As you can see they had a large gap no matter how much "stuffing" they were filled in so they all needed to be hand stitched. This was accomplished over about 6 weeks. In the car on the way to my Nephew's wedding. While watching TV. While catching up with the kids and the hubby at night. I also needed to check all of their joints (some needed to be sewed and or glued in place as did their neck pieces.)
As I finished I could then begin to trim (check out the photo below to see just how "off" it was. ) and style their hair.
When all that finished the real fun began. I got to dress them! The dolls had a simple outfit but part of the fun of this style of doll is to change their clothing. So I put out a call on Facebook and many friends came to the rescue. I had donations of 18" doll clothes coming to my door for about 2 weeks. One friend donated "themed" outfits, handmade shorts and dresses, and another "everyday clothing" and then I picked up underwear and shoes (Amazon has almost everything.)
It was fun to see my collection of "girls" grow. I will admit we had a few laughs together watching sitcoms and even a movie or two together. My son came home from college one weekend saying "Ahhh mom....never mind" (he knows me well.)
All in all it took about 2 months to complete all of the dolls and and it was total labor of love! Each doll is traveling with a tote bag filled with two changes of clothes, and a couple of accessories. Plus I traded one of them to a fellow shoebox friend for 23 doll quilts (she wanted to send one and I couldn't blame her they are adorable. ) So each doll has their own doll quilt.
And because I had way to much fun with them. I even created a mini shoebox for each doll and mini items to put into the shoeboxes. It started out with a PDF template I created, then the long tedious process of hand cutting out and scoring the boxes (thanks for to my Score-Pal) that wasn't too bad. To fill their shoeboxes, I created mini t-shirt jump ropes, wash cloths (cut from a dollar store towel) , mini soap (created from air dry clay) and even shrunk a printable set of paper dolls and an Operation Christmas Child letter to put in the box as well. I rounded their boxes out with mini cups (communion cup size), mini clothes pins, tiny rubber bouncy balls, "baby" hair clips (dollar store purchase), hair ties with hair ribbon, those mini paper parasols, a little pen, and my favorite item mini teddy bears or rabbits a friend donated from Amazon.
This was truly a labor of love, each stitch a prayer for the child it was going to and I LOVED every minute of it! I pray the children that receive these boxes have as much fun with their doll as I did! And before I get asked YES they fit into a shoebox