Frau Gerolds Garten

on making a book - my first

When I finished making my book (yep by hand!) the question I was asked most often was 'wow, how long did it take you'? After a kind of head tilting aaahh. . . like that explains, um what? the sightings at the railway station? the missed dates, phone calls, German classes? that paint on your fingers?

So I gathered up my instagrams for a

behind the scenes story

or it could even be the recap of a year

or all of my time here. . .

oh, so

where does it begin?

. . . I think I need a cuppa tea

It took a lot of tea

and lots of different 'takes'

But where it really began was a desire

to make a kids book 

You know the kind that still work when you're older.

Like these . . .   (I'm gonna make a list of my favourites - I hope you help me add to it)

It took a while from that first out-loud-admission.

I fully wrote and drafted two other books, I did short courses and had a wonderful writing circle full of encouragement back in Australia before this book came, in the end - that had no words.

ok more tea and plenty of getting sidetracked on the computer didn't make it any faster.

Then one day these guys turned up, with raised eyebrows. . . 'so what's going on???"

and I said 'Ah, there you are'. . . raising mine

and drew out their stories. . .

Then I started to paint.

ok, not straight away.

There were lots (and lots) of stalled moments.

Weekly mutual mentoring with my new





and these surprising new

leftie friends

came along with a different kind :)

Funny questions came up, like, 'what are they going to wear'?

Then I found old sewing patterns my sister had sent me, from my mum's bottom draw

and I made them some clothes. . .

I pulled out pencils

sharpened up edges

brightened up bits. . .

There was plenty of mess,

but it was a good kind of mess

I liked it

Finally there were twenty eight pages.

And then came the technical stuff

I had to learn how to play with this . . .

Thanks again


Scanned and formatted and pdf'd, it then was all in one tiny memory stick and

Off to the



one big box of solid paper

Then it all left my dining room table and took the train, into the city and off to work - at the


(book-clother) -

a book binder in Zurich on the river Limmat

. An amazing place, I'd stumbled upon one day on my bike almost two years ago, exploring the back streets of Zurich, floor to ceiling books and paper and material and old book binding machinery. That day I made a promise, I'd be back to make something here! And here I was. A whole new world had started, with the whole first day - folding.

Then there was gluing - lots of gluing, 50x books of gluing. a sticky business

Monotonous sometimes, but never a dull moment. Always someone coming in the door with a cool project and always Christa getting them involved. Even my kids surprised me one school-free day and next minute she had them making books. They went home with five notebooks, hand sewn ;)

The pages started coming together . . .

These fold out kind = leporello (my new book word)

that's the kind that open up like a concertina - fun, it takes the story all over the room and out the door

Then there were the covers . . .

more cutting, gluing, sticking and

did I mention the machines? The huge guillotine, the old presses and our favourite the cutting machine that can shave off one rainbow millimetre of a whole stack of books!

And the days and days (and nights) it all took? Oh and the mistakes? argh! the drop in the belly at 9pm when you think you've really really finished after the three other days when you thought you'd really be finished?

That's the time you need a working buddy



) who knows what's going on, for those *sigh* exasperated texts or *grr's*, who's been there, who understands the tangles. A place you can share the not so good bits with the great ones too.

I lost my earlier mutual mentoring buddy to the international-life-and-going-back-home story :/

I miss the tea and the excursions to the city, but it still works on skype.

I so value this friendship of co encouragement

that now I'm putting dates all through my week, like my great walk-together-speak-in-German-friend, and my walk-a-bit-faster-oh-o-jogging friend, and the watch-out-running friend?! I'll be fit and fluent in no time. ha  ;)

Here was a window when we (that's me and the book) went out to play - we were invited to the

12. Frauenfelder Buch und Druckkunst Messe


Art Book Fair

) It was amazing to see all the beautiful books and meet some of the makers. Totally inspired. But.

It felt a bit like holding your two year old's hand though and asking her to tell that lovely story she came out with in the bath. Oh and remember all this was in German! ha ha, and every time I missed another German class in the 'making of' Christa would say 'You are learning more German with me' (in German of course) and I was. I recommend it now - any project or curiosity - for us in other countries - try it in another language - Challenge on ;)

So back in the workshop and hand doing the final touches, or the crazy bits = stamping letter by letter :/  thanks to


for the stamps. Just like it takes a village to raise a child it's all the interwoven parts I love that make a project come alive.


then it was time to celebrate and dedicate.

This story is dedicated to my mother. 

To those random odd conversations with strange Greek villagers, that made the teenage us cringe, but that brought invitations and sacks of fresh apricots to our feet. To the warmth and the boldness and the welcoming smile. And to the hand bag full of weird stuff that we used to scoff at, but that always produced the perfect answer, to help someone. 

Frau Gerold's Garten

reminded me of her. A little bit of wildness in the Swiss city.  I chose it for

The Launch

. It was another place I'd found in my Zurich wanderings. The


girls sent me past there on my way their great meetings at the


. In the summer it's all outside and renegade gardens in boxes but in winter it was even better. We snuggled into the wooden Stubli, fire burning, all decorated with knitting. ha. just like my mum's ;) We shared coffee and cakes and books and stories.

And I got to thank all the people that have made this new city, country, place, feel like home. 

The books went off with special messages and hugs

, there was music, and

we made some flowers from paper - and left them behind, on our way home 

to brighten up someone else's winter.

 Seeding serendipity.

So, yes there was a lot of tea involved . . .

here's how much!

and much more that spilled over and got dipped in with paintbrushes . . .

yep Yogi tea - with the tiny reminders every time.

That one on the top?  '

Fall in love with your



' ;)

What's your desire?

What's your project?

What's your tea??

with love

and gratitude


p.s. They did also ask 'Can I get one?' ' Do you have any left?'

Yes, there are a few of the limited edition left,  if you want one send me a


Or stay tuned for the regular published version - coming soon.