Ex Libris: Latin, meaning “from the books of”.
For a while I’ve been aware of bookplates, but never really thought about what they are and what they mean. I’ve seen them for sale on The Literary Gift Company and felt like I needed some.
Then the good old British Museum shared a link on Facebook for this book:
…and it made me investigate more.
Good ol’ Wikipedia says:
“Bookplates typically bear a name, motto, device, coat-of-arms, crest, badge, or any motif that relates to the owner of the book, or is requested by him from the artist or designer.”
Basically, they go in the front of all your books to say “these are MINE!” but in a nicer, more artistic and often very beautiful way.
Did you know there’s a Bookplate Society? You do now. This website makes me realise just how little I know about this topic- therefore, I hereby add ‘Bookplates’ to the ever-growing list of Stuff I Will Read Up On One Day But Don’t Have Time Right Now.
In the meantime, I find myself wanting to make a Craft Fantastic Bookplate, either with the little boat or the mermaid logo. While I’m designing that in my head, check out these absolutely gorgeous examples:
It began with an innocent discussion on snozzcumbers, and ended with this link being emailed round the office from Letters Of Note:
This website is a definite must visit for anyone who likes reading, writing, letters and words.
Here are some of my favourites:
- I Like Words
- Damn You All To Hell
- I Was Ready To Sink Into The Earth With Shame
- The Masked Letter
- Like A Mighty River
On a recent trip to Paris with the husband, I stumbled across L’Art De Rien and instantly fell in love. It helped that they had a “Contes de Grimm” exhibition on at the time, celebrating the bicentenary of the first Brothers Grimm stories.
The inside of the shop was just fabulous- fake grass on the floor and a creepy (in a good way!) woodland feel. And I just loved everything in there! I highly recommend you go to their online shop and check out some of these artists:
And if you’re ever in Paris, stop by, because it’s a great space to look round. Here’s a shot of their window display, when they had an Alice In Wonderland thing going on:
It’s in Montmartre, on rue D’Orsel.
Last year I made these wonderful origami bats to grace the front porch for our Halloween party:
Sadly, this year we’re too busy to do anything other than maybe carve an obligatory pumpkin for the garden, so I thought I’d round up some of the best makes and bakes I’ve found online.
- Eeek! Mini pumpkins
This is so simple but I think it looks great! Check out the how-to here.
- Spider cupcakes
You can easily turn cupcakes into spooky spiders with the help of some liquorice for the legs and candy for the eyes! There are loads of different ideas out there, here are a few of my favourite pictures to help you decorate your own:
- Halloween Up-cycled
Out of all of these great eco-friendly spooky craft projects, I think this plastic skull is my favourite:
There’s a simpler version here using milk cartons. I’m sure you don’t need that fancy schmancy machine.
- Monster Brownies
Something else simple, effective and adaptable! Sometimes all you need is an idea and it can get you going. Check out monster brownies and out here.
Note that we need one, but now everyone has the perfect excuse to buy and eat chocolate. It’s National Chocolate Week! It’s even listed on a website of National Awareness Days. Which means it’s important.
You can visit the Chocolate Week website here for any events happening in your area- there are some good ones!
If you’re feeling in an adventurous mood, why not check out some chocolaty recipes? I’ve picked out some of my favourites to inspire you:
- Chilli Hot Chocolate
A really simple thing to do and totally delicious! Just heat chilli with the milk, so it infuses and you get a nice kick. Here’s a good simple recipe from Waitrose that can easily be adapted to taste.
- Chocolate Fridge Cake
I remember making this a lot at Uni! Melt chocolate, mix with stuff, bung it in the fridge. Job done. Try this one out for size; again, it’s very easy to adapt.
- Classic Chocolate Cake
An essential in any baker’s repertoire- and what better place to start than with this Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe from Nigella.
- Chocolate marshmallow slab
- Chocolate Truffles
The first time I made truffles, I used this recipe from Waitrose- I’ve been hooked on chocolate making ever since!
I’ve been thinking recently about what kind of books to make and decided that maybe it would be a good idea to figure out what kind of book I would want for myself. What is about a book that makes me want it when I see it? It’s most definitely the look of the thing, initially – it will always be the cover that caught my eye – but also the overall look and feel of a book, including the insides and how it’s been put together.
After that all important Google research, I discovered a wonderful world of artist’s books – and a concept that I was familiar with but that for some reason hadn’t registered fully.
Having started to become familiar with bookbinding techniques and thus able to start putting things together by myself, I think I may be almost ready to try my hand at something a bit more… well, a bit more.
This. Book. Is. Awesome. Ok, yes, I’m slightly biased as it’s my book, but still- you have to admit, it’s pretty damn awesome.
When preparing for my (I mean ‘our’, of course) wedding last year freezer_girl got me hooked on the Rock ‘n Roll Bride site. I found it endlessly inspiring and thoroughly refreshing, in a “Oh! Of course, it’s our day, we can do what we want” kind of a way.
Working as I do for a sheet music publisher, I got to thinking how yawn-worthy all the wedding music books we print are- in fact, all wedding music books. They’re full of stiff, traditional music, hymn suggestions and a few token utterly puke-some pop songs.
Ho hum, thought I. What the world needs is a wedding music book that ROCKS. What the world needs is a wedding music book version of the Rock ‘n Roll Bride site; something that people can look through and feel inspired and go “Oh!” at and then go off and plan their own wedding, their own way.
And here it is!
I emailed the lovely Kat, AKA The Rock ‘N Roll Bride, who wrote me a kick-ass intro and was generally great with input and advice. I filled the book with as wide a variety of musical styles as I could- Missy Higgins, The Buzzcocks, Portishead, The Beach Boys, Muse, Alice Cooper… It also contains some fab photos (oh, is that me?! How did that get in there…) and some casual but informative… um… information.
Go check it out: The Rock ‘N’ Roll Guide To Wedding Music– a big chunk of alternative wedding-ness for anyone who isn’t enthused by the idea of walking down the ideal to The Wedding March!
When I was younger, I thought scrapbooking meant literally putting scraps of paper into a book.
In the last few years, I’ve come to think of it as more of a cheesy American thing and all about having notebooks full of stuff and making the pages look fancy and sticking lots of things in them- not just scraps of paper. You can buy kits and everything, to help you scrapbook. This seemed a bit over the top to me and never really appealed; however, I liked the idea of making notebooks or journals for other people to scrapbook in.
I thought I’d start off by doing a bit of research into scrapbooking and the kind of notebooks and papers people wanted to use for it. Inevitably, on my Google travels, a Wikipedia entry popped up and caught my eye.
And ohmyword did it make me want to start scrapbooking. All I had to read was this paragraph and I was HOOKED:
Friendship scrapbook example from approximately 1795 – 1834
The following photographs show some of the pages from a “Memorial of Friendship” scrapbook kept by Anne Wagner, a British woman, between 1795 and 1834. She belonged to the same social circle as the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Anne Wagner’s scrapbook includes pages she created, as well as contributions from friends and relatives. The scrapbook contains handwritten poems, notes left by friends and relatives, and decoupage ephemera like locks of hair, decorative paper clippings, ribbons, and detailed watercolour sketches.
*Squeek!* these pictures make me go all fluttery:
I have come to the realisation that scrapbooking is something that has been missing in my life. I always keep ticket stubs, bits of printed info, articles I find interesting- they’re all in a magazine file, gathering dust. They need a home. They need a scrapbook.
The idea of having friends and relatives contribute I really do like- I can’t think of anything better than having a notebook full of sketches, doodles, pictures, poems and writing from people I know and love. Those who know me be warned!
After the success of my peanut butter cups, I wanted to try more filled candy delights.
As I’d used Wilton Candy Melts for the peanut butter filling, I thought the Wilton website would be a sensible place to start.
I was right.
I have discovered that, really, once you’ve made your little chocolate cup, you can fill it with pretty much anything.
Mmm! Apparently good for serving liqueurs, too. Double mmm.
I have a brilliant idea for making little mini cheesecakes in chocolate cups… yet to test it out but I’ll post about it when I do!