The average lifespan of a Favorite New Toy at my house is about an hour and a half. But this summer at the Ballard Farmer’s Market, my girls met Desiree Stone and her traditional, handcrafted rag dolls. They begged for the dolls for weeks before they finally got to pick their favorites to take home. That was four months ago, and Sara and Cindy are still on the tea party A-list. Santa is planning to bring them new outfits for Christmas.
As a child, Stone learned how to sew from her mother. Once she knew how to sew, her grandmother taught her to make rag dolls. She has been making them ever since, and selling them in Seattle for the past five years – first in Madrona, and now in Ballard. She makes an 11 ½ inch doll ($15), a 16 inch doll ($35), and a very large doll that sells for $50, each with outfits that can be changed. Sometimes she makes custom dolls with different color hair, or outfits like kimonos. She can be found on Sundays at the Ballard Farmer’s Market. Desiree’s Dolls is still a family affair. Stone is never alone at her booth. Her sons, James and Kye, both seniors at UW, always help out.
Considering that the dolls are handmade locally, the price is quite low – about the same as a plastic Corrolle doll. Stone says, “If you look at most toys today, they are made in China or Mexico where workers are paid about a $1.50 a day.” Desiree’s Dolls are not only more fun for the kids, but they come with a clear conscience for the grownups. If you want to get a Desiree’s Doll, there is one more weekend at the Ballard Market before Christmas. After that, you’ll have to wait until after the Superbowl.
See some of her dolls here: