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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A postcard from Cornwall

It was summer, the roses were blooming in the garden despite bursts of heavy rain. One day Laura received a letter.

"Who can it be from?" she wondered
Inside the envelope was a postcard puzzle
Laura tipped the pieces onto the table and started doing the jigsaw puzzle
It was not too difficult to see that there were 4 pictures divided by white borders
Soon she had all the edges done and started working on the middle pieces
"Last piece" said Laura as she put it in place to complete the picture
It was four photos of a village called Boscastle in Cornwall
Laura carefully turned the puzzle over (yes, it can be done) and read the message on the back.  It was from her friend Henry.
"Dear Laura,
We are having a lovely time in Cornwall despite the weather not being the best!  We arrived for a day in Boscastle and it is now pouring down with rain so had to wait in the cafe for ages until it cleared - no real problem as we enjoyed lunch and a cream tea! We went for a walk and admired the wonderful views once it stopped raining it was rugged, wild and wonderful!  We did have a couple of days when the weather wasn't too bad and will blog about the places we visited.  Much love, Henry :-)  P.S. Hope you had fun doing this puzzle postcard."
"Thank you Henry, I did enjoy piecing this together and reading about your Cornish holiday" said Laura
Laura hasn't visited Boscastle but her girl has been there twice, when she was much younger as we had 2 caravan holidays at Tintagel. Boscastle was severely flooded in 2004 because of a severe cloudburst (it hit the national news).  In our visits to the village it was good to see all the repairs that were done and improvements to the flood defences so it was a relief to know that despite Henry's rainy visit the village wasn't flooded again.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Flowers for the Queen

To celebrate her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday, Laura took her little brother Edmund to a Flower Festival in a nearby church.

The first arrangement they saw was called 'The United Kingdom' - it had red roses for England, leeks for Wales, thistles for Scotland and Shamrock chrysanthemum flowers for Northern Ireland.
Laura and Edmund admired the 'United Kingdom' flower arrangement
They discovered the Queen's handbags on a table.
Laura liked a handbag decorated with hydrangea flowers
Edmund tried to lift a handbag of small white flowers just like Mia Tindall (the Queen's great-granddaughter) did in the 90th birthday portrait
They found a display commemorating the Queen's close association with the Commonwealth countries. There were postage stamps, flags and a portrait of the Queen, as well as vibrant flowers including pincushion protea flowers from South Africa.
Edmund and Laura liked The Commonwealth flower arrangement
There was a magnificent display of the Queen's Coronation including photos of the event and a stunning arrangement symbolising the crown and clothes she wore for that historic event in 1953.
Edmund and Laura admired the Coronation display
The Coronation display was so elegant
Nearby was a tribute to all the soldiers lost in war, called 'Lest we forget'.

Laura and Edmund bowed their heads at 'Lest we forget'
Edmund was fascinated by the red poppies and spotted a bugle in the display
There was a red, white and blue display called 'Diamonds and Pearls' which represented the Crown Jewels
The 'Diamonds and Pearls' display matched their clothes very well
Edmund liked the display called 'The Royal Family Tree' which celebrated the changing of the guard and the garden parties at Buckingham Palace as well as a family tree showing images of the family closely related to the Queen.

Laura and Edmund had fun spotting different characters in 'The Royal Family Tree'
Edmund particularly liked the little guard figure while Laura liked the crochet hats which represented the hats worn at the Buckingham Palace garden tea parties
Seeing the garden party display made them hungry for cake which they found in the hall.
Laura and Edmund were glad to sit down for a rest with tea and cake
  Laura and Edmund found the Queen's crown depicted in flowers.

Edmund and Laura with the Queen's floral crown
The floral crown was beautiful and Edmund was pleased that Laura allowed him to stand beside such an important symbol of Royalty.  He was on his best behaviour and stood to attention like a Buckingham Palace guard.
Near the crown was a large urn for donations towards the cost of the flowers.  Edmund added a few pennies while Laura watched to ensure he didn't tumble inside it.
Edmund added his pennies for the flowers
 At the door of the church they found the Queen herself!
Edmund and Laura met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Edmund and Laura with the Queen
I had made the dress Laura wore in 2013 (I sent a matching one to Erica for Christmas 2012 Secret Santa swap), however when Edmund knew that Laura was taking him to see the Flower festival he asked for a waistcoat in the same fabric.  My younger girl made the lined waistcoat for him (she did all the machine sewing, turned it the right side out, ironed it and had a bit of help with the buttons (decorative) and press stud fastening. His waistcoat pattern is a scaled down version of one which we bought from Lorraine at the Sasha Celebration Weekend in May.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Raffle prizes from the Sasha Celebration 2016

Today I mowed the lawn when I got home from work.  However Daisy wanted the daisies in the lawn first so my girl dashed around and picked them for her before the mower got to them.

These are our raffle prizes from the Sasha Celebration weekend - Daisy the 1980s baby, the lovely smocked dress donated by Ginger from her collection, the tandem bicycle, a pink knitted dress, socks, hat and dress set Lorraine won and gave to baby Daisy, a petticoat by Alexisoffe donated by Linda Simpson, a hat and mittens set donated by Jackie Kraemer (and given to my girl by Jonny).  Not shown are Daisy's basket and the other bassinet (made up with mattress, coverlet and trim by Judith of Dollydoodles) and the miniature shopping trolley because Makie doll Isabel has claimed it for her own.   
Daisy, Daisy, her bicycle made for two and Laura wearing the smocked dress, with most of the other raffle prizes
Laura and baby Daisy with the spring flowers
Baby Daisy with the daisies
We were really lucky with raffle prizes, several wins so my girl nominated Iris to have one of our winning tickets and then two gifts from other winners towards the end of the raffle.  Daisy is now wearing the knitted dress set and looks very sweet in it.  The bunch of daisies is in a vase with water.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Sasha Celebration weekend 2016 - part 5

It was Sunday morning of the Sasha Celebration and we all gathered for breakfast together.  I brought my restored Ponfa pram to the table with Miranda who had not yet made an appearance.  My girl dressed Laura in her new smocked dress (thanks to Ginger for donating it to the raffle) and 3 of the babies came too.
Miranda, Laura and babies Amy, Leo and Daisy at breakfast
Jocelyn's girl was pleased to have a turn at pushing the pram
I also brought my Heather Maciak dolls Jenny and Lexie with the miniature knitting I'm doing for them, to show to Laura H, Jonny and Lorraine who are all knitters, but didn't photograph my little porcelain girls at the table.

After breakfast we all gathered in the room with the Robin Hood display for one last time of chatting.  My girl had got into the spirit of Robin Hood - a few years ago we had a caravan holiday in Sherwood forest so had a toy bow and arrow (and a hat belonging to her big sister).  We found some boots, leggings and a hoodie (from last year's Guide Camp) and a green sash I used in a school stage performance when I was about 7 or 8, so I didn't need to make anything - we just assembled the outfit.
Robin Hood and the display
Robin Hood at the Sasha Celebration
Some people had to leave before we got into position for a group photo.
Sasha Celebration 2016 group photo
One more joined the lineup for the Sasha Celebration 2016 group photo
Nicholas James and other dolls started to leave the Robin Hood display to find their way home through Sherwood forest.

My girl with Nicholas James in their Robin Hood outfits - she did most of the sewing for NJ's outfit
Kendal didn't have much time for her photo studio as her Sasha Brood was the highlight of the event so managed to squeeze in a few photos at the end.
Kendal photographing two Sasha dolls who had been in the Robin Hood display
Nicholas James in Kendal's photo booth
"Lights, camera, action" as Kendal photographs Nicholas James being Robin Hood
It was sad to say goodbye to people - we had such a wonderful weekend and I know I didn't manage to speak with everyone I wanted to this time.   I am really pleased to meet and chat with Ginger at last who was on her first ever trip to England, I also managed brief conversations with some of the other international visitors and some people I'd met before but not everyone.

I would like to thank Janet with her helpers Trisha and Theresa for doing a sterling job of organising the Sasha Celebration weekend in their 'spare' time.  Most people have no idea of just how much work goes on behind the scenes to make such an event successful - months of co-coordinating, negotiating, planning and checking on the tiniest details, smoothing things over when unexpected issues arise, taking risks (booking the venue means paying a big deposit) and some frustration is almost inevitable.  It is a huge responsibility and I do hope that the organisers enjoyed themselves in the midst of all the work of continually ensuring that things were running smoothly throughout the weekend.  I know they'll all have been very tired afterwards - that too goes with the territory of being a volunteer event organiser (I have experience of organising a multitude of concerts in the last 10 years for local fundraising).  I am very grateful for all their dedication which resulted in such a fun and memorable weekend together celebrating Sasha and Gregor, Robin Hood style.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Sasha Celebration weekend 2016 - part 4

After a fun day of crafts, raffle, sales tables and doll conversations we all gathered for dinner.  This time we had a dedicated room for our Sasha Celebration group, rather than tables in the main restaurant.  Just before dinner, two Makie dolls met for the first time.  At last year's Sasha Celebration, my daughter playing with Lorraine's Wren had inspired me to buy a Makie doll for my daughter, I had used the 'design your own' option and she had come out similar but not the same as Wren.  The dolls are 3D printed and are very pose-able.
Wren and Isabel are amazed to meet each other
"Wow, we look so similar" cried Isabel
"Look, same colour hair" said Wren
Wren and Isabel shook hands
Meanwhile two other non Sasha girls were meeting up again.  Last year I bought Betsy from Lorraine, she is a wooden Schoenhut doll. I gave her a new wig.  Peggy Sue was wearing her new outfit won that afternoon on the raffle including pearls (I think she fancies herself as Lady Penelope), Betsy was wearing an outfit my daughter received during last year's raffle.
Peggy Sue and Betsy saying hello again
Betsy was telling Peggy Sue about her favourite rocking chair at her new home
Wren and Isabel gave each other a hug - they were pleased to meet at last
On the dining table Isabel was hoping the wine glass would be filled soon - Wren was a bit shocked
Lorraine's baby wearing his mask joined Laura, Mabel and new baby Daisy on the dining table
Isabel tried some of the wine despite Wren's warnings
The wine made Isabel feel very dizzy, Wren caught her just in time
"Sit down" said Wren as Isabel held her head
"That was silly" said Isabel, "I didn't expect it to make me feel that odd"
"I did warn you" said Wren
"Hopefully you will feel better soon" Wren reassured her new friend
Once we had eaten our delicious 3 course dinner, it was time for the face mask competition.
The Sasha and Gregor dolls wearing their masks line up for the competition
The Sasha and Gregor dolls in their face masks disguising their identities
Laura and Mabel were beside Lorraine's dolls and Alice's doll
A pair of mischievous toddlers had found their way into the lineup even though they were not wearing masks
Some more elegantly dressed Sasha and Gregor children in their masks
Alice was thrilled to win the face mask competition with her green/forest themed mask
Wren was pleased to greet baby Daisy, who was wearing a new outfit for the evening, though would not part with her hat
Jonny's wonderful NiNi doll sat at our table
Jonny is a very talented doll maker.  The NiNi doll eye painting was beautiful
Isabel, who had recovered from her great wine escapade, went to meet the NiNi doll
There were various thank you presentations - Janet gave gifts to her helpers Tricia and Theresa and to all of us who had run a craft workshops.
Tricia and Janet during gift presentations
My gift from Janet was a lovely little wooden doll with a Sasha themed felt outfit.  Betsy was pleased to open the box to reveal this delightful surprise.
The little wooden doll with Betsy
Janet was presented with a bouquet of flowers to thank her for doing such a fantastic job of organising the Sasha Celebration again
Theresa presented Kendal with a specially engraved trophy and a card we had all signed to thank her for bringing her entire amazing collection of 68 Sasha and Gregor dolls to be the main feature of the Celebration
Kendal and Theresa with the trophy
Isabel sensibly drank water for the rest of the evening
Laura H with a doll wearing one of Emma F's lovely sweater outfits
Laura H appreciates good knitting - she does plenty of it herself
Baby Daisy with the NiNi girl
Betsy, Peggy Sue and NiNi girl
We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, chatting to several friends, meeting people we hadn't spoken with before and posing the dolls for photographs.