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Print & Pattern 2 Find me in Frankie's "A Little Bit Crafty"

Posts Tagged ‘book’

i finally got my hands on a copy of print and pattern 2 by bowie style today and hoo boy was there some excited squealing in the bookshop. its not the first time i’ve squealed over a good design book, but for once there was genuinely good reason…

… because i’m in it! i am in the book. see the book? see my alphabet series designs? i know, i know.. but i’m so. so. SO excited to be included amongst some of my idols (uh, marimekko, jonathan adler, call me!) there are so many more fab people in here: byGraziela,  ellen giggenbach, beci orpiningela arrhenius, lab partners, and on and on and on it goes.

so run out and grab a copy. you might not be driven to squealing mid bookstore, but its a pretty fantastic and inspiring collection of work and i’m so proud to be part of it. well done, bowie style!


book shopping in tokyo: take that concept in. yes, it was very good and by day one of our trip i was well on my way to a potential excess baggage fee. the bookstore in the basement of the parco department store was heaven, and all of the books i want to show you today came from there. i could have come away with many, many more because the range, and the quality was amazing. but i’m not at all disappointed by what i brought home…

cheerful in 3 1/2 months

“cheerful in 3 1/2 months” is a really amusing book  by Gerard Jansen full of great colorful illustrations by Sue Doeksen.

"try to recreate junk food"

the book provides one tip per day for a 3 and a half month path to cheerfulness. and how could you not be cheerful at suggestions like inventing your own toilet choreography, jumping in a bouncy castle, and my #1 tip – “be your favorite piece of pie”.

50 jeux pour route l'anée illustrated by alain gree

was this for my son? no. no it wasn’t. i’ll just put it on the shelf next to my “worst mother ever” trophy.

sur le chemin

…i mean, sure, he can look at it – while wearing cotton gloves. when he’s 19.
inside the back of the book is a collection of stickers to be used in the various activities through the book. and if you know of a kiddo who would definitely appreciate this book, then you should get it for them because its filled with fabulous alain grée illustrations. and probably a fun way to learn french!

"colorful room of the japan"

“colorful room of the japan” is jam packed with some of the most “colorful room of the japan” you’ll ever see. but wait! there’s more..

goofy grape kitchen
not only rooms “of the japan” but also of the spain, and of the france! and there are some cute crafty decor projects too. i’d really love to tell you more but its all in “the japanese”.

its the... thing.. book! YAY!
so, i have NO idea what this is all about. but its PACKED with adorableness. anyone? leave a comment and enlighten me. it seems to be the inspiration files of a couple of designers – but i could be way off. its full of deers, and pandas so lets all look at some pandas!!

what do you think? should i go back and get some more books? go on. twist my arm!

the old woman who lived in a vinegar bottle

written by rumer godden

illustrated by mairi hedderwick

published by macmillan, london, 1972

this book has been with me since i was little, and its possibly responsible for my love of patchwork. isn’t that a gorgeous cover? i really enjoy the pen and ink illustrations by mairi hedderwick. they evoke the colors and textures of the rugged parts of the UK countryside so well.

aren’t the pebbles and hillside rendered nicely? so washy and soft looking, with that added complexity of the pen lines. but on to the story…

the old woman lives a modest life in her vinegar bottle, which the author explains is most likely a modified oast house which bears a resemblance to old style stoneware vinegar bottles. her cat malt is well fed while she ekes out her existence on bread, trimmings from the butcher and a drop of milk for her tea.

one day while cleaning she finds a sixpence just as the fishing boats are coming to shore. she buys what she can from the fishermen – a small fish but she can’t bring herself to take it home and so she throws it back into the lake. just as she is leaving the fish calls to her. he is a prince and he offers to grant her anything she likes in return for saving his life. the old lady is stunned and thanks the fish but says she doesn’t need anything.

she returns home in a daze before realizing she has nothing to eat. nervously she returns to the lake and asks the fish for “a good hot dinner”. the fish tells her that when she goes home she will find one. at home the table is covered with roast beef and all the trimmings, bread and dessert, with milk and catnip for malt the cat. full from dinner, the old lady falls asleep and awakes later to a clear table and a note reading “another one tomorrow”.

that night a storm batters the vinegar bottle, and the following morning the old lady visits the fish if it would be too much trouble to have a little cottage. the old lady turns to head home and is met with a pretty little cottage. she walks through it in awe, but realizes her old furniture looks shabby and sparse. she once again asks the fish who grants her request. at home, in the new bedroom mirror the old lady sees how plain she looks. she asks the fish for new clothes and she’s immediately in a fresh new dress. at home her wardrobe is stocked with everything she could need. as she eats her dinner that night she realizes she no longer has clothes to work in and she couldn’t possibly get her new clothes dirty. she hurries to the lake and without greeting him, demands a maid.

“‘go home and you will find one’ said the fish. his voice was quiet … and a shade tired.”

at home, the old lady is irritated by the maid’s presence and the lack of her rocking chair. she hears the church bells and decides to go to church to show off her new clothes. but her shoes pinch and so she marches down to the fish to demand transportation. when she finds a cart and pony she sniffs in disdain and stamps back to the lake to explain she wanted a car. a car appears, but the old lady wanted a different car with a chauffeur.

the little fish did not say, “go home and you will find one,” but stood up out of the water on his silver tail. “you used to curtsey to me,” said the little fish. “yesterday you came and said ‘thank you’ before you touched a morsel of the dinner i sent you. that was yesterday, but now! you are a greedy and ungrateful old woman,” said the fish. “go back to your vinegar bottle.

back at the vinegar bottle everything was back to how it had been. the miserable old lady goes back to the lake to apologize and beg the fish’s forgiveness. the fish offered to restore the dinners, and cottage, and clothes, and maid and chauffeur for the repentant old lady, but she insisted that her and malt were best in the vinegar bottle. all they needed was a nice hot sunday dinner.

have we all learned a valuable lesson from the fish? i think i’d be happy with someone magically providing dinner!

wedding by barbara norfleet, a fireside book published by simon and schuster, 1979

today’s bookpile choice is quite different from our usual cute kid’s book fare, but i just had to share  it with you. this book comes from my mother’s collection and despite never being much of a wedding girl, i’ve always enjoyed looking through the photos and wondering about the women behind the veil. i hope you enjoy a peek at this book, and i hope the photographic subjects all live(d) long and happy lives together.

‘wedding’ by barbara norfleet is the expanded catalog of a photography exhibition, ‘the wedding’, that was held in 1976 at the carpenter center for visual arts at harvard university. the exhibition was such a success that the following year it moved to new york’s international center for photography and became one of the most popular shows in the history of the ICP.

click any image to view a larger version.

her veil is very beautiful and worth a close look

double wedding!

what a cute couple! i really love how happy everyone looks, the whole family is so joyful – and the old lady with the little girl has her hair in rollers. can you imagine seeing that in today’s magazine-esque staged wedding photos?! even then it’d no doubt be painfully ironic.

draw your own academic comparison between the last supper print on the wall behind the newly weds and their bounty of wedding swag. i like their satin bedspread. really like this photo, taken at a home rather than a studio. under the benevolent watch of the kennedys.

i find this image quite sad, poor lonely bride on a tarp sheet. her beautiful dress seems at odds with the mess hall she’s standing in, and that lone streamer in the top of the frame doesn’t do much to turn the mood around. do you think she stood there for the whole day while people queued around her for cake? maybe she’s a ghost and its not really her wedding.

this dress is my favorite. she looks young, elegant and modern (for the time). i like the composition, making her look toward the bright future, while those cherub sculptures gaze at her beauty. its a bit hokey, but i like it.

this feels like the collision of two stages of a girl’s life: the horsey ‘tween’ stage, and the bride stage. do they give ribbons for brides?

i love this photo! look, she’s flashing her garter belt! and so many flowers! and her eyes! oh its all so great and like some eastern european vision of americana.

damn hippies. (i kid, i kid, you guys know how much i love damn hippies. if you’d prefer to you could read it like “day-um!! hippies!”)

and lastly let me leave you with this happy, carefree photo of the tossed bouquet.

get your own copy from amazon

(FYI i’m an amazon affiliate, but also a person who thinks you should own interesting books)


graphic,regular feature

today’s bookpile book comes from the incredible collection of ms peta pledger. i couldn’t believe this book when i saw it its just so wholesome and sweet! its a lutheran-based ‘life education’ book. so if you’re still wondering where you came from or why you’re having these strange new feelings, read on! firstly, you should be a natty teen – i’m pretty sure if these preppy kids stripped down they’d be strategically covered by fig leaves.


wonderfully made, by ruth s hummel & w.j. fields
published by concordia publishing house, 1967
purchase a copy from amazon


recipe: take one man (preferably in a suit, shade of lime green not important) and one lady (must have petite waist and be partially transparent when standing by her man).


love brought you to life! also: ovaries. aren’t they neat and tidy looking? i hope mine have a groovy lettered sign like that.


this is where a baby lives. please note more fabulous typography. type like that makes the miracle of birth way better.


as a parent, i must point out that kids don’t produce giant purple, fun, lettering. its mostly shouting which is undetected by the eye, but doubly detected by your rapidly diminishing sense of hearing.


i’m captioning this illustration ‘valley of the doll: the joy of being a mother (or just the joy of those awesome sedatives everyone took in the 60s)’


i have a feeling this poor teen has been put in a coma by that wallpaper. so many roses! as you can see he tried to cover it a bit, but the pennants! they do nothing!


just one more bit of fabulous typography! can you imagine how this book would go down with the ‘youth’ today? i think their irony-meters would fall off!



how we go: lesley anne ivory

today’s vintage children’s book is another early reader. i love how charming the illustrations are. look closely and you’ll notice a subtle texture to the illustrations that reminds me a bit of a subtle version of eric carle’s pictures.







they’re very sweet aren’t they? i love the astronaut! and the picture of the children pretending to fly made me giggle, looks like they’re doing jazz-hands rather than actually trying to fly. and the cowboy appears to be getting about on tippy toes!


TGIF? or maybe its just TGIThursday where you are. either way kick back and take a peek at my week. it was a week spent moving piles of stuff from one room to another. you know when you decided to shift a few things around and then all of a sudden every surface in the house is covered in stuff? thats what my week has been like. and to be honest, its still not all put back. its like a big game of chess, with three rooms getting reorganized at once. i’ve enjoyed unearthing a few forgotten treasures, and in breaks from shifting and sifting i’ve done some baking, and some hardcore ‘sitting down’ too. 7by7: charley harper calendar

i’m really enjoying this month’s page of my charley harper calendar. the colors are so crisp and mid-century! that turquoise and olive green might just be my new favorite color combination and i’ll be sad to turn the page in a couple of weeks. maybe it can go in a frame on may 1st. 7by7: design as art by Bruno Munari

speaking of good design, my current read, ‘design as art’ by bruno munari is really interesting and i highly recommend any designers reading pick up a copy. its thought provoking and inspiring without being overly dry and academic. 7by7: cute scented pens

in amongst the tidying i found these scented pens. i bought them from the sanrio store in melbourne mainly for their packaging, but as soon as i sniffed them i remembered being so excited about ‘smelly pens” in grade 1. smelly pens and stickers were like the currency of the classroom back then! oh and little bitty bins… anyone else remember the small plastic trash-bin-shaped containers? i remember being crushed with disappointment when my dad picked me up from school and told me he had a surprise for me. i was convinced i was getting a bitty bin and immediately worked myself into a frenzy of excitement, but it turned out he’d bought a new car. i was unimpressed! sure it was a surprise, but it was the bad kind (the kind thats not a bitty bin!) man, was i ever a spoiled brat! 7by7: meat chart stickers

another bit of cute i found were these hysterical meat-cut stickers. they’re by ‘mindwave’ a japanese kawaii brand. i don’t know if its a cultural thing, but are kids into meat cuts?! i must be getting old. anyway i thought they were so fabulously bizarre i had to have them, hidden away in a drawer, only to be discovered and amuse me aaaaall over again! 7by7: fresh baked banana cake

so as i mentioned the cleaning frenzy has been interspersed with some domestic activities such as baking. saturday was just me and the kid home so i thought we’d kill time and some over ripe bananas. this cake turned out sooo good. sometimes banana cake is heavy and stodgy but this one turned out really fluffy. i credit any success to the kitchenaid mixer!! 7by7: tomatoes for roasting

and while the oven was going we got to work preparing some roasted tomato soup. these babies got quartered, then bathed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and studded with garlic cloves and left to slow roast. mmm! they made the house smell so good. i pureed them and mixed in some fried onion, herbs, bacon and stock and have enjoyed soup all week. i forget how rewarding a little bit of effort can be. remind me of that next time i’m skipping proper lunch in favor of a creme egg… 7by7: kid art dog

finally, check out this awesome cubist dog picture by my son. i love a dog with angles! its definitely a dog though i’m not sure what breed, i was informed by the artist himself (he’s 3 and a half) that it has an ear, an eye and a nose, so bidding starts at $500. can someone get me the phone number for MOMA?

i hope you have a great weekend wherever you are! anyone got any grand adventures planned? take care and i hope you’ll swing by on monday to check out next week’s vintage etsy finds!


this vintage children’s book comes from my lovely friend peta pledger who was kind enough to share her amazing stash of vintage treasures with me. over the next few months i’ll be showing you some of the gems from her collections, and of course continuing sharing my own favorites.


having a little kid of my own has honed my appreciation for counting and alphabet books. previously i thought they were a bit meh, but now i adore the simplicity of a good ABC or 123 book. i’m a connoisseur of pre-school readers!


what immediately attracted me to this very simple book is the great type and colors. its all so bold and bright, and the icing on the cake is the fact that every page is slightly off-register, meaning the pages moved about during printing so the cyan, magenta, yellow and black don’t line up and you get that trippy kind of 3D effect.


dig the groovy chairs and bells. yeah, so there is no story, and obviously i have a lot less to tell you about this book, so feel free to skim my inane chattering!


how many dollies can you see? and how many dollies come alive at night and eat your precious eye jellies? that’s right! five!


i want all of those mugs. all of them. come into my kitchen, mugs, and i will look after you.


these houses are so cute! if only my neighborhood was filled with houses this colorful. we rent, but i don’t think our owner would mind if we decided to paint the exterior vivid lilac, hot pink and lime green, do you think?


i just love these big chunky numbers! there was a house in our street that had a big number seven in this ‘playbill’ kind of style, and i kept forgetting to take a photo of it until last month… but they’ve replaced the fence and the number is gone!! so let that be a lesson to ye. fascinating story, non?

today’s book pile book is slightly out of style with my regular crazy psychedelic features, but i wanted to share this with you because its fascinating and beautiful in such a different way. this book belonged to my grandmother, who recently gave it to me to share with my son seeing as i enjoyed it so much, growing up.

the grateful crane
direction by kozo shimizu
text by ann herring
published by gakken, 1972

the story is the traditional japanese tale of the grateful crane, or the crane wife as its sometimes known. the illustrations are created with specifically constructed dolls in collage that give the story literal depth as well as creating an aesthetic link to the heritage of the tale. the textures of the rice paper, wood and woven fabric all evoke a very beautiful, very japanese story.

an old man finds a crane caught in a trap. he frees the crane and it flies off joyously beating its wings. later that night the old man and his wife take in a beautiful young lady who claims to have lost her way in the snow. the beautiful girl stays with them and becomes their adopted daughter, whom they call o-tsuru “miss crane” as she’s tall and graceful.

she offers to weave the old couple some fabric, however she insists she must be left alone in the weaving loft. for three days she works tirelessly, and the couple begin to worry for her health. at last she emerges with a bolt of finished brocade. couple are astonished at the fine quality of fabric she’s created. she tells the old couple to sell the cloth.

a merchant comes to see the cloth and tells the couple its the finest cloth he’s ever seen. he pays them in gold, and they are amazed at all the riches they’ve earned.

the village children love o-tsuru, and her kind and cheerful nature have warmed the once lonely house. again she asks to use the loom to weave another bolt of cloth. she reminds the couple not to look, but the old lady’s curiosity gets the better of her, she can’t understand how such beautiful fabric can come from the old loom. she looks in on o-tsuru and finds a crane plucking its feathers and weaving them into the cloth.

suddenly the crane disappears and o-tsuru tells the old couple that she is the crane the old man saved. she thanks them for their care and tells them she must go. she changes back into a crane and flies off into the mountains.

its exciting to think its nearly been a year since i learned to crochet. i never really considered it something i could do, i learned to knit in grade five and promptly forgot everything about it. my most experience with a ball of wool was making a pompom, and crochet just seemed so hard: there were foreign looking hooks and all those fancy lacy stitches that broke my brain. but after picking up pip lincolne’s meet me at mike’s book i felt like maybe i could try it. for once i didn’t have any fear about what the consequences might be, no one need know if i turned out to be the world’s worst ‘hooker’! you don’t have to be a perfect crocheter, in fact a bit of naivete is charming in a wonky handmade afghan granny rug! so i sequestered myself in the corner of the couch, and for one swearing-filled weekend i chained, and i unwound, and i chained again and unwound again. but by sunday night i’d made a little circle that looked like a blind-pull. shelley, the crochet genius at little sparrow helped me past the hurdle of working out how to properly hold my hook, and not even a week after i started learning i’d mastered a basic granny square.

the fruits of my labour: my bedroom throw-rug-in-progress

learning how to make a ‘granny square’ was like the rosetta stone of crochet for me. everything since then has been a variable on those basic stitches that make up the square. i can’t claim to be the world’s best crocheter, but i’m just happy to do it. i have a big problem with trying to attain perfection in just about everything i do and its very liberating to just sit down and muck about with wool. i’ve made a few hats, and a couple of soft toys but my major project is a sort of sampler throw rug for my bed. i’ve mastered a couple of patterns for squares and so now i’m trying out circles, and stars and triangles. i want my rug to look like the crochet equivalent of a patchwork crazy quilt. i love the idea of uneven edges, and each square being a different pattern and texture. what do you think?

keep trying, it will all fit together sooner or later

of course expert advice given in person is invaluable, but not all of us have the luxury of a crochet expert grandma, mother or even a patient craft store owner! so let me share some of the books i’ve used to help me through, and those that are inspiring me to gradually work more difficult patterns.

the book that started it all: meet me at mike’s by pip lincolne

meet me at mike’s: 26 crafty projects
pip lincolne

meet me at mike’s is really your value for money learner crochet book: if you suck at crochet there are a 25 other things to try your hand at! how’s that for self esteem boosting? and if the sewing doesn’t work out, make some pink lamingtons and buck yourself up with a sugar high. pip’s instructions are clear and easy to follow and those photographs of colorful afghans will whet your creative appetite and drive you to master a square so you can make a hundred more in varying colors!

got crochet questions? this book answers them and won’t tell anyone that you didn’t know

the crochet answer book
edie eckman

this would be your one stop shop for crochet trouble shooting and general education on wool etc. it promises “solutions to every problem you’ll ever face and answers to every question you’ll ever ask”. most crochet patterns i’ve seen generally explain what their abbreviations mean, but sometimes our feeble human brains fail and we forget what a half-double-crochet-ending-in-a-pike-followed-by-a-perfect-dismount actually entails. a discreet peek into this book will tell you. it will also explain why your circle is curling up into a yarmulke and how you can fix it, working with ‘challenging yarn’ (the crochet equivalent of having creative differences with your movie director) and many many more questions.

creative blocks banished with mix and matchability!

200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws & afghans
jan eaton

now you’ve mastered the basics and have a strong foundation in granny square 101, i bet you want to try something more don’t you? well as huey lewis told us, its hip to be square and i’ve never doubted the truth in mr lewis‘ theory. so try your hand at the squares in this book and i doubt you’ll end up with a ‘square’ or boring rug design. there’s texture, and interesting design a plenty and if you’re still stuck for ideas this book offers color and layout ideas too. no excuse for not making a rug after seeing this book!

it’s even hipper to move beyond the square. take that, squares!

beyond the square: crochet motifs
edie eckman

and here is the beauty i’m currently working through! if only there was a song about being hip to be things other than squares… but the shapes in this book are so good they don’t need a song. they have moved beyond the square and they speak for themselves. the color/shape coded layouts are very pretty and inspiring, and some of the patterns are mind blowing! if mandelbrot or snowflake patterns interest you, then have a look in this book and imagine the delicate scarves, or embellishments you could create. just thinking about them is making my crochetin‘ hands itch!

are you thinking of learning to crochet or just starting out? if you’re starting and finding it hard i really urge you to keep it up. who knows when that door will unlock and it will all make sense to you and then you can revel in that feeling of cruising through a granny square. to me, crocheting now feels like swimming. its graceful and meditative and of course that insufferable feeling of self satisfaction is pretty unbeatable!