How’s this for a blast from my past!
It just so happens that I am hunting for the perfect first doll for my 17 month old daughter, PZ. I’m not a fan of this “Ugly Doll” craze, nor am I fond of the “overly realistic, so as to be creepy” baby doll style I’ve seen in stores. No plastic, pouty-lipped replica of Nellie Olson and no cyclopsed, three-legged looks like a muppet caught in a blender will do. I want a nice, simple, cloth doll. With two arms, two legs and a cute hairstyle. The Waldorf doll isn’t going to cut it either. We need an Edith, not a Wendy. I’m talking personality, folks! From the expression on her face, to her hair style and clothes, I want this doll to be unique. She should be interesting, engaging, and such a good pal that my PZers will want to pass the doll on to her own little girl.
I started my search online at Etsy.com, and found a few good options like melimade‘s wool felt dolls, “Blondie” and “The Original”. Both girls have very cute hair and faces, and I like their height and long limbs, (good for dressing). “Blondie’s” outfit isn’t inspiring though, and “The Original’s” just barely fits the bill. The price seems slightly aggressive at $65.00, but finding the perfect doll IS truly priceless to me. Well, maybe not price-LESS, but pretty dang important!
Etsy.com also has the Zippypops doll. While the whole not-having-a-mouth thing is a little oogy, she has an adorable body (toddler belly!) and looks super soft. Her hair can be styled (a huge plus!), and her little dress is both removable and made of vintage fabric (love me some recycled fabric). The price, at $125.00 seems a bit steep to me, but if PZ loves the Zippypop doll as much as I love my favorite pair of Seven jeans, then I’d feel pretty justified paying the cost. But does she have enough personality? I’m not sure she emits enough of a Great Depression era vibe, and did I mention the weird no mouth thing?
Then there’s Jill Zurzolo from Winnipeg and her doll, Holly. Handmade from linen, recycled fabric, and organic lentils, Holly seems like a really great pal. I like that her dress is removable, if a little on the raggedy Ann side of things, and her hair is spunky and cute. At $35.00 the price is definitely right, but is 15.5″ too short? Is her expression a little too worried? Ugh! This would be so much easier if I wasn’t having to shop online.
Wary of choosing too hastily, I move away from Etsy.com and head into the crafty blogger scene. This prompted my discovery of hopskipjump. hopskipjump is Fiona who lives in Australia and makes adorable dolls like Martha. She also makes cute rabbit, cat, and monkey dolls, all of which have fun vintage fabric clothing. Unfortunately, all of hopskipjump’s dolls have sold, and all of the stores listed as retailers seem to be sans dolls as well. Tiny People was the only retailer that listed prices (for the cat and rabbit dolls) and they were $102.00 and $112.00 respectively. I would imagine that the little girl dolls would be similarly priced. Hmmm…. I did sign up for hopskipjump’s email list, so I will be one of the first to find out about new dolls that are for sale. Wonder when that will be?
The other crafty blogger that piqued my interest is Laura Normandin. Her handmade dolls can be found on her blog Wren Handmade or at one of my favorite online stores, Nonchalantmom . Nice long limbs, easy to dress, Laura actually sells handmade clothes, too! She has a great eye for fabrics and the boxy cuts make the dolls seem very 1930’s, but the clothes might just be a tad more interesting then the dolls. The $82.00 price tag doesn’t seem too bad after looking at the competition and the vintage feel gives me hope for a true heirloom doll.
My mom is coming out next month, and I had really wanted PZ’s first doll to come from her. I was envisioning us going to some local spot and picking out a beautiful, quirky handmade doll. PZ would fall in love on the spot, and my mom would be delighted for months to come. You’d think that with Portland being such a innovative, DIY town, there would be someone busily crafting the perfect doll even as I type this. Well, until I find them, the hunt continues and PZ will just have to keep putting her clothes on her stuffed duck Albert, much to Albert’s chagrin.
*UPDATE – We went with Jill Zurzolo’s doll Holly and 2 years later she is still a favorite! Thanks Jill!!