Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: paper

I may have found my new career…

I’ve been occupied this week with making a gift for my sister to say ‘Thanks’ for my wonderful sailing holiday in Greece. Here’s a sneak preview of what I made for her. I was going to send her a CD with copies of all the photographs I took but I decided it might be nice to make an album of the highlights which would hold the CD. So here it is.


I’m now going to make a birthday gift for a friend celebrating her 40th birthday on Saturday. She is the daughter of my very good friends, Mike and Julie, and it is very scary indeed to realise that my friends’ children are now reaching 40. How can this be? I am sure I’m not much older than that myself. Mind you I did start counting my birthdays backwards several years ago, so I might be mistaken….

As this is a return to my bookbinding posts, I want to tell you bookbinding folk of two discoveries I have made recently. One is Ratchfords who sell a full range of bookbinding materials from their web site  – not the best online shopping experience but they are extremely helpful and offer prompt delivery. My other discovery is a factory shop at Pittards. Pittards is  in Yeovil, where they make gloves (in fact the local football team, Yeovil Town,  is nicknamed The Glovers) but the factory shop has a HUGE range of all grades and colours of leather and leather working tools you can imagine – as well as gloves and handbags etc. I visited the other day and managed to take these photographs.


Wow. Very inspiring and the prices weren’t too bad either.


I watched the epic Men’s Final at Wimbledon on Sunday. What a match! I started out rooting for Roger Federer but by the end I was so impressed with Andy Roddick’s play, I didn’t want either man to lose. Poor Andy Roddick looks shell shocked in the photo above. What a marathon, one of the best matches I have ever watched. I’ve been feeling a bit bereft this week, no more Wimbledon for a year but all is not lost. I can now move seamlessly on to watching the cricket – The Ashes series started yesterday and promises to be as exciting as ever. By the time that finishes, the football season will be starting again, hey ho.

And now, the job of a lifetime. It has come to my notice that Wookey Hole a complex of caves near Wells in Somerset and a famous tourist attraction is advertising a job vacancy. They are going to pay £50,000 a year to some one who is willing to live in the caves and be……a witch. Local legend says the original Wookey witch was turned to stone when a Catholic monk, sent by the Abbot of Glastonbury, splashed her with holy water. A large, vaguely witch-shaped stalagmite in one of the caves is said to be her petrified remains.


Wookey Hole wants the appointee to go about her everyday business as a hag, so that people passing through the caves can get a sense of what the place was like in the Dark Ages. This was when an old woman lived in the caves with some goats and a dog, causing a variety of social ills including crop failures and disease. The job is straightforward: live in the cave, be a witch, and do the things witches do.”

The ad goes on

Wookey Hole is advertising nationally and hopes to attract a strong field of candidates, with the £50,000 salary serving as a major incentive. Ambitious witches, looking for a key career move, should turn up dressed for work and bring any essential witch accoutrements. A limited range of potion ingredients will be available. We are witchless at the moment so we need to get the role filled as soon as possible. The successful applicant will need to like dark, enclosed spaces, be good around a cauldron, enjoy the company of cats and have a good cackle. We are looking for someone who is friendly, a little mischievous and with lots of character.

Interestingly, there is also a paper mill at Wookey Hole and they make the most beautiful handmade paper which I have bought on many occasions. Perhaps I could be the Wookey Hole bookbinding witch….

PS Please check out the Social Vibe widget in my sidebar, if you click on it, TNT will make a donation to the ‘Fill the Cup’ campaign by the World Food Program. It’s free for you and it’s a very worthy cause. Better still, if you have a WordPress blog, put your own widget on your blog! You can choose from a selection of different charities and sponsors. Every little bit helps :-)

A Fleeting Glimpse of Dorset

I went up to London yesterday. I won’t bore you with the tedium of the journey there and back but suffice it to say it was a sorry catalogue of delays, misinformation and outright porkie pies.

Example, on journey home:

Announcement 1: ‘delay is due to operational misunderstandings at Waterloo Station’.

Announcement 2: ‘delay was due to an electrical storm in the Wimbledon area’

Announcement 3: ‘delay due to major signalling problems just outside the station’

Drives me mad especially as on the way there, the train was 30 minutes late because there was a problem with the train doors which meant they decided not to stop at all between Southampton and London. ‘Hurrah!’ the passengers cried, ‘A faster journey!’ -until the train ground to a complete halt and just sat there for 30 minutes.

Anyway, I had a nice time in London. Falkiners is even more yummy than usual as they seem to have had a bit of a re-organisation and all the lovely papers are now catalogued beautifully so that you can see everything they have in stock and not just the relatively small number of papers on display. Result? I spent probably twice as much as I would have otherwise – genius!

I then walked to Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road and bought some more paper and then walked to Liberty to buy a birthday gift for a friend and yes-you’ve guessed it yet more paper! Surprisingly, Liberty had a really good range of Japanese Chiyogami papers and some pretty gift wrap. So it was a very successful shopping expedition.

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL this last couple of days and especially sorry I haven’t been responding to your comments but yesterday, I met up with some girlie mates at a friend’s house and we had a very pleasant time making books. I showed them how to make ribbon books a month or so ago and they have caught the bug! It was really interesting to see their different approaches to materials and their ideas for extending what you can do with the books. It might even galvanize me into trying something new!

Last night I went for a long walk with a friend. We drove to a village called Langton Herring which is a mile or so inland from the Fleet and Chesil Beach. I’ve mentioned Chesil Beach before. It is a shingle beach which is 18 miles long and runs from Portland to West Bay. The stones on the beach are much larger at the Portland end and gradually decrease in size towards West Bay. It used to be said that sailors who were washed up on the beach could tell where they were by the size of the shingle. For 8 miles of it’s length, the beach encloses a lagoon called the Fleet. It’s famous because it is where Barnes Wallis tested the bouncing bombs which were used in the famous Dam busters raid during World War 2.

This is a photograph of the Fleet and Chesil Beach I took last year.

The walk from Langton Herring on a cool sunny evening was quite spectacular. It was silent apart from the sounds of skylarks singing and seagulls calling. The lambs in the fields were playing and leaping about, some of the field were bright yellow with oilseed rape. And when we arrived at the Fleet, the water was flat calm and the sun was setting, it was so peaceful and beautiful. here are some of the photographs I took. You can click on each thumbnail to see a larger version.

The other good news is that Abbotsbury Swannery which is also on the Fleet and had to close earlier in the year because of bird flu, has now re-opened and has just had the first cygnets hatch! Apparently, this has happened much earlier than usual and as the arrival of the first baby swan is said to herald the first day of summer, this is good news indeed!

This gorgeous image is by Geoffrey Franklin of Christchurch, Dorset and was taken from a slide show of his swannery images on the BBC website.

Things I have enjoyed….

I haven’t got a book to show you today. I’ve had a busy couple of days. I had some friends over for dinner on Friday night and as I am not one of life’s natural cooks, it took me most of the day to shop and then prepare the food. I made crab and scallop chowder with home made bread, followed by rack of lamb with a red wine and shallot sauce, green beans and asparagus, rosemary and garlic roast potatoes followed by coconut rice pudding with mango and lime and yummy cheese and biscuits. A feast – even if I do say so myself. For once it all turned out well (the rice pudding was slightly stodgy but still tasted nice).

I was woken at 8am on Saturday morning by a delivery man – marvellous. He was delivering a new TV so I cleared up the mess from the night before and then unpacked the TV and started to set it up. The connections were all very complicated involving a satellite receiver and a DVD player but I just unplugged the cables from the old TV and attached them to the new TV. I just couldn’t get the DVD player to talk to the TV and fiddled about for ages trying to tune the TV to pick up the signal. Finally I realised that I was missing a scart lead ( I vaguely remember one of the boys ‘borrowing it’) so the DVD player wasn’t even connected to anything. I ransacked the garage and finally found another one then the DVD player still wouldn’t work but eventually it dawned on me that the batteries in the remote control were flat – DOH!

I spent the afternoon smashing up my old garden table and chairs which had rotted beyond repair – surprisingly satisfying! Some friends had come round to help and they carted the bits away for me and by the time they had left, the day had gone, so no books again. So instead of a book, I am going to share with you, some of my recent ‘StumbleUpon’ finds.

First up is Clive Stevens who does amazing paper sculpture. This is one of my favourites.

All the work is for sale and he sells kits, books, greeting cards and calendars too. Fabulous stuff.

Next up is a photograph of the new coins which are going to be introduced in the UK over the next year.

“The new designs have been chosen via an open competition which was widely publicised in the national media in August 2005 and attracted 4,000 entries. The winning designer is 26-year-old Matthew Dent, originally from Bangor who now lives and works in London as a graphic designer. After exploring a number of different options, Matthew Dent finally developed the heraldic theme, taking the greatest heraldic device ever used on coinage – the Royal Arms.

As you can see in the image above, the Shield of the Royal Arms has been given a contemporary treatment and its whole has been cleverly split among all six denominations from the 1p to the 50p, with the £1 coin displaying the heraldic element in its entirety. This is the first time that a single design has been used across a range of United Kingdom coins.”

Aren’t they gorgeous? I love the way they form a compete design and I foresee hours of fun playing with them when they are finally released :-)

Next up is the work of Thomas Keeley, as featured on the website.

He creates surreal 3D objects which are both thought provoking and fun. Obviously, this book appealed to me, so inventive.

The last thing I want to share with you is a voice. The voice of Andrew Johnston to be precise. There is a TV program on Saturday nights here in the UK called ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. This young boy appeared on the show last week. Enjoy this and if you are not crying your eyes out by the end then you have a heart of stone.

Hope you are having a great weekend. I’m off to make a book…..

Saturday shopping


The paper on the outside is an Italian paper I bought from Paper Mojo and the inside one is actually one of Paper Source’s holiday papers but although it is probably meant to be Christmassy it compliments the poppies quite nicely.

Since I had my lovely letter from Falkiners thanking me for mentioning them so often, I hope you don’t think I am just mentioning my suppliers gratuitously, in the hopes of getting more free goodies from them. I only mention them in the interests of my fellow bookbinders and papercrafts people who might find the information useful. Honest. ;-) I must also at this point mention another blog I discovered which is full of wonderful links. It’s called Paper Crave and I spent ages following links to wonderful paper crafts people, stationery and all round yumminess I hadn’t heard of before (check out Tinkering Ink) and it led me to tutorials and free downloads from a wide range of fascinating web sites and blogs. Well worth checking out.


Along with half of Dorset seemingly, I had to go shopping at my local supermarket. Along with the food I bought, there were a couple of bottles of wine and some beers. The young girl on the checkout called a supervisor over who asked me if I was over 21. I said, ‘You have to be joking! My son is 25’. She said that she had to ask anyone who was buying alcohol if they were over 21 – ‘I need your verbal confirmation’.

What a load of nonsense! With the best will in the world, there is no way anyone would think I was under 21. If I was under 21 and I lied, would she then sell it to me? What if I had said I was under 21? Would she have said ‘Don’t be ridiculous, you are obviously over 21!’ What was the point of the whole stupid episode? The guy at the next checkout said ‘Take it as a compliment!’ I just think it is a colossal waste of time and besides, the legal age for alcohol consumption in the UK is 18, so what on earth was that all about?

But the best news of the day, is that Manchester United have just beaten the league leaders and arch rivals, Arsenal, 4 -0 in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Hurrah!

And here’s my ‘and finally’ item. How silly is this? Made me laugh :-D


The Italian Job


This paper is an Italian design – a traditional pattern called a Florentine pattern (although the inner paper has a design of ‘Fleur du Lys’ which are French). Whenever I have visited Italy, (which is often, as it is my favourite country in the world) I have visited a chain of shops called ‘Il Papiro‘. They sell the most marvellous marbled paper made using traditional Tuscan methods, Murano glass pens, inks, notebooks, decorative papers, sealing wax, leather goods, stationery and cards. The shops themselves are small, dark old fashioned places but full to bursting with gorgeousness. There are branches all over Italy – in Florence, Rome, Venice, Siena, Orvieto, Pisa and I notice from their web site they now have branches in the USA and Australia!


Over the years, I have spent many happy times in these treasure troves and this is a photograph of the goodies I have bought. You will notice that they are all mostly in pristine condition. I can’t bear to use them so they sit in my workroom amongst my other treasures – I did try to use the seal and sealing wax once but it was very messy so the experiment was not repeated.


And to finish, I have modestly left this to last ;-) I was contacted by Justin at Pushapixel (a lovely blog which highlights artists’ web sites from around the world) and he told me that he has featured me! He has written a very kind review so I suggest you all dash over there immediately to check his blog out (well, when you have finished here!)