Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

I try to do some of the German things I picked up when living in Braunschweig, and these tissue-paper snowflakes are some of my favorites.

Our sweet little tree ... note the University of Texas longhorn for Himself ... the rest of our presents are at my mother's house and we're heading over there right now!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Now, that's just tacky

My mother made an out-of-town family member a hat and scarf for Christmas last year. She was so proud of herself -- she'd just progressed beyond shawls, and these did not look like the work of a beginner.

This year, said family member brought my mother a bag of giveaway stuff he'd found in the closet he uses whenever he visits (and that no one else uses), for her to take to charity.

In the bag? The hat and scarf. He'd never even taken them away.

Well, someone's never getting time spent on him again, as he's shown how little it means to him.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I got home from work and looked outside (should have turned off the porch light to see our fairy lights better) and saw this:
Want a better look?
(I hate these palm-bushes, so spiky)
Even better, piling up on Himself's car:
It's all gone this morning, but goodness, it was fun. Snow in Houston!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I've never done anything in plastic canvas before, but I needed a break from the two-year crossstitch project, so, when I heard of this fellow on freecycle, I jumped. You get to see a bit of my hand for fun -- he looked better against the wall of the Man Cave than on our wood floors.

Things I learned:

1) plastic canvas is fast!

2) when they say to do all stitching, including the overcast edges, before trimming the plastic, ignore them. I did that on the left stocking, and you can see the bits of plastic sticking out. The rest, I trimmed first, and it's much better.

It was fun!

Now back to the two-year project...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Margaret Bag

I made the Margaret Bag found over at Oh, Fransson! Like a fool, I didn't take a picture of it before wrapping it up for my kid sister, but I did take a picture of the fabric scraps once I thought of it:

The pink's the outside, with a big pink button, and the brown's the inside. Himself was even impressed when he saw it (he's used to my being able to make things, so it takes a lot to impress him). I'm so thrilled!

Secret Belgian Grandmother

I made a book for my grandmother! Grandmothers are so nice -- you can make things for them, and they don't care at all if they're a bit wonky or messed up, no matter how old you are! So, she is destined to be the proud recipient of my first Belgian-style binding.

It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be (although, as you can see from some issues with the endpaper, an oddly-textured paper that wasn't sized and had some arguments with the methylcellulose wasn't my best moment!), but it did use more thread than I expected.
However, the colors are fun, and it did work -- not loose at all, which I hear is a common problem -- so I'll certainly do this again (with colored thread next time)!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Packet of fun stuff!

OOOOHhhh look at all the fun stuff here -- I want it!

Tonight: pumpkin soup (my 2nd recipe off of Anna Maria Horner's apron-for-soup cookbook so far).

Tomorrow: Clean house because contractors are coming by to fix the Ike leaks, and Himself's cousins are coming in to town.

If I can fit it in over the weekend:
That's right, the Greek Festival's going on one block from my house. Better find time to go, in-between taking time off from work for contractors and in-laws!

Also doing a plastic canvas I got off of freecycle, because it makes me happy and goes so much faster than the 2-year crossstitch I've been doing for a present for someone... it's really not my style, but I love it anyhow. Pictures when done (hopefully soon!).

Speaking of pictures, I did a secret belgian binding -- and it's lovely. Pictures soon, I promise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I did it -- I got Simplesong's letterpress trial!
So excited! I love looking at letterpress stuff online, but have never gotten any ... just bouncing with anticipation now!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Last bit of October

So I'm slow :)

I finally took this off my front door:

Made it last year. Construction paper and tissue -- quite sweet.

Given my speed on that one, I think I won't be putting up my autumn leaves. Probably go straight to the snowflakes....

Man, things are easier when you're a housewife (like me last year) than when you have a full-time job!

Red Snowflakes

Currently drying on their board (a sheet of styrofoam from some package years ago, wrapped with a full roll of masking tape, with glittery shadows of snowflakes from years past (they've occasionally been sprayed with glitter)) are ten red snowflakes for freshly{blended}'s ornament swap.

This is my first ever swap of any kind, so I'm very excited! (So excited, in fact, I lost track of time, so I made many extra snowflakes which will be going on everyone's Christmas present this year, it seems!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pumpkin Pasta

I made a fabulous dish the other night ... and indeed made it three nights in a row, once when DH was away (to test it), once when he was here, and then for my parents. It tastes like eating sunshine, it's that good. No picture, unfortunately. Didn't hang around long enough (and it tastes better than it looks, in any case).

Roasted Pumpkin-Onion Fettuccine

Fresh pumpkin, cubed, about 1 cup
Boiler onions (I used a combination of white and purple), about a dozen, peeled.
Olive oil
Fettuccine or ziti-style pasta (better with heavier pastas)
Alfredo sauce (I used 1 jar Classico brand)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook pasta.
Toss pumpkin and onions in olive oil, add salt and pepper (just a bit, remember the alfredo sauce has both as well). Put in roasting dish and bake for 35 minutes or until onions are cooked through and pumpkin cubes are brown around the edges.
Toss with sauce and pasta.
Eat, enjoy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Anna Bolster

Last Saturday, I also bought a beautiful journal (photos when I find the card for the camera...) from Anna Bolster, with whom I was sharing a table. Her work is truly excellent. The journal I bought has a velvet ribbon around it, which makes me so very happy (love tactile sensations). I don't really use blank books much, so I'll be keeping it for a few years with the intention of then using it as a pregnancy journal... makes me look forward to it!

(I can't post photos from her site, either, so go over there -- really worth it. Very nice.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Adding a link

It was just drawn to my attention who pointed out her feelings about selling less-than-perfect items online, as I referenced in my post below: Sarah, from LittlePaperBird. Credit where credit is due :)

And a small picture of me -- I never upload pictures of myself, so here's one from another internet incarnation before I got married and when I was being more pseudonymous... it was my birthday, in India.

Mr. Monkeysuit's Shop

Mr. Monkeysuit has a shop with very cute, very cheap, and very fun things ... and an adorable moustachioed acorn logo! Go check it out!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Book fair update

Well, it was a success ... and cleared me out! My shop now has only one item left ... must restock! But it was so much fun to meet real people and get reassurance that people do want my work. Also, as others have said (but can't find the link now), I feel bad about putting something a bit wonky on Etsy, with a glue smudge, or with slightly warped covers, or just not quite as good as I'd like, but I have no qualms about selling it in person - they've already seen it and judged it worthwhile. While I spent half my earnings buying a Mrs. Molesworth book and a journal from the girl next to me, I did make enough to pay for a nice dinner -- and that makes me overjoyed.

And the few things I didn't sell? A few are going in the shop once I take more pictures, and the rest I rather wanted to keep as presents (like the metallic books below), so everything's grand.

Have a great day, all!
(stock photo, but mmmm looks nice!)

Book Fair!

I'm going to the Book Fair!

Here are some of the little books I'll be selling (some of which have made an appearance here before -- I love the little one with the house on it!)...And here are my little earrings!
If you're in the Houston area, hope to see you there!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We made pumpkins!

Himself made a large and sporty one, of course:
And I made my little one:

And someone took the bowl that the candy was in (we were out) :( but it was a beat-up old metal mixing bowl, so no great loss.

Anyhow, happy halloween, all!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Family at home

Attic24's at home weekend sounds so nice to me. I'd love to have a house that neat, for one thing! My dream? For Himself to make enough (give it a few years) that I can stay home, have babies, and make things -- and make a nice and pleasant home. I'm terrified that, should that happen, my in-laws will feel that that's their cue to come over constantly to make sure I'm not "bored" (as if one could be bored in this wonderful world! But then again, they're retired and have no real hobbies except trying to run other people's lives...)... so perhaps that'll have to be put off for many more years.... oh, well. I can do what I can in my spare time, now!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Silver and Gold Metallic Sketchbooks

Here's a pair of fun ones. My little cousin has taken up sketching, so one of these will be for her. I'm putting both up for sale, so whichever one doesn't sell first!

I used lovely drawing paper for the signatures of these coptic-stitched books (the silver one 4"x5", and the gold one some smaller proportion -- forgot to measure. Possibly 2.5"x4"...), and burgundy #10 crochet thread for the sewing.

The lighting's terrible in these shots (the black background really absorbs light -- must go back to my shiny wood floor), but it's a slightly textured silver metallic paper on the left, and a smooth and very shiny gold paper on the right.

The insides were fun to choose (I love matching things, especially since it often entails seeing which of my small pieces of scrap will fit!)...

The silver book has a lovely swirly-textured ever-so-slightly-lilac silver feathery-looking paper, and the gold book has a faux-leather black cardstock that just seemed to suit it.

I'll be at the Book Fair at the Museum of Printing History on November 8, and both of these should be available then.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tiny Sister Books

I didn't get much done with the power out (didn't feel like doing anything but reading by candlelight), but here are two little offerings, at least one of which is going to my sister.

(Little, in this instance, means 2 3/4" by 2".)

This little one is the longstitch-and-linkstitch concept used over a nice twotoned heavy handmade paper. I wish I knew how the twotoning works -- it's red on one side and purple on the other. We tried both directions, but it works best with the red out.

And here's my other, a very simple little blue-covered coptic blank book:
Hope you like them!

Before and after the storm

Hi all! Finally got the camera back together.

Here is the view from my balcony before the storm:
With my lovely kitchen garden with happy basil:
And the same after the storm -- yard not too happy (or extant):

And very wet basil:
Entertainingly, the basil actually liked the storm -- it grew about 3 inches in one day!

We didn't have all that much damage. A messy yard:
A leaky window:(and it's hard to tell if there's water damage in a wall when it's painted dark green, as the discoloration won't show.)

And a leaky door and subsequent floor:
Well, we were going to paint the room and tear out the carpet anyhow... just need to majorly fix the window and minorly fix the door and stained ceiling.

These are the little flowers that saw me through the storm (a little tea rose and a Hyacinth Bean, which grows delightfully):

I was worried that they wouldn't make it, but apparently I don't water my garden enough -- all my plants are thrilled still, although now only starting to wilt again, as it hasn't rained since Ike came through.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We Made it Through The Rain

We had water damage upstairs, but hey, we wanted to remove the carpet (previous owner had yippy dogs with incontinence) and repaint anyhow, and I'd been putting it off. Water damage downstairs, too, and I have a feeling it'll need a bigger repair there... oh, well. But we made it through, and yesterday was our first day with power! Which is great! I'll get back to this once I've finished regrouping (bought milk! bought pumpkins! had lamb stew, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin beer -- it's fall!) and have gotten the camera back out.

Thanks for all your good wishes!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Storm

I just posted this over at A Little Hut, but may as well put it here too:

We're in Montrose. Seems like this time people are actually paying attention to the instructions, and evacuating only when they're supposed to (either 1) you're in an area in the storm surge, 2) you're in an unsafe structure like a mobile home, or 3) you're physically fragile and might not be able to survive a power outage or a broken window). Should be entertaining overall; I've been through a few, and they weren't so bad -- mainly b/c my house is high up, and my old Ford seems perfectly capable of taking on a few inches of water and then having nothing to show for it but a bad smell. If your house is poorly located, it might be a bit more unpleasant, though. Take care and stay dry and undamaged!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First limp leather attempt

This was something I made a month or two ago (along with several small casebound leather books, which worked quite well at that small scale and made me very happy indeed). There were so many problems with it. To begin with, my needle was too big, I believe (I now have smaller needles), and the holes I had made for chain stitch at the ends of the signatures ended up turning into slits (and, in case you didn't realize it, a chain stitch doesn't hang on to a slit very well). That, coupled with my lack of knowledge of exactly what order to do things in, ended up in my getting very lost on the inside and the whole bottom right corner of the text block spine not being attached to the cover at all:

(You can also see that I didn't get the signatures lined up well with each other either -- something went wrong when punching the holes.)

The way the spine finally ended up turning out was even wonkier than the rest:

But at least it worked as a book -- it's got text from Project Gutenberg and is not structurally difficult at all to read. So, not a complete failure after all.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Etsy notes

I have a secret admirer! That's much more entertaining than I thought it would be. And I've learned that, while it's fun to "heart" something you're debating buying, just like leaving it on your wish list somewhere else, it doesn't save you from the disappointment when someone else buys it (had been looking at Rhonda's leather scraps, as they'd have been fun for an edition binding of something small... perhaps a collection of Alcott/Montgomery/Wiggin short stories (I like late-Victorian uplifting stories for young ladies), or some such... but dawdled too long).

And I've made more earrings (they get better with time), as well as another lovely little coptic (well, twice the size of the silver-purple paisley one, but still small), and I'm learning to rejoice in so many glorious colors. Photos when I get around to it!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Silvery-purple-paisley coptic minibook

This is such fun paper -- the purple is very deep and rich and flimsy-feeling, and the silver's all shiny and lovely and happy. This is the first time it occurred to me to use my colored crochet thread, and I'm very pleased with the way it accentuates the spine.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Not a book I made

I swear, the book in the post below is not the same one as the book on the right in the photo here:

Same paper, though. Funny how we had the same idea!

It's hard to post lovely with-photo posts when you have to set up the camera to do it ... I have a new respect for all of you.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

City Streets

This darling book is a present for my college roommate, a New York girl now in New Haven. It's coptic-bound, so it should lie nice and flat for her to write class notes in.

It has a bit of a NYC map both as outside and inside cover, front and back. I hope the yellow paper will be nice and soothing. I could have used some better thread -- the white thread is fine, but blue might have been better. Need to find some, though -- as of now, have just white and red.

I do need a better set-up for photography. The top of a piece of paper is fine for tiny earrings, but not good for larger books, and neither is a beat-up (and reflective) black piece of electronic equipment! (Example: the picture of the cover is misleading, as the book is actually well squared, and doesn't taper towards the top.)

Tiny Book Earrings

These are my first offering. I'd seen tiny book earrings, and thought I could try the same. I first made a pair twice this size (about 3/4" by 1"), and realized they were much too large; they were also only one signature (these are four each). So, made a handful of smaller ones -- a leopard-print pair like this one and a red-bound pair were both snapped up by co-workers. It's a pain working so small, though! But I've now bought a smaller needle, so things should go better in the future. My adviser tells me I should put on some headbands and be sewing these on tapes ... maybe in the future! I tried other earring findings, rather than the kidney style, but couldn't get them to work -- I suppose I'd need actual jewelry-making tools for that (making little wire loops through the spine, etc.).

First Post!

I am pleased to announce that after much inspiration from such people as Rhonda and Tulibri, I am now starting my own Etsy shop! More pictures, descriptions, and details of what I'm working on to come.

I work with books professionally, but not in a creative fashion, so it's been delightful to make my own books for once. I've been knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, tatting, etc. all my life (no embroidery -- I have to know exactly where things go!), and have also been in love with books all my life, so the conjunction of crafting and books thrills me to no end.

Thanks for stopping by!