Introducing the Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly!

Me at a recent Craft Fair

Me at a recent Craft Fair

First, a little back story –

I have been sewing since I was nearly 8 years old.  Fairly randomly, I took a 4-H sponsored sewing class, and loved it! Shortly after that first class, also through 4-H, I was able to begin sewing with master seamstress and teacher Jan Gurnsey.

Me with Jan at the 2006 4-H Fashion Revue!

Me with Jan at the 2006 4-H Fashion Revue!

Although not limited to, my experience is mostly in children’s clothing and hair accessories. I’ve also done some quilting.  I am a Colorado State Champion (via 4-H and the Colorado Make-it-with Wool Competition).  I have had my designs modeled in the Sustainable Living Fair’s Fashion Show for 3 years, and have had a booth at several local craft and art shows.  My start up clothing company is called Oli-Bo-Bolly.  So, right before we left for Nicaragua, when I made my very first doll for my final project in an art class I was taking at the time, naturally, I called it the Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly! And, not only did I get an ‘A’, but my teacher offered to purchase it for his daughter!

My very 1st Doll

My very 1st Doll

While in Nicaragua, I often thought about this dolly, and how I would love to make them to give as gifts to the many children I was meeting.  In the 3rd world, where most families are living on $2.00 a day or less, the purchase of a toy for a child is rarely a priority.  The gift of a doll communicates to these children that they are loved, that they have value, and that someone knows they exist.


Me with Solidad & Genesis in Ameya, Nicaragua

When I got home I began to develop this idea a little further, and I began to sew like crazy!


My concept board

In August I entered a contest – The Global Leaders Young Entrepreneur Competition, through the Sustainable Living Association with my concept “Buy A Doll – Give A Doll”.  Companies like Tom’s Shoes have been using this idea for years.  Through my one-of-a-kind Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly, North American children can have the opportunity to not only purchase a doll for themselves, but at the same time, gift a doll to a child in a 3rd world country who might otherwise never have the pleasure of playing with or owning a doll for themselves.  The global impact at its core is JOY! I have made it to the finals of this competition, and will present my idea at Colorado State University on February 8th.


In the meantime, I’ve continued to develop my idea even further, and to date have sold over 20 dolls – which means I’ve got over 20 to give away too!


A young customer

At school this fall, I took an Earth Systems Science class.  In it, we were given the assignment to create a project that had an impact on our world – on one of our earths spheres (geo, hydro, atmosphere, or exo).  I was thrilled when my teacher, Sarah Bayer let my “Dolly Project qualify”.  Did you know that 95% of all clothing that ends up in our landfills is actually still wearable? As a result, my motto is “Make Art, Not Trash”.  My one of a kind, hand-made, Oli-Bo-Bolly Dollies are made out of recycled/repurposed textiles.  They are soft but textured, crazy colorful, and uniquely made! Because I repurpose clothing I help reduce the amount of textiles ending up in the landfill.  This in turn, helps our geo-sphere.  If you are interested in reading my full report, just shoot me a quick email back.

I have finished up my Christmas orders and am now taking additional orders.  If you are interested in ordering a doll, the cost is $35.00.  One doll goes to you and another goes to a girl in Nicaragua.  I do have 2 special dolls going to Guatemala as well, so I may be able to arrange deliveries to other countries upon request.  As my dolls are all one of a kind, you get to choose your skin tone, hair color, and clothing color or theme.  To order a doll, simply email me at

Originally, I was going to send the first batch to Nicaragua with our good friend Jane Mirandette who lives part time there and part time here in Colorado.  I now am actually trying to deliver the dolls myself! My goal is to be able to take 100 dolls to Nicaragua this spring! Splitting them between girls in Ameya and in San Juan del Sur.  I am so excited to both go back for a visit and to get to deliver the very first dolls myself!

Taking 100 dolls with me is an ambitious goal! It takes me about 3 hours to make just 1 doll. With school and other commitments, I am going to need some help! If you sew, and are interested in helping to make dresses, please let me know.  I can provide you with a pattern, all materials, and a special sewing snack! Many thanks to Margie Michaels and Laurie Wright for sewing some dresses already.  Dolls will be going to girls in Ameya, Nicaragua in their honor.

Don’t sew, but still want to help? I am taking donations of scrap fabric (or clothing) in good condition (3/8 of a yard and larger) especially skin colored cotton, muslin or bed linens, Buttons (2 matching – approximately 1/2″ in size or singles up to approximately 3/4″ in size) , Fiber Fill Stuffing and or Cotton Batting, Felt, Round Elastic Cording, & 5/8″ Sew on Velcro.  Please remember, part of the idea is to use what we already have – so don’t go to the store, simply look through your stash! Many thanks the the Richter girls and Carol Christ for their donations.  Dolls will also be sent in your honor.

I also am accepting cash donations towards plane tickets and travel expenses for me and either my mom or dad to be in Nicaragua for 10 days to 2 weeks (approximately $2,000 will be needed).

Many thanks for your support and encouragement.  Happy New Year!




BECKONS YOGA CLOTHING – Link To Beckons Web Site




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  • Bonnie Bailey

    Let me look around and see what I might have in the way of supplies for you. Also, I would love to make some dresses for the the dolls.
    Bonnie Bailey

    • Olivea Borden

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will put together a little dress kit with a sample for you and bring it to church.

  • Carol

    Olivea, this is so amazing! Thank you for including me in this. I would love to purchase one of the Medium Skin, Brown Hair, Owl & Brown Theme Clothes. I will send $35 along with your Mom on this coming Thursday. Also, I will look around here for “stuff”. How do you feel about 100% cotton fabric that is left from quilts that I have made??? and stuffing that is left over after I trimmed quilts for their binding??? Just let me know and I will make up a bag. I am so amazed by you, inspired by you and proud of you!
    your friend,

    • Olivea Borden

      Your scraps sound amazing and perfect! Thank you. I will also fill out an order slip for your one-of-a-kind Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly.

  • Heather

    Wow Olivea! This is amazing, creative, generous, and brilliant. I am so proud of you and what the Lord is doing through you! You are a gift to many. I am also going through my scraps :) I will send them with Bert to your mom-Lots of love, Heather

  • MP

    Olivea, you are one special young lady! Let me put some thought to how I can help you best. Would you like me to try to sell them at Prima? No commission, just 100% of the proceeds to you and your project. MP

    • Olivea Borden

      Really! Definitely! Thank you, thank you, thank you! What would this look like on your part? I know you don’t have a lot of space, but would I create a display? Let me know what this looks like practically. I am so honored by even the offer!

  • Kevin Denton

    Olivea your work and heart are so inspiring! I’m so proud of you and know that God is using you in a big way. I’m also so impressed with how you are choosing to use your time and your gifts. Put us on an email list for financial support to get to Nicaragua, and I think I might know a few more girls in my family who would love a Dolly.

    These two below were awfully happy to get theirs for Christmas this year! The one on the left is Sally, and the one on the right is Suzy :)

    Many blessings from our family to yours, and we’ll be praying for your venture!

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