Monday, 30 October 2017

A new toddler

Ever since my younger daughter bought Edmund, her Gregor toddler (a Claudius) 2 years ago, I've been thinking about finding a girl toddler.  The prices of toddlers have gone up in the past 3 years so I knew it would be hard to find one, however I got lucky at the Sasha Celebration weekend in May as I was offered one based in the USA.  I made arrangements to collect her at the Sasha Festival in Washington DC in July.  She was shipped to Norvell as Peggy wasn't sure if she would make it to the festival even though she had booked to attend because her grandchild was due to arrive that weekend (in the event she did attend and her grandchild was born the day after the festival, perfect timing).

Peggy's photo of the minty Iona

Iona says 'Hi'
When we arrived at the hotel shortly after arriving in the USA, we met Norvell and had dinner with her before we collected two parcels from her (one for Lorraine).  I was thrilled with my new minty Iona.  Her new name didn't come straight away, she took her time telling me.

I had made a dress for her to use in the Dress a Sasha but on her first evening of the festival she changed into a Dollydoodles set of crop trousers belonging to one of her new big sisters (they were like trousers on her) and the white blouse.

The dolls on display in our hotel room in Washington DC - the new Iona wearing the Dollydoodles outfit intended for her big sisters

The next day she changed into her new Dress a Sasha outfit - 1860s fashion for well off young children included a crinoline (which I made using white pipe cleaners and cream coloured ribbons) to hold out the wide skirt of her dress.  She wore ribbons in her hair too.  She was playing the part of 'Maud' in 'An Old Fashioned Girl' by Louisa May Alcott, but she refused to keep that name afterwards.


My Iona as 'Maud' in Dress a Sasha, 2017

On the Saturday at the Sales tables I was able to buy a lovely dress for her made by Lynne F and a pair of sandals made by Monica J.  She proudly wore her new outfit that afternoon during the craft workshops to show off the felt glove puppets.


In her new outfit showing off her dress and sandals and the glove puppets along with baby Theo and Edmund at the Festival

She stayed in this outfit for the remainder of our USA trip and afterwards.  About a month later I bought a cardigan and hat from Rosie L (it is decorated with strawberries) which went well with that little dress and she sat on the Sasha shelf in the sewing room on the basket chair which my daughter was given at the Sasha Celebration Weekend.

By this time I knew what her name was - it was pretty obvious to me when we returned from the USA that her name would come from the trip which had realised my dream of visiting Concord, Massachusetts.  My new Iona told me her name had to be Louisa, after the author of 'Little Women'.

At the Chat 'n Snap in October she stood with the pram, Edmund, Timothy and babies Theo and Amy still wearing her dress and the cardigan and hat set. 

At the Chat 'n Snap 2017 - new toddler Louisa, baby Theo, Timothy, Edmund and baby Amy with the pram, in the background are Melanie, Reuben and Nina in their 2014 Sasha Festival outfits

Louisa is now wearing a new smocked dress by Marilyn H as she sits enthroned on her favourite chair. Baby Daisy has new smocked rompers in the same fabric, by Marilyn.

L-R: Miranda, baby Daisy, Louisa, baby Leo, baby Theo and Trendon Elliott

Louisa in her favourite chair
Welcome Louisa (and thank you Peggy). 

Louisa is not the newest blond in the Sasha collection, however that is for another post.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

USA 2017 - Laura does the Boston Freedom Trail

It was Laura's last full day in the USA and she was visiting the city of Boston, with our friends as tour guides.  It was a glorious warm day and Laura was looking forward to exploring the Boston Freedom Trail, as the city was the scene of many 'firsts' in US history in the struggle for freedom and human rights.

Sailing boats on the river as we approached Boston

On the way to the Old South Meeting House Laura paused outside the Old State House Museum and Massacre site - she didn't go inside, though she was interested to know that within this building John Adams, John Hancock, John Adams and others debated self-government and set in motion the American Revolutionary War which she had learned about the previous day.
The Old South Meeting House - the start of the Freedom Trail.  This was a church where many famous abolitionists had met and worshipped together
The sign about the Old South Meeting House

Phyllis Wheatley was a young black woman born in Africa and sold as a slave in childhood, unusually she had been educated by her Boston owners and became a famous poet.  She had worshipped at the Old South Meeting House church.


Laura learned about the fugitive slaves who had escaped from slavery and made their way away from the slave states to freedom

Laura read about Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1852 book about slavery which Abraham Lincoln said was "the little book that started the great war".

There was plenty of information about the women who had been involved in the fight for freedom and equal rights, including Louisa May Alcott who lived in Boston on and off throughout her life.

After leaving the Old South Meeting House, Laura and her family made their way to The Kings Chapel, where Louisa May Alcott's mother Abby May had worshipped as a child.

On the way to The King's Chapel, Laura saw the pavement commemorating the site of the Boston Latin School, the first school in the USA (1685)

In The King's Chapel it was good to sit down and rest in the cool building as it was very hot outside

There was a beautiful organ in the gallery in The King's Chapel but no one was playing it at the time Laura visited
Louisa May Alcott's baby brother was buried in the old burial ground alongside King's Chapel
Outside The King's Chapel, two Ducks were passing by. Laura didn't have time for a ride.

Boston Ducks (amphibian transport)

Next Laura visited the Granary Burial Ground where the Boston Massacre victims of 1770 and Paul Revere were buried.

Granary Burial Ground 1660

Grave of Samuel Adams, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence

Grave of the Boston Massacre victims

The Granary Burial Ground
Laura's next stop on the Freedom Trail walk was the Boston Common of 1654, which is now a public park.  It was so hot that the most important thing was to find some refreshment and shade.

Sign for Boston Common

Enjoying freshly squeezed real Lemonade and ice in the shade at Boston Common

After a good rest, there was some more walking as Laura wanted to see the Boston Italian quarter.  On the way there, through several streets, Laura was amused to see the Steaming Kettle, a famous Boston landmark (the shop below is now occupied by a coffee chain).

Boston's Steaming Kettle

Laura and her family enjoyed lunch at Mother Anna's restaurant on the edge of the Italian quarter

However after the main course for lunch, the place to go was Mike's Pastry - home of Boston Cannoli


Boston Cannoli from Mike's Pastry
A short distance from the home of Boston Cannoli is the Paul Revere house, the oldest surviving house in Boston.  It is furnished as it would have been in Paul's time (however, like Orchard House, photos are not allowed inside) so Laura had to remember what she saw to tell the other Sasha's about later.

Sign on the side of The Paul Revere House
In the visitor's centre it was possible to take photos, and Laura was fascinated by a miniature version of Paul Revere's silversmith workshop.  Apart from his famous ride to Lexington on 19 April 1775, Paul was famous for his metal craft which included silver smith work and a bell foundry.

Laura admired the model of the Silversmith workshop, with Paul Revere and his employees at work

Paul Revere's craftsmanship was excellent - these were some of the things he made

Outside the museum was one of the bells which Paul Revere's company had cast

The big bell on its ringing frame

The statue, near the Old North Church, commemorating Paul Revere's famous ride
Sign for the Old North Church

Inside the Old North Church the organ was being played in rehearsal as the tourists wandered around

Laura was interested to learn that the steeple of the Old North Church had been paid for originally by Honduras Merchants then later when it was toppled a second time in a hurricane, children and public subscription had raised the money for its restoration
Out in the streets of the Boston Italian quarter, there was a Catholic religious festival in full swing, celebrating Saint Agrippina. Laura had not encountered a street festival like this in her trip to Rome in 2015.
Banner for the Saint

Street shrine for Saint Agrippina

A marching band playing for the Saint
The street festival for the saint was noisy, fun and bright, there were lots of food stalls however Laura was still full of Cannoli so didn't need any more food.  She made her way back to near the start of the Freedom Trail to see the Holocaust Memorial.

The Boston memorial to the victims of the Holocaust

On the Boston memorial to the Holocaust Laura saw that each victim's number (assigned to them by the Nazis) was engraved on the glass panels in the memorial and there were several memorial towers in the row, with numbers engraved right to the top, a mind boggling and horrifying testimony recording all those lives lost during the Second World War.

The Boston memorial to the Holocaust
Nearby at Quincy Market there were a lot of street performers and stalls selling all kinds of hand crafts and fun items (including balloon creations).  Laura enjoyed watching the street performers with her girl.
A busy Quincy Market on a sunny August late afternoon

Balloon creations at Quincy Market

The very daring and skilled Street performers

Laura and her girl enjoyed watching the street drummer who was using all sorts of plastic buckets and kitchen utensils for his drum kit - the rhythms and sounds were amazing.
The sun was setting as Laura and the family made their way to Not your average Joe's for dinner.  It had been fascinating and foot weary day in Boston.

The following morning it was raining again as Laura helped with the packing.  The wild turkeys were wandering in the garden again and came to the bird bath for a drink during breakfast.  Laura asked her girl to write the postcards to her friend Henry in England all about her USA adventures.

Wild turkeys in the garden at breakfast time

Writing postcards to Henry

Laura all ready to travel home to the UK
Laura had thoroughly enjoyed her travels in the USA, there had been so many highlights and special times and she had learned so much along the way.