Friday, January 6, 2012

doll exchange

As many of you know the run up to Christmas was pretty busy for me this year. I spent many wonderful hours making custom order dolls for people around the world. However all this doll making meant that I didn't have time to make any gifts for my own children for Christmas. I had really wanted to make Joa some play food to go with the play kitchen and accessories that the boys got for their birthdays last year. But I knew that I would be really pushing to get it made, so I thought that I would look in Etsy to find him least that way it would still be homemade right? I found this wonderful shop and straight away Tori's work appealed to me. (The pictures are courtesy of Tori as I can't get a still photo of them at all, they are so played with :-) I 'liked' her work and went off to think about how we could afford to get a load of her play food. A few days later I had a message from Tori through Etsy thanking me for my interest and saying that she liked my dolls and was hoping to get one for her daughter in the new year. So I proposed a swap, like value for like...and she agreed. I was so delighted. She set to work straight away after helping me to choose the right food for our family. A few weeks later a wee box arrived in the mail with all this wonderful play food. I can't tell you how beautifully it is made, obviously with much love and care. I bought a little wicker shopping basket from the local market to keep it in and Joa was delighted to open it on Christmas Day.

If you are looking for felt play food here is where to go! Oh by the way, Tori is hosting a completely brilliant giveaway on her blog right now, do pop over and enter!

Anyway, back to the exchange, in return for all these (almost) edible goodies I made her daughter this doll:She is one of my favourites and I love her little outfits. Actually Tori sent me the fabrics. They were off cuts from special things and it was so cool be able to make them into doll clothes.This little dress is made of fabric that Tori used to make her daughter her first Birthday dress. It gave me a good idea about offering customers a lovely way to reuse special items of clothing. You know the ones: things your kids have grown out of but you just can't bear to part with them? How lovely would it be to have them up cycled into dolls clothes...I just need to figure out a way to offer this to my customers...any suggestions welcome.

I really loved doing this exchange. It gave me a way to 'afford' something that would normally be completely beyond our very tight budget. It also felt to right and good to be cutting out all middle men, the banks, pay pal, tax etc and just exchange one person's talents for another. This is certainly becoming more popular, there are local exchange groups setting up everywhere and my friend even pointed me in the direction of a craft exchange site (which I can't find the link for right now, but if I do I'll post it).

Exchange is something that I really am keen to do again. One reason for this is that I truly, from the bottom of my heart, believe that all children should be entitled to beautiful, quality play things. However, coming from a low income family, I know how difficult this is to do on a budget. Sometimes the gorgeous, handmade things just are not an option. This is why I try and keep my prices as low as possible, to make my dolls accessible to as many people as possible.

So, if you would like to own an Under Rainbows doll but the budget won't allow it please know that I am open to barter and exchange. In particular, I would love someone to knit me this, and we love wooden/ felt toys. Try me, the worst I can say is no (in a nice way).

Have you been part of an exchange like this before? I'd love to hear about it!


  1. Oh Laura, I wouldn't know what I could even do - I bake the most amazing gluten free, high anti-oxidant, low fat chocolate cupcakes, topped with organic fair trade chocolate, I paid my accountant with them last year, BUT no way of getting them to you:( And not sure they would be good enough for one of your special little mini people. Glad you had a positive experience with the exchange - and how lucky your children get to be blessed with such special little toys:) Jane

  2. What a beautiful doll!!!
    It is pity that I have 2 to have one for myself!

  3. What a beautiful trade. I love the idea of using favourite clothes for dolls clothes. I'm not sure my talents extend to the value of your dolls, but if you ever need any bunting ... ;)

  4. Hi Jane..droool...lucky for me you don't live closer or I would weigh 20 stone ;-) Thank you for the wonderful story you emailed, I will try and get back to you over the weekend :-)
    Made by me... boys should have dolls too, I love making boy dolls, in fact they are sometimes my favourites and of course mama's should have dolls too ;-)
    Claire, you are so kind :-) I will certainly keep it in mind x

  5. What a neat idea! I never thought of a swap before. The only thing I think I am good enough at making are quilts however it certainly is something to think about! I love you blog and thank you for visiting mine. I was able to visit Ireland on research grant three years ago and I have been dreaming of going back!

  6. Hi Nicole, thanks for stopping by! where in ireland did you visit? hmmm quilt, I'd love to be able to quilt, I even have an idea for a quilt I want to make but no idea how to go about it. nice to 'meet' you x

  7. I spent a week in Dublin (primarily to use the libraries at Trinity College) then I traveled to Cork, Kilarney, Doolin, Limerick, Galway, and Innis Mor (all for about a day or two each). I also took a little waling tour of Connemara and the Burren. It was a packed trip but there was a lot I wanted to see- and still do. Hopefully we can come back with the kids one day. Quilting is not as hard as it seems if you start small and work your way up. I found this book to be helpful.

  8. Dear Laura, I so love barters! And this one looks like a perfect one!
    For the past several summers, we have bartered wooden toys made by Andy- a play kitchen, refrigerator, barn, etc. for seedlings and vegetables from our local CSA farmers. :)

  9. oh wow that's a great barter, how I wish we lied closer Mel x

  10. What a great exchange! If you're interested in any wool felt pancakes, fried eggs, bowtie pasta, or cookies (special holiday ones or just regular) we could do an exchange. I have pictures.

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