Oh my I am so excited for this month’s toy review as it means so many things to me. As you may know from my Instagram account I am rather keen doll enthusiast. They make me go all swoony and weak at the knees (sorry hubby) !
I honestly love handmade dolls and I am not quite sure where my obsession started. As a child more than likely as my Mum, Nana, Grandma and Aunts were and are all makers, knitters, doll makers, quilters, weavers, sewers, artists and spinners, and being around such creativity from a young age, I think it is in my blood. I love to support such handmade beauty and the people who create them.
And so it is that I was honoured to receive and review this months’ “Toy of the month” from one of my favourite Australian doll makers These Little Treasures. Dainy creates the most magical & divine dolls and this month I have the pleasure to review her doll making kit, Mini Friends – 2 Dolls Kit – Lola and Lenny.
You receive the doll kit in a sweet little cardboard box, much like a treasure box and so in keeping with the brand name, as these dolls truly are little treasures.Everything has been thought of including the paper patterns, to create hats, softies, scarves, and accessories for your doll.
Inside the box, you receive you pre made Lola and Lenny doll, 4 pieces of coloured felt, 4 large paper patterns which have all the instructions written on each piece including the patterns, stuffing and thread all wrapped up so sweetly.
After we unpacked the contents of our treasure box we go to work on creating little accessories for our new dolls. I will stop you here to tell you that although I come from a family of makers, I was not fortunate enough to receive such clever skills genetically. My sewing skills are rather redundant, having made a pair of spotty culottes in Textile and Design back in year 9. My mother was so aghast at how little I knew about sewing and that we were not even being taught to hand sew, she marched up to my school and told off my teacher. I took history the following year instead!
Therefore it was with a little bit of trepidation that I was to make my own doll’s hats and bags. But I thought to overcome a fear; you must truly embrace it, head on. And with the boys helping me and cheering me along we started.
First, we decided on which hat we wanted to make, and the boys wanted to make the Batman hat, naturally! So we got cutting. Jasper didn’t feel he was capable of perfecting the cutting, so I took over the cutting off the patterns. After the cutting, came the pinning of the pattern to the felt and then more cutting. I did find the felt a little tricky to cut at first but I did get the hang of it after the first pattern. Once it was all prepped, I was ready to face my fear of the needle and start sewing. I would say that you need your own thread for the sewing part especially if you or the child is a beginner sewer. The kit comes with thread but it isn’t enough to sew all the accessories. After some rather messy sewing, we had our first DIY hat all ready for “Super Lenny” which was his new moniker.
Over the next few days we made a unicorn and reindeer hat for Lola, a pixie hat for Lenny and a bunny and dog softie for both each with bags. I even added a little flap for Lenny’s bag as I gained confidence with my cutting and sewing. I have to say I found hand sewing quite relaxing and therapeutic, which honestly surprised me.
The kit makes everything so easy as it has all been thought of for you, even if you are like me, a novice sewer. If you are a more expert sewer, you could put flourishes on the hats or the bags or make more scarves or capes. The only end to Lola and Lenny’s whimsical world is your child’s imagination.
And so how did this wondrous world of Lola and Lenny start?
Dainy Sawatzky is the chief doll maker and creator and creative genius behind These Little Treasures. Dainy’s former life was in the world of fashion, running her own successful fashion brand for 14 years in Melbourne. It was a sea change to a Victorian coastal town after she sold her business that made her rekindle her childhood passion for making dolls. Yes, she used to make teddies and soft dolls and sell them at the markets as a child!!
Being able to renew this love affair with dolls alongside her lifelong passion for theatre/costume, she has perfectly entwined her passions to create a successful online business whilst working from home and looking after her 2 children, a boy 8 years and a girl 10 years old. Her dreams as she says have come true!
With each face screen printed for the DIY doll kits and her larger dolls having some embroidered elements to their face as well as screen printing, there is beautiful attention to detail. She also hasn’t forgotten the environment, with recycled cardboard packaging, recycled polyester stuffing and linen and cotton fabrics throughout the doll collection.
I love that Dainy has not only embraced her sea change life but also the new community she is part of, with a local mother screen printing the fabric and a local printing business printing her doll patterns on paper that had been “sitting in their storeroom for 20 years and it is a paper that is not made anymore.”
Embracing her new lifestyle, the first ‘Lola’ doll was created as a special, keepsake gift to her daughter, Scout Lola.
Since that first Lola doll, Dainy has worked tirelessly at creating a magical world of These Little Treasure dolls with her signature rag doll standing at 75cm, down to the Mini Friends at 44cm tall. Since the beginning of 2016, she has been producing THE most stunning monthly limited edition of Tiny Pixie Collectables. They are out of this world, exquisite and each month, she has a new gorgeous Pixies to add to the collection which she shows on her Instagram account.
Dainy has honestly captured the essence of childhood with these dolls; so full of wonder, hope, love and joy. Each doll provides the child with a constant companion that can be changed, dressed and changed again! I love that these doll kits allow parents and grandparents or siblings to sit down and take the time to teach them cutting, sewing and designing. I found I was reminiscing about my childhood to my boys and loved that I was creating new memories for their childhood. They have loved playing with Lenny and Lola since we finished off their accessories and keep changing outfits for them daily. They want me to make another cape and more softies too. Better get back to my new found love for sewing!
Toy of the Month : Mini Friends 2 Doll Kit by These Little Treasures
Helps to teach kids: sewing and fine motor skills, creative and social skills such as independent learning, cooperation and self-confidence.
Great for: kids learning to sew and who want a little project to help them learn plus they get an exquisite doll to love. Kids who love to use their hands to create and for kids that need a challenge. I think these doll kits would make beautiful mother/ daughter, mother/son or grandchildren/grandparent gifts, in particular at Mother’s Day, Christmas or birthdays.
Ages: 5 -12 years
What you get:
- A Mini Friends Lola Doll dressed in a skirt and scarf (ready made)
- Patterns to make 6 different hats – Pixie, Beanie, Pussycat, Foxy, Reindeer and Unicorn
- Patterns to make 2 soft toys for the doll – Bunny and Bird
- Pattern to make a tote bag, skirt and scarf
- 4 pieces of different coloured felt
- Little bag of stuffing
- Embroidery thread
- Assorted ribbons