There’s a unique satisfaction, contentment and happiness to be found in crafting – at least for me. I’ve spent 5 hours today (interrupted by dinner) working on a bookmark, using various parchment craft techniques, and i’m tired, but very content and satisfied. well… mostly. I made one boo-boo which means i can’t give this bookmark away as a gift, but that’s okay, i’ll keep it for me. That apart, i’m really pleased at my first real attempt to do something like this, especially given that i didn’t have some of the required tools – had to make do with what i had, and i thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of it – I’m looking forward to doing a lot more.

My first attempt at anything like this that has worked at all - i've tried a few times before but the result was always dreadful. This is much better.

The original pattern came from a book called “Pergamano Parchment Craft” by Martha Ospina, and can be found on page 46. You can see why i’m quite pleased with my version, although, as i said, there are mistakes.

The original - the page was glossy, and no matter how i shot it, i kept getting glare off something! This is the best i can do, i'm afraid. still, you can see most of the detail.

Its quite a good book and i’d recommend it to anyone looking to start out in this craft.  Couple close up shots are behind the cut, if you’d like to see. Oh, and the error? see the little crosshatching on the right? in the top section of that, you’ll see that there’s three cut out where there should only have been two. Not my idea – i was happily snipping away when the paper gave where it shouldn’t have and that was the result. This was about 3 hours into making it, and although i was pretty annoyed, i thought, well, now i’ve made a mistake, i can feel free to finish it and if i make another mistake, so what? this actually helped a great deal – for the remaining three hours i just enjoyed the process of crafting and learning and relaxed, a lot.

One of my cousins had a baby girl last week, so i had to do a card to go to that family. I chose to cover some pink card in vellum, which had footprints embossed into the vellum, with a pink bow on as well. I did an envelope to match – photo below. And yes, the address has been blurred out – i don’t think my cousin would want his name and address splurged all over the internet!

card to welcome my cousin's new baby girl to the family

I haven’t posted much about the diet recently. I’m still sticking to it, just not making the huge changes that i was at the beginning of the year. Breakfast is either a cooked breakfast – something like eggs and sausages, or boiled eggs with a ryvita or some burgen bread – or some greek yoghurt with fruit. Lunch is often a salad, or an open sandwich (with Burgen Bread, which is lower in carbs), or even some kind of salad rolls – I’ve experimented with making “sandwiches” with lettuce – or using those red peppers that come in jars, split open, filled with something like cream cheese or tuna mayor and rolled up again (I do like that). Evening meals are much the same as they always were, i’m just avoiding the carbs as much as i can, much as i have been doing. Its boring, but the net effect on my health is remarkable – i haven’t had heartburn in a week, where i used to be popping antacids several times a day – the spots have gone, and i’m still losing weight, although not as fast as i was in early January – I’m settling to 1-2 pounds a week now, but i think that’s better – slow and steady rather than fast, which gives my skin a chance to shrink with me.

Anyway. Here’s one of my lunches: corned beef, avocado & walnut salad. Low-Fat it ain’t, and the traditional nutritionists would probably have (pun unintended) a heart attack. The atkins lot would too – fruit and veg are carbs (all plant matter is full of carbs, when you get right down to it), so they’re forbidden on the atkins diet, i think (happy to be corrected!). But i don’t care. its my lunch and i thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and onion in there too, with a few drops of oliveoil/balsamic vinegar dressing. Absolutely gorgeous.

Corned Beef, avocado and walnut salad. MMMmmmmmm.

With regard to making cards to sell (my last blog post), I’ve given the whole thing a lot of thought and decided not to pursue that route for now. I may still do it at some point – perhaps when the economy is better – but i certainly don’t want to do anything to annoy the benefits people, and i also don’t want to run the risk of destroying the love i have for crafting – I’ve never forgotten Dad saying to me that he used to love cooking before he worked as a chef – and after that, he hated it. I suppose i was looking not just for some validation that my work was good enough to be sold, but also for some kind of motivation to make more things, maybe make things that i don’t really have space for  or anyone to give them to. Having said all that i’m very enamoured of the parchment craft, i found a beautiful photograph the other day of a pair of baby shoes made from it, and even a doll’s evening dress (think barbie, rather than a big floppy dolly, and one that’s not meant for children) which was stunning. There are quite a few projects i want to try, but they all need very specific tools and the tools aren’t cheap, so i can only buy a few at a time. But i’m getting to the point now where i can do some things, and bodge the rest, as you’ve seen above (and below). If you’d like to see some other examples of parchment craft then there’s a member’s gallery at the Pergamano website, and lots on flickr

I’m not sure what to do specifically for my next project – I’ve got some birthdays coming up, for children – another one of my cousins has a boy, who will be 5, i think, and two of Michiel’s nephews also have birthdays (one about the same age as my cousin’s lad, the other a year old) – about a week apart – so i really have to get my skates on for those, as i have to allow about a week for them to get to the netherlands. Will have to pull my thinking cap on for suitable cards for them…

Top half of my bookmark - you can see the mistake really clearly here, right in the middle of the photograph. Those little crosses are created by punching four holes, then snipping between each hole with very special scissors. Yes, painstaking work!

the bottom of the bookmark. Out of shot, at the very base, is a light green tassel.