Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Colour

Book swappage

You may remember I was taking part in a Book Swap over at the Book Arts Forum. I made a book as a first effort, fully intending to have a second go at it but as is often the way with these things, time ran away with me and I had to use my original effort as I never got round to trying something different.

So far, so familiar. As the theme of the swap was ‘My Home Town’, I did hit on the idea of filling the pages with images of Dorset (as you can imagine I have rather a lot). This started out as a good idea until I realised that as I had used Bockingford watercolour paper for the pages, the printed photographs wouldn’t stick to the pages terribly well, but having started, I had to finish! I think they are secure but the other problem was that the pages curled slightly and even after a day or so in my book press, they wouldn’t straighten and as time had run out, I had to send it to Rhonda as it was (with a letter of apology!)

Here are photographs of some of the pages.

It’s very intimidating making a book for other bookbinders to see ‘in the flesh’ as it were and even though this is the second swap I have taken part in – I still feel as if I could have done better…. having said that, I’m really looking forward to receiving my book from Crazy Daisy Girl :-)

By the way, thanks very much indeed for the votes over at Kim’s competition. I didn’t win but happily I wasn’t vote-less which was very pleasing. You might like to check out the art work which won, a painting by Emmanuel Martinez called “Pain in the Eye’. Congratulations to the lucky winner!

Now I’m off to continue with my latest project, a huge photograph album for a friend. She has two enormous beautifully made, very expensive albums which she has filled with photographs and I am going to try to make a third which matches the others. No pressure then……. :-)

Finding Mr Darcy….

I originally made this photograph album as a gift for a friend who celebrated her birthday last week, but as with the best laid plans, I didn’t finish it in time and so ended up buying her a gift instead. This album is much larger than the usual books I make (as you can see from the photograph) and was subsequently much more difficult to make as handling large pieces of gluey paper is really difficult. Well, it is for me! This was also going to be a dry run for an even larger album I am going to make for another friend who wants it to match two albums she already owns. I’ll keep you posted how I get on…

I’ve had a really action packed weekend. It was a Bank Holiday here in the UK. As is often the case, the weather was horrible – very wet and cold but I still managed to have a good time. The weekend consisted of a friend’s birthday party, meeting up with various friends and lots of eating, followed by lots of walking to counteract the effects of the eating. You may have noticed my blogging has been sporadic recently, to say the least . Unfortunately/fortunately, this may have to continue as my social life has picked up markedly mainly due to the fact I have (at the risk of sounding like Jane Austen) – a potential ‘gentleman caller’. Here is Jane’s advice on how to find Mr. Darcy…. (it comes at about 1m 15secs)

It seems the amount I am able to blog varies inversely with the state of my social life! The social drought since Christmas has led to a very productive phase on the book-making/blogging front but this pace is difficult to maintain at the moment, so I intend to aim to write something every few days rather than every day. Just so you know. If I suddenly pick up the pace on the blogging front, you will know why….and I will be back to this….

Just as everyone returns to work after the holiday, the weather has improved and today was wonderfully warm and sunny – great for tennis – apart from the fact I didn’t give my tennis skirt it’s first outing of the year (as the sight of my white legs would have probably blinded the other players) so I was actually too hot wearing joggers. As it was such a gorgeous day, I put the hood down on the car for the first time this year when I was driving home and drove along the coast road. I spotted a glimpse of blue by the side of the road so I parked and found this. Click on each image to see a full sized version.

Luscious leather

I have been getting all experimental. If you have a really good memory (and have been following my comings and goings for a few months) you may remember I tried one of these woven cover bindings a while back. The last one was made with card covers, this one uses foam sheets which I spotted in my local art shop – I liked the bright colours. They are quite fun to make but the foam sheets aren’t terribly sturdy so I may try it again using leather pieces.

I bought some leather samples from Hewits, it was a starter pack and they said it would contain six pieces of various colours of leather for £37. I thought this was a bargain so I ordered one and it arrived today. It’s amazing value – there are actually 10 large pieces and they are all great colours – I am well chuffed!

I was checking out Astrid’s wonderful blog (which she writes in German and then translates into English) and she has been trying out some of the two and three section bindings from Keith Smith’s book using leather from a leather furniture swatch book. They are amazing so I may use some of this leather to have a go at some of these too. Here’s my first effort…

It’s a very simple one but I hope my future efforts will improve and I intend to try some trickier ones now that I’ve got the hang of Keith Smith’s rather complicated instructions! This is the next one I want to try…

See what I mean? :-)

It may have to wait though as I am up to my eyes at the moment making photograph albums for two friends. One is for a birthday gift and the other is for a friend who has two huge albums which she bought years ago and she now needs a third one, so I am trying to make one to match the other two.  They are the largest books I have ever made so I am taking it slowly and hope to be able to show them to you as they progress. I am off to London tomorrow – to visit Falkiners for some paper and to go to Liberty to buy a birthday gift and I maybe also look for a dress for a birthday party on Saturday night.

I am going on the train as you may remember that I am rubbish at parking, so I avoid driving in London whenever possible. I have mentioned my parking phobia many times and today, I found the perfect method for successful parking in a confined space.

There. Sorted :-)



Cherry blossom time

On Saturday, I walked into Bridport. There is a thriving busy street market on Wednesdays and Saturdays and as this Saturday was warm and sunny, the market was buzzing. After my visit to the tiny art shop to stock up on paper and glue, I was on my way home when I spotted a fabric stall which was selling really gorgeous fabrics at very discounted prices.

I noticed some of that plasticized cotton fabric which can be used for kitchen tablecloths (as it is very wipe-able!) I bought several prints as I thought it would be a nice to have some books with wipe-able covers, useful for using in the kitchen or if you are an artist and prone to getting paint or glue everywhere! This book uses one of these fabrics, it’s a cotton ‘toile de jouy’, a very traditional print. Toile de Jouy originated in France in the 1800s. In the French language, the phrase literally means “cloth from Jouy-en-Josas”, a town of north-central France. They are normally, rustic scenes in red, blue or black printed onto a cream background. They have become very popular for furnishing fabrics. I hope you like this book.

I was very touched by all the kind comments after my last post, all those compliments, I think you may have created a monster…..

Only joking :-) There are times when I really do wish I was amazing. This morning was a case in point.

I played tennis this morning. Correction. I played tennis very badly this morning. I normally fall out of bed at the last minute and rush off to tennis without any breakfast or even a cup of tea, arrive just in time and manage to play reasonably well. This morning, I woke early, had a leisurely cup of tea and a bowl of muesli and arrived at my friends house early, so we had a chat about my books and calligraphy (she owns a copy of the ‘Kites‘ piece which you may remember) – and then we played tennis and I was RUBBISH. Very depressing…

I was cheered however, when I spotted this, my favourite tree, in all its glory. Gorgeous. I just adore these flowering cherries and must get one for my garden. This tree would have looked so much nicer against a clear blue sky but it was solid grey, in fact 5 minutes later, it was pouring with rain and hailstones.

I have always wanted to go to Japan to see a cherry blossom festival. Cherry trees are called ‘Sakura’ in Japanese and you can read about them here.

Here is the French group ‘Air’ and the track called ‘Cherry Blossom Girl’. Listen to this dreamy music and gaze at a still from one of my favourite movies, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. Luscious Ken Watanabe for you girls and for once, some eye candy for you boys too…. gorgeous Ziyi Zhang. And lots of cherry blossoms, how romantic….

…and I don’t look a day over 199

I like this paper. Despite being a Japanese chiyogami paper, it’s a very tribal or ethnic design and according to the latest edition of the fashion magazine I subscribe to, that is one of the trends for the summer. We should all be wearing dresses made out of fabrics like this book. Well, all you ladies should – guys, it’s optional :-)

Guess what? This is my 200th post. 200! Whoever would have thought when I first started this blog 14 months ago that I would have so much to say? Certainly not me! I used to be incredibly shy and spent my teens hardly speaking to a soul. Things did improve as I got older, largely due to my (then) husband who made a point of making me speak up for myself at parties and the like. It was far too easy otherwise to let him do all the talking. At the time I thought he was being really cruel but with hindsight I see that it was just what I needed.

I remember the moment when I realised I wasn’t shy any more, vividly. I had enrolled on a course designed to get women who had taken time out to raise their families, back into the work place. We were asked to describe how we saw ourselves and how we saw everyone else on the course. Describing me, I came up with shy, lacking in confidence, quiet, reserved. All the other 20 or so people on the course said talkative, confident, friendly, outgoing. And in one of those Damascene moments, I realised I had been talking my socks off and joining in happily for the entire week! I do still find some occasions where I revert to crippling shyness and become awkward and tongue tied, but they are few and far between these days.

This was my anthem in those days – I give you Kajagoogoo – I had a huge crush on Limahl, my world fell apart when I discovered he was gay…..

Check out those hairstyles and fashions – hilarious!

Now to celebrate my 200th post, I thought I would say a little thank you to some of the regular visitors to Much of a Muchness who take the time to leave a comment. I always try to visit their blogs in return but sometimes I don’t manage it as often as I would like. So this is for you

Kim – wonderful artist and all round lovely person. She regularly updates the ‘101 Top Artists’ Blogs’ and is quite justifiably at number 1 in the rankings. (The fact I am number 3 has no influence on this list at all – honest) A labour of love if ever there was one. I won one of her portraits in one of her regular competitions, it is quite wonderful.

Paul – also known as Struggling Writer. Read his blog for snippets of his wonderful stories and news about his toddler daughter, ice hockey and his play off beard. Manages to be first to comment so many times it’s uncanny….

Creechman – what can I say? He loves actresses, TV, tennis, movies and his dog Emerson. He is a semi-rocket scientist from Houston. He seems to like English accents.

Teresa – sometimes her comments are funnier than my posts, but I forgive her :-) Her blog is full of news about yummy food, home schooling her lovely boys and birding amongst lots of other things.

Durano Lawayan – always has a pithy amusing comment to make. His blog is so full of wonderful, insightful posts about the world and all it’s many vagaries and absurdities which he brings to our attention with superlative skill.

RennyBA – everything I know about Norway I have learned from Renny! He is a ‘network evangelist’ and his mission is to introduce the food, customs and people of Norway to the rest of the world in a fascinating way. He succeeds admirably!

Diane CA – is Renny’s wife, her relatively new blog is full of insights into her interests in social work, her life as an American living in Norway and her views on the world around us. Her description of herself as ‘if I were any more of an extrovert I would turn inside out’ made me laugh!

Peteej – takes amazing photographs using his mobile phone camera and even is kind enough to give tutorials showing how he achieves such wonderful results. He also publishes photographs from other mobile phone photographers (ahem, mentioning no names but someone not too far from here was featured a while back…..)

Kylee – makes beautiful jewellery out of gemstones and polymer clay. She is an expat living in a beautiful part of France and I must warn her, one day I am going to arrive on the doorstep of her studio to see it properly! I have always vowed to visit Carcassonne and she lives quite close by…..

Astrid – is a German book artist who is talented and thoughtful enough to write her blog twice, once in German and then in English. I will confess to shamelessly stealing ideas from her and slavishly following her advice. A leading light over at the Book Arts Forum too.

Lord Likely – what can I say about Lord L that he hasn’t said himself? And in a much more – how can I put this? – outrageous, outré fashion than I could ever dare to….

Daddy Papersurfer – he thinks I’m scary. But perhaps not as much as his lovely wife, Lo the Terrible Goddess, who tries to keep him under control – with varying degrees of success it seems….

70’s teen – the diaries of a Manchester girl growing up in the 70’s. Strikes so many chords with me it’s scary. She is going to send me food parcels containing Northern delicacy, Hollands steak puddings – hurrah!

AmyH – I think Amy lives in a space -time continuum where she has 48 hours in each day – she has two small children and manages to make books, crochet, cook, read and do a million and one other things which totally puts me to shame….

Lady Banana– just loves to blog, in fact she thinks she may be addicted to it…. and I suffer from widget envy whenever I visit her blog. She loves photography and her life in London and it’s always fun to visit her wonderfully yellow blog.

Jenny – writes funny comments and has a blog to rival Lady B’s for widgets and an enthusiasm for life that leaves me breathless, Jenny’s blog contains the immortal truth ‘Drink coffee – do stupid things faster with more energy’ – that must be where I am going wrong. Memo to self – drink coffee!

And now to finish, a thought for the day.

Me? I’d be 21 again. But still with my lovely sons, (not sure how that would work as they are older than that!) but with the benefits of hindsight and experience…and better judgement as far as the opposite sex are concerned….. :-)