Swanky Jane's

Check out this article written by Debbie Balzotti for the Daily Herald:
SPRINGVILLE -- Blythe Gifford is a creative 15-year-old who started designing and making dolls with her mother Jill. The Giffords brought an old sewing machine, purchased at a thrift store, in from the garage and sat it on the kitchen table.
"We looked at the sewing machine and decided to make a doll together," Jill said. "Blythe had recently been diagnosed with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome. We were looking for something we could do together. Something creative and something that wasn't too exhausting for Blythe."
They decided to start with something they call a double doll or a topsy-turvy doll. The doll is 18 inches tall and has a stuffed cotton torso, head and arms. The long skirt flips over to reveal another doll, which allows a child to play with two dolls. The hair is two different colors of crinkled yarn and there are two hand-painted faces.
"My little sister Grace is 3 and she had a double doll, but it wasn't very cute or good quality," Blythe explained. "We looked at it and then designed our own pattern in May 2012. We set up an Etsy shop called SwankyJanes and started making more dolls. Every doll is different. It takes us more than 10 hours to make a doll but it's really fun. We lay fabric out on the floor and we decide which ones will look good together. We have other doll designs now like Itty Bittys, Whimsy Dolls, Swanky Dolls and Gracie Dolls. Our favorite doll though is the doll we make and donate to cancer kids. It's called the Just Like Me Doll."
The Giffords started making dolls for children with cancer after they were contacted by Whitney Holland who features a child fighting cancer every month on her website, www.psiadoreyou.com. Holland asked the doll makers if they would make a doll to go in the basket they give to the selected child. Another mom involved with PS I Adore You is Chelsea Carver, who selects the child to receive the gift basket.
"We just feel so fortunate to have crossed paths with the Giffords," Carver said. "They have brought a lot of sunshine into the lives of these kids. I'm a cancer mom and when my daughter was diagnosed it was just devastating. When we deliver our gift basket with a Just Like Me Doll those kids love it and it cheers them up. The Giffords have gone above and beyond. They even made another doll for the older sister of a baby girl with cancer. I know from experience that the siblings suffer too, so to see those two little girls immediately start playing with the dolls was so sweet. It still brings tears to my eyes when I talk about it."
"We thought about what we could do to make a special doll for these special kids," Jill Gifford said. "We came up with the just Like Me Doll where we would find out about the child and make the doll like her. If she had brown hair or blue eyes we would make the doll with those things. We found out her favorite color too so we could use that. The doll has hair that can be removed and comes with a knit hat similar to what many children wear during cancer treatment. We also write a story with pictures of the doll searching for someone like her."
The Giffords also have a Just Like Me Buddy designed for boys who could use a special friend to comfort them during their cancer treatments. So far, the mother-daughter team has made four dolls. One of the first ones they made went to Millie Flamm, who many people read about when Justin Bieber visited her recently.
To donate funds or fabric to help the Gifford's make a Just Like Me Doll for a child with cancer, contact the Giffords at www.swankyjanes.com or Chelsea Carver at psiadoreyou.com.

Photo's by James Roh:

Blythe Gifford draws a face on a doll at her home in Springville on Tuesday,
 March 12, 2013. Blythe, along with her mother Jill Gifford are working with P.S. I Adore You
 to provide children diagnosed with cancer a doll of themselves. JAMES ROH/Daily Herald


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