What Does Hiraeth Mean to Me?

It’s so exciting to finally release my Hiraeth and Cwtch Welsh Doll peg ladies! Of course, there’s more about them at the end of this post! But knowing that lots of my customers aren’t Welsh, I thought I will talk about what Hiraeth is, and what does Hiraeth mean to me!

Hiraeth is the welsh word for a deep longing or wistfulness for days gone by, for your homeland. For a place from your past that may have disappeared and can’t be returned to. It is felt deep in your heart and soul. It’s a small word that encompasses so much nostalgia and deep feeling!

What does Hiraeth mean

It’s something that even I must admit I didn’t really understand until recently. Owing to my Dad’s job, I had the privilege of growing up to my mid teens in a special, historic location. With it’s red brick and grey window frames, our little bungalow almost looks fashionable again! We had no neighbours, 12 square miles of woodland to play in (including a beautiful waterfall) as well as 14 acres of gorgeous maintained gardens to ride our bikes around all weekend. Childhood bliss! The site was previously a mansion belonging to a prestigious Victorian family who were pioneers in botany and photography. The observatory from were they took some of the first photographs of the moon still stands there today. I loved where we lived, and appreciated both the beauty and the heritage of the site.

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Above: My sister and I, in traditional Welsh Costume, outside our childhood home.

But times change… Local council boundaries were redrawn, the offices that my father was caretaker of on the site eventually became disused, and we moved. The site remained unused for years, until a housing developer eventually bought the land. They bulldozed the offices and built houses there – not without controversy.

Of course, in the process my old home of 15 years was razed to the ground. The place where I grew up. Where I passed many of life’s important early milestones. And where I still enjoyed visiting for a walk every so often. A place that held such a huge part of my heart, that my soul felt forever attached to. Gone forever.

I genuinely felt a loss, and a longing to be able to go back to how it was years ago.

This is the essence of Hiraeth.

I recently “plucked up the courage” to go and drive through the new houses. The observatory has been kept owing to it’s historical importance. But otherwise I found it hard to orientate myself and work out where things (including my old home) once were. It was highly emotional and took everything I had not to be moved to tears!

So…this is what Hiraeth means to me, and why it led to me creating a hiraeth gift! I’d had a plan for Welsh Dolls for over three years, but this recent experience made me think about how it would be lovely to create something that would be the perfect way of sharing a piece of Wales with someone who is perhaps further afield from their native soil.

Both the Hiraeth and Cwtch gifts are packed with lots of well-researched details.

The Hiraeth Welsh Lady Doll is wearing a more modern traditional Welsh Costume, with many details heralding from the 20th century. She has a black skirt underneath a heavy, full length, red gown, which historically would have been made of flannel woven in a local Welsh wool mill. Her neat, white blouse has balloon cuffs.

Her black and white checked apron is almost full length, and would have protected her gown from dirt.

She wears a pretty red cotton shawl printed with daffodils; something that would have been reserved for special occasions. As with all of my peg dolls, the details are running all around the doll; here’s a closer 360° view:

I also have another Welsh lady available.

Proudly holding her bunting, my Cwtch Welsh Doll is the perfect way of showing a special someone just how much you care about them, as Cwtch is the Welsh word for hug. There is nothing warmer and more comforting than a great big Welsh cwtch!

The Cwtch Welsh Lady Doll is wearing a traditional Welsh Costume. She is has a black and red checked bedgown, which historically would have been made of flannel woven in a local Welsh wool mill. Underneath this she has a red woollen skirt and white blouse.

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Her fringed shawl is grey – a typical colour for a traditional Welsh shawl of this style, however I gave her a more modern polka-dot pattern to give my design a fresh edge. On her head she is wearing a cockle-style Welsh hat, with a lace-edged mob cap gently peeping out from underneath. These hats were traditionally woven from straw, but are now usually made from felt.

The black and red checked gown and cockle shape hat were predominantly worn by the women of Swansea and the surrounding Valleys.

Here she is in all her glory:

Both of these lovely welsh dolls are available in limited stock in my shop

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Hiraeth, and about the lovely place where I grew up….

Lot’s of love from this now-grown-up Little Welsh Girl…

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Free Thank You Postie Stickers

Yesterday I quickly made some Thank You Postie stickers to pop on my parcels, thanking the Royal Mail workers who will handle it for all their hard work to keep us all connected at the moment.

I’ve been sitting at home wondering what I can do to play a little part in the current crisis, much like everyone else, I’m sure.

Free thank you Postie stickers for your letters and parcels during the COVID 19 Coronavirus pandemic

Well, as I was sticking it to my parcel, it occurred to me maybe someone else would like to use them too – so I’ve added my free Thank You Postie stickers to download add to your parcels.

Free thank you Postie stickers for your letters and parcels during the COVID 19 Coronavirus pandemic

I’m not claiming that they are fancy or swish, but it if saves you making your own you’re very welcome to them!

It’s an A4 sheet that is set up for labels sized 63mm x 33mm (compatible with Avery L7159). You can print them as they are in colour to catch the Royal Mail workers attention, or black and white if you prefer.

Free thank you Postie stickers for your letters and parcels during the COVID 19 Coronavirus pandemic

It will be nice to bring a smile to their hard working faces, as well as the face of the recipient of your parcel!

To download the Free Thank You Postie stickers just click HERE!

I was going to end this post with some fun facts about everyone’s favourite Postie….Postman Pat! However, I stumbled across this conspiracy theory that had passed me by at the time. Proceed with caution if you don’t want your childhood ruined, but it made me giggle anyway!!!!

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International Women’s Day 2018 – A celebration in Peg Dolls

March the 8th marks the annual celebration of Women through International Women’s Day.  Not only is it a day to commemorate the progress and campaigning that women have done within the equal rights movement, but with gender parity cited to still be 200 years away, it also aims to ensure that we continue to #pressforprogress so that the plight of women and girls who are denied their equality, rights and freedom will have their voices heard. You can find out more about this here.

I truly love this job that I have carved out for myself, to suit my needs and my lifestyle, and to provide for my husband and I. A favourite part of my work is seeing the photos of such a rich variety of women pass my desk as I create their little peg doll portraits.  Each woman has their own story to tell and her own strengths carved from the tapestry of her life experience. Each has a different reason for having their peg doll created. And each peg doll is a celebration of that woman; be it a birthday, mothers day, graduation, becoming a mother, or showing how loved and appreciated they are.

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Each of us is an individual – but together we can be a super power. Happy International Women’s Day my lovelies.

Cwtch ♥ Mawr

peg doll family, personalised peg doll

Meet the Peg Doll Maker – Part V

Welcome to the penultimate post in our behind-the-scenes Meet the Peg Doll Maker series that explains more about how each beautiful peg doll family is made. The posts are inspired by the month long challenge that we took part in on Instagram, created by Joanne Hawker.

You’re joining us for day 20 – 25. For the previous days, please see the earlier posts in this series. They can be found by clicking on the “Meet the Maker” tag in the Popular Tags cloud on the right of the page.

day 20: Sketch books

peg doll family planning

Whilst I don’t tend to sketch my actual peg doll ideas, I’m a big list maker/visual planner. I’m also a bit of a pretty stationery hoarder. What is it about notebooks?! I love squared paper and found it perfect for mapping my fairaisle designs for the Christmas Jumper Birds I made last year. As well as physical notebooks, I also use my ipad to stay organised. My favourites include Paper and Planner Plus Xxx

day 21: Inspiration

peg doll family

My inspiration for my peg dolls is YOU GUYS and the fabulous photos you send me to work from! I always suggest that colourful and patterned clothing works best for each member of your peg doll family. Plus that means that it’s much more fun for me 😉. You rarely disappoint! 😍💕

Day 22: Close Up

peg doll lady in stripey top

Following on from yesterdays post, here’s a close up of a recent make. My customer didn’t have any clothing pictures to send me, so my brief was “mustard, navy and maybe some stripes”. Lush 💛💙

Day 23: Recent Make

peg doll wedding cake topper

This is a very recent make as it only got posted off to its forever home on Monday! I don’t usually show wedding toppers until after the couple’s big day. However this was a special commission for a baker to use on her cakes at Wedding Fairs, so I can share away. I am having a little play at using more props in my photos too. What do you think? Xxx

DAY 24: milestone

I was really unsure what to post for todays’ prompt. As I was thinking about I realised that, while it’s not a numerical milestone, it’s an achievement for me to actually be building the confidence to show and talk about what I do. So I decided to post this video I made last week to demonstrate that.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been approached to exhibit at two different exciting upcoming events. One of which is one of the BIGGEST annual events in South Wales that draws people from all over the UK. Needless to say I was floored to be invited, but I think I have to turn it down. This is partly due to confidence, partly due to feeling we’re not big enough, and partly that the event, although massive, isn’t right for my peg doll family. I’m still mulling over the second opportunity though so watch this space! I believe in my pegdolls 100%…but my confidence in myself still has a way to go yet. I’m getting there bit by bit! 💕 xx

Day 25: Packaging

pretty packaging for every peg doll family

It’s always lovely to send off my pretty packages. 🎁 Each peg doll is individually wrapped in pink tissue, then all your peg doll family is wrapped together in stripey or spotted tissue, sealed with my branded sticker. They are placed into the stripey bag along with a business card and (new for 2017) a care card to help you or your recipient look after your investment. I usually work closely with my customers to make their dolls. As a result build a lovely rapport with them; so I always like to include a nice handwritten note to thank them for their custom. I feel it’s little touches like that which make buying handmade and bespoke such a special experience. It’s far better than mass-produced high street items. 💕

I hope you’re enjoying following along with this series of posts. The 6th and final installment will be along shortly.

Don’t forget, our order book is open if you would like your very own personalised peg doll family.
Just get in touch using the contact form.

Cwtch ♥ Mawr

peg doll family

Meet the Peg Doll Maker Series – Part IV- My Helpers!

Welcome to Part Four of my Meet the Peg Doll Maker series, helping you to get to know us a little more. It’s based on the prompts provided by Joanne Hawker for the month long Instagram challenge designed to help small business owners and creatives to tell the story behind their brand.

The prompt for Day 19 of  #marchmeetthemaker was Helper…As you know an awful lot of work goes into every peg doll I make, therefore a lot goes on behind the scenes. As much as I try to do almost all of it on my own, some family members won’t take no for an answer when they offer assistance. Especially those  four-legged family members! So I think you’ll agree that this prompt deserves a post all of its own! You’ll have to scroll through all the pics to fully grasp the roles of everyone here at Pink Elephant Crafts.

Little Pearl holds several key positions in the company and to be honest pretty much runs the joint here. She is :

1. Official Guard of the Pencils. Don’t. Touch. The. Yellow. Pencils.

cute kitten with coloured pencils

2. Stock Controller. Who knew that cats had such great numerical abilities?

cute kitten with wooden peg dolls

3. Storage Manager . This role mainly involves sleeping in stacked up boxes and on important bits of paper.

cute kitten hiding in peg doll storage box

4.Photoshop supervisor. Did somebody say the “mouse” is moving?!

cute kitten helps edit pictures of peg dolls in photoshop

5. Paintbrush inspector.  A sniff and a little nibble usually weeds out any duff brushes.

cute white kitten inspects peg doll artists paintbrushes

6. Grabber of Things from the Printer. An essential role in every office.

cute white kitten helps with the office printer

She is often joined by Cookie (our third cat Dexter has chosen not to be involved in the family business) and together they prowl the studio windowsill to guard against threats of corporate espionage (mainly from next doors’ dog).

cute cats in peg doll artists studio

They also help with the cleaning by ensuring anything on my studio desk is knocked to its “rightful” place on the floor.

cute cats on peg doll artists desk

That’s the main important roles here covered really.

Oh! Occasionally I get a little bit of casual help from two family members. Once in a while, Mr T redesigns and makes sure that my website and spreadsheets are all working. I break them a lot. He might make a cuppa every now and then too. Sometimes his Dad will make me a jig and drill a load of dolls for me. However, I have been considering bringing the pair of slackers in for a disciplinary 😉

drilling and sanding in the pegdoll workshop

Hehehe! I’m lucky to have so much support  in making my personalised peg doll families at Pink Elephant Crafts!

Cwtch ♥ Mawr

peg doll family