The Art of Book Design: The Brown Fairy Book

Andrew Lang. The Brown Fairy Book, Illustrations by H.J. Ford. New York (etc.), Longmans, Green, and Co., 1910.


This week’s fairy book is brown and it’s filled with the wonderful illustrations of H. J. Ford. This book, along with the remainder of the series (which I’ll be posting), all have a few coloured full-page illustrations. There are a few things I’d like to note. One is the presence of nipples on a bare-chested woman in the drawing on page 111. In fact, I find most of the drawings more suggestive. The princess’s dresses are sheerer and nipples can be seen through them. These drawings are reflective of the societal changes that happened during the Edwardian Period. The drawings also include the usual lions, bears, mermaids and ogres, along with a wonderful cock.

I’d also like to note that thanks to a comment by Crip Dyke, I’ve linked the Andrew Lang Fairy Books. The links are at the bottom of the page near the links to the books online source.

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British Feminism: I Want ma Nanny and ma Cleaner!!!!

The state of British mainstream feminism has long been abysmal. All the major players seem to be massive transphobes, there’s court cases about people’s desire to abuse trans people and overall it has the feeling that they’re actually just in favour of them not being bothered by anything than a movement for women from all backgrounds and histories. And never was that White Feminist Approach demonstrated better than this week, when Owen Jones gently suggested that if you have a cleaner, you should pay them to stay at home, because the UK is only second to the US when it comes to Covid 19, with packed public transport posing a major risk for commuters. In case you don’t know who he is, Owen Jones is a British labour activist, a gay dude (this will be important later), a journalist, an antifascist and if that wasn’t bad enough, his major crime is being an ally to trans people. This turned into a furious row on Twitter with the who is who of White British Feminism* descending on him like it was judgement day with at least two published articles to follow.

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Owen Jones: Declaring something simple doesn’t make it so: if someone can afford a cleaner, they should be paying them to stay at home and doing their own cleaning – they ‘ve certainly got the time to do it, otherwise they are a shockingly selfish human being.

Sarah Ditum: I don’t have more time in lockdown, I have less because I’m sharing my workspace with two teens and and another adult. There’s more dirt, because of the more people [sic]. the cleaning is killing me and this is a bad take.

 

Now, if Ditum had stopped after the first sentence she might have had a point: Corona parents are terribly stressed out because suddenly you’re a teacher for different age groups, have to cook all the meals the family would usually have at school/work and all of that while doing your job in home office. And there are good and valuable conversations about care work and the roll back on gender roles right now. Sarah isn’t part of them. Presumably exhaustion from cleaning. I don’t want to sound like supermummy, but I have two kids and a job as well and my husband is away during the week and so far cleaning hasn’t killed me. Mostly because I ignore it. It’s ok, I chose the flooring with having “how well does it hide dirt” in mind (very well).

Owen suggests that she might actually do something about the division of care work in her home:

Owen Jones: Get your teenagers to clean – we operated a rota system growing up to distribute daily household chores – and don’t force mostly low paid women to risk their health or even lives because that’s extremely selfish behaviour?

Sarah Ditum: Get my teenagers to clean? Declaring something simple doesn’t make it so

Remember, this is somebody who regularly claims that parents are making their children trans because, well, who knows. And hey, I kind of agree, making my teen do her chores certainly doesn’t have a fun tax added, but I’m in the business of raising competent adults who can look after themselves so yes, she still has to empty the dishwasher. We have a sort of clock with their pics on it. Occasionally my husband threatens to take the laundry that hasn’t been put away back to his place and he only washes whatever is in the hamper. But not Sarah Ditum’s poor children (what happened to the husband?)! I think I met a couple of Sarahs in parent teacher talks.

Me: Your son doesn’t do his tasks, only does what he wants and gets very angry when he’s reprimanded.

Mother: He’s never like this at home!

Me: What chores does he have to do at home?

Mother: Chores? My son doesn’t have to do any chores!

If that wasn’t bad enough, her pal Janice Turner chimes in:

 

Twitter screenshot

Owen Jones: I have a twin sister and two elder brothers: we were all expected to do housework from the age of 11, using a daily rota system dividing up chores. I don’t understand why teenagers cannot be expected to do this?

Sounds sensible, doesn’t it? It’s not like those “we used to hop 15 miles through the snow on one foot” pieces of commentary, just a simple memory from a not too long ago childhood. You’re a family, you stick together, you live together, you take responsibility. Apparently for Janice Turner, mother to two teenage sons and supposedly married to a full grown ass man suggesting that your teens do chores is misogyny:

Janice Turner: Free online parenting and household management classes from a childless mansplainer. Mothers thank you for your service, Owen.

Now, apart from the homophobic dog whistle about a “childless man”, mothers are invoked. Welcome to the cult of true motherhood, as evidenced in the next tweet.

Janice Turner: Be great if Owen addressed the reason most families have cleaners. Not lazy bitches “with time on their hands” or crap mothers who won’t draw up rotas for teenage kids. But men. Men don’t do their share. Instead of hating on women tell the dude to pick up a fucking mop.

You mean like Mr. Ditum and Mr. Turner? Because both women are married to afaict able bodied men who are perfectly capable of picking up a fucking mop, as are their teenagers, three of them being of the male persuasion. When are they supposed to learn how to pick up a mop? But as I said, that’s work. Getting a teenager to do something is no task for the lilly-livered, I can tell you, nor is it to have those complicated conversations about the division of housework with your male partner. Turner’s solution: Make another woman come in and do it. That’s how your teenage sons learn responsibility and equality. Because according to her, most families have cleaners. Probably even her cleaner. While she is cleaning other people’s houses, somebody else is cleaning hers. Actually it’s just a big fucking pyramid scheme where we pass around the same 100 bucks to pay each other to clean our houses. This goes well past “middle class privilege” and takes it well into “colonial times erasure of all women who are not part of the ruling class” territory.  It reminds me of the heroines of Jane Austen novels (I love Jane Austen novels): they struggle with financial hardship and consider themselves poor because they can only employ two or three servants.

Caroline Criado Perez, another UK feminist (her dad was the CEO of Safeway, if you need to guess her economic background), teetering on the brink of an epiphany:

Twitter screenshot

Right, where’s the Mr Ditum, Mr Ditum junior, Mr Turner, Mr Turner junior and Mr Turner junior shaped gap in the analysis?

You’d think it couldn’t get any worse, would you? I’m sorry…

Twitter screenshot

Again, Owen Jones agrees: men should pick up the tab instead of making other women risk their lives. Reasonable, or????

Owen Jones: Men should be shamed into doing their fair share of housework: couldn’t agree more.

But forcing largely low paid women, who also have to juggle their low paid work with unpaid household labour –  to risk the health and lives of themselves and their families is disgraceful.

Janice Turner: No one is “forcing” them. People are making arrangementsso their cleaners are safe, providing gloves, anti-bac and staying out of the house whilst they are there. Believe it or not[,] many people, even cleaners, actually want to return to work. It makes them feel useful and normal.

I’m sorry if your jaw is hurting from the impact with the floor, but I did kinda warn you. Remember these people are also huge SWERFS (Sex Work Excluding (Radical) Feminists) who claim that all sex workers are forced into sex work and in need of rescue. When it’s their carpets, suddenly economic force is no longer a thing. Also, Janice, antibacterial shit isn’t any good when talking about a virus. But that’s just the running up to the “Arbeit macht frei” finale at the end of the tweet. Didn’t you know, people who employ cleaners aren’t exploiting usually racialised labour. No, they’re actually doing those women a favour because what sense of worth would they have without the approval of a white woman who keeps mispronouncing their name?

Also, you’re not staying out of the house for the benefit of the cleaner, you’re doing it because that person just had to commute to your place which potentially exposed them to Covid 19.

But we’re still missing some players. Here I present Julie Bindel with an especially interesting take:

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Julie Bindel: I can only assume that abny male socialist giving instructions to women about the ethics of having a cleaner chooses not to consume pornography. After all, the women abused in the porn trade have their exploited ‘labour’ to the most extreme degree. [sic]

 

Julie Bindel is a political lesbian, aka somebody who is not actually that much into women but just not into men, who claims that bisexuality is a fake hobby for straight women, and who is here accusing a gay man of exploiting women in the production of porn he may or may not watch. It can’t get any more bizarre than this. Maybe it’s her own apparently confused ideas about sexual orientation that are showing. Does she think that gay men are actually political homosexuals because while they actually fancy women they just don’t want to have any kind of relationship with them because they’re secretly all MGTOW misogynists?

I’ve taken you on quite ride, and it should have a worthy finale, so here it is:

Twitter screenshot

 

Sarah Ditum: Yep that would be a good way to deal with this, if I had a cleaner. But I don’t, I’m just knackered and deeply irritated by Owen’s presumption that everyone has a bunch of free time at the moment

Plot twist: Sarah Ditum doesn’t have a cleaner, but she is willing to lay down the lives of other people’s cleaners for your right to a clean kitchen. But she has since gone on (presumably well paid) record stating that she will get one as soon as she can, because she really doesn’t want to negotiate housework with her household, who are simultaneously grown ass adults and teenagers and who still leave peanutbutter smudges on door handles like toddlers. But instead of calling that piggy back, she’d rather yell at some other woman to clean up that mess.

 

*There are decent British feminists worth that name, somehow they don’t seem to get that many columns and newspaper slots…

 

 

** The author of this text has written it while repeatedly helping her kid with her homework, doing a WhatsApp English class and making the kid empty the dishwasher. Don’t you fucking dare to accuse me of not knowing how busy these times are.

A Simple Knife Stand

The Covid-19 pandemic has prevented me from giving my brother the knife I made for his birthday, so I have used the time and I also made a simple stand for it. I have used black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) wood from my firewood treasure trove. The wood is poisonous to ingest, but it won’t rub off on the stainless blade enough to be a problem.

It took me a bit longer time than it would had I been working with good planks because the cuttings were not perfectly square or flat and I had to do some fitting and gluing up in order to get big enough chunk for the base.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

After the glue-up when I started to square and polish the base I have realized that, quite coincidentally, I have glued it from two pieces that came from the same original plank, and that I have aligned the grain so that it makes a nice V-shape at the face.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I have also found out that I will have to use another glue next time, since the one I am currently using turns black when gluing woods with high tannin-content, a problem that I noticed also when gluing leather with it. Which is a bummer, because it is very good, strong, and water-resistant glue that is really easy to work with. But the thin black line looks much worse on the picture than in reality.

The stand is covered with the same boat lacquer as the knife handle, but it is deliberately not polished and it has fewer layers since it should not get exposed to nearly as much water as the handle.

I will probably make some more knife stands/racks in the future

Women Artisans on Youtube – Carpenter

3x3Custom – Tamar is a Youtube channel that I have found interesting enough to actually subscribe to. She is one of those people who likes to experiment and invent things, which is exactly what I like too. I have learned a lot from her and I cannot wait to put some of those things to use, even though my equipment is not as fancy and I will inevitably be forced to improvise a lot.

The video for today is one where she makes very cool patterned boxes for sick kids – out of scrap wood.

 

Tummy Thursday: About that Allspice…

As I mentioned, I needed allspice to make Jamaican jerk, only of course that’s just a vague description of what I actually made. For one thing, jerk is more like a marinade. We don’t eat much meat, but have ample use for all kinds of sauces and condiments, so I made something more like a steak sauce.

I started out with the Jamaican jerk recipe CD gave me some years back: allspice, garlic, soy sauce, only no soy sauce because I’m allergic to soy, molasses, only no molasses because you cannot get it here but boiled down sugar beet syrup, cinnamon, spring onions, only I skipped them because I later added onions, nutmeg, dried fruit like cranberries, only that I used fresh nectarines and chillis, thyme, all blended together.

Yep, that’s me. If the survival of planet earth hinged on my ability to follow a recipe you’d better start packing. For the chillis I bought some Habaneros and I wanted to throw one into the blender, but then thought that it was prudent to start with half a Habanero because you can always add more. Good decision. It instantly went to the level of hot I like (which is probably too much for the rest of the family) and it’s got such am agreeable hotness. I don’t know if I’m explaining this well, but sometimes chillis have this hotness that lingers for ages. Your mouth keeps burning even if it wasn’t that hot in the first place until you have some milk and this detracts from the actual taste of the food. These are hot, but 10 seconds later it’s gone. I actually kept spooning it into my mouth to see if the taste needed refinement without actually adding anything in between…

To turn it into a sauce I peeled and deseeded a pound of tomatoes, lightly fried onions in olive oil, added the tomatoes and let it stir for a while. Then I partly strained the jerk so there wouldn’t be too many coarse particles and let everything simmer for about half an hour. Interesting things happened. For one, the jerk turned very dark. That happened almost instantly, probably because the air boiled out. After about 10 minutes my disappointing nectarines picked up and gave some real fruity aromas to the whole thing. After 20 minutes the tomatoes vanished completely. I’m sure they’re adding taste and structure, but you would never guess it has tomatoes in it. Finally, the hotness was greatly reduced. Maybe Mr could eat some now. All in all I have two glasses of sauce now and I tried it on some vegan burgers yesterday and it’s just all I ever wanted.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

And because the light and the bubbles in the pot were just too pretty, here#s a video:

Jack’s Walk

Artwork by rq.

Oma was still laughing as we made our way slowly back to the car. She seemed content to ride on top of Jack and had no difficulty keeping her balance. She pointed out the dandelions and told us how her grandmother taught her to make a tonic from them.
“It’s good for all sorts of ailments. It helps with bloat and the tummy flutter. You can make a salve of it for nettle stings and pebble joints. My Gran is a Wise Fairy. She knows all sorts of remedies and potions. You can meet her when we get home.”
“That would be nice,” said Jack. ‘Here’s the car, Oma. Now Mummy is going to help us get inside. Have you ever been in a car before?” He asked.
I reached down and put one hand under Jack’s belly and the other in a hug around his bum and counted to three, and then together, we hopped him into the car, with Oma still holding tightly to Jack’s collar.
“Goodness, no,” she cried. Her laughter stopped, and I could see that she was frightened. Jack stepped into the back and lay down on his bed.
“It’s very safe, Oma,” I said. “I’m a careful driver, and we can get you home quickly. It’s not nearly as dangerous as surfing with a seal.”
“That’s right,” said Jack. “You can sit here with me and watch out the window. Maybe, you could tell me again about your home by the sea.”
That brought a smile back to her face, and Oma relaxed a bit.

“Why, it’s the prettiest place you’ll ever see. The beaches are surrounded by tall red cliffs covered with fields of green, and beyond them are the mountains. Some say they’re the oldest mountains in the world. They go on forever, one round bump rolling into another all covered with trees. That’s where we live, by a stream in the mountains. It’s easy to get lost because there are lots of streams, but our place overlooks a gigantic rock with a hole in it that sits in the ocean all by itself. My favourite human friend, Muriel, calls it the Perce Rock but my family calls it The Big Wink. It’s something to see. If it’s a beautiful day and we’re not too busy, Dad will take us down to the beach. I love it there. You can find all sorts of pebbles and stones and sometimes even polished coloured gems that make beautiful decorations. Some of our craftspeople make them into jewellery or suncatchers. I like to collect them to put in the garden among the flowers.” Oma had settled down into Jack’s neck ruff and was watching out the window when she suddenly started to laugh again and said,
“Wow, this is better than flying. What do you call this thing again.”
“It’s a car, Oma. Most humans use them to get around,” said Jack.
“Well, it’s a lot of fun. You look down on things as you pass by them, and it moves so fast! I like to go fast. Sheesh! What a day I’m having. I am on a grand adventure,” she giggled. “I hope Mum won’t be too mad at me. I got my stockings dirty, and I’ve lost my books.”                            I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that Oma’s eyes had misted up again, so I said to her, ” I know the Perce Rock, or as you call it ‘The Big Wink.’  My husband’s family lives in Perce. I love it there, too. It’s one of my favourite places. I didn’t know that fairies live there, though.”
“Fairies live almost everywhere, and our mountain by The Big Wink is full of little folk of every kind,” she said. “In my neighbourhood, we have Gnomes, Imps, Elves and Fairies. It’s great. Everyone works together, and we share lots of things, but mostly food and stories. I like talking to people over food, especially if there are stories. Mama likes the love stories best, and my sister Edna likes to gossip, but I like tall tales of adventure. The Imps tell great adventure stories that make you silly laugh. ‘Course, the mushrooms they serve can make you silly laugh before the stories even start. Mama says that Edna and I can only eat one or two, and only if she or Papa is with us. Mama makes a lot of rules, but she says it’s because she wants us to grow up to be good fairies.” Oma paused for a moment to scratch her back and said, “Gosh, my wings get itchy when they’re growing in.” She paused for a moment, staring out the window when suddenly a smile lit up her face.
“Hey! Big Brown Dog! Stop! This place looks familiar. We must be getting close to home. Stop, Human, stop!” Oma’s arms were flailing about as she tried to stand up, but couldn’t find her balance. I turned into the parking lot for the Trillium Trail and stopped the car. I turned in my seat and looked into the back of the car and said, “Alright, Oma. We’re here. This is the forest where you live. I want you to hold on tightly to Jack’s collar as he gets up. OK, Jack, let’s go.”

Jack stood up slowly, and he carefully made his way out through the back door. Once on the ground, he softly made his way onto the trail as I closed up the car and locked it. Jack had only taken a few steps when he was set upon by a large mixed group of faires, Gnomes and Imps, each of them calling Oma’s name and reaching out to her. Jack slowly laid down near a patch of trout lilies, and Oma slid off of him with her arms held out wide, calling out loudly ‘Wheeee!’ A blue fairy fluttered toward Jack and caught Oma as she hit the ground. She pulled Oma close and hugged her tightly, and Oma started to cry. Still holding on to each other, Oma said, “I forget your name, but I remember your smell. Do you know where my Mama is?” Oma pulled back with tears in her eyes and continued, ” She’s going to be upset with me. I’ve lost my books, and I’ve gotten dirty, and I’m really late. Oh, Dear. I don’t know what to do.” She began to cry.

I watched as a pale green fairy wended her way through the crowd. She was older, with dull grey hair and heavy lines around her face. As she got nearer to Jack, Oma saw her and cried out with a laugh, “Edna! I am so glad to see you. I was afraid I’d never get home.”
Edna took Oma’s hands and said, “I’m glad to see you, too. You must be hungry and tired. Let’s get you home.” She looked into Jack’s eyes and said, “Thank you,” then led Oma away by the hand into the forest. There was an outburst of ‘Thank yous’ from the rest of the crowd as they slowly followed behind the two older fairies, waving goodbye one moment and then slowly vanishing into the forest. As we watched them go, I saw Gnorman turn around and come toward Jack and me, so I knelt down on one knee and smiled at him as he approached. Without hesitation, he hopped onto my lap and took my hand in his and bestowed a kiss upon it.  Then looked up at me and said,
“Thank you, Lassie. And you, Sir Jack. I see that you have injuries to your nose and your toes. I wish you speedy healing. We will never forget what you have done today. You will always be welcome among all the little folk, and we will write tales and songs about your bravery. Same for you, Voyager,” he said as he hopped off my knee.
“Thank you, Gnorman. It is my pleasure to have been of service. One question, though. How did you know so quickly that we were here with Oma?”
“Hera Hawk followed you and flew back to let us know you’d found her and were on your way home,” Gnorman said, smiling. He turned toward the forest, and said over his shoulder, “When next we meet, I’ll be wanting to hear the story from you. Right now, I have a party to get to.” He brought up his hand to blow me a kiss, calling out ‘Thanks, again, to the two of you,” before disappearing into the trees. I put my hand on Jack’s back and told him, “You are very brave, Jack. And kind. I am the luckiest Mummy in the world because I get to be your Mummy.”
Jack smiled as he stood up and said, “Thanks, Mummy. Could we get ice cream on the way home?”
“You bet, Bubba. Today you’re the king of the forest. I think you’ll need a queen. Let’s make it a Dairy Queen.”

“Yay,” he said, happily wagging his tail as he trotted ahead of me.

“““““““““

I’d like to thank rq for the beautiful artwork. It’s a lovely piece, and it means a great deal to me.

My thanks also to all of you for allowing me to try my hand at story writing. It was a bit of fun.

 

Bobbin Lace: Roses are…

While the knife handles were being covered in varnish, which is a few hours work a day followed by a whole day of waiting, I have designed and made another bobbin lace picture. This time a rose. It was a lot easier than the two previous designs because the blossom is de-facto just a spiral. And whilst the leaves are more complicated, they were just ten bobbins and could be made almost in one go.

We tried several backgrounds and the grey one worked best again. On a dark background, the thorns on the stem were not visible at all and on a light one, the blossom was poorly defined.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

To show you the difference in style between me and my mother, here is one of her roses, several decades old by now.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Jack’s Walk

Bloodroot, ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s been a while since Jack and I shared photos of the spring wildflowers. In part, that’s because our favourite trail has been closed due to the pandemic, and in part due to bad weather. It’s been cold and damp, with bursts of snow and freezing rain, and neither Jack nor I have felt much like going out. We did make it to a different forest a few days ago, though, and that’s when these photos were taken. We didn’t find as many flowers as we do on our usual trail, but our usual trail is through a wildflower preserve, so I’m not sure if it’s because of the weather or just the normal condition of this forest. Even though we didn’t find lots of flowers, we did find most of our favourites. The one flower I couldn’t find was the red trillium.

We’ll be back on Wednesday with the story of Oma Troutchen’s homecoming, accompanied by a wonderful picture of Oma sent to us by someone special.

Mayapples, ©voyager, all rights reserved

White Trillium, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Trout Lily, ©voyager, all rights reserved