Thursday, 26 March 2015

Strange noises.


The postman put a package through the window. It was snowing a little and very windy so, rather than knocking on the door, he tapped on the window.

Reuben took charge of the package but, as it had Mam's name on it, he didn't open it. When he turned to walk away, he thought he heard a strange sound, so he put his ear to the package.


Yes! There was definitely a noise coming from inside it. It was a cross between rustling and snuffling.

Deciding it could be something dangerous, he thought that perhaps the grown-ups might be useful to have around, for a change.

'Mam! Dada!' he yelled, as he gingerly edged away from the package that, now he rally looked at it, seemed to be moving too.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Dressing up

Monday of next week is our local school's Dress Up a Bear or Doll day. The theme this year is Classic Books and I am to help with the judging. It isn't my favourite thing to do as I am aware that, quite often, the same few children win most of the competitions but, this time, I'm in charge of quality control.

In this case, quality control doesn't mean choosing the highest quality outfit, it is more to do with checking that the work suits the child's age and personal  skill level. We hope to avoid awarding prizes to entries that are actually made by parents or older siblings and, with 40 years of involvement with primary age children, it was decided that I might be more able to spot the non-child-made efforts than some adults. I have my doubts about that, but hope to get it right.

So, to help get the children thinking over the weekend, I took in one of my repainted dolls this morning. She is a Kelly Wenarski repaint. Kelly named her Daliah Laine and, in the several years she has lived here, I haven't come up with a different one - yet.



She is dressed as Anne of Green Gables. Her hair is not quite right as it is too thick to braid neatly and I cheated! Sh! don't tell the children, I didn't make the costume! If anybody knows who DID make it, I'd love to know as I'd give credit where it was due..... 14/4/15 Just had info passed to me by Dee Owen, that Ellen Church was the original purchaser of this outfit from Susan Waite, who sews undr the name of Chirnside. Thank you to all three ladies!


.....and, of course, I will tell the children that I didn't make her outfit....eventually. Using pre-made clothes is not banned, it is more to do with putting the doll or bear into an outfit that suits the character each child chose.


Dahlia is a sweet girl but seems a mixture of a dreamer and an adventurer, just like Anne in the novel.

I love my repainted Sashas and, though I know some think them less attractive than all-original Sashas, I have to say that I think Sasha Morgenthaler would have been thrilled that the serie dolls could have extended lives because of the skill of some of the artists who work on them when they are damaged.

As one little girl said today, as she proudly carried in her grandmother's Pedigree Boko doll to show us, 'A doll is for life, not just for Christmas, even if that life is long enough to be a Mamgu (a Grandmother)!' And our Sashas certainly stand the test of time.

Wish me luck with the judging! I just wish all 34 children could win and have a strong feeling I need to go and buy 34 little things tomorrow, ready to be handed out to all who take part - oh and I suppose the 3 teachers and 2 assistants will have to have something too..... and maybe the cleaning staff and dinner ladies.......

Thursday, 5 March 2015

A Group Photo.

A new baby brother arrived at Bryn Derw yesterday and Elijah wants to take a photograph of him with our other early baby boy, Gwynfor. He is looking for a good place for a photo shoot.


He thinks that, with the flowers coming out, this might be a good place. After all, it is springy and soft to sit on and the baby boys won't hurt themselves if they fall over. But he didn't think too hard about...........


..................just how hard it would be to get them up the slope.


'Hey! Connor! Do you want to be in the photo with the little ones?' he calls.

 K.' says Connor. ' Need you give me a bunk up there, though.'



'Ow, you're hurtig me!' yells Elijah.



'Wheeee!' cries Connor. 'Sorry, 'Lijah, but that be fun!'


'Right, everybody say cheese -- Oh, Con, don't pull his hat off.' says Elijah.

'I not! I never! I just THINKING!' Connor whines.


'OK - lets take the ... ' Elijah begins. 'Oh, no, Gwynfor! Where is your shoe? We must have dropped it when we came across the garden. Are your feet cold?'


'Aw, thanks, Con.' he says, thinking Connor will soon be back with Gwynfor's shoe.



'Right! Now, this is it! Photo time!' says Elijah dramatically, when he notices Connor has come back. 'Ready? Say Ch....... Connor! What's that on your head? ARE THOSE YOUR UNDERPANTS?????'


 'Nindyponts?' asks Gwynfor.

 'Uddypips?' asks the new baby.

'No!' Connor says, smiling happily. 'I got hat on! Hat with stringy-bobbly things in the corners, like you, mine baby brothers!'


'Phew,' Elijah says to the babies, five minutes later. ' Now Connor's gone, lets take a proper photo, with just the two of you in it!'

Our new little baby, in blue, doesn't have a name yet. So far, he hasn't told us what he'd like to be called . Gwynfor, my first Sasha baby ever, is delighted to have another blond baby boy to play with.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Hina Matsuri.

Well, we were all ready to 'Go Welsh' for St. David's Day on Sunday.......until this doll mama lost the three sets of national costumes she'd made.

OK! So we typed up a St. David's Day special, with the plan to show pics of the Bryn Derw kids amongst our newly bloomed out daffodils, instead........Then sleet, hail and snow fell all Saturday night, freezing the daffs and turning the ground round them to a sea of mud......

 So, instead, we are celebrating Hina Masuri today.

My almost D-I-L is Japanese. Today, she and my son went to set the date for their wedding - July 1st, an auspicious day, divined for them by the senior monk at the temple her mother attends. It will be a very ordinary, registry office affair in London, followed by a real and rather splendid ceremony in Japan when it can be arranged, sometime in 2016. The auspicious day was too close for it all to be arranged - for them to have enough time off work or for N's family to make all the arrangements.

To mark the final, formal engagement  today ( the day the wedding is arranged and, by tradition, there was no way of withdrawing by either side) and this day of  honouring of the role of girls and women within the home in Japan, a doll is to be sent to each of the newly related mothers-in-law.

N's mother has always wanted a western style, modern doll to add to the family doll display for this holiday, by which she means one that can have her clothes changed, giving scope for sewing a variety of kimonos. Most traditional Japanese dolls are ornamental and the clothes are fixed.

So, here is one like my new girl to come.






A Paola Reina Japanese girl, all the way from Spain! Her sister has gone to live in Japan.





She  has the white face, traditional for Geisha women. Twins but not exactly the same. It is important to N that both of we mothers are treated the same, indicating that she will now give the same respect to me as she does to her birth mother and that Jake will do the same (Really? Poor Mrs T, does she KNOW how my son winds me up???! He's a joker by nature.)

To ensure that we mums are treated the same, my doll has not been sent to me yet, an attempt to ensure we receive them at about the same time. Not that you can rely on the post to take any longer to get a package to Japan than to me here in Wales, but the attempt is being made.

The outfit is not really authentic. But they are a fun gift and may allow Mrs. T and I to transcend the problems of language difference to share sewing projects.

When the young couple travel to Japan for the more ceremonious version of their wedding, two traditional dolls will be bought. One to go on the T family display in March each year, and one to start a displsy here. These will be the more serious, traditional gifts, like the dolls in the display below.


As though I needed a doll buying excuse, the onus is then on me to gradually amass a doll display to hand down to those daughters that the keep telling me they are not planning to have........

We will see! Doll display - no problem. Grandchildren  - well we westerners are not supposed to interfere with the desire for a family in our own offspring, but maybe Mr and Mrs T will not have that belief that they must mind their own business?!