Personalised Teacher Gifts – Lockdown 2020

June and July always bring a flurry of orders for personalised teacher gifts. However with all that lock down has been bringing, and schools closed since March, I didn’t expect there to be much call for teacher gifts this year. So I was pleasantly surprised to receive a few orders for them despite this.

It’s lovely (particularly as an ex-teacher myself), to see that people have still recognised the hard work that teachers have been putting in behind the scenes over the past few months, despite the huge decrease in face-to-face interaction with their pupils.

One of the loveliest and most unusual gift requests was for a head teacher, from one of her staff! The thoughtful teacher was so grateful for all the support and strength the Head had offered all of her staff during such an unprecedented and difficult time.

She needed something uniquely special showing her thanks, and marking what was the head teachers first year in her role. A year she would not forget! She felt that one of my Doli Dwt peg dolls would fit the bill perfectly!

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With 2020 being unforgettable for so many reasons, I was asked if I could add a Rainbow to the design. It’s become a symbol of hope during the pandemic, and a representation of thanks to all of our key workers.

My lovely customer and I decided that it would be fitting to include this symbol on the doll. I added it to the back, along with the date.

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A special little request was for her lanyard to be depicted on the peg doll. She’s never without it! Of course I was only to happy to oblige. Instead of the usual ID credentials on the pass, I added a little heart. This represents the love, respect and thanks the staff have for their boss!

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Another request for a teacher-rainbow combination also landed in my inbox around the same time.

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This peg doll was to feature a lovely personal message from the pupil. How delightful are these words?!

The sweet message took up all the available space on the back. So, I added the requested rainbow as a small logo on the front of the school polo shirt instead.

It worked really well as a small nod to all the ups and downs 2020 brought to school life.

Of course, it’s not the first time I’ve made some fantastic personalised Teacher gifts. You can read more about them (and get some ideas of what you might like) here. I even have some to which names can be added for you, “ready to post” in the shop .

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And finally….

The thought of keeping your children occupied through the long Summer holiday (on top of the three months children have already been home) might be a bit stressful! Did you know I have a Pinterest board full of ideas for kids of all ages, from crafts to games they can build themselves, and outdoor activities and snack ideas? Have a look below, you might find something new to keep them busy!

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Not Painted Peg Dolls – The magic behind my work

You might look at my peg dolls wondering why they’re a bit more expensive than others you are seeing online.

Every single peg doll that passes across my table goes through a labour-intensive process. Firstly, I draw the designs in pencil straight on to the doll. This can take a few hours on each one until the features and details are just right.

When I’m happy, it’s time for burning my drawings into the wood using the art of pyrography. This is the technique of using a red hot tool to permanently scorch the line work into the dolls. This can be lengthy depending on the complexity of detail.

When I first began in early 2015 I was the only peg doll artist in the UK (and as far as I’m aware in Europe) to use pyrography to create peg dolls.

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Once this is done, I am ready to sand back the doll to tidy the burned lines and prep the wood for colouring.

Colouring

This is the lengthiest part of making Doli Dwt peg dolls. It can take at least A WHOLE DAY to colour one 9cm (adult) peg doll, and about a week to colour a whole family. This is because they are not just painted peg dolls. My go-to medium is coloured pencils. Again when it comes to creating peg dolls this is an unusual technique, as most are painted.

If you can imagine sitting down with a colouring book, it takes much longer to colour a section of the image with pencil than if you were to lay down a wash of paint. It’s the same with peg dolls. It takes a lot longer to lay down colour on them with pencil than painting them. However, I just love the beautiful effect pencils create on wood grain and the fact that it makes my dolls unique and instantly recognisable.

That’s not to say that I never use paint in my work. My mission is always to create the best representation of your loved ones’ outfits, and if a combination of pencil with acrylic or watercolour paint is what will give the desired effect then that’s what I will of course use.

You might enjoy taking a peep of this hyper-lapse video of me colouring a part of a peg doll to see what it involves!

There are lots of other videos of my processes, including wood burning, on my YouTube channel.

This recent commission for a beautiful peg doll family portrait highlights how each order comes together.

I’d already worked for this lovely customer in the past, creating cake toppers for her wedding. I was absolutely delighted when she emailed asking for an updated set to represent their growing family!

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As always, the process starts by working from photos to draw the peg dolls. These ones have some really special details in the shape of the children’s favourite toys, so they took a while until I was happy that they were just right!

Then I burn the whole family with the pyrography tool – sounds painful doesn’t it?! But I can assure you nobody is hurt in the making of my peg dolls. Except maybe the odd burn to my own fingers!

The fun really begins when I start to colour the clothes! This commission had some really exciting/challenging details to add. First up was this tiny floral hedgehog. When scaled down to fit the doll, it is smaller than my thumbnail!

Here are the finished two children with their cuddly toys. Lots of detail is packed into the tiny 6cm peg dolls! Spot the tiny monkey-face socks!

Mum’s dress is exceptionally beautiful! As with most pretty dresses, it had to be created in stages, sealing bright colours as I go so that the high-pigmentation of the pencils aren’t carried across to other areas while I work.

Dad’s shirt is not short of detail either!

Together they make a fab peg doll couple!

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I hope you agree that they are an absolutely gorgeous family. They were a total pleasure to recreate in peg doll form!

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Hopefully, this has helped illustrate that my Doli Dwt dolls are so much more than painted peg dolls. They are beautiful, detailed heirlooms that will be displayed and treasured for years to come.

If you’d love some for yourself, or someone you love, pop to this page for more information and guide prices. Then drop me a line using the contact form and we can chat about your ideas!

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Vintage Wedding Inspiration

Vintage wedding inspiration is still very much sought after, both with bride and grooms currently having to postpone their special days until 2021 due to the current COVID crisis and those planning further ahead. So I thought I’d take the time to share one of my favourite commissions that were part of an incredible vintage wedding a couple of years ago.

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As I’m sure you can imagine from the picture above, I was so excited when Lauren sent me pictures of her dress and her husband-to-be’s suit! I couldn’t wait to get started on them. They looked super on their cake on their big day!

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Photo courtesy of Kate Richards Photography

Firstly, I drew out the details onto the wooden dolls, before woodburning the linework to make it permenant.

Lauren’s vintage wedding dress was gorgeous. I loved working on all the tiny details, which called for the use of the tiniest brush. My favourite brush to use for tiny details is one that I’ve plucked almost all the hairs from to make it as thin as possible! It’s now even thinner than in this picture!

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The delicate polkadot netting around the top of the dress and sleeves was so fun to recreate. I love me a polkadot and this was no exception. I also tried to capture the layers and folds in the fabric around the upper bodice. The navy waistband really makes a gorgeous impact.

The wedding flowers were also totally gorgeous. The bride’s bouquet was a lovely, loose arrangement which is quickly becoming one of my favourite looks to be asked to draw.

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The groom was also a bit gorgeous!

I can’t tell you how much I loved creating his amazing boater jacket. I love it when I get to create something totally different. The stripes were labour-intensive but very much worth the effort!

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Lauren kindly shared some beautiful images of their wedding day with me. I love seeing my wooden cake toppers in action!

Photo courtesy of Kate Richards Photography

Aside from their amazing outfits, how much vintage wedding inspiration is in these photos?! All those gorgeous details – the lace doily under the cake, the cut crystal glass holding the cottage garden flowers and the classic macarons. Beautiful.

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Photo courtesy of Kate Richards Photography
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Whether you’ve had to put your wedding plans on hold, or have a date set for the next couple of years, if I can help create a unique wedding cake topper for you that you can treasure forever, take a look at our Wedding Cake Toppers page here, and get in touch!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Easter decoration and gift ideas without chocolate

It can be hard to find Easter decoration and gift ideas without chocolate, but here at Doli Dwt we’ve got you covered!

Following the success of my robin and penguin baubles over the last two years, I decided to bring a bit of that bird-based love to Easter, by creating these cute little Easter Chick baubles!

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They make a great alternative to chocolate as a little gift for Easter. They will last a lot longer too! If would like to gift them to someone outside of your own home, I can send them straight to your recipient, with a personalised note, to try to help those who are social distancing or in isolation this year.

They are perfect for hanging from an Easter tree. Alternatively, you could pop them onto an indoor Easter wreath, or string them along your mantelpiece or a shelf. How about popping them around a napkin as a pretty place setting for you Easter lunch?

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Each little Easter decoration has, as always at Doli Dwt, been through my unique process. Wood burning and colouring by hand using pencil and a spot of paint is at the heart of each and every one of my creations.

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Each one sports a bow tie or hair bow in a pretty pastel shade. The little chicks are peeking out of cracked shells that are decorated with pastel polka dots. Hanging from pretty bakers twine, they are the perfect addition for your Easter decorations or spring decor.

I also have a few of my Easter bunny peg dolls in stock too. Again, they are a perfect alternative gift to chocolate. Both these and the chick decorations are available in the web shop.

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If you’re looking for other decorating ideas for Easter time, or for some crafts for yourself and your family, following my Easter Pinterest board might give you some inspiration! I’ve also pinned a few other Easter decoration and gift ideas, without chocolate, too! Enjoy!

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