handmade and other stories

swannandsmerlin

i am very sleepy but wants this long-delayed post up before i go to bed as i am busiest on Tuesdays. i’m numbering what i want to say because i can’t seem to make coherent paragraphs at the moment.

  1. i did intend to post this 2 weekends ago, but truth be told, i got caught up (again) with my Korean drama. ’nuff said.
  2. i am back from lala-land though (i am convincing myself) and back to binding books again. my eco supplies has arrived finally last week and i’m on the roll folding and pressing paper.
  3. we went cycling last Saturday on the new opened road close to where we live, because the new cycle paths were fantastic. it was brilliant.
  4. my legs felt stronger too; my right knee used to complain after an hour of cycling or so. morning yoga seems to be paying off now. although the last time i was stretching in the living room, the husband commented “i can hear your bones cracking”. ouch. (he’s exaggerating!)
  5. back to the weekend – the weather was absolutely lovely. everyone had their sleeves and hems rolled up in the town centre, big smiles all around. later that evening we would hear someone singing off key from their back garden. too long happy hours.
  6. talking about singing, we have a karaoke machine and the husband brought it out again last Sunday. when he got bored he played a song i sang ages ago which he had recorded (i’m not sure how he got away with it). he rolled laughing from start to finish. i seem to have the knack in hitting all the wrong notes. life is so unfair sometimes.
  7. going back to the weather- it is amazing. is this really happening? i mean, i’m still in Ireland, right? it was so warm even the cats preferred to snooze inside the house today. i popped a Zyrtek (cetirizine) when i woke up this morning and the world is beautiful once again. can’t wait when july is over though.
  8. for someone who didn’t know what to write tonight, this is getting a little bit long. and i wanted to write about the journals! anyhoo, for now, here are pictures of the handmade journals i finished 2 weeks ago. i have more but i haven’t photographed them yet. i am so happy with these!

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again, if you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to contact me. i should write more about the journals next time. i promise.

swannandsmerlin

and lastly, enjoy these dramatic pictures of Tom. isn’t he gorgeous?

i got shredded earlier when i kissed his fluffy stomach. he was grumpy and i forgot it’s only Pippi who allows that.

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thank you for being here. goodnight!

xx Odette

happy weekend!

studio

i was able to finish binding two books this week, despite the aggravations from hay fever. i will post some pictures soon. (of the finished journals, not the aggravations). the typical irish weather has returned though, and i can’t be happier. dark clouds, patchy drizzles and very occasional sunny spells. there is no sarcasm there, honestly. if you’ve ever had pollen allergy, you’d know what i mean.

life is good and i can’t complain today. it’s not perfect of course, what with breathing through the mouth from time to time drying my lips and so forth, but further than that, i am happier. really. as i type, a cat is stretched out on the floor, frozen in a weird acrobatic pose, awaiting some loving. who couldn’t smile with that? i am feeling much better too, so i’m breaking out my tools again and will try to finish some custom orders. on another story, my bicycle is home finally from maintenance work at the Halfords, breaks and transmission working perfectly again. my wonderful husband dragged it home, cycling with one hand his own bike, and dragging mine with the other. you’ve got to give it to the Dutch to work out a system like that. on a wet saturday morning, half an hour cycling each way plus a heavy hilly cycle home. i love my dutchman. he makes really good coffee too, with an old-fashioned coffee percolator. which came all the way from canada. which he won on eBay! so we had our good old Senseo retire already as it can’t obviously keep up with the taste. true story. too much full stops makes me dizzy.

petits tresons
anyways, on to other things, i received a couple of weeks ago i think, Pia‘s newest book – Little Treasures. i am swooning from all the lovely photographs and all the lovely words. it is truly a delight to pore over.

and that’s it for now, thank you for dropping by!  i need to call downstairs for coffee…

pippi

and don’t forget to take Pippi’s advice: have a very relaxing weekend!

xx Odette

Powerscourt House

my MIL was visiting us last month for two weeks, which were glorious days! i was lucky enough to have enjoyed the warmer weather before the pollen count shot up which eventually shot me down with hay fever, but that’s another story. anyways, we took her for a bus trip down to Enniskerry via the south coast of Dublin. The Dublin Bus sightseeing tour is fantastic – great route, reasonably priced and the live commentary from the driver himself is just brilliant! I think our driver was Ciaran then and there was never a dull moment. The south coast is absolutely gorgeous and picturesque and rife with history, but the highlight of the trip i must say is Powerscourt Gardens. the pictures don’t do any justice, i was shooting blindly as the sun was too bright then and with the glare, there’s no way of checking how i’m shooting. but i could care less, as there was so much to take in. i felt all my senses come alive, it was that exciting for me! i could definitely live there. definitely. *daydreaming*

swann&smerlin

daydreaming aside, this is my most favorite person in the world. we stopped over in Bray to breathe in the sea breeze.

swann&smerlin

my husband Kj and the coolest shadow. before the dawn of cheap flights to the continent, Bray was the most popular seaside resort in Ireland.

and that’s all we have for today, as the big cat has just landed in my lap and is making typing very uncomfortable. off for a cup of tea now and i wish you a very lovely day. i might be back later, we’ll see. thank you for dropping by!

p.s. we love comments. :)

xx Odette

handmade journals

bookbinding

i attended a day workshop in Traditional Bookbinding at the National Print Museum last april. we were a small class of 5 and we had a wonderful tutor, Caroline. this particular workshop is offered once a year only and apparently very popular, so if you’re interested and you live in Dublin,  you’d have to book a place early. you can contact them through their website. i highly recommend them!

handmade

since then, i have made a few books already. i am amazed how much work goes into each book, especially handmade ones. from folding, to sewing to gluing to making the cover – so much patience and precision is required that only one who truly loves making books would derive pure pleasure from it. and yes, i love every bit of the process! well, okay, that is not really very honest. cutting the hard boards would be my least favorite part, and mainly because i couldn’t afford to make an error. the measurements have to be very precise, and the cutting even more so. finishing more than 10 books later though has built up my confidence. slow, strong, steady hands are what you need, and a very sharp stanley knife!

the only downside with bookbinding here in ireland is the lack of a proper supplies shop. i have been toying with the idea of stocking supplies for a bookbinding starter kit in my shop. i am not yet very sure how much demand there would be, so we’ll see.

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during our bookbinding workshop, we used a kind of art paper to cover our books. when i got home though, my interests were leaning towards fabric-covered journals and notebooks. i experimented with different kinds of fabrics and have now happily settled with the linen-cotton mix. it’s thick and therefore much easier to work with, it’s got lovely texture, and just feels really nice to the touch.

i’ve had a couple of orders already (thank you!) for my fabric-covered journals/notebooks and one has arrived in the Netherlands last Monday. i couldn’t be happier! i am finishing a few books at the moment, and they will soon be in the shop. in the meantime, if you’re interested to buy one for yourself or as a present, you can leave a comment below or send me an email and i’ll get back to you as soon as i can. your handmade journal will be beautifully packaged and ready to give as a present. there are 2 sizes available at the moment, Small (1/4 of an A4) and Medium (1/2 of an A4) with approximately 160 pages of 100% recycled paper. more details will follow when i have them ready in the shop.

we dragged our old dining table to my little studio upstairs. it’s perfect, holds all my tools and lots of space for drying books and helpful cats. 

studiopartner

have a lovely day.

xx Odette

p.s.

sunny outside with gorgeous blue sky. but i’m praying for rain. to wash away all pollen in the air. yep, still sneezing my way around. O_o

home

swann&smerlin

I left the door open to my flower-less back garden as I sipped my cup of coffee. Wool wash is churning gently in the washing machine. The grass has been cut shortly before the rain came and it smelled good. Pippi is hiding behind my raised flower bed, stalking the birds. Tom is softly snoring on the sofa. We make our own associations based on our individual experiences when we are asked what “home” means to us. My definition has evolved having moved so far from our families. I struggled with it for a while, felt lost. It has been a slow process of discovering what works for me and for our little family, until I realized the most essential component is there already in abundance – LOVE in all its beautiful forms. Inspired, I started working towards the physical comforts and manisfestations of this love. Nothing grand, just simple things like a vase of fresh flowers and lighted candles for dinner. Through the years I’ve slowly made little corners for myself to nurture me, heal me, inspire me. Yes, I’m home. I’ve been home all along.

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[ Our new dining area got a bit of a make-over when we had to replace our tiny fridge with a bigger one - which didn't leave  enough space for the old table. Yay! (I love changes!) Dining table and chairs are from Ikea and cushions are from the Carolyn Donnelly eclectic collection for Dunnes. ]

While I go nurse myself from a really really really really bad hay fever, I leave you with pictures of my babies.

Till next time.

xx Odette

tom

Pippi

and i’m back again

room

it’s always difficult for me to write about something when i’ve been away for so long.

so many things have happened in between – some major, like:

♥ quit my job (sigh…of relief)

♥ rescued and adopted a new kitten (yay!)

pippi{ how she looked like when we took her home }

pippi

{ last february }

and some minor like:

♥  re-doing my craft room (still a work in progress!)

♥ going back to TCD for dutch lessons; taking the dutch language exam last month; passing said exam

i’m feeling a bit bold with my Dutch at the moment, so i decided to do a 2nd state examination this May for a higher niveau. we’ll see how that pans out!

there’s more to tell, but it’s dinner time and i have something good in the oven which i can’t resist myself. (doesn’t happen very often, mind you!) so i’ll leave with a picture of my darling Tom who hangs around wherever i am. asleep, of course.

sleepytom

have a lovely weekend. xx

Cooking with Kale and Garlic

last weekend, i bought a bag of kale from the supermarket with so much apprehensions. why? i’ve only eaten it once as a dried, flavoured snack from the health shop. two, i have absolutely no idea how i’m going to cook it. Kj asked me why my hesitations when there’s youtube! hah, so off the bag of kale to the trolley. i have read a lot about Kale in the past, how it’s packed with super vitamins and exceptional health benefits. some people regularly juice it with apples or even make smoothies with it.

kale and garlic

i spent a good part of my morning yesterday browsing for a simple recipe for Kale. and youtube being the rabbit hole that it is, did not disappoint. i not only found my simple recipe but as well as a great new way to enjoy garlic! i must confess my love affair with garlic, something about its smell when sauteed that takes me back to my parents’ kitchen. whenever i cook with garlic, it takes me closer home. my dad cooks with it all the time. yes, my dad is the best cook in the world, please don’t contradict. :)

anyhoo, this so simple recipe tasted so good we ate our supply of garlic for the next two months in one sitting. i baked two whole bulbs last night and the result was nothing short of divine. it was creamy, smelled wonderful and the taste! you have to taste it yourself to believe. i scattered it over my kale, all of the garlic and it gave such flavour we enjoyed it immensely! we also did spread it over our fried salmon and it was gorgeous.

i’m a little worried how i smell now though. deadly, no doubt.

here’s the youtube video for the roasted garlic:

Roasted garlic (i don’t know how to embed the video)

and our verdict for Kale? we LOVED it! it definitely goes to my small repertoire of weekly dinners.  i eventually made up the recipe myself, ask me in the comments section if you’re interested.

xx Odette

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