A Christmas Dolly for Samantha

The new year is upon us and while this last week has been full to the brim with looking ahead, I wanted to post about my favorite moment of this Christmas Newly Past.

On a whim, I decided that this Christmas I would make a doll for my three-year old niece Samantha. Never mind that it's been nearly 20 years since I've made a doll completely from scratch or that I have a shaky, hit & miss relationship with my sewing machine: once I get a crazy notion in my head, I am determined to see that idea through to its end. 

I hauled my three-inch thick binder full of doll-making ideas and patterns off the shelf (I've been collecting inspiration for a very long time) and began my project. After cobbling together three or four patterns and two days of cursing like a sailor, I created this Raggedy Anne doll.

Once the doll was finished, wrapped, and stashed under the tree, I felt sure that, given the avalanche of shiny, plastic, multi-part toys coming her way, Samantha would give my humble, homemade doll a passing glance, toss it over her shoulder and plow forward into the next gift. So I handed my present to Samantha at the beginning of the evening so that I might catch her in the best mood of the night.

To my utter delight, Samantha ripped off the wrapping, pulled back the tissue and shrieked - as only little girls can shriek - "Dolly!!!" She yanked Anne out of the box by her arm and hugged that doll as tight as she could. For the entire evening, Samantha carried Anne around, sometimes by her hair, often by one of her gangly limbs. (I am so glad I triple-reinforced all the joints and hair segments.) Anne's presence was required at the opening of each subsequent package. Anne survived an apple pie break unscathed, and as Samantha's energy (and temperament) began to wane, Anne remained firmly clutched in her arms. Finally, exhausted by the total wonderment of the entire evening, Samantha drifted off to sleep as her mom bundled her into the car for the ride home. However, she woke long enough to scream "Dolly!" when my sister-in-law took Anne away so she could buckle the car seat.

I was so touched by this outcome. I'm not sure how long Anne will remain in Samantha's favor; little kids tend to obsess over certain toys for a period of time and then move on to something else. However, on Christmas Day 2014, I know that that doll I made was loved as intensely as any toy can be. Inspired now to explore those ideas I've hoarded, I suspect that I'll be venturing further into the realm of doll-making in 2015.


gretchen said…
this is wonderful! i know the feeling of wanting a handmade gift to be appreciated by a child, and how it feels when it's a success - your post describes it exactly! good work :)
Snap said…
I'd be yelling "dolly" too! Wonderful!