Sunday, 21 May 2017

Smelling the flowers just quietly

Hello lovely blogging friends and readers of my blog!  

I’m about to take a short blogging break but didn’t want to disappear without saying adiós, adieu, addio, adeus, arrivederci, auf Wiedersehen, au revoir, shalom, sayonara, 再见, goodbye.

I need a little time to sit quietly and smell the flowers;
Ferdinand the Bull Disney Postcard

Time to daydream;
German postcard, boy, girl, river, ducks,

Maybe try a new hobby;
Postcard, artwork, monkey, primate,

Visit out of the way places;
Vintage greeting card - cottage and blossoms

Read lots (and lots) of books, so I can tell you about some of them when I return from my blogging break;

Collection children's vintage books

Just before I go, I must tell you about a nice thing that happened to me last week. The lovely Yvonne over at Melancholy and Menace asked for ideas for a tagline to suit her (creepy) vintage book shop. I’m afraid I got carried away with the whole thing and ended up thinking of rather more than one idea, which may explain why I won! Yvonne is working on a new logo so be sure to visit her blog from time to time to see the changes.

My prize was the choice of any book from the Melancholy and Menace (Reading in the Dark) bookshop. Don’t you think that’s a lovely prize? I do. 

See you all soon .....
Image found on Pinterest


The images used at the beginning of  this post are all cards or postcards from my vintage collection;

Ferdinand postcard published by Valentine & Sons For Walt Disney Productions, 1938. The title of this post is part of a quote from Ferdinand the Bull, the full quote is “And for all I know he is sitting there still, under his favorite cork tree, smelling the flowers just quietly” ― Munro Leaf, The Story of Ferdinand.

The second postcard was printed in Germany, no other publishing details. The image is signed, but it’s very difficult to make out. It looks like ‘Resden’. The lovely Valerie over at Bastelmania has just suggested the name could be Dresden (the town) rather than Resden, and I think she could be right.  I still can’t make out the first word so if anyone knows or has an idea, please leave a comment.  Willie is sure the name is William Dresden, so more research required.

The next postcard was sent to Elizabeth from Gran in 1961.  It was printed in Switzerland by A. Kiener.

The pretty cottage is from a greeting card sent from ‘all at Royal Road, Teddington’. It was printed in Britain in the 1930s.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Susan B Pearse: Perfect Little Works of Art

Today I’m sharing more images from an album or possibly a book of *samples, which would have been carried by a salesman. What little I know about the images, and the album will be found here. I was very happy to acquire this, but it seems a shame to leave it hidden away hence I’m sharing it with you. I really hope you enjoy these ‘perfect little works of art’ as much as I do.  

All of today’s images are by Susan Beatrice Pearse (1878 – 1980)

Pearse Susan B, Photochrome Company Limited,
Images by Susan B Pearse Reference numbers D. 5331 to D. 5336
Susan B. Pearse was a British painter and illustrator born on the 19th January 1878 in Kennington, South London. She was the daughter of the journalist, William Pearse. Though educated at King Edward’s School, Southwark, she spent much of her childhood in Fair Oak, near Eastleigh, Hampshire. She studied at New Cross Art School and the Royal College of Art. While at the RCA, she met the portrait painter, Walter Ernest Webster and they married in Fulham in 1919. Her later years were spent at Blewbury, Berkshire a village then popular with authors and artist. She died on the 3rd January 1980, 18 days before her 102nd birthday. Best known as a book illustrator Susan also created drawings for postcards and greeting cards. Her other illustrative work included contributions to Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopaedia and an advertising campaign for Start-rite Shoes.
The Dictionary of British Women Artists. Gray, Sara. Lutterworth Press, 2009.

Morning Walk D. 5333 (top row) colour image found at Bonhams

A larger version of one of the images from the album (above)

Where are they?  D. 5332 (top row) colour image found on Pinterest

Pearse Susan B, Photochrome Company Limited,
Images by Susan B Pearse Reference numbers D. 5161 to D. 5166
The album pages (above and below) show a series of numbered images. My assumption is these were used as birthday cards or perhaps to illustrate a counting book. 

Pearse Susan B, Photochrome Company Limited,
Images by Susan B Pearse Reference numbers D. 5167 to D. 5172

The Number 3 in colour (image Pinterest

Pearse Susan B, Photochrome Company Limited,
Images by Susan B Pearse Reference numbers D. 5301 to D. 5306
The images above tell the story of the birth of the Baby Jesus. Were they used to illustrate a book or a series of postcards / Christmas cards? If you know, please get in touch, either by leaving a comment or sending an email (link in right-hand column), thank you.  

Massive thanks are due to everyone who responded to my last ‘perfect little works of art’ post. Most of the places in the images by Fred Taylor have been identified. I’ve also received lots of very useful information from a relative of J. Francis Smith, and have amended the post accordingly. You can see all the changes here.

*Salesman samples are scaled-down versions of real products used to demonstrate features to retailers or potential customers. Also known as salesmen samples or salesman’s samples, these miniature goods were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as they were easily transportable by travelling salespeople and allowed dealers to display a variety of items in their showrooms. Read More Collectors

Images previously shared
Phyllis Purser; here
Fred Taylor; here
J. Francis Smith; here

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Sea of Adventure and Another Candle on my Birth Year Cake

The Birth Year Reading Challenge  is proving more difficult than I Imagined, and the fault is entirely mine! "I’m just going to pop out and find forty books written by Enid Blyton in 1948" sounded OK when I said it. That was three months ago and how many have I found? None, nil, nada, zero, not one! I've found plenty of reprints, oodles of paperbacks, and some hardbacks without dust jackets but that's not what I’m looking for. I'm trying to find hardback first editions with dust jackets. It's not a lot to ask is it? 😉 If I had heaps of cash I could probably buy most of them online, but I don't have that kind of money, and besides it would spoil the excitement.
Enid Blyton all eight books in the Adventure Series
All eight books in the adventure series
It's lucky I had two of the books on my shelves when I joined the challenge otherwise I would have nothing to write about. Today I'm going to share The Sea of Adventure, which is the second of the two books already on my shelf. The other one is Five Go Off to Camp which you can read about here

There are eight books in The Adventure Series, and they all feature the same four children: Philip, Jack, Dinah and Lucy-Ann, along with several adults and a pet parrot by the name of Kiki. 

Enid Blyton The Sea of Adventure

In The Sea of Adventure Philip, Dinah, Jack and Lucy-Ann are recovering from a nasty bout of measles when their mother is also taken ill. Unable to look after the children she decides they must go on holiday. When the planned trip falls through the four children are horribly disappointed. However, that quickly changes when Bill Smugs turns up in the middle of the night. Hearing that Bill needs to go into hiding for a while, they persuade him to take them bird-watching in the remote islands north of Scotland. Naturally enough the children stumble upon a sinister plot and when Bill disappears, the children are left to try to find and out what is going on and also rescue Bill.

Enid Blyton never fails to pack excitement and mystery into her stories, and once again I was not disappointed.  You do have to suspend belief from time from time. For instance, why would anyone allow four children to go off on holiday with someone who needs to go into hiding? The children (and a parrot) provide a good smoke screen for Bill, but it could all have ended disastrously!  I read these books as a child and not once did I consider how implausible some of the plots are. I’m older and maybe even a little wiser now so I read from a different perspective, but it doesn’t spoil my enjoyment.

Enid Blyton The Sea of Adventure
Enid Blyton
The Sea of Adventure
1st Edition
Published by Macmillan in 1948
Hardback with Dust Jacket
Illustrations by Stuart Tresilian
321 pages

There are eight original books in the Adventure Series written between 1944 and 1955. They are: The Island of Adventure, The Castle of Adventure, The Valley of Adventure, The Sea of Adventure, The Mountain of Adventure, The Ship of Adventure, The Circus of Adventure and the River of Adventure. I’m lucky enough to have them all in my collection.

According to Collecting Children’s Books (Diamond Publishing Group - third edition 2007) Enid Byton is the most successful British children’s author of the twentieth century. Born: Enid Mary Blyton in London on 11th August 1897, and spent her childhood in the suburb of Beckenham. After school, studied to be a kindergarten teacher, at the same time submitting verses and stories to various magazines, including Teachers’ World. Her first book, a volume of poems entitled Child Whispers, was published in 1922, and was followed by The Enid Blyton Book of Fairies (1924), Sunny Stories for Little Folk (1926), and countless other works. Best known for the ‘Famous Five' (1942 onwards), and ‘Secret Seven’ (1949 onwards) series, and the phenomenally popular ‘Noddy’ books (1949 onwards). Died: 1968. 

Have you ever set yourself an impossible task?  Would you keep going or admit defeat?

Terry and I had the pleasure of Meeting Willy Wine last week. Lots of you know Willie from the comments he leaves around the web, but if you are yet to make his acquaintance why not pay a visit to his blog. After a couple of cups of coffee and lots of laughter we said goodbye to Willie and went on to a Vintage Fair at the Corn Exchange in Blandford;

Needles to say I came home with a couple of vintage books which I will tell you about in a future post.

This image is from Vintage in the Town at Facebook - click the link for more details

I just want to end by thanking Willie for the fun, and for this amazing card which I couldn’t wait to share with you all. Thanks Willie!

Monday, 1 May 2017

Of This & That

We've all seen blog posts discussing the best literary fiction, the top 50 websites for women, 10 awesome websites to read and talk about, the best this and the best that, etc., etc. Well today, I'm going to share some of my favourite websites and a nifty little low tech invention I've recently discovered. I'm not being paid to share these I'm simply sharing them because I like them, and I hope you will too. 

My friend and neighbour Mary told me about Olive & Sage an online boutique bursting with gorgeous vintage and modern furniture & accessories for the home and garden.  I was looking for something unusual for my sister’s birthday, and found it here!  I can't tell you what it is because my sister might see this post, but I can tell you she will love it!
If you like vintage ephemera, Milly & Dottie’s Emporium is the place to visit. It's a vintage treasure house full of wonderful books, old greetings cards and other treats too numerous to mention.  When you arrive at the site, you are greeted with an image of a house with lots of rooms. Each room is named according to the kind of things you can expect to find in it.  My favourite rooms are the library and the study, although I’m also rather partial to the sewing room, the nursery and the dovecot.  As you might expect the study contains lots of vintage postcards and greetings cards, in the library you will find pretty and interesting books, and the dovecot is filled with vintage school posters depicting birds, flowers and animals.  Don't miss a visit to the attic, the kitchen and the boudoir where you will find vintage hair ornaments, handmade embroidered stocking pouches and other such delights.

If you are new to cooking or would like to brush up on your skills Now Cook It is a good place to start. The site is maintained by The Co-operative Group, commonly known as the Co-op a British consumer co-operative with a diverse range of retail businesses, including food retail, financial services and much more. None of that need concern you (or me) the important bits are the core techniques and complete recipes many of which are accompanied by videos. All the recipes are designed with new cooks in mind. I’ve been serving up food for years, but I’m always looking to improve my skills so it suits me very well. I’m going to try Shakshuka next (see pic below) simple and delicious.

Brightly run by Penguin Random House have lots of lists like those I mentioned at the start of this post but these are carefully thought out, useful lists. The purpose of Brightly is to help foster a love of reading in children, which can only be a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Happily, lists are just a small part of the site. They cover all kinds of interesting topics and provide story time pages featuring lots of different books like the one in the following image. 

Now for that great little idea I promised you.  Bookades from This & That Services are perfect for summertime reading. No more searching around for your sunglasses, leave your Bookades between the pages of your book, and you’re ready to go. I’ve tried them and they really work, place a single transparent Bookades over the page you're reading, and you're all set.  What could be simpler?  You even have the choice of three colours Slate Grey, Grape and Mango – but why choose, my advice is to buy one of each and use them to suit your mood. If you can’t find these in your local bookshop be sure to ask for as Nora Roberts said, “if you don’t ask the answer is always no."  

You might remember a post from the beginning of the year where I shared five of my favourite blogs and asked for links to others. Willie Wine (of comment fame) shared five more, one of which is the one you are reading right now (thanks Willie). These are the other four.

Justcats  I'm a new visitor to this blog, but I can already see why Willie enjoys it.

Linda's Peaceful Place, I love Linda’s blog and make a point of visiting her at least once a week.

My Threadbear Life  Another favourite of mine. Why not pop over and say hello to Julie, I know she will be happy to see you.

Poppy Q I’ve yet to visit Poppy Q, but I will be over there soon.


I’ve just made these yummy biscuits. They are simple to make, buttery, crispy and decidedly moreish. The nice thing is you melt the butter in a saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients to it, so no messing around with lots of dishes. The recipe suggests making 25 biscuits, but I made 24 because they were a perfect fit for two baking trays.  I didn’t adjust the quantities of mixture, but I did cook for the full 15 minutes.  I found the recipe online, but I understand it originally came from a book called Cookie Jar by Love Food.

Cherry Almond Cookies

200g butter, cut into cubes
90g sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
280g self raising flour
25g ground almonds (5 TBS)
Glace cherries 

Preheat the oven to 180/160 Fan/ 350F/ gas mark 4.  Butter 2 large baking sheets. (I covered with non stick baking paper – much easier than buttering)

Place the butter in a saucepan and melt it slowly over low heat, without allowing it to colour.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the sugar and almond extract.  Add the flour and ground almonds to make a soft smooth dough.  Roll into 25 equal sized balls and place the balls onto the baking sheets, leaving some room for spreading.  Flatten slightly with your hands and top each with a cherry. 

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let stand on the baking sheets for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Bon Appétit!


Have you heard of Book Spine Poetry? I’ve seen references to it around the web but hadn’t really paid attention until a recent visit to Marcia Strykowski’s blog. Now I’m seeing Book Spine Poetry everywhere. The only trouble is most of it doesn’t actual rhyme but apparently that doesn’t matter. The ‘rules’ such as they are simply state: Create a poem by stacking book, CD, DVD or audio book spines. The poem should have a minimum of three titles and a maximum of eight and there is no need for them to rhyme. 

This is my first attempt, I must say I'm rather pleased with it!

The Winter Children / Left Neglected / Behind closed doors / One day in May 

I did warn you this post was full of ‘this and that’, but I hope you found something enjoyable, a new website to visit, a friend to make, or a book spine poem to think about.

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