Saturday, 3 October 2020

Tricycle for two

 Annie and Emily received a package soon after Heather's treasure box arrived from Canada. They borrowed the Playtime Lexie and Jenny outfits from Heather's box as Jenny and Lexie were still admiring their ice skates from the treasure box and decided to go for a ride on their new transport - a tricycle!

Annie and Emily borrowed Jenny and Lexie's new 'Playtime' outfits to take the new tricycle for a spin while in the background Jenny and Lexie discussed their ice skates.

"Hold on tight Emily" said Annie

The little tricycle is metal and plastic, quite well made, though it has a screw in the back which won't tighten so it has a bit of a wobble.

Annie wearing Jenny's 'Playtime' dress

Emily wearing Lexie's 'Playtime' dungarees and 'Just like me' hat

I bought the tricycle intending to recreate a scene which had been set up by another Jenny & Lexie enthusiast in the old J&L Yahoo group but in the event Annie and Emily were keen to play instead. I used my macro lens on the camera to capture the close up photos of the vinyl girls, who have the most wonderful, delicate eye painting.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Chloe and Max discover York

 After 6 months of no outings or nights away from home due to the pandemic, it was strange to venture out and travel to another city. However some items needed to be delivered to my elder daughter who had just moved from one singing job to another, now that choral singing is permitted again (under strict health and safety conditions), so I braved the motorway and took a pair of Kruselings for the journey.

It was a cool, grey Sunday morning in late September when Chloe and Max found York Minster and the heart of the city.

York Minster and the heart shape in the West window

Max and Chloe found York Minster on the map

The real York Minster towered above them as they stood on the bronze map

On the south side of York Minster, the Christian Roman emperor Constantine the Great (274-337) languished on his seat of power, the sign nearby explained that he had been proclaimed Roman Emperor nearby, in 306.

Max and Chloe stood at the base of the ancient Roman column which was found inside the south transept of the Minster in 1969 during excavations.

Max and Chloe were impressed by the ancient Roman column

The Roman column towered above Max and Chloe

Inside York Minster the rows of chairs for the congregation had all been spaced well apart and faced the temporary altar at the West end, so the congregation would sit with their backs to the choir.

The York Minster choristers, songmen (lay clerks) and choral scholars have to sing in a much larger space than they normally take up, 2 metres apart, with their own music stands and currently without the pipe organ which is undergoing restoration. However at least they are allowed to sing again after 6 months of no choral singing in churches and they made a wonderful sound.

Max and Chloe were impressed with a beautiful illuminated map of York Minster in an ornate carved frame.

The illuminated map of York Minster with Max and Chloe 

The York city wall provided some wonderful views of the city and York Minster

Max and Chloe admired the view of York Minster from the city wall.

At Monk Bar (a large gate in the wall) was a model shop with some wonderful displays

The Tour of Porkshire (Yorkshire) featured pigs riding motorcycles!

York has Christmas all year round because it has a branch of the famous Kathe Wohlfahrt shop, housed in an ancient Tudor building (1434)

The window display of the Christmas shop was stunning

Max and Chloe particularly liked this miniature Children of the World music box

Some of the wooden Christmas decorations were truly astonishing

They could not resist visiting The Shambles, a very old Tudor street in York
Chloe and Max discovered a miniature Mongolian Ger (Yurt) in the room where they were staying overnight. It was a bit too small for them to creep inside.

The miniature Mongolian Ger even had the samovar for making tea to welcome guests

The two Kruselings enjoyed their visit to York and its famous Cathedral to hear live choral singing once more.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Treasure box from Canada

A box arrived (by hot air balloon?) and four very excited Heather Maciak dolls rushed downstairs to unpack it.

"Look, it is from Heather in Canada"

Emily, Lexie, Jenny and Annie looked in anticipation at the box all the way from Vancouver.

"It came quickly via airmail" said Annie to Jenny before the box was opened.

"My Elfin Jenny outfit!" said a delighted Jenny as she admired the lime green shoes, the bright floral felt tunic and the glorious cheerful stripes. 

"And your Playtime outfit" said Lexie, before discovering that Heather had sent a Playtime Lexie outfit as well, to match the one she was wearing, so the girls could dress alike.

"Your Playtime outfit is so pretty Jenny" said Lexie.
"Thank you Heather" exclaimed Lexie

Jenny smiled her thanks to Heather, she was overwhelmed to have her Elfin outfit once more (her original outfit did not come with her box when she joined our doll family, she was wearing the Playtime Lexie outfit instead).

Annie looked on hopefully, she wondered what else was in the box.

"Try on your Elfin outfit Jenny" suggested Emily

Jenny happily showed off her Elfin Jenny outfit

Lexie delved into the box to discover ...

... two pairs of lovely shoes to go with the Playtime outfits!

But there were more surprises for the girls was in the bottom of the box - two pairs of Boneka ice skates, one pair of pink skates and two pairs of blades to add to Boneka boots they've already got, plus three pairs of white tights for skating parties.

So Emily and Annie would be able to skate as well. All four girls are clamouring for ice skating outfits - I shall be busy.

Thank you so much Heather, your parcel gave much joy today.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Windmills and Tulips

Before Easter 2020 in the early weeks of pandemic lockdown in the UK, I bought a few fat quarters of floral fabric with the aim of making some Easter themed dresses for the dolls, however I was too busy with work (at home since mid March), studying, feeding the family and essential gardening. However at last, in late June, I've allowed myself some sewing time, a break from long hours at the computer screen.

My Sasha family have been hidden behind the two pieces of Indonesian print fabric I bought in Yangon last November when I was there for a work project: my working at home office is my sewing room and having a dolls house and dolls as a backdrop for video conference work meetings didn't seem sensible, especially as some people are not keen on dolls. The fabric often gets positive comments at the start of meetings.

Two years ago we had a memorable few days in The Netherlands and I had been keeping an eye open for some Dutch inspired small print fabric, so the 'Tulip fields pattern by Lewis & Irene jumped out at me when I was searching for fabric to include in a baby quilt.

Because the repeats in Tulip fields mean that some of the design would not show up well on a gathered, smocked dress for a 16 inch doll, I decided that the style of dress to use was the late Ted Menten's pinafore dress pattern, which I have sewn several times before (most recently for the Raffle prize I made for the Sasha Celebration Weekend 2019). I adjusted the pattern very slightly to ensure that the windmills beside the side seams wouldn't have their sails clipped by the seams, which means the dress is a fraction wider than originally designed. As usual, I stitched the dress with a lining, so it was sewn inside out then turned about. This meant that the back needed to have a seam up the centre rather than be all one panel. I managed to pattern match the over shoulder straps as well, carefully positioning the mice and the tulips when cutting the fabric.

Shoulder straps pattern matching
(could be re-positioned a bit by moving the snap fasteners)
Some weeks ago in Sewing Bee (UK TV programme) the contestants were asked to machine smock a child's dress. In a Sasha Doll group on social media there was a flurry of discussion comparing machine smocking unfavourably with the exquisite detail of hand smocked dresses made for Sasha dolls, and suggesting that one of the Sewing Bee challenges could be sewing clothes for 16 inch dolls - a tougher challenge than sewing for young children!

My cousin gave me two Sewing Bee inspired birthday gifts recently - four pattern weights and a small handheld travel iron for pressing tiny clothes. I made good use of both when cutting out and making the Windmills and Tulips dress for Florence.
Using the pattern weights just before
cutting the lining fabric from the stitched together patterned fabric
On Sewing Bee a recurring reminder from the judges is to make sure that pattern matches are carefully handled on seams to make sure the resulting garment looks right, it is amazing how a misaligned design in the pattern across seams really jumps out and spoils the look of an otherwise well made item. On a small scale this problem is even more acute, so I did my best with the side and back seams, the back seam is almost perfect until the very top and the sides came out okay.

Windmills on either side of the side seam

The other side seam with matching windmills

The centre back seam almost perfectly pattern matched
The finished dress worked well over a light blue t-shirt I had bought at the Chat 'n Snap in October 2019 (Dollydoodles), the shoes were made by Rosemarie Shortell. I used a wide hair ribbon for a headband. Florence is standing with the Tulips and clogs I brought back from Delft (not Amsterdam which we had visited the day before) in 2018 and the Windmill and canal scene built using Nano blocks by my younger daughter. The three pots of tulips are displayed on a decoupage box decorated and given to me in 2017 by Alison, one of my earliest school friends (whose grandmother knitted me a doll and several outfits for my 6th birthday, sadly a doll I don't have any more).
Florence in her Tulips and Windmills dress
with tulips and clogs from Delft, and the Nano blocks windmill
It was good to do a bit of doll sewing again.

Monday, 30 March 2020

Llama jacket for Maciak and Kruseling dolls

I enjoy doing miniature knitting. I've previously designed a miniature sweater/cardigan and hat for my Heather Maciak dolls Jenny and Lexie and shared the patterns on Ravelry (sweater and hat).

Recently in a Sasha doll group on Facebook, my friend Janet challenged us to a competition to knit Rosemary Shortell's Llama jacket for Sasha dolls. I commented in the group that I really wanted to scale down the pattern for my miniature dolls and didn't have the time to knit the Sasha version for the competition deadline as I was studying. During February half term in a short trip to Belgium with my family I was able knit in the car and channel tunnel journey as my cousin did the driving, so I got started on the Llama jacket (I had scaled down the pattern, using my previous spreadsheet chart for the Maciak doll sweater to get the sizing right). The jacket and hat is knitted with 2 ply yarn and 1.5mm needles.

With a short break in between courses in March, the big change to working at home and social distancing with the global pandemic raging (resulting in cancelled examinations for my younger daughter and some evenings which we have used for family movie nights), I have taken the opportunity to do some evening knitting.

Lexie looks pleased with the result (and Chloe the Kruseling has tried it on too, the sleeve cuffs need an extra row of rib for the Kruseling dolls).

Theo (wearing a Rosie Laird sweater), Louisa (wearing a Janet Myhill-Dabbs outfit) and Lexie wearing her Llama jacket and earflap hat

Lexie wearing her Llama jacket and earflap hat

Side view of Lexie in the Llama jacket and hat

Theo, Louisa and the back view of the Llama jacket

Theo, Louisa, Lexie joined by Sofia in the sweater I knitted for Lexie in 2016

Chloe the Kruseling in the Llama jacket and hat

Chloe in the Llama jacket and hat

Chloe and Sofia the Kruselings in my miniature knitting for Lexie

Lexie in the Llama outfit

Lexie in the Llama outfit

Lexie in the Llama outfit

Back view of the Llama jacket and hat, on Lexie

The pattern is available on Ravelry at

CC BY SA NC 4.0 DollMum

This pattern may be used and adapted for non-commercial purposes only without contacting DollMum. If you wish to use it for commercial purposes (e.g. if
you wish to sell what you make from the pattern) you must contact DollMum at for permission and a fee may be charged