Sorrow’s amazing addition to the sew-along. Love the Brazilian babe!

A while back I emailed a handful of crafty friends and asked if they’d be interested in a very special project. And then, after a deluge of positive email responses, I completely forgot about this little crafty event.


And so, I am now inviting the Internets to join along too. My friend Jessica, who has done amazing work in Brazil for years, recently brought toys to the children living in impoverished communities. The photos struck me; there were many gorgeous little Brazilian girls and boys carrying around very anglo baby dolls. They were tickled to have their own toy. But it got me thinking.

My favorite doll when I was a child was an African American Cabbage Patch doll named Elizabeth. (Second only to Aggie, the red-headed Irish version.) These two dolls were with me everywhere as a young girl. I adored them. Like little girls in countries around the world, my dolls were special. They had a tiny suitcase full of clothes and regularly were seat-belted into the car next to me. Thinking about it now, Elizabeth was a precursor to a life in love with Africa.

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I want to provide the children Jessica is working with in Brazil with dolls that look like they do. Specifically, these Brazilian babies would provide a bit of handmade love to little girls living in poverty. Call me sentimental, but it makes me smile to think of a handful of girls growing up with a handmade item, knowing a woman they’ve never met thought of them, saw their potential, wanted to know they were special and wanted to encourage them to be amazing.

This is what a doll — a tiny piece of folk art — can do. Do not underestimate the power of focused women, especially when they are artists.

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Duda wrapped her sweet doll in a homemade quilt.

Care to join this sew along? The rules are simple:

Make a handmade doll — knit, sew, whittle — in the spirit of Brazil. Include details in the doll that encourage your village girl. Photograph your creation and place it in the Flickr pool. Then, mail the doll, with a note if you’d like, to Jessica in New York by September 1.

It should also be said that I don’t know a thing about sewing dolls. I am going into this blind and simply hoping good fortune and patience will see this idea through.

Please leave a comment if you want to play along. I’ll email details to those who participate. This is an easy way for women internationally to provide a bit of handmade love to girls in a Brazilian village. It is simple, sincere and sweet. I hope you’ll join us!