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!

W.I.P. Wednesday : A Painting Lesson & Some Crewel

I want to learn to paint.

I’ve wanted to learn to paint for a rather long time, actually. I have always admired people who knew how to paint, and I wanted to give it a try. But I was afraid.

For some very confusing reason I had it in my mind that if you weren’t good at something, well, it was better not to do it. Weak attempts at new skills could lead to moments of embarrassment, being ill at ease amongst your classmates or even all out humiliation!

To buffer my feelings of inadequacy, I learned early on to announce to everyone that I was just terrible at art, and only produce half-efforts during my bi-weekly hour of state-required “art class” in grammar school. It’s a known fact that if you tell everyone you lack talent, it’s far less shameful to produce sub-par work, and who knows, you may even impress someone with an accidental success (but because it was surely a fluke so no pressure to re-produce the greatness).

When I entered middle school, Art was no longer required, and I came to terms with this lacunae in my life and manifested my artistic side with ballet, music and writing. Life was good.

Then one day, many years later, I realized I was a closet perfectionist (I literally gasped in horror when I saw the forest for the trees) and that I needed to allow myself make lots of mistakes if I wanted to be happy.

So, I openly admitted I wanted to learn to paint.

Enter my blogging friend Maria Rose from Little Things Are Big. An accomplished artist (check out her work), she generously proposed to teach me to paint. The quirky challenge to this is of course that she is in the United States and I am in France! With the help of her husband, Maria Rose is creating a series of virtual painting classes for me.

We talked about it and agreed these virtual lessons need to be shared with everyone! So here you have my first Painting Lesson. It would be great if you want to join in the fun! Do let us know if you’ll be painting with us. I’m really excited about learning to paint – what fun! I promise I’ll be sharing my progress, however unsophisticated, throughout this little artistic journey.


Here’s a cryptic little peak at what I’m working on from this wonderful book from my friend Natlaia. To be clear, this isn’t technically creweling because I’m not using wool thread, but cotton. I couldn’t wait to start a little something from this book, the patterns are so beautiful. And speaking of beautiful, go take a peek at Natalia’s amazing handiwork – she’s so talented!

If you’d like to be added to the W.I.P. List, please leave me a comment on the W.I.P. page – don’t forget, there’s no obligation to participate every single week! Play along when you’re feeling crafty!