Thursday, April 15, 2010
My son will be attending a birthday party for one of his classmates this weekend. I considered making something hand-made, but working part-time while raising three children under 5 interferes with my fantasies of unlimited crafting time. On our monthly trip to Walmart (yes, I admit it: I shop at Walmart), I wandered the toy aisles in search of a perfect birthday gift for a 5 year old girl.
I am in no way a toy snob, and yet, I was completely...repulsed. I know, that's a strong word. I felt dazed by the shelves and shelves of "perfect" femininity: cleavage, abnormally large eyes, endless fashion options. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't spend $15 on some mass-produced toy that provided little opportunity for imaginative play beyond "What will I wear today?"
So today, which is one of my precious days home with my little ones, I created a gift for Jude's friend. I got up before the kids to work on her face. I couldn't help reflecting on the hundreds of years of tradition in the stitching of a face onto a piece of fabric. Medieval moms, Victorian moms, Pioneer and wartime moms carefully crafted eyes, noses, mouths onto a precious scrap, creating a playmate for their children.
This pattern is so simple and quick to make (about 2 hours, and that's with all the interruptions of "I'm hungry!" "I had it first!" and "Can I help?") and can be found here; alternately, google "black apple doll". This site offers a tutorial and a pattern template. I used bits of fabric that I've gathered along the way, including the wonderful pink floral that arrived in a bag from my mother's friend's mother this week!
Even better than being simple, the end result is utterly charming. Choose eye and hair colours to "match" the lucky recipient and you will create a family treasure. My children cherish their own Black Apple dolls. I thank my friend Maureen for introducing these little sweeties to me!