1776 Pocket Journal

This weekend I took an interesting and fun, two day workshop with Marlene Pomeroy at her studio in Kitchener. The workshop was based on a historical book structure she discovered in the rare book collection at the Riverbrink Museum in Queenston. The 1776 structure has folded “guards” that the signatures and pull out maps are attached to. These folded guards create extra space needed by the thick, fold out maps. After seeing Marlene’s prototype it was easy to see how this structure could be adapted to all kinds of other uses – travel journals, garden plans, family trees…

Our first day started with Marlene giving us some background on how she came across this structure and how she went on to examine it’s unique construction to be able to recreate it. Our first task was to fold the guards and pull outs, then assemble the text block, punch and sew it onto cords. Once the sewing was done we lined the spine with kozo paper and applied head bands. Day 2 started with prepping the board covers by sanding, applying leather corners and then attaching the boards to the text block using the cord. Next was gluing the leather spine, creating infills and applying the decorative cover papers. With the end papers glued down and the pull outs tipped in the book is complete. Marlene did a really wonderful job of prepping our material and guiding us through the process.



I’m not sure why but every once and awhile I get the urge to make Madeleines. Maybe it’s because on a whim years ago I bought a Madeleine pan and now feel obliged to use it. Maybe it’s their simple elegance, distinctive shell shape and comforting buttery flavour. The ingredients are very basic – eggs, flour, sugar and butter. Sometimes flavoured with lemon zest, honey, rosewater or nuts. They should be light, moist and come out of the oven slightly golden and crispy around the edges with a hump on their backs.

I’ve made Julia’s straight forward version (very nice), tried out a some what clinical recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (also very nice), and eaten the ones from Starbuck’s (like eating a sponge but not of the cake variety). My latest version is Anne Willan’s recipe from her oh so beautiful book The Country Cooking of France. The batter had to chill for 2 hours (ideally 8) and came out of the fridge really stiff, almost like a dough, I was a bit dubious but they baked up nicely. I didn’t bother with Anne’s finicky instructions to butter the pan twice and was paid back with Madeleines that stuck to the pan and are browner than I like. After some serious tasting I think I have to stand by Julia’s recipe.

I’ve tried several times to read Remebrance of Things Past where Proust elevates the simple Madeleine to a literary legend but it sits on my shelf with a book mark firmly stuck at page 20. Sorry Marcel I just don’t get it, but please pass the Madeleines.

Woven and Stitched Spine Workshop

For the last two Saturdays I’ve been attending a workshop put on by the CBBAG – Southwestern Chapter in London, ON. Our instructor, Jan Taylor started us off with a buttonhole book structure (purple cover). This fun book doesn’t require any gluing and when finished the pages lie completely flat. We used a waxed linen thread for the buttonhole stitching that appears on the outside of the spine and it really helped to hold the stitches in place. This exposed stitching could be decorated with beads, buttons or even provide a frame work for some weaving – endless possibilities. The next book (green cover) was a Hedi Kyle structure using Tyvek tapes and St. Armand papers. To add some colour we experimented with Inktense Watercolor Pencils on the Tyvek tapes which created quite a nice, almost parchment looking effect. Next we sewed the tapes into a text block made up of nine signatures. I changed up the cover and trimmed it to include a tab that slipped under the decorative spine paper.

First up the following week Jan demonstrated a variation on the buttonhole book making the cover out of more substantial matte board. We all brought in different material to cover the boards, I used some of my marbled paper. After trimming the boards and covering material we pasted it together and once dried we sewed in the sections as per our first model. Next we tackled another Hedi Kyle structure that features an interlocking spine (yellow and blue cover). The cover is made up of two sheets that have been folded and cut in a way that the resulting tabs interlock and a tape (we used Tyvek) could be threaded between them to connect them and make a spine. The text block was an accordion fold that had corresponding cuts made into it which were then also was threaded to the cover. I got quite confused prepping the covers but with encouragement from Jan it all started to make sense and as many in the class quoted “all will be revealed” and in the end it was!

Christmas sweater delivered

I picked up this yarn and pattern kit at the Woodstock Fleece Festival from Linda’s Craftique booth. The pattern is “Whisper Cardigan” designed by Linda Benne, the yarn is Zambezi (kid mohair and silk lace weight) by Fleece Artist. I really liked the flowing design and the construction was so simple – basically a large rectangle with only two small shoulder seams. The yarn comes in amazing colourways and after much debate I chose “Boreal” for my sister’s Christmas present. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Journal making experiment in progress

I’ve been experimenting with some different journal forms that are fun to make and use my marbled paper. The covers are .125″ binders board covered in marbled paper with a book cloth spine. The interior is made up of one, 60 page signature which includes a title page that I design using a variety of vintage illustrations.


Kanzashi flowers

I’m making these fun little flowers to pin on a lapel or where ever a bit of whimsy is required. Inspiration and very helpful instructions came from a book called Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland. I’m going to be on the hunt now for unusual buttons and fabric with tiny patterns.

Something about bags

I’m in the sewing mood and pulled out a project that I started ages ago and never finished. Love the handles, love the fabric – I just have to figure out how to attach them!

I made this simple butterfly bag to carry my lunch and what have you. I really like how it turned out but it’s it a tad small so it’s on my to do list to make a bigger version.