Monday, 31 August 2009


Well, so far so good with the floor laying... after hours of putting boards down, measuring, marking, taking boards back up, cutting, wiggling (hitting with a hammer) measuring a bit more and then cutting a bit more we finally got to the fun bit of gluing (like tomato sauce on a hot dog) and slotting it all together. And I managed not to lick the plaster before it dried (thanks Ali :) ) We have to wait until the glue dries before we can move all the furniture over on to it and finish the other side (oh the joys of diy in a room full of furniture!) but when it's done I'll have some pictures (and a living room, hurray!)

Anyway, I forgot it was a bank holiday today (luckily I remembered just in time not to go to work) so the announcement of the giveaway winner is a day late... but, better late than never, I hope! The random number generator (which happens to generate numbers from random atmospheric noise, I thought that was interesting, perhaps this number came from a cumulonimbus...) told me that the winner of the forest notebooks is Clara! So Clara, if you email me your address I'll get your books in the post asap :)

Friday, 28 August 2009

Wet plaster looks like chocolate.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Does anyone else feel guilty when they relax? At the moment I feel as if there's always something I should be doing, and sitting still makes me worry I've forgotten something...

I think it's partly because it's quiet at work, but I know that in a few weeks its going to be really really busy, and I'm nervously trying to get done everything I want to do before that happens. And I think it's partly because there's still so much to do on the house, but no jobs that I can really do on an evening after work, there's not enough time. All the jobs I could do can't be done until other jobs are done, and they in turn are waiting on something else... it's like a giant puzzle, one that involves putting your life on hold to complete... But, we're laying the floor in the living room this weekend (hopefully) so that means soon we will have sofas to sit on and a fire to burn stuff in, I'm excited about that!

I finished the feather print I was working on last week, and the grey definitely was the way to go. I ended up coming up with an alternative print too, on some lovely grey somerset paper. I've put them in the shop...

The more my feather collection grows (is it gross to have a feather collection?) the more I want to draw them, all of them on a big sheet of paper, they're all so slightly different, I'm fascinated. When I get my big table back out, it's the first thing I'm going to do.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I like rain when I'm inside. Sat on my bed upstairs (currently the only place to sit, oh well...) My house is on a hill, so looking out of the upstairs window makes me feel like I'm at sea. Big sky and rain blowing about on the wind, hitting the window, the sky is grey, the light is grey. I feel quiet.

And there's a box.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

new stuff

Well, after systematically searching through every room in my house I still haven't found my camera. This only leaves the attic un-thoroughly searched, because its impossible to thoroughly search through piles and piles of half opened half unlabeled boxes whilst balancing on a plank and trying not to fall through the ceiling below. So, fingers crossed for it being in there then.

I finally realised though, that working in an art college does have its advantages, and I borrowed a shiny brand-spanking-new posh one from the photography department (if only I didn't have to take it back tomorrow...)

Which brings me to the subject of today's post: new stuff!

I've been slowly making things for a week or so now, in spare minutes snatched here and there, and after a photo shoot (rock and roll) this afternoon I've listed them in my shop at last. I'd forgotten how time consuming listing on Etsy is, all the hard decisions like postage cost and picture order (and price!) so there's more to come in the next few days; more books, a box some photo albums and some prints too, I'm excited :)

It feels good to get back into making again, and after getting all excited and coming up with new ideas and playing with new materials I decided to get back to basics (as it were) and make some simple case bound books, and really try to concentrate on making them as good as possible. The book you see above is the one of the results of that process... I used some beautiful new book cloth I bought, and some paper from the pile I normally won't use in case I muck it up. I took it slow. I hand sewed the headbands and inlayed some of the paper on the front, and a little bit on the back too... And looking at it now this book feels slightly different to my usual style, a shift perhaps, towards decoration and pattern, towards simplicity maybe, towards tradition (or at least the tradition of making books to last...) It feels quiet in my hands. You can see more pictures here

There's also some more little notebooks in the shop. These are such fun to make, each one a slightly different combination of screen printed tree covers. And really, I needed an excuse to test out the new corner rounder at work...

As a thank you to you all for putting up with me moaning on about dust and lost possessions for the last however many months, and to celebrate the fact I've actually made some books (hurray) I'm going to give some books away :) The three little books you see above are slightly different from the ones in the shop as they have all four corners rounded instead of two (slight over exuberance with the corner rounder on my part) but I still think they might be useful, and if not then they've still got pretty pictures of trees on them to look at. So, if you think you would like them, just leave a comment before the end of Friday, I'll pick a random winner and post them off to you on Monday morning, what do you think?

Sunday, 23 August 2009

r.s.v.p cards for the two weddings we've been invited to this year...

When I set out to make these cards I didn't know what I was going to make; I just knew I wanted them to be simple and nice to look at, something the couples might want to keep.

In my old bedroom are a few boxes of old art materials. Stuff me and my mum used to use for making things; scraps of sparkly fabric, tubes of beads, glue, pens, carbon paper, old spools of thread, coloured paper, stickers... a lot of it comes from my Grandma and the charity shop she works in; bits of lace, teddy bear eyes, sequins picked off jumpers, general treasure (to me at least!) Sometimes I like looking through it all and just seeing what jumps out at me, keeping the person I'm making for in mind, but not really having an idea of the finished thing in my head at all... Anyway, this time I came across some blank brown cards...

I've been looking at a book of German scherenschnitte, and I thought maybe I would put some red paper inside the card then cut out the a design from the front so the red showed through, but I couldn't find a scalpel. Instead I drew the design freehand with a felt tip pen then tipped black embossing powder all over it. A quick shake and few seconds held over the toaster later and it's lovely and shiny and smooth, I'd forgotten how much fun this stuff is :)

Because I had to work quickly and get the powder on before the pen dried, the drawing has a looseness that I like. I know if I'd drawn it out in pencil first I would spend ages rubbing it out and trying to get it perfect and symmetrical. I should remember it's good to let myself go once in a while...

Saturday, 22 August 2009

new babies

I'm at my parents house, looking after their dog, horse, fish, chickens and...

chicks! 1 week old tomorrow.

When a mink killed the majority of our flock we lost all our broody hens so these little chickys were hatched in an incubator (my mum is a very good chicken husband; turning them three times a day and keeping the temperature and humidity just right). They are currently living in a cardboard box in my old bedroom and I don't konw how hens get any sleep as chicks seem to make noise all night! zzzz.

cute though :) and they do sleep, sometimes, in a big cute fluffy heap...

I still can't find my proper camera amongst all the boxes and bits of wood and tools at home. Which is annoying because I've got some new books to list in my shop... I found my knitting needles though, so all is not lost...

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Some new books are in progress, imagine that! I've been trying out some new (to me) structures; a different way of measuring and making a rounded spine and a different way of making a photo album involving sewing each page onto a concertina. The new rounded spine way is brilliant, much less stressful, but the pages-onto-concertina is pretty fiddly, not sure its worth the effort for the results it gives, needs more work.

Anyway. Its great to be doing some making again, even if it is just a bit. And the screen print is coming along as well...

No binding for me tonight though. I just cut up a chilli then scratched my eye, not a good idea if you need to see in the near future!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

in progress

Feather screen prints. I'm not sure which way to go with them. Last week I tried out three different colour combinations but something is still not quite right. So I thought I'd post them here to have a think about them and perhaps help me decide... But when I've come to upload them they're in grey scale (a lesson about checking the scanner pre-sets there) so not much use in comparing colour combinations! They should be grey/dark blue, dark blue/goldblue and dark green/goldgrey...

Or maybe it is useful to see them like this. Because I think I like the grey ones best of all! Perhaps it's something to do with cutting colour out of the equation and just seeing the tonal values (like blurring you eyes to see colour differences). I've realised I definitely want the white spot of the magpie feather to stand out, which doesn't happen in the other two as much, and perhaps the outline is too much as well? Maybe simple is best in this situation... (you can see the outline on the 1st and 2nd images, if you click on them)

I was looking again at the colour samples I made the other day, and there's something I like about them which I think might be slightly missing from these prints. A kind of freedom perhaps. Evidence of my hand. I think at least some of that is down to the screen printing process, it is by nature flat. But I still think there's something more I could do, at the positive producing stage to give these prints something. Maybe it's to do with that white spot on the magpie feather... a blob of white...

Friday, 7 August 2009

things growing in my house and outside my house

This plant was in the house when we bought it. I had presumed it was dead as no one had lived here for years, but someone told me succulents can survive long periods without water so I thought I'd give it try... and after a good watering and a few days it's starting to look a bit green to me (although that may be just down to the fact I dusted it...)

Jasmine from a cutting I took years ago from my dad's garden, waiting patiently for a permanent planting spot and dreaming of being 6ft tall and 7ft wide like the plant it came from. Courgettes battling the slugs (and doing ok so far) and ruby chard for my tea.