The phrase "Christmas Customs" took on a bit of a new meaning for me this year. Even a month ago, I would have said it meant dear traditions like decorating the tree, treat-bags at the Christmas Eve service, and sour cream cookies with sprinkles. In the last months, the word "custom" has taken on more of the meaning "made to order". A couple of people requested dolls with special characteristics for Christmas gifts, and I gladly agreed to try - a challenge, but an honour!
The first set of custom dolls was for my friend Jon, who asked if I would please make two dolls based on a childhood picture of him and his sister, as a Christmas gift for her. The picture was so cute - I couldn't wait to get started!
The challenge for this pair was figuring out how to create perfect little sweaters for each of them - I had only worked with cottons, denim, felt, and flannel, and unfortunately I don't know how to knit. I found some great sweaters to reuse, and lined the pieces with flannel so they would be easier to sew. The finished product turned out better than I hoped!
The second custom doll was a surprise Christmas gift for my brother Jeremy. A few months ago, he had requested either a mad scientist or a rockstar...I couldn't decide which idea I liked better, so I decided he had to have both:
Mad scientist by day...
Rock star by night...
The new challenge with this crazy guy was his hair - every other doll I've made has had felt hair, and so I wasn't sure how the "real hair" would turn out. Thankfully it ended up being a lot easier than I expected, and the wild hair suits both personalities! This doll has definitely been my most creative Blue Whimsy endeavour to date - it was so much fun to envision his two personalities, and create the right look for each.
The custom work has left me wondering what direction Blue Whimsy will take in the future. I found myself surprised at the enjoyment I got out of knowing to whom the dolls were going, and sharing a vision for the result with the person who requested each doll. The reality is that the custom dolls require more time in a few areas: creating a design for the doll, searching for the right materials and embellishments to use, and creating many more pieces of clothing than any of my other dolls so far. I'm hoping it can continue to be a part of Blue Whimsy, along with a couple of other new ideas I'm developing.
With the Christmas rush over and a little more time on my hands, I'm excited to see what the new year will bring. Guaranteed, 2014 will include many learning experiences, a few challenges, and hopefully a lot of fun as I continue on this adventure. Happy New Year!