When I was last in Lewes I saw a copy of Virginia lee Burton’s The Little House on display in the window of a charity shop. Intrigued I asked to see it and subsequently bought it for four whole pounds. It’s a very battered and old (1946) copy but that does nothing to diminish the charm of the story and the illustrations. I didn’t know the book at all and so I did some research and discovered it won the prestigious Caldecott medal in 1943. The story is considered to deal with the issue of urban sprawl, although the author denied this, either way it is still as relevant today as when it was first published in 1942. It has also been questioned weather it was a reference for the wonderful Pixar film UP, and the actual little house story was turned into a Disney animation in 1952.
During my research I also discovered Virginia Lee Burton’s other creative endeavors, namely the Folly Cove designers. For one thing I love the name and I also love printing and vintage patterns so I was sold right away. I also like how nature is a strong theme in many of the designs and just the clever structures and excellent colour combinations. Despite being created by many different designers, all the folly cove designs have a distinctive hand that unites them and the designs have a real timeless quality to them. Here is a the wikipedia entry on them. I also came across the (currently closed) Sarah Elizabeth shop which is carrying on the Folly Cove legacy with a great range of printed products, I hope it reopens soon as I would love to get my hands on a little printed something or other. Below is a selection of Folly Cove designs, all images from the truely amazing resource of the Cape Ann museum.
It has been a while since I featured any childrens books. So here is a vintage copy of A big ball of string by Marion Holland. I found this at a jumble and it is a little bit scruffy, plus a former reader has added in some lines, but the illustrations still stand out. I like the very restricted palette of black, white, red and blue, which I have found in other childrens books as well. I also like her use of perspective and the added details, such as a copy of the cat in the hat in the bedroom which may be explained here.
Some chidlrenswear today. This brand boy + girl is new to me and I really like it. It’s LA based and locally made with a definite relaxed californian feel to it. As well as great kids wear they also do a menswear line, I wonder if a womens line will follow next? A lot of these pieces I could happily wear myself… especially the second image of that nice stripy dress. I also love the reversible t-shirt, beautiful muted colours and can be worn both ways, a great idea. Plenty of stripes and chambray and soft colours plus some highlights of brights, everything I like. There is a nice interview with the designer behind the brand Christine Chang here.
Flax & Stone sounds like the name of a brand, maybe one selling homewares? Well you heard it here first. In other words the less exciting sounding beige.
A new blog post theme I am going to look at are window shopping posts. Clothes and accessories and products from various sources that I like all grouped together, by theme. And right now I’m feeling very drawn to natural fibres and muted colours with lots of relaxed volume included. An old favourite, the Allen Company Etsy store has some very covetable things fitting this description. I’ve also found some nice things at Nice Things by Paloma S (who also does childrenswear!) and at Lauren Winter. Most of the below images can be found on my Pinterest boards as well.
As I said in my last post, I’ve been lucky enough to come across a selection of Ladybird books lately. Including the above ‘What to look for in Spring’. Which I am able to follow up with ‘What to look for in Summer’. But since it’s still just about Spring time around here, we’ll start with this one. Now I just need to get my hands on the Autumn and Winter editions.
Over the May Day bank holiday weekend I paid a visit to the Ladybird by design exhibition at the Del La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. I only found out about it at Easter and it has since finished so I was lucky to make it there. The De La Warr Pavilion is a wonderful space, a modernist structure with sweeping lines and beautiful views over the seafront (very grey and blustery when I was there, which kind of added to the charm in a way.) I also really appreciate the fact that it’s very much a public space, with free exhibitions and kids activities. I was impressed by the exhibition being free and also the sheer volume of artworks on display. The great thing about the ladybird books is how familiar they are. I think almost everyone there from old to young has fond memories of at least one ladybird book. They also had a great wall showcasing dozens and dozens of different titles, it was fun trying to find ones we recognised. Two interesting facts about the books were one; that each book was printed on a single large sheet of paper and two; that the price remained constant for something like 30 years, which has to be a very rare thing. Some of the artworks looked rather un pc and gender stereotyped by todays standards and others looked surprisingly modern in the use of colour and composition – such as the first image in this post. I of course love children’s books, particularly vintage ones, so the whole exhibition was a delight to me. I went to a jumble sale a week later and actually picked up a couple of the ‘peter and jane’ (key word) books which I just couldn’t resist. I’ll do an additional post about my own collection of ladybird books soon
Sessun totally gets it. I could wear every single thing in this collection very happily. Simple shapes but with interesting textures, colours and details. I’ve always like the muted colours and the subtle use of different fabrics and textures. This collection definitely makes me wish for a long holiday in the dessert with a vintage car just wandering and exploring. It also makes a red jumpsuit look like an excellent evening alternative to a dress. I have to remember that some of these looks I could probably make up from items I already have in my wardrobe, like in photo 9; I probably have a big cardi, shorts and a little cami. Just need to add in perfect sandals – I’ve wanted some of these saltwater ones for ages. That ‘je ne sais quoi’ french attitude might be a bit harder to get though.