Hello again! I’m beginning a new feature on my blog, which will hopefully turn out to be a way of keeping me playful and creative by giving me specific assignments. I’m planning a special doll-related feature linked to each day of the week. I won’t say here what they will all be–for one thing, I want it to be a surprise, and for another, I have so many ideas that they may have to alternate (there are only seven days of the week, after all, and I have more than seven different kinds of dolls). Also, let me state right here, to be kind both to you and myself, that I’m not expecting myself to actually do a blog post every day of every week! This is just an idea to help me post more creatively, more often!

Well then, without further ado, here’s introducing Tasha Tuesdays. Tasha, you may know, is my Maru and Friends Jamie doll, whom I reviewed last spring (click here for the review), and who I’ve named after American children’s book illustrator Tasha Tudor. There’s a special reason behind this association: My first Tasha Tudor book is a very dear book indeed. It’s called Becky’s Birthday, and it’s special because I bought it for a dime from a library sale somewhere in the midwest (I think Ohio) during a cross-country trip I took with my family when I was very little. I didn’t know anything about the author-illustrator then, but it is a beautiful book I’ve loved ever since I picked it out from that sale myself, and evokes many poetic feelings and associations. As an adult, I’ve begun collecting Tasha Tudor’s other books, and when I bought Jamie, she immediately reminded me of Tudor’s illustrations, especially of Becky herself. So it was a simple matter to name her Tasha. Tasha loves reading, everything old-fashioned, simple, hand-made and artistic, especially drawing, just like her namesake. She’s quiet, very thoughtful, and rather shy, but extremely photogenic. Here’s a portrait I took of Tasha last year in our little rose garden:

Tasha

Tasha

I can’t tell you how amazing these Maru and Friends dolls are. To me, it’s because they feel like heirlooms. They have a silky, delicate, porcelain quality, and their height, size, childlike proportions, and especially their faces, expressions, and wigs are absolutely exquisite. Best of all, despite their beauty, they’re actually very sturdy and made for play. I have two Maru and Friends dolls so far, Jamie and Savannah (I’ve named them Tasha and Merida) and I’ve got my eye on Maru herself, especially, as well as gorgeous Tanya.

Anyway, I think it’s Tasha’s heirloom feeling that makes me think of Tasha Tudor’s artwork so much. Tasha feels to me like the very incarnation of Anabelle, from A is for Annabelle. (By the way, if you haven’t read A is for Annabelle, you should! What can possibly be more beautiful than a children’s book about a doll?).

A is for Annabelle pg 1

Here are the first two pages scanned directly from the book.

A is for Annabelle pg 2

Today, Tasha, who loves being very quiet and still and noticing everything around her, wants to show you the bright yellow rabbitbrush that is blooming in our yard, all around our neighborhood, and across the hills and valley where we live.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rabbitbrush 1

The yellow rabbitbrush blossoms are an emblem of the end of summer and beginning of autumn for us. They bloom every September, turning the silvery, round rabbitbush shrubs into cascades of honey-scented and bee-attracting bouquets.

Honey bee on rabbit brush blossoms

The color, the fragrance, the texture… Tasha is attracted to them just like a honey bee.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rabbitbrush 2

While I was photographing her this morning, Tasha encouraged me to look closely at the flowers.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rabbitbrush 3

She said we’re often so busy that even though we see lovely things, we don’t slow down enough to really see them. Sure enough, I realized I’ve never actually studied the rabbitbrush blossoms up close. They surprised me with their strange and intricate structure, which is crisp and distinctive, and quite different than the feathery impression they give from afar.

Rabbit brush blossoms

Unlike many people, Tasha is not afraid of bees. She loved watching their industrious and besotted absorption with the blossoms.

Honey bee on rabbit brush blossoms 2

Bees are incredibly important in nature and agriculture, and are often misunderstood. We should rejoice, not shriek, when we see a bee! Tasha told me that as long as you are quiet and respectful, a honey bee will never hurt you. We felt perfectly safe crouched quite near the humming bush, watching the bees gather nectar for the last wildflower honey of the year.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rabbitbrush 4

I never intended to be a busy person, so preoccupied with the business of the day that I would rush by what is beautiful! Quite the contrary! But somehow, life has a way of taking over, if we don’t set priorities. Tasha’s gentle lessons are a good reminder for me to take time out for what is most important: creativity, beauty, art, poetry.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rabbitbrush 5

The sources of creativity, art, and poetry, are all around us all the time, especially in nature. Tasha knows this–but being a doll, she’s never forgotten.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with rabbitbrush 6

Tuesdays can get lost in bustle, I know! Tasha and I hope you’ll take a few minutes today to nurture your creative spirit.

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with book

Tasha Tudor would have encouraged you as well. 🙂

Maru and Friends Jamie doll with Tudor book

Happy Tasha Tuesday from A Doll’s Picnic!