Thursday, 29 January 2009


Today I got home from work with a dreadful headache and decided to cheer myself up with a nice spot of printing - our back room was full of late afternoon sunshine and an hour or so with a cup of tea in the company of the Adana seemed like a bright idea...

We've had a few weeks almost completely away from printing of any kind, so today was the first time I'd tried out the new rollers that Jon bought me for Christmas, as well as the sweet perpetual calender I got from ebay a couple of weeks ago (2010 calenders here we come!)

If you look carefully you might spot my mistake - if only I'd noticed at this point!

Here is the Adana with some purple ink splodged all over the ink disc -

And with the ink covering the disc -

The rollers are excellent, and make everything much easier than hand inking - although I did manage to get purple ink all over myself because I kept brushing the ink disc. The rollers also make a very satisfying pattern - hard to get in a photo though.

Here is the finished month - completely and totally backwards - Sunday, Saturday, Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday. Argh! Oh well, that'll teach me to try and do it when I'm distracted about other things instead. Fortunately printing is so therapeutic that my headache was cured enough not to mind (much).
Ah well, I shall go and find solace in a home-made egg custard tart and ponder what kind of engravings I can make Jon do to go with my calender months...

Yet more lovely daffodils, in a bargainous vase from the Habitat sale.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Lock Cottage

We have just got home from a lovely week spent at Lock Cottage, an early 19th century lock keeper's cottage owned by the Landmark Trust on the Birmingham and Worcester canal. We did lots of walking, eating, drinking, reading and sketching - but not a great deal else! Lots of lovely walks up and down the towpath and across the fields, then back to the cottage for tea and a bun in front of a roaring log fire.

We only saw one boat go through the locks outside the cottage, but we did see a fox and lots of ducks, moorhens, fieldfares and redwings.

Who would have thought a holiday near Bromsgrove would be so lovely?

Friday, 16 January 2009

The joy of fusing

Today I had a long list of errands and work I wanted to get done before we have a few days away next week....
Unfortunately I got sucked into rummaging around in the cupboard under the stairs to find some plastic bags after reading this tutorial on Etsy. Once you start fusing, it can become difficult to stop. By lunchtime I had a large pile of pieces of fused plastic bag all ready to be made into exciting things.

So, this afternoon I whipped up a bag with some fused Waitrose and Co-op bags and some black canvas handles. Not perfect by any means, but not bad for a first attempt!

Now it's nearly half past four and I still haven't done anything on my 'to do' list today, but I do have a new and useful bag!

Perhaps even more exciting that fusing plastic bags together are these - Penguin stamps!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

A frosty walk

Today we headed out into the Norfolk countryside for a lovely walk through a very pretty hoar frost. Everything was covered in delicate spines of frost, and the ice in the puddles was over an inch thick (which doesn't take the weight of two people, incidentally).

We parked in Long Stratton and walked along some of the Tas Valley path up to Hapton and then back down to the car through Tharston (which we've visited before when we did the Veteran Tree Survey back in the summer of 2007).

We kept warm with a flask of beef and tomato soup and some cheese straws, and we're now tucked up at home with a mug of hot chocolate with whiskey in it. Just the thing to thaw out.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Gardens and gift tags

It's been cold and foggy here for a couple of days, so we've been keeping warm inside planning what to plant in the garden this spring, and ordering some seeds. At the moment we've got spring greens and chard on the go, with purple sprouting broccoli to look forward to in a few weeks.

But the bulbs are coming up and the lilac is covered in buds so our thoughts are turning towards the spring and summer... This year we're going to branch out with some more interesting varieties that we haven't tried before, such as munchkin squashes, trombomcino courgettes, and golden beetroot. If only we had room for more!

Apart from planning the vegetable garden, we've been busy stamping out sweet little gift tags from some of the pile of printed bits of paper and card in our stash.

I think they look rather fetching with some natural raffia tied onto a present, but I think we'll use them as price labels too.

There's a pack of 10 in our Folksy shop.

A very therapeutic activity for a wintry afternoon!

Wednesday, 7 January 2009


It's cold! Really cold!

But we're keeping warm inside with a plentiful supply of tea (and hearty home-made soup for dinner)...

And some cheerful daffodils to keep our spirits up!

We've also been enjoying some lovely sunsets from the study window during this cold snap .

The car has broken down so Jon can't get to work for a couple of days, so we are spending far too much time on the internet looking for a new car. I'd rather spend the money on the orange sofa we saw in Habitat, but needs must I suppose...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Happy New Year!

We are starting 2009 with lots of ideas about using our Adana prompted by the arrival of these little beauties from Father Christmas....

Rollers!! No more careful hand inking for us! The Adana needs a bit of TLC - the springs for the rollers are a bit stiff from lack of use but hopefully we shall soon be printing with proper rollers and using the ink disc for the very first time. Hurrah!

We are also looking forward to the eventual arrival of the Model press - it might be a few months yet though, because the rollers need recovering and we have to find a home for it here (we need to do a bit of spring cleaning and chucking out first...)

Here is an advert for the Model in a copy of 'British Printer' from the summer of 1902...

The magazine came with the press, and has some beautiful adverts! The other page just visible in this shot is the 'situations vacant' page with various adverts. My favourite is this one -

'Engraver wanted for Artistic American and View work; must be competent man and able to make his own sketches; exceptional opportunity for first class man.'

What about a competent woman?! Although I'm not sure you could call my engraving competent - perhaps Jon could have applied instead of me...

When we were doing the history of our house (built in 1894), we looked up the 1901 census to discover that the occupants were involved in printing and bookbinding too! Here's an extract from the census - click on the image to see it properly.

Harry Webster (aged 19) was a bookbinder, Lionel (aged 18) was an assistant compositor and Grace (aged 16) was a book sewer. We haven't been able to find out anything more about them, but it's quite nice to think that we have our press and type all set out in what was probably their bedroom.

Quite how six people managed in our tiny house I'm not quite sure - sometimes there barely seems room for the two of us!

Anyway, here's some nice decorative type that came with the Model press in a sweet little wooden box. We haven't used it yet - but we're looking forward to testing it out with those new rollers!