Crafty Lifestyle: Bookbinding

Having more time has made me ponder creative outlets besides my songwriting and business books. Needing a better way to track my projects and day-to-day tasks (my experiment with 3×5 cards was most enlightening) I tried my hand at hand stitching my own little notebook.

I need to work on the gluing techniques, and got myself a smaller drill bit for the stitching holes, but all in all, I’m happy with the result. I believe that I can make these for less than 50 cents each, and it’s very peaceful and relaxing stitching the signatures (groups of pages) inside.

I wanted to make something fast, unfussy, and cheap, so I’d be more inclined to use these things and not wait until I had thoughts worthy of enshrining in some leather-bound tome (for now.)

A single sheet of letter-size paper will yield three strips which, when folded in half, makes a 4 1/4″ x 3 5/8″ page. I laid 16 sheets down, measured the top sheet, then used a straight edge and tore the sheets rather than cutting them. I’ll need to work on the technique, but I don’t mind the raggedy edge; just don’t want it quite that raggedy.

If I could settle for two folded pages from each sheet, and live with a waste strip 1 1/2″ x 11″ from each, I could make journals the same size as a Moleskine, but the waste disturbs me. I might experiment with a tiny 2 3/4″ x 4 1/4″ journal which would require 12 sheets of letter-size paper to make a 192-page journal. Would that be big enough? Guess I need to find out.

The fabric glue I used is flexible even after it dries, but I didn’t get it thin enough. Spreading with a thin card instead of my finger would help.

I made a book press out of two 12″ x 3/4″ x 3/4″ pieces of birch wood and two carriage bolts with wing nuts. During the gluing process I realised I’ll need something wide enough to smash the whole journal, so it looks like I’ll need two more carriage bolts and two pieces of wood big enough to hold the largest journal I’m likely to make, a half-sheet 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ so that’s about 7″ x 10″ to leave room for drilling the bolt holes. Have to be careful of size, being nomads and all.

Eventually I’d like to settle on one or two sizes and have someone make a leather cover I can slip over the current journal, and reuse when the journal’s full. I’ll also have to answer the questions in my head about the textured cover I chose, the decorated end sheets, etc. They weren’t cheap, and there’s no reason I can’t do something both economical and beautiful, if I’m willing to invest time and effort into it.

Someday I plan to make a whole book by hand—write it all out on handmade paper and make a single unique book I’ve written; one of a kind.

Big Book Launch (And We Helped!)

Last night our friend Kari Hagensmith had a book release party for her first book, The Girlfriend Will . . . which we helped create. Our Someday Box service helps people get their book out of the ‘someday’ box and into their hands.

You can read all about it at the Someday Box website.

Local Musicians from February Album Writing Month Connect

This past Saturday we were privileged to stay with Errol, a musician Joel met one February at FAWM (February Album Writing Month). Another FAWMer, Debs, came over and the three musicians had fun playing the guitar, mandolin and piano together. Debs and Errol both live in Ontario and we had been privileged to stay with Debs on our way to Quebec in October.

Errol’s wife and two girls were away so Fiona was able to entertain the bunny all by herself! Fiona and Debs also had some fun making silly faces. I took some video as well of the musicians playing and singing – so bug Joel to get that posted!

Precocious 105-Year Old Chatterbox Prodigy Reads in the Dark

There’s been a lot of talk lately about just who Fiona really is and what she does. Thanks to all of your comments, we’ve been able to come up with this succinct description: “a precocious 105-year old chatterbox prodigy who reads in the dark.”

Yet that only begins to scratch the surface of this deep persona. Today I thought I’d share more specifics – particularly on her reading and writing interests.

Current books checked out from the local library (20 total; I told her that was the limit for this 3-week period):

  • The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
  • A Hatful of Seuss: Five Favorites by Dr. Seuss
  • Geogra-fleas!: Riddles All Over The Map (she likes us to pronounce that Georgia-fleas)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Martians
  • David Gets in Trouble (she already owns another of the David books)
  • The Squiggle
  • Cat & Mouse
  • What James Likes Best (any book with James in the title is a must read in honor of her big brother James)
  • Ramona and Her Father (she’s become a Ramona fan in the last 2 months)
  • Ramona the Pest
  • Henry and Beezus
  • Cam Jansen and the Chocolate Fudge Mystery (she likes to pronounce Jansen as Janseen and loves the Cam Jansen books; loves mysteries like her mom)
  • Cam Jansen and the Green School Mystery
  • Cam Jansen and the First Day of School
  • Arthur Chapter Books 1-3 (she’s been reading chapter books for a while now; yes, she’s just going into 1st grade)
  • Baby-Sitters Club #43, Stacey’s Emergency (became a huge fan of Baby-Sitters Club books because her big sister owns quite a few)
  • Baby-Sitters Club #33
  • Baby-Sitters: Little Sister #61
  • Baby-Sitters: Little Sister #37
  • Charlotte’s Web

At bedtime we read at least one book and then she requires at least a dozen books at her bedside to read. At any given point in the day if it’s too quiet, we go check to see what trouble she’s up to: usually she’s sitting on our bed reading a book. She’s enjoying The Secret Garden, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, Little Women and many, many more.

She’ll probably be a writer. Actually she already writes at her blog: Foona’s 900 Funny Thoughts. She usually dictates to me as I type in the words. Often she asks me to correct the punctuation! Oh, and she loves it when people leave comments.

Her library may already have as many books as her dad’s. That must be where she gets it from! I’m sure she’ll be an author like so many in her family: Dad writes business books and has written a mystery; Mom’s co-authored books with Dad (you can find their books here); her sister writes poetry; her brother has published two books; her uncle is writing a book. Mom also writes poems. Here’s one of Mom’s favorites written for Fiona’s Dad:

Our Hearts Entwine

When you look at me my heart melts
Your eyes smile and twinkle with love
With just a look you say I love you
With just a smile you say you’ll always be there
My eyes mist with tears, my heart aches with love
I reach for you, you reach for me
With a look alone our hearts entwine
Forever in love, yours and mine

Yes, Fiona does read in the dark (with a flashlight or small night light). And she can talk your ear off like no one’s business!