by Cicely Mary Barker
I’m sharing my Edible Book Review, inspired by Jain at Food for Thought, a delicious blog for readers with an appetite~ for the written word.
“After centuries of being hidden from human sight, the Flower Fairies allowed Cicely Mary Barker a glimpse into their enchanted fairy world in Fairyopolis. Now you can continue the adventure with this spectacular new novelty book where every page unlocks the secrets behind the magical places the fairies call home.”
Enchanted with the Flower Fairies, I created a table, this time, By the Wayside ~ with fantasy more than function in mind~ for this edible review.
You can see my fall forest floor version here if you like.
Suspend your disbelief and enter the Flower Fairies’ magical realm. . . after all, only true believers are able to see the fairies. . .
I started with a foundation of burlap and soaked some moss to rehydrate it and make it easier to piece and form a blanket~ Sprigs of ivy, violas, and butterflies dot the mossy carpet where fairies love to hold their feasts & banquets :-)
My Portmeirion Botanic Garden flatware is stamped with flowers & butterflies and make the fairies feel at home~ along with Lennox Butterfly Meadow Cloud plates~
“After much painstaking searching, I have discovered that there are five special places where fairies make their homes. Look within the pages of this book, and you will find these magical places; the tree tops, the forest floor, the garden, the wayside and the marshes.”
“When you are passing along the wayside, see if you can spot large numbers of butterflies fluttering around. Hedgerow fairies often fly amongst butterflies; they provide an excellent means of concealment when travelling.”
This pair of mushrooms was hiding in plain sight, waiting for me at HomeGoods for my table~
I filled some peat pots with ferns, since some fairies prefer the security of being on the ground :-)
Snail napkin rings hold fern print napkins, both from Pottery Barn.
“Be alert to the presence of fairies whenever you are in a garden. Even a snail trail may not be quite what it seems. Fairies use sprinklings of fairy dust to mimic these trails when they are travelling on the ground!”
“Flower Fairies wear outfits fashioned from fallen petals—by dressing to impersonate the flowers that surround them, the fairies may flutter by unseen!”
Cicely Mary Barker was born in West Croydon, Surrey, a small town near London, England in 1895. As a child she suffered from epilepsy and as a result was physically frail and unable to attend school. Cicely’s father, an artist himself, encouraged her artistic talent, enrolling her at Croydon Art Society when she was thirteen years old and paying for a correspondence course, which she continued until 1919.
At the age of sixteen, she had her first work accepted for publication as a set of postcards, which prompted her to devote her career to painting.
Cicely was influenced by the popular interest in fairies which developed from the Victorian enthusiasm for fairy stories and the immense popularity of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in the early part of the 20th century. Published in 1923, her first book, Flower Fairies of the Spring, was well received by a post-industrial, war-weary public who were charmed by her vision of hope and innocence.
She preferred to use real-life child models for her fairy paintings~ most models coming from the kindergarten her sister Dorothy ran in the back room of the home where they lived. She would have the child pose with the particular blossom, twig, or flower to accurately depict the texture and form of the plant, enlarging the flower to make it the same size at the child.
Always botanically accurate, Cicely’s flowers were painted from nature. If she could not find a flower close at hand, she enlisted the help of staff at Kew Gardens, who would often visit with specimens for her to paint.
I was alerted to the presence of Flower Fairies on this delightful tin of confections, on one of my HomeGoods excursions~
“A fairy ring is a place where fairies meet to dance. To find such a ring, venture into a shady glade in a quiet part of the woods. Look for a circle of fungi growing. But remember that the fairies only dance by moonlight…”
These little chocolate mushrooms danced right into my cart at World Market~
“Fairies appreciate the following: Sweet delicacies such as fruit, jam and cake. . .”
A cake fairies can appreciate~ an angel food cake, cut in thirds, layered with lemon curd, whipped cream, berries & chocolate mushrooms :-)
“Flower beds are a perfumed paradise for fairies that desire beauty above all else.”
“Every flower has its own fairy to care for it, which explains why most of my own fairy encounters have taken place in the garden.”
You can see Cicely Mary Barker’s beautifully illustrated fairies here.
“Tread softly and speak quietly when you set foot in the fairies’ world. Who knows—perhaps you too will be allowed a glimpse into their magical kingdom?”
Beautifully illustrated, the paper engineering with its lift-the-flaps, booklets, maps, holograms, and other ephemera, hold surprises waiting to be discovered, and are sure to delight both young readers and the young-at-heart alike :-)