Archive for the 'bookshelf' Category

The Cruise of the Walnut Shell

Thursday, November 26th, 2009 by Susannah

The Cruise of the Walnut Shell

I picked up this lovely old picture book in an opshop in New Zealand several years ago, just after getting off the ferry on the South Island. It’s in poor shape, tattered and torn, but all the pages are there and it is quite magical to look at! I am not sure the publication date but the handwritten message inside says:
“To Lucy from Uncle King June 28th 1892”

This is around the time my grandfather and his siblings were growing up in New Zealand, so it felt quite an appropriate find at the time as I was absorbed in hunting down some family history while I was over there.

If you’d like to see the entire book it’s free online via the International Children’s Digital Library. The other titles by R. Andre look equally intriguing! Warning, click at your own risk as you might get stuck looking at all the delights this website has to offer! The Internet is a wonderful thing.

The Jingle Bells are already ringing over here…

Friday, November 6th, 2009 by Susannah

The Melbourne Myer Christmas Windows opened at midday today. When we heard who was going to be the ‘star’ this year we decided to get in early and take a trip into town. The windows this year are based on the Ian Falconer book, Olivia Helps With Christmas, narrated by Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries).

Myer Christmas WIndows 2009

We’re big Olivia fans in this house….my Madame Alexander Olivia doll has sat on my desk since before Eloise was born! It was a beautiful night. Perfect for ice cream, very warm….and not a queue to be seen!!

Melbourne Myer Christmas Windows 2009 - Caitlin

Thrifty Thursday Kickstart

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 by Susannah

I’ll be honest and admit I didn’t get around to photographing the goodies I was intending to blog about today…I was having too much fun out the back enjoying the sunshine with my girls! I did manage to take a quick snap of this beauty though….

thrifted dolls cot

I picked up this wooden dolls cot last week, complete with drop down side. It really is quite lovely and has a lot of potential. It’s a decent size, about 60cm long and 36cm wide and nice and high. Sometime between now and January 25th I plan to sand it back, paint it and make coordinated bedlinen as a special present for Caitlin’s 2nd birthday. She is hitting that ‘play house all day’ stage and loves rocking her babies to sleep and covering them with layers of blankets and giving them little friends to cuddle. It’s perfect!

I’m always rifling through the bookshelves. I always make a beeline for the books. I love discovering new (to me) illustrators, authors and wonderful stories to fire up the imagination and share with my girls. I always wonder which will become firm favourites. Lately I have gathered these wonderful 1960’s illustrated books. They’re all ex library books…and as long as they’re all intact I don’t mind. As you can see I do gravitate towards that aesthetic, so these will have many uses on my bookshelf (and the girls might enjoy them too!).

Sixties Children's Books

Be Nice to SpidersMargaret Bloy Graham (1967, World’s Work), When Will My Birthday Be? – by Letta Shatz, pictures by Richard Bergere (1962 World’s Work), Amelia Bedelia – by Peggy Parish, Pictures by Fritz Siebel (1970,6th Printing Scholastic)

I’ve also been finding a lot of ‘garden/nature’ inspired books lately. Very appropriate given the gorgeous warmer weather we’ve been having, Spring is definitely in the air! These are three of my favourites.


Mary Margaret’s Tree – Blair Drawson (Orchard Books 1996), The Enchanted Garden – Susie Jenkin Pearce (Oxford University Press 1988), One Hungry Spider – Jeannie Baker (Andre Deutsch 1982)

One Hungry Spider

I have always adored Jeannie Baker’s work. Her three dimensional worlds are so magical to look at and even more incredible to see up close and in person. After seeing an exhibition of her work, she became a big inspiration to me throughout my school years. This was when I first started to explore various forms of collage. This is one book I didn’t already have, so I was pretty excited to find it! Eloise is particularly taken by it. She’s entering the ‘lets use the bug catcher and catch everything that moves and keep it as a pet’ phase of life and spiders, butterflies and bugs of all descriptions are of particular interest!

The Little Fairy Paper Dolls

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009 by Susannah

The Little Fairy Paper Dolls

My Mum found this treasure for me at Berkelouws on the journey home after their last visit to Melbourne. Isn’t it wonderful? It was published in 1951 by Merrill Company Publishers, Chicago. There are 4 dolls on the cover (Little Girl, Little Boy, Pink Fairy and Green Fairy) each with perforated edges, and 6 pages of clothes to cut out inside. It is in near perfect condition. Amazing considering it is around 57years old.

Little Fairy Paper Doll - Page sample

I adore paper dolls. It all started when I was seven. There was a girl called Helen who lived at the end of our street. She was a few years older then me and she used to hand draw little paper dolls and clothes to match and I thought she was so very clever! I wish I still had the one she gave me. Unfortunately I have no idea what happened to it!

The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 by Susannah

The Rugmaker of Mazir-e-SharifLast week I had the pleasure of attending a book launch for ‘The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif’, the compelling story of Najaf Mazari, who fled Afghanistan in 2000. He is now settled in Melbourne, where he owns a rug shop selling beautiful traditional Afghan rugs.

I had the honour of working on the cover and text for this project, and it was lovely to finally meet those involved face to face including Najaf himself, Robert Hillman and the publishers from Insight Publications (hello Iris and Cathi!).

It is such an emotional and beautifully told true story. One of the things that struck close to my heart is that Najaf is around my age, and I could not imagine having lived through what he has been through. The thought alone of him being separated from his wife and daughter for 6 years is incomprehensible. It certainly puts things in perspective.

From the cover blurb: ‘A poignant and powerful, yet often humorous, story of suffering, injustice and survival that explores the resilience of the human spirit. Najaf’s memoir gives a rare insight into what compels people to leave their homes, families and histories behind in search of peace and security for themselves and their children.’

An extract from the book was published in the Weekend Australian Magazine, March 29. You can read it —> here. You can also hear Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman on ABC radio —> here.

For more information please visit:
Insight Publications
Afghan Traditional Rugs – Melbourne
Mazar Development Fund
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

  • Featured Gem

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