Oh dear…

It happened. The pile of handmade notebooks and assorted items has reached such a height that I realised I needed to do something before things started to get out of hand!* And so, then, well… this happened.

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Yeah. I set up an Etsy shop. With three items so far it is a little one. The photos need more work and thought, the ‘products’ are on the charming side (read: it’s not factory fare), and I am not a professional salesperson. But I like doing this sort of thing and it harms nobody.

So there ya go. If you want to browse (through the current three listings), go ahead! It’s right here.

 

*I may be overreacting ever so slightly here.

On the binding of books

In my last post here I promised some visuals of my bookbinding. I failed to post them. Hoping to redeem myself, here are some.

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This one is a text block (i.e. the inside of a notebook) I made with lined paper, silver thread and satin ribbons. I put the cover on this today and the whole is drying as I write this, pressed underneath a big pile of books. Like below. I will show the finished book when it is dr

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y.

Yeah I tried to make a bookpress with two planks (actually Ikea cutting boards) but I learned two things from that. 1) Drilling a hole in an exact 90° angle is hard. 2) Cutting boards from Ikea are pre-oiled. So cover your work with something to absorb the oil.

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Heh.

Sorry I cannot get the picture straight. I got this notebook almost right with only some glue stains on the cover. I bought the paper for this one, as well as the linnen, at the bookbinder’s fair in Leiden not so l

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ong ago.

Not a book but a folder for small-scale artwork like aceo’s and postcards. I wanted to try this out. The inside is white with

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black dots.

I made this reporter’s notebook or sketchbook with some of the simple paper that I bought in Japan in 2009. The spine is open. I used coptic stitching. I realised that I prefer a booklet with the spine bound in and not open. My earlier try with coptic stitching was not a huge success either.

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I made this one with a ribbon attached. I liked it very much. I gave it to a friend who gave me back the first edition Graveyard Book that I had accidentally gifted her. Oops!

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Work in progress. There is lots of waiting for things to dry in this game. Which is good because I have another million things to do in my life. Like blog a little now and then. I did not include all of my work here and there is more Instagram but I am sure more will appear here as well. Look forward to hearing from you!

xx

Morning coffee

While we’re at it, doing this DIY & tips for better living (or at least boobs) thing, here’s what I do for coffee.

Cold brew coffee is supposed to be all the rage these days. I wouldn’t know, I am far from hip(ster) in every conceivable way. Which probably makes me hip again but I couldn’t tell you. It’s like being wise: you never know that you were until you’re dead. So anyway, the internet tells me it’s hip and probably happening and has low acidity and full flavours and I don’t know what else. What I know is that it is dead easy to make and that’s how I like it. So there you go.

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Start with this.

You need coarse ground coffee. Not the fine stuff you put in your old-timey percolator but these big grains. Put them in a container of some sort with water in a 1:2 ratio. For example, one cup of coffee grounds to two cups of water. Do this kind of gently so you make sure all the grounds are soaked. Or shake it a few times, works too. (You want to put the cap or lid on for that, just a little tip.) Then cover the opening with cheesecloth or, like I do, with a tea filter. Because I’m tea hipster like that. And then comes the best part: you wait. For about twelve hours. Yes twelve. Just leave it on the counter. That’s it.

Then do this.
Then do this.

So let’s say you made this in the morning: then drip it in the evening. Likewise, soak it in the evening? Drip in the morning. It’s not like this is rocket science. All you need to do with your sleepy head (morning or evening) is put a filter on a jug and pour the water out of your container onto the filter. Don’t pour the grounds after them, you need just the coffee-soaked water, because…

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…this takes forever.

Seriously, forever. So just pour the water in – if you also put the coarse grounds in there it will be even longer. Don’t be tempted to rush this process in any way. Remember: this is lazy coffee making. Spare your energy.

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That’s it.

You’re done. Put this in the fridge. Then in the morning take a splash of this with some syrup if you want, add an ice cube and milk and start your day. A bottle like this will last almost a work week for me but that depends on how much coffee you need in the morning. Otherwise get your lazy bum off the couch in the evening after dinner and put some coffee and water in a bottle or cafetière (i.e. French press, works too!) and leave the dripping till morning. Because life is too short to worry about it for now.

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Her hair, Louisa!

And her petticoat!

My hair is brown, curly and has a mind of its own. When damp it will go frizzy and will not be tamed in any way. I was only really satisfied with a haircut when an afro hairdresser did it – and I really don’t have afro hair. My hair, in line with my overall genetic profile, is about as NW-European as it gets. (The only thing afro about me is probably my taste in music. I don’t really classify friends along ethnic lines – ask them yourself.) And apparently NW-European hair that is not straight or flowing and thick and luscious is an enormous challenge for cosmetics industries to make shampoo for.

Or is it?

Almost all store-bought shampoo has ‘SLS’ in it: Sodium Laures Sulfate. It creates nice foam and makes hair and skin go soft and so-called silky smooth. It also makes my hair give up after a few hours and leave my curls to their own devices so they’ll wilt and sag and disappear into hairbands etc. I mean, that SLS is not nice to my hair. And it is in everything. All the bottles in your local drugstore contain SLS. Seriously. And all it does is make you want to wash your hair again the next day. (A-ha!)

And so, just like with deodorant, I turned yet again to the internet.

I do.
Did I mention?

There is a movement called ‘No poo’ which is not about any kind of phobia but rather about skipping shampoo as a whole. (Would ‘No Sham’ be better?) I didn’t try it, it was too far out for me. I looked further and found this:

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And that, dear readership, is all a girl needs to keep her hair fresh and bouncy and free from limp-inducing chemicals she doesn’t need. In the top jar is baking soda. I scoop two tablespoons of it in the bottom jar and then get in the shower where I dissolve the powder and rinse the whole solution through my hair. That gets rid of the grease.

Then I rinse the big jar out carefully because next I pour in a splash of apple cider vinegar from the bottle. When combined, baking soda and vinegar make a merry exposition of bubbles and foam, see? So the jar needs to be clean first. The vinegar is also topped up with water and then rinsed through my hair too. That makes the hair softer to comb through and gives it a shine.

And that’s it. Granted, you feel a bit like you’re pouring laundry detergent over your head in stage one and salad dressing in stage two. But I make it up with nice soaps and afterwards my hair looks great. Well, as great as it gets for someone with limited time and patience for beauty routines, really. ‘Cause ain’t nobody got time for that.

Next up: great boobs! How to get them, how to keep them. (Yeah, you guessed it.)

Fresh

You think your twenties were/are awkward? B*tch please. Try them with no boobs and whiffy pits. ‘Cause, you know, my awesomenesses were a bit late (they worked all right in the end yeah!) and for some reason all deodorants stopped working on me all of a sudden. I’d stop after just a few hours working and wonder if I’d put any on at all. And I always had, it just didn’t do anything. And that, ladies and gents, is a real bitch if you’re also in the middle of twenty-something existential Angst. It took me ages to find something that worked, Lush, and that cost me an arm and a leg and had so much scented oils in it that eventually it just hurt to put it on. Not ideal. And then… the internet came to my rescue.

I do.
I do.

What I want a deo to do is stop me from being odorously obvious to other people. That’s it. I don’t want to clog any pores ’cause, you know, sweating has a purpose. I don’t need it to give me a nice scent ’cause, you know, I can use perfumes for that. So what I’m looking for is something that cancels any dying-skin-bacteria (i.e. sweat) smells and then lets me go on my merry ways. The following ‘recipe’ is incredibly simple, cheap and one small batch lasts at least two months. BAM!

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What you need.

All readily available. In the Netherlands (where I am) you might not find this brand of baking soda in the supermarket but just go to any toko, Chinese supermarket or Surinam place and they’ll have it. I prefer this brand because the powder is really fine and you want it to be as fine as possible. Coarse grains = not an option. Coconut oil: whatever brand you prefer. You can also use that for your skin, for cooking and baking and a million other things. Cornstarch: again, fine powder is what you need. Other than that: meh.

  • Take 1/4 cup of baking soda.
  • Mix it with 1/4 cup of cornstarch.
  • Mash in coconut oil tablespoon by tablespoon until you get something nice and creamy. Up to 6 tbsp is common but I tend to use less, up to 4 tbsp.
  • That’s it.
Now just put it in a jar.
Now just put it in a jar.

The thing with coconut oil is that it has a very low melting point so if it’s too solid, just keep mashing and it’ll soften. Also it means that when you’re making this when it’s warm, use a little less because it will solidify a little more when the temperature drops. This works the other way too. So better leave it a bit chunky at first. You can always add a bit more coconut oil later if it doesn’t stick. Too much oil and you stand a (small) chance of getting oil on your clothes so I try to limit that.

Every morning after shower or wash, take a small pea sized bit and smear it under the pits. Done! You don’t smell of anything unless you put on a scent yourself. You can add a few drops of essential oil to this recipe if you want. Lemon oil is recommended for its disinfectant properties – if you think you need it, go right ahead. Personally I don’t need to smell of lemons during the day unless I am baking a lemon pie but hey, whatever makes you tick.

Next up will be ‘shampoo’.  Yay! 😉