Waldorf Dolls … I have fallen in love!

Okay, so if you are a never-ending researching Mama (or educator) like myself, you may have heard of the Waldorf Method.  **UPDATE* I just found another, better link for the Waldorf Method information, click HERE to view it- it’s just amazing ….** In my mind it is based on nature and all things natural and fosters a love of learning and adventure.  Children learn to do things with their hands like garden, work with fabric, paint, etc.  The foundation of their educational philosophy is similar to other proven methods (which we in America see to have strayed from, btw)- children learn through play and use of their imagination.  Here is an excerpt from the link above:

For the Waldorf student, music, dance, and theater, writing, literature, legends and myths are not simply subjects to be read about, ingested and tested. They are experienced. Through these experiences, Waldorf students cultivate a lifelong love of learning as well as the intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be individuals certain of their paths and to be of service to the world.
Developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, Waldorf Education is based on a profound understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child. Waldorf teachers strive to transform education into an art that educates the whole child—the heart and the hands, as well as the head”

My fondest memories from my childhood are those of my brother and I running around the pastures and woods at my Memaw’s house, pretending.  I would dress up in all sorts of spare fabrics my grandma had stashed for me.  My absolute favorite piece was a super shiny, silk black with shimmery gold patterns on it.  Interestingly, in my research on all things Waldorf, I learned that this method uses what Mamas call “silks”- large, soft, silky fabrics to enliven the imagination!  They can become forts, dresses, blankets … anything a child wants!

Have I ever mentioned how GINORMIS my imagination was as a child?  Wow .. I had a basket of flowers that acted as my chicken when I was Dorothy from Return to Oz.  Weekly I dressed in my very best attire, hat and umbrella included, to rescue children as Mary Poppins, and my personal favorite- Jeremy and I stomping through the woods, BB guns and walking sticks in hand as Conan The Barbarian, or characters from the XMen comic books he so loved (I was always Jubilee or Storm).

Okay, back on topic.  So, how did I come about this whole Waldorf thing?  Long story short, the wonderful girl who made Lexie’s birthday outfit, also makes clothes for Waldorf dolls.  I didn’t know that’s what they are called, but the minute I laid eyes on the absolute to-die-for yarns and colors of these dolls, I had to have one for Lexie (or me? … no no no. lexie…)

So, I did a little research on these unique dolls, with their very emotion neutral and simple faces they are very old fashioned and SO NOT CREEPY (yay). They have these soft chubby bodies made of 100% pure cotton for the skin and warm, carded and washed wool insides.  This is so the doll picks up the smells of home and also become warm when snuggled and loved.  Their hair is hand spun and dyed from different wools, all of which which is usually harvested by a local family to the doll maker, yes even today!  Of course there are commercial versions of these dolls, but they lack the love, care, hard work, and detail of a real Waldorf style doll. 

Can you tell I am in heaven?  She had to have one… Due to the great, natural fabrics and high quality materials used to make Waldorf dolls, they do not come cheap.. fortunately for her, I put back a bit here and there for special Lexie gifts.  You can have a Waldorf doll specially made for your child, but these are usually quite more pricey ($140+) than buying one ready for a home.  There are makers on sites like Etsy, which is where Lexie’s new friend came from.  When she is a bit older, and continues to show a love for dolls, I will get her a larger, more personalized doll (or maybe attempt making one myself?).   But for now, this one screamed “Lexie Raye!” at me for several days until I finally decided to get it for her.

Her name is Shelby, which just seemed like a perfect little Southern name for my country bumpkin’s doll, and she is 11″.  This is a small doll, as many of the Waldorf dolls are 13-18″.  Can’t you just imagine toting her everywhere and playing with all that hair?!  Aaah, having babies really does bring out the inner child in you.

Here is the description from her creator, Lemonsandlimesutah

“Miss Shelby is ready for some fun. Would you like to join her?

Shelby is an 11 inch Waldorf inspired doll made with love. She is made from 100% cotton interlock knit in the tone of blush. She is stuffed with 100% cleaned and carded wool. Her hair is made from 100 % Fine Merino Wool with shades of red with blue highlights. Her eyes are a blue that matches her highlights. Shelby is made to stand, but can be sewn so that she can sit as well. If you would like her to be able to sit, please make a note in the notes to seller box. She weighs 9.7 oz dressed.

Miss Shelby comes wearing a dress in a red and blue themed fabric with complementary shorties. This dress has snaps for its closure and the shorties are elastic.”

My next big excitement is trying to make some doll clothes for her!  I think I will start with a night gown, so she can get ready for bed, like Lexie.  That can’t be too hard, huh?  And I would really like to knit her some shoes.

Funny story … when I started knitting while I was pregnant with Lexie, I picked up some beautiful worsted wool yarn at Tuesday Morning- Guess what I am going to do with it?!  I hope to try to make her doll a few things, but we will see.  I am not a seasoned knitter.  Anyhow, this is it for now.  I am very excited and hope Lexie loves her doll.  If she isn’t quite ready for her yet, I will put her up on the shelf and try again sometime.  If she decides she likes having a doll friend, I want her to have that one special doll that she loves forever- not a bazillion store bought dolls with fisher price stamped on their butts.  I think this one will do the trick!

Did you have special toys, or props like “silks” when you were growing up?