My New Studio

I’ve put the word out (to the universe, mainly) that I’m looking for a little studio here in Vancouver. What I need is really tiny compared with the 2500 square feet we had before. Now that production is mainly on Vancouver Island, Audrey and Jes house most of the materials (like 250lbs of wool a month) at their home studios. It’s pretty cool how it’s all worked out.  I need a place to sew quietly, do doll hair and dress them and do stuff like shipping, photos, paperwork. My first priority was to settle down here into a new rhythm and see how my week looks like as compared to when we all worked together.

Well, I saw an ad on Craigslist. 4 hours old. 4 bedroom character place off Commercial Drive (super sa-weet neighborhood I grew up in) that, get this, has a studio in the back. What?!? Did I put in a cosmic order for this or what? I quickly emailed knowing for sure this place was mine and the lovely owner told me that there were already 2 families ahead of me looking at it. No problem – I just knew this was my place. So I  gently emailed the owner again laying it all out there. The area. The house. The STUDIO. That I can have Acorn my dog there (but not in the studio around the dolls).  Well, as you can guess by my blog title – I GOT THE PLACE!

We’ve owned homes for the past 15 years or so, so the elation of getting the place you wanted as a rental was pretty sweet. It feels nice to not have to worry about the roof, or the hot water tank or anything like that on a place. Especially since we already have our Cobble Hill home to look after (until John finishes school – then we sell).

So .. this is the studio! Cuteness! I can’t wait to get some planters around there …

And the inside .. maybe I’ll do classes in here!

And – this is the cutest.  A little sleeping loft for when Brooke or Brandi come visit. With a little kitchen to make tea. (PERFECT)

August 1st is my move in date. Until then, I am in this pretty tiny 2 bedroom apartment with dolls everywhere. It’s good right now, but I’m a bit nervous for space once the boys come here when they finish school. I predict lots of time at Nonna’s ;).

I had to share – I love when things just unfold like this <3

All the best,
Christina

Trisha - May 13, 2015 - 9:20 pm

I feel like jumping up and down too! For you!! You deserve all the wonderful things that happen to you, because you sowed the seeds. Whatever you want to call it…luck, karma, God, the universe…YOU do great things…so your rewards shall be great. Congratulations!

Genny Martin - May 13, 2015 - 9:37 pm

Congratulations Christina!! So happy that you found such a magical place! ❤️

Sharyl Henry - May 13, 2015 - 9:54 pm

Christina – this is sooo sweet. It literally looks like an adorable little “doll house.” Bamboletta perfect and enchanting. I am loving your journey as it unfolds! Again, thank you for sharing with all of us. Love & Hugs, Sharyl

Tanya Wellburn - May 13, 2015 - 10:15 pm

Hurrah! I just knew your place would find you :) (Your story is SO much like when we bought the house we are in now….so thrilled for you!!) And the bonus of not having to juggle owning two homes at the same time will be well worth it.

Your studio looks wonderful and just the perfect set up for you. Congratulations!

Kim Giovannini - May 14, 2015 - 5:10 am

How wonderful!! It looks beautiful, and just waiting for music, tea, and dollies. Congrats on your new space – it’s perfect. <3

Brooke - May 14, 2015 - 7:48 am

I love how there’s a place for me and the little one! Love you to pieces ladycakes!

Launa - May 14, 2015 - 3:02 pm

Love it and so happy for you guys

Facebook sharing is caring!

My Inspiration

 

Beautiful image by Erin Wallis Photography.

I was asked recently by a friend as to why I started making the dolls and why I didn’t make those cute monster dolls or stuffed animals. Surely, I could make those too – she suggested as a way to expand my product line. But, I make dolls, it’s what I do. I love the idea of pouring my heart into one thing.

When I first started reading about ‘Waldorf Dolls’ (this is the philosophy upon which the dolls are based on) I was drawn in by thoughts of a simple expression on the doll, so that it can be used in open ended play – happy or sad or somewhere in between. And by the use of all natural materials because a child’s energy ‘flows’ better with something natural. I loved these concepts, they just made so much sense to me. Thing was, I wasn’t too keen on what was available at the time. I knew that the little girls in my life would want something a little brighter, happier and fun. So, I took my love of color, fabrics, and yarns (yum!) and created a doll. Then another. And another.

As I started making more dolls, I took them to a Waldorf school very excited about sharing what I did.  While the parents and most teachers embraced what I did and loved the more modern direction I was taking the dolls. There was one teacher who was very unkind to me – my dolls were ‘too happy’ and ‘too colorful’ and I shouldn’t sell them at the school. It was brutal – it’s like that lady was a vacuum that sucked up all the positivity from the day. One part of me could have shrunk away and never make dolls again or start making  them in the uber traditional way – taking her words to heart. The other part, the one that I listened too, just knew that this was what I was meant to do. You see, back then, Etsy didn’t even exist – and when it did it was only myself and a very few ladies making Waldorf Dolls on there. No one had seen what I was doing. I knew that I could take the heart and concepts of this beautiful philosophy around dolls and bring it to today’s little girls. And not ones that are going to the Waldorf schools, necessarily. I knew I could bring them to my friends, my family, my community – a wider base of people.

The concepts that first inspired and drew me in still hold steady in my work. They are the anchor in all that I do, my foundation. The simple faces that can convey so much and be what the child’s imagination needs. The hair made with so much thought. Our hair can be styled and played with (something I know I LOVED as a child – here’s our YouTube channel with different hair styling videos). I really remember as a child getting lost in textures remembering this is why I love combining different types of yarns to create it – we even go as far as hand dying most of our yarns to get all the shades we want. The simple bodies made much like a child’s – not a thin, unrealistic proportion. My dolls keep kid’s little – I can’t get started on how sick I feel when I see what is available to young girls today (another blog post). Clothing that can be taken on and off with velcro – easy. Every single thing we do is thought out using those basic tenants of the Waldorf philosophy but always with the question ‘what would the child love?’. Even while choosing fabrics I have this question near and dear to my heart.

I make companions, secret keepers, a child’s little ally for that short period of time of their life. My doll was SO important to me growing up – the security and comfort I took in having her around is something I feel even to this day. I know I’ve said this again and again, but remembering that makes me feel so incredibly honored to be making dolls for your little ones today.

Much love,
Christina

Nicole Downs - May 2, 2015 - 7:42 am

Thanks Christina. We love your heart and your dolls. You are a gift.

Kim Giovannini - May 2, 2015 - 7:48 am

Personal reflection leads to growth and prosperity. It’s something we learn as we experience life. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blogs. They are inspirational and remind us all to remember to treasure our Littles so they may treasure their Littles one day. <3 So lovely!

Sharyl Henry - May 2, 2015 - 8:03 am

Christina, Yes, exactly what Nicole Downs said -“We love your heart and your dolls. You are a gift.” The sweet and dear Bambolettas are perfectly wonderful and magical — unique and special more than words can express. Your heartful and loving vision brings them to life and sends enchanted blessings out into the world. Thank goodness that you did not listen to whoever it was at the Waldorf school that said those ridiculously judgmental and hurtful comments to you. Lots of love to you.

Ida - May 2, 2015 - 3:26 pm

Thank you for sharing your special gift with us! Your dolls are special, like none other. You are a unique artist that is giving us something so special. Love, love, love your dolls!!

Facebook sharing is caring!

Where have the Frocks Gone?

I’m getting to pack up and move this weekend. I’m pretty excited as all the studio gals old and new are coming in on Saturday and we’re packing it all up. Quite a bit of the stuff is going to Audrey’s place as she will be home base for all our home sewers to pick up and drop off their dolls. I like the idea of these bits of Bamboletta still being around at her place – it’s a nice continuity.

DSC_3386

I love the new stuff we’ve been creating lately – like this lace front tunic. So sweet!

So, let’s talk Frocks. While things get settled and I establish a work flow between my new place in Vancouver and the studio over here on Vancouver Island I am holding back on frocks for the time being. And I have some ideas on how I’d like to bring them back in – I was thinking of a made to order section where you can choose your dress style, fabric, accessories and then the order is made up and shipped out to you. And/or a super highly more ‘curated’ Frock selection – so, more outfits like what you see on our upload dolls. Anyhow, going to get through this move first and then figure that out. I hope within a month or so.

Thanks so much, everyone!
Christina

Betsy Mierswa - April 22, 2015 - 8:15 pm

Christina,
I just want to wish you all the best in your move and relocation. I have no doubt that you will be settled in and back up and running full speed in a short time. I look forward to reading how you are adjusting and tackling this newest adventure.
The best always!

Facebook sharing is caring!

The ‘Why’ ..

My ‘why’ – right here. Photo by Erin Wallis.

A little update – I’m moving to Vancouver but keeping production on Vancouver Island.

It’s like I’m back in my early 20’s setting up a new place. I’ve half way moved into our apartment in an area called Mount Pleasant in Vancouver. It’s been a real joy setting up, I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff, it feels so liberating. I’m not even a ‘stuff’ kind of person but it’s crazy how quickly it accumulates. I’ve set up house based on this amazing book called ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘.  One of the philosophies in there is that if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ in you, toss it. If you are only surrounded by things you love you and not things that carry baggage then your mind can be clearer and more relaxed. I’m going to be working in my home until I can find a suitable studio so I want things to be as uncluttered as possible.

I’m equal parts excited and nervous about this new venture. As with the paring down in my home, I feel like I’m paring down in my business and really getting back to the ‘why’ of what I do. (I HIGHLY recommended you watch this Ted Talk ‘It Starts With Why’). The past year or so has pulled me away from the why of what I’m doing – stresses from running a business, being away from my family, finances, and then all that attention after our award (which was amazing, yes, but a bit of a trip!). I always took solace and comfort when I spent those 3 days a week in my chair sewing the faces on- doing what I love – bringing the dolls to life. Those times would act like an anchor.

So, why do I do this? What is my ‘why’? To spread joy and delight through my creations. Through the art of handmade we embed magic into our dolls for people all over the world to feel and be connected by. And from a social and political standpoint – that ‘making’ matters in ways that go far beyond the end product. People have a choice on what they want their future to look like and that this business model has far reaching benefits.  Describing your ‘why’ is so difficult – it’s in the emotional/feeling part of the brain and hard to articulate, so this is the best I can do.

In the 12 years or so I’ve had Bamboletta I’ve experienced many expansions and contractions – much like breathing. Right now, I’m in a contraction, getting close in again to why we do what we do. I’ll huddle around it for a bit and let it warm me to my bones. Then I’ll be ready for my expansion – whatever that may be – and the not knowing is the great adventure.

Much love,
Christina

 

monique - April 6, 2015 - 10:39 pm

You truly are an amazing person! Xo

Laura - April 6, 2015 - 10:55 pm

You know I love this. So much. xoxo

Trisha Cunningham - April 6, 2015 - 10:58 pm

Dear Christina,
When I opened our special package from Bamboletta this past Saturday it was as if I opened a box of magic. I had ordered three dolls, and was getting ready to put them in Easter baskets for the next day. Well let me tell you those dolls took my breath away. They are works of art Christina!! The pictures on line do not prepare you for what you will receive when you actually see them up close and hold them. Each hair tendril is thoughtfully placed and the faces are so sweet and unique to each doll. The clothing so perfectly put together. I was shocked at how truley beautiful they were. You included a darling pair of tights that I was in search of for the one doll I named Opal. But then there was also a delightful little soap to wash their hair down the road, and….then! GASP!! A coveted unicorn frock! I actually had to go sit down. I held that little unicorn dress in my hands for about ten minutes just dizzy with delight. I have seen Bamboletta lovers asking about that dress on your facebook site. Your generosity is so very appreciated and shows your love towards people. It is not a marketing trick, you are the real deal. You didn’t have to do that, or put the little soap or tights in or give people credits on their combined shipping or let people make name and hair changes or add freckles on. But you do. Even though it is a huge time gobbler for you, you do it. Because you really care and have a passion for what you do. You bring happiness and magic to people big and small. You bring something real and organic and lovely to this world…I cringe at all those plastic junk things that go straight to landfill. You make heirloom dolls, and comfort companions, a gift to be treasured and handed down. I cannot speak to your “why” but I sure know why I chose to buy your Bamboletta Dolls. Because we all need less junk in our lives and more meaningful beauty. I sure hope you continue to live a good life for yourself and for those who love you. Whatever path you choose just know you cannot make everyone happy, and that is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to follow your heart for it will never lead you astray. Thank you for your kindness and generosity and for sharing your gift of doll making with us. Many blessings to you and your family during this transitioning time. Out of total darkness and hard closed-in walls does the most beautiful butterfly emerge! Sincerely Trisha : )

Sharyl Henry - April 7, 2015 - 12:27 am

Christina, Thank you for sharing your heart and journey. As you already know, there are many of us who love you and love the enchanted entity of Bamboletta which you have envisioned and brought to life and love the precious dolls. There are so many different levels and aspects of what you are doing that are beautiful, magical, soulful, heartful and very much needed in these strange times in which we are living. I wish I could honestly find the right words that would express what I am trying to say, but they are eluding me. The beautiful business model that you are continuously creating and the beautiful and unique dolls that are so very special that they practically leap from their sending boxes and into our arms already filled to the brim with personality, love, adventure and possibilities, are very much needed in this rough world. (I realize that I basically just repeated myself using different words and an English teacher would fail me here, but I guess I just needed to say it all twice). Just sending love, prayers and best wishes as your journey continues. Smiles and Hugs, Sharyl

Ilene Chalmers - April 7, 2015 - 4:31 am

Beautifully put Christina. Definitely words to live by. Love and Hugs from David and Me.

Nicole D - April 7, 2015 - 7:18 am

So right on

Facebook sharing is caring!

Thank you

I wanted to say thanks for all your well wishes as I embark on the next step in my journey. Reading all your comments, texts and emails has made me feel unstoppable. I really can feel all of your support, love and well wishes – it makes me know I can do this and it’s going to be freaking amazing.

You gals, what can I say? So much love for you all. Really. What we do here is so different then something like just selling shirt or whatever. It feels unique. There is a love and a bit of magic that connects us through the dolls – I really believe it. I don’t know if it’s because of how long the doll takes to make or the natural materials absorb something special, but there is something pretty cool about the ‘life’ of a handmade doll. Maybe, you think I’m crazy. Well, as Jimi Hendrix said in one of my most favorite quotes ever ..

The past few weeks felt like a choice to me. Either I go down a vortex of self pity and shutting down or I go this way. I have to admit, that vortex of self pity can feel pretty good sometimes – like an itch you know you shouldn’t scratch. Especially when you are tired and stressed. I’m so thankful to have the support around me to be able to zoom out and see opportunity and wonderful surprises in what looks like a catastrophe. You gals out there are a HUGE part of why I’m able to see things the way I do and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I’m full o quotes lately and this one really fits the bill tonight …

xo,
Christina

ILENE CHALMERS - March 23, 2015 - 6:53 am

Absolutely love the Hendrix quote. Definitely words to live by. The Cherokee legend story is spot on. :)

Judy Tucker - March 23, 2015 - 10:19 am

So glad you didn’t let the vortex suck you in, Christina! Your offering fewer Bamboletta dolls is much better than not having any new friends available for adoption. So glad your doll creating staff still have jobs and that you and your family get to enjoy being together in the big city! Great choices! : )

carla - March 25, 2015 - 7:37 pm

Christina, I have not been a part of your world for very long, but reading all of your sites and looking at all the photos and seeing the smiles on all the faces of each and every person that you deal with proves beyond a doubt what a wonderful person you are. I can not imagine how hard this decision was for you but I am so glad that you have the support you need for making it and making it work afterwards. And if you ever decide that you wanna keep moving south then come on down to my area in WV and we could get together another sewing family of ‘sewing mama’s” But while you are still up north, I wish you all of the good luck and best wishes possible. I love this picture of you, you kinda look like your Bamboletta’s, don’t ya think? Sweet smile, bright eyes yep i think so…lol. sending good thoughts, carla

Facebook sharing is caring!
R e c e n t   p o s t s
A r c h i v e s