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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saalfield Mini Mods #1321 / 1969

Of all the 'contemporary' paper dolls I played with as a child this set of Mini Mods was undoubtedly my favourite.  The clean lines and bright colours make it an absolute treat.

The book consists of five dolls and a wonderfully trendy wardrobe of clothes.  I'm not sure if I noticed when I was young that the names given to dolls in these sets always tended to be alphabetical.  Here we have Alice, Betsy, Candy, Diana and Emmy.

The two dolls chosen for the cover of the book were also my favourites.  Betsy always had a slight edge over the others with her curly hair and striking swimsuit.  Alice came second in her snazzy floral number.

The clothes were everything a fashion conscious young girl of the swinging 60's could ask for.  This set gives me a pang of pure nostalgia every time I look at it.

All the outfits follow.  Unfortunately I don't have a back cover that is still intact, but I have included all the punched dolls to complete the set. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Shop Windows

Brown Thomas - Sleeping Beauty

The shops seem to start their Christmas displays earlier and earlier each year.  The lights in Grafton Street were switched on last Friday evening and the Brown Thomas windows unveiled.  Brown Thomas (an Irish department store) has a tradition of special window displays each Christmas. Past themes that I can remember are the Circus and Narnia.  This year the theme is scenes from the Ballet.  As this is a subject I enjoy I'm posting a few photographs I took of some of the displays earlier today.  

Brown Thomas - Cinderella

Brown Thomas - Swan Lake

I also really love this elephant in a window on the side of the store (Wicklow Street) advertising a famous designer brand.   It brightens up my walk to work!

The next photo is a little blurry - I tried to take a picture of the puppets inside Bewley's Cafe higher up on Grafton Street.   I still decided to include it to give some idea of what the (musical) display looks like. 

Bewley's Cafe

And of course the Disney Store.  Minnie is rotating so this one was a bit trickier than it looks.

Disney Store

Nature is capable of putting on a lovely display as well.  This little holly in the garden at Dublin Castle looks just like a Christmas tree with its decoration of berries.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

Yesterday Barbara from March House Books nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award.  I was thrilled as she must have had many other blogs to choose from.  Barbara's blog is brilliant - wonderful vintage children's books and all sorts of other interesting snippets of information.  Thanks so much Barbara for thinking of me when you put your list together. 

I'm copying the the requirements of receiving the award from her blog:
1. To thank the giver and link back to her site.
2. Provide 5 random facts that folks may not know about you.
3. Pass this award on to 5 other lovely blog sites and let them know you're awarding them.
4. Copy the award logo and paste it onto your own site.

So here goes with the 5 random facts:

1.  I'm left handed.

2.  I'm a Scatterling (of Africa).  The term originally comes from a Johnny Clegg/Jaluka song from the 1980's (it featured in the opening credits of 'Rain Man').  My husband and I are both South Africans with a shared Scottish heritage.  I'm now also an Irish citizen by naturalisation.

3.  I hold an Honours Degree in History.  I've always been drawn to Antiquity and the early Medieval period.  When I was a little girl I longed to live in a land of real castles and ancient forests.

4.  I started my working life as a High School History teacher.  In the early 80's I bought a Sinclair ZX Spectrum.  I was curious to know how the games worked so I broke into the code to figure it out.  It made me decide to change my career path.  At the age of 27 I started programming and I've been a software developer working in IT ever since.

5.  I love reading and my secret guilty pleasure is cleverly plotted whodunits.  For me Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael series was a match made in heaven.

My nominations are based on a combination of blogs I enjoy visiting and personalities that I feel I've really gotten to know.  My choices are influenced by that as much as content:

Always Crave Cute
Lucy Violet Vintage
My Friends Call me Nelly
Marges8's Blog
15 Coast Road

I would also have liked to consider Garden of Daisies but I noticed that it is an 'award free blog' so I've respected that sentiment.   I hope the other five enjoy the award! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Original Alice

Between 1967 and 1969 my dad was employed by the Rank Xerox Corporation. I was too young to be told how he acquired this book - I can only assume employees were given an opportunity to purchase it.  What I can remember is how excited my dad was when he brought it home and how thrilled he was to give it to me.  I was eight years old at the time.  These are the memories I cherish today as neither of my parents are still alive.

The book is a facsimile* of 'Alice's Adventures under Ground', the forerunner of Alice in Wonderland - a manuscript handwritten and illustrated by the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and given as a Christmas gift to 'Alice' (Alice Liddell) 'in memory of a summer day'.

It consists of page after page of beautiful, neat, uniform and perfectly legible script (an art we have all but lost today).  Some of the illustrations are incorporated into the story .....

....... some are like plates that take up a whole page.

My favourite page is the one shown above with writing that curls across it like the tail of a mouse!

On the last page there is a photograph of the real Alice after this lovely reflection on the events of the story by the sister of the fictional Alice.

Alice Liddell kept the manuscript until 1928 when she had it put up for auction at Sotheby's.  It was bought by the renowned bookseller A.S.W. Rosenbach.  He sold it to a wealthy American collector whose widow put it up for auction again in 1946.

A group of Americans decided to buy the manuscript and present it to the British Museum (who had failed in a bid at the Sotheby auction).  It appears as though the gift ('restoring an important cultural treasure to its native home') was largely an expression of thanks towards the British people in recognition of their efforts in holding Hitler at bay during the period before America entered the war.

A list was compiled of donors who contributed $100 or more but it was agreed at the start not to make the names public.  Only three contributors are known - Luther H Evans, Librarian of Congress and later Director of International and Legal Collections at Columbia University who initiated the idea; Lessing Rosenwald, an eminent donor to the Library of Congress who spearheaded the fundraising effort and Dr Rosenbach who was authorised to make the bid. The manuscript was bought for $50 000 and in 1948 Luther Evans travelled to London to present it to the Archbishop of Canterbury, chairman of the Museum trustees.     

(Copyright by University Microfilms, Inc, 1964 A Subsidiary of Xerox Corporation) 

Jesus Blasco - Alice in Wonderland

I have included the art of Jesus Blasco in a number of previous blog entries.  His illustrations of Alice in Wonderland are further examples of his brilliant and wonderfully detailed work.  They appeared in Once Upon a Time magazine between October and December 1970.

Jesus Blasco - Alice in Wonderland

Jesus Blasco - Alice in Wonderland

Jesus Blasco - Alice in Wonderland

Jesus Blasco - Alice in Wonderland

Jesus Blasco - Alice in Wonderland

And finally a classic image of Lewis Carroll spinning his tales for Alice and her sisters on the banks of the river near Oxford.  Unfortunately I don't know the name of the artist who produced this lovely painting.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brilliant Butterflies

Ron Embleton - The Story of Tom Thumb

Butterflies float through our childhood memories like fairies with their bright iridescent wings.  This week's post is a selection by my favourite artists (most of whom I've featured in this blog before) of Brilliant Butterflies.

The Butterfly Roundabout

The painting above appeared on the cover of Once Upon a Time magazine issue # 147 dated 4 December 1971.  The name of the artist is printed on the bottom corner.  It looks as though it could be Gonzales.  Other than this name I know nothing about the person who painted these beautiful illustrations.

The Butterfly Roundabout

The Butterfly Roundabout

Two illustrstions from Thumbelina - the butterfly in this story is one I always remember.

Nadir Quinto - Thumbelina

Nadir Quinto - Thumbelina

I don't know who painted the next two illustrations but I think they are really cute.

The Elf Who Overslept

The Elf Who Overslept

I think the next painting is the work of Gerry Embleton.  It is small but I've always found it a very powerful and atmospheric image.  This illustration perfectly captures the serenity of the forest glade -  a shaft of sunshine illuminating a moment of truth, creating an almost spiritual experience with butterflies the only movement and colour.

Gerry Embleton - The King's Headache

The illustration is from a story called 'The King's Headache'. It is about a young king whose days are filled with military parades and war manoeuvres. One day the king's horse decides she's had enough of trumpets and drums and gallops away. The horse finally stops for a drink at a lake in a forest. The king looks around in wonder and realises the headache he has lived with all his life is gone.

On his return the king decrees that all his soldiers must become gardeners. The parade ground is turned into a wonderful garden that is soon famous throughout the world - a place everyone can enjoy.

If only life really was that simple!

Janet & Anne Grahame Johnstone - Tom Thumb

All South African's will be familiar with the breakfast cereal Weet-Bix made by Bokomo.  It is similar to the Weetabix available here (made in the UK) but is slightly sweeter, is a bit more brick-shaped and has a different texture as it does not turn to mush when milk is added. I prefer it, but maybe that's because it is something I grew up with.

In the 60's and early 70's Weet-Bix had cards that could be collected printed on the inside flap of the box.  One series was of butterflies and I still have three that I found amongst my paper dolls:

To finish this week I've borrowed a YouTube clip of The Butterfly Ball.  It was one of my favourite videos during my teens and dates from the mid 70's.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saalfield American Colonial Paper Dolls

This week I've chosen another Saalfield paper doll set with an American theme although its at the other end of the spectrum to last week's Indian Paper Dolls   What I've always liked about this set is the rich colours that were used and the beautiful bright artwork. 

This is also another example of Saalfield's tendency to reprint paper doll books in differing formats.  I must have originally had the budget version of the book as my dolls were already 'dressed' and at best had one or two outfits each. 
Recently I discovered a more 'sophisticated' version of the book with the dolls in their pretty under garments and a sumptuous selection of dresses. 

There are even pages to colour including an additional selection of outfits that can be completed to suit all tastes! 


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