memory library

I come from a bookish family, enjoying an upbringing where reading was considered to be the ultimate sporting pursuit, and where every household nook and cranny was crammed with a life-history of books, from the trashiest novel to the most highbrow doctrines of Greek philosophy (our shelves were nothing if not egalitarian, and we relished them all).

Thus I learned the facts of life mostly from Judy Blume novels, and yet was extremely well-read about world history from our travelling-salesman set of Encyclopedia Britannica, the 90′s print forerunner of Wikipedia. Sadly, volume 12 vanished without trace at some point meaning that anything listed under ‘M: Malachite – Mycenae’ will forever be a gap in my knowledge.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Harry is showing signs of being a book-lover, who delights in being read to (and in pretend-reading to us). At 3yrs old he already has a small but precious handful of books which have marked the various stages in his life and which have been transient obsessions, and I wanted to capture those memories before they fade and get swallowed up into the general joyous mayhem of childhood.  I designed some simple bookplates to stick in the cover papers of his favourite books, recording the memories associated with them, so that he (and we) can look back on these in the years to come…

bookplate1

Harry’s first ever book was a picture book by the inimitable Emily Grevatte, whose simply rhyming and repetition tickled the then 6-month old Harry and produced a chortle which turned into a full belly-laugh, and culminated in such hysteria that in time I only had to pick up the book for H to start giggling.  Any new mum will tell you that whoever can make their babies laugh is a friend for life, so Grevatte’s books will always have a special place in my heart.  The Gruffalo was another hands-down favourite..

bookplate gruffalo

The bookplates themselves were printed onto standard white paper and I then used a glue stick to paste them into the dog-eared and well-loved books.  If you want to do this and don’t have the time or inclination to make your own, there’s a downloadable version below which you can simply print out and fill in (minus the picture of Harry, of course!)

my library bookplates

printable bookplates

Download by clicking on the attachment; I’ve saved this a PDF with 6 labels per sheet; these should fit most books.

Printable Bookplates

As I pack Harry’s old baby books into the loft for the next generation, it’s lovely to think that the family stories behind the storybooks themselves are captured and waiting to be rediscovered.

bookplates from katescreativespace.com

Other things… it’s been a snowy week here in Britain, with a huge blanket of snow falling thickly for several days.  Nurseries and schools closed, fires were lit, and we took to the fields and hills to make the most of it.  We decided to go to the local park (Windsor Great Park; home to the Queen and some stunning landscapes) just as dusk was falling, and we had the place to ourselves; it was indescribably beautiful..

a walk in the woods

We came across this couple, absorbed in the beauty of the winter landscape…

a snowy romance

..and obviously in the early stages of a great romance…

snowstruck lovers

We taught Harry the art of the snowball fight – something I’m sure we’ll regret before long – before heading home for crumpets, tea and to admire how beautiful everything looks in our snowy garden, including Harry’s new playhouse – a secondhand one which I spruced up with curtains, carpet and a weather vane; it was Harry’s 3rd birthday present and he’s very house-proud; even delivery men get invited in for a cup of tea and a story…

playhouse in the snow

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