Do you know about the Brambly Hedge stories by Jill Barklem? I think they’re practically canonical in the UK, but rather unknown here in the US. When my parents went to England in 1985, my mother wanted to bring back “English” presents for me, and her answer to “what’s English?” was old-fashioned floral bath cubes (I found the exact bath cubes on the internet a year ago and ordered some–they’re wrapped in gold paper and have watercolor illustrations of the flowers on the labels), and the first four Brambly Hedge stories in four tiny volumes.
Brambly Hedge is a community of mice. They live inside hollowed-out trees, and spend their days picnicking and gathering nuts and berries and doing wonderfully tactile things like spinning and baking and patchwork. The girls wear pinafores and the boys wear overalls. I have wonderfully–strongly–miraculously influenced by these stories. Much of what I put in my house is taken from these books. My happy chunky Burleigh crockery–my scrappy patchwork quilts–my stripedy scarves–my earthenware pie plates–the soup tureen. All because I saw them in these illustrations.
I don’t want to tread on Jill Barklem’s copyrights too-too much, so I’m hesitant to post many pictures here. But the patchwork quilt in my bedroom, all green and pink and red, was inspired by the one in Poppy’s bedroom in Summer Story. I then decided on the furniture for my bedroom because it looked so exactly like the furniture in those books–I even chose a bed with a tall, solid headboard because it’s what Poppy had.
This weekend, I’m going to order new dining furniture:
The Extension Dining Table because of its wonderfully fat turned legs, and their sensible placement at the actual corners of the table
Six Windsor Chairs to go around it, because there are Windsor chairs in the Brambly Hedge illustrations, and also because I love the wonderfully bizarre curve of them
And last but certainly not least, the China Door Hutch and Base. Just look at the picture at the beginning of this post and you’ll understand why I want it. Look at all of those tiny drawers! Of course, it’s not actually six tiny drawers but rather three medium sized ones, but it still looks wonderful.
I’m so excited. I really like to have furniture–I really really like it. And I will be definitively finished buying it, after this lot. What a relief!