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Saturday, 24 December 2022

Merry Christmas 2022

Just a very quick post to wish all my doll and craft friends a Merry Christmas 2022 and a Happy New Year for 2023.

I've been too busy with other projects and work to have much time for the dolls recently however during the past week I have taken out the wonderful Julie Ruleman smocked dresses which were souvenir outfits my daughter and I received at the 'Christmas in July Sasha Doll festival' and put them on Melanie and Florence. Tonight I dressed Reuben and Nicholas James in the two new Dollydoodles Christmas tops and the new trousers I bought at the Chat 'n Snap in October. Of course, we had to dress Laura and Edmund in their chorister robes from their Dress a Sasha appearance at this year's festival too. This afternoon I enjoyed listening to Carols from Kings on the radio with Once in Royal David's City starting Christmas for me (we watched the recorded TV version this evening too).

This year my elder daughter sent us a Seeds Advent Calendar, part of which you can see on the wall behind the dolls. I've just opened envelope 24 and it is the seed for a Christmas tree in 2028! 

The dolls are standing on a table beside our new potted Christmas tree which replaces the one we used for 3 years but didn't do well in the long hot summer this year.

Reuben, Laura, Edmund, Melanie, Florence and Nicholas James in their Christmas outfits

Reuben, Laura, Edmund, Melanie, Florence and Nicholas James at Christmas

Reuben, Laura, Edmund, Melanie, Florence and Nicholas James with the Christmas tree

Hopefully in the coming week between Christmas and New Year I'll find a bit of time to relax with the dolls.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Guess the name of the doll raffle

 About 18 months ago when we were on one of our night time dog walks around our town, my daughter and I spotted a modern play doll in a charity shop window. The following day I went to buy her, she was in very good / almost unplayed with condition and her long hair was very shiny and smooth, not tangled and matted like many played with dolls. She is an 18" Chad Valley DesignaFriend doll, usually sold at Argos in the UK. She has a soft body and vinyl head, arms and legs. The commercially made dress she was wearing was clearly not original to her (very short, different scale). My daughter brushed her hair and plaited it then for a year or more she languished on a box in my doll/craft room waiting for attention. 

When I was working with a friend on the craft stall plans for our annual church Christmas Fayre this year, I decided to sort out some outfits for the doll, and turn her into a Guess the name of the doll raffle prize.

In the event, I was able to buy 3 pairs of DesignaFriend shoes, plus a pair of DesignaFriend boots with jeans. In our stash of 18" doll clothes, my daughter and I found a blue/purple/pink shirt, the pink, purple and white stiped hoodie and a small pink rucksack we'd won at a Sasha Celebration weekend raffle a few years ago. I bought a new doll hairbrush and got to work on outfits to go with the 3 pairs of shoes.

In July while we were in the USA, after the Sasha Festival, our friend took my younger daughter and I to a wonderful fabric shop not far from Boston, where we spent time finding buttons in the button bin (quite a relaxing pastime filled with interesting discoveries) plus some fine print red/white/blue fabric and a couple of other pieces of fabric. I made a dress with the fabric (using Simplicity 4364 18" doll clothing pattern), found some pink fabrics in my off cuts box to make a tank top (which uses 2 of the pink flower buttons from the USA) and boxer shorts, and make a plain turquoise A-line skirt with an elasticated waist, using patterns from 'Sew the Contemporary Wardrobe for 18-inch Dolls' by Joan Hinds. My friend and I made scrunchies for her hair and wrists.

I took photos of the doll wearing each outfit. 

The tank top (with pink flower buttons), boxer shorts and pink sparkly slippers

The shirt, skirt and turquoise trainers outfit

The hoodie, jeans and boots outfit

The dress and smart shoes outfit

My daughter wrapped a large shoe box in silver wrapping paper, I stitched 3 of the outfits onto pink card and dressed the doll in the dress. My daughter did super French plaits for the doll (after I'd taken the outfit photos!). In the display the jeans and hoodie with boots outfit was put in the lid of the box, while the other 2 outfits were placed on the table in front of the doll.

The doll with her 4 outfits before we took her to the craft stall

My daughter and I compiled a list of over 200 names into a spreadsheet, I printed these out with spaces for people to write names and contact details alongside their chosen name(s). 

The doll and her outfits on display on the craft table at the Christmas Fayre

We sold several names at the Christmas Fayre today on the craft stall and will continue to sell names until a week before Christmas (I don't expect to sell all the names!). The chosen names will be put into a spreadsheet and a random number generator used to pick the winning name (so as my daughter said, it should have been 'Pick the name' not 'Guest the name' because we've not pre-chosen the name. This was a fun project to do on the fringes of my spare time, will hopefully raise a bit of money for our church funds and become a played with doll by another child after her first owner no longer played with her.

Saturday, 22 October 2022

Chat n Snap 2022

This year Dee changed the theme of the Chat 'n Snap in response to the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The idea was to find a picture of the late Queen, King Charles or any of the British Royal family and replicate it with a Sasha doll or two. We had done some sorting through our large collection of clothes for Sasha in the week before the event and I had no time to make something new. We chose to depict Princess Charlotte as a baby in a smocked dress with a ribbon in her hair, because that style of clothes is regularly used for dressing younger members of the British Royal family. My younger daughter carefully styled baby Daisy's hair after dressing her in a smocked dress made by the late, lovely Marilyn H.

Baby Daisy as Princess Charlotte

Princess Charlotte with the Scottish piper

The display this year was in front of the St Ippolyts wall hanging rather than on the stage. It was a small but lovely display of several dolls depicting associations with royalty.

The Scottish bagpiper piping for the King

Katherine, Princess of Wales

A close up of the Princess of Wales

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

Modern royal children always wear very classic traditional clothes for official occasions, such as the baptism of Prince Louis

The late Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee this year

Jennie W made a replica of the late Queen wearing her Platinum Jubilee outfit

The late Queen Elizabeth II with her corgi, handbag and Paddington bear

A very regal outfit for the late Queen

Many other dolls had come to the Chat 'n Snap and were displayed on a couple of tables nearby. We had changed some of our dolls into fresh outfits, so Trendon Elliott got to wear one of the Sasha Festival souvenir outfits (the snow suit), Nicholas James put on jeans to go with the rainbow hoodie I had bought for him at the 2021 Chat 'n Snap, Miranda wore an outfit she won on the raffle at the Sasha Festival, Laura still wanted to wear her goth style outfit she had won in the raffle at the Dolly Jolly and Florence wore a dress I won in the 2021 Chat 'n Snap plus a jacket I bought at the festival. Toddler Louisa wore an outfit I bought from Lynne F at the Festival and Edmund wore his union jack waistcoat made some years ago by my younger daughter. 

At the Dolly Jolly in May we had won a baby Ginger on the raffle, along with her quilt, a second outfit and a teddy bear. Baby Amy wore the second outfit (made by Rosie Laird) and they shared two pairs of green / lime shoes, wearing one of each pair while playing with their monkey (knitted for me by a church friend last Christmas). While she was admiring our red haired baby twins at the Chat 'n Snap, Jennie W suggested a name for our newer baby: Robin.

Our babies Amy and Robin with their monkey, toddlers Louisa and Edmund, with Trendon Elliott, Nicholas James, Miranda, Laura and Florence behind them, surrounded by some Little Darlings, Teddy's BJD and Sasha dolls, with Hans the studio doll in the background

Alice's boys dressed in their shorts

Some of Alice's dolls on display

I think these Sasha dolls also belonged to Alice

Hans the studio doll, Curly and the rare Trendon toddlers

Gotz and Trendon girls in cardigans, with a pair of rerooted girls in the background

Three girls wearing name tags, plus a Sasha who I think belonged to one of the children attending the event

Three little ones with some unique hair styles and colours

An assortment of Sasha dolls

The two Jackie Rydstrom rerooted girls

I didn't take photos of the sales tables this year, except for this one photo of Trisha's beautiful sewing and embroidery, before the sales officially opened.

Tricia's lovely girls and needlework

We had limited ourselves to only buying for the boys this time as our recent sort out of all our Sasha clothes revealed plenty of dresses and outfits for our girls, with far less choice for our boys. We bought two pairs of trousers (cargo pants and corduroy trousers) from Ginny, 13 Sasha World magazines from Jocelyn, a Christmas sweatshirt and a Christmas hoodie from Dollydoodles, and some gorgeous fabric and tiny buttons from Jane.

Teddy had brought his restringing equipment and spent much of the time restringing dolls for people, I got a ring side seat for taking photos as Teddy and Alice were at the same table as us for the day.

A beautiful No Philtrum girl was restrung ahead of being shipped overseas to her new owner

The notorious Curly had his arms restrung (too much use of your gavel Curly)

One of the dolls whose arms needed restringing was Hans the studio doll.

Hans before his arms were removed for restringing

Threading through the new elastic cord

Teddy restringing Hans

Tying the knot in the stringing

Hans being redressed after his arms were restrung

Hans being redressed

Hans holding up his arm to show he can do so!

Close up of Hans, photo taken with my macro lens to show his beautiful Sasha hand-painted eyes

Another doll who attended the Chat 'n Snap was Amelie, the very rare Sasha baby who is a life size version of a new-born infant, she is made of some kind of wax compound so has a translucency to her appearance which does make her look very fragile and lifelike. I held her while my daughter Dmd took photos of her with my macro lens and camera on the tripod.

Baby Amelie being held by DollMum

Baby Amelie

Baby Amelie

Close up of Baby Amelie, taken with the macro lens by DollMum's daughter

We were fortunate enough to win 5 prizes in the raffle (which raised £400). Our prizes were two Dollydoodles outfits (sweatshirt, tracksuit bottoms & beanie, plus jeggings), some fabric (blue fat quarters), a green patterned pinafore dress, a tartan skirt and red cardigan.

Thank you Dee and family for another very enjoyable Chat 'n Snap.

Friday, 12 August 2022

USA 2022 - Sasha festival part 5

On the Saturday morning of the Sasha Festival in Syracuse the Sasha Sales room opened at 9am, though the stall holders had been busy long before then setting up their wares. I didn't take any photos of the sales room, I was too busy looking at what was for sale and making choices within a tight budget! I did buy a few items.

The theme for the lunch was A Christmas Story, the 1983 film, which wasn't familiar to us though is a Christmas tradition in the USA. Our table hostess was Chris K, who gave us lovely little denim bags she had made, inside the bag was a Christmas apron she made, and she also gave us jingle bells on red ribbon. I had changed Melanie into the Reindeer outfit I had bought from Kurt at the sales, so she ended up wearing the green apron and the bell over her reindeer nose, while holding the bag and other tiny gifts which people gave out (thank you to all those generous people who gave little gifts over the weekend).

Saturday lunchtime

Melanie in the reindeer outfit with Laura still wearing her 'Once in Royal David's city' choral outfit at lunch on Saturday

The festival souvenir for Saturday lunchtime was an amazing red snowsuit with knitted scarf and mittens (threaded through the sleeves) all beautifully made with black boots in a gift box. Ralphie, the main character in A Christmas Story film wears a red snow suit in the film apparently. 


Our Saturday lunchtime Sasha festival souvenir gift boxes containing the snow suits


Our Saturday lunchtime Sasha festival souvenirs of red snowsuits, hand knitted scarves and mittens, plus snow boots

The Helper raffle draw took place again at lunchtime. After lunch, there was an open meeting about future festivals which everyone was invited to attend. Although we already knew the 2023 festival was being arranged in Portland, Oregon (details had not yet been announced) there was no organiser or venue yet for the 2024 festival. There was some discussion about what is involved in organising a festival, with Heidi explaining she was updating Ann Chandler's festival organiser advice document. Then Diane D announced that Petrana was offering to run the 2024 festival in Milton Keynes, England! Most of the Sasha Festivals have been held in the USA, with only 2000 (Huddersfield, England) and 2012 (Stratford-upon-Avon, England) held elsewhere - it seems a pattern of every 12 years from 2000 onwards the Festival goes to England. As a local, I offered to help Petrana once she calls for helpers.

I cannot quite believe I didn't take photos of all 6 Raffle dolls! I had meant to but somehow never got a good moment to do so, which means the only two I've photographed properly are the wonderful Christmas Eve in the child's bedroom ensemble by Julie Ruleman and friends, and the Susanna Lewis ensemble which I had helped display. 

Raffle doll

A night before Christmas themed Sasha girl's bedroom raffle doll, co-ordinated by Julie Ruleman

Raffle doll

Many of those wonderful outfits (all the smocked ones) were made by Julie Ruleman

Raffle doll

This Sasha doll is very lucky as she has many lovely toys, a beautiful bed and some superb outfits to wear

The other four Raffle doll ensembles were:

  • Baby's First Christmas organised by Fran (to which I had contributed my abacus toy)
  • Sasha Alphabet with an item for each letter of the alphabet
  • Sasha and souvenirs from the 2021 Sasha festival donated by the Bolland family
  • A year of Sasha/Seasons of Sasha with an outfit for each month of the year

We had free time on Saturday afternoon after the Future festivals meeting, so we took the opportunity to use the hotel laundry, then prepared for the festival banquet that evening.

The theme for the banquet was 'A night before Christmas'. Once again the food was served buffet style in the lobby to the large conference room, there was a choice and what we had was delicious.

Our table hostess was Fran, who gave each of us a pretty Christmas dress she had made plus a miniature elf on the shelf in a gift bag.

Table hostess gifts from Fran

Florence and Miranda (who didn't attend the festival) wear the Christmas dresses made by Fran, with the miniature elf on the shelf toys and the gift bags.

On the Saturday evening only there was an exhibition of dolls featuring outfits made or designed by Susanna Lewis, but I didn't manage to photograph that either!

At the hotel one of the staff members had commented earlier in the week when Diane D first arrived with Curly and Helen that she also had a Sasha doll, from her childhood, but had never met anyone else who had a Sasha and was amazed that there was an annual festival featuring these dolls. On the evening of the banquet Stacy brought her doll, called Sasha, to the banquet to show everyone, by that time several Sasha people had given her some new clothes and shoes for her Sasha, who was wearing a lovely yellow ensemble. Diane introduced her and said that as Sasha had not met any other Sasha dolls in many years, tonight she would visit each table so we could take photos of her meeting our Sasha and Gregor dolls and share them in the Sasha Morgenthaler Facebook group.

Diane explains

Diane introduces Stacy and her Sasha

Diane, Stacy, Sasha

Diane explains about Sasha meeting the Sasha community


Sasha came to meet Timothy and Laura at our table


"Welcome Sasha, it is really good to meet you, we are Timothy and Laura all the way from England"


"Hello Timothy and Laura, I am pleased to meet you, welcome to Syracuse" said Sasha

Usually at the end of the banquet meal there is a presentation or talk of some kind, this year the format was slightly different because Sharon and Carol explained that the programme was our recollections of Susanna Lewis so everyone was invited to contribute. The microphone was handed around to those who had something they wanted to share about Susanna, resulting in several interesting anecdotes about Susanna, her artistry as a fibre artist and her well researched knowledge of Sasha dolls, plus some early recollections of Sasha festivals especially from Dorisanne Osborn and Anne Votaw who were both sitting at the dinner table with us.


Jeanne, Peggy, Mary and Dorisanne at our table.


Marti and Anne at our table, with Fran's Sasha wearing the rainbow dress she got in the Children's Fund Auction on Friday night.

Programme announcement

Sharon at the podium invited recollections of Susanna Lewis.


Dorisanne Osborn recollecting Susanna Lewis and Sasha festivals.


Anne Votaw talking of her memories of working with Susanna on the three Sasha books.

Our final festival souvenir gifts were given out and proved to be an astonishing achievement of fine sewing and smocking - imagine making 100 almost identical hand smocked white dresses and underwear. The maker had asked to remain anonymous but many of us guessed.

Souvenir dress

2022 Sasha Festival souvenir hand smocked Christmas dress and underwear by anonymous and shoes by Marge Truax

Souvenir outfit

The white underwear, shoes, socks and ribbon

There were four different smocking designs, we received two of the same design, so swapped the next morning with one of our breakfast companions, Florence G, so we had one dress with the candy canes and one with the Advent/Christmas wreaths.

The final Helper Raffle items were drawn then came the big moment when the 6 Raffle dolls draw took place.
Susanna Raffle doll

The Susanna Lewis tribute doll changed into her Christmas dress, a copy of a dress Susanna Lewis wore for Christmas one year, when she was given two little rag dolls (miniature versions of which are just in front of the tribute doll.

Susanna Raffle doll

Wearing her Susanna Lewis Christmas dress, just before the raffle draw

As a gift for helping at the Children's Fund Auction, each young helper was given named raffle ticket to put in their favourite raffle doll paper bag for the draw. The younger teenagers and children helped with the Raffle doll draws. First it was the Sasha doll in her bedroom.

Draw 1

Drawing the first ticket, opening it and reading her own name in amazed excitement! It was brilliant that this raffle doll was won by the child who drew her own named ticket from the previous evening's Children Fund Auction thank you gift! Her joy was a delight to behold.

Draw 2

Next was the draw for the Susanna Lewis tribute doll and her wardrobe. This was won by Carol who was one of the festival organisers.

Draw 4

The children clustered around Fran's Baby's First Christmas raffle for the fourth draw. This was won by Tricia, who generously shared her wonderful prize with the two young brothers who were attending the festival.

One of the teenagers won a raffle doll (I think it was the Alphabet one - draw 3), but I didn't take a note of who won the other two raffle dolls.

Susanna Lewis Raffle doll winner

JoAnn, Carol (the lucky winner) hold the Susanna Lewis doll, me holding Reuben wearing the Shakespeare Dream Coat for Sasha, and Marti just before we took down the display of the Susanna Lewis tribute raffle doll.

Some of us had brought our SCW Charity course dolls to the festival, so after the Raffle we arranged a group photograph.

SCW Charity course dolls

Four SCW Charity course dolls and their proud makers at the 2022 Sasha Doll Festival - me, Monica, JoAnn and Beth

On Sunday morning we all had breakfast together in the conference room before Sharon and Carol gave out thank you gifts to those who had helped at the festival. For helping at the Children's Fund Auction my daughter received a set of four beautiful notelet cards with the illustrations by the late Mary C Krupp, whose tribute was printed in the festival journal. One of the cards was the image on the front cover of the journal and had been used on the postcard announcing the details of the festival.


The Notelet cards illustrated by Mary C Krupp and the Festival journal article about her.


Sharon and Carol doing final festival announcements.


After breakfast with our cheerful breakfast companions as we awaited the announcement of the next Sasha Doll Festival

Karen and Kurt came up to the podium to announce the theme, date and venue of the 2023 Sasha Doll Festival as the postcard with all the details was handed around to everyone. The theme is 'Sasha Rocks' as Sasha enthusiasts celebrate 40 years of the festival. The festival will take place from 27th - 30th July 2023 at the Holiday Inn on the Columbia River, Portland, Oregon. Karen explained that she had been challenged at (I think) the Arizona festival to put on a Sasha festival on the western side of the USA, as so many of the festivals have been in the Eastern or Midwestern states, so this festival was several years in the planning, delayed a bit by the pandemic.

Sasha Rocks

The official Sasha Rock group announcing that 'Sasha Rocks' in Portland, Oregon, July 2023

We wish we could attend, but it overlaps with a musical event in which my daughter will be playing violin plus the distance and cost is another factor for us unfortunately. Good luck Karen and Kurt with all the planning, we'll come up with something to contribute which fits the theme even though we won't be able to attend.


Florence, Melanie and Reuben wish they could attend 'Sasha Rocks' next year

And so it was time to say goodbye to all our Sasha friends as the 2022 Sasha Doll Festival in Syracuse came to an end, which is always sad. Several people congregated in the main foyer during the morning and lunchtime as they awaited transport to the airport, some of us were not leaving until the next day.

Thank you Sharon and Carol, and all their helpers for a wonderful 'Christmas in July' Sasha Festival 2022.