Paper Cutting

Since graduating, I’ve had a lot more time on my hands and this blog is partially a result of that free time. The other way I’ve filled my free time is to undertake the new hobby of making things with a letterpress. To compliment this skill I’ve also decided to try my hand at paper cutting. I’ve seen some really amazing paper cutting work over the years and really appreciate the time and skill necessary to make things like this; unfortunately, I don’t do it justice…at least not yet anyway.

However, one of the many inspirations that I’ve sought to help me endure my many mistakes in this undertaking has been the book Paper Cutting which is aptly subtitled “Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft.” There is some truly awe-inspiring artwork contained within these pages. Some of my favorites include Su Blackwell’s “altered book” paper cutting. It’s stunning what she can accomplish with the pages of a book…but I do have mixed feelings about abusing books in such a manner. I am also blown away by Hina Aoyama’s incredibly delicate lace-like designs that bring together nature and fantastical images. I doubt my skill will ever be anywhere near her’s, but I’ve decided to start collecting old lace to try to mimic the patterns there. How neat would it be to overlay paper cut into lace designs on top of the letterpress cards I’m making? I’m really excited about this, so now I just need to steady my hands and dig deep for patience.

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Codex: The Journal of Typography

So my interest in books should come as no surprise, but having spent a very long time being told without explanation that I must type everything formal in Times New Roman font size 11 or 12 (depending on the teacher/professor), I have added to my list of interests: typography. The jump from reading and staring at certain types all day to learning more about the design of types is not a big one, but sometimes it feels like a completely different world. As I am slowly picking up supplies and learning how to use my homemade letterpress, I am becoming increasingly fascinated by the design of letters and how those designs can function in so many vastly different ways depending on the medium in which they are used.

To help me explore this new (and yet very old) world of typography, I ordered issue one of Codex: The Journal of Typography. There is a blog, a link to the publisher’s original blog ( which is one of the best typography resources available in any medium, and a place to order issues of Codex which is a quarterly journal. I’m beginning to suspect that I am becoming a quarterly-junky of sorts. Waiting on Wilder, Lucky Peach, and now Codex too is going to result in me getting way too many journals all at the same time! I suspect I’ll have to start scheduling my days off around when these are arriving!

What I wanted to point out about Codex though, is that it takes the art of writing to a whole new level. Instead of the traditional black and white print versus color electronic media, this blends the traditional black and white color scheme of print and bolder graphics with colors. Just flipping through this journal gives me a sense of electronic media and print media interacting in a great way. Instead of letting the art of type fall to the wayside as certain texts become the standard fare and the internet makes the creation of text a fun past time instead of a skill that people use to make a living, this joins the two and discusses the future of typography with a respectful nod to its history.

Also, I absolutely love the way they designed the cover for issue one. It’s beautiful and classic, while looking sharp and contemporary all the same. I highly recommend taking a look at the blogs if not ordering a copy for yourself here. I hope you enjoy!

Wilder Quarterly

The best thing about gardening (if you’re doing it right) is that it creates beauty, self sufficiency, and food all at the same time! Wilder Quarterly is an awesome new quarterly about gardening in a contemporary and often urban setting. The themes of fermentation that I’ve seen in the Lucky Peach quarterly, food magazines, and recent literary journals also made it in to the fall issue of Wilder. While Wilder has a bunch of unique things to say and share with the world, it also is keeping up with the latest movements in the food world which makes this quarterly so well balanced with my interests that it is amazing.

I read through the first issue as soon as it came and loved it. Unfortunately it was as close to winter as we get in South Carolina so it was no time to be running outside to start a garden, but I was, none-the-less, quite inspired. What’s even better is that this quarterly donates part of their subscription price to the Fresh Air Fund, helping to provide a free summer camp to children from underprivileged communities. How can you go wrong with that?!

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Chicken and Dumplings

My father gave me a gift subscription to Bon Appetit and I’ve been loving it! The February 2012 issue was all about southern food and it got me thinking about how little I’ve learned about southern cuisine over the past 5 years. I wouldn’t go so far as to say chicken and dumplings is a southern recipe, but dumplings, like biscuits, tend to make me think of southern cooking.

To that end, I decided it would be a good idea to try out the Chicken and Dumplings recipe that appeared in this issue of Bon Appetit. Let me start by saying it is delicious. Let me follow that by saying it is super easy! The dumplings are a ricotta-based gnocchi and are packed full of taste but remain really light. Just dump the ingredients in a bowl, mix and chill. Nutmeg makes it such an interesting flavor. The chicken and gravy portion of the recipe is equally easy. Cook the chicken in the chicken broth, remove, make a roux of butter and flour, whisk it in to the broth, add the chopped vegetables, shred the meat and add it back to the pot. Viola a hearty, flavorful, healthy dinner!

Two of my dear friends from college came over to help me eat the large pot of this, and their were claims that this was the best meal they’d had in a long time. It doesn’t get better than easy to make, extremely delicious, and healthy too!

You can find the recipe on the Bon Appetit site, here. I made this again within the week and so far everyone who’s tried it has asked for the recipe. Now, I’ll just refer them here. I do hope you enjoy this though; it’s perfect for both a cold wintery night and a pleasant summer evening. This recipe is going down as one of my fall backs for many many years to come.

"Blackout" and "All Clear" by Connie Willis

While wondering around the bookstore with my boyfriend, I found myself in the Sci-Fi and Fantasy section. This is not normally where I dwell in bookstores, but occasionally I peruse sections other than Cookbooks, Fiction/Literature, and Poetry and I am so glad this was one of those occasions. I was struck by the planes dropping bombs and St. Paul’s spire clouded in smoke pictured on the cover of Blackout. When I read “Oxford 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being send to the past” and “World War II” on the back cover, I was sold. I almost would have left at that, but I was so excited about it that my boyfriend, thank goodness, asked if there were any more books in the series. Low and behold, there was the Hugo and Nebula award-winning All Clear too.

I try to keep my obsession with historical fiction under wraps because, honestly, most of it isn’t that good…but I am consoled by telling myself that having a degree in English literature just gives me a more critical sense of high and low literature. Either way, now that the cats out of the bag, I am prepared to gush about these two books. They are phenomenal. It has been quite a while since I found myself so absorbed with a book that I forget to cook dinner and forego sleep just so I can keep reading. I read just about everything I can get my hands on, but this was quite a treat.

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