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The Magpie and the Wardrobe: A Curiosity of Folklore, Magic and Spells, is a lovingly curated compendium of time-honoured traditions and curious customs that have bewitched us for generations. Discover simple magic, heirloom recipes and forgotten fairytales in this eclectic treasury. The twelve chapters, representative of the seasons, present the celebrations, superstitions The Magpie and the Wardrobe: A Curiosity of Folklore, Magic and Spells, is a lovingly curated compendium of time-honoured traditions and curious customs that have bewitched us for generations. Discover simple magic, heirloom recipes and forgotten fairytales in this eclectic treasury. The twelve chapters, representative of the seasons, present the celebrations, superstitions and folklore that shape our year. From cherished traditions like Valentine’s Day to the lost excitement of May Day, The Magpie and the Wardrobe reveals a calendar bursting with history, imagination and curious facts. Take a closer look at your favourite homespun rituals and the magic we conjure every day; make a candle wish, mix a moon oil elixir, and hang your romantic hopes on the predictions of an apple peel. Illustrated by a unique collection of ephemera and embellished with trinkets and charms, this sumptuous volume will appeal to the creative and curious.


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The Magpie and the Wardrobe: A Curiosity of Folklore, Magic and Spells, is a lovingly curated compendium of time-honoured traditions and curious customs that have bewitched us for generations. Discover simple magic, heirloom recipes and forgotten fairytales in this eclectic treasury. The twelve chapters, representative of the seasons, present the celebrations, superstitions The Magpie and the Wardrobe: A Curiosity of Folklore, Magic and Spells, is a lovingly curated compendium of time-honoured traditions and curious customs that have bewitched us for generations. Discover simple magic, heirloom recipes and forgotten fairytales in this eclectic treasury. The twelve chapters, representative of the seasons, present the celebrations, superstitions and folklore that shape our year. From cherished traditions like Valentine’s Day to the lost excitement of May Day, The Magpie and the Wardrobe reveals a calendar bursting with history, imagination and curious facts. Take a closer look at your favourite homespun rituals and the magic we conjure every day; make a candle wish, mix a moon oil elixir, and hang your romantic hopes on the predictions of an apple peel. Illustrated by a unique collection of ephemera and embellished with trinkets and charms, this sumptuous volume will appeal to the creative and curious.

30 review for The Magpie & the Wardrobe: A Curiosity of Folklore, Magic & Spells

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I was absolutely delighted to win this delicious book in a Goodreads Giveaway and it’s a pleasure to review. The Magpie and the Wardrobe is clearly a true labour of love for Sam McKechnie and Alexandrine Portelli, their own delight in producing this extraordinary cornucopia of facts and fancies is palpable on every page. A delectable dressing-up box treasure trove of curiosities, folklore, magic, superstition, and fairy tales, The Magpie and the Wardrobe is a visual banquet, and ambrosia for the I was absolutely delighted to win this delicious book in a Goodreads Giveaway and it’s a pleasure to review. The Magpie and the Wardrobe is clearly a true labour of love for Sam McKechnie and Alexandrine Portelli, their own delight in producing this extraordinary cornucopia of facts and fancies is palpable on every page. A delectable dressing-up box treasure trove of curiosities, folklore, magic, superstition, and fairy tales, The Magpie and the Wardrobe is a visual banquet, and ambrosia for the artistic soul. A perfect lucky dip for gloomy autumn days, to soothe and inspire. Every satisfyingly thick and quietly sensuous page is sprinkled with stunning photographs. The child in every reader will be thrilled to discover the silver, four-leaf clover charm bookmark tucked in its perching place, the centre page fairy tale hidden behind a ‘wardrobe door’, and the ‘bumbledumpling’ origami waiting to spring from the end cover to tell your fortune (with a little help from some sticky stars and your imagination!). The general style is that of a vintage scrapbook, a box of memories discovered in your grandmother’s attic, an almanac of country lore intertwining the months and the seasons over a year. With an intriguing aesthetic blend of Victoriana and wabi sabi, the authors have accumulated a carnival library of a bygone era; peppering each page with recipes, pressed flowers, vintage postcards, antique jewellery, taxidermy, fortune-telling, and inspirational ideas. The meaning of flowers and the symbolism of colours (co-ordinated ephemera depicting each hue illustrate the descriptions) are scattered from start to finish, amid herbal lore, myths and spells. Taking a childlike delight in fripperies and bibelots, on the one hand this book is pure whimsy, and yet it also seeks to preserve the essence of a time now considered archaically out of touch with the technological age, when people were naturally in step with nature and the mysteries of the universe. I grew up with an appreciation for the same fascinations that both creators clearly share, and am heartened that there is still a call for their preservation and celebration. An amulet of wisdom for any hedgewitch, an emporium of trinkets for the inner fairy, a gift to treasure for an imaginative friend, I cannot recommend this book highly enough, delve in for yourself and be enchanted!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Licking County Library

    Recommended by Grace, Emerson R. Miller Library, Five Stars, July 2018 Grace's Review: This utterly charming and beautifully created book by artist Sam Mckechnie goes on a month by month tour of a year in folklore, superstitions, traditions, and lore. Each page of the book is actually a photographed flat lay of antique and mysterious objects, antiqued papers, books, old keys, etc. The presentation of the book invites you to take your time reading it. I could definitely see it being prolonged over Recommended by Grace, Emerson R. Miller Library, Five Stars, July 2018 Grace's Review: This utterly charming and beautifully created book by artist Sam Mckechnie goes on a month by month tour of a year in folklore, superstitions, traditions, and lore. Each page of the book is actually a photographed flat lay of antique and mysterious objects, antiqued papers, books, old keys, etc. The presentation of the book invites you to take your time reading it. I could definitely see it being prolonged over the course of a year, but as it is, I definitely had to slow down to read it and enjoy it fully over the course of the month I had it checked out from the library. To anyone interested in quirky folk traditions and superstitions around the world, or to anyone who just loves a beautifully photographed and presented book with antique objects, I highly recommend The Magpie & the Wardrobe.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gem ~Zero Shelf Control~

    Received this book as a first reads giveaway from Goodreads. This review is based entirely on my own thoughts and feelings. Overall Rating: 4* Illustrations: 5* Unknown Facts: 3* Historical Content: 3* Layout: 4* Wow, first impressions are this looks amazing!! After reading only the first 2 chapters, I'd discovered historical facts, recipes, poems and fairy tales I remembered from my childhood. Impressed so much, it's beautiful and would make a wonderful quirky gift. Received this book as a first reads giveaway from Goodreads. This review is based entirely on my own thoughts and feelings. Overall Rating: 4* Illustrations: 5* Unknown Facts: 3* Historical Content: 3* Layout: 4* Wow, first impressions are this looks amazing!! After reading only the first 2 chapters, I'd discovered historical facts, recipes, poems and fairy tales I remembered from my childhood. Impressed so much, it's beautiful and would make a wonderful quirky gift.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Taz

    After hearing such good things about this book I think I may have set my expectations way too high, either that or I'm just a grumpy old ogre. Yes the book is pretty, yet it has lots of pretty things to look and bits of information throughout it but I was left with a sense of feeling there was something missing. It was like looking into a class scrapbook project, it was just too impersonal. After hearing such good things about this book I think I may have set my expectations way too high, either that or I'm just a grumpy old ogre. Yes the book is pretty, yet it has lots of pretty things to look and bits of information throughout it but I was left with a sense of feeling there was something missing. It was like looking into a class scrapbook project, it was just too impersonal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This isn't a book to borrow, it's a book to keep going back to, to explore and enjoy. Beautifully illustrated and full of fascinating and often obscure facts some of which took me right back to my childhood. The whole book is arranged to carry the reader through the year listing special events and seasonal information. This isn't a book to borrow, it's a book to keep going back to, to explore and enjoy. Beautifully illustrated and full of fascinating and often obscure facts some of which took me right back to my childhood. The whole book is arranged to carry the reader through the year listing special events and seasonal information.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    This delightfully artistic and beautifully crafted book was sent to me by Goodreads for review. It was somewhat reminiscent of an Olde Curiosity Shoppe, being a month-by-month charming compendium of folklore, tales, traditions, and curious customs, spiced with occasional recipes and things to craft. I particularly liked reading about how to make wax roses, floating walnut shell candles and simple lemon pomanders plus I am sure that my husband will appreciate me making the sea salt chocolate truf This delightfully artistic and beautifully crafted book was sent to me by Goodreads for review. It was somewhat reminiscent of an Olde Curiosity Shoppe, being a month-by-month charming compendium of folklore, tales, traditions, and curious customs, spiced with occasional recipes and things to craft. I particularly liked reading about how to make wax roses, floating walnut shell candles and simple lemon pomanders plus I am sure that my husband will appreciate me making the sea salt chocolate truffles. However, whilst the ephemera artwork was delightful, the coverage of the traditions was rather superficial. For example, although the book mentioned the Lewes Bonfire Societies, with which I am familiar having lived nearby, more information about these could have been included, thus making this book more substantial rather than just visually sumptuous. As it is, this is an eclectic book which would make a pleasant gift from a sceptic to a friend who is perhaps teetering on expressing either an interest in knowing more about old folklore or ‘New Age’ mysticism.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    This book is beautiful and tells the story of where a lot of fairy tales, nursery rhymes and superstitions came from. I learned a lot of things from it. The story of Spring Heeled Jack was especially illuminating. I looked it up on the internet for more information and it was very creepy. It also include spells and for each month a color. The colors have a collage of vintage items in that color and are just charming.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Samantha-Rose

    I hunted all over for this book and finally found it a few years ago. It’s full of interesting facts and history, explaining why we do the things that we do. It’s fun, quirky, different - whoever you are, you’re sure to find something you will relate to in this book. I keep it out so it’s at hand to flick though whenever I fancy a bit of an escape. Definitely a gem!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anna Wand

    The most beautiful book I have ever laid hands on.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adrianna

    Beautiful Book with interesting cuts of folklore and magick.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Puddle Jumper

    Beautiful and interesting book; I did not want to give it back to the library!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Plum-crazy

    A beautiful book. It's inspired me to make my own junk journal on a similar theme. Whether I actually do is another matter..... A beautiful book. It's inspired me to make my own junk journal on a similar theme. Whether I actually do is another matter.....

  13. 4 out of 5

    Juju

    Amazingly beautiful book

  14. 5 out of 5

    Donna Pollard

    Basic, but so pretty it makes up for it

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elissa

    What a cool and charming book—full of folklore and lovingly curated images, artifacts, etc.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beki

    Lovely images and layout, but not quite what I was expecting

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lakota

    This is a gorgeous book, beautifully artistically designed. I just wished there was a little more substance to it. There was very little I didn't already know, just from a childhood and growing up in the UK. e.g.. plum stone counting rhymes, magpie numbers, apple peel fortune telling etc although I admit I was always interested in this kind of thing and my family may have been more 'traditional' (aka superstitious) than others. Dictionary definitions just seemed like space filling and the few le This is a gorgeous book, beautifully artistically designed. I just wished there was a little more substance to it. There was very little I didn't already know, just from a childhood and growing up in the UK. e.g.. plum stone counting rhymes, magpie numbers, apple peel fortune telling etc although I admit I was always interested in this kind of thing and my family may have been more 'traditional' (aka superstitious) than others. Dictionary definitions just seemed like space filling and the few legends/stories included were actually quite confusingly written. There was also an obsession with glitter throughout! Really stunning though, and good if you're a complete beginner at UK folklore and beliefs. So 5 for design and 3 for content.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Loureiro

    I would give it more than five stars if I could. Such a wonderful and magical book. Lovely imagery and art work. Beautifully presented collection of folklore, fables and fairytales with a sprinkling of magic with a very positive vibe. Perfect book :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meri

    Lovely book filled with fairy tales, history, and the small magic of ordinary things. I spent two lovely evenings reading through the book and being inspired. I have always been fascinated by folk tales and have a great love of the sort of junk store treasures that form the backdrop of each page.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lavender Sparrow

    Beautiful book, full of things that made me smile.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    The book is absolutely gorgeous and enjoyable!! However it is not educational about any folklore etc, its very brief and superficial. It doesnt take away from the magic.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre

    Not unhappy I read it but nothing really stood out to me in it, it's a collection of ecclectic facts about months and seasonal activities. One I'm happy I got from the library and didn't buy myself. Not unhappy I read it but nothing really stood out to me in it, it's a collection of ecclectic facts about months and seasonal activities. One I'm happy I got from the library and didn't buy myself.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    A very pretty, charming book. Collage and tidbits of folklore & other interesting info makes this a lovely read to skim through and admire. Beautiful production of this lengthy hardcover.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

  25. 4 out of 5

    LC Coole

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pavilion Books

  27. 4 out of 5

    S. H.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elly

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tina

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