Further 1940s Interiors

My lastest finds!

I had a few quiet moments a month or so ago and decided to go looking for some books. Ok, I'll be honest, I was procrastinating. But now I get to reap the rewards, so procrastinating can be worthwhile after all!

Here are my lastest purchases. Apologies for the bad photos. In fact there would have been more but my battery went flat (the camera's, not mine).

I love Taschen - they're great. Where else can you see an entire decade of magazines assembled in one spot? Domus, the worthy Italian publication, from the 1940s - a strong emphasis on the modern, following on from the International style.  I like it, but I'm more in the mood for this:

I love this book. I know I love it, because I already have it! Ugh, I get impulsive when I see something like this and lunge at it. A simple google search would have shown this is the French version. Anyway, pretty cover!  But then THIS arrived. I haven't got this one, and there is so much in it (including a lot of very formal French, which is stretching my memory, a lot), so it is my current favourite. As I said, my battery died, so not so many pics!

So, yes, I am happy with the fruits of my procrastination. Now I just want everything in these books!

King Penguin Books

An Inspiration

We like to collect stuff and more often than not, our collections come from items made or designed between the wars. Our small, incomplete collection of King Penguin books is an example. We can spot one of these beauties across a room full of aggressive bookworms at a book sale! Printed between 1939 and 1959, the series ran to 76 volumes (sigh) covering a diverse range of topics from the natural world to antiques. The text is usually very worthy but the covers are brilliant! What does that say about me! 

The colours and designs are a rich source of inspiration.  I was going through the books and it made me think of autumn and lying in the grass under falling leaves. I know this might sound like a shameless segue, but it did prompt me to make another batch of our woodsy Arcadia eau de cologne.  Such are the links in daydreamy trails of thought.

British Reptiles and Amphibia. Edible Fungi. A Book of Ducks. English Ballet.

British Reptiles and Amphibia. Edible Fungi. A Book of Ducks. English Ballet.

Looking Back at Old Me

A Box of Paper

We are preparing for a garage sale and so I have been going through some old, forgotten boxes in the garage. It's a bit like peeling an onion really - as I come across the bits and pieces collected over time - an arts and crafts vase (1989!), a Smash Hits magazine (1983!), my collection of colourful rocks (1976!).  And while there aren't any tears, it is certainly a moving experience.

I found a box of my old school and university papers and I shuffled through them looking at bits and pieces.  I marvel now at some of the things I had to write about and it made me feel a little bit proud of making that decision to leave my secure job and go to university just to do something I was interested in.  I should remember this more often.

Finding some of my primary school books was a bit of a laugh too. I think I was obsessed with time travel, disasters, my clothes and the words "obviously" and "typically".  As an 11 year old, I wrote a story called "The Wonderland" set in Kings Cross in Sydney.  I'll spare you the jagged narrative, but this will give you an idea of what it was about: "...I can remember waking up to see mushrooms walking up a pavement made of toffee...there was a pudding dressed in a maid costume.  Next to it was a sausage which looked like a chef" and finally "I saw a potato with a crown perched on its head.  As I turned it said, in a tight voice 'what are...you...doing...here?" Upon answering, I was promptly arrested by "two chubby scoops of icecream".  So, I was also obsessed with food...

Amongst my university papers, I found some of the art projects I had to complete as part of my Visual Arts major.  I can remember doing the aquatint, but not the collage.  The latter looks too precise but I guess it must be mine (in any event, it's cute).  Here they are:

Well, thank you for indulging me.  I don't live in the past, but it's nice to visit once in a while.

Of Worthy Advice and Bad Art

Book finds

While being a lovely sunny day, there is always time to pop into second-hand bookshops and dig up some treasures from dark and dusty shelves.

My recent finds include "The Practical Way to Keep Fit" (ha!) by Harry Roberts and "How to Write, Think and Speak Correctly" (I know what you're thinking, reader) by C.E.M. Joad.  Both are part of Odhams Press Ltd's quaint range of self-improvement books for the Everyman, probably from the 1920s and both have the same lovely endpapers. 

Knowing how to write, think and speak correctly is all very worthy (an' all that), but the guide to keeping fit is my favourite of the two, mainly for its illustrations.  The text is ponderous and preachy and reminds me of being trapped at a party by a perfectly lovely but deadly dull guest.  The illustrations, however, are a bit of a hoot.  They range in quality, staying on the dark side of mediocre for the most part, but some are really very bad!  Some have quite funny captions and others are just, well, inexplicable.

You're telling me it does!

Well, that's all very well for him!

 Not even trying.

When in Rome

Breezing along on a breeze

I have just released a new soap - When in Rome.  This wonderfully aromatic basil and spearmint scented soap will be fresh start to the day and put you in the mood for scooting around town with the wind in your hair!

Packed full of excellent quality oils including olive oil, olive pomace, shea oil, rice bran oil, meadowfoam seed oil and a dash of castor oil (for that silky skin feel!), When in Rome is a treat for the skin and the senses!

Sophisticated and youthful, When in Rome is all natural, hand crafted, vegan and contains no palm oil.  Now available in store!

Top photo: Detail from the cover of "The New Target Book for Girls".

A Glorious Day

Guess what I'm doing?

Well, I'm doing a few things, but this is one of them:

Otherwise, on this wonderfully sunny and springy public holiday, I'm making a new soap, a new perfume and listening to bossa nova while catching up with some reading.  Perfect, yes?!  I hope your day is as relaxing!

Space Age Fun

Flea market find 

I picked up these little paperback books a couple of weeks ago from a local flea market.  I can't say I'm a fan of science fiction, but I love the cover art on these numbers!

I think my favourite cover is the charming, almost domestic, scene of three guys fixing a spherical ship of some sort.  Love the leisurewear and how it looks like the type of illustration used in DIY home renovation magazines of the time - you've got the green lawn, the stepping stones, quite an idylic scene!   Great colours - even the aliens look cheerful!

Winter Long Weekend

We're having a lovely, sunny (off and on) long weekend and the garden is looking lovely.  The lawn is covered in golden leaves and the violets are in full bloom.  I have a bit of a crush on violets, but it's nothing to be alarmed about. 

Every June long weekend there is a large book-sale held in Norwood and I went this year non-nonchalantly thinking I'll buy nothing, but furtively ensuring I had sufficient cash in my pocket on the off-chance - you know what it's like.  Well, needless to say I came away with some beauties.  I love the cover of 'Try Nothing Twice' by Frank Clune (published 1946):

I also purchased a tatty old copy of the much sought-after 'Handbook of the Destructive Insects of Victoria' Part 1 by C. French (published 1890).  Have a look at the illustrations and endpapers montaged below:

And finally, an illustration from 'Modern Illustration, its method and present conditions' by Joseph Pennell (published 1898): 

Happy with my booty indeed!  The books, I mean.  And, to prove to you how lovely the garden is, here's a short harinezumi film taken from a worm's eye:

Jolly Hockeysticks

Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to come across a bunch of autograph books at a local market.  

The books date from between 1935 and 1941 and document a series of interstate trips taken by schoolgirls and their teachers.  I gather they were travelling to compete in sporting events.  Here, one girl has collected a photographic memento of her trip, collecting the photographs of her pals and escorts and filling the books with signatures, addresses and cute little notes.  It really is a lovely collection, you can sense the girls' excitement and this is sometimes displayed in the way they sit for their photographs.

I have my favourites, including one girl by the name of Elvey, who seems quite mischievous.  You can see her pulling a face in the montage below.  She is in most of the books and you get to see her grow.  By the later books, she is one of the 'trainers', proudly displaying her carefully curled hair.

Autumn Sunshine & Reading

After a grim weekend, it's nice to see some sunshine out on the last of the golden leaves in the garden.   Before settling down with a cup of tea, I thought about which book to flick through.  Here are my current thoughts:

Gone to Earth - Mary Webb
In Youth is Pleasure - Denton Welch
A Natural History of the Senses - Diane Ackerman
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
Lady into Fox - David Garnett
Raven's Brood - E.F. Benson
Lolly Willowes - Sylvia Townsend Warner

I'm sure the sun won't last, so make the most of it while we can, and then we can just face the music.  And dance!