Thursday, 4 December 2008

Pen and paper

There has been a lot of talk of cake these past few months. Indeed, there is one baking in the oven for Sophie's birthday tomorrow.

But what about the pen and paper? I'll be honest: I didn't give all that much thought to the title of this blog. An image of me sitting down with a journal - pen and paper - eating cake wafted into my mind like the smell of cake itself, and there was my title. And I love writing. I love stationery, pens, exquisite paper. I love sending packages, people's handwriting, even the sound of pen on paper. I am a primitive girl: I still use a Filofax and probably always will. There is something so special about mail, about journals. Some of my favourite literature is epistolary: I love letter novels.

And where better to find exquisite paper than the BHV in Paris? This is a DIY shop with a difference: it has a whole floor devoted to crafts and arts. I get lost roaming the aisles. Today there were live demonstrations of embossing and heating stamps, and I was riveted. I have never grown out of it - I hope I never will. I go here many Wednesday nights when the shop is open till 9, allowing me to shop after work.

Since I have come to France I have had more time - and reason - to write to my friends. I have sat down on weekends and written letters for the first time in a long time, and gone to the BHV to carefully select paper.

Today I was there on a special mission, however: Chanukah presents. I do not bemoan Christmas's material aspects: I love it unreservedly. Chanukah, however, is different in nature. No big presents, less ceremony. But this year I want to give personal gifts to those I love. I feel an imminent need to celebrate. Marc's parents are off to Australia soon and I wanted to get their present completed first, before they left. So tonight I bought a box to decorate and fill with special cookies and homemade truffles. Can't wait to get started on those!

Being the impatient person that I am, I had to start and finish immediately - a terrible quality. I decorated this box in about 1-2 hours. The only thing I would say is that these can be expensive gifts: the wood is real and that costs money, and in all I spent 45 euros, though I'll be able to use many of the materials again. I loved every second of decorating. I really want to improve my Hebrew calligraphy, but I'm still reasonably pleased with the outcome. The paint dries so quickly - it's marvellous. It's also very forgiving because you can cover mistakes. I so hope they like their gift!

Here are some pictures of the BHV and of the box.

Starting to paint:

Inside message:

End result (just need to add one more coat of varnish):