What do you give that 'difficult to buy for'strange person in your life?
The book of 'Strange things to do and make' of course!
Published in 1976 by Puffin.
Although I'm not sure that giving this book to someone who is already feeling a little socially ostracised is going to make them feel any better or help them to become any more popular!
but it might just help them to cure their warts...
'Fish prints' guaranteed to stink your house out...
Readers are even encouraged to dabble with the occult, by making their own Ouji Board...
The Pyramid power experiment is my favourite, the wording is brilliant: 'the second piece of meat can lie outside the pyramid on a piece of paper. Leave it all in place and don't let anything be touched for about a week' (yeah right!) The meat outside the pyramid will be hard and smelly then (yippee!) See if the piece on the platform is rotten too' (oh I do hope so!) ..'you could then use the shape as a special tomb for a small animal...' (who wouldn't want a super stinky indoor pet tomb on their bedside table??)
This book was an unexpected find in a second hand book shop, and I had fun reading it. Even if by todays standards it is a little extreme. I can't imagine many parents actively encouraging their bored offspring to 'stop moping about the house' on a rainy day and 'go play with the dark arts instead' or allow them to use rotting meat as a play thing!
There is a really nice glass shop in Rye which sells a lot of 60's and 70's items, including Kosta Boda Scandanavian glass which we both really like. On one of our yearly trips to Rye to drop off some of my artwork to Rye Art Gallery we called into the glass shop and found this striking and stoic fellow, staring moodily into the middle distance. Perhaps he was wondering how he could go about his pillaging without a longboat to get about in....
Well as luck would have it, we hadn't walked more than 5 minutes down the road when we called into Rye village hall to check out a bric a brac sale that was going on, and lo and behold almost as soon as we walked in we spotted his long boat....
We were very happy to be able to reunite them. Here they are, together again! ready to go off for a quick spot of pillaging before tea time. (Once the Viking has finished his brooding that is)
I try to make something for Sarah every xmas (usually finishing whatever it is i'm making for her in a flurry of panic late on Christmas eve) The image below is of my effort from a couple of xmas's ago. The wood it's painted onto is a smallish piece of victorian floorboard which has got a nice scuffed and worn feel to it. I don't paint very often, so I was pretty pleased with how this turned out. So much so that I went out and bought a load more floorboard 'bits' from the wood reclamation yard (which are now buried somewhere in the study waiting to be rediscovered!)
This is a book I found a while ago called 'Lets go to the shops' its to give small children an idea of what to expect when they venture out onto the high street, but after looking at this book children might be thinking 'I don't want to go to the shops!' because the photos are all really gloomy and all the people in them look pretty fed up!
from the flyleaf:
'This book tells young readers about the many widely varied items they will see that can make an everyday visit to their local shopping centre an eye-opener'
well I probably wouldn't go that far! it goes on to say:
'Also explained is the difference between the friendly corner shop and the efficient but possibly impersonal self-service store'
A tad bias, but I would definately agree, keep it local and independent anyday!
Although Sarah and myself are children of the 80's and this book was published in 1976 it still brings back a lot of fond memories for me as the high street shown in the book doesn't vary greatly from the one I was dragged along on a Saturday morning.
I'm loving the pencil moustache on mr.sweetie man! also the shop on the opposite page has possibly the worst window display ever! - a piece of outdoor garden trellis and what looks like a small explosion of childrens clothing sprayed up the far wall, barmy!
The shop on the left sells 'calculator machines', which I imagine were probably the size of a small washing machine, had wheels on the bottom, flashing lights and a robot voice.
Also check out 'Mr Burt' on the right looking super sauve to the max with his whopping lapels, ace!
I have to admit I did geek out a little bit trying to spot what toys they had in the window of the toy shop...
These are a few scans from a 'Science I CAN READ' Book that I found a couple of years ago in a second hand book shop. It has some really nice minimal line outline drawings and a great restrained use of colour by the illustrator Talivaldis Stubis.
It was printed in 1963.
I like the plot suggestion they come up with for your magnetic puppet show:
'Make the man chase the dog into the house,
then make the dog chase the man at the end of the show.
At the end of the show, let them be friends'
I also like how the two children in the background are getting wildly over excited by the story too!