Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from the S-kids!

MamaT almost got Angela out to be the Christmas girl AGAIN, and we all started to whine, why does Angela get to stand by the tree EVERY year? So MamaT stopped and thought about it and picked ME, because my name is Tasha (which is a variant of Natasha, which means "child of Christmas," a traditional name for girls born near Christmas in Russia, like MamaT's sister (my namesake) who was born ON Christmas (even though she isn't Russian). So her family always got to have birthday cake on Christmas, which somehow seems appropriate. It is also Sasha's birthday, who is going to be forty-one-derful this year. None of the rest of us have specific birthdays... Many of us don't even know exactly what year we were "born." Here you see me holding the stocking with all the symbols of Christmas. If you want to read the poem about what they all mean, you can find it here.

But I'm not the only one out by the tree this year.
I'm joined by Patrick and Sandra, which is good, because they make good company while MamaT and her DH are busily preparing for the holidays.
Here we all are, ready to spread some holiday cheer!

Patrick sings, "Glad Tidings we bring to you and your kin, glad tidings for CHRISTmas and a happy new year!" He has a nice soprano voice.
If he would ever age past 7, he might make a good tenor.
Oh yes, and a note on Patrick's scarf. MamaT's mama taught all her grandchildren how to knit, both girls and boys. This little scarf was knitted by one of MamaT's nephews when he was about 10, and he gave it to MamaT who recently discovered it was in perfect Sasha scale by pure coincidence and gave it Patrick so he wouldn't catch cold while he was out caroling. Now MamaT wishes she had learned to knit from her mama.

Here is Sandy, playing with the train set again,
and licking on her everlasting candy cane!

Yours truly, Tasha, a child of Christmas,
thinking about Jesus, the real Child of Christmas.

We're feeling mighty cozy in our corner by the tree
as we eagerly await the big day!

We hope you had a peaceful solstice, and wish a joyful Christmas
and a fabulous new year to all of you and your dolls!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ted's Pinafore Challenge #72

Hey There! Now that all the voting is over for Ted's pinafore challenge, we can post our entry here. This was not the original planned entry. The first one planned was to be out of a nice corduroy fabric with a delicate print perfect for Sasha scale. There were a lot of complicated ideas in the plan, and MamaT was just figuring out where to begin when the idea for this dress flashed into her head. The fabric for this dress was a fat square for quilting MamaT found while looking for fabric for the baby cradle quilt (shown previously). She found this piece of fabric to be literally irresistible, because she purchased it without having a clue of what she might do with it later.

Once she got the inspiration for this dress, she decided she better try it first, because it would be much easier to start with than plan A, and would be good sewing practice. While the result isn't perfect (and the flaws don't show in the photos much), it's not bad at all for her experience level, we think. One of the most interesting parts of adapting the original pattern was in lengthening the skirt, since the bottom hem is curved. She figured out how long she wanted it to be at the edge and at the center point and made pencil marks there. Then using her arm like a "compass" and her elbow as the pivot point, she just free-handed a line between the 2 points, which came out perfectly first try. Those moments are so rare it's very exciting when they happen.

So as you might guess, the first pinafore planned has never been completed, and probably won't end up as a pinafore (or jumper) now, but MamaT still hopes to make a dress with it, maybe over the holidays when she has some time off work.

Cora claimed the dress immediately as hers alone when the dress was finished. She found a choker of MamaT's made from juniper berries that was the perfect accent for the dress. Juniper berries are supposed to ward off bad dreams, and Cora confirms that she hasn't had a single nightmare since she put it on. She won't say whether she ever had one before though. She also tried out a beaded hair tie as a necklace, but it was a bit much. Lona doesn't care about that and is wearing it now anyway, as you'll probably see in our next post.

One more thing to notice is to see all the photoshopping Ted did in the top photo to remove the back edging off Cora's modeling platform/dresser. He also improved the lighting. He said he even added legs to some of the models, so you can see he spent a lot of time on some of the photos. We'd really like to thank him for his huge investment of time on the project, because it was very fun, and the perfect motivation to get MamaT to start and finish a project. And THAT makes us dolls happy.

Lastly, we'll include a link to Ted's blog post that shows all the entries with comments by his fashion model daughter, Alex. She made positive, constructive comments on every single entry, another big effort. We really liked her comments on this dress. She said, "This elongated pinafore with overtones of an ethnic influence shows how any simple pattern can become the basis for completely different garments. Excellent solution."

If you haven't already seen them, I encourage you to check the link and see all the amazing creativity generated from one simple pattern and one challenge.
Alex's comments on Ted's pinafore challenge entries.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Fall Fungal Foray

Happy Autumn Everyone! We have been having a very wet fall, making it a great year for mushrooms. Patrick has been itching to get out on an exploration trip, so we thought we'd count how many different kinds of mushrooms we could find while investigating the backyard. While we won't try to identify all of them, we think this first one might be a slippery jack or Suillus luteus. In theory, it is edible, but not considered very palatable. By the way, please don't use this blog as an id. guide. You should never eat a wild mushroom unless you are 100% sure of your identification and its edibility. Never eat wild mushrooms that are raw or decayed, and never eat them in large quantities.

This cute little mushroom is a Lepiota cristata, sometimes called a star dapperling or a stinking parasol. Hmm. I like the first name better. Not recommended for consumption as it has toxic close relatives.

Okay, I'm not even going to try to identify this one or we'll never get through this post, but it IS hard to resist trying.
Looks like another Suillus type mushroom. Don't they look like just the perfect pancakes? Makes me hungry, but I will pass on eating these.
This large stump is a regular nursery. It has moss and fireweed, and baby birch trees, along with these adorable parasol shaped mushrooms
Ooooh. Now this stump is amazing. Check out this colony of mushrooms here!
Awesome! That big white thing is a giant mushroom pushing up out of the ground. They are coming up right through the moss all over around here.
Now this one looks like the earth itself is growing up out of the ground.
I am beginning to feel surrounded in fungus. These are called larch boletes, Suillus grevillei. They grow in a symbiotic relationship with western larch trees providing them with more water and nutrients then they can get with just their roots alone.

These cute little orange fungi are growing out of the side of a log with moss and lichens.
I'm starting to get bored with the whole mushroom thing. We found at least half a dozen others, but the photos didn't turn out so great. This stick is starting to look more fun to play with.
Besides mushrooms, there's also berries out this time of year. This one is called bunchberry. It is related to dogwood and is one of the fastest plants on the planet (the pollen is released by a little trigger when a bee lands on it.) MamaT insists I include the Latin names. That's Cornus canadensis.
Here's something to pucker you up. It's Oregon grape (Mahonia or Berberis repens). We tried making lemonade out of it once. Started with 10 berries and it took about 10 teaspoons of sugar before it wasn't too tart anymore!
Now Patrick is just exploring without looking for plants--walking along a rotting nurse log here.
Do you think anyone will think I'm holding this big log up on my shoulders? I didn't think so either, but it's fun to imagine.
This hollowed out stump is kind of fun to play in. I think there's a red squirrel who hangs out here shelling pine cones all summer.
Gregor showed you all kinds of hidey holes like this earlier this summer. I'm finding some cool critter haunts too.
Just a swinging in the trees. That little branch doesn't look quite strong enough to hold me, but it did!
I like all the different colors of rocks you can find around here--red, yellow, and green for starters.

And finally a trip to the dock where I got to look a large mouth bass in the eye. How cool is that? Thanks for sharing my little autumn adventure with me. See you later.
--Patrick Terrance (a red-headed Gregor)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sari Dress-up Day

Many years ago, when MamaT was in graduate school, she lived in a house with 2 kitchens and baths and 6 bedrooms and girls. One of her housemates was from India and wore traditional dress most of the time. She was also MamaT's all time favorite cook and got her addicted to Indian curry dishes. One evening the apartment pulled out Abha's saris and played dress-up, while Abha "dressed up" in western style clothes.

With this history, MamaT has always liked the Sasha Sari dolls, but they are not quite in her budget, so she thought she could make one of her brunettes into a sari doll and picked out some fabric that might make nice saris.

She also found instructions for making and wrapping saris. There is more than one way to correctly wrap a sari. She learned that a human sari is normally 45" (1.14m) by 6 yards (5.5-6m). Scaled down to Sasha size, that is about 9" (23cm) by 48" (1.2m).

You are supposed to have a half-slip to tuck the sari into. MamaT said she was too lazy to sew up a slip that won't be seen, so she used a rubber band instead.

About where the sari makes full circle around her waist, add 5-6 pleats. We hold these in place with a tiny safety pin.

Wrap the sari all the way around the waist one more time, and then throw it over her shoulder.
The Sari Sasha typically wears her sari over her head. It could also be left over her left shoulder, or brought around over her right shoulder, like MamaT and her housemates did. You can use another safety pin to hold the sari in place where you want it.
MamaT made two dragonfly saris and auctioned one off during the festival stay-at-homers raffle a few years ago. Here is the winner, Karen's doll, modeling her prize.
For some years, MamaT has envisioned making sari's for all the dolls, and as our Sasha family has grown, she picked up more bits of fabric to make Saris from, but the task of making us all saris become more and more daunting. One day MamaT's granddaughter found the fabric and wrapped several of us up and made this display.
MamaT decided it was as good a time as any to re-enact the sari dress-up day, even if all the saris weren't neatly sewn up like she planned. At least they were all cut to size. She decided that since there were 6 models in the original Sari dress-up day, just 6 of us would suffice for the Sasha sari dress up day. So here we are!
By the way, since you might wonder, MamaT is the one in green. The Sasha link we will share today is a site in Stockport, England that still has a few Sasha dolls and accessories for sale. ABCeta Playthings.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Baby Sasha's Cradle

Shhh, Don't tell, but baby Sasha is getting a pine cradle for a birthday present. MamaT wants me to tell you she designed all by herself and built it too with a lot of help from her DH.

It is stained with a cherry wood stain.

The babies can't wait to try it out.

Tasha is making up the bed for the babies.

First, the mattress goes in.

Now to fluff up the pillow.

Doesn't that fleece look cozy, all in shades of pepto-bismol pink.

Now for the matching blanket.

And finally, the quilt to inspire dreams of dancing fairy princesses.

After making up the bed, Tasha thought she'd try it out, but she really doesn't fit.

Here it is, all snugly made up and ready to surprise baby Sasha.

Oh, and there's a matching nightgown too!

Baby Cara is modeling the nightgown.

Testing the comfort level of the fleece blanket and snuggling Pepsi Koala.

I think Cara's eyelids are getting very heavy snuggled under the quilt there.

The twins fit too, snug as a pair of bugs.

Sandra & Margot insist on snuggling with Koko and Pepsi Koala.

Tasha plays rock-a-bye baby with the twins.

Is 3 a crowd? No way, we say!

How about 4 (or 6 counting the bears)? Well maybe it would be tough to sleep like this, but who cares about sleep when we're having this much fun?

We can hardly wait for baby Sasha's next visit (she only comes over with MamaT's granddaughter), so we can give her the cradle!

And today's link to share is by Andrea of the Doll Works. She has lots of clothes and very cool accessories to choose from, plus knitting patterns.