Sunday, 30 September 2007

treats II

Yesterday I made trip to an artists book fair in Manchester with a lovely friend of mine, Helen. I always have mixed feelings about these types of events because although I am really inspired by the work on show there I always feel slightly bad that I didn't have a stall myself. Silly aren't I! Anyway, there was some lovely stuff there, some beautiful intricate pop-ups, unusual etchings and paper cuts. I definitely feel a bit inspired to create some new books...

Helen also had a lovely surprise for me when I met her. She brought me a fat roll of various sheets of beautiful paper. A friend of a friend of hers worked for a paper importing company that went bust and she has somehow ended up with the left over stock; a huge box of a few thousand sheets of paper. A few thousand sheets! I think I would have a heart attack if someone gave me something like that!

So thanks Helen! And no excuses now eh? Lots of inspiration... New paper... I'm off to get making!

Friday, 28 September 2007


Recently I've been trying to do more drawing. I do really enjoy drawing, but I hate that 'rusty' feeling I get when I haven't done any for a while. It always takes me a while to get my eye in and I have to try to remember that it's normal to hate my drawings, at least for a bit!

I drew these little plants a while ago and was disapointed how flat they looked compared to the tangle of flowers and leaves I saw in the grass. That lead me to draw a few rough ones and then set to them with a stanley knife...

And actually I was pleasantly surprised. I love the fact that I can be happily playing around, thinking I'm going in one direction and then suddenly realise that I've come full circle... these little plant drawings had turned into books without me even realising!

I suppose what I'm trying to tell myself is that I shouldn't be afraid to experiment, shouldn't worry too much about what I'm trying to do, or at least that I should realise that often when I am worrying, and thinking what I'm doing is poor, that in fact something just right may be just around the corner. Or perhaps what I'm trying to tell myself is to go and make some work!

Thursday, 27 September 2007


I did it. I sat myself down and made a start, and a few hours later I'm nearly done. It only took 4 cups of tea, half a bar of chocolate (eaten a square at a time as reward), one round of washing up (which I hate) and one small visit to the shops to buy some new saucers for my plants to sit on (very urgent and essential I assure you). A few hours isn't that long is it, if only I'd started sooner I tell myself, then I would have been finished days ago...

So now all I have to do is press the send button and keep my fingers crossed for the chance of an interview... eeeek!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

a conker

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again... I am such a procrastinator. Why can't I just get off my bum and do?!

I know that starting is the hardest part. Especially when the task is writing an application for my dream job...

Hmm anyway, I think perhaps today is the first day of Autumn; I found a conker on the way to work today, trod on it's spiky shell to reveal the shininess inside. And they were all over the pavement like horse chestnut jewels, how could I leave them behind?

Right, I'm going to go and do it now.

Monday, 24 September 2007


This arrived today...

Woohoo! I've had it on my 'wish list' for ages and decided last week that I deserved a treat (don't we all!) The only disadvantage to having it delivered to work is that I had to sit the whole day with it burning a hole in my desk... So now I'm home, the kettle is on and i'm going to sit down and have a jolly good read!

drool :)

Sunday, 23 September 2007


Today I have been occupying myself... doing a bit of tidying up, eating mushrooms on toast and making some little tree cards...

All in all a good day!

Saturday, 22 September 2007


I like this picture. I think its because it reminds me why I like making books, all the possibilities...

I have a few boxes like this, from different times, when different ideas were running around my head, and when ever I feel a bit stuck or uninspired it often helps to take them out and have a play...

As the pages unfold it starts to come back to me; how paper can be manipulated, folded, bent and sewn; and my fingers start to get itchy to have another go at cutting, folding, stitching...

I suppose its like kind of like drawing for me, seeing what shapes I can make with the paper. These boxes are like my sketchbooks. And I suppose its quite systematic, I often take one shape and try all the different combinations of fitting it together. I think its quite funny that these messy boxes, with bits sticking out and thread trailing, are really my attempt to create order...

One of my favourite shapes to experiment with is an 'M' shaped piece of paper. All these books are made from simply this shape, just sewn in different combinations and ways.

And I make notes, I like to cover all the possibilities (impossible, I know!) and when I can't hold them all in my head I scribble them down...

Then I take a combination I think has potential (this is the difficult bit to explain, how do I know it has potential? Perhaps something in the way the paper moves as the pages turn or move. Something in the way the pages connect?) and extend it, make it longer, bigger, smaller. Use different paper... and this is where the possibilities become too numerous again, so it's back to the note book, write them all down. Then try one...

Sometimes I feel like there are so many possibilities I can never try them all. I think that's why I limit myself to simple colours and textures, I would love to be more adventurous but feel myself loosing control. I know I need to ask myself if that's a bad thing. Perhaps I do need to let go more, and that's something I'll keep working on...

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

time for action...

Right. Today I am going to make use of my day off and take some decent photos of these...

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Now anyone who knows me could tell you that one of my favourite things is stationary. Nice pens, bits of paper, little clips and bits and bobs. The highlight of my day at work is the placing and then subsequent delivery of the stationary order. I can go wild and order 30 black fine liners, or an entire bulk box of miniature bulldog clips (I think my colleges think I am slightly crazy, getting so excited over different sizes of note books, but I say 'what do they know?') When I was younger one of my favourite birthday presents was always a WHSmiths voucher; I would plan my visit carefully to get maximum amounts of stationary for minimal cost, coming away with letraset, 2B pencils, notebooks and numerous novelty rubbers... lasted me all year. So when I heard about the 'back to school' swap hosted by the lovely Marta I signed myself up straight away!

Now I must admit I was slightly daunted when I found out my swap partner was to be Marta herself. I love her blog, her sense of style and the beautiful stationary she makes, how can I match that with anything I send?! But luckily I think she was pleased... (and she took this photo above. Marta, I hope you don't mind me using it here, it looks so much nicer than the ones I took in the half light before I packaged it all up to send...)

And yesterday my package from Marta arrived! It was just what I needed to cheer me up, the lovely spotty tissue wrapping and the lovely spotty ribbon to match! She included one of her favourite supplies; scotch tape and it's double sided no less! She may have to become my supplier as I've never seen this stuff in Britain but it will certainly come in useful! Unfortunately I couldn't get a photo of the bubblegum she sent because as soon as I unwrapped the package my boyfriend spied it and was blowing bubbles before I could get the camera out. He wouldn't let me get a photo of the bubbles he blew (though they were pretty big!) he's very camera shy...

Marta also wrote a lovely note on a home made collage, it brought a tear to my eye! She is full of beautiful thoughts as you can see in her blog post here and I'm so glad to have met her through this swap. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I think blogging is great!

Monday, 17 September 2007

nice change

I know I complain about my job (although not so much recently I hope, I've been trying to be more positive about life in general...) I moan on about how it's boring and not me blaa blaa. Well today I can say no such thing. Because today everyone in my office spent the day at the local allotments as part of our efforts to be more involved in the community, and what a brilliant day!

Our task today was to help with the clearance for the traditional native hedge they have begun to plant right around the outside of the 5.5 acre plot. It will eventually become a nature walk for local people and school children and also an important area for wildlife. Here's the section we worked when we arrived...

We cut through brambles, thistles, bindweed and ten foot high triffids (well, it seemed that way at the time...) but it was actually really satisfying just to get in there and rip away at it all! And after chopping and raking and digging and a few thorns in our fingers we stood back to take a look...

Voila! All ready for the new plants to move in and live happily ever after!

Saturday, 15 September 2007


I'm feeling sad today because yesterday Marble, my little tabby cat, died.

She's had a long healthy life and would have been 20 in March, but it's still so sad to see her go, I think secretly I thought she would live forever. We got her when I was 4, a tiny wild ball of fluff (see above) born in a hole in the wall of a barn, pot luck, the one that scratched the least as the farmer reached in to grab. And she's always been pretty wild, off out every night for adventures; off catching mice, voles, black birds and rabbits, sparrows and bats, in fact nothing was safe. She sometimes left their heads on the door step (gifts or scraps for us to tidy away, we'll never know...) and I'll never forget the day I came into the kitchen to find a live but stunned mouse sat patiently on her dish cleaning it's whiskers. Saving it for later I presume.

Once she caught a giant white unidentified bird that was more than twice as big as her and after breaking it into bits to get it through the fence had a great time plucking it all over the garden. She scratched if you tickled her tummy. But I loved her for that. In the last few years she's slowed down a lot, (only catching baby rabbits...) she's been more friendly, sat on my knee, actually quite enjoyed being tickled under the chin. She slept on my bed (although I'm sure she would insist it was me that slept on hers). She spent her last day sat in the sunshine.

making books

a good idea on paper
books I read + books I make
pied crow press
rag and bone
studio 5
society of bookbinders
the house on hudson
sarah's work

other things

abstract the day
all about papercutting
angry chicken
belle epoque
heavenly days
hop skip jump
house on hill road
hyena in petticoats
irena troitskaya
kirin notebook
marta writes
sew liberated
six and a half stitches
this chicken
the small object
toast and cupcakes

Thursday, 13 September 2007


There has been a bit of competition for the computer around here the last few days. Matt has been selling lots of things on ebay so he's been very busy with photos and listings and things that I don't understand, so I've been very patient, but now it's my turn...

I'm a bit envious actually, he's getting rid of all sorts of things and I've had to stop myself from saying 'oh no, lets keep that!' or 'you're not selling that are you, let me have a look at it'. In fact I had to banish myself from the room at one point after claiming an old road atlas with fold out pages and an old dictionary. It's that old thing of 'well, I'll definitely use that one day...' I can't pass up any source of free paper... I think I need to take a leaf out of his book and have a good old tidy out though, I daren't even open my wardrobe at the moment (hmmm, do you think it will happen?!)

Anyway. These (rather rubbish, where's the day light gone these days?) photos are of some bags I made for a friend at work. There are fifteen of them, for her son who is just learning to count. The idea is she will hand him a bag without saying the number and ask him to fill it with the right amount of objects (I suppose she will use sweets or some kind of incentive!) That way he will have to recognise the number and also practice the counting. I think it's a great idea!

I quite enjoyed designing and making them for her, it made a nice difference to just pleasing my self, a bit of a challenge. I'm especially pleased with the way the numbers and letters turned out, I used felt with bondaweb and I think they look lovely and crisp. She seemed to like them anyway, I just hope her son feels the same way!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Well thought I'd come and say hello again before you start to think I've gone on holiday for good (if only!)

After a lazy time the week before last and then a lovely relaxing week away my life suddenly seems all hectic again. I started a new job this week (nothing exciting, just covering a different role for a few months, although there is something very exciting in the pipeline which I daren't even talk about quite yet) and I'd forgotten how rubbish it is not to know stuff! Well that sounds a bit arrogant but you know what I mean, and now I'm in charge of someone else's diary, perhaps I'll learn some tips for managing my own...

So hope you all had a good week, will be doing some catching up tomorrow hopefully, can't wait to see what creative loveliness had been going on whilst I've been away!