Archive for October, 2010

On sale now!

For anyone ogling the books in the next two posts, they are now on sale at The Beach Store in Paekakariki. (Minus ‘Gravity is a Mystery’ which was quickly bagsed by my friend Aynia, via Facebook). By all means, wander down there, have a delicious coffee, look at pretty things and pat the dog. I can also recommend the underpants, made by Holly – truly they are the best in the world, and thanks to the Beach Store stocking my creations, I have two new pairs!

I’m currently making a big mess on the floor in Rata’s room, organising all my fabric and bagging up the fiddly scraps. So, maybe I’ll have some sewing to show off soon – though really I should just stop procrastinating the hemming of my new dress…


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Ringbound books arrive

Four books came back from the copy centre today, out of the six I took in – the other two had covers made from cardboard unsuitable for the hole-punching device. All up, that’s a pretty good success rate, and the paper from them can be trimmed to other covers with thinner, less dense card. So no love lost. When flicking through the beautiful completed items, I found an interesting trick of the blind cutting:

“and give pleasure with their acrobatic acrobatic visitor nuthatch”

Meanwhile, more pictures of books and less snickering.


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I’d never made brownies or cheesecake before, so what better way to knock them off my list of things to do than combine them in one super dish… marbled together. I took the recipe from Smitten Kitchen (bonus talking about childbirth!) but there are a few variations out there. I’d show you them but Nigella’s website doesn’t seem to like me today, and anyway, everyone knows how to google, right?

It’s ridiculously easy to make, doesn’t make too many dishes, even if, like me, you feel the need to use both the whisk attachment on your stick blender AND the cake mixer – but come on, there’s two mixtures! I altered the recipe out of sheer laziness, to no ill-effect, using a 250g tub of cream cheese instead of extracting 225g (which is the conversion of the 8oz or whatever you backwards imperial hicks insist on using) and a whole egg instead of just the yolk (I figured my egg was small enough). I also licked the bowl a fair amount, and my fingers, and the spoon, and the rubber scraper – all up not as much mixture made it to the dish. So be it.

Rata was keen on them too:

Yeah, sorry Tara and human associates. You haven’t missed out entirely… the tin is still full! It’s just not making its way to your house, that’s all…

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Crafternooning at all hours!

Oh, August you say? Yes, rather a slack poster of late. There was a trip away to twiddle my thumbs in Taranaki, score some mean fabric and baking tins, eat whitebait fritters and let Rata push her trolley all over the place. Then I came back to find that the Beach Store in Paekakariki had sold all the books we made for them earlier this year, and would we like to make more? I ditched my craft malaise and got busy, albeit in a tidy, orderly fashion. Something that is utterly beyond me in sewing (and baking) but seems easy in paper craft.

Here, arranged on the ironing board, which incidentally is one of the few surfaces that Rata cannot in any way reach, are my chosen books from the archive of ‘things to cut up’. The Monkeys, Gravity is a Mystery, High Roads and red book on the right with hands were liberated from their spines and will be ring-bound. The others I carefully removed their innards leaving their covers pristine. If you don’t like talking about cutting up books and maps and stuff I think you should probably look away now…

Fortunately I had the good idea of choosing books that were only two sizes to cut paper for, marking the dimensions on the cutting mat and cutting my chosen paper stock to each book size. It turned out that by doing this I was more efficient in use of resources, working out quickly how many pages I could get out of each large piece. I was using old maps, ship engineering diagrams ripped out of books, aerial photographs, interesting pages from encyclopedias and annuals, mixed in with decent drawing and water colour paper.

Once I had some decent piles of materials,  divvied them between the five covers with their spines intact, to put together folios to fold, sew and then glue back in. Basically repeating the construction of the original books, but for the purpose of drawing and introspection.

I then set to work on the books to be spiral bound and have sworn NEVER AGAIN will I do spiral bound notebooks for anything bigger than 10x15cm. I started making them to use up the scraps of paper from the hand-sewn books. When you get to cutting paper especially for larger books, the endeavour loses its sheen. It is a lot of cutting, and while you quickly get to a books’ thickness when you’re folding pages, with spiral binding there is no such luxury. Then you must trim them without the security of stitching. And then pay for their binding. The original attraction of this style of bookmaking – to use up entrails – is lost, and what’s more they look cheaper than the beautiful hand-bound books. Lose lose lose. But this bit was fun:

Anyhoo, enough ranting. All up, it hasn’t taken as long as it has in the past, being an efficient production line of sorts. I mean, it has taken me two weeks, but that’s just an hour here, ten minutes there, sneak a bit of cutting in before I realise Rata is eating the nappy cream. It must taste really good, she always makes the most of any opportunity.

Anyway, I’m one session of glue away from five completed books – three have been weighted overnight, one is hanging out under some heavy books as I type, and the fifth is having its spine glued like this:

Then we get to this stage, where you question what you are doing hiding something so beautiful away forever:

Problem solved:

Now for some finishing touches, such as gluing in old library card envelopes and putting in our ‘card’, saying our email address and whatnot, and we are done. And dusted. And ready to make more books.

I’m waiting to hear back from the copy centre where I took the spiral bound books. I happened to talk to the most experienced ring-binder of them, who was going away for a few days but asked if I could wait until next week so that he could do them himself. Sweet service! So photos of those to come…

Can you see your house from here?

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