A is for Apple.

It’s that time of year again, when apples hang ripe on the bough and children return to school. My garden is not big enough to accommodate a full size apple tree but I have an ornamental crab apple, which is laden with fruit at the moment, later this will provide the birds with some food when the weather turns colder.

My memories of starting school and apples are inextricably linked, maybe because my old-fashioned Victorian style classroom had a wall frieze showing all the letters of the alphabet accompanied with a simple illustration. Every day we would recite, “A is for Apple, B is for Ball, C is for Cat….” whilst the teacher pointed to the appropriate place on the wall. I was fortunate enough to be able to go home for my “dinner” at midday. My father would be home also, he worked in a nearby paper mill, mum would have spent the morning cooking and baking to prepare a two-course meal and home made apple pie was often on the menu.

My apple illustration is taken from “An Illustrated Address Book” published by Blackie and Son Ltd. The other illustrations are by Walter Crane and can be found here, a marvelous treasure trove on the web.

We no longer have anyone in our household who will be returning to school this term, instead we are planning something very exciting, so until then I hope you all enjoy what is left of the summer and help yourself to another slice of apple pie.


  1. I love your illustration Valerie and it also reminds me of some very happy childhood times.
    I had a friend who had a small apple orchard beside her home and I loved to walk through there and feel the "hush" that can only be found in an orchard!
    Is the illustration done in watercolor? Or Gouache? I am thinking of trying one of those for awhile and see how I like it.
    Have a great weekend and take care!

  2. Oh, how I love apples, particularly when I can see the varieties available at our local farmers green markets. The apples sold there are also much smaller than the giants that are shipped in to big grocery stores.

    Your beautiful painting is inspiring me to visit one of those green markets this weekend and get a variety of little apples to draw/paint and of course, eat!

    I also like that photo of crabapple tree with handsome dog profile. Wonderful picture that says autumn is surely on the way.

    Looking forward to learning about you latest project, Valerie. Have a lovely weekend. xo

  3. Valerie, I absolutely adore your artwork. It has so much warmth to it. I feel like I can pick those apples. you are an amazing artist. It is such a priviledge to view your work online.

  4. Apple illustration is gorgeous... and Ted looks so sweet under the crabapple!

  5. What a lovely nostalgic post Valerie - and now I am intrigued as to what you are planning.

  6. I remember those long strips of the alphabet that ran around the top of the chalkboard...lovely old illustrations and your 'modern' one as well.

  7. I wish you a wonderful time, where ever it is that you are off to.

    Your illustration is completely charming and inviting! and I love your photograph.

  8. That is a most beautiful painting. How wonderfully you have captured the gloss of the apples and the subtleties of the leaves.

    Walter Crane - sigh , what more is there to say?

  9. Love those Alphabets -- I love samplers of any kind and especially the needlework kind! I have one that says Q is for Quill with a feather pen! I will always think of September as back to school time. For myself and for our sons. Nothing like the smell of sharpened pencils to say "School!" to my nose.

  10. I love orchards and apple trees and your post and illustration are both super. Like the photo of Ted with your ornamental tree, too. I remember the A for Apple etc pictures around the classroom walls (as well as times tables) - hope you have a wonderful September:)

  11. Love this apple flavoured post Valerie - good luck with your autumn project! Lesley x

  12. Oh Valerie, your art is always so stunning, I wish I could accomplish that richness in my own painting!
    I too, grew up in a day when we could "go home" for lunch. And I always did, even in a blizzard once.The nice thing about THAT day, was that mother didn't make me go back to school, so I spent the rest of the snowy day playing with my dolls.

  13. It seems to be a good year for apples, all the trees in the village seem to be laden just like your painting. We had an apple and blackberry crumble this week, shop bought blackberries.
    Hope you have planned something exciting like a holiday of a lifetime. Finally listened to your rainbow bird story, on an iPad, well done to you all.

  14. Beautiful illustrations! I also love the photo of ted the dog with the apple tree.

    Oh the power of suggestion! I'll have to make apple pie this week :)

  15. Crab apple jelly is wonderful, you'd get a nice batch from that healthy tree. Dont let the birds have it all.
    Great art too, thanks for sharing it.

  16. All three illustrations are beautiful harbingers of autumn! The first ripe apples truly signal that a change of season is coming soon. May it bring you much joy and love!

  17. Beautiful! Yes, we are back to school and preparing for the autumn that is rapidly filling all those little corners and crevices. I love it!

    Gorgeous illustrations. :-)

  18. Miles and miles of apple orchards surround our home... it smells so delicious this time of year! Your post is dear~ as are you :)
    Wishing you joy, Sweet Friend!

  19. This lovely blog,is awash with the ambience of autumn, apple orchards,
    long ago illustrated alphabets and apple pies.

    Your own beautiful painting Valerie evoked the fragment of a song that we were taught so many years ago in my school days.
    "And there,for me,the apple tree do lean down low in Linden Lea."

    I did a quick google search and found,to my surprise, that"Linden Lea" is popular with soloists and choirs around the world and is recorded on youtube.

    Beauty does survive, it just doesn't make the headlines.

  20. valerie i kept the alphabet that hung on the walls of the first classroom i taught in. it reminds me of a simpler and even more beautiful time. i wish you succes and happiness in your planning. i also wish to know . . . but i'll wait 'till you're ready to tell. steven