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sarah kieffer's Profile

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A lot of people have asked me why I started making dolls, and it has a lot to do with my childhood. I loved dolls - I was always attached to one, and had a hard time letting go when life progressed and Guess jeans were in and dolls and other soft toys were out.

I also always felt strangely connected to broken toys. I remember my dad arguing with me in a store once when I wanted to buy a little plastic bunny that was missing a foot. My eyes welled up with tears as I told him 'but dad, no one else will buy it! He'll always be here, without a home.' Maybe that's why The Island of Misfit Toys in the Rudolph movie always moved me. I wanted that doll, the broken doll, who sang to Santa to take her and fix her.

I thought she was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen.

One day, almost a…

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  • Female
  • Joined December 10, 2008

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Fun fabrics recycled and vintage when possible

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About

A lot of people have asked me why I started making dolls, and it has a lot to do with my childhood. I loved dolls - I was always attached to one, and had a hard time letting go when life progressed and Guess jeans were in and dolls and other soft toys were out.

I also always felt strangely connected to broken toys. I remember my dad arguing with me in a store once when I wanted to buy a little plastic bunny that was missing a foot. My eyes welled up with tears as I told him 'but dad, no one else will buy it! He'll always be here, without a home.' Maybe that's why The Island of Misfit Toys in the Rudolph movie always moved me. I wanted that doll, the broken doll, who sang to Santa to take her and fix her.

I thought she was the most beautiful doll I had ever seen.

One day, almost a year after I had given birth to my lovely daughter, I came across a pattern for a rag doll, and it reminded me so much of the doll from Island of Misfit Toys that I was determined to make it for my little one. I had just taken a refresher sewing class, and I gathered together the materials I needed and set to work. It was a nightmare. All those little doll parts -those arms and legs and sewing everything up just right - I wanted to thrown my sewing machine across the room. But I finally finished her, and although she was lumpy and ugly, my daughter loved her and held on to her for hours. I loved that I had made something sweet for her, but I also loved the feeling it brought back - the nostalgia of my own doll-loving years and realizing I was forced to give them up before I was ready.

I made some more dolls. And they were all ugly. So I made some more, and learned from a lot of my mistakes. Soon friends asked if they could please get one for their daughters, and then friends of friends emailed me asking if I was selling them. I developed my own pattern, and learned even more from my mistakes. Soon I had strangers emailing me looking for them. I started an Etsy shop in 2008 and have created some other soft things to sell in my shop. I love making toys, and find so much joy in little ones loving them.

[A side note: The doll from The Island of Misfit Toys, ("A Dolly for Sue" as she calls herself) is a seemingly normal girl rag doll with red hair and a red gingham (checkered) dress. Her misfit problem is never explained on the show, but was possibly revealed on NPR's Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me! news quiz show (broadcast December 8, 2007). The show revealed that Rudolph's producer, Arthur Rankin Jr., says Dolly's problem was psychological, caused from being abandoned by her mistress and suffering depression from feeling unloved. (wikipedia)]

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