I'm a fan of several blogs; most of them have idealistic pictures, beautifully cropped and polarized, with gorgeous, spotless children wearing handwoven, carbon-neutral organic fabric.
Do people really live like that? I don't. I think my kids are gorgeous but they're never spotless. I'm not great at taking pictures and the fabric I use is not handwoven/carbon-neutral/blahbity blah.
But I do love to craft and make handmade stuff for my peeps. The problem has always been time.
May I recommend: The Purl Bee, Mimi's dolls
I made three of these, one for each of my nieces. Each doll had a red dress plus an additional dress in the girl's favorite color.
These were so easy to make, no experience with doll making required. The free pattern is excellent. The hardest part was the face; I made a demo-doll first and practiced embroidering the face until I felt pretty good about trying my hand on the real thing(s). The demo doll was made with recycled plastic felt but the three final dolls (non-demos) were made with 100% wool felt.
One word of caution: All three of the dolls had their legs pop off- which was a good thing, actually. The three girls played with the dolls "so hard" and so often that they were left leg-limbless. This was easily fixed by sewing the legs directly to the body (instead of using the buttons). The girls couldn't care less about the restricted range of motion.
What I'm working on now: Tunisian crochet (or, how to fake knitting)