This book did something very special for me, and I think anyone who is close to an elderly lady may feel the same, so I'm going to quickly tell you my story. When my Nanna/soulmate/best friend/confidante passed away in March 2014, I felt like my life was about to end with hers. We were so very close, and even though her death had seemed imminent for a while, as it always is I experienced a massive shock. I can't really explain how much I loved that woman, who had been more of a mother to me than my own, and how excruciating the loss felt, and still feels today. My Nanna was Italian originally, and she had a wonderful zest, exuberance for life, and contagious personality (not to mention dirty laugh) that you just couldn't help but love her. Whilst flicking through this book when I first received it, my instant thought was 'some of these ladies remind me- not so much looks but symbolically- of Nanna', particularly the one I coloured below. I feel that this book captures an essence of something special, that can only be found in the elderly figures in our lives. I hope that makes as much sense to you as it did me, and you didn't mind my personal outpouring too much, so I'll finish my tangent now and get on with actually showing you the book!
Susan Schmitt has been painting since before she can remember. At University in St. Louis, USA, she took degrees in Fine Art, painting, art history, and design, and her work has evolved from there. This particular book stemmed from her painted 'Women I Might Have Known' greetings card line, which celebrates age, womanhood and friendship. A friend of Susan's who works at a retirement home suggested the ladies she looked after might like to colour women of their own age rather than young fairies and princesses, and thus In the Garden was born!
In the Garden features 11 beautiful illustrations that feel so warm and comforting, with that nostalgic element that is difficult to be replicated on paper sometimes. The book is spiral bound with a glossy cover, and has thick card stock paper that makes markers and pencils alike lay down wonderfully. In some instances, Susan has intentionally left some blank areas for your own personalisation of clothing, or even stamping, patterns or quotes.
One thing I have to say is that postage from the US is a little high at just over £10, but Susan offsets this by including 5 of her lovely greetings cards along with the book. You can choose 2 or 3 of your favourites and Susan will select a couple of extras. I think that if you're really taken with the illustrations like I am, you'll love this idea.
As I said earlier, I chose the page below because it really reminded me of Nanna. She used to love flowers and practically had a garden centre in her back yard, so along with her lust for life and joyous nature this picture just suits her to a T.
How would you like to win a copy of In The Garden? I have one here to giveaway! All you have to do is comment on this Facebook post with a picture or story about you & your Nan :) UK only please, competition ends on 5th September 2015 when 1 random winner will be drawn.
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. You can find it on Susan's Etsy page.