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Monday, August 1, 2011

Violets and Memories of Gentle Times

Every where I look, violets are blooming.
I have used them around the garden as an inexpensive filler and weed suppressor.
Aunty May (in her 80's) grows them because it reminds her of her mother. She used to always buy her mother a posy of violets from the florist.
When I first started selling homewares, violet vases were a common part of most vase ranges from Turkish blown "Pasabache" to Polish "Krosno" and "Bohemian Crystal" from Czechoslovakia.
It was quite the thing for girls aged from 13-18 years to receive violet vases and posy vases.
Gradually over the years I saw the demise of the violet vase and to a lesser extent posy and certainly cut crystal dressing table pieces have really fallen out of fashion.
I have simply reached for one the little bottles that Craig has found in the bush. 
When I look at them I can hear Al Jolson singing "When April Showers Are Coming Your Way"

"It's not raining rain you know,
it's raining violets."

They also remind me of a time when scents were simple.
A time when drawer sachets and shelf paper were; Lilly of the Valley, Sweet Pea, Sweet Violets and Rose.
Do you remember the square bath cubes made by Yardley and Goya and they were wrapped in foil and then with pretty paper bands around that. 
There was matching Talc and soap.
These were the sort of gifts that I treasured and felt so grown up to receive.
For a long time before they were ever used, the soap and bath salt cubes would sit in my underwear drawer making everything smell nice.
The scents were gentle and not a wild assault on the sinuses that they seem to be now days.
Violets also remind me of the thrill of matching stationary, delicately edged with floral designs, sometimes scented. I was an avid letter writer to my Grandmother and Great Aunt. I even wrote to the Pope once, but that's another story.
Violets are also useful for syrups and vinegars. This syrup recipe (and photo) come from the Seasonal Hearth blog and Joanne has step by step instructions. So charming and the colour is delightful.
And how about this gorgeous lot of Violet Jelly from Feather Spirits
JoyceAnn has posted the recipe and also lots of other pretty suggestions for violets.
Of course one of the nicest things to do with violets are to sugar them and use them to adorn sweet cup cakes so fashionable at the moment.
Do you know what else they remind me of?
Pressed flowers in the pages of a book.
I used to love coming across little violets and leaves pressed in the pages of an old cloth or leather bound dictionary. I would wonder who had placed them and how long ago.
Wistful reminders and faint memories.







8 comments:

  1. Oh wow, that violet syrup is a stunner.

    Hey I remember those bath cubes! Yes the smell of lavender in the clothes drawers..divine.

    I don't have any violets in my garden yet, but one day.

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  2. oh this has stirred up so many memories. Those writing sets and bath sets that I received so many of during my childhood, from friends and the 'old' aunts. I loved those bath cubes. Like you I too used them in the knicker draw LOL and yes the scents were so gentle. I love violets in the garden too, really must get some more.

    cheers Kate

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  3. Tanya, can you believe that when I read about the bath cubes and talc that you held on to , I had such a strong memory of the perfume. It was quite amazing.
    What a lovely memory. Bath cubes were one of my favorite gifts.
    Love violets too.
    Chris

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  4. Yay, for Violets, I absolutely looooooove those gorgeous little flowers, with their incredible scent.

    I'm sitting in bed and have a posy on my bedside table. It's in a teeny tiny blue glass vase given to my mother as an engagement present so it's extra special. I also bought a small cut crystal vase a few years ago for just such tiny posies.

    I remember those Yardley bath cubes, never used them straight away, saved them for special occasions...........

    Oh Tanya, what wonderful memories.

    I used to have an Auntie Violet, she lived on a farm and yes, there were alot of Violets growing in her garden. Once you've got them, well.......

    Lovely post, shall have to pop over and check out the Violet recipes.

    Claire :}

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  5. My mum's garden had violets amongst the gerberas. So many memories for me too Tanya!!! The little bottle/vase in your second photo reminded me of the little clag glue bottles...as soon as I saw it...and yet I hadn't thought about those bottles for years!

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  6. I smell them. I really do. No violets anywhere around here, but your writing and pictures are so evocative that I REALLY DO smell violets...

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  7. I adore violets, always have picked them when ever I;ve seen them. Especially like finding them when out bush, on the sites of old homesteads.
    I have a couple of the little violet vases passed down from my Nana. And used to sugar crystal them for cakes when I stil lived at home and Mum grew them.

    Its such a shame that we no longer follow little traditions like violet posies.

    In France the have a Lily of the Valley Day, and everywhere gives away little stems of perfumed flowers - even the corner shops.

    Still haven't been able to get them established here :( not even the lovely little native one :(

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  8. My little violets are out at the moment.. as I feed Sunny the lamb we can both smell their beautiful scent..

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