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Cucumber Soup

Bookbinding, knitting, cooking, breathing

Updated: 2016-09-29T00:50:45.357-07:00




I'm moving!

Well, not in real life, just in blog world.

Why? Just because I feel like it.

Love you!

Leather and London


I think someone needs to invent a camera that uploads wirelessly. Actually, they probably have, so let me rephrase that: someone needs to give me a camera that uploads wirelessly. Oh, the doors that would open for me if only I wasn't held back by my laziness to hook up my camera to my computer via a wire....

So instead of updating you on new things which are documented by photos that are still on my camera, I'll update you on London:

We went to visit the Harmatan Leather Company, where we buy all of our most awesome bookbinding leather. I won't go into details, because really tanneries are kind of gross, but I want to give an idea about the huge amount of leather here

So much leather!

Found this sign. Just needed to share.

And if you're in London, visiting Borough Market is a must. If you like food, it's more or less heaven

See, tomato heaven

I have lots more great Borough Market photos, I'll share later

A long delay....


I didn't mean to disappear for such a long time, really! Stuff came up, bookbinders went on a trip to England, Easter celebrations, and the fact that it is WARM means I can be outside, instead of inside puttering away on the computer.

So I thought I'd talk about organic free range eggs. I never bought them before because I usually buy eggs at CVS and they, surprisingly, don't have a huge selection of eggs (eggs at CVS? Why yes, there are no grocery stores in my area, I buy a lot of food at CVS). But last week I was at Whole Foods (a mile away, so I haven't been going during the winter as much), and I bought some free range eggs. I bought them because I thought it was the humane and healthy thing to do, but I was surprised to find that they taste so much better than regular eggs. It's amazing. I never really even liked eggs that much, but these eggs are fantastic. I don't care if you're interested in organic, or humane, or health, or anything, you should buy these eggs just because they taste so good!

That's all, I hope you enjoy your eggs.

Things in Boston


I love a lot of things about being home in PA. I love trees and open spaces and grass and not being able to hear my neighbors.

But what I love most about Boston are subways. I like Boston a lot for many reasons, but I think that subways are one of the best inventions ever.

On that note, here are some messages I found in the subway:



Also, here is one last photo of winter. We had some wet snow on a warm day a few weeks ago. It stuck to everything and was pretty.

The other day I was walking past this statue on my way yoga. Two guys stopped me and said "Hello, we are visiting from China, who is this man on the horse?" I then tried to very concisely summarize the American Revolution. Finally, my history degree came in useful!



I really want a dog. Really. Sadly, my apartment building doesn’t allow dogs, and I really love my apartment. Also, since I go home via train, I would need to find something to do with Mr. Doggie when I went home. So really it’s not a good idea right now, so for now I just oogle at the pretty puppies that are around my neighborhood.

But then last night I had a dream that I impulsively purchased a baby dachshund from the pet store. Now, I realize that buying pets on impulse and from a pet store are both very bad ideas, but my judgment was a bit impaired – I was asleep. But the dachshund was tiny…. Really really tiny, about the size of my thumb. Pretty much the cutest thing ever, and I could probably have one of them in my apartment. Could someone please invent a dog that’s the size of a hamster??

(image) <---my Pennsylvania dog, Quinn

Now I'm going to go somewhere outside my apartment, because the hallway is being painted and it doesn't smell great.

Also, I've had cereal for breakfast and lunch today. What's for dinner?

What I found....


I found these while walking through Longwood Gardens last year, they're called Buddha Hands (if I remember....)


And then I saw them at Whole Foods the other day. Terrifying. Or maybe delicious.

Finally, a FO. And a Chinese New Year.


A very belated FO, the Slinky Ribs sweater from Custom Knitting – I finished this back in August! This is a great book, and this is a great pattern, and I really like how it turned out. I fell in love with the picture of the sweater in the book so I used the exact same yarn in the same colors with no modifications. Which I guess defeats everything Custom Kitting was trying to teach me…. In other news, I started to repair this book: So much electrical tape!! Do not put electrical tape on your books! Or any type of tape for that matter. On anything. Pressure sensitive tape is a nightmare to conserve, and is probably the number one way to permanently damage your object. If you want something (anything) to last for more than a year or two, stay away from adhesives, especially tape!! Even if it says “archival” on it, that’s a lie, there is no such thing as archival tape. This tape actually came off pretty easily after applying a bit of heat, but it left this gummy mess. I managed to get it all off with a pick up square, but it took a whole long, sticky, disgusting day. And the sad thing is after I removed the tape I found that this book was in very good condition, the covers were still both securely attached to the spine. Why, oh why would someone do this to a perfectly stable book? I might feel strongly about pressure sensitive tape. Moving on....I just got back from a Chinese new year festival – why it happened a week after the new year I can’t say, but it was really great. The dancing dragons visited each business in Chinatown, and if the store was big enough they even went inside! And finally, I just finished making these cookies for a fundraiser tomorrow. Mmmm…. I also made a vegetarian sheperd’s pie yesterday. It’s delicious, I highly recommend! [...]

Thank you,


A dramatic way to describe the weather:


And just over a week later….


We’re having another snow day! With MLK day this past Monday, this week was only 3 days long. It feels wrong to be so excited about this, since I do go to the most fun school ever. But it’s a snow day!!!I have about a million photos to share with you. Are you ready? Okay. This was my street after the snow last week. I love it when it's the sticky kind of snow that stays on trees and buildings. That's really the only time I like snow (except, of course, when it's giving me a snow day). I finally saw James this weekend so I can now show you his Christmas present. I thought it could be a cooking journal or something, and I thought it was really funny. That's the biggest font we have in the bindery. Oh, the hot stamping machine. Also this weekend we went out to dinner and we managed to pay with three generations of $5 bills. Amazing!!I'm almost done repairing this nursery rhyme book, and some of the poems in it are really funny. Like this one. P.S. If you don't get it, you're supposed to replace the pictures with words. Don't worry, you're not the only one who needed directions on how this weird thing worked. I just put this photo album up on Etsy. I freaking love this paper - from Anthropologie! Fishy photo album!I'm also crocheting little hexagons. I have a whole bunch at this point, and hopefully I'll have enough to make a blanket soon because I'm almost out of yarn and I'm tired of it. This is a picture of the blocked version. And this is a picture of the unblocked version. Now I could use some advice on this from people who crochet: Do I really need to be blocking these? Pinning and measuring these little things out takes forever, and once I'm done crocheting all these together I'm just going to end up blocking it again. I'm sure that blocking it before attaching will help the process, but if I don't do it will it end up all wonky since they're sooo scrunched up right now? I probably should have put this up top, I have little faith that I kept anyone's interest for this long. If you're still with me though, 10 points for you!And finally I'm obsessed with crocheting this rag rug. I should have done something to show perspective but it's maybe 2 feet across at this point. I'm making it out of old cut up sheets, and you know what? Cutting up sheets is incredibly annoying and time consuming. But I just can't stop.... Must keep crocheting.... I would like this to go in my living room, but I have a feeling that really soon it's just going to become absurd to keep going. It's getting big enough that one sheet is only giving me two or three rounds, and then I need to cut up another one. I just don't have that many sheets!! [...]



I don’t know what I’ll do when I get a real job someday and they’ll be no more snow days.

This was the view of Boston from my apartment window at 8 this morning


And here it is now. Why is the snow sticking to my screen? I can't see outside any more, it's upsetting.


I’ve been spending my day off writing and preparing things to put up on Etsy. My newest addition is this Quote book. In class we had to do a series of case bindings that included titles. I decided my theme would be punctuation marks, and for all of them all I used paste papers that I made earlier in the year. I hope people like these, I have quite a few very similar to this....



I also hung some pictures on my walls, which is one of my favorite things to do. And I didn’t clean a damn thing. So far, a good day.

The Christmas Post


This Christmas was the year of the book. Last year everyone got knitwear, this year it was books. Since I spend all day in the bindery anyway, this seemed like this best use of my time…. And seeing how stressed out the second years were around Christmas, I doubt I’ll have the time to make so many gifts next year. So books for everyone!!I made a lot of photo albums. I figured they're more functional than a blank book, at least for most people. I did them all as coptics because I thought that would let them all open nice and flat, which it did. I put spacers around each of the signatures (which were just one folio of 20 pt paper) to make room for the photos. Do you see this paper? It came from Anthropologie - they were selling it as wrapping paper. It's actually really nice and handmade and beautiful, and I may have bought an unnecessary amount....I also made about a million little pamphlets. I have some left over that I'm putting up in the shop.German paper star ornaments!! Which don't have much to do with bookbinding, but....A week before break we learned how to make boxes, so I went on a box-making kick. For really, I made eight of them!I made a few more fun things that I haven't had the chance to give away yet, so I'll share them later (I'm talking about you, James). I'm going to start keeping up the shop more, and hopefully posting here more. I spend all day practicing making books, and my bench is being over taken with models - it finally dawned on me that I could actually, you know, sell them. What a crazy idea! [...]



I re-watch the britcoms that run on PBS whenever they’re on, which is every Tuesday night. I’ve seen every single episode of Are You Being Served, Keeping Up Appearances, and As Time Goes By several times, but I still keep watching them. I don’t really know why, I like them but it’s not like I think they’re the best thing ever or anything.

I love trains. Well, I love traveling by train, the trains themselves don’t really interest me.

I walk over a mile to Whole Foods every week to buy yogurt – they’re the closest place with Wallaby Yogurt, mmmmm….

I really like cereal. I could eat it for every meal. I don’t keep any in the apartment because I can’t resist it; seriously, it’s a problem.

I started yoga and I kind of love it, but I spend most of my time falling down and wondering how everyone else is standing on their head. I bought a bright pink yoga mat, with flowers.

Mom wants a black scarf for Christmas. I hate knitting scarves, but I’m doing it. I’m making something like the Foreign Correspondent's scarf; the pattern wouldn’t download right for me so I’m just kind of winging it.

Here's a picture of a gravestones, which is kind of morbid, but I like the flying sculls.




I only like knitting patterns that do not have english translations. It's pretty annoying.

The past 4 months


It's been a very long time since I've uploaded the photos on my camera. In celebration of my upload, I'm presenting a short pictorial history of the past 4 months:

Found this at work (well, my old work now).

This is now finished, and it fits way better than it did in this photo.


My bench - I took this awhile ago, it looks way more awesome now.... And by awesome I mean lived in.... And my lived in I mean messy....

Repairing this funny little book.

More recently I celebrated Halloween by wondering how Paul Revere turned into the Headless Horseman

And sewing a curtain.



So, its been awhile. But it was time well spent – I transported myself to Boston, where I now live in a cute little apartment and go to a cute little school. No, they wouldn’t like me calling it that…. A very serious little school. Where we bind books all day, eat baked goods, and wonder what that noise is. The bookbinding program is on the same floor as the piano tuning program, over the carpentry program and under the violin making program, so we really do spend a significant part of our day trying to guess what that weird noise/rattling/humming/bone-shaking vibration might be.

So far so good, and I’ve been knitting – I’ll get to that later in the week, can’t share everything with you right away can I?



Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

squash problems


Garden update. Again. Apparently this is a gardening blog now, who knew?

So, I’m confused. I believe that I have both pattypan squash plants and butternut squash plants in my garden (yeah, I think that’s right but at this point no one can be sure).

If you don’t know, pattypans look like this:


And butternuts look like this:


And my squash looks like this:


Could they be interbreeding? Is that possible? Or could my pattypans just be weird shaped? So, they’re white like a pattypan, kind of spikey like a pattypan, and taste like a pattypan, but they’re shaped like a butternut and grew off of what I thought was a butternut plant…. Interesting….

In other news, mini red bell peppers!!

garden update


I didn’t realize how big the butternut and pattypan squash plants were going to get. They’re pretty much invading the squash corner of the garden. But I have to say, I am impressed with myself. I started these from seeds – last year everything I started from seed was either destroyed by bugs or looked sad and sickly all summer. This year almost all the squash and cucumber plants I started from seed are still alive, and they all look surprisingly healthy. They even have flowers. I don’t understand it, but I’m not complaining. Also, Turnips! I grew a turnip! Also from seed. And a carrot. I have a lot more still in the garden, we decided these weren’t quite big enough yet so we would leave the rest in for awhile longer. Mini red pepper plants (not from seed. I’m not that awesome). Bush beans, pole beans, wax beans, purple string beans, and peas! Peas! I was pretty excited about these. Green peppers! [...]

Way Better than Regular Yellow Rice


This weekend Paul moved apartments. In short, it was really hot and everything was really heavy. But that’s not what I want to talk to you about. I want to tell you about the dinner I made Monday night. We had no real food in the apartment (due to the whole moving thing), and we were tired of leftover pizza, so I used what we had and I think it turned out pretty good. I call it “Way Better than Regular Yellow Rice.” First, make some Goya Yellow Rice. I’m not going to tell you how to do that, it’s on the box. When it’s finished get out a big ol’ frying pan and combine cooked rice Olive Oil! (A tablespoon or two. Or more! More can't hurt!) A can of Great Northern Beans (drained and rinsed) A can of Chickpeas (my favorite food ever) (also drain and rise) A can of petite diced tomatoes (drain) One Yellow Onion (diced) A liberal amount of garlic (we use this jar stuff, I have no idea what amount this translates into in real-garlic world. But I always use a LOT of garlic. So use whatever you consider a lot) Ground pepper, cumin, and paprika (I don’t measure things, I can’t say how much. A lot, I use a lot of most everything) Okay, so that’s all in the frying pan, right? Now heat it up. Consume. Feeds 4 as a main dish, or 2 and one Paul. As a side dish it probably feeds 100. [...]

Balls and beans. And bobby pins.


Over Memorial Day I made this salad to go with our cookout.


Black Bean and Couscous Salad (or, as my 2 year old cousin calls it, “balls and beans”)

It was fantastic. And I don't like vinegar OR cilantro, but it was still good. We forgot to buy corn so I used tomatoes instead, and it was a good decision.

Bobby pins in the shop! These were so fun to make, I started making them and couldn't stop. I have about a ton already made sitting in a box, waiting for a home. I think the white ones would be great for a wedding.


not doing math homework


(image) (image)

All I can say so that the Summerfest craft show was a complete FAIL. I sold one whole thing! But I can say that I did better than most of the tables around me – turnout was horrible. I think I saw about 40 people who were not other vendors or volunteers. So in a way that makes me feel better, I failed due to circumstances, not because people don’t like my things. But a good turn out would have been nice– then I would at least know if people liked my stuff and if I should try again! Maybe I’ll look for another show around Christmas, but I’m taking a break for now. I’ve moved back to knitting:

Hopefully, someday, this blob will turn into this sweater. (Slinky Ribs)


Also, it’s very hot. Quinn doesn’t like it one bit.




My favorite scene from my favorite show

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Good idea?


If only Quinn's hair was longer than 2 inches.... If only....

newspaper and glue


Decoupage may have taken over my life. Maybe. Picture frames, wine bottles, spaghetti sauce jars....


(in the shop)

I got a rejection letter yesterday that stated "We enjoyed meeting you and really appreciate you taking the time to interview for the position." Except I never interviewed with them.... Well, I didn't get the job but they did make me laugh. This morning I got a message from them telling me they had sent me the wrong message, and here's the REAL rejection letter - really, was that necessary?

Happy Easter everyone!


And if you don't do Easter, then happy Sunday!

Most of my family was busy this year, so instead of our normal Easter festivities my parents and I went to Longwood Gardens, which was full of flowers and sunshine and children filled with sugar and whatnot.

In other news, I made a book out of a seed packet (In the shop)

I really liked how it turned out so I went back to the store and bough a million more seed packets (or 30 or so). It's not like these are available all year long, I needed to stock up (or that's what I said to myself)! So, anyone want some extra seeds?