My first hand-bound notebook

hand-stitched notebook with cardboard cover

Last night, I learned it's not that hard to bind a book and make it look halfway decent. With just a few sheets of notepaper, glue, needle & thread, and scrap cardboard from an old tea box, I was able to assemble a tiny notebook in about half an hour.

five-hole pamphlet stitch binding

My instructions came from Bookcraft by Heather Weston, but the process is simple enough to figure out, then combine with this tutorial for a 5-hole pamphlet stitch.

cardboard cover scrapped from a box of tea

Now, after borrowing from the book gods to make a box, I have helped the box gods pay their dues in turn. Happy making!

The best thank you letter

the best online shopping thank you letter ever

I received the best thank you letter today from a stationery shop in Japan. I bought an adjustable 6-hole punch from them via Rakuten. I love that the president hand-signed my letter. I feel someone with that level of commitment must certainly have written those heartfelt and passionate words.

The hole punch is damn nice. It's heavy, solid, with a reminder on the underside to oil the hinge once in a while. I got it so I could make stationery for my Filofax, and shall certainly enjoy doing so. I may even do so on Moon.

How great, great indeed! Thank you, Nakagawa-san. Thank you, Stationery Shop Bunkidou!

I made a book box!

book box work in progress

I made a book box! :D

It was easy. But also messy. There were paper shavings all over my desk. The tutorial I followed said to drill the corners, and I wonder if that would have made it a tidier job, but it's not so bad anyway if you have a bin beside you.

The principle is simple - you're basically making papier-mâché out of the pages, then carving up the bulk. It only took a few hours + 30 minutes of drying time every time I applied glue. One could easily start and finish a project like this in an afternoon.

Here's the guide I used, if anyone else wants to try:

book box, closed

book box, open

A little post before bed

partly-composed letter to a new penpal

I am slightly obsessed with paper things, at the moment. And penpalling, and planner stationery. I ordered my first Filofax and wonder if I should worry for my sanity. Maybe when it arrives, I can schedule and budget and plan for not turning into a crazy old lady.

It is way past my bedtime, yet I feel compelled to post. Like it will make me fall asleep quickly and have nice dreams. Who knows, maybe it will. So here are some things...

a little snail

Our worm farm seems to be doubling as a snailery lately. After seeing so many baby slugs and snails that don't look like the gargantuan horrible hungry things they grow up to be, I no longer feel these gastropods are a pest in our garden. They're still not allowed in the veggie bed, but like the worms, are treated as little pooping pets in our ecosystem.

pumpkin seedling

So far so good with my pumpkin seedling. I culled its twin sister, so we are feeding only one plant now. Slowly, the other plants - strawberries, silverbeet and rocket - are being harvested out of that bed, so the pumpkin can take over.

home-grown onion on a home-made pizza

We ate home-grown onion on a home-made pizza the other night. #baketober I have eaten a lot of onion this week, which doesn't generally agree with me. I've not been sleeping well, and my appetite's been average. I wonder if this could be a factor.

grilled barramundi from Village Bar

Was good today, though. For lunch, I ate this grilled barramundi from Village Bar, and it was pretty much amazing.

preparing to make a book box

Finally, to celebrate finishing my last horticulture assignment (for real this time), I'm going to try making a book box. More on that when my eyes aren't trying to close.

Hasta mañana, my friends. Good night.

Simple shakshouka in the oven

baked shakshouka

We usually make shakshouka in a fry pan, then eat with a greasy forehead. This time, since it's #baketober, we made it in the oven.

Cooking patterns here again - similar to the egg bakies, except instead of a solid tart, you eat this like a stew.

Bake at: 180°C

Bake in: Ceramic oven dish - or whatever you don't mind eating out of.

Bake how: Add bite-sized pieces of green capsicum and chorizo. Cover with enough tomato puree to just cover. Dust a layer of cumin and stir through. Crack eggs on top.

Bake for: 15 - 25 mins, depending on your oven and how you like your eggs.

With the chorizo, pick the dry-cured type that doesn't need to be cooked for ages. Feel free to add salty, sour cheese (white cheese, feta, etc.) before the egg, or at the end, once baking is done. We added shredded tasty cheese - not very authentic but it's the best we had.

The awesome flavour comes from the tomato and cumin, but you can add other spices for variety - paprika, mustard and the like. I'd consider coriander and lemon for a lighter flavour over summer, if we bake much at all with the summers here.

This was yummy. Between @niaalist and me, we ate one and a half chorizos, a whole capsicum, most of a bottle of passata and 5 eggs. While dessert was tea and a nibble of brownie. :D This is a well-fed month!

Tea cosy life - Sweet tea

a tea cosy in action

Finally finally finally - my first tea cosy. I call it "Sweet Tea". :)

This uses the "Modern Art" tea cosy base with crocheted embellishments instead of the knitted ones from the pattern. The last time I knitted was 8 years ago. I was obsessed with making scarves, because that's just what happens when you start out. Thought it would be hard to get back into it, but the body seems to remember more than smells and tastes.

flat view of tea cosy

close-up of crocheted zinnia flower

pattern materials list

This piece found its way to my lovely auntie. It's really nice to have people to mail. :)

Pattern Sources: