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Doll Types

With the introduction of our newest style dolls, the Cuddle Doll and our Sitting Friend, we’ve been getting a lot of questions in regards to what the differences between the dolls are. So, I thought it would be good to do a blog post explaining the difference between the 4 styles.

The Little Buddy

These sweet dolls stand about 10 inches tall. We make them with cotton ‘skin’ and stuff them with wool from Western Canada. Their hair is made of natural materials such as wool, alpaca, mohair. This is a traditional Waldorf style doll with the body shape – arms outstretched for lots of hugs. This doll seems to be good for little ones, ages 1.5 – 2 ish, or for kids that love little things! These dolls take us about 6 hours to do from start to finish. They come with a simple outfit and underpants but no shoes. They cost $130.

The Classic Doll

This was the first style of doll I made over 10 years ago! This body type is based on traditional German dollmaking patterns (which is what the Waldorf Dolls are based on). The body is sewn with cotton for it’s ‘skin’ (which comes in all the way from the Netherlands – specially milled for dollmaking) and then the doll is stuffed with wool. It’s luscious hair is made with wool, mohair and alpaca yarns and can be styled in many different ways (here’s our YouTube channel for hair styling ideas) . She stands 15 inches tall and is good for 3 and up but this age range is debatable. Some wee kids LOVE the big dolls, the heft of it can be very comforting. These dolls take us about 10 – 12 hours to make. They come with underpants, a super cute outfit and shoes.  They cost $235 – $245 (depending on extra’s in hair or outfit)

Sitting Friends

This doll was created for children (and their moms) that wanted a softer, more bendable doll. They measure 15″ tall (and fit the Classic Doll clothing). We developed this pattern to mimic the traditional doll with it’s rounded feet and outstretched arms but with movable limbs, it’s perfect for tea parties. This doll would be good for ages 3 and up, but, again, it’s a personal preference for the child. Like the other dolls, the skin is made with that fantastic cotton ‘skin’ and stuffed with wool. Did you know that wool is absolutely amazing for children? It’s naturally antibacterial, warms to the touch and absorbs scent so the doll smells like ‘home’.  These dolls take us between 10 – 12 hours to create. They come with underpants, a super cute outfit and shoes. They cost $240 – $250 depending on the outfit and hair.

Cuddle Doll

This doll was inspired by our seamstress Nicki’s childhood doll Pippi. We loved Pippi because of her size and her long-ish floppy legs. So, we made a Bamboletta version.  She’s a bit like a small version of our Sitting Doll but there are some differences. She stands 13″ tall, is ‘thinner’ then our regular dolls and has longer legs (with FEET! I know this will delight many of our customers!). She is made with the same materials as all the other dolls. I think ages 2 and up would be good ,but, again, totally subjective. This doll takes about 7 – 8 hours to make. She comes with an outfit (2 piece), underpants and crocheted shoes. They cost $155.

One thing I do recommend for people with small children is that they tie the long hair back or braid it until the child is ready to play ‘hairdresser’. It’s made with natural materials and some shedding is to be expected but this will stop as the yarns age a bit and will ‘felt up’ a little. It’s kind of like natural hair when it’s freshly washed and is all fluffy, it takes a bit of time for your hair to calm down. Natural dolls have a feel of their own and will age with your child and hopefully will be passed along to their child! I feel VERY strongly about using natural materials hence the price point (as well as the labour put in between all of us sewing mama’s!). If you are interested in learning more about the philosophy and use of natural materials, I wrote a blog post here about it.

Couldn’t resist showing you an undies shot!
Thank you all so much!
Christina

Heather - June 5, 2013 - 5:04 pm

Feet!!!! I can not wait to check them out!!!

Lisa - June 5, 2013 - 5:19 pm

so excited – I love the cuddle dolls – my g’baby will be getting one for sure 🙂

Cassandra - June 5, 2013 - 5:39 pm

Delightful to see and read the differences!

Aubrey - June 5, 2013 - 6:33 pm

Please do not stop making the babies, they are really great!

Carolyn - June 5, 2013 - 7:03 pm

All perfect! Classic is still my fave <3

chreyl - June 6, 2013 - 4:22 am

Love them all….squishing them is the best part. You forgot to mention that. 🙂

Coco - January 3, 2014 - 4:27 pm

Hi! First of all, I LOVE these dolls, they are SO cute, and I am so glad to have accidentally stumbled across them. Although I do not have children yet (hopefully soon!), I have an idea in mind of which “look” I’d like to find and adopt for the future when I have children (or for myself if that day never comes!). I did read the blog, but just to clarify as I am still confused: the classic doll and the sitting doll are essentially the same, however the sitting dolls are poseable or jointed in places, while the classic dolls have a soft body that always retains the same shape? Is this correct? And sitting dolls do not always “sit,” they can just be positioned this way? I included my email above, if you could respond to my email as well as to my post I would greatly appreciate it as I am not sure I would be able to find this specific blog post again. Also, can the dolls be shipped abroad to Europe at an additional fee, as I may be moving to Italy? Thanks so much, and what a WONDERFUL product! Cannot wait to begin adopting a pair. 🙂

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The Heart

I’ve had such a huge influx of new people visiting our site, either from Facebook or from seeing us at the various market’s I’ve been attending. I always get asked why I started making the dolls from interested people. I go on about this in length on this blog post about the history of Bamboletta but tonight I felt it important to write about the heart ,or the spark, of what got me excited about making these dolls.

To make a long story short, I was inspired by reading a book on Waldorf education  and specifically in regards to the dolls. There were 2 basic tenants to this style of doll making, which is based on German doll making techniques. The first is that they are made with all natural materials. Because a child’s ‘energy’ is much more sensitive using natural materials is so that everything ‘flows’. There’s also a kind of realness that using natural materials gives to the doll, the weight and the feel that wool gives the doll (which my dolls are stuffed with) is very different from a polyfill doll.  Another cool thing about wool is that it’s naturally antibacterial and is sort of a scent ‘sponge’, which is such a comfort for children when their doll smells of home. It also warms to the touch. I *heart* wool, but that will be my next blog post. The second thing is that the dolls have neutral facial expressions. Children often work out problems or figure life situations out by mimicking us and/or the situation. Having a doll that can be happy, sad, or somewhere in between is a healthy invitation to open ended play.

The other thing that’s come along for me, but is not part of the whole Waldorf philosophy, is body image and keeping children ,well, children. I feel a bit sick when I go into a toy store and look at girls dolls. Why are we pushing them into adulthood? It’s crazy what’s out there. My dolls look like kids, their bodies are round and unformed and their clothing is meant for kids. The older I get the more I feel very passionate about protecting children and childhood. It’s words like these below that make my heart sing ..

PS I forgot to mention that the thing that makes me most happy is that the girls are so into their dolls and everything Bamboletta (we’ve watched every Bambo video on youtube) great job BTW,  A lot of their classmates are 10 going on 18 and Steve & I want our kids to enjoy their childhoods &  be kids as long as they can.

With their dolls they do, I love how they get so excited when they are playing.  They are now talking about making a short video in our back forest with Sammy & Bella I love this!

That’s why I cant thank you enough for making these dolls,  it has really extended my girls childhoods & that’s why Layne has to have her own <3

Sorry for being  mushy… 

Mush away ,my friend … mush away! I love you ladies so much! Thank you all for amazing support all these years!

xo
Christina

Rhonda Schuette - June 2, 2013 - 1:09 am

Love your passion, story, and work you guys do! It shows up in your work every week! The attention to details is remarkable! Love your story and who you guys are as a team together! Great work!!!

cheryl - June 2, 2013 - 5:48 am

Feeling the love…My daughter still loves the Bambolettas and I can’t thank you enough for keeping her my little girl a bit longer.
We still pick out our favorites each up load. And my son still has his tucked in bed each night. Although the room for my children has grown less and less, they look so cute snuggled next to them. Thank you Christina and team Bambo!

kate - June 2, 2013 - 8:40 am

Oh C, I hope you know the real heart and magic of bamboletta doesn’t come from philosophy or materials (though both these things play a vital role)…It comes from YOUR heart. Your heart as you have so thoughtfully, intentionally managed your business. Your heart as you smile upon each part of the process. Your heart as you LOVE each doll, knowing in turn you are sending a little extra love+light into this world, into a child’s life. What a gift that is… I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since Mae came into Lizzie’s life– she still takes her everywhere. Still cries into her hair when she’s said and makes up magical adventures with her on a daily basis. It’s been so fun to watch her go from just a snuggle companion to being able to dress her, act out all sorts of play with her, tell secrets to her. She is truly growing up alongside “Bee Mae”…

And yet, maybe one of those most moving Bambo experiences for us still is with Max and his baby, Liam (which were were able to buy in a blog drawing, remember??) Although Liam mostly hangs with Elizabeth these days, he was the perfect friend for Max when he needed someone to “vent” feelings to…We called him a gift from the “feelings fairy”– and Max depended on Liam to sort through his so often too-big-for-his-body emotional swings. Even now, I watch Max sometimes go grab Liam and sneak up to his room, or use him as a “pillow” when reading on the back porch. There’s so much HEART in what you do, but also, in what you open up inside our children. Bamboletta will always be a name my children associate with their childhoods. That’s pretty special. xo

Kimberly - June 2, 2013 - 8:46 am

Thank you for sharing this! I feel like I could write an essay on why we love your dolls so much. Recently my 5 yr. old daughter asked me to read her the tag attached to the Smoking Lilly dress we ordered. It talked about how you make the dolls and she said, “Well, we need to save this so when I grow up we can make these dolls together.” That night she fell asleep still holding the tag.

Kat Thornton - June 2, 2013 - 3:06 pm

We pulled our daughter out of a very fast paced public school where she was being bullied and receiving literally no support from the classroom teacher or school staff. The kids in her class (KINDERGARTEN) were frighteningly violent and oversexualized for five year olds, and she started having night terrors. I got her out of there as soon as she told me what was going on, and because of Waldorf’s age limits, she began her second year of Kindergarten the following fall. The school and the Waldorf philosophy has been a lifesaver for our family. In a world of pushing children into adulthood far too early, we had found an oasis where breathing and expanding at a natural pace was the norm, not frowned upon.

The Waldorf style doll has become an embodiment to me of the gentle philosophies of Waldorf education: the soft facial expressions, warm touch, undeveloped bodies, natural materials. They truly DO protect childhood in a subtle way. Children aren’t getting a subconscious idea of what they “should” look like or be when they hold a Bamboletta.

I’m truly grateful to you ladies for what you do and the kindness and generosity you display. <3 <3

P.S. We have a few Waldorf style dollies, but my Bambolettas are my personal favorites! 😉

Doll Types » Bamboletta Blog - June 5, 2013 - 5:02 pm

[…] If you are interested in learning more about the philosophy and use of natural materials, I wrote a blog post here about […]

Kathy - March 13, 2015 - 5:00 am

I’m just a simple woman who loves your adorable dolls. I have no website, nor the talent to sustain one, as you do. But you have no idea how much pleasure you bring to your followers, especially when we have saved enough money to purchase a doll of our own.
Regards,
Kathy

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Customs …

 

Some customs dolls we made back in 2006 came back for a visit on a recent vending stint on Granville Island.

Customs have been something we’ve been going back and forth on for YEARS! When I started making dolls 10 years ago customs were a great source of joy for me. I loved talking to the customer and then creating a special doll especially for their child. When I was at Granville Island a few months ago, Pammy Sue brought in her twin girls with twin custom dolls I made for them back in 2006. My heart just filled with joy – so sweet! Well, as the business grew I took customs in bulk form – so 100 orders at a time and done within 2 months – it was INTENSE and I really missed that one on one that came with doing them the ‘old’ way but with the incredible demand at the time, this seemed to be the only way to do it. The way I am I would stress over details to make sure the doll was just right – which is fine if you are dealing with a few, but 100 at once was just too much for me.  So, to keep the joy in my dollmaking and not feel any pressure, I made the decision a few years ago to not do any custom dolls and solely focus on our Ready to Go dolls which we could create as we like.

About a week ago I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany with my business. It can be whatever I want. Sounds weird, I know, but for the past few years I’ve felt this intense pressure to create more dolls yet still keep the magic and love intact. So, decisions like to not do customs where made to keep the ‘magic’ alive. I felt this pressure from the super intense fast uploads, from the numerous emails of people so desperate to get a doll, all the dolls being bought and then resold for profit – lately all that seems to have subsided and this sense of ease has come. So, I’m cutting back the amount of dolls we are making  so that we can work at a thoughtful and slower pace without any pressure of ‘more’. My markets that I’m doing are going incredibly well and connecting me with children again and the magic of a child/doll relationship. So, this brings me to custom dolls …

I want to try doing them again. I personally don’t have the time for the emailing back and forth like I used to (all those faces to sew on!)  BUT Brooke, dear Brooke, who has been doing our customer service and upload listings for a long time now, does have the time. I also trust Brooke explicitly as she is organized and knows the ins and outs of doll specifics like hair colors,  eye colors, etc.  So, Brooke will act as a go between myself and Brandi handling the emailing portion of the custom dolls (and there is quite a bit). I’m going to try 3 a week and they will be put on the site as listings during an upload. Three a week seems managable 🙂 We will sort of take it as it comes, you know?

So, tomorrow, 3 listings (customs can be either a 15″ or a Sitting Doll), priced at $275. They cost a bit more then the normal dolls on the site because of all the time with organizing and emailing and stuff like that. I’m attaching Brooke’s guidelines for the custom dolls – you can peruse it if you are interested in getting one. Let’s see how this goes 🙂

xoxo
Christina

Custom Doll(1) Upload Specs!

 

Angie S - May 30, 2013 - 4:38 pm

So excited for you guys and the next chapter! xo

sharon - May 30, 2013 - 4:40 pm

It appears the document is still in ‘edit’ mode.

Amanda G - May 30, 2013 - 4:42 pm

Hope you do LB customs too. My 3 year old prefers small dolls right now 🙂

Celeste JW - May 30, 2013 - 5:06 pm

Super exciting news!!!

April Martin - May 30, 2013 - 5:08 pm

OH My Goodness I could not be more excited!! Hope I can snag a custom soon 🙂 thank u so much for bringing them back!!!

Laurie - May 30, 2013 - 5:11 pm

Wow! All I can say is… Wow!!! I think there is some juju goin’ on over there because just last week I was lovingly admiring the RTG dolls and had a crazy thought, “I’d love to order another custom, alas…” And don’t get me wrong! The RTGs were FAB, as always. And don’t misunderstand me for greedy… I feel beyond honored to have a beautiful custom– Parker says “Hi!” But there is something wonderfully “special” about connecting to the tradition of making your dream doll. Thanks for taking on the project, C and Brandi and all you beautiful doll creators.

Laurie - May 30, 2013 - 5:14 pm

Oh excuse me, my attempt to type Brooke resulted in typing Brandi, lets just call that a momentary lapse in Dollie heart palpitations.

Karen W. - May 30, 2013 - 5:22 pm

Very exciting! We <3 our little custom Kaylee. While the doll is amazing, i really love her because my daughter helped pick out her characteristics and your mamas brought her to life. Teaching her the value of handmade with a toy she treasures is priceless.

Love your epiphany too — and watching your business evolve. (Let me know if you ever retire your sandy, curly bobbed model. She's perfect) xoxo!

pammysue - May 30, 2013 - 5:30 pm

Yay!!!!!!!!! Excuse me, my heart is full of love right now! ❤

Katherine - May 30, 2013 - 5:58 pm

Very exciting! I am so happy to hear you are bringing customs back!!! I am holding out for a Cuddle doll 😉

Cassandra - May 30, 2013 - 8:49 pm

How exciting!
I am excited on many levels and I am hoping I will be able to see custom dolls when they are done! Just too cool and please share pictures! It will be so lovely for all involved and yippee for the beauty that will be created for the kiddos and the young at heart!
Always love the photos that are shared!

cheryl - May 31, 2013 - 6:16 am

Our first Bamboletta was a custom and she is still my daughters all time favorite because she looks just like her, even now. I know lots of children will be very happy! 🙂

Aubrey Wyszynski - June 1, 2013 - 6:12 pm

SO EXCITING! Don’t even know how i’d begin to choose, the possibilities are endless!! <3

t shirt factory - October 18, 2013 - 12:12 am

My friend smiled and told me to look into this blog post and i noticed it relatively impressive. I will bookmark it for a future needed along with i might tell a friends to examine this blog post. Thanks plenty for writing.

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Exciting News ….

It feels like sometime I just can’t stay still. I don’t mean to always be changing and moving and such but one of the greatest lesson’s I’ve learned is to really just ‘go with the flow’, as cheesy as that may sound. Opportunities arise like kismet when it comes to Bamboletta – it’s pretty amazing. This latest upcoming change is a classic example of how things roll here …
A few weeks ago, Jennie, our sweet Jennie, who ran the Cowichan Bay shop, told me she was leaving to work for her friend down in Victoria. Of course I was happy for her and this huge life change but really unsure of our shop. You see, I pretty much opened Cowichan Bay because of Jennie – this gal has amazing energy that is perfect for a retail sort of gig. She immediately makes people feel comfy and you just fall in love with her. Well, without Jennie things just don’t feel the same with the shop.

A few days ago I posted a picture up on my Instagram on how I was toying with the idea of closing the shop and then doing a weekly market at Bastion Square in Victoria, my Granville Island stints each month and maybe doing big shows across North America.  A great thread started with people expressing sadness on the possibility of the store closing, excitement over the idea of shows and general great chat. Then Jessica P piped in wondering why we didn’t put a shop in our studio. We had a little ‘sort of’  shop put in the corner of the studio but it was never it’s own ‘thing’. Jessica’s comment did get us thinking  about where we could locate the shop within our studio that would be separate yet still a part of everything. I toyed around with the idea of moving our office into another side but where the office is  located in our building just wouldn’t quite work..

This is the entrance to our shop! Can’t you just see the sweet little Bamboletta sign hanging over the door? The flower baskets? And that little garden at the front is a teapot garden! So cute!

Oh man, this story is getting long .. So, very recently the space beside us with a retail area came up for rent. Many of you long time customers know this space because it’s where I used to take my photos, it has the red window frames. I have been coveting this space for years – YEARS – but when we expanded it wasn’t available . We ended up going the other way in the building and into the courtyard. Brooke nonchalantly brought up the idea of moving into that space and closing off the office and shifting things over. I hadn’t even put that in my mind because the thought of taking walls down and putting walls up is exhausting, lol! Well, yesterday I called Alice the landlady, had a chat and now the space is ours! YAY!!

Windows and cuteness abound! John starts painting this week! Can’t wait to get some new chandeliers!

Soooo – new retail space will open up at Whippletree Junction as of June 3rd! You can come in and browse dolls, doll clothes, some fabrics and whatever we will have in there. THEN you can come in the back and stop in so we can say hello! Jennie would always have to send people up to see up from the shop, but now you can just pop your head in! Yay! We will be having a Grand Opening Celebration sometime in mid June, I’ll be sure to announce details on here and FB! Our last day in Cowichan Bay will be May 19th and I will still continue to do the Granville Island Market, Kits Farmer’s Market and Brittany will be at Bastion Square each Sunday starting in June (all our dates will be on the calendar). For the winter I will be applying to a few bigger shows in Vancouver and Victoria – not sure what yet as applications haven’t come out yet. It’s going to be a busy year!

 

Cassandra - May 8, 2013 - 10:39 am

That is most wonderful news to read! I am so glad you can still have a shop and now it is in which I think is the perfect place.
Been awhile but I remember how sweet and to my kids, how magical the front of that place is. 😀 Love the décor and love that it all ties together perfectly!

jennJK - May 8, 2013 - 12:30 pm

How exciting! I can’t wait to “see” the new space. I hope to visit someday, I’m working on that…. 😀

maria - May 8, 2013 - 2:20 pm

The perfect location! Can’t wait.

Barbara H. - May 8, 2013 - 2:32 pm

I’m working on it too with Jenn, we will all be up for a visit someday when the stars align! I am so excited for this new chapter in your life, what a dream to have everything so close together… everything happens for a reason and I am just thrilled for you girls! Can’t wait to see the “after” pics when you guys sprinkle your magic charm on everything! <3

Kat Thornton - May 8, 2013 - 2:38 pm

This is so exciting! I may have to make a pilgrimage with my daughter this summer or early fall… It’s so great your studio and shop will be right together!

Adrienne - May 8, 2013 - 9:37 pm

So thrilled you are opening your shop at Whipple Tree!! Just always seemed like the most sensible thing to do. Can’t wait to see you at bastion square!!

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Sitting Doll Progression …

We’ve been working away at these new sitting style dolls, that I think I’ll call Sitting Dolls because we are calling them that around the shop. It’s been about 5 weeks that Sam and I have been working on patterns and trying different things. We really want to get the proportion right and then worked in the feedback we got from our fabulous testers! Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to show the progression. I’ll have a picture of the latest draft up tomorrow on our Facebook page (we are currently sewing the head on and the face). Fun times, I LOVE doing this sort of thing!

These dolls should be showing up on the site in a few weeks and as far as pricing (we’ve had a few questions about this) they will be the same if not slightly lower priced then our traditional 15″ doll. We have to figure out the timing on the sewing part of it ..

xo
Christina

Cassandra - April 4, 2013 - 7:34 pm

LOVE! LOVE! Just love seeing this collage of what goes on and how this new body style of doll is put together.
Very exciting and super excited to see pictures of the cuties when they make their way into homes all over the world.
So wonderful how the process is shared and makes you feel like you are a part of it even though I am just getting to watch.
xo

Studio Style » Bamboletta Blog - April 5, 2013 - 11:02 am

[…] There’s been many a round table discussion about our soon-to-be launched new ‘Sitting Dolls‘!! Lots of perfecting and testing and stuffing and unstuffing. The end result dolls are […]

cheryl - April 8, 2013 - 1:27 pm

Love seeing the creative process at work and I imagine they are just as squishable….right?

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