handmade with love

giddy up gertrude dolls

One of my most beloved toys growing up was a handmade rag doll made by my great auntie Gertrude. Memories of the many hours playing with and talking to that doll and the comfort it brought is what kick-started this creative venture.

Each Giddy Up Gertrude doll I make is loving hand-stuffed, sewn, embroidered and completed with couture clothing made to ensure she’s just perfect. Due to the attention to detail, every doll takes up to five hours to complete.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have my brand so openly loved and supported from the start, so each restock has been sold out in under two minutes. It’s absolutely mind boggling!giddy up gertrude doll

Three years ago I was suffering from post-natal depression after the birth of my first babe, and I started to teach myself how to sew as a way of finding myself again, and used it as a therapy.

Fast forward through a lot of half-finished projects and sooo many doll prototypes that looked more like aliens, and here I am now. I’ve learnt so much about my craft in a very short time.

Parenthood hasn’t changed me so much as given me more perspective on the truly important things in life. Honestly, motherhood has been a very natural progression for me. Don’t get me wrong, some days I wish I could just hide in the pantry and eat chocolate for five minutes by myself, but I feel like I was meant to nurture and teach my beautiful boys.

Before I had my babies I was completing my university degree. My typical day was sleeping in, going to the gym, attending lectures, homework and socialising. How things have changed!giddy up gertrude miss lily airlie co kimono set

Giddy Up Gertrude Miss Lily and Airlie Co Kimono Set.

My amazing husband-to-be helps me parent well. He’s truly the most selfless and hardworking dad I know. If he wasn’t willing to work as hard as he does, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to stay home and raise our boys.

The best parenting advice I’ve received is,  “You can never spoil your children with love”. There is and never will be a limit on the cuddles, kisses and encouraging words in our household.

The best creative advice I’ve been given is to stay true to your own thread of originality – don’t compromise your creative integrity.jaimi lee pennell from giddy up gertrude

I’d absolutely love to have my own studio space. It would be amazing to have a working space away from little hands! Currently, everything is made on our kitchen table. When my boys are awake I really try to just be present with them, once they are asleep I turn into the crazy sewing lady.

I feel so incredibly grateful that I live in a country where strong mother figures are celebrated, not torn down – that I can be a mum, a business woman, a friend, a partner and not have to limit myself? I just count myself very lucky.

24-year-old Jaimi Lee Pennell is the maker behind Giddy Up Gertrude handmade dolls. She’s mum to two sons age three years, and nine months, and lives with them and her fiancé in Queensland. Follow her on Instagram

Interview: Bron Bates / Photographs: Giddy Up Gertrude