Toy of the month – January 2016

Happy 2016 and happy new “toy of the month”! I know happy New Year gets tired after about the 10th day of January, but as it’s my first toy review for the year, I wanted to wish you much love and joy for the year ahead.

So this month’s toy review is rather an interesting one. It intrigued me when I was first told about it and I wanted to learn more and see how it would work. The concept is something a bit different, a bit special, a little unique and something all parents need at one point int their children’s lives….

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Giddy Up Gertrude – “Revez en Grand” doll collection

As a child and as an adult, I love and adore dolls, so I am so very excited and truly honoured to present a gorgeous new handmade doll collection by GiddyUpGertrude, which is launching this Wednesday, 3rd of December. These dolls are seriously so sweet and beautiful. You will want to collect them all!

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All dolls are designed and handmade on the Australian Gold Coast, by Jaimi Lee Pennell. With a childhood love of creating and drawing, not to mention building fairy houses in her garden, it seems that Jaimi was destined to turn this passion into a creative talent as an adult.

Each doll is hand stitched and takes 4-5 hours to complete with hundreds of hand stitches going in to make each doll’s face.  All the materials are sourced from local shops or from fellow WAHM ( work at home mothers) running online shops.

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The first collection from GiddyUpGertrude is aptly titled “Revez en Grand” or “Dream Big” and there will be 10 -15 dolls each individually made, with their own character, name and styling.  Gorgeous names like Stella, Valerie, Suki, Mabel and Eden.  Every doll has been designed with removable clothing and there will soon be a range of Giddy Up Gertrude dresses, kimonos and gorgeous faux fur vests which will launch in the next 12 months. Oh my, I cannot wait to see the sweetest of doll’s clothing for these divine dolls!

Not only has Jaimi turned her hand to dolls but she has also made 2 limited edition stunning pink flamingos for Wednesday and some seriously cute Watermelon bags. This gorgeous mama is beyond talented!

I wanted to find out more about the inspiration, design and background of this new fabulous mumpreneur enterprise and I took the opportunity to ask Jaimi a few questions about “GiddyUpGertrude”:

Meet the Maker: Jaimi Lee Pennell

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Your dolls are truly stunning fashionista style pieces, what inspired your first doll collection, “Revez en Grand”, what is your background and how long has GiddyUpGertrude been in the making?

As a mother of 2 boys I don’t get to indulge in the gorgeous little girls fashion available at present, so this doll range has allowed me to get my fix of sequins, divinely soft tulles & all things pretty & pastel.

I taught myself how to sew almost 3 years ago, it was a way for me to cope and manage my Post Natal Depression. From this, my ability & confidence grew & creating really became a passion. Like a lot of people I started to make dolls using some great simple doll patterns that are easily available. However as my confidence grew I found myself really wanting to create a doll that reflected my soul & creativity, and the concept of GiddyUpGertrude was born. It has been a long road to create a pattern that I am 100% happy with, about 40 hrs of pattern testing in total, but I am so proud of how this first collection has come together.

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Given that you have children of your own, are they the first testers of your dolls? 

Haha, yes my toddler is known as the “destructor” tester! It is his job to make sure my dolls can stand up to the over affectionate cuddles & oddles of kisses they will receive in their life time.

As a child yourself, growing up, what was your favourite doll to play with and do you think it has helped to inspire you to create GiddyUpGertrude?

As a child my favourite doll was an old handmade ragdoll made by my great grandma’s sister. I loved her until her felt face had almost worn off & I actually rescued her from the bin a few times, as my mum thought she needed to be thrown away. Needless to say my love of dolls started very early, & has continued through to adulthood.

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As your collection is aptly named “Dream Big” which is one of my favourite sayings, what made you take the HUGE plunge and finally realise your dream of making dolls and creating such beauty? To be 100% honest, like many young families our budget is tight & the thought of leaving my two beautiful boys to go back out into the work force broke my heart. Which is why I am fully committed to making GiddyUpGertrude a successful brand.

The response so far on Instagram for your dolls has been so exciting, there is a real buzz and anticipation for the release of your collection. I can and will predict that it will sell out within minutes, where do you see the future of GiddyUpGertrude?

I am so amazed at the response my dolls have had so far. After starting a little under a month ago, I never dreamed of them getting so much attention and praise! Its pretty overwhelming.

My dream for GiddyUpGertrude is to walk into fabulous boutiques and see my dolls proudly displayed. That would be an amazing accomplishment.

Finally, I am sure there is a little story behind the brilliant name, do tell, what is the story behind Giddy Up Gertrude?

Well, remember my favourite rag doll I spoke about? She was made by my great grandma’s sister, Gertrude. So I thought it was only fitting that the woman that ignited my love of handmade dolls, to get a special mention.

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What a beautiful story filled with courage and bravery, overcoming post natal depression to create this beyond perfect doll collection by the sweetest of doll makers,  Jaimi, all whilst having a new born baby strapped to her and her toddler using her photography props as car jumps! I can see that this first collection of dolls, is but the start of amazing things to come for GiddyUpGertrude.

RRP: GiddyUpGertrude dolls will be A$120.00 and will be released for sale at 11am QLD time on Wednesday 3rd December.

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Disclosure: I have not received any gift or payment for this feature.