All of my fairy doors, fairy houses, fairy dolls, scented bookmarks, dryer balls, and other magical creations are available in my etsy shop! Click on the images to learn more about each one!
It’s coming on Christmas, and no I’m not about to break into The River by Joni Mitchell. Okay, so maybe it's not coming on Christmas for the rest of the world, unless you count department stores. However, I have about three events left for the year, all of which are after Halloween, and two of which are after Thanksgiving. Generally, I find Thanksgiving doesn’t generally bring many sales for me, but we’ll see if my Harvest Raggle Taggle Fairy Dolls can fix that.
Christmas, though, tends to bring a lot of sales. So, while the rest of society might still be trying to figure out which candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters this year and putting the finishing touches on their costumes or trying to decide what sides will be offered with the turkey and if the pies this year should include the apple with cheddar cheese or pumpkin and whipped cream, I’m blasting Christmas songs in my room, working on Christmas and winter related products. Ice house and Christmas fairy doll, anyone?
Holidays and seasons in and of themselves tend to offer a plethora of inspiration. One needs only to walk into JoAnns or Michaels, or, if you’re on the East Coast, AC Moore to discover any amount of craft supplies geared to holidays or seasons. This would be one of the reasons we often unsuccessfully attempt to put blinders on while walking past the fabric sections. And while I, personally, also draw inspiration many times from beloved books or favorite movies, and online through many google, deviant art, pinterest, tumblr, etc. searches, ideas and inspiration and ways to make the ideas happen, also come from the people around me.
Truth is handmade entrepreneurs owe a lot to the people around them. I am lucky to have Handmade in South Bay, my own personal Algonquin round table, where I can not only learn tricks of the trade and have help in growing my business, but also vent my frustrations and celebrate my successes. I am lucky to have a boyfriend who always asks what I’m working on and not only shows interest and compliments my abilities and work, but also offers ideas happily, like having the acorns for my squirrel fairy garden look like they are wrapped like a gift, and enjoys seeing me excited about my work. And I am lucky to have a mother who offers honest opinions of my creations, gives suggestions for making them better, acts as a sounding board and often bears the brunt of my frustrated rants and overly excited babbling, as well as the countless other ways she supports me (I could write a novel-length blog about her alone).
What it comes down to is this, Acorn Tops would not be where it is today if not for the support I get from my friends, family, and boyfriend. They all have a hand in it and many of my inspiration I owe to them. I am more grateful than I could ever put into words.
I am my grandmother’s granddaughter in a lot of ways. I share her tendency to worry; the ever constant “what will people think.” I share her love of Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne Shirley. That’s Anne with an E. I also share her love of autumn. She passed away when I was six, but I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where I don’t think of her. It’s happening a lot more than usual now because autumn was her favorite time of year. Now more than ever, my mom and I will exchange looks and ask each other, “You know who would love that?” Just this morning it was the collaborative gift box sets with Seeds of Inspiration, Jessie’s Custom Greetings, and DPR Collectibles.
I keep joking that if she was still around today, we’d never have to actually buy her anything. All these seasonal product we make, be it a mug hugger or fairy door would be the perfect gifts. And I bet she’d get a kick out of it being handmade. I could see it now. Scented acorns and pumpkins at the center of her dining room table. An autumn fairy house tucked away in her perfectly square garden of perfectly straight lined zinnias.
As I type this, I’m putting the finishing touches on an autumn fairy doll. I can’t help thinking of it as ‘Grandmom’s Fairy Doll.’ If she were still alive today, this doll would be hers.
“I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” And I am so glad I had a grandmother who could pass that love on to me.
Originally posted on Acorn Tops Tumblr: On Fairy Wings and Acorn Hats
Recently, I finished a custom order for a three year old. Using purple fabric, including soft flannel, I made my first Snuggle Huggle Fairy Doll. It is similar to it’s Raggle Taggle counterpart, but without the glass bottle/small wand and wire-wings so children younger than five can enjoy it. It has been mailed with it’s matching fairy house. It’s funny to picture this three year old playing with this handmade rag doll when you also think that generations and generations ago, before possibly her own grandmother and great grandmother can remember, some forgotten ancestor in the far off past could’ve been playing with a rag doll, too, when they were three.
Dolls are one of the first toys we know of. It is a toy that can be found all over the world, across time and cultures, from the corn husk dolls of the early Americas to the fragment found of the Babylon period alabaster doll with movable arms. Dolls from Egypt dated all the way back to 2000 BC were discovered in grave, a sign that they were as cherished then as they are now. They were also discovered in Greek and Roman graves, as well as dedicated to goddess once outgrown, according to A History of Dolls. Early on the material used for dolls included bone, wood, wax, ivory, clay, and rags.
As A History of Dolls puts it, “Although not as sophisticated as dolls made from other materials, rag dolls were well-loved, often as a child’s first toy.” It is also “the most popular and well known of all American Folk Dolls,” according to Historical Folk Toys. Though most rag dolls have not survived due to disintegration, the oldest surviving rag doll in North America is Bangwell Putt.
Around the 1780s, toys were used and encouraged to prepare for gender-oriented socially acceptable roles, such as mother and wife for girls. Before this, in England, dolls such as Bartholomew’s babies were used as ways to display fashions and styles. It would have been the 1750’s version of a fashion or dress-pattern catalog. Before even this, as early as 1630, rag dolls were popular toys.
A little history is shared on the Wagon Train Dolls website. The wagon train dolls are what inspired my Raggle Taggle Fairy Dolls. During a vacation in Kern County, I came across the dolls in the local museum and felt inspired to make my own, with a fairy twist.
It is a universal toy and dolls like Bangwell Putt, and the box of my mothers dolls from her childhood, and my great great grandmother’s doll, Edna, are a connection to our history. They are personal. And because they are personal, they provide a magic to transport us to a time long forgotten. To think one day, my great great granddaughter can look at my Molly Doll from the Comfy Couch with the same awe I feel when I look at Edna. To think one day, it could be that custom Snuggle Huggle Fairy Doll that survives hundreds of years.
Originally posted on Acorn Tops Tumblr: On Fairy Wings and Acorn Hats
Let’s talk collaboration! I don’t just mean two business working together on a single product, like Jessie’s Custom Greetings and Seeds of Inspiration’s Mug Hugger Greeting Cards, or my collaboration with Seeds of Inspiration on our needle felted mushroom fairy bottle, (though I am a huge fan of both). I’m talking a different type of collaboration, that not only benefits both businesses but this beloved planet on which we live.
The beauty of an organization like Handmade in South Bay is you have a community of like minded business entrepreneurs who are able to rely on each other for things like support and promotion, but also materials. Sometimes this means sharing suppliers, splitting shipping costs with someone who uses your same supplier, or sharing supplies.
That’s the collaboration I’m talking about. Any one who knows Seeds of Inspirationknows they use fabric. They give Acorn Tops the scraps. Using those scraps, my raggle taggle fairy dolls are made. The scraps of the scraps then goes back to Seeds of Inspiration for their handmade buttons for a new product they’re working on. Between the two of us, our products are made and the earth weeps with joy over our clever reusing and recycling.
Always remember, sharing is caring!
On Fairy Wings and Acorn Hats
The magic behind it all!