with light and love

Posts tagged ‘dolls’

Spring 2013

The weeks leading up to the end of school were a fast ride of non-stop events!


I couldn’t resist posing the sword fighting photo in view of one of the beautiful buildings at Oglethorpe U.  Shakespeare’s birthday was a wonderful event.

CPA museum

While everything is fun when you are wearing your Animal t-shirt, it is especially great when you go on a Life and Legacy of Jim Henson tour at the Center for Puppetry Arts.


Since Grade 3 played their recorders at the school May Fair, it made sense to have a few flower fairies playing recorders on our Nature Table.

ivie at bakesale

Our local paper education writer did a story on how busy the month of May can be for school kids.  With a bake sale, a concert and recitals, we really were on-the-go for May.  whew!


We did get the wonderful opportunity to watch a pair of wrens build a nest in an empty bee hive.  The photo above with the baby birds and the one below with the almost empty nest were taken less than 10 days apart.

lap blankets

We even had a Craft Hope deadline in May.  It took many hands to make these lap blankets for Project 21.

Now we are in our first week out of school.  With camps, classes, fun library events and a short trip, it looks to be a great summer!

© rw 2013

our holiday season 2012

St. Nicholas left a little lavender doll and a clementine.


Santa’s helpers busy sewing ornaments.  I found a great santa pattern at revoluzzza


My angel in the grade 3 class play at the Waldorf School of Atlanta.

grade 3 class play

 The sun greeted us as we celebrated the winter Solstice. 

2012 winter solstice morning

We so appreciated all the hard work that went into making our nativity characters last year. 


A cold and windy day on Arabia Mountain.


 The wise men followed a star, we followed a line of cars to the ABG Holiday Lights. 

ivie fred and rhonda at abg lights jan 2 2013

And as soon as school started back, I finished my contribution to the Craft Hope Project 19. 

craft hope 19

I had initially thought of writing this post about all the things we missed having the flu/cough over the holidays, but after looking through these photos, I realize that we indeed had a full holiday season!  I’m grateful! 

©rw 2013

Martinmas preparations at Grade 3 Waldorf

To say I’m behind on posting is such an understatement!  We have had an unwelcome cold/flu/lingering cough visitor in our home for the past 2 months.  All 3 of us have had it.  So please bear with me as I try to catch up. 

Oh how lovely is the evening!   

I had been using Ivie’s violin lesson as a 30 minute knitting of finger puppets.  So when I saw the little lantern children from the Lothians on pinterest, I thought I could adapt my finger puppet to the table doll. 

I walk about with my Lantern

I made one for the Grade 3 class, one for a neighbor and one for us to keep.  I used recycled sweater felt for the capes and it seemed to work fine. 

Glimmer lantern Glimmer! 

I’ve been collecting lantern ideas for months and finally settled on a style that somewhat resembles the tin lantern in Farmer Boy.   Our teacher agreed and so I set about collecting 25 of the bit #10 cans.  Thanks Ava

High and blue the sky

The children drew designs on their cans and then I filled the cans with water and froze them.  The ice provides support and makes it easier and safer to nail holes. 

Rise up oh flame!

It took 2 sessions to get all the lanterns hammered — and the second session was a cold, rainy morning.  But the children persevered and Grade 3 proudly carried their sturdy lanterns through the woods on our Lantern Walk. 

Dona Nobis Pacem

A girl, a doll and their lanterns!   We couldn’t resist making a lantern for the doll as well, but she uses a “pretend” votive candle. 


© rw 2012

Pine Cone and Pepper Pot puppet patterns

Deep in the forest on Farmer John’s farm live two gnomes.  They have red caps with a sparkle on top, mossy green jackets, mossy green pants, and red boots with turned-up toes.  They also have beards, of course.  One is called Pepper Pot because he likes pepper.  He loves pepper!  . . . The other gnome is called Pine Cone.  He got stuck inside a pine cone when he was young.  . . .  That’s how he got his name. 

Eggs for the Hunting by Reg Down

The Pine Cone/Pepper Pot color page is at  Gnome Coloring Page

When Margaret and I were planning this puppet swap, I struggled over my story choice for the marionettes because I hated leaving out Pine Cone and Pepper Pot.  Well this post is my inclusion solution!  It also gives a way for kids to participate in making puppets for your plays at home.   Now your Tiptoes and Jeremy Mouse marionettes can have their 2 gnome friends. 

The Gnome Coloring page could be printed on card stock for a simple stick puppet or for shadow puppet plays.  If you ( or your kids) are feeling a bit more ambitious, then you can make a paper puppet with a little more wiggle. 

Gnome Stick Puppet

supplies & tools:
Gnome Puppet Pattern
construction paper or cardstock
stick glue
chopsticks (thank you, Doc Chey’s!)
small brads (2 per puppet)
small hole punch (the hole needs to match the size of your brad anchors.  if you don’t have a small hole punch you can make do with a pin or exacto knife point – adult use only)
roving- just a small bit for the beards, or you can always use colored paper

These puppets can be made from construction paper.  If you choose this method, then use the Gnome Puppet Pattern as an actual pattern that you cut out and use to trace the pieces onto your various colors of construction paper.   

They can be made on cardstock and colored with crayons.  If you choose this method, then print and color the Gnome Puppet Pattern before you cut it out.  We glued the hat on the head, the neck to the jacket, the hands to the sleeves and the boots to the pants.  It is a bit easier if you glue the beard on the chin after you have attached the arms & legs with the brads.  We chose to use our stick glue so we could control the amount (it only takes a little).  You want to make sure you don’t get any glue in your “joints.” 

Two happy stick puppet gnomes ready for adventure! 

Stick puppets made by Ivie Wildman (8yo)

Add chop stick so the puppet is held from above or below.  I was thinking about marionettes when making the puppet with construction paper, so I attached mine to be held from above.  My daughter wanted to hold hers from below and so she taped the chop stick to the back of the head with the handle coming down. 

You can reference the Gnome Coloring Page when you are positioning the arms, hands, legs and boots on the stick puppets. 

The use of the Pine Cone and Pepper Pot images is done with the permission and blessing of Reg Down, the author of the Tiptoes books and more!    (Sir Gillygad is wonderful and waits in my closet for the 9th birthday) 

Remember, our puppet swap sign-ups end July 24th.  All the specifics on joining are waiting for you at this invitation. 

©rw 2012

Tiptoes and Jeremy Mouse marionette puppet tutorials

Tiptoes and Jeremy Mouse marionette puppets by Rhonda Wildman 

Tiptoes marionette – Gathering Supplies:

  •  Wool stuffing – I get mine from West Earl Woolen Mill in Ephrata, Pennsylvania (fair prices and they ship quickly)
  • 1” tubular gauze – I get mine from A Child’s Dream  .
  • 17” x 17” silk handkerchief – I got mine from Dharma Trading  .
  • 100% cotton knit for skin – I used a thrifted t-shirt
  • Yarn for hair – I used some amazing merino dyed in chamomile by  Mama Jude .
  • Tulle or whatever strikes your creative fancy to make wings
  • 2 small dew-drops or stones
  • Embroidery floss
  • Strong thread for doll making and marionette strings
  • Kool Aid- I followed the instructions to get Sky Blue at this tutorial   .

Gathering Tools:

  • Needles – sewing and doll making
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Beeswax crayon & a piece of paper towel to rosy the cheeks

 Make a “Waldorf doll” style head that is 2 ½ inches tall from neckline to top of head.   See The Children’s Year, Toymaking with Children or Kinder Dolls for good instructions.  Also this Living Crafts blog post has some great photos.  For my marionette puppets, I do leave a bit longer of a neck hanging down.  I like having the extra weight below the neck string for balance.    

Cut a small X in the center of your sky blue silk handkerchief.  I have seen instructions that say to cut a circle, but I like the small X better.  I think you waste less of your material.   With a running stitch, make a circle around the X.  The circle needs to be large enough for your doll neck to fit through.   Leave the tails loose till you are sure your head is situated properly. 

From underneath the puppet, you will be able to pull down and straighten the corners of fabric made from cutting the X.   When the corners are pulled down and the silk is oriented correctly with the head, then you can pull the running stitch tight and tie in knots. 

Flip the silk over to see your puppet’s face. 

I was lucky to find these oval shaped dew drops in my daughter’s dew drop basket.  Any small dew drop or even a pea pebble would work to add a little bit of weight to the hands. 

Wrap the dew drop in a little bit of wool, cover with a scrap of your skin fabric and tie. 

Bring the side corners of the silk to the middle and connect them together and to the body with one stitch.  Place your newly made hands in line with the neck/where the silk will fold in half. 

It is possible to stitch around the hands through only the under layer of the silk (be sure to go through the wrist skin fabric too).  This will allow you to attach the hands without any stitches showing. 

Now you can rosy her cheeks and add the hair.  I used a 2 wig approach to her hair.   One gets folded in half at the seam and the other stays open and the seam becomes the middle part in her hair. 

The folded wig goes on first and is set back on her head.  Stitch down on the fold of the yarn.  Then place the open piece on top of the head and stitch down on what would be the part down the middle . 

I like this method because even using this light hair yarn, my eye and mouth ends are completely covered.   She has plenty of hair to frame her face as well as enough to cover the stitches used to attach her wings. 

The wings are made from a few layers of light pink tulle.  I whip stitched around the edge with a light yellow. 

I like a simple stringing for the marionette.  I use one string for both hands and then another for the head.  I go through the head horizontally above the ears. 

Jeremy Mouse marionette puppet tutorial

Gathering Supplies:

  • Wool stuffing – I get mine from West Earl Woolen Mill in Ephrata, Pennsylvania (fair prices and they ship quickly)
  • 1” tubular gauze – I get mine from  A Child’s Dream.
  • 17” x 17” silk handkerchief – I got mine from Dharma Trading .
  • 100% cotton knit for skin – I used a thrifted t-shirt
  • Small piece of brown felt for ears
  • 2 small dew-drops or stones
  • Embroidery floss
  • Strong thread for doll making and marionette strings
  • Kool Aid- I followed the instructions to get Dark Brown at this tutorial.  

Gathering Tools:

  • Needles – sewing and doll making
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors

Using the 1” tubular gauze, I made a mouse-shaped head.  It is about 4” long.  I made the skin to cover from a thrifted t-shirt and sewed up the end in the same way I do the top of a doll head.  I added ears with a small piece of wool felt and eyes, nose and whiskers with embroidery floss. 

Because I am silk-hem challenged, I didn’t even want to cut the handkerchief at all.   I rolled the tiny dew drop in a bit of wool and tied with strong thread to make the hands.  If you don’t have any small dewdrops, then you can use small pea-pebbles.  A little weight in the hands helps in working the hand strings. 

This stitch will be covered, so use whatever scrap of thread you have handy. 

The stitch will connect both side corners of the silk and will go through the center of the silk. 

Fold over and you have a headless Jeremy Mouse.

Sew around the neck.  Making a mouse seemed to call for an oval. 

I use one string for the hands to make presentation a little easier.  For Jeremy Mouse’s head string, running from ear to nose looked better and gave me more options for posing. 

Now it is time for pancakes!

I look forward to seeing many interpretations of the Tiptoes and Jeremy Mouse characters from participants in our puppet swap.  Signups are open till  July 24th. 

©rw 2012

Puppet Swap Invitation

Tiptoes spread her wings and flew lightly into the air.  Turning towards the sun she raised her hands, and said:

Thank you, Sun,

O Being so bright,

For sending love

In rays as light

The Lost Lagoon by Reg Down


Tiptoes marionette puppet by Rhonda Wildman

The first time I saw a marionette puppet show produced at the Waldorf School of Atlanta, I was blown away.   The detail of the faces combined with the flowing silks captured me and brought the story to life in such a special way.    



Dawn Strider marionette puppets by Waldorf School of Atlanta kindergarten faculty 

 Little did I imagine that 7 years later I would be making puppets myself and even producing the school’s 2011 Puppet show – making the puppets and set. 

Child of Faerie Child of Earth marionette puppets by Rhonda Wildman

So when communicating last year about a bird swap, Margaret of We Bloom Here, let it slip that she had been a professional puppeteer, I knew I had found a like-minded partner.  I thought it would be so cool if we co-hosted a swap and I emailed her with the idea.  In our conversations, we realized that while we both loved puppets, we had our favorites.  Margaret is drawn to glove puppets while I find a home in making marionettes.  We decided that our swap would accommodate those folks who want to make either globe puppets or marionette puppets.  We are finally ready to launch our puppet swap. 


Tiptoes marionette puppet by Rhonda Wildman


The projects for this swap are more ambitious than is usual for most craft swaps that I have done before.  Please be sure to read to the end carefully.  The idea is that, at the end of this swap, each participant will have a pair of puppets, ready to go for storytelling and performance. 


Mother Earth and Root Children glove puppets by Margaret Bloom

 There will be two options for this swap — You may sign up to create marionettes (and you will be paired with a swap-mate who wishes to make marionettes) or you may sign up to create glove puppets (and will then be matched with a participant making glove-puppets.) To help you along with the process, Margaret and I will be posting tutorials for creating both marionette-style puppets and glove puppets.  We will also be creating blog posts with additional ideas for stories and puppet-plays you can present with your new set of puppets.   Watch for posts both here at Joy Grows and at We Bloom Here


Tiptoes giggles with Jeremy Mouse by Rhonda Wildman

The marionette theme will be Tiptoes Lightly  & Jeremy Mouse by Reg Down and the glove-puppet theme for this swap is The Story of the Root Children by Sibylle von Olfers.

The swap will be structured as follows:

— Each participant will be matched with one person.

— Each participant will create 2 identical puppets — one to keep and one to send to their swap-mate.

— It will be up to the two swap-mates to decide which person will create two Tiptoes marionettes & which will create two Jeremy Mouse marionettes (and for the glove puppet swap, who will create two Root Children puppets and who will create two Mother Earth puppets.)  This will require good communication between each participant and her swap-mate.

— Because this is a Waldorf-inspired swap, we are asking that, when possible, participants use natural materials: wool, cotton and silk are preferred. Please try to avoid synthetic materials.  Note: Within the tutorial posts over the coming week, we will offer links to online resources where you may purchase supplies – just in case your stash requires bolstering!

— So that your puppets match as a set, we are suggesting that Tiptoes’ head be made about 6 cm tall (2 ½ in tall) and Jeremy Mouse’s head be made 5 cm tall and a 9 cm long (2 in tall and 4  in long).  For the glove puppet swap, please make the heads of the Root Child puppets are 5-6 cm tall (2 in – 2 ½  in tall) and that the heads for the Mother Earth puppets are 6-7.5 cm tall (2 1/2 in – 3 in tall.)

— Please feel free to interpret the characters of Tiptoes Lightly & Jeremy Mouse (and for glove puppets, Mother Earth and the Root Children) as you wish.  Search for inspiration in your heart (and in your fabric stash!) The photos within this invitation and the illustrations from the books Story of the Root Children  and  Tiptoes Lightly are there to spark your imagination; variations and creative interpretations are strongly encouraged!

Root Child glove puppet by Melissa Polk

Time Line:

— Sign-ups for the swap are open starting today, July 9th.

— Sign-ups will officially close on July 24th

— Information regarding swap-matches will be sent out July 25th

— Puppets should be ready to be posted to your swap-mate by August 10th (or as soon, thereafter, as possible.)

— You may want to gather your materials to create your puppets ahead of time so you can be prepared to start making your puppets, however, please wait until you are matched with your swap mate before you start creating.  As mentioned above, you will need to confer with your swap-mate to decide, between the two of you, who will create the Root Child puppets and who will create the Mother Earth puppets (or in the case of marionettes, who will create Tiptoes puppets and who will create Jeremy Mouse puppets.)

Tiptoes marionette puppet by Julie Hunter

To Sign Up — If you are interested in swapping marionettes  please email me at rhonda957 AT bellsouth DOT net or if you are interested in swapping glove-puppets please email Margaret at margaret AT flyingteapot DOT com.  In your email please include the following information: 

— Your name

— Your home mailing address

— Your email address

— A URL for your blog (if you have one)

— Confirmation of your preference to create marionettes or glove puppets

— A short blurb about yourself as an introduction. This blurb will be sent, along with your other information to your swap-mate.  You could share about what draws you to puppet making – marionette or glove.  Sharing a little bit about your experience with either the Tiptoes stories or The Story of the Root Children would be nice.  You also could say something about your family, where you live, your favorite crafts, or you can tell us something else entirely. We just want to get to know you a little bit!

Root Children glove puppets by Margaret Bloom

If you have any questions please feel free to email me or Margaret. We will be happy to answer your questions or provide clarification regarding the guidelines for this swap. 

We are both very excited about this and we hope you will feel inspired, too!

© rw 2012

Math Gnomes made by Grade 2

Our Grade 2 class was fortunate to have an assistant teacher this past year.  When the end of year was approaching, we pondered on a gift to give her that would be reflective of her time with our class.  We also wanted each child to play a role in making the gift. 

Ms Stamps has spent a lot of time this school year working with math, so they thought she might could use her own set of number gnomes in her future teaching endeavors.  The children polished the wooden figures, sewed the hats, a bag and the math function emblems that decorate the back of the bag.  We even had some fun twiddling for the bag handle.

All 22 children had a hand in creating this lovely gift to show our appreciation for the year Ms. Stamps spent with our class.


A catch-up on swap items and Craft Hope goodies

I have quite a few photos to share to catch you all up with swaps & Craft Hope projects I’ve participated in since my September 16th post.  In October, I participated in a speciality swap with a fairy tale theme.  In this swap folks are paired and the items made are bigger and more involved that the smaller multi-person swaps.  We were introduced to the story “Mashenka and the Bear” a few years ago and we love it still.  It has a great rhyme and flow.  I made a Mashenka doll, a wooden bear, mushrooms, strawberries and a lovely brown cake to go on the top of Mashenka in the basket. 

and then I participated in an Advent swap with Bits of Goodness.  I made little treasure boxes with a painted ladybug, shell and a wooden star. 

and then I participated in a Stocking Stuffer swap with Bits of Goodness and made these cute (but really easy) Dala horses.

and then I sent three monkeys to join in Craft Hope’s project 15

and then I sent a few polar bears for a Winter Nature Table swap. 

and then I participated in a 1:1 winter swap through Four Seasons Exchange. 

and then I participated in a Valentine swap with Natural Suburbia.  I used Linda’s wonderful bow & arrow for the Cupid finger puppet. 

and then for the Bits of Goodness Valentine swap I sent 6 of the Valentine Mobile’s from All Year Round.

and then I sent a group of these little Guardians of the Forest finger puppets for a Tree themed Bits of Goodness swap.   Instructions for the knitted finger puppets are found in The Children’s Year

and now, I’m just mailing off some backpacks for Craft Hope’s newest project, the littlest warriors.  I used the backpack tutorial from Mama Urchin


© rw 2012

Epiphany 2012

according to m-w.com . . .


3 a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure  

b : a revealing scene or moment

Well a little grey kitten was our epiphany today.  We have Susan Jeffers’ Nutcracker and Stopping by Woods, so when I saw a copy of Silent Night illustrated by her at my favorite tag sale, I had to pick it up.   Aside from showing a nursing newborn (yay!), Jeffers has added a wonderfully cute kitten to the nativity story.   If you are looking at the book on amazon, you can see the kitten in Mary’s arm on the cover of the paperback edition.  Ivie and I had a great time finding the kitten in each of the nativity scenes.  So of course, we had to add a little kitten to our nativity that you can see in the Epiphany photos I took today. 

This entire journey has been a process in learning . . . making a large quantity of dolls, blogging about it, keeping a photo chronology.  I added one more learning opportunity for myself today by joining vimeo and making a little movie showing our journey with the dolls.  Hope you enjoy! 

Journey to Bethlehem slide show on vimeo, click HERE

© rw 2012

12th Night

Today is the 12th day of Christmas and the Wise Men have traveled far (all around our living room) and are almost to the manger.  They are ready to greet this special child with gifts. 


Tomorrow, I will post a photo chronology of our Journey To Bethlehem, but for today we will still enjoy our 12th Night. 

© rw 2012