Valentina has a ballerina. Her ballerina is named Hope. Valentina, she loves her ballerina. Wherever she goes, her ballerina goes. This ballerina, she likes to tip-toe-tap-dance to the beat of the jazz....tip-toe-tap-dance, mov'in to the groove....clic-clac-knick-knack goes her tip-tapp'in shoes.
Hope was given to Valentina by her mummy and daddy who both love her very much. This sweet darling doll means more to Valentina than just a ballerina. Her parents gave the doll to her with this message wrapped in an envelope:
Dearest Valentina -
May Hope always keep you happy, inspired, and never without optimism. When life throws a curveball your way, always remember to tip-toe-tap-dance....just keep tip-toe-tap-dancing round and round. Hope will lead the way and show you that nothing can stand in the path as long as you can keep on dancing.
Love - Mum and Dad
So, you see, this ballerina means the world to Valentina. Valentina likes to spend afternoons learning dance moves from Hope, going for walks with Hope, telling her deepest secrets to Hope, cuddling and holding on to Hope....because Hope keeps her happy, inspired and always optimistic.
How do I begin to thank the family for whom this custom doll was made? Truly, what I wrote in my "About" page...the bit about why I invest in this endeavor of doll making...is the truth as it comes from the deepest part of my heart and soul. And here...in this moment....with this story and this doll, for this family....this is the very reason that keeps me invested in this beautiful craft.
I cannot tell you the story behind the creation of Valentina because it is a story too personal to be shared. What I can tell you is that it brought this much more love, beauty and meaning into my own life while I was deep in the process of bringing Valentina and Hope into the world. The names Valentina and Hope were names suggested to me by the family for whom I made the doll. Valentina, in Latin, means strong or brave. You see, strength, courage and hope is what one family has been leaning on to get by one of life's curveballs.
I have come to learn that the world always comes round. When the name Hope was suggested to me and it was mentioned that the making of this doll would be a gift for a little girl who enjoyed ballet, tap and jazz I could not help but remember one of my dearest dearest friends.....Hope. Yes....that is her name....coincidental? uncanny?...whatever you want to call it. At the end of the day, I think it just means that we are all connected in some magical way whether we recognize that connection or not. So, given that Hope was one of the suggestions for the name of the doll and ballet, tap and jazz are part of the whole, it flashed me back in time to one of the best and most memorable moments in my own life....a moment spent on a cold, rainy, dreary evening at base camp on Mt. Kenya with two of my very best girlfriends....two women who have been most influential in my life and whom I have nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for. It was many years back that the three of us climbed Mt. Kenya together and spent our first night at base camp with Hope showing us how to tap dance on the porch of the old wood cabin that was used as a rain shelter. The details, of that evening tap dancing away the cold and dreariness of the rain as we waited for daylight to come so that we can begin our climb up the mountain, were recorded in my personal journal as "one of the best times of my life."
So, to the family who came to me and asked for this doll...I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing a bit of yourselves, your story, your struggles, and your hope. I thank you for showing me what it takes to be family. And I thank you for bringing back memories of the people and moments in my life that were one of the best and most beautiful times I've had.
Valentina is a Wee-Bee Mini Elfcup doll. She stands less than 6" (15 cm) tall. She is made with all natural materials. Her doll skin is made with premium quality cotton interlock imported from Europe. She is firmly stuffed with bio-wool made in Oregon. Her seams are sewn twice for reinforcement. Her locks are made of mohair yarn tied into two sweet braided pigtails. She has embroidered facial features. Her facial structure is sculpted giving her a sweet little face with an itty-bitty chin, round chubby cheeks and deeper set eyes. Her cheeks, nose and various body parts are blushed with red beeswax. She is a sitting doll with sewn joints that are made flexible for easy movement and changing of clothes. But, with some posing, she is also able to stand. She also has a belly button and a bum.
Valentina comes wearing a sweet, soft neutral colored handknit top made from a mohair and silk blended yarn. The cap-sleeved top is designed so that it can be worn with the v-opening on the front or the back. Her bunny hat is hand knit with an angora-wool blended yarn. Her pleated skirt is made from 100% cotton and opens fully on the back with two nickel-plated brass snaps. Her shoes are made of 100% Belgian wool felt and decorated with embroidery stitches made of 100% cotton. The embroidery design is meant to be one continuous flower that begins on the left foot and ends on the right foot.
The Ballerina...oh so sweet. So, if you saw my latest post called "A Microscopic Doll", I can now tell you that the microscopic doll....a doll for a doll's doll did not work out. BUT....Hope did! So, here she is....the very first true miniature doll that I've made. Hope stands an enormous 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall. She is made with all natural materials. Her doll skin is made with premium quality cotton interlock imported from Europe. She is stuffed with bio-wool made in Oregon. Her red-head ballet bun is made of 100% wool roving. She has embroidered facial features. Her cheeks are blushed with red beeswax. She is a standing doll with clothes that are permanently sewn on. This little dolly is decorated with hand embroidery from the top down. Her hair ribbon, her ballet top, her cream-colored tights and her tap shoes are all embroidery stitched directly to her body to give a tight snug fit. Her tutu is made with tulle and permanently sewn on.
Valentina and Her Ballerina