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Archive for January, 2011

Dust Jackets dusted off.

The dust jackets of those books what I butcher have finally found a place in my production line!

I’ve had this idea for a while, using up those scraps from the larger bookmaking adventures, with a single stitched folio to make a teeny notebook. Yesterday I had a chance to go through the piles of paper, though it was really a case of finding the scraps first, when I wanted to finish a pile of books half-made from last November.

The idea of using dust jackets struck when WANDERLUST GOES SOUTH turned up in the pile just when I was wondering what piece of paper would work as a cover. And POW! suddenly the whole venture came together. As far as adding a string to the old book binding bow, it (now) makes sense to use the dust jackets (or thin covers unsuitable for the other two processes). WANDERLUST is quite shiny, and provided the cover has a good sturdy piece of paper behind it, cut to exactly the same size, I hope it can stand up to use.

But mostly it just keeps up the aesthetic of my bookmaking, while using up all those offcuts and small illustrations which don’t usually work in the bigger books. It’s also nice to have something smaller for the ol’ price range. Oh holy hell, I think I told Imogen I’d do the next Craft 2.0 with her… RIGHT. Better get back to work then.

(Productivity in this new house reduced by 60% when the internet arrived. Before then, I was making a cushion cover every night out of sheer boredom, and the desire to cover every cushion in the bag (11 in total) so there wouldn’t be this giant bag of ugly cushions taking up space in my sewing room. I got three done before we were connected. And none since. Photos of completed cushions, garden I am building and new, glorious sewing room to come…)

These books and more are now on sale at the Beach Store, for $8 each! They have been beautifully displayed in an old CD rack, and when I took my mum to see them (and buy an ice cream) she bought one! Sneaky…

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Two cakes

And so I turned my hand to Marble Cake! I think I may have made a Marble Cake at some time in my teens, possibly with my friend Cat at some ungodly hour and possibly with too many hideously ugly and unfoodlike colours. There are a few Cat-cake memories that follow along those lines. This recipe, from Ladies, A Plate (of course), is deliciously restrained in colour palette and flavour. It’s simple, yet fiddly with all that dividing up and colouring and blopping and swirling – honestly, why not make biscuits instead for all that faffing? – but well worth the effort for a special occasion like, oh, a thirteenth birthday. I do like that my ‘out-laws’ let me bake the cake. And Alexandra was wholly deserving of a swirly, curly, pretty-yet-not-too-girly cake with my first attempt at spider web icing on top.

(Alex took a photo of the inside which I have not yet acquired)

One week later, and again I got to make the cake, this time for Keir’s birthday and farewell potluck. Wanting to cement the icing skillz, without the effort of the insides, I did my usual yoghurt in the chocolate cake recipe and added cocoa to the buttercream icing recipe for the marble cake. I would have liked to make the chocolate icing darker but that would have involved less icing sugar more cocoa at the creaming stage, thus mucking up the process of setting aside some uncoloured icing for piping. So… maybe a little more thinking is required.

Hilariously though, one friend overlooked this delicacy at cake time, not realising that I had made it, and instead thinking someone had bought a cake at New World. Which set off a conversation on how very wrong it is to buy a cake at New World instead of just bringing a tub of Rush Munro’s (‘I thought I’d weeded out all those cake-buyer’s from my social circle!’)… but also proved that being mistaken for a bunch of people who know how to ice a cake isn’t such a bad thing…

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New Year, Old Hat

Please let me first explain that I am still making stuff, just not blogging about it. So many completed things and yet photos? Hmm… so that is one thing to resolve this year: reinvigorate the process of documenting and posting while projects are still fresh and I am still excited about them. I’ve just been a little distracted, is all, and there may have been a few too many encounters with the overlocker which meant that any enthusiasm I had for a project quickly dissolved when the thread broke and the garment became a CHORE. I say goodbye to the overlocker this week when my friend Imogen returns from her wanderings, and I am quite happy to see the back of him, thank you very much. (And that feeling of dread when something goes wrong with a borrowed item and the first thought is ‘Oh no! Have I broken it?’) I will be sticking to pinking shears for the foreseeable future.

In other news, my original borrowed item, Louis’ cousins’ Bernina, is now working like a dream after her trip back to the repair man who made her clunky as all hell on her first visit. She hummmms like a real machine, stitches evenly and doesn’t break the needle or the thread. Now to ruin all that when I fiddle about trying to sew with elastic thread to finish that dress I started years ago… I think it will make a nice birthday present for Louis’ sister. That’s partly the reason I stopped it, that it was going to end up too small. The other factor was that it was just SO MUCH WORK smocking with the machine. But my labour of 2007 means that I am half way there already.

Meanwhile, the Beach Store bought a couple more of my books, and have an excellent photo of them on their blog.

Other projects to complete are a coat for Rata for the future (age three perhaps) in some wool weave threaded with silver lurex. I’ve cut out the pattern on the left there, the little grey one. Oh, Waitara opshops, thank you for the many contributions you have made to my life!

There’s enough fabric left over for me to make a skirt, too, though I can’t bear to think of it when the weather is hot and my sewing room is like a large oven. But that will change in a few days as we are moving back to Paekakariki! And our house is so big I have my very own room for sewing, complete with ghastly 70’s wallpaper and all-day sun. The wallpaper was the ticket to securing the room for my own needs – one could never do real work in there, like lesson planning and actual thinking, so Louis gets the spare bedroom for his study. And the landlords say I can put anything I like on the walls, so my mum’s nice shelves will be re-borrowed and screwed to the walls once again. Photos to come, no doubt.

But before that we have the joys and sneezes of packing up the house and shifting… current status: that awkward lull where you’ve run out of non-vital items to pack, and have nothing to do because all your play-things are in boxes. And we don’t know exactly when we’ll be shifting as the movers are all on holiday until a day or two after we take over the lease. So… twiddling of thumbs…

But was I going to make some new years resolutions to counter old habits? Yes. I’m going to try to conquer all those recipes I failed last year (brandy snaps, choux pastry…), be a super efficient home economist, borrow my step-mother’s copy of the Moosewood Cookbook, grow veges again, paint Rata’s dollhouse, win this auction and become an excellent casual staff member* at my favourite shoe shop without breaking the bank coveting everything they sell. And that, readers, will hopefully ensure that 2011 walks all over the cesspit that was 2010. Though looking through my years’ work on this blog, I see that creatively I have kicked some arse. But in all other aspects of my life this year: FAIL. So, goodbye to that.

*Yes, I got a job!

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