Five favourite posts of January

1. One of my favourite blogs is The Jealous Curator. I have seen more interesting art on this site than anywhere else and I love her tag-line “Damn. I wish I thought of that.” Love this work by Nicole Crock.

2. Chocolate espresso cinnamon rolls? Yes, please! Here on Joy the Baker.

3. Micahel Grab’s precarious bridges and balancing rocks on Colossal just make me happy. Period.

4. Have a look at this wonderful transformation of a home in Nova Scotia on Design Sponge.

5. Now this is just too cool –3D printed vases featuring multiple profiles. No, I can’t explain it… you have to see it.

Flowers January

Annotated books | Annotated Books

old book

When I lived in Halifax I spent many afternoons at Schooner Books doing “graphic design research” but really avoiding schoolwork. There is nothing like the smell of old books. Did you know that particular blend of scents is caused by the breakdown of the cellulose and lignin in the paper as it ages?

Old and just older books are sometimes not only interesting for what’s printed on the page but for what readers have added to the page. I am always delighted to find handwritten notes in the margins of books. Reading is such a solitary pastime that it’s fascinating to me to stumble across an insight into what someone else was thinking when they read a particular passage.  If there are drawings as well as notes? Well, that’s just a bonus.

Cabinet legs

annotated book

My favourite annotated book is one my husband inherited from his family. They were furniture and cabinetmakers and this was a book they had in the office as reference. It is a large picture book titled Furniture in England and was published in 1924. It’s very well-worn and in pretty shabby shape but the notes and drawings are wonderful. You can see where the craftsmen and designers used the photos as a jumping-off point to their own work.

Table legs

Furniture book drawings

The most precious form of annotation, in my opinion, are the notes found in old cookbooks. I love the extra instructions, the changes and the little asides that you can find. That’s why I constantly make notes in my favourite cookbooks – maybe some day someone will find them in a used bookstore.

There is a fascinating virtual research project called Annotated Books Online that is a wonderful resource for significant literary works that have been annotated. For example, they have a scan of Martin Luther’s annotated copy of the New Testament. Have a look here.

Find Schooner Books here.

Natural sisal bowl | Sisal rope bowl

Sisal bowl

I have been searching for years for the perfect food basket but everything was either too big, too small or too mass produced. I couldn’t find one that was just right so I decided to make my own. That’s usually why I start these projects.

A simple roll of 100% sisal rope from the hardware store (all natural and biodegradable), a hot glue gun, some fine twine and some sort of vessel for a shape reference were the only supplies.

sisal bowl supplies

Because the sisal rope will fray very easily I finished the ends by wrapping them with a fine twine.

finished end of sisal rope

Starting with the bowl upside down I simply coiled it around and hot glued it in place. Make sure that you don’t get too much glue on the bowl itself because it can be extremely hard to get the mold out once the glue cools. Another option would be to constantly move the glass bowl slightly so that the glue doesn’t stick.

Sisal bowl process

Continue wrapping and glueing until you come to the centre where you will tie off the end again so it won’t unravel.

Bottom sisal bowl

The finished bowl is all-natural, homemade and ready to hold fruit, bread or anything else you can come up with. Simple and natural.

Sisal bowl final
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