address book

Recently, I met many relatives that I’ve not seen in years, some that I’d never met! Afterward, I felt in need of an address book, so that when I’m writing a letter on the go, as I often am, I can address it, put on the stamp and voila!  In the mail. So I made myself one of these:

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A lovely little address book. The pre-made text block came from Hollanders which has amazing book art and stationery supplies and the cover paper came from the Minneapolis Center for the Book Arts. I made a stop there on our recent trip to Minnesota — so great!

Soon I hope to make one of Soule Mama’s Gratitude Wraps to keep all these supplies safely snuggled up. For now it’s enough to have the addresses of those I love always nearby and ready for sending real mail!

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April Fools and Edible Books

So April Fools Day found me once again facing down the challenge of the Edible Book Show & Tea at the Columbia College Center for Book and Paper Arts. This international event, held in many cities around the world, has folks building books out of food, and the more puns and plays on words the better. I wrote about our visit last year here.

gingerbread pieces

Our team, the girls and I, wanted to make our book out of gingerbread.

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These happy pictures belie the reality of a book that wouldn’t stand up, pages that broke apart when the WIP fell over and a kitchen and dining room awash with sugar sprinkles, frosting, powdered sugar and baking implements of every kind!

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It took a lifeline call out to our favorite California book artist, but we got our entry done — The Gingerbread Baby Book, very, very loosely based on The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, which is such a family favorite. Our original idea had been to have the gingerbread baby actually running out of the house-shaped book, but that proved a little beyond our abilities.

one flew

The Edible Book show itself was amazing, with new prize categories, including Most Likely to Be Burned, which led a couple of contestants to make flambe! Entries were beautiful, humbling and truly inspiring, including this one, a huge chocolate cuckoo clock — One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and below, possibly my favorite, The Marzipan Chronicles.

marzipan chronicles

Yet an event filled with talking grown-ups, tables too high to see the tops of, food that looks very good (but you can’t touch!) and then lots of chocolate inexplicably provided all at once proved overwhelming for our three-year-old, forcing our speedy exit. The valiant 6-year-old tried not to cry, since we hadn’t stayed long enough to taste everything.

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“We could always try to recreate the things we didn’t get a chance to taste at home…” I suggested, trying to stave off her tears.

She brightened. “Yeah! That would give us lots of good practice, Mommy, for next year.” That’s my girl!

Making it right

I recently lost a sketch book that meant alot to me. It had drawings I’d made of E. as a baby and other sketches that I loved, like this:

babylegs

and this:

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and this:

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Those who know me said, Well, it will turn up. Many things I lose (and I seem to lose lots) do, in fact, turn up. But I was so sad. I had a feeling that this would not return. 

Good artist-mom friends said, Make another one. Not that I could make another just the same. But a new-old mix — a tribute to the original and a similar emotional and artistic space. 

So I tried it. 

I did this:

spinestitch

and this:

newbook needle

and this:

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And I got this:

new book

{in this picture it isn't actually finished yet...}

I’m happy. And feel so much better. Now I’m thinking more about ideas for filling this book than about losing the old one.

In times of worry I tend to reach for my knitting, or my sketchbook. In this case, the stitching, the scratchy sound of needle and waxed thread through paper, the rare time alone, the concentration, and the beautiful materials all calmed me. Slowing down to make something — to create, rather than fret or fuss or buy — was truly healing.