Curiouser and curiouser – ‘Alice’ appeal lives on 150 years after publication

John Tenniel’s original AliceThe Mad Hatter, The White Rabbit and a little girl called Alice – three of the many fantastical characters created by Lewis Carroll in his 1865 masterpiece ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, characters loved by generation after generation of children the world over. 2015 is the 150th anniversary of its publication and there are Alice in Wonderland events happening all over the place and a whole new generation is being introduced to the little girl who fell down a rabbit hole and tumbled into another world.

I adored reading Alice in Wonderland as a child. I spent quite a lot time looking for a rabbit hole large enough to fall down because I was convinced I’d have the same adventures if I did and I longed to meet the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat. The book manages that magical mix of humour, fantasy and a little bit of fear – would the Queen of Hearts cut off your head? Would you be trapped forever always too big, or too small, to escape from the endless passage and through one of the enticing doors?

Little Alice Liddell was the real-life Alice who inspired Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll was his pen name), to write the novel when she asked him to tell her a story on a boating trip down the Thames in Oxford. Even when I have re-read it as an adult, I have found it entrancing and dream-like. There are so many character and phrases that crop up in modern culture and many plays and films and other books have been made about it or been inspired by it.

The real ‘Alice’, Alice Liddell.Charles Dodgson was an English writer, mathematician, Anglican deacon and photographer. After Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, he wrote Through the Looking-Glass, which includes the poems Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark both wonderful examples of fantastic nonsense!

But is it really a children’s book? The story plays with logic making it as popular with adults as with children. It is one of the best examples of the literary ‘nonsense’ genre popular in the Victorian era, with one of the other most famous ‘nonsense’ writers being Edward Lear, he of ‘Owl and the Pussycat’ fame! Goodness, can you imagine being at a literary lunch with those two authors!

I often find myself thinking of particular ‘Alice’ phrases – I think one of two have even slipped into my own books! Here are a few of my favourites:

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

One of Arthur Rackham’s Art Nouveau illustrationsOne of the things I loved most about Alice in Wonderland was the illustrations. The version I had featured the beautiful Art Nouveau images created by Arthur Rackham, but the original book featured the work of John Tenniel. Both of their illustrations are stunning and so very ‘of the era’.

And what of the book when it was first published 150 years ago? The entire print run sold out quickly – Alice was a publishing sensation, beloved by children and adults alike. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into at least 174 languages.

Couriouser and curiouser,” as Alice would have said!

Did you read it as a child, or an adult? Did you like it? Which was your favourite character? I think I’ve got to choose the White Rabbit!

7 Comments

Butterflies and stitching

This beautiful theme for a card was something Suzanne Saltwell designed for us many years ago and I have adored it ever since and used these ingredients myself.

This is just perfect for any sewing friends that you have. There’s a little extra expense as you need a wooden embroidery hoop, special fabric that you can print onto and some sewing bits and pieces.

I have kept every one of these that either Suzanne or I have made as samples, I think they are so gorgeous – or should that be ‘sew gorgeous’ – no maybe not!

Print out something from a CD or a file that you have, find matching backing papers ­– on this card we have used some Signature Dies lace butterflies to stay with the butterfly theme!

A perfect match – crafting and butterflies with a bit of sewing on the side – that must be ideal for many crafters.

3 Comments

Dolphin delight!

The base card for this fun little smiling dolphin is a shaped card made by using some of the large Nestability dies available. If you haven’t got these then any other large shapes can be used or, of course, you could just make a good old rectangular or square card and it will look just as attractive!

The picture and embellishment come from our Jody Bergsma pad and as it is one of our top selling pads I think lots of people would love a card made from one of her designs. 

The background of this card is a lot of fun to make, just tear strip after strip from assorted pieces of blue card and then glue them over each other as in the picture to create a really sea/surf watery effect.

There are a great many dolphin fans out there (I love them too) and this could be just the card for them!

3 Comments

Cute kitten!

There are some artists whose work can make all age groups smile and the Giordano brothers certainly do. We have created two six inch square pads filled with printed designs and embellishments and this little kitten on a shelf is from pad number two.

Once you have the idea for the focus of your card (which the printed pads solve for you in minutes) then you can have fun designing the background and extras to add on. The pretty die used on this card is from my Signature dies range and is called Harriet Lace Edger. We have done several lacy designs and we gave them girls names to help us remember which was which!

The nice thing about combining printed bits and pieces and dies is that you can create a very professional looking card quite quickly and have a lot of fun along the way!

2 Comments

Fairy Congratulations

The mini fairies in our Signature Die collection are very sweet. I like just popping them half hidden behind flowers as well as centre stage as these are. They look pretty cut as silhouettes and of course in gold or silver mirri card.

The aperture diecut here is made using our Favourite Lace Aperture Die, which frequently comes in handy for me, and the quick addition of some pearls or rhinestones looks amazing.

The Congratulations word here is done using a peel-off (remember those!) but of course you could use a diecut word or a preprinted sentiment. Ideal for someone that believes there may really be fairies at the bottom of their garden!

1 Comment