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  • Debra Palmen

Chocolate, Fairies & Books - it's just another week in the Mountain Stronghold


Easter is here already! Wasn’t it Christmas just last week?

Having glutted out on chocolate eggs and chocolate chip hot cross buns (the best type), I’ve probably had enough. Or maybe not quite yet. If I’m not getting a Fabergé egg for Easter, I want chocolate eggs. Lots of chocolate eggs.

I’ve had Fabergé eggs on my mind lately, because I’ve been writing the Chickens chapter for Little Beasties & How To Collect Them. What a long and interesting history this little bird has. It’s the most numerous animal in the world, and more chickens are killed each year than every other land animal combined. It’s also the inspiration for many attractive and good quality vintage collectables, so I had fun and learned a lot writing this chapter. I've included here a picture I've been thinking about using for the Chickens chapter, but I'm now seriously considering using just black & white illustrations for this book. I think strong black & white original pictures could look good. If you have an opinion on this I'd love to hear it.

Now I’ve hunkered down in the Mountain Stronghold, emerging only for the occasional coffee with friends, as I move on to the Fairies chapter. They’re not at all what I was expecting, so this should also be an interesting writing exercise.

The pop-up shop has now closed, and we’re back to selling through the Peregian Beach Market and Collectorama Antiques Fair. Peregian Market will be on tomorrow (16 April), and it should be a lovely morning at the beach. We’re arriving just before sunrise at the moment, and it’s beautiful watching the sun rise over the waves.

I’m bringing a number of French pictures to Peregian that I’ll be showing for the first time, plus lots of good vintage enamelware, printers trays, a nice antique Scottish golf wood from St Andrews, even some very old giant wooden pestles, just for something completely different. We always enjoy attending the Peregian Market; it’s our favourite on the Sunshine Coast.

Meanwhile, the new print run of my book has now arrived in Australia and a variety of antiques and bookshops are taking it, which is great news. I’ve included a picture this time of Suzy, the owner of Collective Haus antiques shop in Yandina. She was the first shop owner to stock my book and has always been encouraging and supportive.

I've also included some shots of Caleb and Calypso laying claim to a lovely antique palm wood bowl I was planning on selling. Artemis and Klaatu have also tried it for size, but it's the Bengals who have adopted it as a snug and cozy snoozing spot. So I guess it's staying at my house, for now.

Starting next week I’ll put my head down and photograph a whole heap of stock for the website. And hopefully I’ll finish the Fairies chapter and move on to Bees. Or Horses. Or Pigs. Each critter has an interesting social history, plus lots of good vintage collectables associated with them, so they should be fun to write.

Very soon I’ll be asking for your opinion on the cover art for the next book. I’m in negotiation with a British artist for the licence to one of his works, but before I go ahead I’ll first see what you all think. More on that soon.


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