Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beatrix Potter and Me


You may have noticed by my new springy header picture that I'm ready for Easter.  This year Easter is very late in coming but that won't stop me from enjoying all of the bunnies I have around my house.

Growing up, Easter always meant new shiny white shoes, a new dress, a hat, some gloves, and maybe even a matching white purse or sweater.  My mother loved Easter and she always made sure we were dressed to the nines.  




Born just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, my mother was a proud Virginian, so while many people had let go of the classic Easter attire by the late 1960's and early 70's, we still looked like we were ready to greet the Queen on Easter morning.

And I can remember the beautiful hats my mother and grandmother wore each year on Easter Sunday.  They were a cross between a frosted confection and a floral bouquet perched atop their heads.




When I had my own children, I carried on those same traditions, just minus the hats.  We have pictures of my daughter all dressed in pastel pink with ruffle topped socks and patent leather shoes clinging to an Easter basket nearly as big as she was.  And when our son came along, he got to sport little smocked outfits with bunnies and carrots, something Little Lord Fauntleroy would have been proud to wear!


 

There was always a big Easter dinner too, with corn pudding, fresh asparagus, Virginia ham (is there any other kind?) and homemade rolls just to name a few of the goodies.  And for dessert, you had to have fresh homemade coconut cake, along with something chocolate, and lemon chess pie.




There were Easter egg hunts, and we always brought a change of clothes for the children so that they could rip and race around the yard without ruining their spiffy new duds.  And the other tradition was to open the gift my mother and father gave the kids each year, a new Beatrix Potter figurine.




Each year my mother, who dearly loved Beatrix Potter, who find just the right figurine to give to each child.  Growing up, we each had a few figurines of our own, but she really began the tradition in earnest when my niece, the eldest grandchild, was born.




When the grandchildren would stay over with my mother and father, Nana (my mother) would read them Beatrix Potter books.  Those tiny books were full of wisdom and adventure, and the kids loved hearing the tales of Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Jemima Puddleduck and the like.

Sometimes, there were life lessons in the stories, and sometimes my children were just plain confused, like when Peter's father spanked him, something we didn't do at our house. 




Beatrix Potter was a very interesting woman who purchased property in the Lake District of England to try and help preserve the rural landscape which she so loved.  And upon her death in 1943, she left most of her property to the National Trust.  She also had dogs who look a lot like mine, and because she was such an animal lover, I have always felt a sort of kinship with Ms. Potter.

My friend Dan used to tell me how much I would love the Lake District, and I hope to go there some day. 




After my mother died, we found meticulous notes on which figurines had been purchased for which child.  And even after her stroke, she still managed to give each of the kids their precious Easter gift.

Along with the figurines my mother and father gave to the grandchildren, there were plenty more to be found at her house.  She loved these sweet little porcelain creatures brought to life from the pages of books written so long ago, and she had amassed quite a collection over the years.  I even brought back several figurines to give to my mother as gifts when I visited England for the first time.

The one pictured above with Peter holding a bunch of daffodils was one of her favorites.  My sisters and I went through her collection after my father died, and my sister M brought out "the" list to make sure that we didn't duplicate what we already had.  We separated them into ones that no one had, and then ones that someone didn't have, etc. before dividing them among each of us.  We also saved some out for my brother to take.




The little bunny figurines I've shared with you today are just a few examples of the 50 Beatrix Potter Figurines I have in a cabinet in my house.  One day I hope to have grandchildren, and I will likely continue the tradition of giving each child a figurine for Easter.

For now though, they remind me of my mother, of Easter, and of those wonderful tales told as only Beatrix Potter could! 

Spread the Love...


36 comments:

  1. My grandmother did something similar for me at Christmas. Now my mom does the same for my kids. I too plan to keep the tradtion going if one day I am blessed with grandchildren.

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  2. What a lovely tradition full of beautiful memories. I love all the figurines, it's an awesome collection. My Mom used to dress us to the nines on Easter, complete with gloves, hats and purses. My sister and I loved it.

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  3. What a wonderful post! I'm glad you took us on a journey through your Easter traditions. I have always loved this holiday and it holds a very special place in my heart too. Lots of surprises and goodies, egg hunts and family time. I too am a fan of Beatrix Potter as well and your figurine collection is amazing! Love the story behind it too. I am actually throwing a baby shower in April for my best friend with a Peter Rabbit theme. I just can't get enough of that rambunctious rabbit. :)

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  4. What an amazing collection with wonderful memories! I know you treasure them...and we all love them! We watch the movie Miss Potter...over and over again! ♥

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  5. Kat, what a wonderful collection filled with such sweet memories.

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  6. The figures are beautiful. I have a biography of Beatrix and I have read it twice. I find her fascinating. I still feel the impulse to dress up at Easter for church but that will not do as we now go to an ultra casual rock and roll type church.

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  7. Beautiful!!! I love your new header, too!
    Suzanne

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  8. Very sweet! Special memories and more to be made as well.
    xo Cathy

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  9. What a wonderful collection and with such fond memories. I love Beatrice Potter stories as well - they are just so charming and heart-warming and take you back to another time. One day I would love to go to the Lake District as well.

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  10. I forgot to ask what lemon chess pie is? It sounds intriguing.

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  11. I love Beatrix Potter also! We have a few of them and we actually had a bride & groom on our rehearsal cake! Have you seen the movie "Miss Potter" it's fabulous!

    Your descriptions of Easter remind me of my childhood. In addition my dad would buy mom and his 4 girls a corsage, we thought we were something else! Occasionally my husband will buy an orchid corsage for me for Easter - I love it!

    Wonderful post!

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  12. These Potter figurines are just lovely.

    Have you ever read "The Cottage Tails" series by Susan Wittig Albert? They are whimsical little mysteries in which Beatrix is the lead character. I LOVE THEM.

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  13. Ooops - - - it's Cottage Tales, my bad!

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  14. What a charming tradition...the figurines (and your photos) are lovely! I remember getting a new dress, hat, shoes, gloves, and purse each Easter, too!

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  15. Oh how I love hearing about your wonderful memories and of these precious figurines. My girls loved the stories and each had stuffed Beatrix Potter animals from the books. Loved seeing all of them.
    hugs,
    Debra

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  16. What precious memories..... Yep, my Mum did the same thing.... Lots of pastel colors, a pretty new dress and a new stand-out slip too.... Whatever happened to white gloves? I used to love them. I can still remember learning that you should wear a nice new pair when you went on a job interview....just imagine if some young chickie did that now!! Hilarious.

    Happy Spring!

    Warm blessings,
    Spencer

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  17. I'm in love with your beautiful header! Such a sweet post and full of memories...many of them similar to mine with the Easter outfits and all. I never received a Beatrix Potter figurine, but started a collection for my daughters. They also have the adorable stuffed animals in the series. Just loved seeing them all here and so beautifully photographed. Hoping you are enjoying some beautiful Spring weather.

    ~jermaine

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  18. What a beautiful collection, Kat and I loved reading all of the memories behind them! Will e-mail you back soon!

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  19. With six girls in our family, my mother still managed to dress us up to the nines on Easter morning...new dresses, coats and shoes. We loved getting all dressed up and then couldn't wait to take it all off after church to play in the wet yard before that big ham dinner. Beautiful memories that I duplicated with my daughters.


    I love your collection of Beatrix Potter pieces. I know you treasure them.

    XO,
    Jane

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  20. I love those Beatrix Potter figurines! My girls had 1 each on their dressers growing up. They had Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck. They are so cute! I love your entire post!

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  21. Hi Kat, what a lovely post! Beatrix Potter's drawings and stories always make me feel that I've been transported back in time. When my daughter was born we had a stuffed Jemima Puddleduck in her room - which began a lifelong love of all things Beatrix Potter. We also bundled her in a pink Jemima Puddleduck snowsuit - so cute and I think we still have it somewhere - some things you have to hold on to! LOL

    For this Christmas I just started collecting the figurines for my daughter - they are becoming quite the collector's item in antique stores!

    Your collection is lovely and looks so sweet on your table. Thanks for sharing - and I haven't forgotten about sending you photos of our room makeovers - just need to sit down and do it! Ciao, bella!

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  22. i have always loved Beatrix Potter books. The characters are just wonderful. Lovely post Kat and what treasured bunnies.

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  23. Your pictures are truly beautiful Kat and do such wonderful justice to the Beatrix Potter figurines. We named our daughter Kendall after a gorgeous little village in the Lakes District. Your new header is just perfect! ;)Sharyne

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  24. What lovely memories to have for both you, and your children! The figurines are just darling, but the memories attached are priceless. We too, love the Beatrix Potter books. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Oops. My comment disappeared... silly Blogspot.

    Just wanted to say what a perfect and lovely collection you have and how unique each piece is.

    Di

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  26. Those are so beautiful Kat! What a wonderful tradition and Peter Rabbit was a favorite of mine growing up and my mom still talks about that naughty little Peter after the bunnies get into her garden. :) Your Easters sounded a lot like ours. It was such a big event to go shopping for that perfect Easter dress with ruffles and lace and white patent shoes and tights and all the things that was not growing up. But, my mom loved it so we did it. :) I am so glad that you can continue the tradition of the Beatrix Potter figurines. :)
    Have a great day!

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  27. These little figures are utterly charming, I have always loved Beatrice Potter, especially her watercolours, and I have some of her books tucked away against the day there will be little people to read them to. The Lakes and Cumbria are so beautiful still, though you have to do some of the walks in lockstep with the other pilgrims - best to choose a rainy day!

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  28. What a beautiful story. And what a treasure to pass on to your (future) grandchildren.

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  29. What a nice post. Thank you for sharing about your Mom and Easter growing up and the family collection of Beatrix Potter figurines. Loved it!

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  30. Oh Kat I enjoyed everything about this post. And each one of those figurines is even more darling than the next. I love how you posed each of them and told us which one was your Mother's favorite. It's those little details that make your stories even more special. xo ~Lili

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  31. The figurines are lovely. I have similar memories of Easter at home as a child.

    Can you please tell me how you create your headers? I've tried, but my pictures are always too small. Thanks.

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  32. Kat - I adore Beatrix Potter and these figurines are priceless. I have loved seeing these photographs! This makes me want to start my own collection! Beautiful - just beautiful! Do they have a name for this collection? Can they even still be bought anywhere?

    Vicki

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  33. ps - THIS is why I LOVE your blog~~

    vicki

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  34. These are so beautiful! I've never seen any 'bunny' figurines like this before. They remind me of a cross between the colors of hummels and the sheen finish of lladros, both of which my parents have a collection. Thanks for sharing these pictures!

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  35. What a sweet post. I never did start a collection of these darling figurines, but I have a friend who has each one. Actually she has two complete sets because she had two boys and wanted them each to have their own. When they were little they sat on a shelf that went round the top of their rooms - out of reach, but easily seen to enjoy. How nice that you have these from your mother.
    Happy Easter to you! ~ Sarah

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