Friday, 24 November 2017

SASHA CHRISTMAS BAKE-OFF



All cultures and countries have wonderful food to celebrate their festivals. In Austria, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the ubiquitous Vanille Kipferl, the Vanilla Crescent. Over the years I have been baking tons of the stuff. Hanna, our first grandchild, helped to bake them as soon as she was old enough to want to do it. She became really good at it and later taught her brother and sister the secrets of how to bake the perfect Vanilla Crescent.  I have posted the recipe including all the handy tips, as some of my FB friends were interested. 


VANILLA CRESCENTS

10 oz (300g) plain flour
8 oz (240g) unsalted butter (essential)
2 oz (60g) sugar (caster)
4 oz (120g) ground almonds
(buy almonds with brown skin on and grind with skin – should be ground fairly fine)
Icing Sugar with Vanilla Sugar, mixed, for coating.

Sift 4 oz of icing sugar into a largish bowl or similar  and mix in 1 sachet of Bourbon Vanilla Sugar. If you have icing sugar which contains pods of vanilla then you can omit the addition of the sachet.

Rub the butter into the flour, add the sugar and the ground almonds and work them together into a ball of dough, keeping the touch light to make sure the dough stays ‘short’. ( This can nowadays be done in a food processor) Take small portions of this pastry, roll them into a sausage shape about 1" in diameter and cut the sausage into small pieces. Form each of these small pieces into a crescent shape, put them onto a baking tray (lightly greased) and bake in a moderate oven for 6 - 7 mins (maybe a little longer - until they are just turning a biscuit colour - not too dark). Take them out of the oven and gently take them off the tray immediately with a slotted metal slice and place them on a wire-rack to cool slightly. (I find it helps to knock the tray once or twice on the table top to loosen the crescents if they stick). Place them into the bowl with the vanilla flavoured icing sugar and coat them completely. Handle them carefully, because they are rather fragile. Take them out of the icing sugar and place them into a tin. When they are all in the tin, sift some of the icing sugar over the top. When the crescents in the tin are completely cold, put on the lid and keep them in a cool place, away from sunlight (very important)until needed. They keep well for about one to two month in an airtight container. 




On this picture you can see that Yasmin and Aania have shaped the dough into a sausage and have cut off small portions to be made into crescents. They then placed them onto a baking tray thus.


When they came out of the oven (notice the colour – they must not be darker than this) the girls turned them in the Vanilla icing sugar and placed them into a tin. 


  When completely cool, the tin will be closed and the crescents stored in a dark, cool place. They improve with time and can be stored for a couple of months at least.


I baked some as well that day and here are some that I made! 


Some photos of Hanna, Roman and Tabatha making Vanilla Crescents. 







Thursday, 2 November 2017

IONA'S HALLOWEE'N


I had this amazing video from Iona. She filmed it herself. I am sure Yasmin helped with wardrobe and make up. Spooooooooooky! 


Thursday, 21 September 2017

COOL BRIGHT WATER, written and performed by Yasmin Wilde (Faruqi)


Yasmin wrote this song (lyrics and music) and performed it too, including the piano part. The saxophone solo is by Peter Effamy, who also recorded the song. 


BIRTHDAY CARDS!


It is fun to design Sasha birthday cards for my grandchildren. They  usually have a simple story line, taking into account what sorts of interests each one of them has. Here are a few: 

This one is for Raffay. He loves science and of course, I had to use my Sasha boy 'Raffay' as the model. 


Are you ready for the next slide, Dr Rowland? Certainly, Dr Rowland! 


Gender equality - always!

I have cheated a little and used the same set up for my other Grandson Roman. He is also into science. This is my Sasha boy 'Roman'.  Hoping my two Grandsons won't see each others birthday cards or Grandma will be found out! 



This one was last year's birthday card for Raffay. He is a passionate drummer, and really quite good at it. He is giving a demonstration of his skills to some of the Sashas. 



One more for Raffay. A two picture card.


Hanna to Raffay: Take your feet off the table, Raffay!


Raffay: What's her problem. Boy, girls are so bossy!

My Granddaughters, on the whole, are quite happy to just have a pretty Sasha on their Birthday Card. This was an exception.I mad it for Hanna, who is already a bit older.

Bathtime for the babies



All clean! Phew!!!


There are many more. I have 5 Grandchildren and they have a birthday once a year!!! This is just a taster! 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK


I keep talking about thinning my Sasha collection. Adopting some of them out to other nice Sasha people. But I don’t seem to be able to do it. Somehow, it feels like being disloyal to my Sasha kids. So, instead of the numbers getting fewer, they seem to be increasing. I never set out to buy another Sasha, but then one comes along and I am smitten. So here are a few of my newer Sasha Kids.

This is Ashling, a 1969 Trendon Side-part.  
Such a sweet girl. She is wearing a dress by Dollydoodles. Shoes by Sashapotomus.



Next up is Kalaya, Kally for short. She is a 1968 Dungarees Girl. I have tried various outfits on her to find out what suits her.  I like her best in the Gillian Nash Sweater Dress, but I think she looks good in casual clothes, too. The dungarees are from A Passion for Sasha. The Birkenstocks from Marti Sanders Murphy.








I love the Kilties (Limited Edition 80s Trendon Sashas, with real hair wig). When Linda Simpson put up her gorgeous Kiltie for adoption, I just could not help myself. Her name is April. She is wearing a Marilyn Hotchkiss dress. 




I have a great fondness for the babies. A couple have been added recently. Another Trendon honeyblonde, named Honey and a Götz boy, called Max. 



My most recent addition is a 1969 Trendon Kilt, called Kate. Skirt by Stela Aranghelova, cardigan by Diane Duke, shoes Lisa Hartley. 


This girl is not a new addition, but a re-paint by Janet Myhill Dabbs. She made over my Kiltie ‘Tagan’ into a ‘Gertie’. Most of you will have seen examples of her famous ‘Gerties’. They have such sweet expressions, but it is not just the face that makes a Gertie, it is the whole ensemble. Gertie is a bit of a waif. A really cute child. Here is mine. The first two photographs were taken by Janet. The gorgeous eye painting is particularly obvious in the second photo. 





Sunday, 17 September 2017

SLIME!!! Arghhhhhh!


This is a video created by Iona. It is all about the latest craze, SLIME!!! Warning! It is quite revolting, quite frankly, but well put together. Watch at your own risk! 


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Sasha - the Austria Connection


I suppose nostalgia plays a part when you grow older. I find myself nostalgic for things Austrian, from time to time, and my Sashas seem to be the victim of this longing as the following pictures will show. Here is a photograph of Yasmin, aged 4, in a Dirndl dress my mother made for her. The next photo shows my Sasha, also called Yasmin, in a Dirndl made by Ruthsdolls.




Ruth calls this ‘the Bavarian Costume’. I was delighted to find a garment for my Sasha which reminded me of my place of birth. 

I soon added a few more Dirndls for my Sashas. Here is an example of one of Stela Aranghelova. 




 Soon after, Ruth made me another, really gorgeous one, in blue. 



Then, Diane Duke, the intrepid traveller, told me that she found a Käthe Kruse Dirndl in a shop in Tirol, which she brought back for me. The following year she brought me another one. Both really nicely made and fitting perfectly. 


Next, Diane got very interested in traditional Austrian knitwear and how it might be adapted for Sashas.  I got very excited over the idea of ‘ The Jopperl’. A cardigan/jacket which we all wear in Austria – girls and boys! It is very practical, very warm and partially weatherproof.  Diane being Diane went ahead and started designing and adapting the idea. She succeeded brilliantly!  



I thought how much fun it would be to have my kids dance around a Maypole in traditional Austrian costumes. This seemed a bit elaborate, but an opportunity presented itself at the 2017 Sasha Celebration Weekend. The theme was ‘National Costumes’ and I thought a Maypole exhibit might fit in with that theme. Both Tricia Jackson and Janet Myhill Dabbs thought it was a nice idea. So I asked a friend to help me construct a Maypole. Of course, I needed more girls in Dirndl dresses and that’s where Marilyn Hotchkiss came to the rescue. She made me some gorgeous Dirndls and also some Knickerbockers for the boys. Rosie Laird knitted the perfect socks for them all and Lisa Hartley provided the footwear.  We were all set for the Sasha Celebration Weekend. We dressed up the kids and had a try-out in the garden!!! 



Marilyn's Dirndl Dresses


When I arrived at the SCW we realized just how big the Maypole was and how much space it would need, so some last minute arrangements had to be made to accommodate it. It caused Janet a bit of a headache, but it was all sorted out and in the end it worked really well. Some other participants brought Sasha kids in traditional costumes along (Madeleine Foong’s gorgeous Sashas) and they joined in the Maypole dancing!!! There was even a cow, with a bucket at both ends (!), a goat, a Toddler and a cowbell – all supplied by Diane Duke -  to join the fun! 


A final word: The creative talent in the Sasha community is astounding. That’s how it was possible for me (who has no talents, ha ha) to put something like this together. Thank you all. It’s a joy to know you. 

Postscript: In Germany and Austria the Maypole is a tradition going back to the 16th century. The tree is erected on 1 May on the village green or in the town square. There is usually a festival to go along with this, with dancing round the Maypole – to dance in the month of May.