Friday, 23 March 2007

found treasures

Our household is slowly recovering after two days of distress. On Tuesday evening we found out that Lucas had caught chickenpox. He was very miserable and the combination of fever, pain and itchiness was just a little bit too much for his four-year-old body to handle. Simon took two days off work to look after him so I could continue working at home and not get too exhausted. He decided to go back to work this morning, though, after checking that Lucas was feeling a lot better. In fact, he feels well enough to be left to his own devices downstairs while I stay here in the study to work. Er, and blog. Occasionally.

I have been thinking recently of vintage children’s illustrations and how beautiful they are. I think I am drawn by the subtle use of colours and the delicate line drawings which emphasize the beauty and innocence of the children they depict. This has inadvertently led me to rediscover the Flower Fairies books by Cicely Mary Barker in Lucas’s room. After my father-in-law reorganised his home office last year, he delivered boxes of books and papers to our house for storage. Simon and I found old photos, school notes, textbooks, ancient cookbooks and gardening books in the boxes. There were also a few children’s books, mostly the Peter Rabbit tales and the Flower Fairies. I had never heard of the Flower Fairies before, and a quick look at the books left me fascinated with the beautiful colour plates. I decided to put them away in Lucas’s room.

Yesterday I felt the urge to have a closer look at the books. I ended up collecting them from Lucas’s room (I had to do this stealthily as he tends to be very possessive about his books) and putting them in the study so I can look at them whenever I want to. The pictures are so pretty I have decided to get a scanner so I can print my favourites out to decorate the baby’s room.

I am now also convinced that we have the first editions of the books. They are undated, as the earliest editions were, and have the distinct chequerboard design on the covers. I think we have some real treasures here in our home, and although the temptation to have them appraised and eventually put up for sale is strong, I think I’d rather hold on to them for now. The fairies are trying to tell me something, I’m sure, and I’ll keep looking at them until I get the message.

Right now, I’m reading Flower Fairies of the Spring and this is one of my favourite pictures from the book:



Cicely Mary Barker used real children as models for her paintings. The Primrose Fairy above was modelled by Gladys Tidy, who did the housework for the Barkers every Saturday.

When I’m not looking at the fairies, I daydream about crochet and sewing projects. I have seen so many inspiring projects on the blogosphere that I feel it’s about time I go out and get a sewing machine and start churning out bags, dresses and toys. I have even decided which sewing machine to get. Here’s my dream machine:



This is the Janome Limited Edition 4618. It has all the features I need to do the basic stuff, and it will also let me do quilting. All for £149. Yummy. Now all I need to do is convince Simon that I really need a sewing machine and that our lives will be so much better once I get one.

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