Saturday, July 17, 2010

Anne and Diana Topsy Turvy Doll

Topsy-turvy dolls are simply delightful; I've been working on this one for a while now and have just finished it this week.

Here is a fanciful version of Anne dressed as the Lady of Chalotte! This style is reminiscent of neither the 1880s or the Lady of Chalotte's time - it is simply a dressy and imaginative Playing Dress Up sort of outfit that a dramatic girl might dream up.
And, of course, on the right hand side is Diana. The bodice of this high-waisted gown is cream colored lace and doesn't show up very well in the photo.
I've made this doll as a Christmas gift for my daughter, and also to earn my expert level (!) Safe Toys badge in the Mary Jane's Farm Farmgirl Sisterhood merit badge program.
To learn more about Anne of Green Gables Fashion Week, visit Ashley at Bramblewood Fashion.
To learn more about Mary Jane's Farm, visit MaryJane's Farm.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Plum Puffs at Teatime

This is another entry for Anne of Green Gables Fashion Week founded by Bramblewood Fashion.
I had a new friend over for tea yesterday afternoon, which was the perfect excuse to try out the Plum Puffs recipe from the Anne of Green Gables Treasury. Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup water
3 T butter
1/2 cup flour
1 t white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plum jam
1/2 cup cream cheese (optional)
confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease baking sheet.
2. In large saucepan, heat water and butter until boiling. When butter has melted, turn heat to low, and add flour and sugar all at once and mix them in thoroughly with wooden spoon. Beat mixture over low heat until it leaves the sides of the pan -- about 1 minute or less.
3. Remove pan from heat. Add one egg, beat until smooth. Add next egg, beat until smooth.
4. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. They should be one inch around and will double in size as they bake.
5. Bake 15-2 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, turn heat off. Close oven door. With a toothpick, poke a tiny hole in each to allow steam out. Return the puffs to off-but-warm oven for 5 minutes. Remove and cool on rack. When cool, gently split puffs in 1/2 and fill each with a spoonful of jam and or cream cheese.
6. Arrange on a serving tray and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar if you like.
This recipe makes 2-3 dozen puffs.

I thought this recipe was much simpler in practice than it first appears! And it is not an overly sweet teatime treat at all, so at a future tea if I need a recipe to offset a bunch of sweeter confections, this would round things out quite elegantly. Anne and Diana would approve!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Anne of Green Gables Fashion Week!

When I was in kindergarten in 1985, Anne of Green Gables the film was on PBS and I got to see it with my family for the first time. I was enraptured. As soon as I was able to handle chapter books I voraciously read not only Anne of Green Gables, but the whole series. And then I read most of the other L.M. Montgomery books, too, which are also fabulous - full of interesting, thought-provoking characters, universal themes and domestic beauty.

A few years later, when The Sequel came out, I remember how overcome with awe and happiness I was. Another Anne film? Could there be anything more welcome to a little girl? Oh, that was pure joy. More Anne! More dresses! More Anne-saves-the-day-moments!

As a little girl and now as a lady, I love lots of things about Anne: the way she sees the world a little differently from the crowd, the way she finds the good in people, the way she embraces adventure, and yes, the way she dresses. The books are also very specific about another of her qualities: she is an excellent cook! Film is so captivating; it captures so much of the story's essence, yet I still return to the pages of the books again and again, soaking in the wordiness and the details that film is obliged to leave out. One of the books calls Anne a "sower of sunshine", in people's lives, and it has been my prayer over the years to be this in the lives of others. It seems like a good aspiration.

One of the first deep impressions the story of Anne left on me is how determined she was to have a "bosom friend". I remember in elementary school keeping an eye out for a friend like that. Doesn't everybody? If there's a Diana in my life, she didn't really come along until college.

Our family took a road trip to Prince Edward Island one summer, and we rented a cottage on a large acreage. The lady who ran the place encouraged us to explore the extensive grounds, which thrilled me to no end! I think I was 13 or 14, old enough to go off on my own, and I wandered long and far, finding all sorts of Anne-ish nooks and crannies. The fields rolled and the forests seemed quaintly full of literary charm. For me it was like walking into the books, smelling what Anne smelled, seeing what Anne saw, exploring where Anne explored. We also visited Green Gables and Silver Bush (of the Pat series, also by Montgomery), and had raspberry cordial at a tea room. Over in Charlottetown we attended Anne of Green Gables the musical, which is just splendid if you are a young Anne crazed girl and love musicals, which I was and did.

During my years as a single young lady I felt very differently about Anne than I do right now. Now I am happily married to a man every bit as much of a catch as Gilbert. But back when I was waiting for him to come along, I was really lonesome. Even though I was doing all the things single Christian young ladies are supposed to do, I felt very - - oh, let's call it the "Adam alone in the Garden of Eden" feeling. You know what I mean? Lonely. Needing a Gilbert, you know. During those days, Anne really reeeeally bothered me. What was she thinking? Gilbert was there the whole time. He pursued her in a gentlemanly way and clearly was prepared to marry her and she kept him waiting. What is with that? Harumph. As you can see, it still gets my goat. However, it is no longer a touchy subject for me, since my Gilbert did come along and I did not keep him waiting. I said "Yes." as soon as he got down on one knee, held up the little jewel box and asked me to marry him. Five weeks later, we got married, surrounded by friends and family who threw rice at us as we marched out of the church! (also very Anne-ish, that rice throwing tradition).

Recently a good friend of mine got married, and I was tickled pink about a number of things about her sweetly, simply elegant church wedding: 1. Her groom is every bit as much a catch as Gilbert, 2. She walked down the aisle on her father's arm while a pianist played one of the themes from Anne of Green Gables! (the effect was beautiful.) 3. For her "something borrowed" she wore the veil that I wore at my wedding. This was such a sentimental thing for me - it seemed Victorian and meaningful and altogether special, rather like something that would happen in an Anne book: two friends passing along a bridal veil like that.

Does anyone else have any wonderful Anne memories?