into 2010

little steps

big heart

happy new year,
one and all!

Roman Vishniac

A few years ago...could it have been ten? Yes. I think so... this book came into our house. The children in it are impossible to forget. It's a lovely book. Mara Vishniac Kohn points out, in the introduction, that the fate of the pictures -- and the photographer -- was, in mid-1930's, darkly uncertain. "What would happen to a Jewish photographer of Latvian nationality living in Berlin, who had surreptitiously taken thousands of pictures of struggling groups of East European Jews?" I suppose it's a small miracle that, at least, many of the negatives were saved. "In this book," Kohn wrote, "we want to remember the children Roman loved, the children of 'a vanished world.' Their images are surrounded with the songs and rhymes that made them smile... We think of them, we assure them of our love, and we cherish their memory."

Roman Vishniac, Children of a Vanished World. University of California Press.


Benjamin Pollock

"Who is Pollock?

Benjamin Pollock was probably the only a shop-keeper in Hoxton, once a down-trodden district of East London, to get a Times obituary. When he died in 1937, aged 80, he had kept alive the tradition of toy theatre publishing for sixty years, and was visited by famous people - actors, authors and celebrities, including Robert Louis Stevenson and Serge Diaghilev.

There are still people living who visited Benjamin Pollock's shop and remember his old-world courtesy and dogged persistence with his unusual trade. Pollock's Toy Museum is named after him, because after his death the stock of printing plates and printed sheets of characters and scenes was rescued and set up as a new business. In the 1950s, Marguerite Fawdry added a museum of Victorian toys to put the toy theatres in context, and Pollock's Toy Museum was born."

from Pollock's Toy Museum

The Atom Secrets, 1950, by Malvina Cheek

Canal boat cabin from
an unpublished toy theatre play.

"Malvina Cheek painted a set of scenes for a new toy theatre play written by George Speaight, which was intended to be published by the revived Pollock business. In the modern-life story, two children go in pursuit of robbers who have stolen their father’s briefcase, with the help of a local canal boatman and his wife. The folk art of canal boats was appreciated by many of the same people in the 1940s who revived interest in toy theatre, including George Speaight and Malvina Cheek’s friend, Barbara Jones."

Father Christmas

Father Christmas, a 1930s wood
engraving by Harold Jones


Mr Ardizzone presents his Christmas pantomime, 1947.


Cake & Miss Go Chi

Mrs. Beeton in Heaven
by M. B. Goffstein

"...Miss Go Chi
Can you
Make it
Without mace

And nutmeg?
4 eggs
4 teacupfuls

Of sugar,
2 teacupfuls
Of butter,
A teacupful

Of milk
One table-
Of caraway

½ teaspoonful
Of carbonate
Of soda

Beat the
Well together

Adding the
Flour by
Until a

Paste thick
To roll out
Is made

Make into
Small cakes
And bake
In a quick

Oven 10
To 15
Are there

Can you

Make it
Without milk?
Turn to
Page 1135..."

No question
about it.
M. B. Goffstein
the most
delectable of birthdays,
and many more.


garden steampunk

The Porter Garden Telescope

How to Cook a Wolf

So anyway. Thinking about war-time cooking made me think of this. And led me, in search of MFK & Wolf, to a charming bit of writing (and another magnificent blog to explore). Won't get long-winded about this. Here's an excerpt from said blog (and a hat-tip to Katherine Sharpe, the authoress):

"That, to me, is Fisher’s lesson: that you can eat (or, by extension, do anything) with intentionality, composure, and in the way that most pleases you—and that, within limits, you can do this regardless of how well-off you happen to be. If you get the hang of it, she suggests, other people will see these simple achievements as a remarkable and powerful thing. If you manage not to be blown off course by the whims and expectations of others, you might even make people mad occasionally."

while you are making that holiday list

Those who know me know that I tend to get a little over-focused sometimes. And I know that I mentioned the great good stuff at Ancient Industries a few posts ago. But I didn't show you of any of the marvels I was raving about, and since these are the sugarplums that are dancing through my head this December I thought it would be fun to share.

There's lots more (as you'll see when you go). Elegantly selected and perfectly delectable. Useful, each and every one! Perhaps that's why it all seems so completely desirable this year. Who needs stuff they don't need? These days, there's no reason for it. (Not that there ever is.)

So. Be good to yourself. Go have a peek. It's beautiful.

Shop Ancient Industries. (But please go easy on any hedgehogs you might encounter. It was a war-time thing.)