Sugar and Spice and all things nice.

At last, we have a little girl! Our grand-daughter Edie Rose was safely delivered three weeks ago, sorry I have not had time to update my blog.
After two sons and one grand-son, it is an extra special delight to have a little girl in our lives and..... I get to do pink!

Over the last four months I have been illustrating a Christmas gift book. Apart from one or two things it is almost finished, as soon as I get the go ahead from the publisher I will share it with you.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed a lovely bookbinding workshop with Midori Kunikata-Cockram. We tried our hands at Japanese stab binding, we made a Fukuro Tojo - a small notebook with a four hole sewn binding. We also made a Tsbakuro, which is a simple protective case for the book. Midori is a great teacher and has a wealth of knowledge on the art of bookbinding, in particular Japanese bookbinding. You can see more of her work here on her blog.

We used beautiful Japanese papers for the project and learned how to make a "Thread" out of paper using one long strip of tissue paper tightly rolled into a strand. This is used to secure the interior pages before the final binding. The paper "Thread" has to be rolled tightly enough to fit through a small hole made with a bradawl.You can see one of these in the last picture below. This kind of Japanese tissue is incredibly strong and durable and can last hundreds of years, much longer than a linen thread, in fact a good quality Japanese paper thread can last a thousand years! The pages of the book are folded at the fore-edge and are made of a very fine paper and are beautiful to write on, having said that, I have never actually written on mine. The joy being in the creating rather than the using but maybe one day. The book is bound by sewing through pre-prepared holes with a silk thread. There are many decorative stitch patterns to choose from, we did a basic four hole stitch but Midori demonstrated many more. If you click on the picture you will see in more detail, but don't look too closely at my stitching! I made the book with the little blue pattern and red stitching, also a red cover (not shown).

In my next post I shall show you what I have been up to in my latest course, a set of four lessons in woodcut/block printing.

So, 'till then, enjoy the spring.


  1. Congratulations on the new arrival - she's lovely - and I expect to see a doll soon:)

  2. Congratulations, all shiny and PINK, so sweet! Your new book sounds lovely. I've just had to turn a book down, not enough time or money :( really difficult decision, but I feel somewhat relieved. Can't wait to see yours though :)

  3. congratulations on the arrival of your beautiful granddaughter!

  4. Congratulations! You must be thrilled with your lovely new grand daughter. Isn't it wonderful to see Spring arriving aroung here? Not that we've had such a harsh winter as last year but I'm so glad to see some dry sunny weather and all the daffodils on the verges:)

  5. Well no wonder we hadn't heard from you! Congrats on the wee bundle of pink! I'm sure she will be one spoiled little granddaughter (in a good way)!
    Bookbinding has always fascinated me...maybe some day
    I'll take a class. It must be so satisfying to complete such a thing of beauty.
    Have fun with the new baby and all the best to your family Valerie.

  6. Oh Valerie, little Edie Rose is such a beauty! I imagine that your family is going to have such a fine time exploring how much fun delicate shades of pink can be.

    Thank you for the photographs and info, and links to more info, about Midori's workshop. It looks like a fascinating technique, with both traditional and contemporary aspects. I don't think I ever before knew about using tightly, skillfully twisted tissue paper as a sewing medium. I want to know more about this...may have to run my own experiments.


  7. Congratulations on the sweet addition to your family Valerie.

    I used to make artist's books - still do once in a while - I'd love to attend one of Midori Kunikata-Cockram workshops, lucky you!

  8. Congratulations on your new granddaughter.

  9. Congratulations - she looks so sweet.

    Glad you enjoyed the book making.

  10. How wonderful to have a grand daughter and she is beautiful.
    The book making class looks interesting. I will go and look at the website . I have a book given to me with this stitching, from my god daughter bought at Liberty.