Colour Collaborative: May

Illustrations by Jill Barklem


That first picture isn't to show that my childhood was a fancy affair, full of four poster beds and rooms with majestic high ceilings and space to hold a small barn dance.  No, the point of that picture is to show a possible reason for my leanings in later life.

The pictures will probably be familiar to you, if you are around my age or so and live in the UK.  Although the Brambly Hedge books are apparently a worldwide phenomenon these days and are even now back in publication, so you might be familiar with them even if you live in other parts of the world too, or maybe your children are.

The point is, I loved these books as a child, I just poured over them.  The Winter Story was the one I remember the most, the idea of digging tunnels and scurrying from house to house under the snow seemed so exciting.  A few years ago, I brought a 'Complete Brambly Hedge' book for my daughter and leafing through the pages, with a little more enthusiasm than my daughter, it has to be said, I discovered how little I've strayed from my childhood tastes.

Illustrations by Jill Barklem

Look at those lovely scrappy, colourful quilts.  I've probably got at least a dozen of those quilts pinned to my Pinterest boards.

Then there's this beauty.  Crammed with details, as usual,  rows of colourful books, piles of fabric on tables and floors, fleece, a mouse spinning and what looks to me very much like it could be a loom. It'd make a wonderful craft room wouldn't it?

Illustrations by Jill Barklem

Or maybe we should take tea with the mice instead.  Enjoy a slice of victorian sponge, pour tea from the pot, kept warm with a beautiful hexagon (paper pieced I bet) tea cozy and rock in our chairs while a neatly made bed covered in a patchwork quilt awaits us upstairs.

Illustrations by Jill Barklem

I love the soft and yet still full of colour palettes that these pictures make too and I love the pastel shades used in this set of three new quilts that the mice rustled up when then found out new additions were on the way.

Illustrations by Jill Barklem

Yes, looking back, I don't think my dreams and aspirations have changed that much since childhood really.  A quiet homely life in a quiet little home with a little bit of colour to keep things cheerful.

: :

Don't forget to check out the other great 'Colour Collaborative' blogs
for more of today's great posts...

Annie at Knitsofacto
Gillian at Tales From a Happy House
Jennifer at Thistlebear
Claire at Above the River
Sarah at Mitenska

What is The Colour Collaborative? 
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff.
Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together?
Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too.
We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination 
our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

S x

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  1. I love this post Sandra! I've actually spent a delightful ten minutes or so with my coffee just gazing at the illustrations. They are so enchanting. I really, really want to snuggle in that gorgeous bed (penultimate picture) and listen to the gentle chatter wafting up from below, the air heavy with the smell of tea, cake and flowers. One of my children received the Brambly Hedge Collection when they were born, I think I shall go and routle it out. xx

  2. I remember these books so well Sandra, I still have a copy of the Wedding story which someone gave me when we got married, and if I look back at it now it still fills me with all the excitement of the day, from the colours of the flowers ( poppies and daisies ) to all the decorations we used to complete our country wedding.
    Lovely post,
    Kate x

  3. Oh, I remember these! Not from my own childhood, because I was almost grown up when the first was published in 1980, but from my children's. My girls adored them ... and at one point they had Brambly Hedge curtains and bed covers in their bedroom. Truly delightful books and yes, I can totally see now where the colour palette you love originated :)

  4. And yes, I'm sure that is a loom. I'm just wondering which plants they've used to dye what they've spun ;)

  5. Hi, Sandra! Thank you for sharing this brilliant illustrations! I haven't heard about Brambly Hedge until today, but now I desperately want to show these books to my children and wonder if its are available anywhere in Russian. If not, then these books will be souvenir number one for me from England in case we'll travel there!
    As for your post, I've realized just few days ago, that my deep and endless passion for green all around me (green kitchen, dark green hall and greeny-green craft room) is right from my childhood where the brightest spots in my parents' home were emerald-green chairs that I actually had hated then because of its screaming colour.
    Nadya (from

  6. Dear Sandra,
    It's simply wonderful reach out to like-minded folk, isn't? As soon as I saw your first picture I knew I was 'home'. My childhood was viewed through the joyful whimsy of Flower Fairies and Brambly Hedge and I too have not strayed far from this aesthetic path.
    Isn't it all so wonderful? Yesterday I busied myself four a couple of hours making a spring patchwork to use as a background for my next créations. I'm pretty certain the colours I picked were inspired by Brambly Hedge.

  7. I love the Brambly Hedge illustrations, but never had any of the books, I think that I really should look for some though. I love the homeliness that these images portray and they were exactly the sort of life I dreamed of living as a child, it is a perfect and blissful life really isn't it. Nowadays my tastes have changed, but I still strive to make my house feel like a home. xx

  8. aww Brambly hedge was my favourite as a child would spend hours looking at the beautiful and detailed illustrations thanks for the reminder

  9. There really isn't anything else you need, is there. x

  10. Those books look wonderful! They would have captured my imagination too, especially with all the patchwork and sitting down to drink tea. I'm so glad you've been able to share the books with your daughter too.

  11. I bought a couple of these books for my daughter when we were living in NZ; they are so charming. Having viewed your images Sandra I feel like rushing out and buying the books for myself...but I might share them with my grandchildren :-) Lol! I have a love for children's illustrated story books and still have a few from my own childhood in the 60's.

    I don't think I have ever considered my contemporary colour choices in relation to those of my childhood. It's a fascinating thought and one I shall ponder.
    Thank you Sandra :-)
    Tracey xxx

  12. What completely wonderful illustrations, I can't believe I haven't seen them before. I want to live there! Wonderful cosy rooms, lots of natural decorations and warm quilts everywhere. Blissful, I really loved this post Sandra.

  13. Brambly Hedge books were just so lovely weren't they & I love the colour palate used. It made me yearn for a cottage full of similar shades when I grew up. So pretty & gentle.

  14. I couldn't agree more, Sandra - BH has got to be my favourite collection of all time - really beautiful. I've always wanted to move there!!

  15. Ohh, Brambly Hedge. I still have the books on my bookshelf from my childhood. I also have plates and figurines that my mother collected for me and even a sewing book on making all the little characters! I spent many happy hours lost in their little world, just like you. Thanks Sandra for the trip down memory lane.

  16. I look forward to the Colour Collaborative posts each month, and this one is a special delight! Growing up in the US, I never had these beautiful books, but now that I've seen them, I've already ordered them via one-click so I can share them with my girls ASAP! Thank you for introducing them (my youngest will be over the moon, as she already adores Beatrix Potter's mice stories), and the colours and crafts they inspire. I so appreciate how childhood inspires our lives as adults, and I've found that the more creative folk around me seem to have clearer, fonder memories of childhood - it's like an unbroken connection that fuels our makings today! Chrissie xxx

  17. Ah these beautiful illustrations make me go all fuzzy - what a wonderful post, thank you Sandra, Beatrix Potter and Brambly Hedge would have to be my very favourite books! Often we don't realise the huge impression such as these have made on us, until we lose ourselves in crafts .. .. .. xoJoy

  18. How utterly charming! Thank you for such a delightful post - it's made my day.

  19. Oh Sandra, my heart sped up when I opened up this post! I LOVED these books as a child, and we had a poster of one of the illustrations (a kitchen scene from spring, when they make Wilf's cake) in the room we stayed with at my Grandparent's house and I'd stare at the details for hours. I love the soft colour palate and you are right, I bet those mice were impressive crafters. They certainly knew how to make a good patchwork quilt. x

  20. A wonderful atmosphere emerges from these lovely designs.. I love it.. Cil

  21. My two girls adored these books too Sandra (well, so did I actually) and they are among several books that we just cannot part with, even though we don't read them any more. Our other favourites were the Old Bear series by Jane Hissey. I love the colour palettes you've picked out from the above pics. Have a lovely week.
    Jane x

  22. I have that book! I didn't it have it as a child but I always loved animals dressed up and having little lives in trees and underground and everywhere around us. Brambly hedge personifies how I strive to live and I wish my neighbors would get on board. I think we need to set up neighborhoods and communities based on people's interests and there could be one for Brambly Hedge people! Thank you for the color palettes....I'll be using them! Awesome post!

  23. These are delightful - I've heard of the books but never seen them. I love the light shining in the window in that top illustration. I do see the connection with your colour choices - bright and happy! :)

  24. Brambly Hedge were my favourite books too as a child! My Nana and Grandpa bought them for me when I was four and I still have them today 32 years later. The Winter story was one of my favourites as well and I studied each page with intensity, often dreaming about the crab apple punch and plum cakes!


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