Spring is Beginning to Hatch at Eidolon House!

Spring is beginning to hatch here in our small town of Wills Point, and I'm so excited! Spring in East Texas is amazing!  There is so much life and greenery here, and I love watching everything come back to life after winter.  I do feel like winter sort of skipped Texas this year, although I'm not complaining about that at all.  

We've added six chicks to the Eidolon House ecosystem, and I couldn't be more excited about that.  They are two days old, and a few of the little cuties were ready for their close up today.  A few blooming trees and wild flowers around my neighborhood were ready for their close up today too!  Enjoy a bit of Spring as you scroll through the photos.  

Aaaannnnndddd, a photo shoot with animals wouldn't be complete without a little poopie. 

Crossing the Bench: 1572 Bishops' Bible Restoration.

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This big guy was a mess when it arrived, but with a lot of TLC we were able to save this book, and even extend its life. 

Restoration stats: Repaired split wooden board, rebuilt end-caps, new embroidered end-band, new straps and brass hasps to match the existing catches, and leather conditioning all over. We also added a facsimile general title page. 

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Saturday Night Shenanigans with Sheep. . . and rabbits.

Sheep are positively delightful! I can not say it enough; they are so fun, sweet, and they each have their own personality.  We just love them! 

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Crossing the Bench: Custom Enclosure For The Book of Hours (14th C.).

We had the awesome opportunity to make an enclosure for a lovely Book of Hours.  A Book of Hours is a Christian devotional book that was popular in the Middle Ages, and is the most common type of surviving Medieval illuminated manuscripts.  Each manuscript is unique, but most contain prayers and psalms, and most have limited illumination or decoration such as capital letters.  Books made for wealthy patrons are extremely lavish with full page miniatures

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The particular book we built an enclosure for was most likely made for wealthy patrons as it has six full page miniatures, and other smaller miniatures throughout the book. The book was most likely rebound in the 1800s, but we suspect the original binding was jeweled, because of the markings and empty spaces beneath the leather. It was so tempting to lift the leather on the cover to have a look, but we resisted.  But seriously, I'd love to see what is under that leather.  

We were commissioned to make a folio sized enclosure with red leather, Medieval in style complete with a leather braided head band, and brass clasps. This was such a fun project to design and make. Medieval leather tooling is one of my favorites! 

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We wanted the center panels to be unique just as the Book of Hours are. I decided to recreate two images found within this particular book: The Crucifixion on the front cover, and the Resurrection on the back cover.

Applying the cuir ciselé technique I drew the images in the leather, then glazed the images with paint and shell gold (22k).  I'm pretty happy with how the center panels turned out, and I feel they represent this special book well. 

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I made extra long clasps to add another dramatic element to the enclosure, which is also period appropriate as long strap clasps were the foremost fastening mechanisms in this books time period. 

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Just as the binders of the past left their marks, our makers mark can be found within the tooling design.

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A Page Out Of History: A brief discussion of historic papers.

Pulp Fiction & Facts:

  •  Trying to nail down a date and place of manufacturer of a pre 20th Century sheet of paper by the number and placement of laid and chain lines will just frustrate you:  The reality is that there has never been consistency in these measurements.
  • Foxing:  Stains, specks, spots, and blotches in paper.  Contrary to popular belief foxing is not a good indicator of acidic paper or of the paper’s age.  Although the chemistry behind foxing is not well understood, its seems to be from the interaction of certain fungi with iron present in the paper.  Relative humidity and temperature are two of the factors most likely to promote foxing. 
  • Often it is said that any wood pulp paper from the 19th Century is acidic.  However, while wood was the basis of many papers from the earliest years of the 19th Century, it was not until the development of the sulfite process in the late 19th Century (1880) that acidic paper became an issue.  Problems with acid prior to this date (generally noticeable at the edges of the paper) are generally caused by acid migration from leather or hydrochloric acid from air pollution during the industrial revolution.
  • Since foxing is not an accurate identifier of acidic paper, it is important to become familiar with the properties of acidic paper.  The two most telling signs is discoloration (from yellowing to a rusty brown color), and a brittle feeling to the paper. Also, acidic paper is prone to staining even non-acidic paper if it is in contact with it over time through the process of acid migration.  This is often seen when acidic newspapers have been tucked in the pages of an old book.

 

Sprouts as a Healthy Treat for Animals & Humans.

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I was looking for easy healthy greens to grow for our animals and us when I came across sprouts; I thought to myself, "I love adding sprouts to my turkey sandwich at Jimmy Johns, this is perfect!"  Then I looked into the different kinds of sprouts and their health benefits and was happy with what I found, then I read about how easy it is to grow sprouts and I was sold. 

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Below is a short clip showing how to sprout wheat with mason jars and/or a miniature fodder system.

I also wrote out the process for both the mason jar process or miniature fodder system below.

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I began with the mason jar process, which is super simple, and perfect for growing sprouts  to add to salads or on sandwiches. 

Supplies needed:

  • Wheat, Barley, or Alfalfa seeds. You can buy wheat seeds at a farming agricultural store, or you can buy wheat berries for sprouting at Wal-Mart, see HERE.  
  • Mason jars with ring tops.
  • A funnel.
  • A strainer.
  • Burlap or Cheese Cloth.

The Process:

  • Measure 1/2 cup of seeds, rinse using the strainer, and then put the seeds in a mason jar using the funnel. Put enough water in the mason jar to cover the seeds. Put the lid on the jar, and let the seeds soak over night (8 to 12 hours).
  • After the seeds have soaked, rinse them out thoroughly using the strainer, then put the seeds back into the mason jar.  Cover the opening of the jar with a piece of burlap or cheese cloth and twist the mason jar ring over the burlap (the ring won't go on tightly or even, just make sure it holds the burlap on securely.).  
  • Set the mason jar in a windowsill or on the counter.  Make sure to rinse the seeds at least twice daily.  Just add water through the top of the burlap and then strain the water out through the top.  The seeds need to be wet, but not soaking in water.  
  • After about four or five days your seeds should have sprouted enough to enjoy on salads or in a sandwich.  Pull the sprouts out of the mason jar with tongs, rinse them thoroughly in a strainer, pull the clumps apart and serve.  
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The mason jar system wasn't working for me because I wanted to make enough sprouts for a nice treat for us, our rabbits, and our sheep.  So a smaller version of a fodder system is a better solution than having a bunch of mason jars with sprouts spread throughout my kitchen. 

Supplies needed:

  • Wheat, Barley, or Alfalfa seeds. I bought a 50 pound bag of wheat seeds from my local agriculture co-op store for $11.00.  
  • Disposable food storage containers. (Melt holes in each container using a hot nail (I warmed my awl over a lit candle), this will help to drain water off the sprouts.) 
  • Canned food organizing rack.  This is like the one I have.
  • A strainer. 
  • A funnel. 
  • Mason Jar(s). 

Sprouting process: 

  • Measure 1/2 cup seeds, rinse thoroughly using a strainer, put the seeds into the mason jar using the funnel. Add enough water to cover the seeds, then put the lid on the mason jar to let the seeds soak overnight (8 - 12 hours).  
  • The next day rinse the soaked seeds again using the strainer, then put the seeds into one of the food storage containers.  
  • Rinse the container at least twice daily, make sure to let the water strain out of the container. The seeds/sprouts should be wet but not soaking in water.  
  • Start another mason jar of seeds to soak, and start the whole process over again.  Move the most mature containers of sprouts up your shelving (canned goods organizing rack).  
  • Once your containers have grown at least 5 days (or longer), rinse the sprouted seeds and serve.  
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Notes to think about: The open container system dries out faster than the mason jar system so make sure to not skip a rinse.  Rinsing is also important to ensure mold or mildew doesn't begin to grow on the sprouts.  The longer the sprouts grow, they'll mature to grass, which animals will love and you may find the wheat grass delicious too, but the roots are the tasty bits for human consumption.  Remember, your nose is also the best warning system, if perhaps you missed a few rinses, and mold or mildew began to grow you'll smell it, and don't eat it. If you let your seeds soak longer than a couple of days the seeds and water will begin to ferment, not a good idea to consume, unless you're trying to make moonshine I guess. ;) Seeds that have soaked longer than a day won't sprout as well either. 

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