Sunday, 29 May 2016

Font Sunday: Alice in Dreamland

I have been wondering whether to share these photos or not.

Today I joined in with the Design Museum's Font Sunday (on Twitter but also Pinterest) and I loved seeing so many different book covers, and sharing some of the ones on my shelves. I did a post on Font Sunday last year when the subject was tea tins, and I've posted about book covers here, here, and here. Today's Font Sunday was hosted by Penguin.

When I worked at Penguin's sister company ten years ago, we had charity book sales a few times a year, and we were like kids in a sweet shop. We waited for the email to say the book sale was open, and raced down the stairs to battle for Penguin Classics, children's audio books, and £20 cookery books that we could buy for £2.

One of the books I bought remained on a shelf or packed in a box for nine years. Every so often I would take it out, consider unwrapping it from its shrink wrap, but fearfully put it away again. It was a Penguin "Design Your Own Cover" edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - I loved the idea of designing the cover for a book I adore so much, but the pressure was too great. What if my design was terrible? I wouldn't be able to change it and I'd be stuck with it.

The solution came once I knew I wasn't going to keep the book; I was going to design the cover and then give it as a present. It's back to front, really - surely that would put me under more pressure to design a "perfect" cover? Somehow it didn't work like that, and it took the pressure off.

It was quite special to finally unwrap this beautiful book, with its blank cover save for the Penguin logo in the corner.

I had a few ideas for the cover, and thought I would be safe and draw the queen finding her white roses painted red, but then I thought of Dreamland in Margate. If you've never heard of it (and if you're not from the south east of England it's quite likely you haven't), Dreamland is a theme park in Kent. We went there on a school trip in 1991, and I can't really remember much about the park. I'm fairly sure we were slightly disappointed that it didn't seem as big as Chessington or Alton Towers, but we were kids and it was a day off school, so we were happy. Our clothes were awful - I was talking to a friend about this recently, and we both can't bear the thought of sharing photos from the 90s because our clothes (and NHS glasses) were so bad. Neons were a big thing...I'm sure we all wore neon pink or yellow on this school trip. And we definitely sang The Shoop Shoop Song on the coach.

It was harder to draw this than the queen and roses picture - that felt more intuitive and a bit wilder, whereas this felt structured - straight lines and perspective aren't my forte. I was pleased with it in the end, even if it is a bit wonky. And I'm pleased I bought a neon pink pencil - I knew it would come in useful!

Oh, and I really love rabbits. I have not shared enough rabbit photos on here - that needs to change.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Stay beautiful

This is one of those things where I look back at and think, "I could have done better". The fact it was for one of my favourite lecturers and from the whole year group at uni (yikes - pressure) probably adds to that. But she seemed delighted with them, which is the main thing. She has taught me over four years, and she mixes pink and red, sometimes with animal print, to gorgeous effect - hence the combination of flowers and the tiger-print wrapping (from Paperchase, if you want some for yourself).

Scented 'Kate' David Austin roses, red sweet peas, and pink clematis (which symbolises "mental beauty" in the language of flowers - buy some for yourself if you've got end of year exams or coursework!) were from Dennis Edwards at the market. Our lecturer grows clematis but had never seen it as a cut flower before, which was nice.

The rest was from the garden or foraged. Apple blossom smells incredible when first cut, but doesn't last very long, unfortunately. The sudden heatwave last week didn't help the flowers, although the sunshine was much appreciated and long overdue. Blue flowering rosemary (for remembrance) combined with the roses and sweet peas made for one sweet-smelling bouquet.

I used a Charbonnel et Walker tin - but I'd already aqua-packed the bouquet, so I can't guarantee if the tins are watertight. They are too beautiful to keep hidden in a cupboard though!

I cannot believe I spent three hours sunning myself outdoors with a friend on Sunday. I know it's not great for florists, but bring back the sunshine! (And sorry, but it's been a while since I've shamelessly used a Manics song or lyric for a title. To be fair, they do love their animal print as well.)