Southern Sushi and Handmade & Bound
October 6, 2011, 11:01 am
Filed under: bookmaking, food, free stuff!, kids, reading, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hello hello!
Last night I dined with my dear friend Heather, a true vegetable lover and midwife-in-training. (Did you know that this is National Midwifery Week?) Heather hosted and prepared our feast, and my contribution was a plate of southern sushi.

I love making nori rolls throughout the year, using whatever ingredients are available from my farmer friends. This is especially fun in the fall, when winter squash, greens, roots, and shiitakes are abound! For this roll I used quinoa instead of sushi rice, which works just fine and tastes great. It does require decent sushi-rolling skills since the quinoa isn’t very sticky and kind of wants to fall apart. I cooked the quinoa with red miso, then tossed it with brown rice vinegar and chilled it in the fridge.

The fillings:

-local black eyed pea tempeh, mashed with homemade sriracha, toasted sesame oil, and a little Vegenaise
-steamed turnip greens
-green onions
-chopped almonds and black sesame seeds on top

I really packed a lot of filling onto each nori sheet and had there been onlookers, they would have been doubtful when it came time to roll. No worries, imaginary observers. Ingvar and I have this completely under control.

The spicy black eyed pea tempeh & turnip green rolls were so, so good. I served them up with wasabi and pickled beets from June!

On another note, I’ve been meaning to share photos from Handmade & Bound Nashville. It was a super-fun event featuring bookmakers, zinesters, and independent publishers. I had a great time sharing my book and making finger puppets with kiddos throughout the day– and it was totally inspiring to see all of the beautiful handmade books people had on display.  Thanks to Watkins College of Art, Design & Film for putting on such a smooth-running event!

book by Leslie Patterson-Marx

book by Leslie Patterson-Marx

If you live in Nashville and you like looking at incredible handmade books, check out Encoded Structures: Interpreting the Story — a juried gallery exhibition at Watkins.


…and finally, don’t forget to send in your own Ingvar photo by this Sunday for a chance to win a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice!

Ingvar’s VeganMoFo 2011
September 28, 2011, 10:22 am
Filed under: book reviews, bookmaking, food, free stuff!, reading, VeganMoFo

Hey wonderful people!
Have you heard that it is almost October?
This means orange, red, yellow, brown, crunch! Sweaters, bonfires, winter squash, Halloween!
And this year, it also means VeganMofo.

VeganMofo stands for “Vegan Month of Food” and was originally created by the fine folks at Post Punk Kitchen. During this month, hundreds of bloggers from around the world write as much as possible about vegan food. Participants share recipes, product reviews, cooking techniques, gorgeous foodie photos, and more- (

This October, with the help of my dear friend Ingvar, I’ll be a MoFo! Some of you already know Ingvar from my veg-themed children’s book, Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice  (he’s the narrator). Fans have shared some great photos of Ingvar posing with their favorite foods…

…and during Ingvar’s VeganMoFo, I will too! I plan to post an Ingvar food photo every weekday. Some days I’ll share recipes, and on other days I’ll just share pictures for the sake of pictures. (A photo diary, if you will). I certainly enjoy looking at the pretty veg dishes other people make– and I often discover new ideas for basic weekday meals by seeing what others are doing. You feel me?

Because VeganMoFo is all about community, I want to see your Ingvar food photos too! As if drawing a face on your finger and snapping a photo with your dinner isn’t easy enough, I’ll offer some incentive. At the end of each week in October I’ll be giving away a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice. To enter, simply follow these directions for submitting a photo. Winners will be selected using the names-out-of-a-hat-method on the 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th. Open to kids and adults living in the U.S. Feeling totally pumped? You’re free to submit as many photos as you’d like.

In addition, I’ll be posting lots of new veg-themed coloring sheets! If you or a kiddo in your life like to color, keep your eyes peeled for those.


On another note, remember Vegbooks?

It’s a fantastic site that reviews children’s books/media in search of those which promote veg values. Vegbooks is currently hosting a book review contest to celebrate their 500th review (what an accomplishment!). The winner of the contest will receive three veg-friendly children’s books: That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice, and Our Farm. Learn more here.


Lastly, Handmade & Bound Nashville is this weekend! I’ll be reading at 11am on Saturday. If you’re in Nashville, come on out for a fun day of bookmaking!

accordion books!
September 16, 2011, 11:06 am
Filed under: bookmaking, kids, making!


Yesterday I made accordion books with a group of young friends at the University School of Nashville, and thought I’d share some pictures. This is a great, simple project to do at home, as it doesn’t require any shmancy materials and can be adjusted for kids of all ages.  (The books pictured were made by k-3rd graders).

Here’s what you’ll need:

A long, thin sheet of paper:  Ours was cut to approx. 17×3 inches. You can also glue smaller sheets of paper together, overlapping slightly, to make a longer piece. These books can be as loose or as uniform as you’d like.

Cardboard for the cover: We reused cracker boxes! Any cardboard will do.

Scraps of cloth, paper, ribbon, etc. to decorate the cover: You could use anything! Create a sculptural book by gluing objects to the cover.

Scissors: Kids might need help cutting the cardboard.

Glue: A glue stick works better than wet glue.

Follow these simple instructions from You can create more folds if you’d like. Decorate your cover by drawing, collaging, stamping, or attaching paper, fabric, buttons, ribbon, foil…  many of my students glued one long ribbon onto the front cover, which can be wrapped around to the back and tied in a bow.

Fill your book with your own stories and images, or leave it blank to give to a friend or use as a journal.  If you really want to be inspired, I suggest doing a google image search of  “accordion book”… people make so many incredible things!

View past book projects here and here.

Happy bookmaking!

-Nathalie VB

Handmade and Bound Nashville
September 8, 2011, 10:08 am
Filed under: bookmaking, diy business, making!, reading

Attention Nashvillians:

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is hosting the first annual Handmade & Bound Nashville  festival on Sept. 30th & Oct. 1st!

As the website explains, “Handmade & Bound Nashville is a festival celebrating independent publications and printed matter, featuring artists’ books, zines, and mini-comics. This is an event for publishers and artists (as well as zine distros) to come together to sell and/or trade their handmade and affordable publications and creations.”

Saturday 10/1  workshops for kids will include a Papermaking Booth, sidewalk mural, and folded zines. Read descriptions of all workshops here (and keep in mind that some require signing up). There are many for adults and they all sound great! I’ll be reading Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice at 11am, and I’ll have a ThoraThinks booth in the vendor section all day. (With coloring!)  I hope to see you there!

Other events include a juried artist book exhibit;  screening of $100 and a T-shirt–An award-winning documentary on the culture of zine making;  miniature accordion popup books;  open mic zine reading;  letterpress printing;  food carts and more.  Free admission.

view complete schedule of events

bookmaking for kids
August 3, 2011, 12:07 pm
Filed under: bookmaking, kids, making!

Some of the coolest books I’ve seen were made by kids.

After teaching bookmaking to a 9-year-old friend last week, I’ve been thinking about how easy and fun it is to make books at home. Here are a few ideas for kids who want to publish:

* There are LOTS of different ways to bind books. Some of them require materials that most people don’t have at home. One simple binding that I like to use is called a pamphlet stitch. The materials you’ll need for this paperback book are a few sheets of white paper (or whatever else you’d like to use for the pages), 1 sheet of card stock or construction paper for the cover, scissors, and thick thread (waxed dental floss works well). This video explains how to make a pamphlet book. You can follow these directions exactly, but you can also get away with cutting some corners. I usually use 6 folded sheets of paper in a pamphlet book, and I just stab the needle straight through (without poking the holes first). You can also use scissors to trim your pages if you’d like. I like to trim them unevenly, in a fun, wavy shape. Experiment and see what works for you.

Have fun designing a cover for your book!

Want to check out some other kid-friendly bindings? Here’s a good place to start.

You might consider using recycled paper or even paper bags for your pages!
*Blank books make great journals or sketchbooks, and are wonderful gifts for friends and family members. If you choose to write/illustrate a story, consider these questions:
How can I tell my story through words?
How can I tell my story through pictures?
Do I want to use just words, just pictures, or both? (I love stories that are told through pictures alone!)

Maybe every page will have one big picture and a few words. Maybe some pages will have one big picture and a few words, and other pages will have lots of little pictures. Maybe some pictures will be from the point of view of a character. Maybe the words will tell us what a character is thinking, and the pictures will tell us what that character is doing. Maybe some pictures are abstract, and give us a feeling that cannot be described with words. Maybe the words don’t tell a story at all. Maybe there is one word in the whole book. Maybe some pages are blank. Maybe you will draw pictures on each page to create your own coloring book. Maybe there will be pop-ups!

…There are lots of ways to make books.

*Making accessories to go along with your book is super-fun. If you know how to sew (or have someone who can help you) you can make plush character dolls or a pillow!

Other things that make a great addition to a homemade book include:
-finger puppets
-magnets (I love making shrinky dinks and gluing magnets on the back!)
-coloring sheets
-necklaces or key chains, made by drawing a shrinky dink and making a hole with a hole punch before baking
-paper dolls
-stickers (when I was a kid I made stickers by drawing on blank, white labels from the store)
-a sequel!

Please feel free to send in photos of your creations, and to share any additional ideas you have!
All the best,
Nathalie VB

Fantasy Press
July 29, 2011, 2:41 pm
Filed under: bookmaking, kids, making!


This week I had the pleasure of teaching a 9-year-old friend, Margaret how to make a book! Margaret created a wonderful story about a unicorn within a girl’s imagination. She used very few words in the book (3 to be exact!). Instead of writing a story, Margaret focused on weaving a narrative- and a dreamy experience for the reader- through pictures. We also made magnets, buttons, bookmarks, etc. featuring the story’s characters and Margaret’s Fantasy Press logo. This process was tons of fun and the results were so satisfying! Seeing your ideas transform into a “real” hardcover book? Always a good choice.

I must say, I think making books is THE GREATEST. And kids making books? Extra great. Check back soon for a new post about at-home publishing for kids.

Thanks for a great week, Margaret!

-Nathalie VB

Margaret reading The Unicorn’s Tail with her father.  : )


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers