A Jointed Freckled Le Petite Elfcup 8" Doll

Awaiting the upcoming summer festivities is this little gal...

This little one is staying up late, skipping naps and sitting around restless....waiting for her turn to attend a sparkling, crackling, fun-time summer festivity!

In nearly one week's time, Scarlet Elfcup is joining The Northern Collective as a guest, for a fun-fabulous upload over July 4th weekend. More details to come later next week. For now, I want to introduce to you the most fun doll I've made yet....a jointed and freckled friend...

Do you remember when the Le Petite Elfcup 8" doll pattern was introduced back in February of this year? At that time, I mentioned that the creation of an 8" doll pattern was a way for me to lay the groundwork to move into a jointed design and to start exploring armatures that will allow for standing and posable dolls, yet will still allow me to work within the very small structure that I so enjoy making. As much as I would like to work within the miniature size of the 6" Wee-Bee Mini Elfcup, it turns out that jointed designs for a doll this size is not entirely effective. This, I discovered back in April when I was in the making of the little boy that would fly a gypsy moth. The gypsy moth boy is still my work in progress and though he was not jointed, he was partially armatured. And what I learned was that bendable parts, whether jointed or armatured, on such tiny dolls will yield more bulk protruding than it would yield a nicely posable or simply bendable doll.

There can be very complex technical methods involved in doll jointing and the options are endless. In BJDs, a maker can spend months jointing together a doll that has as many as fifteen joints all strung together to create total poseability in the head, shoulders, elbows, arms, hips, knees, legs, ankles, toes and fingers....it's amazing. In more classic dolls the jointing might involve thread joints, sewn joints, disc joints, or simple ball joints. For my first jointed doll, I wanted to stay very basic and to simply see and feel a jointed creation. So here is the most basic and simple jointed doll you can get. This little girl has sewn joints for her elbows and her knees and string joints for her shoulders. 

Even in the simplicity of these joint designs, she just looks and feels more FUN! Her knees and elbows can bend beyond 90 degrees and her shoulders can rotate above and behind her head. Imagine the fun things that she can do with such flexibility.


With all that said, this little girl is extremely anxious for lots of summer fun. But, for now, I've asked that she sit tight and have patience with me as I work to make her some more clothes and a sweet little hand knit hat for the special occasion coming up. This is how she responded....

Stay tuned for upcoming details regarding The Northern Collective upload on July 4th weekend. 

Cicindela and Elytra

When twilight settles in and the bustle of the day begins to yield to the humming of nighttime cricket tunes and gentle insects buzzing about, watch carefully and you will see them.

Their bioluminescence will give them away. The glow of dim neon green is an indication that they are close by. Look and see....

Cicindela and Elytra.

Sometimes it is hard to tell if they are one or if they are two. Their patterns will tell them apart. One is Cicindela's and the other is Elytra's.

But, nothing is as it seems. Cicindela and Elytra are in fact two in the same.

Elytra is part of Cincindela and Cicindela is part of Elytra. Elytra is the firefly whose very existence relies solely on Cicindela, the fairy. Cicindela, is the fairy born to Elytra. Neither can exist without the other.

You see, a fairy is born unto the world with one purpose...to train, protect, guide and nurture nature. Cicindela was born unto the world to train and guide Elytra. Elytra cannot fly without Cincindela for Cincindela's membranous wings are part of Elytra's anatomy. A firefly has a unique wing structure such that the forewing is a hardened shell that folds and meets in a straight line down the back while in rest and spans horizontally outward while in flight. The hindwings are membranous and help in steering the firefly during flight while the forewings help keep balance during flight. So, without Cincindela's wings, Elytra cannot fly.

By night, Cincindela folds herself up inside Elytra to go to sleep and Elytra protects her and keeps her warm.

Sometimes by day, if you are lucky, you might see Cicindela and Elytra in a meadow somewhere...flying high, flying fast, Cicindela's hair a wild mess (as all fairy hair should be). With the wind against her face, Cicindela knows no life happier than the one she has as Elytra's fairy.

Other days, you may find them in a meadow, flying low, stopping here and there to enjoy the flowers and the smell of fresh wet grass left with dew after a rain.

From time to time, they'll stop in a quiet spot and just sit with one another to stare up at the beautiful heavens above and think, "Life is magical."

If you were patient enough to read through the blog I posted yesterday, called Firefly, you understand what a magical experience it is to be amongst fireflies. Or if you have been there yourself, then you are more so a witness to magical moments than anyone. And if you've been there and seen the fireflies, don't you wonder....maybe....just a tiny bit?....that there are fairies amongst us?


Cicindela is the fairy who lives inside the firefly. This beetle beauty was named from the latin word Cicindela, meaning firefly.

Cicindela is the first Le Petite Elfcup to come to life. She stands about 8 inches (20 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 a luxurious British suri alpaca, giving her a long soft mane.  She has embroidered facial features. Her facial structure is sculpted giving her a sweet little face with defined characteristics. 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.

Cicindela comes wearing an earthly attire. Her cap is hand knit with an ultra-soft yarn blended of baby suri alpaca, merino wool and bamboo. Her dress is simple beauty, made of linen and cotton lace. The back fully opens with nickel-plated snaps. On her feet are fairy slippers hand knit with a 100% fine alpaca yarn.


Cicindela's wings....ah...these lovely wings. I have a weak spot for fine fibers and an even weaker spot for Habu fibers. Oh do I love Habu fibers. I have a small stash of Habu yarn that I save in a special container for just the right project. Cicindela presented herself and I knew I had to use some Habu.

Cicindela's wings are handknit with a silk-mohair Habu yarn and a Habu silk-stainless steel yarn held together and made with the loveliest earth colors. The idea that I wanted to achieve with the silk-stainless steel yarn was slight rigidity with a delicate feel...that's what Habu silk-stainless steel offers. The wings are whipstitched around a thick-gauge silver craft wire to hold it's form. The shape of the wings are knit to mimic the oblong shape of a firefly wing. Cicindela's fairy wings are decorated with an embroidery thread that glows in the dark. The wings have straps, made of a natural colored cotton ribbon to match her dress. The straps are strategically sewn in place on the wings so that when they are tied onto Cicindela they will either fold or expand for flight.


Elytra is the firefly herself. She was named after her very own anatomy...the hard-shelled forewing of a firefly.

Elytra is a beast of a beetle. She spans 21 inches (53 cm) long, 8 inches (20 cm) wide and 3.5 inches (9 cm) tall. A lot of thought and planning went into her construction in order to mimic the shape and colors of the real deal and to add function to her body.

Elytra's head is decorated with colors on a real firefly. The patterns are made of a wool blended felt and appliqued with satin stitches all around onto a 100% wool fabric. Her eyes are made of two enormous buttons. The bottom side of her head is made of a red linen fabric.

Elytra is Cicindela's vessel, her home and bed. Elytra is shaped with a slight oblong shape and made of a wool fabric, lined on the inside with linen and cotton lace. Elytra's wings were designed specifically so that they are able to rotate inward and lay parallel when not in flight and to rotate outward for flight. The rotating bits are attached with two dungaree buttons. The moveable wings are also intended as a way to close up and hide Cicindela inside while she sleeps at night in her bed made of linen and lace. The wings are made of a 100% wool fabric hand-appliqued stitch-for-stitch onto a mustard-colored linen.

Elytra's tail is made of a wool blended felt and decorated with two rows of satin stitches made from glow-in-the-dark thread.

Elytra is stuffed entirely from head to tail with 100% wool.

Cicindela and Elytra are recommended for ages 8+ due to the nature of their delicate design. If you are interested in giving this magical pair a home, they are now available in the Etsy shop.


Magic happens every day...if we are willing to open our eyes and mind to it. With that said, please follow me...(there will be no photos in this blog post because the images will all be in your head)....

...come with me on an evening walk, actually an evening run, but we have to walk a bit to get to our running trail. This is a lovely, warm, musty, humid summer evening. You are walking across a short wooden bridge that crosses over a small, yet strong river. Upon crossing the bridge you will walk through untended grounds of overgrown bush. Stretching along in front of you is an ugly, old metal wire fence that runs along the length of a railroad track that is seldom used, but still in use for freight trains traveling long distances between destinations. You will short cut through a hole in the wire fence to get to the other side of the railway tracks because the next opening to access entry beyond the fence is a long distance away.

You will walk on crunchy gravel. You will step your feet over...no...pause...you will step your feet on the railway tracks because it is so fun to do. You will listen and hear that no trains are coming, so you are safe to take pause and be in the moment, to play, to balance...your arms outstretched as you walk one foot at a time ahead of the other. Then, you pause and listen again real close...no trains coming...still safe to play. You bend over real low, eyes level with the tracks and examine the tracks because they're fascinating. You notice that they are aged and rusted. And you notice that every bit of steel and wood that lays untended, rusted and old was designed with every subtle curve and angle calculated to keep that train on the tracks....the sleepers, the gauge, the ballast.

Then, you remember that you were headed somewhere. So, up go you...walk across those tracks, scramble down a steep hill that leads into a thick forested space. But, before you enter the thick of those trees, you walk along a very narrow dirt path, barely noticeable, really. You only know it's there because you've been here before. Flanked on either side of this narrow dirt path is a large meadow, overgrown to knee length with tall unkempt grass and weeds. Twilight had long set in and dusk is now heavily in loom. You are walking with your eyes set on those trees because that's where you were going. But, you stop in your tracks because in your periphery you thought you saw a dim glowing light. You look in the direction of the light and you see the light had moved. On closer examination, you realize the light did not move because you now see that there are many dim glowing lights...flashing ever so slowly, ever so dimly, ever so gently, ever so silently...flashing...flashing...flashing every where...slow...dim...gentle...silent. And you realize you are surrounded by an enormous field of fireflies...twinkling dimly, moving silently. You stand amidst the silence filled with the hot, humid, thick air of a summer night, the crickets now awakening, the sound of evening in full effect and you tell yourself that life is amazing, beautiful, magical. This is it...magic.

I am blessed to have had the experience with fireflies twice in my life. The first time was amidst a hot, humid summer evening in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I lived at the time while attending graduate school. The path we walked through above was the very path and the very experience that I remember. One does not easily forget the details of moments in life graced with magic.

The second time was while living in Kenya, many years ago. I was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in a small village at the base of Mt. Kenya. On an evening walk to my house from the main road, which was a distance of about 4 km (2.5 mi), I had come from the market with dinner for the day. It had rained that day. The rains in Kenya come in seasons of long wet downpours or short wet downpours....they are always wet downpours. On this day, I was tired and drenched from rain and anxiously walking with a brisk because I was late getting home that night. And in Africa, you don't want to be late getting home. After the sun goes to bed, there is nothing but pitch black that does not allow sight beyond the nose. So, anxiously, briskly I walked. The dirt path leads from the high road down into a small valley before it inclines again to bring me on the trail to my boarding school. It was there in the valley that I witnessed yet another moment of true magic. Upon reaching the valley, there was a small grove of large banana trees. Here, I stopped in my tracks to witness thousands of warm, dim, glowing lights that twinkled ever so slowly and silently....the fireflies. And here, once more, I was left to stand frozen in awe and amazement, completely absorbed in the moment to feel an immense gratitude toward mother nature for the beauty and wonder she's given us.

I retell these stories of my firefly experiences because I realize now that not everyone will recognize magic when they see it and not everyone will be lucky enough to see a firefly during their lifetime. Fireflies only live in specific parts of the world. And if you happen not to live in those parts and you don't travel, then you may never see them. I retell these stories because these are the very inspirations that drive the creativity behind Scarlet Elfcup dolls and toys. They are deeply meaningful, deeply personal and they inspire the things that I make. So, the creations come from the very bottom of my heart and in bringing the memories, the stories, the ideas to life, I am expressing my gratitude for all the beauty and meaning that I have found in life. I hope that in sharing bits of my world with you, I can bring forth moments of beauty and magic into your world.

I like to dream that one day I can walk once more amongst fireflies...except this time, I want to go chasing them with my children. For now, I'll leave you to chase one certain firefly and her fairy on tomorrow's eve.