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.......


  1. Judging young children's work is one of the hardest things that we, as ex teachers, have to do especially when it's obvious that hasn't actually all been done completely by them as when under teacher supervision in the classroom.
    I wish you the best of luck tomorrow and like you I would geared up with a little gift (I'm thinking that a famous mini Cadbury's Cream chocolate Easter egg would be the perfect choice at this time of year!) for all who entered but didn't win a prize.
    Loved your Anne of Green Gables and really enjoyed the photos of her en-acting the character. Reckon that you should win a prize too

    1. A great idea! Cadbury or Smartie eggs would be perfect, thanks Kendal!
      Yes, the judging is always hard. I usually get roped in to judge handwriting, art and crafts at the village show circuit. None of us judge for our own village as it might mean you know one particular child well but I have had a few angry Mum moments when parents have been nasty because their child has entered work in beautiful writing, almost calligraphy, at the age of 6, which was clearly not their own, so I've passed it over!

      This year, all the work has to be done in school, which will make it easier to judge, but excludes the growing band of home educated children, which is sad for them as they need some contact with other children and the community and this was a way of them joining in.

  2. Love your girl dressed as Anne of Green gables Maybe you could call her Anne as she looks so perfect in the role? Love her outfit , just right for the part of Anne, great photo's of her climbing trees etc.
    Good luck with the voting, there will of course be the parent who 'helped' make everything so it looks like one of our talented Sasha clothiers made it, who if 'she' does not win will pour scorn on your judging! lol
    Best to take a big bag of Cadburys mini eggs for those that did not know the LOSERS!! I know that's a word people not like to use these days but kids will be in for a much bigger shock when they are adults and lose!! It's not good seeing an adult throw a tantrum like a toddler... funny but not good... :) xx

    1. I'm tempted to name her Anne, Dee, but we already have Annie -the doll that caused Jackie Hyatt and me so much grief, poor girl - though her full name is now Angharad.

      I need help with the new NN too! Names please!

      Oh, yes there is always at least one of THOSE mums! But I've a few decades of deling with parents who lie under my belt. The ones who make me laugh are the ones who list about 50 things that their little angels are 'allergic' to when we go on school journey for a week. Two years ago, though, I asked the 'my kid's work was the neatest' mother if she would like to call he child into the marquee to give me another sample as, if it was similar I would give him a prize out of my own pocket. Oh dear, the poor little boy couldn't write his own name in neat print, never mind the script that has been entered. He remarked ' I can't do it as neat as Grandpa' and I felt so bad having put him on the spot that I gave hm £1 for trying. Some children would be better off as orphans......

      Eggs all round, I think. Even for the little chap with the scowling father who announced to the head that, at 6, his son was not playing around with teddy bears, so won't be entering. The little boy had sat cuddling the classroom soft toy rabbit all afternoon. Oh yes! Orphans are sometimes happier - ask some of my Sashas!

  3. She looks like a real kid and I love (many of) Kellys repaints.

    But I don't like all repaints - f.e. Kaethe Kruses eyes don't belong to Sashas!
    I want to see these experimental, artistic and non perfect looking eyes on them.
    Like Morgenthaler expect them from the painters in the factory.

    My daughters and I do continue discussing 'modern education', ...which, imho, is very poor.
    I call it 'Erziehungsnotstand' - Educationcalamity ? -and it meets the article here:

    Some days ago, my husband and I having coffee in a 'better' Restaurant and a small child was running screaming through the room. Not one time, but again and again. I couldn't concentrate on our talk, nobody could. The mother doesn't act in any way.

    After thinking about for a time, I go to that family, explaning to the mother, that I got five children, 4 grandchildren, loving children, ... but this is a Restaurant and we ALL have the right to feel comfort here. She answers friendly: 'But I couldn't shackle him at the table!!' --- I was so stun, bewildered, speachless.

    SHE has to teach him being kind of quiet at these places and if he can't, she has to play with him, read for him, go outside for a moment with him -or go home and try another day...
    You know, what I mean? And this is not a individual case!
    We will have more social problems in the future with these kids.

    The staff of the Restaurant told me after this, they are thankful. They got more often such probs and are not allowed to say something, although it's dangerous serving hot things with running children around...

    Sorry for that, I'm an educator. Hope you understand.

    1. I agree with you Anne. It is part of parental responsibility to teach children how to behave at the table and in public. I took my children to restaurants from infancy and even to classical concerts and other performances from the age of 4. They knew it was a privelege and were well behaved. I had a converation about not needing a baby chair with my son when he was almost 2, telling him that he could try a big boy chair but would have to go back into a high chair if he couldn't sit properly because it wasn't fair for to the waitress if he couldn't do so. The only bad thing about it was that, fo days afterwards, he kept telling everybody he was a big boy for dinner now!

      Neither of them ever left the table as soon as they had finished their meal, but waited until they were told they may, or until everybody else had finished. If they aretaught manners and civilized behaviour at home, they transfer that into public places. You would be shocked at how much time primary teachers here have to spend on teaching children to eat with a knife and fork, wash their hands, not use swear words at their friends and even not to need a baby bottle to drink from.

      Who would be responsible in law if a child was seriously injured in my daughter's tea rooms? She does ask parents to keep the children at the table and has even suggsted to them that, if they actually put the mobile phone away and speak to the child instead of someone miles away, it might be a more pleasant experience for the family and the other diners, who do not want to hear them shouting down the phone. She is investigating the window film available in Japan that blocks mobile signals. It might lose her a few customers, but others would be relieved.

      It is hard to concentrate on what the world sees as a teacher's role, if you have offer the training that parents neglect.

    2. Same here. I so understand you and the teachers problems.

      Psychatrists (above link) says the kids grow up, but staying to see the world like 16month old,
      because the parents refuse to socialise them.

  4. I agree totally with the comments about (lack of) modern parenting skills.
    On the doll side of things your 'Kelly' girl looks a picture and is dressed to perfection!

  5. What a lovely girl you have there Jenni, she's very pretty with her Kelly repainted face and her lovely red hair. I like the outfit too, it suits her perfectly. And I do so hope that the judging went well as I see I must have missed this post and you have already done the deed now :)
    I agree on the kids in restaurants and cafes. Thankfully I never had a problem with Brendan in those places, the only time I seemed to find him to be a real pain in the bum was shopping....typical male I guess...but he'd be such a nuisance that it wasn't a pleasant experience until between Brian and I we came up with some great strategies for him and he soon learned to behave! I have to say that some children here are badly behaved in bars and restaurants and allowed to run wild but it seems to be the 'norm' and no-one complains. I guess Spanish people in general are more gregarious and their children are the same.....I'm very used to it now but glad that we came here when Brendan was much older because there's no way I'd have allowed him to behave as some of those children do!