I am fascinated by bookbinding. I’ve hand bound my own book once before, to celebrate the first year of friendship with my future husband, Nick, and it was a very fun project. I wanted to do something similar to celebrate our first year of marriage, this time with a coptic stitch binding.
Coptic stitch is great for journals and sketchbooks because it allows for the pages to open completely flat. I used a few tutorials I found on Pinterest to help me and it turned out to be very simple and easy to do.
The contents of the book are messages and little digital drawings my husband and I have exchanged over the year in the Couple app (a cute phone app dedicated to enhancing text communication between couples). The drawing feature is very limited but really fun to play around with.
The cover is made from printouts of the early emails Nick wrote to me and one of the first drawings I made for him. The frame around the image is cut from a colorful envelop from one of our wedding cards.
On our anniversary, we read the book together and added little hand written notes on the pages.
I was fortunate enough to go to Japan to celebrate my brother’s wedding this December. It was an unforgettable experience! Japan is beautiful and calming in a special way. Tokyo is a spectacle of human civilization, with such a huge population, imposing tall buildings, gorgeous lights (lots of Christmas lights everywhere), fabulous gardens and plants woven into the urban landscape, and it feels so … peaceful. Wonderful place!
I also was given the great joy of visiting Sendai, a city north of Tokyo. My brother’s new wife’s family lives there and they generously took us to see a few of the treasures of the area, one of which was the Akiu Traditional Crafts Village. There we enjoyed seeing different traditional crafts like weaving, wooden top making (the spinning toys), ornate box making, and kokeshi doll making. Kokeshi are dolls made from wood and traditionally look like this:
The artisans are there in the shop and we got to see him carving some kokeshi with his lathe, wood chips all over the floor! Even more exciting was that the shop had a little workshop area where we could paint our own kokeshi dolls!
Here is mine and Nick’s, my husband’s:
Can you guess which is mine and which is his? Heehee! He was very creative and made a vampire kokeshi. Mine is just a fish obsessed girl. It was so much fun!
We intend to go back to Japan whenever possible. What a wonderful place!
This was such a fun project! Using the bright fantastical colors to make those crazy patterns was very exciting! I love the natural look, too, though so don’t be surprised if you find another anteater come along… Hehe.
I kept reassessing the basic body shape and adding more and more roving (the wool) to bulk him out. Consequently, this is probably the most densely felted piece I’ve ever made. She has a really solid feel and the patterns are so cleanly placed because I had to keep adding more and more layers of roving and each layer added had to redefine the color patterns.
The claws are made from Lumina Clay, which is a type of air drying clay that’s resin based. I added a dab of black watercolor paint to transparent Lumina Clay to make the claws nice and dark. Then I glued the claws to the pipe cleaner “toes” I left exposed on the armature (see the in-progress photo). E6000 is a very good glue for something small and needing a little flex.
You can purchase this Fantastic Anteater in my etsy shop here.
My needle felted wool loris is now up for sale in my etsy shop www.familiaroddlings.esty.com in honor of Slow Loris Awareness Week! $50 of the proceeds will go to The Little Fireface Project to help the loris.
One day while I was dreaming up a children’s story, and feeling particularly obsessed with my pet snails, I was suddenly struck by the image of a monkey with a snail shell on its back.
Let’s back up a minute. Yes, I said “pet snails.” I’ve had an interest in snails since I was twelve years old when I found a small clutch of snail eggs in our garden. The pale soft eggs, each about the size of a whole black pepper seed, just beneath the surface of our damp dark soil fascinated me. I put them, along with a good clump of soil, in a jar with a bit of nylon stocking stretched across the opening. Sometime later, a few tiny baby snails appeared. They were the most delicate and adorable things I had ever seen! Their shells were golden translucent and their eye stalks were short and stubby. The experiment ended badly, unfortunately; my tank-keeping skills left much to be desired and with a rambunctious puppy in the house, the tank proved an inhospitable place for the tiny captives.
Many years later, I decided to recreate the experiment. I did some research and set up a decent snail tank with a plastic lid. Instead of starting with eggs, I put in an adult snail and two adolescents, naming them Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. I enjoyed their company for a couple weeks and then I found a giant clutch of eggs in the tank! Evidently Flora had decided it was a perfect place to start a family. A little later and boy did we have a family! There were tons of tiny baby snails filling up the tank. I counted up to ninety.
So that was what was on my mind that day I started sketching and out came the snonkey, a snail-monkey.
Next time I’ll get to the felting part of the story. Meanwhile, if you’re so inclined, you can view more pics of my pet snails and read more of their story at my deviantArt gallery folder My Pet Snails.