Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Through the letterbox

Long time readers of my blog may remember that my sister, Laura, edited an anthology of poems a couple of years ago for Penguin Classics entitled Poems for Life. Well yesterday, her third anthology, Love, plopped onto my doormat and is just as lovely. Cloth-bound like the last, with thick creamy pages, it is a delicious treat of a book. And I can't help but be delighted by the fact that this book has page marking ribbons in contrasting shades of red...

Ordered into sections by the different ways in which we might experience love ranging from Suddenly, Secretly, Nearly and Tentatively, through Haplessly, Incurably, Impatiently and Passionately, to Greedily, From a distance, With a vow and Happily ever after. Stopping at The morning after, Treacherously, Bitterly and Indifferently, in between. My list omits so many other thoughtfully titled ways in which we might feel the ups and downs of love.

New favourites have been comfortingly found in the Happily ever after section, most especially one by Adrian Nowlan entitled Parlour Games (which I have been unable to find online to link to), which gave me that deliciously rare feeling of instant recognition, that can come as someone so eloquently expresses a snapshot recognised from your own life - he writes of a couple reaching a silent truce through smirks and sideways smiles over the course of a visit from unexpected guests who had arrived mid-argument in the most perfect and generous way.

I was propelled back to being a 17 year old as I re-read a much studied scene from Twelfth Night, revisited my first year at university when reading an extract from Roger McGough's book Summer with Monika and loved reading of moments captured on paper from the lives of others - In-flight Note by Judith Rodriguez, A Friendship by Connie Bensley and Ironing by Olivia McCannon.

She has included Invisible Kisses by one of my most favourite poets, Lemn Sissay, and for our Mama the book ends with Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the End of Love. And on turning to the acknowledgments, she has dedicated the volume to myself and my parents....which makes me feel all butterfly stomached and watery eyed.

Just as beautifully bound and almost as lovely, my sister sent me this wonderful edition of Pride & Prejudice last month. After hearing her talk about Austen novels and recalling my own love of Emma, I rued the fact that I still hadn't read Pride & Prejudice, so she ordered me this very special mustard-hued copy, which I read, barely stopping to eat, over the course of 24 hours.

In the same way that one can see how a cliche becomes a cliche because of its very trueness, one can also see why a classic becomes just that - it is just so very, very good. I loved it and entered into the Bennett's world so whole-heartedly that for several days after I found that my speech had become slightly more formal and quaintly phrased (luckily I was able to email Joanne in character and know that she would be most sympathetic having spent nearly two years fashioning an Austenesque dress in which she might answer the door to the postman...how very odd that makes her sound! She will thank me for mentioning that out of context, I know).

Anyway, after a spell in the Austen decompression chamber I returned to my partially normal self and started devouring this wonderful craft book that I was sent pre-publication in October (which excited me no end for the only thing more delicious than a new sewing book is a new sewing book still in its comb binder arriving on my doorstop to peep at before its even arrived at Amazon HQ).

I love the premise for One-Yard Wonders, being someone who hoards her fabric greedily, not able to cope with the idea that a project might use up my entire supply of a certain print. As it says on the cover there are 101 projects and they are incredibly diverse.

I particularly loved the ones where fabric was used in a more unconventional way - like Junie Moon's project which shows you how to cover an old-fashioned pair of bathroom scales with fabric and seal it so that it has a rock-hard totally unfabricy finish, or Danielle Wilson's project which inspires you to fabric line the backs of shelves.

The projects which use fabric more conventionally range from children's and women's clothes, to bags and cushions, to holders and cosies, toys and blankets. There are some really fantastic ideas in there too, such as the beanbag booster seat, which I would have loved when my two were small. The photography is beautiful and many of the pages are edged with strips of lovely fabrics.
Storey Publishing are currently running a giveaway to coincide with the release of the book where one can win free fabric for a whole year - you can find the entry form here (and you don't have to actually buy the book to enter...although the book is so lovely that it's well worth buying - you can find it in hardback here - the paperback is yet to be released).

So much postboxy loveliness that I think I may need to go and lie down. If this isn't the linkiest, longest post that I've ever done then I'm not sure what is...if you're still here and haven't got lost link-following then hurrah! x

14 comments:

  1. I love reading your blog!
    Please take a minute and check out my Etsy Store:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/craftydiane
    Thank you and have a Blessed Day,
    Diane

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely books, esp one yard wonders, just waiting for mine as it has one of my projects in it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. hi
    i'd love to have entered the fabric giveaway - if only i lived in the usa!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oooh, which project is yours? You're right - it is a really lovely book.

    Gill - that's so depressing - I haven't entered myself yet and had just assumed it was open to everyone. Oh well, that gives even more chance of winning to a lucky amercian-based lovely then (she said, rapidly packing her suitcase).

    Crafty Diane - your shop looks lovely. What gorgeous little booties.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  5. oh, isn't Pride and Prejudice wonderful! I just love it... I could read it over and over again. and my husband and i actually dressed up as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy for halloween this year! :) (so as much as the story about your sister answering the door in a regency-era dress is out of context, i have a sneaking suspicion that i might sympathize with her!)

    ReplyDelete
  6. that love anthology looks wonderful, I might have to look into a purchase... damn all these recommendations on blogs!

    ReplyDelete
  7. qsogirl - how completely wonderful! Although I'm failing to make the link between Pride & Prejudice and Halloween, so I'm guessing that you'll use any excuse to get your husband dressing up as Mr Darcy...I'm now pondering on the idea of a Regency Christmas in our own house!

    Fancy Elastic...I'm so sorry! Yes,reading blogs are responsible for my own Amazon wishlist growing out of control. Oh dear.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oooh! how exciting! The next one just HAS to be called Passion! Love, Live, Passion... what it's all about. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jane Austin can be read all over again when you are just in that mood - lovely. I "did" Pride and Prejudice for o' level (as we had back in the day). Didn't read it though - did a whole essay on the characters and everything in the exam! Surprisingly, (not) I didn't pass. Went on to read her as an adult and love all her books. Also went on to study English literature at university. (Education terribly wasted on the young - well me anyway!) If you get upset that you've run out of Austin, give Frances Burney a go; a bit weighty but real page-turners - the behaviour of some of the men will shock you!

    Your sisters' anthology looks great - I have a few already but I can't resist collections that have been put together for me. Lazy so and so that I am. Obviously lots of talent in your family. I love seeing what you have been making.
    Siobhan

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have just reread Pride and Prejudice - and although I have read it so many times before, it is still so absorbing, and I find something new to think about every time I read it. Which is, of course, the mark of great literature!

    Pomona x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oooooooooooooooooh! I ALWAYS fall for beautiful books like those your sister published and that lovely version of pride and prejudice. Yummie, there's almost nothing better than the feeling of a lovingly designed book in your hands, except maybe lovely new fabric... I discovered your blog and shop only recently by Lisa and Jo mentioning you in their blogs. You girls are so creative! Congratulations on all that loveliness!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You're so right, Katja - I went into Foyles bookshop on the South Bank last week and was greeted by lots of the classics newly bound in the most delicious colours and it was almost like being faced with a wall of gorgeous fabric and I'm not sure which is nicer.

    Thank you so much for all your lovely commenty goodness. x

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've been reading your blog for a good few months now, it's lovely! I'm a new sewer and looking at all your creations makes me want to sew all the time.
    I remember reading this post ages ago, and I went to the library last week. I borrowed Penguin's Poems by Heart, and I've just realised that your sister has edited it. It's a lovely little collection of poems and I'm thinking of buying it soon.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x