Thursday 30 April 2015

Introducing Ruby Red Galleria.....Ten Ping!

Well I had absolutely no intention of buying a Ten Ping from Ruby Red Galleria, not because I didn't like them or anything like that but because I have recently being going for bigger dolls rather than smaller....and to be honest, I'd not paid much attention to them, not being in the market for another small doll.  So when a dear dolly friend of mine told me that she'd actually ordered two and would I be interested in a trade, I thought "why not!" 

The little sweetie arrived today and I have to say, one glimpse of her in her white padded sleeping bag and I was smitten!  She is the cutest little thing!  She arrived very well packaged.  The outer box is sturdy cardboard and has a black and white photograph of the doll on one end. 

Inside this outer box is another sturdy brown box, this one has some great artwork on it, as well as another  photo, this time in colour, of the doll.  I particularly like this type of artwork, simply drawn but very effective.

The five piece outfit is separately packaged inside the box, and consists of a thick fully lined jacket with very cute closures on the front, a pair of flowered trousers, a blue collared long sleeve top, again fully lined, beige socks and blue canvas shoes.  I haven't tried the outfit on her yet because it's very warm here and she wanted to wear something more summery! ;)

Ten Ping also comes with gold coloured earrings and a skipping rope.  I won't be putting the earrings in her ears because I prefer her without them, plus once the holes are made, of course they cannot be 'un-made', so they will remain in the packet.  

Ten Ping herself comes safely tied with white ribbons inside this lovely white padded 'sleeping bag' with a fully separating zipper up the front and a red and white Ruby Red Galleria tag attached.  She has a face protector and hair net to keep her wig from getting messy in transit.  Her wig is lovely and soft, made from faux mohair I believe and styled into two plaits, one on each side and is kept in place by a silicone wig cap.  Her eyes are deep brown inset acrylic and she has attached eyelashes. 

And also she comes with a short book about her and her brother...I will read this when I get a minute!  Again it has the lovely artwork throughout!

Once Ten Ping was removed from her sleeping bag, I saw that she was also wearing her white cotton knickers. 

She immediately wanted to look for something to wear in the doll clothes box and came up with this sweet outfit which fortunately I've had here for years!  It was made originally for a Lati Yellow Special and fits her perfectly!  It also has a pale turquoise hooded cardigan to go with it should the evenings, down here by the sea, get chilly.  The sneaker boots are for Lati Yellow and although I could get them on, I did have to remove the laces to be able to do so.

Ten Ping is made from hard vinyl and plastic and is 8 inches tall.  She is fully jointed but she's not ball jointed, her joints are more mechanical, they remind me a little of the Obitsu dolls but Ten Ping's joints seem stronger to me, and very nicely made.  She poses really well and has good balance as you can see in my photos above.

I have decided to name my Ten Ping, Pip because she's tiny!!

Now on top of all the above, my box also included some wonderful gifts from my friend in the US!  Six different pieces of lovely quilters cotton fabric and  toys for Pip!  I really am very lucky!! 

Thank you very much J for this wonderful trade, I hope you will be as happy with your outfits as I am with Ten Ping!

Monday 27 April 2015

A Spanish wedding....

On Saturday we went to the wedding of one of our neighbours, and I thought I'd share some of the traditions and photos here.  The bride, Mari Carmen, is the youngest daughter of our friends and neighbours, Ignacio and Carmelita, and this wedding has been a long time in the planning.  The couple were going to get married a few years ago but what with the financial crisis that hit Spain quite badly, they decided to wait as the work on their future home was going to take longer.

The wedding was very traditional and Maria, as she prefers to be known, got ready at home and her closest girlfriends and other female relatives helped her to get ready.  Usually the family will gather at the homes of the bride and groom on the morning of the wedding and enjoy traditional pastries, usually deep fried then coated in sugar, honey and cinnamon....delicious but very fattening!!!

In the meantime, the neighbours gather outside the house to wait for the bridal party to leave for the church.

Maria and her dad, Ignacio, leave their house ....

Maria's dress was lovely, very simple with just the fabric flowers decorating one shoulder and the alternate cuff.  The back had a deep V neckline and tiny buttons doing the bottom part up.  The hemline flared out into a 'fish tale'.  She's a tiny girl, just about 4'10" or so, and I noticed she was wearing very very high sandals under the dress!

Like in the UK, the bride's mum tends to have a 'lesser' role in the wedding ceremony of a daughter, but the father 'gives the bride away' just as they traditionally do in the UK.  Below is Carmelita, the bride's mum, making a quick dash to the car taking her to the church!

In the UK the guests usually leave home well before the bride so that they are all in place at the church or registry office before the bride arrives, but here in Spain, everyone tends to wait in the street for the bride to leave the house, then once they've seen her and she gets in the car, everyone else drives off at high speed (well as high speed as you can get in these steep narrow streets of ours!) to get to the church before the bride and her father arrive!  And of course everyone hangs around outside the church for her to get there, only taking their seats once she's entered on the arm of her father.

Spanish brides traditionally don't have bridesmaids and the groom doesn't have a best man, the role of 'looking after the ring(s)' is undertaken by a small child, usually a member of the happy couples family or friends.  The grooms mother accompanies him down the aisle and more often than not she will wear the mantilla, or very long veil and  comb made of ivory or bone.  Here you can see the back of Jaime and his mother as they entered the church.  The second photo was quickly taken before the reception started, I just wanted a nice clear photo of her to share on here.

The four main 'players' in the actual ceremony are the bride's father, the bride and groom and the groom's mother.  However the couple can choose to have their other parent(s) present too in front of the alter.  In this case, Jaime and Maria chose to have their other parents sitting sideways on to them. 

Here is Jesús who was responsible for carrying the couple's rings into the church.  Wedding rings in Spain are worn on the ring finger of the right hand and not on the left as we do in the UK.  They are usually presented (tied) on a small cushion.  Jesús is Maria's nephew and I think he is now 4 years old.  You will notice that he is wearing shorts made from flowered cotton pique, which matches the fabric of the ring cushion.  I think I've mentioned before here on my blog that small Spanish boys will often be dressed in fabric with small flowers on it, until they are about 4 or 5 years old, especially for 'best'.  Lots of the little boys at the wedding were wearing similar outfits of the same fabric, some of the toddlers wore pale blue woollen tights under their shorts or 'rompers' and their shoes were cream leather Mary Jane's! 

Another Spanish tradition was that the groom used to present the bride with 13 coins known as 'arras'.  These were to represent his 'commitment' to support her.  However, times have now changed and today's brides and grooms exchange the coins as a symbol of the wealth and finances they will equally share.  On this occasion a little girl, wearing a dress of the same blue flowered cotton pique, carried the coins....I think she was Jaime's niece.  Here you just get a glimpse of her in the foreground as she prepares to follow the bride into the church.

Unlike weddings in the UK, there is no 'bride' or 'groom' sides of the church, you sit where you like.  A lot of people tend to 'mill about' in the side aisles taking photos and the children wander about also.  Spain is very child orientated and no-one would complain if children were running up and down, as they often are, or making a noise during the ceremony! 

Below you'll see the guests are still entering the church although the bride and groom are already at the alter with the priest.

The couple exchanging their vows.  You can see that the parents are all seated on small benches right in front of the alter.

The Readings and Bidding Prayers were read out by the children from both families.

The deed is done!!!  Below the happy couple :)

The bride's father Ignacio, the groom Jaime,Maria and her new mother in law!

The happy couple with both sets of parents!

 Carmelita checks out a photo or two of herself!  I hope they got her approval :)

Ignacio and Carmelita...oooops, he blinked!

When the newly weds leave the church, it's customary to throw rice and flower petals, sometimes there is also confetti which is printed to look like paper money and also occasionally chocolate coins.

This is my closest friend, Magdalena outside the church.

Our good friends, Magdalena and Joaquin!  

 Magdalena and I in the street outside where we live, before heading off to the reception!  Pity that we're both squinting into the sun!!!!

It looks like we've both got short hair here, but Magdalena's grandaughter Rocio, had spent the morning doing our hair for us.  She is a trainee hair stylist and did my hair in a lovely plait....of course I forgot to have a photo taken of it!!!  But I actually felt quite glamorous for a while there! ;)

Now on to the reception!  In our experience Spanish weddings seem to be big affairs with loads of guests and this one was no exception.  We estimated that there were about 400 guests in attendance, there was what we'd call the 'head' table for the bride and groom plus their immediate family, then there was another big long table in the middle with the extended family.  On top of all that there were 30 other big round tables, each seating about 12 guests.  The children had another long table of their own!   This number of people is about average these days.....but we've also heard of weddings here where there are well over a thousand attendees!!

The reception was held in one of several special venues here in our town, they are used mainly for weddings, 1st Holy Communions and Baptisms and hold well over a thousand people.  We started the afternoon outside in the street!  Waiting staff came round handing out drinks and tapas.  I tried gazpacho made with strawberries instead of tomatoes.....definitely an acquired taste and one that I don't think I'll be acquiring!!!  I am not that enamoured with what is basically strawberry juice with salt in it!!!!  Other delicacies included small spicy peppers stuffed with cheese, tuna or anchovies, prawns in batter, anchovies on toast, salmon marinaded with cheese and Spanish ham. 

Once inside and seated, our tables were laden with more Spanish ham, olives stuffed with anchovies, platters of various cheeses, octopus in olive oil, bread rolls and bread sticks and roasted almonds.  Then the waiting staff brought out big platters of cooked prawns.  As the plates were emptied, so they were refilled...and this was just for starters.  There was also a plentiful supply of wines, beers and soft drinks.

Then came the meal!!!  Yes, the rest of the food was just for starters!!!
The main meal consisted of firstly a thick soup of rice and seafood, it was delicious.  We then had lemon and mandarin sorbet and it definitely had a bit of alcohol in it!!!

Then onto the main course.  Mine was medallions of pork cooked on a griddle with the choice of a cider sauce or a gravy made from Port.  That was accompanied by 'patatas moneda' which are flat cut deep fried potatoes, and lightly cooked asparagus wrapped in bacon.  The vegetarian option was white fish, but surprisingly for veggies, the same asparagus wrapped in bacon!!  And finally, the dessert!!  There were two different desserts randomly distributed, mine was Crepe de Turron con nata de galleta, which is basically a delicious concoction of choux pastry on top of a thin biscuit and filled with nougat flavoured custard, then topped with cream and chocolate!!!  Brian's was Paris Brest de hojaldre, which is puff pastry filled with a lovely creamy mousse! 

Mine on the left, Brian's on the right!

As well as all the above mentioned food, there was also a long buffet table laden with sweets/candies for the children (or adults with a sweet tooth!!!) and another absolutely heaving under big trays of pastries like those above in the first photos!!!  

Once all the food was eaten, and let me tell you that took several hours, the music started.....and as with most weddings the 'warming up' songs were Spanish versions of the Oke Cokey and the Birdie Song!  I wonder if it's in an effort to work off all that food? :)

Another variation from UK weddings is that the guests do not buy actual 'gifts' to present to the newly weds, and neither is there a list of preferred presents.  The tradition is to give money so that the couple can buy what they need.  I guess that helps them not to receive three irons!! ;)
During the early part of the evening, after the food is finished, the couple will walk around the tables greeting their guests.  At this point they usually give out a little present to each of the attendees, it used to be that men received cigars and ladies would be given a hat pin or maybe a little mirror for their handbag.  However, this time each couple were all presented with a photograph of themselves which had been taken earlier in the day, which was a nice change.  And at the same time, the guests will hand a small envelope to the groom containing their monetary gift.  The amount given really depends on their relationship to the couple and how long or well you've known them, but would never be less than 100 euros.  No wedding cards are given but us being the only Brits there, I always like to give the newlyweds a wedding card, especially a handmade one as I think it makes a nice momento for them.

Finally a random photo of the chandelier above the dance floor, very prettily adorned with flowers.

One final tradition that unfortunately I didn't photograph is the custom of cutting the groom's tie into pieces and then auctioning it off for good luck and is usually carried out by the groom's closest friends.

The newlyweds are now off on their honeymoon, a cruise around the Mediterranean.  I hope they have a wonderful time and a very long happy life together!

I hope you've enjoyed reading about Maria and Jaime's wedding and perhaps a little insight into how weddings are 'done' here in Spain!

Thursday 23 April 2015

Ellie has a new wig....

I'm one of those dolly people who, when I find a look I love on a particular doll, I often keep that look for a long time.  So when Ellie came to me last May wearing her default wig, I really loved the colour as I felt it suited her perfectly and the style, once I'd cut some of the length from the curls, was just 'her'! 

However with time and handling Ellie's wig has become quite untidy, but not the 'designed' untidy that I like, so I've been trying other wigs on her.  I found this unworn wig in my wig box and tried it on her.  I thought it had potential but being slightly longer than I planned for her, it just didn't 'sit right' with me.  So I decided to style it into two plaits....and now I LOVE it on her!  I added some very fine silk organza ribbons and think it really suits her....what do you think?

(Sorry for all the photos, I just love this girl and couldn't choose which photos to post!)