25 July 2010

Village Blocks

I took many of the pictures for today's festival post yesterday afternoon. I was putting them on my computer after dinner, when my nine-year old son noticed the picture with the village blocks and asked what they were. I told him they were doll-sized blocks that I'd won at the festival, and that they were on the dining room table (where I'd been taking pictures) if he wanted to check them out. He set up a village scene to show me, then shifted it around to create another scene. Ah, boys and blocks. Then he surprised me by asking if he could make the baby play with the blocks (Cleo was still in the stroller, also on the table). I helped him get her out of the stroller and sitting among the blocks. According to my son, "The baby is eyeing the purple man."

Sasha Festival 2010 - post 6

This will probably be my last post about the festival, though I'm sure many of the clothes and props pictured here will show up in future posts. After four days at the festival and almost a week organizing my pictures and documenting the festival online, it's time for me to focus my energy on non-Sasha stuff for a while. Here are the remaining items that I brought home, things I purchased directly or indirectly. How did I get everything home (including three dolls) without checking a bag?

I went shopping by myself in San Francisco on Thursday. I bought some fabrics and notions, a crafter's iron, a little Chinese doll, and three doll-size parasols (two are for Boo's dolls, Calla and Rose).

The gift exchange was Friday afternoon. I brought a gift bag containing a smocked dress (like this) made by Patty at The Sasha Wardrobe, velvet hair ribbons, and a little Chinese doll. I wound up with this cute outfit, a green Scottie sweater and cap with white corduroy pants, made by Beverly Schacht.

The Children's Fund Auction was Saturday afternoon, and raised a total of $6874 for two charities: Child Help and Save the Children. I was the high bidder for two items, a purple and white sweater and cap from Switzerland (made and donated by Amei Walder) and a Boneka smocked dress (donated by Bonnie Jean Kennedy).

The sales room was open on Saturday evening. I bought some clothes, a stroller, and ... a doll. Clockwise from upper left: a Boneka dress that was a gift from Nancy Miller when I purchased my doll, Boneka shoes that I bought from Nancy to go with my auction dress, pink and yellow wool sweaters knit by Erica McLeod, a pink commercial babygro resized by Sheila Foery, a red check smocked baby dress and panties tagged Millie Dingham, a blue floral smocked dress and panties tagged Laura Lindberg, and a swing-top and plaid capris made by Sheila.

Dawn Law had strollers and baby carriers for sale, made by the Spanish company Diset. As Chloe and Cleo demonstrate, the stroller is small enough to be pushed and large enough to be ridden in. And it even folds for storage or travel, which made it easier to pack in my carry-on bag.

The helper item tickets were drawn on Sunday. There were lots of lovely items, and I wound up winning two of them: a set of wooden village blocks made in Germany, and a lace collar knit by Erica McLeod. The lace collar came on a card that reads: "Lace collar for Sasha knitted in fine merino wool. The original of this pattern was inspired by one seen in the Swiss Village Museum in Wisconsin. The pin represents the edelweiss flower."

Here's a picture of my new doll, taken as the festivities were winding down on Sunday. She's wearing the dress I won in the auction, and the lace collar I won in the helper item drawings. She still hasn't told me her name yet, though perhaps I haven't been listening closely enough.

UPDATE: After lots of contemplation, she and I have settled on the name Juliette.

24 July 2010

Sasha Festival 2010 - post 5

Like last year, I came home with a whole lot of Sasha-related stuff. In this post I'll show the festival souvenirs and other table hostess gifts that I received, saving the items I purchased or won (gift exchange, Children's Fund Auction, sales room, and helper items) for my next post.

At check-in I received: a festival bag containing maps and information about Switzerland, the Festival Journal, and a booklet with auction item pictures and descriptions; my auction paddle; and my name tag on a Switzerland lanyard. Also in this picture is the card with information about next year's festival that we received at brunch on Sunday; the theme is "Pieces of Time" and it will be held July 14-17 in Springfield, IL.

The festival outfit was spread out over the three meals. At Friday dinner we received a little beaded bracelet and a raffia-tied package containing a Bauernkind (farm child) outfit - underskirt, skirt, apron, shirt, and kerchief. Each outfit was one-of-a-kind, with coordinating pieces made from second-hand men's shirts. My outfit has a blue and tan color scheme, with a chambray apron. At Saturday lunch we received a box containing a little basket of eggs, and at Sunday brunch we received another box containing leather boots and Glorex Swiss doll socks.

I changed my mind about bringing Muriel at the last minute, so to compensate I'm letting her model the festival outfit:

And here are some pictures from the festival, showing the variety of colors and patterns:

There were several other items on the tables at various meals that I'm almost certain were received by everyone at the festival: a bucket, bandanna, stuffed bunny, cow, and ice cream cone, plus Swiss flags on toothpicks scattered about. There were little Lindt and Toblerone candy bars as well, but I ate them before I even boarded the plane for home. Also in this picture are the floral wreath and hair clip that I made at the workshops on Friday.

Tina and I hosted a table for Friday dinner, so I have the little tote bag of Swiss souvenirs that she and I created (I gave my special Lindt bar to the festival hostess). I sat at very generous tables for the other two meals, receiving clothing from the hostess as well as gifts from other people at the table (including saltwater taffy from Maine, which was eaten instantly and thus not pictured).  The dress on the left uses a vintage handkerchief for the skirt, while the pinafore on the right is made from vintage linens. I love them both!

23 July 2010

Sasha Festival 2010 - post 4

I previewed bits of Table Hostess gifts (here and here), and want to share all the details now that the festival is over. In keeping with the "Return to Switzerland" theme, I'd come up with the idea of a bag of Swiss souvenirs. My plans were more grandiose than my skills however, so I enlisted the help of my talented friend Tina to be my co-hostess. She made Swiss cheese wedges out of Fimo, cut and sewed bandannas from some original dealer replacement fabric (an eBay find), and gave me lots of encouragement and positive feedback as I worked on my projects.

I persuaded my husband to make miniature Toblerone bars in both regular and dark chocolate versions, scanning the original packages and reducing them to 1/3 size (he has patience with X-Acto and glue from working on his RC Airplanes). Here's a picture of Calla and Boo checking the size of his prototype:

I went shopping online and found alpine bell keychains and edelweiss charms (from Germany), and small Swiss flag patches (from Thailand). I removed the keychain portion from the bells, and made Sasha-sized necklaces from the charms. I created little cards on my computer explaining the significance of the bandannas. And I started sewing totebags using Peggy Trauger's pattern. This was the hard part. I recently purchased a sewing machine, but haven't done any sewing (other than simple mending or craft projects by hand) in the past 25 years. I was thrilled with how well they turned out, even though they were finished with little time to spare. Here's how everything looked as Tina and I put the bits together at the hotel on Thursday evening:

There was a second portion to our gift as well. I had been mulling over some sort of card with our names and the bandanna information, but I separated the two ideas after some brainstorming with Tina. She suggested we make Lindt bars instead of the Toblerone due to their connection with Sasha. I liked the distinctive Toblerone shape, but thought Lindt bars would be nice if I had one of the old labels to miniaturize. That morphed into creating modern versions of the labels, and using these to identify ourselves. I selected my 1968 dolls to use as models, and set up a "photo studio" with a solid color background and decent lighting to photograph them. My husband is a whiz with Photoshop, and helped me figure out enough to create the labels I'd sketched by hand on a piece of paper (modeled after the originals, which Tina emailed me scans of from a magazine article). Once they were complete, I used them as sleeves around Lindt bars. Here's a picture of the five versions, which all have the same back:

I hope everyone who sat at our table enjoyed receiving these gifts as much as we enjoyed creating them.

22 July 2010

Sasha Festival 2010 - post 3

The dolls and clothing are marvelous and the festivities are entertaining, but to me the Sasha Festival is all about the people. Nowhere else can I hang out and socialize with so many other people who understand my love of Sasha dolls. I met or became reacquainted with so many fascinating, friendly, fun people during the long weekend in San Francisco, far too many to mention them all individually.

Last year I was eager to meet people who I'd been communicating with online. This year I discovered that there were people who were eager to meet me because they read my blog. Pretty cool. Victoria (from Australia) felt like an old friend, since she knew so much about me and my dolls from what I've shared online. I'm already looking forward to seeing her again. She joined in with Michele (left) and Tina (right) when we took a post-workshop picture like last year.

Ai made me feel like a rock star for a moment. She came bouncing up to me at the workshops and introduced herself, then told me she reads my blog and asked if she could take a picture with me. Again, she felt like an old friend when we socialized during the weekend. I hope to see her and her daughter again at future festivals.

Something else struck me when thinking about people I met at the festival: there were quite a few couples I had fun talking with. I enjoyed meeting the husbands as well as the wives, and it was nice to see such supportive and loving couples.

Tom and Carol

Mary and Hans

Erica and Ian

Jackie and Sammy

21 July 2010

Sasha Festival 2010 - post 2

I uploaded almost 300 Festival pictures to an album on Picasa. There are lots of pictures of Sasha dolls and Sasha doll enthusiasts, group meals and gatherings, Dress-A-Sasha contest entries, helper raffle items, and all of the Children's Fund Auction items. Here is a slideshow of the entire album:

Clicking on the picture below will take you directly to my Picasa album. There you can see all the photos from this slideshow, along with descriptive captions. Feel free to email me (franberry at aol dot com) or add a comment if you know of corrections or additional information for any of my captions.

Sasha Festival 2010

19 July 2010

Sasha Festival 2010 - post 1

I wasn't planning to buy a doll at the festival, but this lovely girl came home with me. I am still so excited about her that words fail me. Other than perhaps yipee, or woo hoo!

The Festival was fantastic! I have about 300 pictures, and lots to talk about ... but it will have to wait until I get some sleep (and deal with some of the more mundane aspects of life).

UPDATE:  After lots of contemplation, she and I have settled on the name Juliette.

14 July 2010

San Francisco Or Bust!

Well, I haven't finished the Swiss dress that I planned to sew for the festival (though I did start it). Unfortunately I was too busy working on various projects for Table Hostess gifts.  I said I was going to keep the gifts a surprise until after the festival, but I'm so excited that I need to share another part. I just finished sewing 10 tote bags (with three hours to spare until I pick my kids up from camp then head to the airport!).

Now I need to get packing!! I won't be blogging from the festival, as I don't have a portable computer I can bring. I will attempt to post a slide show of pictures shortly after I return, similar to my second festival post from last year. I'm sure I'll create a few themed festival posts as well, but I don't have anything specific planned as I'm going to let the experience dictate my posts. Not only will it be different event from last year, but I won't be viewing it as a newbie this time.

Early 70's Friends

Most of my English dolls are from the late 60's, but I do have three from the early 70's: Enid, Esme, and Cleo. Cleo is only a baby, but Enid and Esme appear to be fast friends.

They're pleading with me to come to the festival, but I've already decided to bring Muriel again and only have room for one other doll in my suitcase.

11 July 2010

Table Hostess

Only three days until I leave for the festival, and I'm still busy working on various projects. Tina Gross and I volunteered to be Table Hostesses together, and I've been pushing the boundaries of my creativity. I'm going to keep the gifts a surprise until after the festival, but will definitely share pictures when I return. For now here's a sneak peak at part of one project, a montage of my 1968 English Sashas.

Meet Esme Elizabeth

I set up a "photo studio" on my dining room table yesterday, to take pictures to use in a table hostess project for the festival (more on that later). Since I had a space set up with a solid background and lighting, I decided to utilize it for pictures to introduce another of my dolls.

Esme is a Brunette Gingham, most likely from 1971 (that was Shelly's opinion from her stringing, clothes, eyes, tube, tag - the standard clues). Her hair may fall in the future, but seems to be holding for now; she lost a couple of hairs when combed by Shelly, but none when I gently brushed it today.

From my recollection, Esme is like the doll(s) I coveted as a young child, which belonged to sisters who were friends of mine. I'm certain that those dolls were from the early 70's, when they were being sold in the US by Creative Playthings. I would have been seven in 1971, which is close if not right on the mark. I believe my friends both had Brunette Ginghams, though one may have had a Blonde. They were like no other dolls I'd ever seen, with their cafe-au-lait coloring and serene faces. I remember thinking they looked a bit like Indians (we didn't refer to them as Native Americans back when I was a child), with their long brown hair and dark skin. My childhood wish ...

... has come true as an adult (on a much larger scale, since I only dreamed of owning one or two).

UPDATE: Memories involving these sisters are an integral part of my childhood. The younger sister was my age, and my best friend in grade school. The older sister was a year ahead in school, and was my close confidante in high school. I eventually lost touch with both of them after we headed off to college, but have been back in touch with the older sister through facebook for a while now. I hadn't told her about my Sasha collection, or my coveting of their childhood dolls, so I feared she might consider me daft when I sent her a link to this post. If so, she kept that to herself in her reply. She no longer owns her childhood doll, but confirmed the accuracy of my memories; she had a brunette gingham and her sister had a blonde. She remembers buying them at the Creative Playthings store in Boothbay Harbor. I usually give my dolls a single name, but have decided that she should become Esme Elizabeth in honor of my childhood friend.