By Nancy Young Photographs by Elspeth Young
Yet again, our May Day flower phantom caught us napping and surprised us with a delightful little bouquet--this year a bouquet of Gerber daisies. Thank you whoever you are!
The first of May bouquet (along with a long line of ads) reminds me that Mother's Day is closer at hand than I'd like to believe--especially since The Enchanted April issue has only been in circulation for a couple of weeks. Currently we're traveling with Kate Douglas Wiggin as our guide through Penelope's multiple tours, tales, and experiences... Read more »
By Elspeth C. Young
One of my favorite things about creating The Storybook Home is the need we have to choose the subject for each article. Each issue becomes a treasure hunt for us—combing through each book, deciding what topics we'll be burrowing into during the months of research and creation. Sense and Sensibility was no whit behind in tantalizing our historic and creative curiosities. From down-sizing from Norland Estate, to the mulberry trees at Delaford, to Elinor's painted firescreens to the dainties Mrs... Read more »
By Al R. Young Though we missed Easter, we were able to get the Doctor Thorne and Framley Parsonage issue of theJournal mailed out—quite fittingly—today on the 198thanniversary of Anthony Trollope's birth. Significant to posting today, as well, is the fact that Trollope is one of the British postal system's most celebrated sons. Split across two professions—postal employee and popular novelist—he managed to leave his mark on Victorian society through both. His most prominent contribution to the post, of course, are the iconic red pillar boxes which gave Victorians their first-ever opportunity to post their letters without having to enter the post office, wait in queues and have postal workers quiz them on their letter's contents—a sure boon to an increase in love letters... Read more »
By Al R. Young In 1997, when Al Young Studios was first featured in Victoria Magazine, an editor asked whether we had ever compiled a list of books we could recommend for reading aloud as a family. The question sparked our first attempt to list the titles we had enjoyed reading together for nearly 20 years.
When we launched this Internet site in the fall of 1998, the list we had only recently formulated was integral to the site's structure and content. We continued reading as a family, and in the summer and fall of 2000, prepared to publish the first issue of The Storybook Home Journal... Read more »
By Al R. Young
At "The Violent Study Club," one of Betsy's planned poetry readings on a snowy night was James Russell Lowell's The First Snowfall (Betsy refers to it by it's first line in Betsy's Wedding). It's a lovely, touching poem, and we include the first four stanzas here not only in salute to Betsy and Lowell, but to the first major snowfall of the season that's been "heaping field and highway" since about noon today. (It arrived a little early for the gloaming part, however... Read more »
By Al R. Young By Elspeth Young
Betsy-Tacy (and Tib). And since it's always in that order, Tib seems to be a parenthetical. Even though the chocolate-colored house joined the Hill Street duo early on, it always stands a little aloof: it's on a different street; its stateliness almost makes it unapproachable; and its child occupant—little bewitching beauty, Tib Mueller—seems to suffer from a bit of the same problem. Tib is not Betsy's first confidant; not the secondo in the Cat duet; not the first companion of choice... Read more »
By Al R. 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 Traditionally our St. Nicholas celebrations have included fat loaves of grattiman (also known as grittibanz in some parts of Switzerland) and when the children were little the writing of letters to Santa to be picked up as he made his St. Nicholas rounds across the planet. But even when there's no time or inclinations for such activities, there's still a part of St. Nicholas festivities that can fit in whatever the demands of the day--the commencement of a seasonal read of one our favorite tales, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge... Read more »
By Al R. Young
By Elspeth YoungSeveral years ago I stumbled across Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight—a delightful British volume which immediately attracted my attention. I hurried home with book in hand, two skeins of some wonderfully soft and rustic-feeling wool (bought for pennies on clearance), and my no. 5 needles; and I eagerly set to work tackling a matching stockinette–stitched cap, sweater, and booties perfectly sized for a newborn's first winter. You might have caught a glimpse of the finished outfit snugly tucked into a friendly basket near our antique singer sewing machine on page 12 of our Just David issue, but there just wasn't room in the Journal for more than a passing glance, and I thought it was high time I recommended Knight's delightful designs... Read more »
By Al R. Young Recently, Rowena Edlin-White (editor of The Quill) gave us a kindly mention in her newsletter all about one of our very favorite authors, Kate Douglas Wiggin, and we'd very much like to return the favor. You can subscribe to The Quill by writing the following address (£7 US, £5 UK, £6 Europe). Please make check or money order (GB pounds only) payable to "The Spinster's Almanack."
11 Frederick Ave, Carlton
Nottingham NG4 1HP
ro@edlin-white... Read more »