By Al R. Young This blank-book journal sells for $32 (plus shipping) direct from Al Young Studios. Printed in full color on heavy paper, the book is bound with black plastic spiral to rest flat when open.
At Home: A Personal Journal features 128 original artworks consisting of 51 original oil paintings from the Artists of Al Young Studios, 44 images from the Studios' Limited Editions Collection, nine pen and ink drawings and block prints by Ashton, seven of Al's exquisitely crafted pencil drawings, and one lithograph from his private portfolios... Read more »
By Nancy Young
Kate Douglas Wiggin and her sister, Nora Archibald Smith, have been our companions all summer long. While reading Kate's autobiography, My Garden of Memory and Nora's biography Kate Douglas Wiggin As Her Sister Knew Her, our home has been filled with dinner-table stories of Kate's early sallies into the Kindergarten movement, community theater at Quillcote's Barn, or her chance meeting with Charles Dickens on a New England train. We've quoted their quips and read long sections aloud to any passerby—quite as besotted with Kate and Nora as they were with Dickens... Read more »
By Al R. Young "We have a debt to every great heart, to every fine genius; to those who have put life and fortune on the cast of an act of justice; to those who have added new sciences; to those who have refined life by elegant pursuits. 'Tis the fine souls who serve us, and not what is called fine society. . .Society wishes to be amused. I do not wish to be amused. I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred. I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson... Read more »
By Al R. Young This quote we love is a summation of common man interior design, which comes from Marco Pasanella in his savvy and easy-to-absorb book astutely published by Simon & Shuster way back in the pre-market-meltdown days of 2000—Living in Style without Losing Your Mind:
"A closetful of cash, a boatload of workers, and a couple of years will get you an expensive, labor-intensive home that takes forever to complete. It might be good. More often, however, great design comes from having imperfect circumstances, from having too little money, labor, and time... Read more »
By Al R. Young For several years since a dear friend and subscriber, Angelyn Bryce, gave me the "Treasury of Classic Children's Literature," a compilation from the glory years of St. Nicholas Magazine, I have been particularly captivated by an introduction by the late William F. Buckley, Jr.
Observing the Buckley family, each child remarkably brilliant—whether famous or not—it's nice to know what kind of influences fed their young minds. Obviously fine children's literature was an essential part, the kind that Mary Mapes Dodge, (in Buckley's words, "author of the imperishable Hans Brinker") so successfully attracted to St... Read more »
By Al R. Young I was first introduced to John Masefield's poetry by my fourth grade teacher, who had us copy out poetry for penmanship exercises. Since my penmanship was never a strong point—like Charles Bingley in Pride and Prejudice, I "prized" the "power of doing anything with quickness," since that was the only calligraphic skill of which I was a "possessor"—I was usually done early and could roam over the poetry, catching my tongue on the rhythms and memorizing the bits and pieces that lingered there... Read more »
By Al R. Young Britain's bit-of-everything-aesthete, Sir Terence Conran, provided this wonderful observation in his 1985 book, Terence Conran's New House Book: The Complete Guide To Home Design, which we've benefited from around our house, so we share it with any like-minded individuals, here:
"People often become so obsessed with practicality, that things must be invulnerable to finger-marks. In the process, they make their rooms look like airport lounges that could be hosed down after a nasty incident... Read more »
By Al R. Young
We are in the throes of our work on the next issue of the Journal featuring Kipling's Captains Courageous. Among our endeavors to "step inside the story," we're making an end table into an intricate checker board in honor of Uncle Salters and Penn, researching the antique art of scrimshaw, savoring new fish dinners, studying about nasturtiums, enjoying the life of Kipling, and decorating with summer memories. Here's a little peek at the cover for the issue, right.
And, below is another inspiring quote about making a home:
"A house is what we design and decorate to suit an image of ourselves, and a home is what we establish by actually living there... Read more »
By Al R. Young "The art of living, the art of dreaming one's house, is a right that still has to be fought for. To build one's house is to build a dream, an environment made to one's measure, and to express one's deep personality, a part of us that is normally invisible."
Quote from Jean-Claude Delorme's Architect's Dream Houses
Painting, above, by Claude Holsøe (Danish painter 1863-1935).... Read more »
By Al R. Young A bit of brightness from Sophia Hawthorne that we didn't have a chance to include in The House of the Seven Gables issue of The Storybook Home Journal (just sent out,) was a portion of a letter Sophia wrote while husband, Nathaniel,was at commencement exercises at Bowdoin College in Maine.
At the time children Una, Julian, and Rose were ages 9,6, and 15 months, respectively. The children were attempting to come up with ideas to cheer home upon his return:
Concord, Mass. 1852
August 30th, Monday... Read more »
By Al R. Young From time-to-time we'll share some of our favorite quotes about the joy of making home. Here's the first and one of our very favorites from art and architectural sage, John Ruskin. We found it in a nineteenth century housekeeping book several years ago:
This is the true nature of home—it is a place of peace; the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt and division. Insofar as it is not this, it is not home. So far as the anxieties of the outer life penetrate into it, and the inconsistently-minded, unknown, unloved, or hostile society of the outer world is allowed by either husband or wife to cross the threshold, it ceases to be home; it is then only a part of that outer world which you have roofed over, and lighted fire in... Read more »
By Al R. Young
We've been reordering the pantry over the last few days--always some work, but always a joy. Over the years, we've featured some aspects of the pantry in several issues of The Storybook Home Journal. First, in Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, next in Sarah Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs, and, most recently, in Charles Dickens' Bleak House. Each time it's been an exhilarating experience to rediscover that organizing with beauty in mind is just as efficient--and a thousand times more satisfying than placing everything in a series of plastic bins and closing the closet door... Read more »