldorf doll that sets them apart from any other type of doll. Something that makes you just want to snuggle up with them and tell them all your secrets.
I had to try my hand at making one. I made one for my daughter for her first birthday, and what a hit that was! Before too long, I was blissfully caught up in a whirlwind of dolly making creativity! I was kept up many a night with visions of my next dolly dancing through my head! It is a process that I don’t think I could ever tire of. I have now “joined forces” so to speak with my mother. She makes a lot of the doll clothing, and many of the other items in the shop. We get together often, to work on projects, to keep each other motivated and inspired! It is so amazing to be able to collaborate with her in this way.
My husband and children are also involved in the business. My husband helps me with the shipping. My children (ages 19 down to 3), are my muses, and my helpers. They humour me by modelling things in the shop. Sometimes it is with a promise of a trip to the little candy store, or ice cream shop in town afterwards!
It truly is a JOY to be able to work from the home, to use my creative abilities to help provide for our family. I do have to do part-time work outside the home…but I look forward to seeing this handmade business of ours continue to bloom and grow.
Find these dolls at:
HandMaidenCanada on ETSY