Dolly Henry is a sewing and design blog for the creative wanderer, where style meets play and making is a lifestyle.

Hi, I'm Megan - owner, designer and writer at Dolly Henry! Join me here as I explore the ins and outs of creativity, dabble in dollmaking and raise my voice on issues facing creative entrepreneurs.

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Slow Saturdays

It has been one those very busy weeks, which means a quiet Saturday was definitely in order. Despite the hectic days, I am surprised at how much I have achieved creatively. My projects included some photography for Yarnologie magazine, alongside a festive commision which involved my watercolours. 

A beautiful surprise parcel arrived in the post, a gift from a lovely friend whose kindness and encouragement is something I value very much. Sometimes a sparkly heart, some buttons, and beautiful fabrics are just what you need! That and a few sneaky trips to the delicious sourdough bakery we are so lucky to live near. (I am pretty sure I am making up for all the years I couldn't eat conventional bakery food!)

My doll making adventures included making a purple-haired little munchkin, her lovely locks beautiful handspun wool from my sister - I'm constantly stealing anything that isn't deemed suitable to knit for my dolls! I guess if you wanted to factor in all the extra time that using things like handspun yarn take in the making process, you'd be needing a thousand dollars for your doll...but I digress. I enjoy the slow nature of creating a doll and using as many natural materials as I can. I love buying new fabrics, but also enjoy the fact I can use my scraps or reclaimed pieces to make their clothes too. 

The filling I currently use is an eco-friendly Australian made corn fiber filling. Wool is always my preference, and I deem it to be the most environmentally friendly (my opinion) but after some trouble with a large bag of wool this year, and difficulty with sourcing good clean wool for a reasonable price, I resorted to the next best option. This doesn't make the dolls ' vegan-friendly' by any means, because I continue to use animal fibers in their clothing and hair, however, I figure if you have a slight wool allergy, hypo-allergenic toy filling can't hurt!

I moved onto a mouse doll today, a second prototype of the first mouse doll I made earlier this year. I was busy preparing for a big market and didn't have time to perfect the pattern - for ease of construction - so she fell by the wayside. When she was finished, we visited the doll dress up box - a little cardboard suitcase I keep of doll clothing discards. I like to do this because it seems unfair that the doll has to sit around nude while I wait for clothing inspiration, and it also helps me to decide what kind of clothing the doll's personality requires. I currently have a few nudie dolls because I am yet to decide what clothing they need!

I really love mousey. She needs a better name but her sweet yet comical expression makes me smile.
I love the simplicity in her shape and design, she reminds me very much of a toy that has been loved and treasured as a childhood friend over many years. I usually use matching thread to the material I am working with, but as she is sort of a prototype I stitched with white, the colour my machine was threaded with. You can see the stitching a little in the seams, but I rather liked this effect - giving her a worn, vintage feel. I am toying (pardon the pun!) with the idea of stitching a little fabric patch on her, to further enhance this look.

What do you think? The jury's still out for me.

These beautiful liberty fabrics and buttons have inspired me so much, I haven't put them away yet! 
Thank you so much for the surprise Ally!

I've been enjoying a bit of watercolour lately. I used to paint and draw so much growing up, before I ever touched a sewing machine! Those sped-up videos people share on painting on Instagram are addictive, there is something mesmerizing about watching a painting come together. I would like to try other paints but for now, I have my watercolour pencils. They don't make much mess or take up much room so they are perfect for my current situation. I have been creating little illustrations and then developing them on the computer into some prints...

A little birdie tells me there'll be some watercolour bonus's in the next issue of Yarnologie...

I know there is a trend called 'keeping it real' for the purpose of showing your followers that real life doesn't always look the same as your blog or Instagram feed, but I have never needed the 'keeping it real' posts from people I follow. 

I guess because I know when I do photography, I can make a small corner look very different then it does in real life. I like this about photography - you can tell a story with a single shot, a made-up story if you really want to. Or you can use a camera to give you a new perspective - to find beauty in the ordinary. You can edit a photo and either make it feel warm or cold.

 So often, it's easy to let all the little things go unnoticed, to be ungrateful for the good that you do have. Taking a photo and showing the beauty in the every day, in the clutter, in the mess and in the totally ordinary can completely change the way you see something.

These photos in this post tell of a calmness that hasn't existed in my week, which has been chaotic and beyond my control to say the least. You could make assumptions, but I see that there is in fact truth in these images - though it might feel like life is a runaway train, these recordings show me that I did manage to snatch moments where I was able to be in the present, preserving a little bit of the process.

 Ignoring the bigger, noisier picture to instead focus in on the small things such as the splash of paint on paper, the soft feel of handspun yarn under my fingers or the slow contemplation of a doll's attire.

This is keeping it real, because when the noise fades away, you can see the things that really matter.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

Megan x

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  1. It's important to find the beauty in the ordinary. Thanks for sharing some of the things you have found beauty in this week. I am about to go to and dig out my sewing gear I have packed away for open inspections and start a doll myself I think!


    1. You're welcome Emma! I hope everything is going well with your house, it can be quite disruptive to your normal routine or creativity when you have to keep everything inspection ready! Megan x


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