I have been entranced by fairy tales since I was a little girl, so this book was right up my alley. Two of my earliest book memories involve collections of fairy tales. The first was a Little Golden Book called The Blue Book of Fairy Tales that belonged to my big sister Kathy. I was thrilled by the dark artwork and a bit terrified by it actually. (Seriously, look at that witch on the cover...she's scary!) It made such an impression on me that as an adult I spent years combing used book stores and garage sales looking for a copy of my own...and I eventually found one!
My other early fairy tale memory was devouring the stories in a big fat collection from Readers Digest that my grandparents gave me for Christmas one year called The World's Best Fairy Tales. That volume introduced me to many new tales as well as the non-Disneyfied versions of stories I already thought I knew.
As I've grown older, I've developed a notoriously short attention span when it comes to short stories. Despite that, this collection really held my attention and imagination. I only managed to read about 12 of the stories and I was sad that I needed to move onto other things since there were still tales between this book's covers that I was interested in reading. Perhaps I'll check it out again someday, but then again, there are always stacks of new books I want to read!
I mostly tried to read stories based on tales that I was less familiar with and authors that I have enjoyed in the past... I'm not sure why this is the strategy I took, but there you have it. In the end, I decided to go with an idea from the first story I read, "Catskin" by Kelly Link. I started there because I had read and liked a collection of dark stories by her called Pretty Monsters and was unfamiliar with the inspiration tale. (Oh, and I like cats...true confession time!)
Lots of good elements to work with here... witches, poison, cats, strange "children," and more. Not surprisingly, I found this story unsettling and creepy. While Mother's Revenge, the main cat in this story, was not black like the focal I chose, I decided this pendant from Earthenwood Studio still worked since this could be her silhouette with eyes glowing in the moonlight. I kept things pretty simple for my design, just adding some Czech glass that has some bronzy sheen, rectangular bronzite pieces, and Vintaj brass chain and findings.
I also whipped up a pair of earrings based on the same story. I was a little fascinated (and horrified) by how Mother's Revenge directs Small to lock all of the witch's cats inside her house and burn the whole thing down. The next morning when the fire is out, Mother's Revenge retrieves bundle after bundle out of the ashes... catskins that no longer have cats inside. And from the catskins fall golden coins that were "sloppy, slippery with fat." Ok, totally gross, but that's the inspiration for these pretty little earrings made from pearls and gold filled findings. I think I found the perfect prop for them!
As always, thanks to Andrew for thinking up and hosting this great book club. One of these days I'm going to plan ahead and take a little mini-vacation for the in person meet up! For now, I have to settle for checking out what everyone else made virtually... I hope you'll take a peek too!
Andrew Thornton Our host!