My First Handmade Doll

I thought it appropriate to turn my most recent newsletter into my first blog post. My story was acknowledged by many and to know that it resonated with so many of you really warmed my heart. To wake up this morning with an inbox full to the brim with emails was such a beautiful surprise - I will reply to everyone over coming days xx

Sharing such personal aspects of my life with strangers has never felt comfortable for me, but I truly believe for you to understand me and what I do, you need to know my WHY . So I will be sharing more of my journey by way of this blog in 2018.

Thanks so much to you all for your encouraging feedback from my newsletter and for also sharing your personal stories with me too xx In a world of "anti-social" media, it is nice to authentically connect with people about the things that matter most xx

It’s been a huge few months creating Upper Dhali dolls for my clients. I’m officially exhausted and ready to put my feet up and make some new Christmas memories with my kids. I can finally start my own Christmas shopping tomorrow and start winding down for a long weekend of celebrations!

On my arrival at the post office this afternoon, I was lucky enough to receive a parcel of my own - MY VERY FIRST DOLL 💕

two polaroid images of handmade dolls showing the difference between the simple first felt doll and the current more refined keepsake dolls with hand embroidered faces and eyelashes

I know she’s nothing special to look at, but I would love to share her story and her magic xx

I made this heartfelt creation back in April 2012 and she has been on display at my Mum’s house ever since. I knew of her impending arrival, but little did I know that it would be an emotional reunion (I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face).

It took me WEEKS (& that is absolutely NO exaggeration haha!) to complete this felt doll. I had never sewn before (well, not since year 7 when I failed dismally at Textiles), I had absolutely no idea what I was doing - I just knew I had to make this for my Nana for Mother’s Day.

So as I poured many hours of my life into making for her, I was anticipating how surprised & proud she would be that I:

1 - Was actually able to sew (haha!)
2 - Created from the heart especially for her.

I pictured this doll sitting in her antique cabinet with other special keepsakes, or maybe even on her organ in the living room. I was so determined to see her face when I gave it to her, that I refused to post it interstate to her - I wanted to gift it to her in person.

I knew Nana would love it if I included my daughter into the creative aspect of it too, so she added her 5 year old creative touch for the face - it was going to be super special xx

However, it wasn’t to be. Unfortunately, my beloved Nana suddenly passed away on the Wednesday, 2 days before my flight home to see her. My world felt liked it stopped turning.

two polaroid images showing a granddaughter with her Nana, one when she was young, another as an adult

To receive her back into my hands today, I was so excited, emotional and reflective all at once. My 9 year old son laughed and questioned who made the weird looking doll (he was wide eyed and apologetic when he found out it was me - noting he likes the ones I make now much better. Good save there boy!), my 10 year old daughter cried because she just KNEW (bless her cotton socks), and I cried hard (yep, the ugly hard cry that doesn’t stop). So we had a moment, a really BIG moment. A really BIG heartfelt moment that only this sentimental doll could give me.

And then it occurred to me why this doll had this effect on me. It’s significant. Significant for a number of reasons, but the stand out reasons for me are reflection, resilience, determination & love.

It’s also another personal reminder of how something as small as a doll, can mean so much. A beautiful reminder as to why I started Upper Dhali & why I do what I do 💕

Who knew back in 2012 that I would now be creating keepsakes for others that also have similar sentimental significance for others? I absolutely did not, neither would anyone who knew me, but I’m certain my Guardian Angel did.

It has honestly been the best gift to receive this Christmas. To understand & experience what my clients do when they too receive their personalised keepsake dolls. So many have said the unboxing has taken their breath away, and now I understand why. It feels like I’ve experienced my own little Christmas movie, like The Christmas Carol or something. You know those feel good ones? I’m even more excited now to start on more bespoke orders as soon as I can!


Much love to all of you. I truly hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones making mountains of memories to cherish forever.

Lou x

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