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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pinned it and Did it! Doll Clothes

We have been very into dolls lately and I have been looking at patterns on-line. Now for 18-inch dolls,  Hazel has two What a Doll dolls from Kmart, a BFC doll and a You & Me Doll from Toys 'R Us. The BFC doll is super skinny and an older girl with breasts and jointed everywhere. She came in a bathing suit. The problem being that her straps would get caught in her shoulder joints and then her chest would be completely exposed. I had to make her a dress. I found a simple pattern on Wren-Feathers: Summer Sew-Along Week 7.  She has many great doll patterns on her blog!! Check it out!

I also saw lots of ideas on using baby clothes to make doll clothes.  Since we donated most of Hazel's baby clothes except a few favorite things, we had to purchase some new onsies and a newborn outfit. The first thing we tried was adjusting old baby dresses like the ones I saw at Doll It Up and A Doll for All Seasons. However I started by adjusting one of our favorites of Hazel's baby dresses.  This dress was a 6-9 month size. It had been a gift for Hazel's baptism. I just adjusted the side seams to make it fit the dolls. It is a bit long on them because it was so big, but I didn't want to adjust the length.


Here is Hazel in it as well. I also adjusted the headband so the dolls could wear it.
While shopping we found the cutest newborn outfit/dress. We thought it looked the right size for two of Hazel's baby dolls. 

It fits pretty well except the onsie part underneath is a bit too long, but since you cannot see it with dress, I didn't bother adjusting it or cutting it off.



The final idea we had was to use newborn onsies to make tee shirts like I saw at Nest Full of Eggs. I have not finished the edges yet, but Hazel wanted to use them right away. To make these you simply cut the bottom part of the onesie off. Then finish the edge. 



We also found a pair of 3 month onsies with flamingos on them. I cut the simpler one of them and made a doll night gown. The other one has tulle ruffles it, so I think I am going to try to make it into a dress.


Tomorrow I will share my birthday party at the American Girl Doll Store. Yes, we did it for Hazel, but since my birthday is coming up my mother-in-law went all out for the celebration. 

For more doll ideas check out:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Mulan and the Many Versions



In the beginning of the month, I shared with you a wonderful version of Mulan by Li Jian and Yijin Wert is the translator, which Tuttle Publishing sent me to review. I compared it with the Disney version or at least the movie version. I also found a few other versions of Mulan and thought I would share all of them with you. 


The first version is by Robert D. San Souci and is called Fa Mulan. As all of San Souci's books seem to be it is child friendly and tries to give an overview of the culture the story comes from. In this version she has a younger brother and elder sister, and her family knew she was going to go to war in her father's place. They bid her farewell. She rises in ranks with her victories and becomes a general. At the end of the twelve year war her family is happy to greet her and five of her companions who came home with her. She changes from her armor into her normal female clothes and her companions are shocked to learn that their general is a female. One companion hints at the possibility of a shared furture. 

The next two are the ones I compared at the beginning of the month--Disney's version and Li Jian's version. The next book, Mulan: Five Versions of a Classic Chinese Legend with Related Texts edited and translated by Shiamin Kwa and Wilt L. Idema, has five versions of the story in it. Two are poems and the other three are plays. 

Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "Ballad of Mulan" by Cameron Dokey is a young adult version. I enjoyed this version even though the story was changed from all other forms. In this version, her mother died when she was born and her father stayed away at war for most of her life. He did not return until she was fourteen and girls were usually married at age fifteen in China. She had a male best friend who lived next door (but across a creek). They spent all of their free time together. When it came time for her to learn the female arts and the friend to learn the male things, he taught her how to read, write, ride horses, shoot bows and arrows--all the male things. Her father came home to find her with more male habits than female habits. Her father was injured in the war and had upset the emperor. He is accompanied by his good friend another general. Her father falls in love a few weeks after he returns with a widow who has a hurt driver. He marries her and she becomes pregnant. The draft is announced and Mulan sneaks off during the night so her father does not have to leave his new wife and soon-to-be baby (like he had to with her mother). He is not called back to be a general but is called in the general draft which is a blow to him as well. Mulan sneaks off and when questioned at the camp about her bow and arrow (her father's friend gave it to her), she tells them this and they call his assistant who is her best friend. In this version there are three princes--the emperor's sons--and each commands a part of the army. I am going to leave it there as to not ruin the story by giving all the ending away.

The next two books contain a version of Mulan in them. They seem to be translations of the "Ballad of Mulan". The final book, Mulan's Legend and Legacy in China and the United States by Lan Dong, is not a version of Mulan, but actually looks at the things people have pulled from the story and some of the misconceptions Americans have of Ancient China. This is really a research type of book meant for teenagers or older. For example there are other women in China's history who fought in war. Some names to check out are Xun Guan, Zhu Xiu's Mother, Princess Pinyang, and Lady Liang. This book also goes through how Mulan changes through the different versions and what the image of Mulan has become. 

So that is what I found at my local library on Mulan. It is a mixture of books for children, adults and everything in between. It is interesting to see how one story changes so much when you consider the original written version is only 300 words long.

Be sure to check out our Fairy Tales in Different Cultures page for more fairy tale fun.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Ukraine through Food and Craft

With Ukraine in the news so much, it is a perfect time to explore the country through food, books and crafts. It is also a perfect time for lessons with older children about current events and such. Since we do not let Hazel know about current events or watch the news, we looked at tradition, food and crafts. 


Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe and is the largest country that is entirely in Europe. For more information, read the introduction post at Around the World in 12 Dishes. I shared the books we have read and not read about Ukraine. Have you read Jan Brett's The Mitten? I know it is really popular around here and it is the retelling of a Ukrainian folktale.

 We decided to try two different Ukrainian recipes. The first we found in the Ukraine book of the Festivals of the World series.  It is written by Volodymyer Bassis (or Vladimir Bassis--all the sites seem to list both spellings). The recipe is for Strawberry Kysil. Kysil can be made with different berries, but Bassis claims strawberries make the best one.

Strawberry Kysil 
(from Ukraine by Volodymyer Bassis)
Ingredients:
2 quarts of fresh strawberries (I am sure you could use frozen)
2 cups cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon potato starch (we used tapioca starch since we could not find potato starch)

1) Wash and hull the strawberries. Put in pan with water and bring water to a boil. Boil on high for a minute then turn down to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. I let Hazel use the potato masher while the strawberries cooked to help get the juice out. This makes the next step a bit easier.

2) Push the strawberries through a fine mesh strainer with a wooden spoon. Put juice back in pan.

3) Stir in sugar and bring back to a boil. Boil over high heat for 2 minutes.

4) Reduce heat to medium and stir in starch and dissolve it (Hazel did not do a good job of dissolving our starch so we have chunks in it). Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes stirring until it thickens. 

5) Cool to lukewarm and then put in refrigerator to get cold for a few hours. Enjoy!



Strawberry Kysil is a bit like strawberry soup or eating a liquid form of strawberry jelly. It is delicious but you will not want to much at one time.

Our second recipe came from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine and it is Ukrainian Yabluchnyy Korzh. Hazel likes to call it what it tastes like--apple pie. It is a type of cookie crust with apples inside. It is delicious!

Ukrainian Yabluchnyy Korzh
Adapted from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine
Ingredients
Dough:
5 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6 large egg yolks (if I made again I would use whole eggs)
1 cup sour cream

Filling:
7-8 large apples (we used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Start by making the dough:
1) Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. then add the butter and mix with your hands (Hazel loved this part) to make a coarse flaky mixture. 

2) In a small bowl mix egg yolks and sour cream together. Then add it to the dry ingredients. Work it with your hands into a firm, smooth, not sticky dough. (Ours never really formed a good firm smooth dough.)

3) Divide dough into 2 pieces, making one slightly larger than the other. 

4) Turn oven on to 375 and grease with butter (we used the wrappers) a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Do not use baking spray to grease.

5) With the larger dough, cover bottom and sides of pan. The instructions say to roll it out, but I found ours was just too crumbly to do this. I pressed it into the pan.

6) Time to start filling. Peel and thinly slice the apples (we used our food processor). Mix with sugar and cinnamon.

7) Add apple mixture to bottom crust.

8) Roll out top crust or pat it on top. Try to seal apples in.

9) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. It should be brown in color and the apples should be tender to a knife. Set on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

10) Now you can attempt to remove the pan (I did not attempt due to the crumbly nature). To remove: Run a sharp knife along the sides and then put a wire rack on top and flip it over. Remove pan and put other wire rack on bottom and flip back the correct way.

11) Serve at room temperature. You can dust it with powdered sugar (we didn't bother). Refrigerate leftovers but bring to room temperature before eating.


Since it tastes similar to apple pie (Steve's favorite dessert), we all love it!

We also have been reading Urkainian stories. We found a Cinderella tale, The Golden Slipper, which we shared last week. We also found many versions of a Christmas tale involving spiders. All the crafts I could find had to do with spiders as Christmas ornaments or pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs).
Ukrainskie pisanki
Pysanky Source: By Carl Fleischhauer (Library of Congress employee[1]) 
(http://www.loc.gov/folklife/cwc/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Since we already posted about pysanky, we made a silver spider web and spider Christmas ornament. We found the instructions in Christmas Crafts from Around the World by Judy Ann Sadler. 


In the Christmas legend, the spider on a Christmas tree spins webs of silver for a poor family who has no money for Christmas. Thus why the ornament is done in silver!
Ukraine's Flag
Now it is time for the Around the World in 12 Dishes Blog Hop! Please visit the other posts and feel free to share any Ukrainian crafts, food, etc. posts that you have done.