handmade and other stories


i am very sleepy but wants this long-delayed post up before i go to bed as i am busiest on Tuesdays. i’m numbering what i want to say because i can’t seem to make coherent paragraphs at the moment.

  1. i did intend to post this 2 weekends ago, but truth be told, i got caught up (again) with my Korean drama. ’nuff said.
  2. i am back from lala-land though (i am convincing myself) and back to binding books again. my eco supplies has arrived finally last week and i’m on the roll folding and pressing paper.
  3. we went cycling last Saturday on the new opened road close to where we live, because the new cycle paths were fantastic. it was brilliant.
  4. my legs felt stronger too; my right knee used to complain after an hour of cycling or so. morning yoga seems to be paying off now. although the last time i was stretching in the living room, the husband commented “i can hear your bones cracking”. ouch. (he’s exaggerating!)
  5. back to the weekend – the weather was absolutely lovely. everyone had their sleeves and hems rolled up in the town centre, big smiles all around. later that evening we would hear someone singing off key from their back garden. too long happy hours.
  6. talking about singing, we have a karaoke machine and the husband brought it out again last Sunday. when he got bored he played a song i sang ages ago which he had recorded (i’m not sure how he got away with it). he rolled laughing from start to finish. i seem to have the knack in hitting all the wrong notes. life is so unfair sometimes.
  7. going back to the weather- it is amazing. is this really happening? i mean, i’m still in Ireland, right? it was so warm even the cats preferred to snooze inside the house today. i popped a Zyrtek (cetirizine) when i woke up this morning and the world is beautiful once again. can’t wait when july is over though.
  8. for someone who didn’t know what to write tonight, this is getting a little bit long. and i wanted to write about the journals! anyhoo, for now, here are pictures of the handmade journals i finished 2 weeks ago. i have more but i haven’t photographed them yet. i am so happy with these!

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again, if you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to contact me. i should write more about the journals next time. i promise.


and lastly, enjoy these dramatic pictures of Tom. isn’t he gorgeous?

i got shredded earlier when i kissed his fluffy stomach. he was grumpy and i forgot it’s only Pippi who allows that.


thank you for being here. goodnight!

xx Odette

handmade journals


i attended a day workshop in Traditional Bookbinding at the National Print Museum last april. we were a small class of 5 and we had a wonderful tutor, Caroline. this particular workshop is offered once a year only and apparently very popular, so if you’re interested and you live in Dublin,  you’d have to book a place early. you can contact them through their website. i highly recommend them!


since then, i have made a few books already. i am amazed how much work goes into each book, especially handmade ones. from folding, to sewing to gluing to making the cover – so much patience and precision is required that only one who truly loves making books would derive pure pleasure from it. and yes, i love every bit of the process! well, okay, that is not really very honest. cutting the hard boards would be my least favorite part, and mainly because i couldn’t afford to make an error. the measurements have to be very precise, and the cutting even more so. finishing more than 10 books later though has built up my confidence. slow, strong, steady hands are what you need, and a very sharp stanley knife!

the only downside with bookbinding here in ireland is the lack of a proper supplies shop. i have been toying with the idea of stocking supplies for a bookbinding starter kit in my shop. i am not yet very sure how much demand there would be, so we’ll see.

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during our bookbinding workshop, we used a kind of art paper to cover our books. when i got home though, my interests were leaning towards fabric-covered journals and notebooks. i experimented with different kinds of fabrics and have now happily settled with the linen-cotton mix. it’s thick and therefore much easier to work with, it’s got lovely texture, and just feels really nice to the touch.

i’ve had a couple of orders already (thank you!) for my fabric-covered journals/notebooks and one has arrived in the Netherlands last Monday. i couldn’t be happier! i am finishing a few books at the moment, and they will soon be in the shop. in the meantime, if you’re interested to buy one for yourself or as a present, you can leave a comment below or send me an email and i’ll get back to you as soon as i can. your handmade journal will be beautifully packaged and ready to give as a present. there are 2 sizes available at the moment, Small (1/4 of an A4) and Medium (1/2 of an A4) with approximately 160 pages of 100% recycled paper. more details will follow when i have them ready in the shop.

we dragged our old dining table to my little studio upstairs. it’s perfect, holds all my tools and lots of space for drying books and helpful cats. 


have a lovely day.

xx Odette


sunny outside with gorgeous blue sky. but i’m praying for rain. to wash away all pollen in the air. yep, still sneezing my way around. O_o

New floral fabric tapes in the shop

I updated the shop yesterday with these lovely floral fabric tapes. Also available at my Etsy shop.

They’re gorgeous for sealing envelopes of your wedding invitations if you’re having a vintage, floral theme.

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Crochet Lace Tapes

I’m delighted to share that these crochet lace tapes are now available in the shop.

They’re available in 2 designs and 4 colours – pink and beige and white and pale pink.

These tapes are lovely for sealing envelopes (wedding invites!), wrapping up packages and even to embellish gift tags or scrapbook pages.

Please check out the swann&smerlin shop for more packaging supplies such as these spools of pink and purple baker’s twines.

If you have inquiries on new and upcoming products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

xx Odette