Book Making Weekend

One of my best friends and I made books this weekend. She took a four-day workshop on it and graciously offered to have me down for the weekend and teach me her new skills. I forgot to take a picture of the book press, which is large, red, and dusty from having sat in someone’s workshop area for years.

Things I learned:

1. Glue is the foundation of all books. That and more glue. With some glue here and glue there. Also some paper.

Photo of a workspace that includes a teal cutting mat which has cut paper and a rectangle of cardstock on top, a wooden 12-inch ruler, a black Sharpie marker, an awl, a white plastic storage container, a box containing a brayer, a bottle of fancy white glue, a yogurt cup containing glue and a a foam paintbrush covered in glue at the tip, a blue bowl with a wet, blue paper towel wadded up inside of it, a pair of green-handled scissors, a red stool, another work area across the table from the main work area (but without the teal mat), and front-and-center a hand which is coated in glue holding a cardstock spine that is also coated in glue. So much glue.

2. I cannot cut the cardstock. Not at all. My friend ended up cutting it all. BUT she has a Cricut and we’re going to cut down some of her huge cardstock sheets to run them through the machine later. I folded all the paper in half, though.

3. Stabbing little holes in paper is fun! So much fun!

4. Sometimes you forget how many holes to make, so you have to improvise. We accidentally put in 5, but you need an even number in this style of book binding, so we put in another one at the bottom. We used variegated thread for our inner binding, which made it super festive.

5. Beeswax smells just like when you smush your face really deep into your cat and then try to breathe, but without all the fur up your nose.

6. There is no 6. 7. Waxing thread is also addictive. I don’t know why.

8. Sometimes you have the wrong sized paper for your interior. So then you need to cut it, but it is hard to do without the guillotine. You may try many things, like sanding the paper, cutting it with box cutters, or even using the dremel wood cutters. They will not work. They will also make the house smell weirdly burnt. Then you will go out to Wal-Mart really late at night and buy a guillotine. They are CHEAP. Start with that last step.

10. Bookbinding has a lot of waiting time while the press does its work. We watched irreverent feminist comedy specials on Netflix while we waited. You can watch whatever you want. 🙂

11. When putting the endpapers in, use the tiniest line of glue. We thought we had. We were wrong. Also, don’t use thin paper for the endpaper. Mine was a little too translucent. Steph’s was fine (a nice sage green, not pictured.)

12. Make a feature of a little error. My error was cutting the paper too close to a little signature spot on the paper. I ended up putting it on the front, where it looks like a cute little frill. We also learned that if you don’t like one side of your book, flip it the other way and make the back the front (my blue was crooked on one side. This side is much better.)

We had such a fun time making these little darlings! 🙂 12/10 would do it again.

I Put on Real Clothes for THIS?!

Put on real clothes and makeup and was all ready to go out and buy the college kid his textbooks. He pulled out his laptop, typed in the bookstore name, entered his class names, then 5 minutes and $300 later we were done. Guess I could’ve stayed in my comfy clothes this morning.

This week has gone well

Since I cut back on social media and kids have gone back to school, I have read two books (one of them my nearly complete novel), made notes on what needs to be finished in said novel, started and nearly finished this weeks work on a mystery cross stitching project that involves new kinds of stitches and blends, and gone shopping three times for more school supplies and floss. Oh, and attended a brunch, started using a new-to-me online writing group app, and not gone hyperactive with my blood pressure like I have the last several years this time of year. Wahoo me! 🙂 (Also I have drank A LOT of tea. A LOT.)

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

I’m reading this book called “Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie” because my dyslexic kid read it this summer for Pre-AP homework and loved it so much he’s on his 3rd re-reading and man, reading this book as a former band nerd immediately after a summer band banquet for my kid… I have all the feels. Y’all that love band should read it.

Books! Reading! More of both!

Dude. If I gave up social media entirely, I could read 188 more books a year. So, since one of my goals for the upcoming school year is reading more, I’m going to spend half as much time here and see if I can really read 31 more books by the end of the year. Challenge accepted!

Trying to Get Rid of Books

Coming to my house, people inevitably say “Wow, you have a lot of books!” or “You must love reading!” (which just amuses me to death because when am I NOT talking about books?). I have four bookshelves in the living room, one in the kitchen, two in each kids bedroom, and a huge one in the master bedroom. They are all overflowing with books. Books fall off at the least provocation. It really is likely that we have to many.

The problem lies in disposing of them. For the most part, I don’t buy books unless I know I’m going to love them and so how do I get rid of books that I love? How does anyone do this?  I’m really asking this as a question, people. I want to know: how do YOU get rid of books?

Here’s the thing: I have a couple bags of books I was willing to let go of. Most of them are Nick’s or the boys or things we purchased to meet some end, like Puppy Training or Tiger Cub Scouts guidebooks. But MY books?  I just can’t get rid of them.

I tried just tossing a few into the bag without thinking much of it. I let them sit there and then I looked at the holes on the shelves and the empty spot looked sadly back at me and I took the books out of the bags and put them back.

These aren’t inanimate objects. There are whole lives in these things. Lives of the characters, places I’ve been in my mind, events I’ve lived through. And not just things and people and places and events that are written about. Re-reading these books reminds me of where I was the last time I read them. People that interrupted my reading, events that took place while I was reading, places that I holed up in a corner and read in.

That’s why I’m having a hard time letting go. This is not just a hardcover copy of “Rebuilding Coventry” in my hand. It’s the story of how I read “Rebuilding Coventry” as a book borrowed from a beloved friend, returned it to her slightly unwillingly because it was so very funny, purchased after much searching by myself in various and sundry stores all over Texas, and then finally re-read during a really hard time where I thought I might just be going crazy after all and this book helped me hold it together. (Books help me hold it together A LOT.)

So I’m re-reading some of the books, trying to remember why I’m holding on to them so tightly, trying to say good-bye to some dearly loved “friends” that I’ve spent years looking at on my shelves.

And I can’t get rid of them all. I’m not trying to, I’m just trying to get it back to manageability. Trying to make space in my tiny, tiny house for other things that are important to us, like all our musical instruments (four musicians times at least two instruments apiece), and our Lego and craft creations, and our collection of things we’ve brought back from places we’ve visited and loved. These are all important, too.

Anyway, that is what is going on this end-of-the-week at my house. I’m wandering around, staring at the bookshelves, and dipping into books here and there. I’m reading and crying and reading some more. I’ve even put a few more books into the bag…IMG_2871

More organizing

I promised more organizing for the next day’s post and many days have gone by and I can’t remember any more what I organized, so I’m looking through my pictures to help me remember:

See, now my three-tiered shelf can be for pretties again!  (Temporary display for now; first things my hands came to)
See, now my three-tiered shelf can be for pretties again! (Temporary display for now; first things my hands came to)

This is our new art storage cart. I like that it has many drawers, so pens in one, markers, crayons, pencils, etc… I also like that it’s on wheels so it can live there in peace during regular life, or move to the kids room when Greg is on an art spree, or move into my room when we have guests over for dinner. 🙂

This doesn’t look as tidy as I’d like, but for a $3 over-the-door tie-and-belt rack, it does the job. No more lost belts & ties! Woo hoo!

Shoes are always going missing in this house, but NO MORE. Bottom two rows are Greg’s, next two are Ben’s, and next two are next-size-up for each of them (for those days when Daddy is impatient).

Honestly, I’ve gotten nothing else done since then, except a tiny bit in my makeup & hair boxes.  Steph and I did a writer’s retreat this weekend, which I posted about here(from a writing standpoint) and here (from an RA standpoint).  Since I’m still working on last month’s holidays, I brought her her family’s gifts, and she sent some home with me for the boys as well.

There were cards & gifts from another friend in there as well.  :)
There were cards & gifts from another friend in there as well. 🙂

The kids were out of school on Monday, so we had a quiet, fun day:

Greg pulled out his science kit and we spent quite a while trying out all its tricks.
Greg pulled out his science kit and we spent quite a while trying out all its tricks.

I remember playing on this with them when they were all babies!
I remember playing on this with them when they were all babies!

This sign on the door of the bathroom at the park cracked me up!
This sign on the door of the bathroom at the park cracked me up!

and worked in the garden. Ben had scouts in the evening. I don’t know that we should call it that anymore, as he’s the only one that ever shows up any more. *sigh*

Yesterday I didn’t have to work, but I did have a bunch of errands to run: a Goodwill drop-off where I spoke to a man named Ram about how God changed his life, a grocery store run to buy lunch makings since the kids had eaten them all up over the weekend, and then my book study on Raising Resilient Kids over at the PDC. After school Ben had dance, so Greg and I hit the dollar store so he could use some of his Christmas money. Then off to piano lessons, where we got a lesson on what goes on inside the piano and how all the pedals work. It was awesome!

Our teacher is super interesting!  :)  We love her!
Our teacher is super interesting! 🙂 We love her!

Today I was hoping to sub, but haven’t gotten a call, so I’m going to go off and work on some stuff in my bedroom, which has all the boxes of “doesn’t live here” from David’s room cleaning last week. It’s pretty scary and I’m tired of looking at them! Once I get done with that, it’s time for fun stuff: writing! 🙂

Last of the books 2012

Digging through the pile beside my bedside table, I’ve found five last books for the list:
49. Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card
50. Serving as Senders by Neal Predo
51. Hugo by Brian Selznick
52. The Tether End by Marjery Allingham
53. The Harp of the Grey Rose by Charles de Lint

So there you go. 🙂

Maybe I’ve read a little…

…but only just a little this year…


28. The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

29. Petty Treason by Madeleine E. Robins

30. The Sleeping Partner by Madeleine E. Robins

31. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi

32. Redshirts by John Scalzi

33. Caring for your Parents by Delehanty & Ginzler

34. The Magician and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett

35. A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch

36. Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch

37. Tuesdays at the Castle by George

38. Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

39. The Dead Witness: A Conniosseurs Collection of Victorian Mysteries

40. To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started by Gail MacColl

41. Substitute Teaching from A to Z by Barbara Pressman

42. Stress Management for Dummies by Allen Elkin

43. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

44. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold

45. Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro

46. A book so bad that I threw it away.  I’ve never done that before, but it was of the shockingly bad literary tradition that involves a girl who was raped before the book began who must save herself by having sex with a stranger by the end of the book.  It made me literally nauseated.

47-48.  I sent a stack of books home with Steph one day, forgetting to write them down long enough that the only part I remember now is that I only read two of the pile.  Whee!  (Maybe Steph knows…)


And that is it.  Nearly half of what I read last year.  Have I mentioned that I’ve been super-duper busy this year? *sigh*

I promise I do other things than read!

No really, I do.  And I will update about them tomorrow, once I’ve offloaded photos and videos and put away the dishes and laundry from the weekend.

23. Embers by Laura Bickle was one that I liked pretty well.  It was interesting to hear about the character’s past and the way her magic works.  I would read more of this series.

24. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson was given to me by my friend EH for World Book Night.  She loves this book, as do I, now.  It’s fiction; one of those slow, lyrical, wandering books where it feels like nothing happens, but a lot of things do.  Kind of the story of how one family falls apart, all from the point of view of the latest girl to fall apart.  I really loved it.

25. Messie No More by Sandra Felton is slowly changing the way I do things at home, which is amazing.  I am learning the how’s and why’s behind my housekeeping style and it’s been fascinating.  She explains several different ways/personalities/mental blocks that people get stuck in.  It has questions for you to answer at the end of each chapter.  I highly, highly suggest this book to anyone stuck in a rut.

26. Dark Mondays by Kage Baker is another of her short story books.  I keep expecting them to be from one of her book series, but mostly they’re not.  Until they are.  Yeah.  I’ve tried to slow myself down with these because there’s not a whole lot of Kage Baker left for me.  😦

27.  The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood is non-fiction and tells stories about how people survived amazing catastrophes, accidents, and injuries and then how to apply that to events that might happen to you.  I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s been eye-opening.