A is for Alderney

We are in Oxford, England now, but we spent the first week of our holiday on Alderney in the Channel Islands. 


We have visited twice before. The first visit resulted in an alphabet book featuring our travelling companion, Beeston.




Beeston and I might have chosen some different images for the book if we had been taking the pictures this time. For instance, “Y is for Yellow” might have featured the bright yellow call box next to the vivid blue letter box outside the museum.


And the “P is for Puffin” would definitely have been this picture instead of Beeston with a painted puffin.


The weather was wonderful, with enough mist on one of the days to make things interesting, but most of the time we had sunshine.


Beeston and David and I will be setting off on our tandem bicycle tomorrow. I will try to post from time to time, now that I seem to have figured out how to do so from an iPad mini!


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Friday Night Flicks: Geri’s Game

This will be my last post for a while, unless I can figure out how to post from an iPad Mini, as we will be travelling. We get on a plane later today and like magic (18 hours later) we will be on Alderney in the Channel Islands. We then hop over to England to travel around East Anglia, the Midlands, and the North. Keep an eye out for us on our blue tandem bicycle. I hope our elderly, deaf, and possibly demented cat doesn’t drive the house sitters crazy while we are gone. I promise to bring back bookish stories and pictures.

This video doesn’t have anything to do with books, or stop motion, or alphabets, but it is a lovely short example of the work of Pixar.


Play nicely while I am away.   ; ]

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Sign Post

If you have been reading this blog, you will know that I have a tendency to collect things. The most convenient collection I have — not being a dust accumulater or taking up a lot of space — is my entirely digital collection of signs. I don’t photograph the commercially produced, intentionally cute ones. There is no need. The world is full of signs that are funny unintentionally. Sometimes the humour comes from juxtaposition.

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Friday Night Flicks: Bunny Island

The Easter Bunny is an odd sort of creature. A fertility symbol presumably leftover from pagan celebrations, he/she/it has become attached to one of the major celebrations of Christianity. And he/she/it leaves eggs (another fertility symbol) as gifts. I have always assumed that unlike Santa Claus, who is singular, the Easter Bunny exists in multiples. Now I think I know where they come from. Okunoshima is a small island in the Hiroshima Prefecture of Japan. Once home to chemical factories, it is now a resort with an unusual feature attraction: bunnies. Many, many bunnies.

Hoping the Easter Bunny is good to you this weekend!

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The International Edible Book Festival

April 1st is approaching. As well as being April Fool’s Day, it is the birthday of Brillat-Savarin, author of  Physiologie du goût. In celebration of this date, Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron organised the first International Edible Book Festival. It took place in 2000, and has since spread to many locations around the world. The books below are by Béatrice Coron.  Continue reading

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Friday Night Flicks: Tonlé Clothing

I am always pleased to come across a good new stop motion animation. I am even more pleased when it is a promotion for a good cause. Today’s video made me happy on both counts.


Tonlé is a zero-waste, ethical garment manufacturer based in Cambodia. You can learn more about them on their website.

Have a happy weekend!




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Making Paste Papers

My mother was trained as a teacher. When I was a child, school boards would not hire married women. (Shocked gasp from younger female readers.) The idea was that married women were supported by their husbands and should not be competing with men —possibly married— in the job market. Since my mother specialized in teaching the lower grades, and loved teaching art and music, I had some real advantages over my peers. My sister and I got to do lots of things at home that would otherwise have been restricted to the art room at school. One of those things was making paste paper. Well, my mother called it “finger painting”, but the principals and materials were the same.

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Friday Night Flicks: Paper Marbling

I have never marbled paper, though I long ago helped my grandmother marble old glass jars and bottles using a water-filled bucket and odds and ends of oil-based house paint. (They were a big hit at the church bazaar.) I have always been fascinated by the process, and since I will be posting about another paper decorating technique —paste paper— on Sunday I thought some marbling videos would do nicely for today.

The first video is about the production of marbled papers for the Folio Society. It’s only two and a half minutes so you probably have time for it even if your life is quite busy.


If you have a little more time, the second video (just under thirteen minutes) describes marbling as done at Douglas Cockerell and Son in 1970.


Have a lovely weekend.

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Ecology: an altered book

Ecology is one of the altered books I produced from the Life Nature Library series. I used the entire text block, which I cut into strips and rolled into beads. The beads were sorted into colour groups and sewn free-hand into random shapes. These were then assembled into a long scroll. The work is housed in a clamshell box (25.5 x 10 x 10 cm/10 x 3 7/8 x 3 7/8 in. closed) covered in Japanese hemp paper.

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Friday Night Flicks: A St. Patrick’s Day Porcupine

It’s a very short video again this week (just over a minute) but it comes with a bit of a preamble.

David and I have mixed feelings about porcupines: they are rather sweet in an incredibly dim sort of way, but they have the distressing habit of doing irreparable damage by chewing the bark off our 100 year old Scotch pines. In an attempt to deal with the problem, David has become a porcupine hunter. This involves his arming himself with a long stick and a plastic garbage pail. Ideally, the hunt takes place when there is plenty of snow on the ground, and when there has been a fresh snowfall so that the porcupine is easy to track. When located, the porcupine is prodded off a tree branch (if it can be reached) or out from under a brush pile and scooped up in the garbage pail.

The captured porcupine is then deported to a local nature preserve, where the staff are thrilled to get them. They take student groups out for nature walks and not only are porcupines easy to track, there’s a good chance of actually finding one without having to go too far.

Here’s a picture of a friend releasing one of David’s recent catches.

Here’s a picture of the pointy part.

And here’s a picture of a baby one David captured a couple of summers ago. (Mom was already occupying the garbage pail, so the baby had to make do with a small cardboard box.)

All this is an introduction to tonight’s video. St. Patrick’s Day is coming, when apparently everyone is a little bit Irish: even porcupines.


May your glass be ever full.

May the roof over your head be always strong.

And may you be in heaven

half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

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