The big move!

Hi folks. We have exciting news for you tonight……

We’ve moved!
(nope, not house, don’t worry Mum :D)

Sam and Phil are now the proud owners of ¬†….

We have loved our little blog space over the past 14 months but, in the last couple of months (thanks to all our lovely readers!) we have somewhat (a lot) out grown him.

So, just like a family who keeps growing and moving on up from their little two bed condo to a proper family home, we decided it was time to embrace the change, bite the bullet and buy our own domain (think of it as our new 3 bed semi-detached :D).

Phil has spent the weekend glued to his laptop coding away, so hopefully the move should be pretty seamless and you shouldn’t have to do anything different. All our follower emails should update automatically, and the old site will keep redirecting you on over to our new casa :D. (In fact, if you check out your browser address, you should have been redirected over there already. Surprise!)

That being said, please bear with us if things are a bit buggy over the next few days . Just like getting used to the boiler and electrics in a new home, it’s taking us a while to get to grips with the new and slightly daunting world of SQL databases and CSS coding (:S !).

Also, if you do notice anything which isn’t working for you please shoot us a line via the usual routes (, twitter or facebook).

Otherwise, its service as usual over here at cookquiltmakeandbake. New domain, slightly new web address, same old Sam and Phil ūüėÄ

So, welcome to our new home! We love you guys ūüėÄ

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Make: Felted Ball Garland

Hey folks, we hope you are all having a lovely restful weekend however you are spending it!

We are mostly catching up with bits and pieces we neglected during our lovely weekend off last week #yikeslaundrymountain #ourcupboardsarebare … oopsy lol, whilst catching bits and pieces of the family movies which start popping on TV at this time of year (it’s The Love Bug at the moment … Phil is very happy :D)

We were also super excited this morning to start gathering supplies for our upcoming¬†Christmas¬†posts. The good news is we have more or less all the supplies in the house already, which is exactly how we like it when it comes to our homemade¬†Christmas. The bad news is that it turns out a sheet of acrylic at the hardware store costs around ¬£35!, so we might have to have a little rethink one of them …. but fear not, we have about 100 more projects up our sleeves (I’m super excited about them, if it was up to me I’d just share them all already … just sayin ūüėÄ )

So, onto¬†today’s¬†post. ¬†On Tuesday we posted about our Thanksgiving decor, including a felt ball garland I had been making.¬†So I thought it¬†would be fun this afternoon to stop by and, as our last fall post of the year, share with you how we made our felt ball garland.

I should say, I do¬†realize¬†its not strictly fall at all anymore ….. looking outside it is most¬†definitely¬†wintery here, but this project has literally taken me ALL of fall to finish, so I couldn’t not share it now that its done. Plus, even though our felt balls are in autumnal colours, you could make yours any colour, including¬†Christmasy¬†or¬†wintery¬†ones, so really it could be used year round! (at least that’s my line and I’m sticking to it :P)

I’ve always fancied having a go at making felt balls. I think they look so cozy and cute all strung together and draped round things or across a window, or even on a Christmas tree. My one disclaimer on this project though would be that to make enough balls for a decent length garland (around 50 balls) ends up being a pretty big time commitment (I even enlisted help from Phil’s lovey sister Sarah at one point). This is for two reasons really: firstly it takes around 10 – 15 minutes per ball to make them. Secondly, the process is a bit tough on your hands (lots of wool and warm water over an hour = pruney hands), so I could only really do 2 or 3 at a time before my hands needed a little break.

That being said, don’t let me put you off because I totally fell in love with felting in the process!! Even though it was long , it was actually very methodical and soothing. After about ball 5 you’ve got the hang of it and you can switch off and watch TV while you do it. Plus, I liked that if you only have 10 minutes to spare you can pick the project up and just make one without making lots of mess or having to get out lots of equipment. Also, as an aside, it has to be literally the cleanest project ever as its mostly just soap and water, and that makes odd-old-me quite happy.

So, enough of the blather. On to the balls (yep, I’m saying the word balls a lot in the project and I’m not even ashamed :P).

Felt Ball Garland 

You will need:

Dyed Wool Tops in any color you fancy-

Wool tops are washed and carded wool which is not yet spun. It is super soft and used in both wet felting (which is how we make the balls) and dry needle felting. ¬†I don’t know where my wool tops came from as they were a Christmas gift from Santa last year, but if you just¬†Google¬†them then they are pretty widely available online and in most wool / crafting stores.

As a guide for wool volume. I used 100g of tops to make the 50 – 60 balls on my garland (each ball was around half the size of a golf ball). Even though 100g doesn’t sound like a lot, actually a little wool goes a long way.¬†

A bottle of warm soapy water  Р I used 2 teaspoons of washing up liquid in a 1 litre bottle, the water was just warm from the tap. 

A bowl of clean warm water Р again just warm from the tap

A towel ¬†– this doesn’t get ruined, it is just to soak up the excess water from your hands so it doesn’t need to be an old towel, anything will do.¬†

A sharp needle 

String, the length you would like your garland  РI used a red cotton yarn 

1) ¬†Grab a handful.¬†¬†Taking your wool tops, pull off a¬†handful¬†of wool to make your felted ball (you don’t need to cut it with scissors, it should just pull away from the rest of the wool). I was happy for my felted balls to all be different sizes so I didn’t measure, but as a rough guide a square of wool around 6″ by 6″ will make a ball around half the size of a golf ball.

2) Spread it out. Take the wool and spread it out into a even-ish thin-ish flat layer (this is to make sure you have no big clumps of wool, but this isn’t a exact art so don’t worry too much). ¬†Lay this layer over your palm.

3) Get soapy. Taking your bottle of warm soapy water, pour about a couple of teaspoons of water over the center of the wool on your palm (don’t worry if it overflows a little, the towel under your hands should catch the excess).

4)  Scrunch together. Using your other hand, make little pinching movements in the middle of the wool to start gathering it together into a rough ball. Continue pinching until the wool is all scrunched together, wet and soapy.

5) Start rolling. Very lightly, start to roll the ball between your two palms. If you find the ball is slipping and sliding around you are probably putting too much pressure. Just very gently, making circular movements, roll the wool ball round and round (as if you were rolling a ball out of dough or making a meatball).

6) Keep rolling. Eventually, over 3-4 minutes¬†your wool should start to form a slightly firmer round ball shape. Don’t put lots of pressure on it, just keep going, gently until your ball comes together but is still squashy (it should be around 1/3rd smaller than you started with).

7) First rinse. Rinse your ball in the bowl of warm water to get a little of the soap out.

8) Cover the cracks. Once you have rinsed it you might notice a few cracks in the surface. That is OK, don’t panic. That is what this next step is to solve.

Take another much much smaller piece of wool (about 1/6th of the amount you started with) and spread it out into a very thin layer. Wrap this thin layer around your felt ball creating a new outer layer.

9) Get soapy again. Pour another 2 tablespoons of the warm soapy water over your ball so that the new outer wool is totally soaked.

10) More rolling. Using the exact same rolling movement as before, and very gentle hands keep rolling the ball between your palms for another 2 – 3 minutes. It should now have a smooth, crack free outer surface.

11) Rinse and repeat. Keep rolling the felt ball for another 5 minutes, rinsing it in the soapy water every now and then (your goal is not to remove all the soap, I don’t think that is possible, but just to clean it off a little). ¬†As you roll you can start to put gradually more and more pressure on until it forms a springy ball, about half the size you started with.¬†Once I had finished mine they were about the right firmness that they would bounce once if you dropped them on the table.

12) Thread together. Once you have made all the balls you need for your garland, you can string them together by using a sharp needle, threaded with your garland string, and skewering them through the middle (if the balls are very firm you might want a pair of pliers to help you pull the needle through the other side).

Ta dahhhh, all finished.

So there you have it, how to make felt balls described only using the word ball 38 (39 now) times) he he he. They are so versatile you could use them for just about anything! I also think they would be super cute placed in a vase or bowl as a seasonal table decoration. Or you could make a few big ones and use them as baubles.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, don’t work too hard ūüėÄ

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Life: Thanksgiving came early!

Hi folks,

Happy Thanksgiving week to you all ūüėÄ

Today we don’t have a tutorial to share with you. ¬†Instead, this weekend Phil and I took some much needed time off and¬†traveled¬†from Edinburgh all the way down to West Yorkshire in England to visit my brother to celebrate Thanksgiving with him.

Phil and my brother Adam 

We know we were a few days early with our celebrations this year, but this weekend (being the weekend before Thanksgiving for those of you who don’t celebrate) was the only time we were mutually free to travel. The UK doesn’t give us any time off for American celebrations ….. sad times.

So although we were early, we figured that really, in the spirit of thanksgiving, it doesn’t matter when you celebrate. What’s more important is that you make sure to take a weekend with your loved ones, come together to prepare and eat a meal and ¬†to spend some quality time together.

Now, we know its a little odd for a bunch of Brits to be so attached to an American holiday that they would embark on a 4 hour drive just to celebrate it. But, what many of you might not know is that my brother Adam, my family and I spent a fairly significant chunk of my teenage years living in Massachusetts (infact, I did all of my highschooling there. Class of 2004! Woop).

So, it turns out that, even though we don’t live in the US anymore, the holidays you celebrate as a child and a teenager are pretty hard to let go of as you get older (especially ones as full of holiday goodness as Thanksgiving!!). So instead, each year we try to celebrate Thanksgiving in our own way. The awesome thing is this year we got to hoof it on down to Adam so he could share in the holiday spirit with us!

We divided up the work so the boys tackled the feast while I tackled the decor and the pie.

So, let me share our decorations first.

Our Thanksgiving Table 

Apart from setting the table nicely with table cloth and napkins (which, I’ll be honest, we don’t do every day, sorry Martha) our decorations centered on two main projects:

1) a fall colours felt ball garland I have been working on for more or less ALL of fall (man, it has taken a long time and I have a post all about it for you coming in the week ahead :D)

2) a thanksgiving fall tree centerpiece

The tree was one of the quickest projects I’ve done in a long time (which is good because the felt balls took forever!) We wanted a centerpiece which would travel well on our mini road trip (which ruled out flowers which is what I would normally go for), and which would be seasonal and cute.

So, first I tasked Adam in the week before we arrived to go for a walk in his local park and find us some good branches (which was a task he totally aced and found some perfect specimens!)

Then I just took some double sided card in fall-ish colours which I already had in our craft cupboard and cut out some leaf shapes (which I drew free hand on the card in pencil first). All that was left to do was to punch a hole in each leaf and thread it with some red string.

Then on Saturday when we arrived at Adams I just popped the branches in a vase and hung my leaves on them. We had around 5 branches and I cut around 30 leaves which ended up being more than enough.

All in all the project took about 20 minutes, including finding the branches and cutting the leaves.

Simple and cute! ūüėÄ – I also used the leftover leaves to make some easy place cards for our napkins.

Here are the boys, intently cooking up a storm. 

So now for food. On the menu we had:

Turkey with a bacon blanket which Phil lovingly latticed (our turkey fed 8!, which means Adam will be eating leftover turkey until Christmas!)

Mashed potatoes

Roast root vegetables

Cabbage (we were going to make green bean casserole but the boys unanimously said they preferred cabbage).

Phil’s homemade soft rolls

Turkey stuffing

Gravy and Cranberry Sauce

and Pumpkin Pie for pudding.

I was desperate to make Yams too but the boys assured me we probably had enough food for an army so I relented for this year (not next year though boys!!, although if I’m honest we really did have enough food for an army).

And let me tell you, from the first buttery roll to the last bite of smooth pumpkiny pie it was ddddeeeeellllicious ūüėÄ

Luckily by the next morning we were ready to eat again, so for breakfast we popped to Betty’s in Harrogate, a proper traditional English tearoom, where the waitresses wear frilly pinnys and the baked goods are to die for. On a Sunday morning in the winter they light the log fires and have a pianist tinkling on the piano. Phil and I try to go to Betty’s whenever we are in the North of England, so we just couldn’t resist a stop by. Our one tip is to get there early if you don’t want to wait. Betty’s yummyness is not a very well kept secret and lines can get pretty long if you are not an early bird.

So, that was our lovely weekend.

It’s funny how the weekend off was exactly what we needed to get ourselves in the holiday spirit and get down to planning our twelve days of¬†Christmas¬†posts which are in the pipeline as we speak (Phil is sat next to me working on part one which is going to take a little time to come together) so keep tuning in! ūüėÄ

So, for those of you yet to celebrate, let us wish you a very happy, safe and food filled Thanksgiving, whoever you choose to spend it with.

We know that we have so many things to be thankful for (we are far more blessed than we could hope for). But one of our biggies is all of you, our lovely and patient readers who stop by every day and send us awesome comments and emails.  You never fail to make us smile, so we are thankful for you!

Happy Turkey Day from both of us!

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Bake: Coconut Bread

Hey folks! It’s official, I think fall may have fallen and winter is on its way. The trees outside our window are now leafless (not sure if that’s a word), Starbucks has it’s red cups and Rod Stewart has started plugging his Christmas album on just about every British talk show. Sam and I even spent a good amount of time staring at Christmas lights at a hardware store this weekend before deciding we didn’t really understand the difference between multi-function micro lights and multi-function led lights so could probably put off that purchase for another couple of weeks at least.

As the days tick by however, there is something altogether more exciting on the horizon, something which has been a looooooong time in coming. Namely that Sam and I stop pretending and actually get on with organising our wedding. I won’t admit quite how long we have actually been engaged, lets just say it’s been long enough to devote a whole shelf on our bookcase to editions of Martha Stewart Weddings. I’m sure in time we’ll have lots of good wedding related crafts to share with everyone in due course, but for the moment, everything is a little hush hush, as our families have a habit of stopping by and taking a peek at this here blog, and I guess they should really see our save the dates before you guys do! But secret wedding preparations can certainly be hungry work, and so we are curled up under a blanket with a cup of coffee and a copy of the latest Martha Stewart Weddings we have our hands on, what could be better than a slice of freshly baked coconut bread?

Well quite! So I guess I should share the recipe…

Coconut Bread –¬†Printer friendly version of recipe here!

Ingredients (fills one 10 x 4 loaf tin):

2 1/2 cups plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups desiccated coconut

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional – as hard to find this side of the pond)

1/3 cup melted butter

1) Dry mix – Into the bowl of your stand mixer add the flour, baking powder, caster sugar, cinnamon and finally desiccated coconut and stir on a low speed to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

2) Wet mix – Next, make a small well in the middle of the dry mix and add the eggs, milk, vanilla and coconut extracts (if you are using them both). Stir on a slow speed until all the flour is moistened, but careful not to over-mix. The less you mix the softer the bread will come out!

3) Butter it up – Finally pour in the melted butter and stir until just combined. Ta-dah the batter is ready.¬†Wasn’t¬†that nice and easy?

4) A little bit of prep – Preheat your oven to 180ňöC (350 F) and whilst you wait for the oven to heat up grease and flour your loaf tin. This will ensure it comes out in one piece later. Once your tin is ready add in the batter, which should reach about 3/4 of the way up the side of your tin.

5) Bake РPlace the bread in the oven for around an hour, although I’d check it with a skewer after about 50 minutes. As soon as a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean you are all done baking.

6) Cool – Leave the bread to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes. If you try and get it out of the tin straight away it is liable to fall apart. Then carefully slide a pallet knife around the edge of the loaf to free it and turn it out onto a cooling rack.

7) Enjoy! РIf you can’t wait coconut bread is super tasty hot out of the oven, although will be easier to slice when cool. My personal favourite way to enjoy it is toasted with a little butter and a cup of good coffee (and a copy of Martha Stewart Weddings to browse).

Happy baking ūüėÄ

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Halloween: Mocha Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix

Hi y’all!

Before we start, we just wanted to say that we are both sending lots of thoughts and prayers to all our readers and their friends, family and loved ones who are currently without power, flooded or snowed in following Hurricane Sandy. We know a lot of our readers live in the areas affected by the storm. We have been following the news since Sunday and thinking about you all. Please keep staying safe and looking after each other.

But, that being said, it just so happens to be both Halloween and Phil and my 8 years anniversary, which sounds like a pretty good excuse to engage in an evening of tasty snacking! So we thought we would stop by and share a super quick but yummy recipe with you tonight: Mocha Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix! ¬†Perfect for curling up under a duvet and watching a scary movie with your bestie! (Actually, if your anything like me, you’ll spend most of the film behind a pillow, with your eyes closed, your fingers in your ears singing a happy song ….. I’m a total scaredy cat when it comes to horror films!)

Phil and I have only really discovered roasted pumpkin seeds this fall. We can’t believe all this time we have been eating and carving pumpkin and just throwing them in the trash! But ¬†we are total converts and now we can’t get enough of toasting them and trying out new sweet and¬†savory¬†flavor¬†combos. We even tested some on Phil’s family who were around over the weekend and they were a hit! So, tonight we thought we would share out latest flavor combo’s which also just so happens to be our favorite so far: Mocha! They go perfectly in a¬†naughty¬†chocolaty¬†trail mix as they add just the right amount of coffee crunchy goodness.

So, here is the recipe! Its super quick! Seriously ….. by the time your pumpkins are carved your snack is ready to go.

Mocha Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix


For the seeds:

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 egg white

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon espresso powder

For the trail mix: (these are just our favorites  you could totally mix it up and add any sweet or salty trail mix ingredients you fancied!)

1 cup brazil nuts, 

1 cup pecan nuts

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup raisins (we like the big juicy flame raisins)

1 cup chocolate buttons

1) Scoop – first of all, chop your pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds and pulp, then separate the seeds from the pulp.

2) Wash – next give your seeds a quick rinse to remove any remaining bits of pulp ….. hint: pumpkin seeds float, so when you wash them, pop them in a¬†colander¬†and then don’t run the water too fast otherwise they all float off and down the drain (I learned that lesson the hard way).

3) Whisk – In a separate bowl whisk together your egg white, sugar, coffee and cocoa powder into a thick wet mix.

4) Toss and Spread  РToss your pumpkin seeds in the mix so that they all get a thick coating of the egg mixture. Then spread them out on a baking sheet or in a cast iron pan which you have lightly greased (we just Pam sprayed ours which works really well).

5) Bake –¬†¬†Pop the seeds in a 150¬†¬įC (300 F) oven for 35 – 45 minutes, taking them out to lightly toss them half ¬†way through the cooking time.

6) Mix Р Chop the nuts for your trail mix if your using them, and weight out your other trail mix ingredients, and then simply toss them together with the pumpkin seeds.

There you have it. Easy as pie ….. actually its even easier than pie! ¬†Phil and I have a bowl of trail mix sat between us as we are sat on the sofa writing this, and it is rapidly disappearing! The house smells like candles and slightly cooking squash from our Jack-o-Lanterns (or Jack-o-Butternut squash if your Phil, it’s a tradition, he always carves a squash!)

Happy Halloween to all of you! We decided to properly celebrate our anniversary over the weekend. This year is Phil’s pick so we are off to see Skyfall (I have to admit, I’m actually pretty excited myself!) We’ll let you know what we think.

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Make: Book Binding Tutorial!

Hi folks!

So, if you were paying attention during our Mr. Moose post last month, you might remember that a few weeks ago I shared that my family had got me a day long book binding course for my birthday. I could NOT have been more excited (in fact, picture me doing a happy birthday girl dance when I found out!)

I make no secret of the fact that I am a bit of a nerdy bibliophile: case in point,¬† I have a book journal where I record all the books I have read —yep, a whole book just for my books! But in truth, its not really about ticking through title after title, for me its as much the feel, smell, weight and paper of a good book that’s important as the content.¬† E-readers and Kindles are nice and portable and can store thousands of books, blah-di-blah, and if I had 10p for everyone who has tried to convert me I‚Äôd have at least 50p in my wallet, but in my heart they will just never quite replace a good old¬†hard backed¬†book. I know its a bit dorky but I can‚Äôt help it.

In fairness, this is not a new love for me. I partly blame its origins on my Mum. She is a librarian and I think books might just be in my blood. In fact, book binding itself¬†isn’t¬†even really a new interest of mine. When I was in 7th grade at school we were asked to pick a job to go and do for work placement week . I picked ‚Äėbook binding‚Äô ….. my school¬†didn’t¬†quite manage to arrange this (not to blame them, it is a bit of an odd request) but instead they sent me to shelve books at our local library for a week (which was fun but definitely not quite the same in my 13 year old opinion.)



Nigella Lawson’s library which I covet!¬†

In the end it all worked out for the best (as these things tend too). Turns out the world had a different career plan for me, which I love. But, in the background I have still always held on to a bit of a paper bug, which manifests itself as me spending hours umming and ahhhhing over stationary and sketch books and anything paper.

So, this is all a pretty circuitous way of saying that eventually, a few weekends ago I got my chance to actually give it a go and went for a day long course to Owl and Lion in Edinburgh. Owl and Lion is the sweetest little book bindery shop and workshop in Edinburgh‚Äôs Grassmarket and is owned by Isabelle Ting, who was recently featured on Kirstie’s Homemade Home (which in case your not from the UK, is a totally brilliant tv show featuring ‚ÄėKirstie’ who tries out new crafts … as you can imagine, its one of my favourites!). Owl and Lion also have a lovely website and I totally encourage you to check out .

So, after all that how did it go? Well, I‚Äôm pleased to report it was GREAT! Literally everything I had hoped for and I loved every single minute (Phew, imagine if I¬†hadn’t¬†liked it after all that!) ūüėÄ Plus, I finished with a book which looked very presentable, even if I do say so myself, and am totally desperate to have a go now at home and to learn more!

So I thought I would be fun to share the process I learned on the day to make the book, in the hope that I might demystify the process a bit and that you all might be inspired to give it a go (or at least learn some more for yourselves)  :D. It is a bit of an involved process start to finish, but actually not quite as puzzling as I had always imagined.

**(Just as a heads up, as ever we¬†weren’t¬†payed or perked or even encouraged to post about any products or services for you, we just like to share a good thing when we see it ūüėÄ )

Book Binding: Sketch Book

Before I start I should just say a quick sorry for some of the pictures. ¬†Isabelle was great and was happy for us to take pictures and videos all the way though so we could remember what to do, but its pretty tricky to follow what you are being taught, make a book and photograph it without your trusty sidekick there to hold onto things for you (Phil spent the day at home baking) but I did my best! ūüėÄ

Step 1 – Cut and Fold Your Paper

Books are, of course, made out of pages. The sketch book we made in class had 48 pages, made by taking 24 double sized pieces of paper, folding them in half and collating them into 12 packets of 2 pages each.

Thankfully the paper was already cut to size for us, so we just had to fold the 24 pieces of paper in half, using a bone folder to smooth the crease  so that you get a nice crisp edge.

Step 2 – Make a template for sewing

The next step is to make holes in all your pieces of paper as a guide for sewing.

In order to make sure that the holes (and thus your sewing) are nicely lined up, without having to measure and mark each piece of paper individually, we made a template.

Take a piece of scrap paper the same length as your page, and fold it in half. Then mark along the crease 6 holes (you made need more if you are making a very tall book). The top and bottom hole should be around an inch from the top and bottom of the page. The others should be roughly evenly spaced in between.

Step 3 – Make holes for sewing

Taking each of your bundles of 2 sheets, line the template up inside their center crease. Using an awl, make a hole through the marked template hole into the 2 sheets. This hole is used as a guide hole for your sewing.

Step 4 – Sew the books together

The books are sewn together, one set of pages at a time. In class we used a special book binding needle (which is very thick and long) and a waxed linen thread. The sewing stitch we used is known as ‘kettle’ stitch, although there are lots and lots of different stitches and techniques used for sewing together pages in book binding.


Step 5 – Cover papers

Each hard backed book has 2 cover papers, one for the front and one for the back, which attaches to the front page of the book pages, and the hard back cover.

Cover pages are often made with special papers and traditionally may be marbled. They are cut to be exactly the same size as your booklet pages.

You attach your cover paper to the front and back of your booklet bundle, using specialist book binding glue. There are a whole world of specialist glues used in book binding, but the one we used in class was a wheat starch paste.

Just run a thin swipe of glue down the spine edge front and back and stick your cover page to the thin glue line.

Step 6 – Rounding and Gluing the spine

The next step is to shape your pages to give your spine a nice curve. We rolled our booklet around a dowel and then clamped it between grey board to hold the pages in shape. The next stage is to run glue along the edge of the spine.


Using a soft bristled brush, apply the glue all along the spine in generous quantities, making sure to get in and around all the of stitching. Then using a finger scrape off as much of the paste as you can so that there is no excess left of the spine.

Leave to book clamped or under a light weight to dry

Step 7 – Apply the head bands

Bookbinding head bands are one of those things you barely notice about a hard back book but help to tie it all together and look finished. They are a cotton tape with two colours of silk thread sewn along the top.

Each book needs two headbands cut, one for the top and one for the bottom of the spine. Measure just a much as you need based on how wide your spine is and glue it to the spine using PVA.

Step 7 – Making your cover

Hardback covers are made of two thick pieces of grey board for the front and back and one thinner piece of grey card for the spine, glued to a piece of fabric (usually a specialist book binding cloth or buckram).

The grey board is cut to be around 1/8th inch bigger all the way around than the booklet which sits between it. The spine piece of card is cut to be exactly the same size as the width of the spine and the same length as the pieces of grey board.

You want to lay the pieces out side by side (as if looking at the open book) with around a 1/4 inch gap between each piece. Then cut a piece of bookbinding cloth big enough to give you a 1.5″ seam all the way around the edge.

The next step is to paste the wheat starch paste in a thin layer across the whole of the piece of fabric, and then carefully lay your pieces of board on the fabric in position. Carefully, without getting too many bubbles between the gluey cloth and the board fold the edges of your cloth round and over the board around the edges. A tip we were taught is that smoothing it with the bone folder as you go helps to keep the edges nice and crisp.

This board/fabric cover now needs to go somewhere flat to dry for a few hours.

Step 8 – Make it into a book

The last step is to attach your two bits together. Both the book of pages and the cover should be mostly dry from glue.

To attach them you want to spread a thin and even layer of glue onto the top page of the booklet and to the back page of the booklet. Now carefully place your book inside the cover and press with a heavy weight so that the booklet dries in place inside the cover. ¬†You don’t need to glue the spine.

And there you have it – TAHDAHHH! A finished hard backed book. Phew.

If your still with me I’m totally impressed. It took us all day to make our book so it probably took you a loooong time to read this post.

As I mentioned before, its a super involved process and one which is so much better taught in person. But, the good news is that I’m now a bit hooked and am looking for other courses to go on to learn more skills! Turns out learning from someone who really knows what they are doing makes all the difference in the world.

We hope your all having a lovely weekend!

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Bake: Deep Dish Blueberry Pie

Hey folks, so it would seem the summer has finally decided enough is enough and disappeared, and the outside world has become decidedly more chilly and blustery. Far from being a sad thing, these next few weeks are some of Sam and my favourite weeks of the year. It’s finally time for yummy warm autumnal recipes with lots of pumpkin and squash, wrapping up warm in coats and scarves and thinking about what we are going to do for Christmas. OK maybe the last bit is getting a little ahead of ourselves, but it’s all good good as far as we’re concerned.

In the spirit of the season Sam has been knitting mittens for just about everyone she knows, and I’m sure if she manages to down the knitting needles for long enough she may tell you about it and share her pattern at some point. Meanwhile I’ve been whipping up¬†a bit of a squash¬†frenzy, working my way through every type of gourd I can get my hands on in just about every meal; butternut squash, pumpkin, onion squash, gem squash… if only I could get my hands on a spaghetti squash! Any ideas where one might find that in Edinburgh? If you ask me, any which way we cook it, you can’t help but feel all¬†snugly¬†and autumn-y eating something with squash at its heart.

Embracing the season, and maybe a little bit longing to be back in Maine – the home of the worlds best blueberries in my very humble opinion, I decided the time had come to make pie. In fact I spent some time salivating thinking about it all last week at work (I think I may need a pie therapy group of some description). I’m sort of saving myself on the pumpkin pie front as Thanksgiving is still a little way off and don’t want to break into the stockpile of Libby’s Sam has mysteriously left sitting on the kitchen counter, so figured blueberry was surely the way to go.

My thoughts on good pie are fairly simple – deep = delicious. ¬†With this in mind I grabbed all the blueberries I could possibly squeeze into a single pie dish and set too baking. Here’s how you can do it too…

Blueberry Pie


For the pie crust:

2/3 cup cold butter

1 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons milk

pinch of salt

For the filling:

5 cups blueberries

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

1) Dough ya think we should make a pie crust – In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together the butter and icing sugar until smooth (make sure you start on a low speed or you may find yourself breathing in a lot of sugary air).

Next add the egg yolks, vanilla and salt, then with the mixer on medium speed gradually add in the flour just until the mix starts to look like coarse breadcrumbs.

Finally trickle in just enough milk to make the mix clump together into a more manageable dough. Empty out the dough onto some cling film, wrap up tight in a disc shape and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes to rest.

2) Rolling time  РGrab the dough out of the fridge and cut it into two equal chunks. Roll out the first into a disc about 4 inches larger in diameter than your pie dish, slightly less than 1/4 in thick. Carefully transfer the dough into the dish and work it into the sides, leaving the excess to just dangle over the edge. Pop the dish into the fridge to rest again while we make the top.

Roll out the remaining dough to a similar thickness to the base and slice into strips about 3/8 in wide. Here’s the fun bit! On a piece of baking parchment, lie alternate strips of dough equally spaced next to each other, leaving about an inch between each strip. You should end up with what looks like a round barcode.

Next taking one of your remaining strips at a time carefully weave under and over the strips on the baking parchment until you have a beautiful lattice top for your pie. I realise there is still the little matter of placing your new creation on top of the pie but we’ll get to that in a bit.

3) Blueberry-tastic – The pie filling couldn’t be much easier to make. Get a large bowl and add all the filling ingredients in one, give it all a good stir and you are all done.

4) Construction time – Take your pie dish out of the fridge and fill to the brim with the blueberry mix.

Next comes the slightly difficult life choice about how best to transfer a lattice onto the top of a pie. Some people like to opt for the sliding approach, whipping the baking parchment away as the lattice slips onto the top. But, I’m a big fan of the flip and drop technique, holding the lattice in my hand before flipping it upside down onto the pie – the choice is yours!

Once you have successfully transferred your top, trim and crimp the edges to suit your fancy and apply an egg wash for extra golden goodness.

5) Bake – Pop the pie in the oven at 200 C ( about 400 F) for about 50 minutes or until golden brown. If the pie looks like it’s getting too much colour early on in the bake, just turn the heat down to about 180 C (360 F) and it should finish baking through without colouring too much more.

I can’t really tell you just how much Sam and I enjoyed our blueberry pie although it’s usually a good sign that by the time I get around to posting about something it’s already all been eaten. I hope you are all enjoying autumn (fall) as much as we are here, especially all those lucky folks in New England where I’m sure it’s beginning to look a whole lot red, orange and amazing just about now!

P.S. Does anyone have any amazing squash recipes I might not have tried yet?

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