Felt Wee Folk around the kitchen table

fairies from "Felt Wee Folk"

fairies from “Felt Wee Folk”

Sometimes I look at my blog statistics to find out how people find me. Quite frequently searches like “pipe cleaner dolls”or “wee felt people” bring them here. This week’s wordy favorite was “how to wrap embroidery floss around pipe cleaners for fairies”.

Last week, I received the most wonderful e-mail message from Michele in Nebraska, who wrote, “I didn’t do anything else yesterday evening except enjoy every single thing on your blog.” She went on describe how she and her family have enjoyed the doll projects in Felt Wee Folk.

“I purchased your book when my daughter was 15 (she is now 20 and a new mother). She had a close friend spend the night once that year and I brought my new book, along with lots of felt, threads, combed wool (I spin) and all manner of goodies, into the kitchen with the two girls and announced we were going to make tiny dolls. You should have seen their teenage faces! At first hesitant and then fascinated and completely absorbed, those two girls insisted on staying up till 2:30 in the morning so their little people could be finished! We talked about everything and laughed and laughed and when we were done, we sat and looked at our little people with the greatest satisfaction and joy. Just recently, my daughter’s same good friend came to our house to visit and told me that night spent here was the most fun she has ever had and that she felt so much love in our home. She has her little Wee Folk doll still and wants to make more with her children when she has them.

I just thought you might like to hear that your art has the most profound effect on others in such a positive and loving way. Thank you for your years of sharing. Thank you for leaving your examples of doll art on your website as inspiration for those of us who cannot get enough of them. I am sure you will be blessed in all your new endeavors.

And finally thank you for being true to yourself, for in doing that, what you have created is truly magical.”

Stories like Michele’s make me feel that sharing my fantasy/play world is truly worth it. It warms my heart to think of kitchen tables around the world scattered with silk flower petals, pipe cleaners and acorn caps. I can imagine faces of all ages and colors bowed in concentration and busy hands engrossed in making wee dolls. It’s been almost 9 years since Felt Wee Folk was released by C&T Publishing. Since 2003, the book has been reprinted many times, selling over 50,000 copies, which is way more than any of my children’s books.

cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 1)

On a calm day earlier in August, before Irene blew up our way, my husband and I took our boat to Cuttyhunk Island. It’s only an hour ride from Woods Hole to this little gem at the end of the chain of Elizabeth Islands. In the harbor, we met up with our friends Ben and Julie and they rafted their sail boat up to our boat.

We took our dingy to shore, walked around the town and passed the public library.

We had a lobster dinner.

And walked back down to the dock to take our dingy back to our mooring.

On the way, we passed acorn stand in a golf cart which operated on the honor system .

As the sun went down and the moon came up, we returned to our boat and spent a peaceful night on our boat in Cuttyhunk harbor.

to be continued…

Cruise to Cuttyhunk (part 2)

30th wedding anniversary

Today is our 30th anniversary! To celebrate, Rob and I are going on a little trip to Long Island, NY. Ok, I know what some of you are thinking? Isn’t Long Island full of Levittown style track houses? Well, we’re going to the northern end, which we’re reaching by ferry from New London, CT. I’ll come back with pictures to show what we find. Anyway, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show the dolls I made for our wedding.

At the wedding, the dolls were hanging in a basket with helium  balloons floating above and cheese cakes below.

The dolls and basket have been gathering a coat of dust over the years, as we have also become gray.

They were made with stuffed nylon stockings, which was all the rage back then. 

I made my own wedding dress and Rob’s shirt and vest, so the dolls had matching outfits. Happy summer solstice!

61 years ago today

My parents, Mary and Jim Mavor, were married 61 years ago on March 25, 1950. This plate was a wedding gift and it’s now hanging in my kitchen. An artist and engineer couple, they were married for 55 years before my mother passed away, with my father dying the next year. Please let me indulge in nostalgia, while I show some favorite pictures.

They were married in my mother’s home in Providence , RI. I love these pictures of my parents as a young handsome couple. When my sons saw these pictures, they said, “Grandma was a Babe!”

What a handful we must have been, three children in 4 years. I’m on my Daddy’s lap, being grabbed by my younger (by 13 months) brother.

This is one of the last photos of them together.

Treasures: 1920’s flapper doll

Among the treasures my mother left me are some well-worn porcelain “flapper dolls”. She was born in 1925, so she must have played with them in the late 1920’s.

my mother, Mary Hartwell (Mavor), age 4

I can imagine my mother’s little girl hands grasping this doll, moving its arms up and down, and dressing and redressing its solid body until the paint wore off.

1920's flapper doll, 3" tall

Even these broken doll parts were saved for me to find 75 years after their useful toy life was over. They are in reserve, ready to contribute to some future piece of art. I cannot tell when or if a leg or arm section will ever be the “right” object to add and have to be careful not to let sentimentality guide my decisions.

porcelain doll parts

For now, it’s enough to have and enjoy my mother’s childhood treasures.

Waldorf School Holiday Faire

I’ll be signing books at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod’s Holiday Faire on Saturday, Nov. 20th from 12 noon to 2pm. When my children attended the school 20 years ago, this event was our pride and joy. Then and now, parents, faculty and students put months of creative energy into making the day memorable for all who attend. The poster I designed years ago is still being used. I want to see the popular Excalibur Challenge, where children meet Merlin and have a go at pulling the sword from the stone!

There will be craft vendors and lots of activities for children, including crafts and games. The school’s store, Kindercraft, sells the naturally dyed wool felt that I use in my artwork. I’ll be writing more about this felt in a later post.

wool yarn and felt at Kindercaft store

This year’s fair will be at the school’s new location in Cotuit. Last winter, I helped color the walls with the lazure  method of applying paint like watercolor, in graduated hues. Here are some classrooms all set up after we painted them. The whole building will be transformed into a magical environment for the Holiday Faire on Saturday.

Waldorf School of Cape Cod's Grade 1 classroom

nursery classroom

Reminder: I will be doing a story time at the Sandwich Public Library on Tuesday, Nov. 16th at 10:30am. I’ll also be talking about and signing copies of my new nursery rhyme book, Pocketful of Posies.