Monday, 5 July 2010

A Brazilian dolly and 2 African blocks

After the rampant capitilism of the last few weeks, making things and (attempting) to sell them for my own ends, I thought it was time I did something more altruistic.

So after a Saturday spent working on my Doll Quilt (more on that another day), I dedicated Sunday to some 'cherrity work' (said in Smashy and Nicey voice (something for the UK blogger's there!)).

Shanna at Pink Trees blog from the Doll Quilt swap mentioned Babies for Brazil on one of her DQS9 photos. Kelli from Africankelli is organising this special project to help impoverished childern in Brazil:
"My friend, Jessica, who has done amazing work in Brazil for years, recently brought toys to the children living in impoverished communities. The photos struck me; there were many gorgeous little Brazilian girls and boys carrying around very anglo baby dolls. They were tickled to have their own toy. But it got me thinking.
I want to provide the children Jessica is working with in Brazil with dolls that look like they do. Specifically, these Brazilian babies would provide a bit of handmade love to little girls living in poverty."
You can read more on Kelli's blog. But that was enough for me, I loved the idea of making a doll for a little girl who may not have very much else in her life.
After a spot of googling, I found this fabulous free pattern and tutorial on the Purl Bee site. It was kindly donated by Mimi Kirchner, who obviously specialises in these lovely dolls.
Mimi made her's completely from felt, even the dress, but I was a bit worried the felt dress might not be robust enough so I adapted the pattern slightly to make one out of fabric. I even added a little lace trim from my vintage linen stash. The dress comes on and off for maximum play value!
What I really love about this doll pattern are her very clever jointed legs! Really easy to do with a couple of buttons. And also the hair which was made as a felt 'wig' and then sewn to the head after.
Ooops! I wasn't paying enough attention to the arm pattern and they ended up twice as long as they should be! I had to swiftly operate.
I have to say that making this lovely dolly (let's call her Miranda) was so satisfying! Apart from a couple of the bigger seams she was all hand sewn, which does make it seem more fun to do (or is that just me?). I loved making her and I love her! I think I will have to make one for myself now...
I think I have a lot of pent up girlyness that has been supressed by living with 3 men/boys. I did make my eldest a rag doll for his first birthday in an attempt to avoid gender stereotyping. Needless to say he completely ignored it and as soon as he could use the Duplo constructively he made it into a gun (sigh...).
So I absolutely love the idea that Miranda will be cherished and adored by a little girl far, far away.
Kelli has started a Flickr group for all the dolls that get made. They need to be finished and sent to Jessica (in USA) by September 15th. If anyone fancies having a go, visit Kelli's blog and leave her a message. If you want to read more about the work being done in Brazil, check out Jessica's blog here.
A few weeks back I got an email from Amy, co founder of Global Change, asking for quilt block donations to go towards some quilts, to be auctioned to raise funds for this African Charity:
"Global Change, Inc is a non profit organization that provides safe, clean water and basic sanitation to people living in extreme poverty throughout our world. In one of the villages in the Central African Republic (CAR) we are raising funds for, the ladies have been taught quilting and they are really enjoying it. These ladies have sent our organization 2 beautiful squares and we are hoping to put theses squares together with other squares from around the world to make a beautiful quilt that will be auctioned off and 100% of the proceeds will go to a new well for a village in Central African Republic and a latrine for a school in CAR." 
So last night I got my box of scraps out and made these 2 scrappy, (very) wonky log cabin blocks. There isn't quite as much time to take part in this project, as they need the blocks by the 31st July and again mailed to the States, where a friend of Amy's will have the daunting task of putting all the blocks together! They are wanting 12" or 9 and a half" blocks and they can be of any design. I made mine slightly bigger than 12", as they can always be trimmed down. 
If you would like to contribute or find out more click here

It didn't really take very long to do either of these things but, hopefully, they may make a small difference to a fellow human being.

Don't forget there is still time to enter my 'Etsy' giveaway!


  1. I love the doll and do understand totally where the need for 'girlie' things comes from. I well remember the knitted clown you made for Sarah? Katie - sadly we no longer have the clown, but we do have a photo I could email you to put on your blog. It sounds like you have had a wonderful, creative weekend doing things for fun and, as you say, to make a little bit of difference. So well done you!! x

  2. Jo,
    Wow... two great causes! I was given a handmade doll as a young girl and that doll was very special to me. I am sure your doll will have a special place in the heart of a young girl for years to come.
    Thank you for participating in our Global Quilt Project. We are so excited about the global participation. Just lady in a country with no electricity or running water started this wonderful project that will help her community. Each one of us can make a difference in our world! Thank you Jo for making a difference to the lives of of our global neighbors.
    Amy Allen

  3. What a beautiful doll! Its lovely to think what an impact it will have in a child's life. I've got a link for some more free doll patterns for similar projects in Africa which you might like to see:

  4. That's a lovely thing to do Jo! Love the doll pattern you've used too and you have done a great job of making her.

  5. You are doing wonderful things to make the world a better place. The doll is sure to be loved and the blocks are lovely.

  6. Hi Jo! Miranda is just lovely - she has a very pretty face and dress! Your squares are great too. What satisfying projects those must have been for you! So much better than just giving money and then not really knowing where it is going to help. You are going to make a girl out there very happy!
    SV XX :)

  7. Jo,

    Your blocks have arrived and they are beautiful! I will keep you posted on the final quilt and the projects in CAR.

    Thank you again for your participation.

    Amy Allen

  8. Dear Jo,
    I received Miranda. She is absolutely lovely. I am waiting for some other dolls to arrive and I will post on my blog and show the beautiful Miranda.
    Thank you for your care and beautiful work.