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.

Nurturing Oneself

I had an early brunch with a dear, dear friend of mine this morning. As we sat in her sweet little breakfast nook with tea, boiled eggs, and stollen, we chatted about how the year was going and she asked me what I was doing to nurture myself. Honestly y’all, I babbled out an answer full of things that made her go “THAT’S what you find nourishing?” Things like scheduling things, making sure everything had a task associated with it, being better organized, etc. She expressed a bit of doubt with my methods, but being the gracious hostess she is, she just let it go and the topic moved onward.

I got home a while later and really started thinking about it. I am not really a planner. Oh, I try and try to be, but in the end every plan lasts a few days and then I scrap it. So I spent some time just meditating on the idea of nurture and what it meant to me.

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Nurturing me means extra time around everything so I can digest experiences. Yes, that means a bit of planning, but it is soooo good to have time around things and not just be chock-a-block busy.
  2. Nurturing me also means time for music, which I have not been making. The words “I haven’t played the piano since I got these progressive lenses” slipped out of my mouth and now that I’ve ruminated on it, I got the glasses in January (9 months ago) and haven’t really touched the piano since my mom died.  Hmmm….
  3. Nurturing me means time to read. I have “Time to Read” in my Habit Tracker, but how much have I really been reading? None. Like one day a week, which is very close to none for a Lisa.
  4. Nurturing me also means eating foods I actually like. My husband is very good about cooking dinner, but he is very bad about making food that I really am fond of. Part of that is that the kids hate everything and part of that is that we really, Nick and I, have a totally different palate. I’ve been cooking my own lunches this week and eating all the things I love, like mushrooms and onions and zucchini and sweet potatoes and cabbage, and have been so happy at lunch time!

Anyways, that’s what’s on my mind today. Time to go eat the mushroom/onion/zucchini/feta dish that’s been sauteing while I type. 🙂  Hope y’all have a good afternoon!

Dylan & Tristan’s Birthday

Got up and started driving before at 6am to see the little twin humans on their 1st birthday. Spent the day with Katherine & the twins, hugged the Kelly between her classes, and then drove back home. It took 2.5 hours to get there and nearly 4 to get home [plus a stop for food I’m not counting in there]. Well worth it, though. 🙂

Board Game Day!

We had a delightful board game day today! Lots of people showed up, dragons were played with by a small girl in a hippo mask, a choose your own adventure game was acted out, we found out that several of us are absolutely terrible at charades, and lots of food was eaten. 🙂 thanks to everyone who came!!

An Actual Exciting Friday Night

Tonight I sat reading a writing book in blissful silence when suddenly sometime after 8:30, the doorbell rang, waking two of three sleeping people up— it was the Amazon delivery that had been marked as delivered several hours before that had never shown up. The sleepy humans came out, ate dinner, and then we sat around reading silly memes to each other for more than an hour until it was time to get Greg. Greg got into the car and said “I had a great time at the dance, but all my friends are going to Whataburger now, Mom. It’s tradition!” So me and my sleepy self sat at the mom table and watched my kid interact with his friends. (Boys move around way more than the girls) Met some nice moms I’d never met and saw some familiar faces, too.

Labor Day Weekend

Our Labor Day weekend started with my hand filling with blood and ended with watermelon everywhere. Forgot to take pictures with Owen & Steph. Watched all the Harry Potter movies. A good weekend for the most part.

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ALTON BROWN LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neighbor Bread

Here’s the story: on Wednesday morning, I went to my friend Stephanie J’s house for coffee. She served the MOST DELICIOUS coffee cake EVER. It turned out to be a recipe one of the neighbor’s had given her…and she had used figs that another neighbor had given her to make it. Wednesday night I was over at the (recipe) neighbor’s house for a wine tasting party and asked for the recipe. She laughed and introduced me to Debbie, who is her “neighbor” at work who had given HER the recipe.  Hence the name Neighbor Bread. So I posted about it to facebook and this recipe now has a following. I’m posting it here in slightly edited form (It was originally sent in to a newspaper and “my” copy of it has the newspaper bit at the top, with bits crossed out, underlined, and whited out & written over, with copious notes at the bottom.).

Neighbor Bread

AKA Fresh Fig Bread with Sherry

Spread the slices with cream cheese or butter and serve at breakfast or teatime, or for dessert.  Moist, sweet, and lightly perfumed, fig bread goes well with tea, apple juice, or sherry.

 

1 ½ cups stemmed and coarsely

chopped ripe dark or light figs

1 teaspoon  each ground cinnamon and baking soda
¼ cup dry sherry ½ teaspoon each ground nutmeg and salt
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts ½ cup salad oil
2 large eggs

Combine figs and sherry; let stand at least 15 minutes. Mix together flour, walnuts, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.

In a mixer bowl, beat sugar, oil, and eggs to mix. Blend in flour mixture; gently stir in figs and sherry. Pour batter into a well-greased 5×9 inch loaf pan. Bake in 350 degree oven until bread feels firm when gently pressed in center, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cool in pan 10 MIN. Invert onto rack to cool. Slice to serve. To store, wrap airtight and keep at room temperature up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Makes about a 2-pound loaf, or 12 servings. —Lee Jordan, Concord, California.

Notes on page from Connie (as passed on from her friend Debbie):

-can substitute port for sherry (or marsala)

-if using “cooking sherry” omit the salt

-place wax paper along bottom of pan & grease generously

-takes about 16-17 small figs, or 2 cups untrimmed figs

-can substitute pears for figs (takes about 3 pears- peel them)

-maybe add extra yolk if using pears.


Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

Bible Study Fellowship

About 11 years ago, when we first moved to Tyler, I was invited several wonderful places to get plugged in to the local community. One of them was Bible Study Fellowship (hereafter known as BSF). I went to a couple meetings towards the end of their year, met some lovely people, but ultimately decided to join the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) group at the church I actually attended (BSF meets at another church across town), which also on Wednesday mornings.

Fast forward 11 or so years and here I am again at the end of a study, joining into a new-to-me group. But this time it’s better.  Well, not BSF. BSF has always been good.  I’M better now.  I’ve had 11 years to find my way through life, make friends, lose friends, finally get some sleep, and to find out what’s important to me and what is not.

I went to my first real meeting this morning (last week I attended a one-on-one welcome session with the lovely lady that had been my HR director at a former job, oddly enough).  It was such a good morning. I’d finished all my personal Bible study during the week and was prepared for conversation.  I made my way to my classroom and found a group of women that I found delightful.  It was such a nice mix of women willing to speak out and ask the kind of questions that might intimidate others (either with their incisiveness or with their apparent lack of knowledge) and women that were quiet until a specific thing they felt passionate enough about to warrant speaking and still others who, like me, just had what seemed to be the most simple of answers.

I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and made my way to this group. I think it’s going to be a very good thing in my life. 🙂

Flying!

Getting back on The FlyLady bandwagon and getting my house/life/sanity under control. Spring Break was fabulous, but the cleanup is going to take a while. Have had a nice last few days at home. It is so good to finally be at home and get things done that need doing. I’ve updated my household notebook and finally put some of my lists in sleeves so I can use the dry erase marker on them. I love technology, but somehow my brain does not equate checking something off a digital list with crossing something out on a paper list. My brain wants paper.  What can I say?

Also had a fantastic time having coffee with a sweet, uplifting friend of mine.  Have I mentioned how much I love having coffee with people?  And that I will continue to call it “coffee” til the end of time regardless of whether or not actual coffee is involved?  Oh yes I will. BTW, I need more people to coffee with.  I am available during the day and will even make time for coffee with dessert in the evenings for all you working gals because I still love you even though you’ve gone off and left me during the day (boo hoo. sniff-sniff.)