On Monday this week I was offered a copy of The Architecture Pack by Ron van der Meer and Deyan Sudjic. I accepted with alacrity (and small joyful noises) since, among other things, it is a pop-up book.
The copy now in my possession is the Knopf 1997 edition, though apparently there is a another edition published by Van Der Meer Publishing. Ron van der Meer believes that grown-ups like pop-up books just as much as children do, and he has produced a number of books for adults, including The Architecture Pack. Paul Crompton was the main illustrator, with one graphic created by Tim Dyer. Although van der Meer is a paper engineer himself, the design and paper engineering for this book was done by Mark Hiner and Corina Fletcher.
There is a remarkable amount of information between the covers. To give you some idea of the densely layered structure of the book, here’s a very quick video look at it.
If you can tolerate poor audio and amateur (read ‘shaky’) camera work, there is a 10 minute video of van der Meer going through the book here.
Included in pockets in the back cover are a DIY model of the Rietveld Schröder House which I may build some day in my copious spare time, a Glossary of Architects and Architecture (somewhat out-dated after 20 years), and an audio cassette. I have not listened to the tape, but I do actually own a piece of equipment with which to play it.
There are multiple copies of The Architecture Pack available on the web at the moment. (Many apparently still have the un-built model in the back.) If you are interested in the history of architecture, or love pop-up books, or think the combination wonderful (as I do), I highly recommend this book.
In other book arts news:
There is an interesting and well-illustrated article on the Getty Museum blog about a recent donation of work by Niccolò da Bologna. You can read more about it and look at the fabulous illuminations here.
In knitting news:
I finished test knitting a Valentine-related pattern this week. That is, I have knit one fingerless glove based on a pattern by Mònica Cifuentes.
This is what the originals look like on the pattern page.
It is a long time since I knitted anything with double point needles and I found it more awkward than I remembered. The gauge was a little loose (hence the cropping of the pattern), so the mitten is a bit big for me but it fits David. This probably means I need to knit three more, rather than just one.
I also finished another shawl: this one is tomato red and I may keep it for myself. I didn’t get it washed and blocked in time for this post as I had to rip out and re-knit the cast-off edge. I first used a Russian bind-off, and it didn’t quite have enough stretch for the curve of the edge. (The shawl is arc-shaped.) I searched the internet and found an alternative that does work: Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off.
The shawl has a garter stitch upper portion, and the rest is knit using patterns from The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting by Elizabeth Lovick. I was surprised at how different the two sides of the Bead Pattern look.
I’ll post pictures next week of what it looks like after blocking.
In other news: I have mentioned before that I hate learning experiences. There were two this week, one being the non-stretchy edge on the shawl with the subsequent ripping out and re-knitting. There was another, more stressful one.
We went to a potluck supper on February 2. It was my turn to cook —David and I take turns— and although I usually take a main course to potlucks, I thought it might be nice to make a dessert for a change. I had seen this recipe for Roasted Grape Tart on Pinterest and thought it sounded interesting.
David picked up some Mascarpone cheese and brought it home. It contained citric acid. I am allergic to citric acid. It seemed silly to make a dessert I couldn’t eat, and since I had seen some grape tart recipes that used a custard filling, I decided to do that.
I am a whiz at making wheat starch paste and thought custard is pretty much the same process. Apparently it isn’t, or at least not that day. It took ages to get the custard to thicken. When it was just about thick enough (I was not going to bake the custard, just pour it into the pre-baked pie shell) I remembered the leftover liquid from roasting and marinating the grapes. It tasted wonderful so I thought I would just stir it into the custard. It seems my high school chemistry and previous cooking experience had both momentarily abandoned me.
The juice contained Balsamic vinegar which, although it tastes sweet, is an acid. If you add an acid to milk, or in this case cream and eggs, the mixture will curdle. I learned the term ‘flocculated colloid’ in my high school Chemistry class, and although I like the sound of the phrase, it is not the result you want when making custard.
I whipped together the Mascarpone and cream, took the grape tart as per recipe to the potluck, and did not eat any.
I also did not throw out my flocculated colloid. What? Waste all that cream and egg?! Instead I found a recipe for Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake,
substituted my disaster mixed with some yoghurt for the sour cream, and made this.
I am more of a bread and pastry cook, and hardly ever make cakes, so my technical skills are a little weak, but the cake tasted great.
I managed to give away some of the cake, but David and I ate most of it ourselves. We should not make a habit of this.
The recipe is definitely a keeper, and perhaps I will make it the next time I want to take a dessert to a potluck. I could even add a little Balsamic vinegar —a fig-flavoured one might be especially nice— and the cake would turn out just fine.