Covers and Content

Bookbinding, writings, general creativity

The most beautiful Christmas Candy ever is really easy to make

Okay, let’s not talk about the fact that it’s almost one year since I last posted anything.

Let’s talk about marbling. Mmm, marbling…. and let’s talk about chocolate.

Like so:

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It looks fantastic. And tastes wonderful. And is actually very easy to make.

You’ll need:

200g milk chocolate
60g coconut oil/coconut butter. (If you can’t find it, skip this part, and you’ll have marbled chocolate instead of ice chocolate)
50g white chocolate
50g dark chocolate

Melt milk chocolate and coconut oil and stir them together. Put a piece of parchment paper (that is, baking paper, not actual parchment – since this is mainly a bookbinding blog, I thought I should add that) in a large pan or a tray, anything with a flat bottom. Spread the ice chocolate on the parchment paper.

Before the chocolate hardens, melt the white and the dark chocolate, and use it to make a lot of horizontal lines across the ice chocolate. The white chocolate might be a bit hard to do fine lines with, it usually only want to come off the spoon in big clumps. That’s fine. It’ll be pretty in the end anyways.

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Use the end of a match or something else (I used a large knitting needle) to draw lines across the white and dark chocolate. Draw them pretty close together. Be careful so that the needle or match doesn’t drip chocolate all over your pattern.

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Draw lines from the top left to bottom right, four or five centimeters apart.  Then do the same but from the top right to bottom right. Allow me to illustrate in Paint:

solfjäderLike that. But prettier. Now you have a fan pattern! (Or you could make any other sort of pattern, of course. This is just the prettiest, if you ask me.)

Put the chocolate to cool in the fridge for at least half an hour, and you’re done! Now you just have to take a picture to show me!

 

 

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Artist trading card and lots of plans

This last half year has been very unproductive, as far as bookbinding goes. I still haven’t unpacked my bookbinding stuff. It’s horrible. The only creative things I’ve been able to make are small paper crafts, like a couple of Artist Trading Cards.

 

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But things are happening! My roommate and I just bought a screen-printing kit that’s on it’s way here. We’re going to print t-shirts and fabric and PAPER! Paper that I can hopefully even try to sell. Otherwise I will have far too much paper soon.

I’m also going to hold a workshop with some of my NaNoWriMo participants where they get to bind their own NaNoWriMo books. That is always exciting, to get to see what other people create when they make books.

The first book I’ve made in far too long

…is a cake!

Made for the Thank God It’s Over party that my NaNoWriMo region had. We have this tradition where we each year choose one strange thing that we all try to put in our novels, and this year it was a drunk seagull, hence the title (Adventures of a Drunk Seagull).

 

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Ghost chocolate and other things

So, I work at a chocolate factory. I’m working through a temp agency, so hardly know from week to week when and how much I’ll work. That’s kind of bad, but also kind of good, because I’m also studying creative writing, so the days I did get work, I’d get ahead with my studying.

The last two months I’ve been working full-time, so that plan didn’t really work… That’s also the reason I haven’t had much time for blogging, and no time at all to make books.

As if I didn’t have enough to do, I’m also doing NaNoWriMo, but more about that in some other post.

This is what happens when you’re too stressed at my work: you accidentally put the roll of wrapping paper the wrong way on the machine. I think it looks a bit like ghost chocolate.

This is what happens when you’re too tired after work: you accidentally buy papers for $60

 

Relief work

One of my favourite ways of decorating a cover is with relief patterns. It’s very easy, really. You can either cut out the design in thin cardboard (or heavy paper) and paste it on before covering the boards, or you cut it out in the board itself and peel away as many layers of the cardboard as you want (make sure you don’t go all the way through, though, that would be embarrassing . Or a combination of the two, of course. For letters and suchlike, you can also use thread. I recommend using thinner thread than you think you will need, or it might get too bulky.

Then there’s a secret trick to make it a lot easier and better looking. Because when you’ve put on the cover materials (don’t use too thick book cloth, and remember that if the pasted-on relief design is in another colour then the board itself, it might be visible through light cover materials… my, this was a long parenthesis, I almost lost track of where I… anyway.), the design is of course going to dissappear completely, and you have to track the edges carefully with a bone folder (if the cover material is delicate, put a paper between it and the bone folder to avoid scratches), and trust me, sometimes it’s very hard to find the design. Even though you just made it yourself.

So, after that confusing paragraph… there is a trick to make this easier. Take a piece of sleeping pad, or some other kind of not-to-fluffy foam material. Put it over the covered relief, and put in the press for a short while (about ten seconds will do it). The foam will press down the design, making it much easier for you to just trace the contours. You can also use the foam when you put the finished book in press, to protect the relief.

Ball gown

A ball gown I made for the lovely Stéphanie. Or, rather, that we made together. She drew the first sketches, I made the pattern, cut it and did the fitting, she did all the boring work like hems and long seams and paying for the fabric. The skirt is a full circle, as you see, with a small train that could be ruffled up in the back so she could dance without fear of stepping on it.

A box. Or, wait, four boxes.

 

 

 

 

I was going to make a post about something completely different, but it was harder than I thought to find all the pictures that I wanted. So here is instead a cool box I made. The swirly things are what keeps the lid shut. It’s also posing with three other boxes I made that aren’t nearly as fancy.

Exhibition(ist) books

I just realised that I never showed you the books I made for our college’s exhibition this spring (the one that I made the paper flowers for).

The exhibition was called Nakenchock, one of those made-up-for-headlines words, translating as Naked chock (I don’t know what the headline word would be in English). I made two books for it.

With the first book, I interpreted the title literally. I made a book where the cover could be flipped back to reveal the spine. I stitched it using coptic stitch (I think) and let the chain stitching be like embroidery on the spine. So the picture of the naked woman is made just by placing the holes of the stitching right.

But we also talked about other interpretations of the theme. Nakedness in a more metaphorical sense, showing yourself as you really are. I got the picture in my head of how I tore myself open (just metaphorically, okay) and let all feelings and thoughts show, turning myself inside out. When translated into book form, it became a book where the pages consisted of traditional cover materials – leather and marbled paper – and the boards were covered with printed excerpts from my diary. I printed it in 4 points or something so that it would still look like text, but would be really hard to read. Even so, the secrets were old by then and wouldn’t make sense to anyone that weren’t there at the time, and since none of them lived in Leksand and would see the book, I felt pretty safe about exhibiting it.

Cake! More cake!

So, these are the cakes my friend and I made for our housewarming party last weekend:

Rainbow cake with small marshmallows.

“Fancycake” invented by me: Sponge cake covered with saffron meringue covered with white chocolate truffle covered with dark chocolate and decorated with gold leaf just because I could. My mother’s a vegan, so I made her a fruit salad, but I knew she’d be disappointed if she didn’t get a chance to eat gold, so I put some on top.

Carrot cake with lime and ginger frosting and small marzipan carrots.

Then my flatmate panicked because she thought we wouldn’t have enough cake, and made an apple cake and two kinds of biscuits. It was a nice party.

I am not what I make

As a bookbinder and as a creative person in general, I identify very much with the things I make. They are what gives me my sense of self-worth. In some ways, this is very useful. When the anxiety starts creeping closer, I can usually drive it off by creating something, anything. Writing a poem, sketching a dress, knitting or needlebinding something, anything that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

But it’s an advantage that comes with a rather too high price. As my sense of self is connected to the things that I make, I feel bad as a handicrafter and as a person when I see someone making better books (or any else of “my” crafts) than me. I nearly started crying when the cake I made  for a party yesterday got burned. I didn’t, but not because I realised that it would be a silly and not very productive thing to do, but because the cake turned out awesome in the end. Which was… good, of course, but I really need to start telling myself (and listening to it) : I am not what I make.

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