Let me introduce you to someone I deeply admire, Lenna McGraw, the creator of Ella's Tutu doll. Lenna is a creative genius with a heart of gold. She has lived on three continents, teaching English in Europe and studying in Kenya. Lenna is talented, creative, interesting, adventurous and I'm honored to call her a best friend! My children love Lenna and each of them have considered her a best friend at one time or another. I can never thank Lenna enough for making my youngest daughter's dream come true! Lenna's love for life is contagious! Everything that she and her mother make is not just great, it is amazing!
Tell us about yourself.
We first met in Prague in 2002! I remember walking into our Teaching English as a Foreign Language class, I thought you were so cool, you had on a beautiful, flower dress and were so full of life! I knew I wanted to become friends with you! What do you remember about how we met?
I remember the first day of class. You were quiet and smiling and I just thought you were my favorite before I even met you. I love that we both have very bohemian spirits, laid back adventurers... in search of sweets!
We have been on so many adventures together and we have found the best food, but we were not always lucky in the food department! I think our first adventure was when we thought it would be a good idea to order "the menu" from a Czech pub without having a clue what we were actually ordering! You earned my respect when you ate that food! I could not do it.
You traveled all over the USA, Europe and Africa. How have you been impacted by the culture of countries you have visited/lived in?
I love learning about and getting to know all kinds of people! I love exploring places, food, languages, family, religion, traditions. We are all so different and yet we are the same. It's easiest to see in children, children are children everywhere.
What's the best advice you ever received?
When you hear something about yourself, whether it's a compliment or a criticism, do not get defensive or flattered, either try to live up to it or prove it wrong.
Who do you admire most? Is it a family member?
Yes, it is a family member! I admire my mom the most, she is the strongest and bravest person I know! She is also my doll making partner. She has encouraged my creativity since I was a child.
Take a peek into the sewing room.
You are the most creative person I know. How do you get your ideas? Tell us about some of your other creative projects.
Ideas are always chasing themselves around in my head.... It's getting them out and doing something with them that's hard. Actually we just finished creating a rag tutu for a little girl on her first birthday.
What was your favorite toy as a child?
I had a knock off cabbage patch doll (same plastic face, hand made everything else) with pink yarn hair. I loved that she was all mine and didn't look like anyone else's.... She was punk rock!
How are your dolls unique from other rag dolls?
My boho rag dolls are customizable, children can chose skin, hair, color and clothes. I also can embroider the child's name on the doll's lower back. Not only are the dolls one of a kind, but the clothes are also. The cloths can reflect the personality of the child, favorite activity or favorite color. For instance, if your child breaks a bone, your child can have a doll with a matching cast.
Walk us through the process of making one of your boho rag dolls.
My mom and I love doing projects together. Honestly, I think of her as a sewing Yoda. We get together in her sewing room, discuss random thoughts and the magic happens. We create all of the dolls together.
What unexpected tools do you find indispensable for creating your beautiful dolls?
Scraps! Okay I guess it's more a supply but I love taking a small seemingly insignificant usually discarded piece of something and combining with other small seemingly insignificant usually discarded pieces and making something unique and beautiful!
Are you located near Pittsburgh?
I'm not in Pittsburgh but my best friend is and I love to visit.
How can a family order a doll for their child?
The beautiful boho, handmade rag dolls are $99. Mention this blog post and receive 25% off! To order email [email protected].
The doll, Tutu, you made for my daughter has become like a family member! We take her everywhere and she is taken such good care of by Ella! She is loved by everyone in our family! From the first time I saw her, I knew she would become a family heirloom. I can never thank you enough for creating such a lovable friend for my daughter!
Laura Mares is an experienced photographer specializing in capturing timeless family keepsakes. Laura works on location and in her fully equipped home studio, located in Mt. Lebanon, eight miles south of Pittsburgh, PA. Laura’s style is creative, natural, and timeless. Would you like beautiful portraits of your newborn baby, to update your child and family portraits or to document a milestone in your life such as a wedding, graduation, birthday or reunion? If you are interested in high quality, timeless photographs, book your session today, call (412) 654-3367 or email [email protected]. To view a wide range of gorgeous portraits and to get great tips, advice and beautiful inspiration follow us on Instagram and Facebook.