Bookmaking & Birthday Gifts (and an ugly yet delicious cupcake)

I’ve been wanting to blog about my newest favourite creative obsession outlet, but thought it would be better to wait until I had a little more to show you. I wanted to explain the why’s and how’s, give you the soul behind the groove…

But I just can’t wait because it’s so fun!


I am in love with making these notebooks! Don’t you love the unfinished, just raveld enough edges? I think they look so natural. Sometimes I wonder if it’s normal to enjoy sewing into paper so much, because it’s the bee’s knees. I promise a more in-depth post soon, but you know when you’re into something and you just have to share it? This little cupper is actually on its way to a very sweet Birthday Girl. It doesn’t have far to go, but I don’t think it’s going to make it in time. Sigh.

These notebooks have become my birthday gift idea par excellence, and I’m working on a few others right now. I’ve done a pretty good job honoring my Handmade Pledge, and this is a great way for me to send something from the heart and hands. I’ve been using Moleskine (over-priced) and faux-Moleskine (far more reasonable but difficult to find) notebooks, but I’m going to be making my own soon (that’ll be part of the part 2 of this post!).

Rather than typing this post, I should be embroidering this :


It’s going to be for a notebook for my nephew’s birthday. These groovy little carp are from this book :


I bought it last summer when visiting the U.S. I think it’s a great book for embroidery beginners (like me!) because it gives a good explanation of some basic techniques and has some fun project ideas, and though not all of them are really my cup of tea, I’ve enjoyed flipping through the pages for inspiration. I’m excited to use a design from this book for the first time.

I’ll be posting a proper bookmaking W.I.P. soon, promis, juré!

Did you happen to see the whiteout cakes that were taking over the Internet last week? If not you can visit Honey B or Natalia to see how beeeutiful they looked. They got me dreaming of deep, dark chocolate and frosting and since Guppy & I are on vacation, we decided to make some cupcake love…


Clearly not as fancy as it could have been, but very fun to make with Guppy, and even more fun to eat! We just used the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, but I doubled the cocoa (because I’m punk rock like that) and we made a variation on the fluffy buttercream recipe. Betcha want one, too!

Happy Mail ! “I’m just lucky, I guess.”

While were not big on television here at the Fish household, we are movie fans, and we recently acquired the film “George of the Jungle” with “want to spread him on a cracker and eat him cute” Brenden Fraser playing George. Pardon my sexist aside, but yummy.

Guppy loves this movie, and while I’m not going to lend deep socio-cultural significance to a (BLEK!) Disney movie (shudder), I love the zen nature of George and his very Buddhist take on life. Despite spills, loss, separation and other tragedy, George remains true to his Buddha nature. He is cheerful, acknowledges that yes, sometimes the negative does happen, but then something good always happens, too. “George just lucky I guess.” is his refrain, his mantra if you will. While I’m obviously not watching this film in the same way as 3 and 1/2 year old Guppy, I so appreciate his underlining the lucky side of things, though it would be just as easy to highlight all the negative. I also thoroughly enjoy the fact that the protagonist thrives without the infectious encumbrances of Capitalist consummation, and once he and Ursla are finally united, they chose family and freedom in the Jungle rather than Nintendos, MP3 players, cheaply made, inferior quality clothing and all other bounty the free-market economy provides… I do hope they brought some aspirin and penicillin with them, though. You know, because they’re in the jungle and stuff.

Go George.

I’ve been pretty lucky of late as well. No, Monsieur Fish hasn’t taken to weight lifting and parading around in a loin cloth (sigh). I believe the following goodies delivered to my mailbox will illustrate my côté chanceux :


These cute little kitty cats arrived from the sweet Krispycheks, proprietor of the most excellent nom! nom! nom! blog. These little cuties are decorating my sewing area, and I just love them!


My dearest Jumblefriend of Jumbleberry Jam fame has been doing a stellar job de-cluttering her home, and she decided to share some of her many tubes of Vegemite with the blogosphere, i.e.: She had a little giveaway and I won! So excited was I. Monsieur Fish was amused by the Vegemite that traveled from Australia to the United States to France, and the beautiful paper her hand-written note had also traveled an amazing amount : from Tibet to Ireland to the U.S. to France. Wanderlust runs through my veins, now literally!

I’m hooked on this stuff! It is indeed an acquired taste – reminds me a bit of blue cheese in my Omni days. First time I’d tasted it I shuttered, but, oddly found myself wanting more. It’s the same thing here people, but unlike blue cheese it’s cruelty-free and really good for you! I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse, because I needed another favourite something to slather all over a fresh baguette like a hole in the head. My new favourite thing to do with the Vegemite? It is amazing for boosting an anemic gravy – and the B-vitamin goodness… love it!



Here is my ultimate loot from the book exchange Carmen organized. I felt so spoilt, because Carmen included handmade cards along with these great books! She is so talented, and if I lived near her I would be hanging out at her house until she shared all her great handmade card tips with me! They are just beautiful, and it’s not going to be easy to send them off to new homes because I want them for me! Oops, selfish moment there. Ok, all better.

Thank you ladies for the wonderful mail! I’m off to go make myself a little Vegemite tartine with some faux E.B. and baguette. Yum!

Birthday Recap Time, Kids!

Thank you from the bottom of my little vegan heart for all of your love, electronic and virtual well wishes and other forms of birthday cheer. Birthdays are generally a very big deal for us- we normally celebrate “Birthday Girl (or Boy) Week”, but it’s been a bumpy little time here in Fishland, and my birthday was all but brushed under the rug – until some super friends and blogging buddies like YOU came along to make me feel all special and stuff. I won’t blather on, just know that I feel so grateful for you all. (Snif, snif).

It wouldn’t be a birthday without cake, right?


This scrumptious carrot cake from Vegan With A Vengeance has been all over the blogosphere of late. I’m usually a lemon cake or tofu cheese cake kind of gal, but when I saw Virginia’s carrot cake from VWAV last week, I gave into the peer pressure. Know why I’ve never made it? I can’t find vegan cream cheese here, and I didn’t want to make it without “right” frosting! Sillyfish. I opted for an almond & coconut buttercream, which wasn’t too shabby. I added about 1/2 cup crushed pineapple to the cake (because for me, if a carrot cake is sans pineapple, it’s just a wanna-be) and used a little less pineapple juice – it worked out just splendidly!

Now for the gifts!


I asked Monsieur Fish for this Japanese Couture book from Pomodor24 (Highly recommend her! She has a shop on Etsy, too). He seemed incredulous and felt obliged to remind me I don’t read Japanese, but when I insisted that I’d be able to understand the diagrams and patterns, and that many other stitchy folks who lacked the Japanese skillz managed to sew some beautiful dresses from this book so why not me, he did acquiesce (though I didn’t know it! I was indeed a happysurprisedfish when I opened the mail). Look at how beautiful some of these are!



Now I just need to find me some perdy fabric and I will be all over this! That being said, have any of you made anything from this book? Cause, you know, it’s in Japanese! Ahem. I’ll figure it out, duh! (whispers: but you can email me if you’ve made something so I can see it on your blog & bug you with questions, right?). Whew.

And you need these to cut fabric for a new dress, right?


My sweet parents sent me these! They actually came in a few days before my birthday (meaning I’ve been able to use them) and man, they cut through four layers of cordoroy like non-dairy buttah, baby! Just shows you, getting by with any old tool is possible, but using the right tool for the job makes it so much easier!

I also received two very surprise gifts which made me feel so special!

new-crewel1A book, the new crewel : Excuisite Designs in Contemporary Embroidery by Katherine Shaughnessy. I made my way to the mail box thinking I’d find the light bill, but instead was this lovely book sent by my sweet friend Natalia!



My other suprise gift was a book card! Everybody’s favourite Texas Vegan Mum Krys, and her Two Vegan Boys, Arthur and Adam sent me a gift certificate so I can treat myself to one of my very favourite things – a book!

I am so moved by the friendships that have grown out of our little blogging community, and Natalia and Krys, you are both so special to me! And you made me feel special – hey, come on, group hug everyone! Thank you!