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Saturday, 17 July 2021

Sasha reads a Rainbow - missing the 2021 Sasha Festival

When we attended the 2017 Sasha Festival in Washington DC and visited Dorisanne Osborn afterwards we vowed to make it back to the USA for the 2020 Festival in Pittsburgh. But the global pandemic meant this wasn't to be - the 2020 festival was postponed to 2021 in the same location, but due to the continued high virus case rate in the UK (plague island), it is not possible for us to travel (and my younger daughter has not yet been vaccinated). So this year, as the Sasha Festival commences, none of the UK based regulars or occasional attendees were able to make the trip to the USA.

My younger daughter and I had booked our places last year and retained our bookings for 2021 just in case. She really wanted to be at this one because the chosen theme is 'Sasha reads a rainbow'. So despite not being able to be in Pittsburgh with some of our Sasha friends, we decided to do our version of the theme for our at home 'Dress a Sasha'. We chose one of the two 'Dress a Sasha' themes: Sasha and Gregor read (the other was Neighbourhood helpers) and found as many rainbow flavoured items as we could to go in our little scene. 

We decided Florence, Edmund and Nina were reading before bedtime, so they were dressed cosily in their sleepwear, though young Edmund decided it was too warm to wear his fleecy dressing gown (it is English summer time, not Christmas), and sprawled on the mat in his rainbow coloured cars pyjamas which my younger daughter made for him in 2015.

Sasha and Gregor read a rainbow - our at home 'Dress a Sasha'

Nina 'reads' "Little Miss Sunshine"
(something I called my younger daughter when she was a baby)

Florence became engrossed in "Little Women"
as she had enjoyed visiting Louisa May Alcott's home in 2017 with Laura

"Little Women" book on Laura's lap

Edmund was fascinated by the diagrams in the book
Edmund and the spinning top book

Rainbows, clouds and beads, including a tiny elephant bead

Rainbow guitar waiting to be played

We love rainbows, books, street organs and Sasha!

These photos were all taken by my younger daughter, she is a keen amateur photographer. She bought her own DSLR Nikon camera 2 years ago and for Christmas 2020 was given some lighting gear: an LED light unit and rechargeable batteries, umbrella and tripod for the umbrella. The new kit meant it was easier to control the lighting for the scene without using an instant flash (which I always try to avoid with doll photography because of reflection if their vinyl is shiny from playwear).

We are watching the Sasha Festival from afar, thanks to those attending who are sharing their photos and blog posts on social media. We hope everyone has a wonderful time and keeps well despite the pandemic.

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Bouncing in

When Chloe and Max were visiting York in September 2020, they came across a little shop in The Shambles which had a delightful window display containing all sorts of interesting things. They spotted miniature dogs in the window, the Fox terrier in particular appealed to them. However at the time the coffee and antique shop was closed (it was early evening on a Sunday) so it wasn't possible to find out more. My daughter went back another day to see if the dogs were still there and they were. Sadly, since then with the second lockdown in November, the shop has closed permanently.

My photo of the 3 miniature dogs in the shop window.

My daughter's photo of the café & antique shop when it was open

My daughter's photo of the dogs in the window

On Christmas day, among many other lovely gifts under the tree (from a box of gifts my elder daughter posted to us), there was a small package for me to open and the little fox terrier bounced out of the wrappings. My friend Janet has a full sized live dog just like this miniature doggy, his name is Bouncer, so I decided to call the miniature dog Bouncer after Janet's pet.

Bouncer was interested in the ball

Bouncer jumped up towards Chloe

Chloe bent down to stroke Bouncer as Max tried to calm him down

Chloe and Max stroked the excited Bouncer 

Bouncer leapt into Chloe's arms

Chloe gave the wriggling Bouncer a cuddle before putting him down in Max's lap

Bouncer calmed down a little with Max sitting quietly on the floor

Chloe gave Bouncer his ball

Bouncer started chasing his ball

Bouncer and his ball

Later, Bouncer met baby Theo who loves dogs (his favourite Dollydoodles sleepsuit has Snoopy and Woodstock on it). Theo is the Sasha Baby Woolly which my younger daughter won in the 2017 Sasha Celebration Weekend raffle.

baby Theo and a bouncing Bouncer

A slightly calmer Bouncer with baby Theo

I have no idea who made the miniature Bouncer (there is no maker label) and sadly the shop in York has now closed permanently. Even his little ears are posable, he is a dog with real character.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Betsy's New Year's Eve party

Betsy (my only Schoenhut doll) decided to send 2020 out the door with a party to cheer everyone up. 

She invited her Sasha and Gregor friends and prepared the food. Everyone dressed up for the party. Betsy provided some games to keep her younger friends occupied.

Betsy dressed in tartan for New Year's Eve

Betsy with her party food

"Welcome to my party, get yourselves a drink, play games"

Reuben, Florence and Melanie found the drinks table 

There was a choice of orange juice or water in a jug

The games corner was busy

Miranda was playing a game with Louisa, with Clemence bear nearby

Nicholas James and Timothy were explaining to Edmund how to spin tops

Trendon Elliott and Laura were eyeing the cakes, sandwiches and other food

Reuben didn't want to be the first person to take food from the table

Betsy wanted everyone to have a good time

There was plenty of food

"Help yourself" said Betsy to Reuben

Betsy encouraged Reuben and Trendon Elliott to make a start on the food and went to talk to Laura, Florence and Melanie

"Have a sandwich" said Betsy to the girls

Trendon Elliott, Reuben, Laura, Melanie and Florence started tucking into the party food

"Sandwiches anyone?" Betsy asked Miranda and Louisa

At the word "Cake" the games players forgot to play and looked eagerly at Betsy with her plate

Edmund was keen have a choc chip muffin. "Thank you Betsy for a lovely party" he said.

2020 has been a difficult and different year for many of us as we cope with the ongoing global pandemic. I haven't had much time for the dolls because of my full-time job (working at home) and studying, so Lorraine's prompt in the Schoenhut doll group to post something for a New Year's Eve party was the spur and our last chance to do something doll related in 2020. It also gave me one of the first opportunities to use our new pan and tilt camera head on a new tripod which we bought as an early all family Christmas gift for ourselves (we needed to use it before Christmas for recording our street organ for some YouTube videos). It now means it is much easier to switch from landscape to portrait photos in doll photo shoots.

We hope you all have a healthy and happy 2021. 

Monday, 28 December 2020

Portable sewing kits for Christmas

In my study break since the end of September I've been in a sewing spree. Once the Advent Calendar and all its contents were complete, I made a couple of sewing accessory storage bags for my elder daughter as a Christmas gift. 

I had bought a fat quarter of Lewis & Irene fabric with dogs on it (she loves dogs) and decided that a useful gift would be a bag which she could use for storing and carrying her sewing/embroidery projects (she had started making some badges with embroidery thread on canvas). I bought a small plastic storage box for embroidery threads, an embroidery thread winder, some embroidery hoops, needles and small scissors. I designed the bag to be able to hold projects in progress on the one side (where I placed the embroidery hoops in two large pockets), then on the other side I made a deep pocket for the thread box which had shallow pockets in the dog fabric for storing things like packets of needles, a pocket for holding the thread winder, a needle case with felt flaps for the needles and a detachable case for holding the embroidery scissors. This little scissors case has felt stitched into the inside of the tip for protecting the scissor points and can clip onto a strap in the bag.

The embroidery project storage bag opened out

The embroidery project storage bag opened out, with the thread winder in its pocket

The embroidery project storage bag with the needle case flapped open

The embroidery thread storage box emerging from its pocket

The embroidery hoops emerging from the project storage pockets

The embroidery storage bag closed before the button flaps were fastened

The embroidery storage bag closed with the button flaps and snap fastenings closed

I subsequently decided that a sewing roll for holding all her accessories would be a useful gift so I found a fat quarter of sewing inspired fabric (another Lewis & Irene design), searched for as many different examples of portable fabric sewing kits as possible for design and layout inspiration then started sketching out layouts and made a list of accessories she was likely to want to store in the kit. I bought some accessories I knew she didn't already have (the steel rule, rotary cutter, scissors sharpener, tweezers, snap fasteners and also bought a packet of sewing needles though I knew she had some already.

The sewing roll opened out

The sewing roll opened out with the needle case open
and the pocket for pins or a small pin cushion

Storage pockets for a rotary cutter, 6 inch steel rule, measuring tape and tweezers

The scissors storage pocket in between thread reel storage
(my sewing scissors were inserted for the photo)

storage pockets for scissors sharpener, snap fasteners and spare needles with thread reel storage

The outer flaps folded in

The roll closed but not tied with the ribbons

The closed up sewing roll tied up

My elder daughter was very pleased with these sewing storage bags when she opened her gifts on Christmas evening after singing for 3 services in York Minster during the day. She has subsequently spent time winding embroidery threads, arranging her accessories in the pockets and putting needles in the needle cases. She also added two additional cords for thread reel storage into the sewing roll as she had several thread reels in addition to those I had provided.