Waldorf style Marie Antoinette Doll

needle felting
Marie Antoinette doll

 After we returned home from Paris, all my inspiration I had gathered there vanished. I guess living in a small apartment with my three, shreiking kids, husband and my mother-in-law for two weeks will zap the creativity from even the most creative soul! (oh, I’m just kidding –wink-or am I?)

I saw three movies on vacation:

  • Super 8 (very cute)
  • Brides’ Maids (gross, but very funny)
  • Bad Teacher (o.k.) 

I read 4 books on my i-phone (I think reading books on my i-phone is WONDERFUL):

  • Water for Elephants
  • Before I Go to Sleep
  • A Stolen Life
  • A Big, Little Life

Apparently, reading a lot and seeing movies is also a recipe for losing your creative spark; I rarely do either of these things, except on vacation. Before we went on our trip, I was full of creativity, partly because my friend/muse Tiffany came to visit me from New York and we worked on lots of projects together. She’s always full of good ideas and enthusiasm, which helps me a lot! I need a full-time muse.

Rivoli mosaic
Art Deco building decoration on Rue Rivoli

The week since I’ve been back have been spent cleaning, doing laundry and fretting about how I would find a renewed, creative spark.  Trying to revive my Joie d’Art, I tried eating copious amounts of cheese, eating a ham sandwich on a bagette, drinking Champagne instead of wine and using all the French words that I know-all to no avail. The one thing that I can usually find the patience and enthusiasm to create is a doll, so before I really get down to business, I made a Waldorf-style Marie Antoinette doll, in honor of our trip to France.

wool, cotton
Marie Antoinette, cotton face, wool hair, taffeta and tulle dress

 I’ve had a fascination with Marie Antoinette’s style and look for a long time. I’ve made many costumes and dolls based on this 18th century French queen. She is needle felted, but because she is so small (8″ tall), it was hard to put the detail that I wanted into her face, at least in a reasonable amount of time, so I covered her wool face with cotton tricot and embroidered her facial features. The hair is made from curly, silver/white wool. The rest of Marie is made of wool wrapped/needle felted around  a pipe cleaner armiture. I sewed her dress from taffeta, tulle and lace. I’ll soon be putting a kit for sale and posting a tutorial on how to make a smaller (5.5″ tall), slightly simpler version of pipe cleaner dolls and clothes, so stay tuned.

My other Marie Antoinette inspired projects:

Marie Antoinette
My Marie Antoinette puppet, child's costume and wigMy felt Marie Antoinette wig
costume
Marie Antoinette, child's costume in my store

The Waldorf-style pipe cleaner dolls are easy and fast to make plus they can be made to be more attractive to older children (8-12 years old), less “babyish” than the stout Waldorf dolls.

paris
Rue Rivoli Art Deco building decoration

Needle Felted World Map Playscape

world map playscape

Playscapes are toys meant to give the fertile minds of children a place to romp. I thought maybe a playscape could also be a means of learning and a way to make learning more fun. How many times have you copied the map, whited out the names of the countries and oceans and given it back to you child to fill in? My playscape has no names so your child can learn to recognize the shapes of the continents, oceans and seas.

playscape figures: ship, tree, mountain, dune, fish, volcano

I figure you can make a game out of the playscape, play figures and suggested areas for discovery. With the help of an adult or older sibling, two or more can play the game. One player should ask where the Sahara desert is (for example), the other players will place their dune on the area they believe the famous desert to be. If you’re right, you get a point, and the player with the most points at the end of the game wins. The adult or older sibling can help the other players research certain areas of interest on the Internet or on an atlas, further explaining the list of places suggested for discovery. I needle felted the little play figures to help mark the special areas like deserts, dunes, volcanoes, forests, oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, plains, islands and mountains. I made a list of five of the most well known in each category, as a guide for discovery. The little ship sails the world, discovering interesting places.

world map playscape and play figures to make world exploration fun

I haven’t studied geography in years and I really enjoyed the research I did for the location card. Not too long ago, I was in the United States shopping for groceries. I struck up a conversation with the check out clerk and bag boy. They asked me where I lived, I told them Israel. They replied “Israel!, isn’t that like another country?” Let me tell you, there is a need for a game like this!

needle felted world map

I think this could be good cocktail party game for adults too, let’s call it World Traveler. If you find the suggested location, you get to do a shot and the winner is the one who can find their way home at the end of the game! 

The map comes rolled with the playing pieces inside