The trouble with book cloth is that it’s sold by the yard, and since I usually do quarter-cloth bindings (where the spine is covered in cloth and the rest of the cover is paper), and I’ve bought many colors over the years to go with the different Japanese papers, I have a lot of it. And it’s kind of a pain to store — I roll it and store it on the bottom shelf of my flat-file storage, but sometimes it gets squashed or damaged, and then it’s all rolly and flippy when I try to use it. Drives me nuts!
As part of my last Discardia I did a big cleanup of my bookbinding materials, and that included flattening out all my rolls of book cloth and cutting it down to manageable sizes that could be stored flat. Since most of my books are roughly the same size (25″ by 38″ sheets of paper folded down to 6-1/4″ by 9-1/2″ sections) and the cloth to cover is usually 11″, I cut all the cloth to that height. I cut most of my cover papers down to that as well, so now when I want to make a book I can just pick out the materials and not wrestle with large sheets.
Once everything was cut, I decided to make a few full cloth books to use up some of of the colors I don’t use often. I don’t even remember why I bought this green, and apparently I didn’t use it much because I have a lot — I don’t generally do green. But on its own I kind of like it. It’s Iris bookcloth from Talas in Olive, a rayon, and has a pleasant texture. This book has 160 pages of 100lb Mohawk Superfine, so it’s got some heft to it.
The Death Star Plans are Not in the Main Computer
March 6th, 2014 | Link
We did some renovations last year: new bamboo floors, doors, paint, and lighting. Then our upstairs neighbor flooded our unit (and the four floors below us, and those adjacent to us and a couple of floors down — what a mess!), and we had to do a bunch of it over again. Bleah.
We worked with Renee Naleppa at LOCZIdesign to pull together the paint, lighting, window coverings and other accessories. Our style is minimal and she worked with that, with lots of lovely neutral grays (punched up with LOTS of Jay Ryan prints from my collection). But one of the things she suggested that pushed us a little was this Random light fixture by Bertjan Pott for our dining area.
You can’t tell from this picture — it’s more obvious on the Random site — but there’s a large-ish round hole on one side. For a week, every time E. passed the dining room he mumbled, “The Death Star plans are not in the main computer,” or “That’s no moon, it’s a space station.”
I went a little nuts over Christmas with the bookbinding. In the weeks leading up to November I’d been picking up text paper and cover paper and endsheet paper and tearing and cutting and folding and even a little bit of sewing, until finally I was off work and had nothing to do except put everything together. The first weekend I cased in 15 books that had been sitting around as text blocks for nearly a year, and over two weeks I finished 35 in total.
Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages in French Paper Co. Speckletone text-weight paper (70 lb). Endsheets are Hannemühle Bugra. Cover paper is Brookfield Letterpress from Hollander’s.
Cased-In Flat Back with Maziarcyzk Paste Paper Cover
February 26th, 2014 | Link
Sometimes I try to break out of my Japanese paper rut and pick up something a little different. The cover on this cased-in book is a paste paper by Claire Maziarcyzk, purchased from Talas (it’s the “Stainless Graphite”). A bit of an indulgence at $12.25 for an 18-1/2″ x 24-1/2″ sheet (only enough for one book plus some scraps) but handsome. One of my coworkers once lamented the lack of “man-papers” in my repertoire and this fits the bill.
Finished size about 6-1/2″ wide by 9-3/4″ high; 160 pages in French Paper Co. Madero Beach Speckletone text (70 lb). End sheets are the lovely Hannemühle Bugra I bought last fall.
A simple book can be as enjoyable as a complex one. This pocket-sized, pamphlet-stitched jotter uses a strategically cut piece of a damaged Jay Ryan poster for the cover. It took all of 15 minutes to make (thanks to my Kutrimmer). Just as nice as a small Moleskine Cahier, if not quite as sturdy, and it makes me smile whenever I look at it.
I love Hahnemühle Bugra for endpapers. Nice texture and weight (130 gsm), and takes the glue well.
I have a bunch of book blocks that I sewed up months ago and haven’t had time — or, until now, endpapers — to finish. (Also there was that little incident with the flooding that rendered my studio unusable for a while. Good times.) Someday soon…
A Robot Barfed on my Dress
February 15th, 2013 | Link
I made this — gosh, two summers ago? I’ve only worn it once before. I bought the fabric (a cotton/lycra blend) on clearance from Fabric.com for something like $3.99/yard, and modified the free Zoe dress pattern from BurdaStyle to remove the pleat and turn it into a simple shift.
But the weather is ridiculously warm for February — in the 70s Fahrenheit — so I decided to break it out. Who knew it would complement the walls at the office so well?
Some of you know this about me, but for those who don’t: I’m a bit of an organizing freak. I’m not a clean freak, but I like things to be in order. I get euphoric when I go to The Container Store; and yes, my books, CDs and other media are alphabetized. I’m pretty good at eking out more order and more storage from limited spaces. And I’m also not bad at getting rid of things that are unused, inefficient, or just not working out.
So last month, while I was procrastinating on writing reviews for my team (ahem — I’m also good at procrastinating), I decided it would be much more fun to get rid of things that weren’t being used in the kitchen. Remember the apple sauce? Turns out canning, while an enjoyable experiment, works out a lot better if you have room to store the food (not to mention the equipment). So all those accoutrements got given away. I discovered we own a kettle, which I am pretty sure hasn’t been used since my parents visited in 2005. There was an assortment of small utensils that we never use; a rather large serving dish; and an extra colander. All that has gone to Goodwill, which freed up a surprising amount of cupboard space.
Then I started thinking about what was left — what worked, what didn’t, what was commonly used but not close at hand, etc. The problems mostly boiled down to these:
Limited working counter space — too much stuff on the counters, and not a lot of counter to begin with.
Inefficient use of drawer space — not taking advantage of available space, or storing things more or less accessibly than they need to be.
No recycling solution. We take cardboard to the recycling downstairs but we toss a lot of smaller stuff we should be recycling.
Stuff buried in the back of deep cabinets that requires pulling everything out to reach it.
So after much browsing on Amazon and a few trips to The Container Store — followed by another trip to Goodwill to drop off more stuff — we have a reconfigured kitchen that is so much better! I might even start cooking! And just for you, here’s a video!
Moved cooking utensils from a holder on the countertop to a drawer.
Moved the food processor and grill into newly freed up cupboards.
Got rid of a large breadbox that held vitamins and such, moving rarely accessed contents to high cupboards.
We use the toaster oven and bread machine regularly, so we kept those on the counter — but moved them to the awkward corner area, opening up workable counter space next to the sink and stove.
Reorganizing the drawers
Our largest drawer next to the stove held dish towels, oven mitts, and other miscellany that migrated there over time. By moving these into a smaller, lower drawer, we were able to move all the cooking utensils from the counter and about half of the contents of the other drawer into this one.
The cutlery drawer had an ill-fitting organizer that left unusable space around it. Replacing it with this resizable, customizable drawer organizer from OXO enabled us to also move some other small, frequently used utensils into the same drawer.
Moved plastic wrap, foil and wax paper from a drawer into a door-mounted rack under the sink.
Replaced the bulky thick dish towels that could only be stored 2-3 high with flour sack towels that fit 7 in the same space.
Lined the one deep drawer we have — which stores Pyrex glass containers for leftovers — with adhesive-backed cork, preventing the containers from sliding around.
Reorganizing the cupboards
Moved rarely used serving dishes and such to high cupboards and awkward back corners.
Moved overstock food items to the back of the higher cupboards (rather than mixing it in with day-to-day food).
Replaced the slide-out garbage can under the kitchen sink with this duo trash/recycling setup. After the first few days we switched the bins around so that the larger black bin is now used for recyclables.
Stored baking supplies and pantry items in the deep cupboards in plastic bins, so that they can be pulled out more easily.
The variegation turned out to be lovely, but possibly too much for the subtle herringbone patterning in the stitches. One thing I was a bit disappointed to realize was that the stitch was pretty much the same as for the Henry scarf or the Herringbone Cowl – both of which are free, so spending $4 for a pattern that was basically “cast on N stitches and work in this stitch that you can get for free elsewhere” made me feel like a dumbass. But it’s pretty, and my mom seems to like it, so it’s all good. The yardage on the Petite Silk Noir is amazing (1350 yards), and I had a bunch left over. (Here’s my Hydrangea Tissé on Ravelry.)
The second scarf is a variation on the Wool Leaves baby blanket by Jared Flood, in Madelinetosh Tosh Lace in the Filigree color way. This was a bit of an experiment, as Flood’s blanket is knit in an Aran weight.
I dubbed this the Meredith Stole, as I watched an inordinate amount of Grey’s Anatomy while knitting it. I blocked it to 20″ by 65″ long (and let me tell you, I was so glad I’d bought blocking wires when I blocked both these knits!). The lace pattern does not look as leafy as Flood’s blanket, but it’s airy and somewhat leafy. Unfortunately I think my sister was more excited by the three boxes of Orville Redenbacher Caramel Popcorn that accompanied the scarf, but such is life. (Here’s my Meredith Stole on Ravelry.)
Happy new year, everybody. I hope you all have a fantastic year.
To kick it off, here are the winners of my book giveaway. On digging through my boxes, I found I had three more long stitch books and two accordion albums to give away in addition to the Joel R. L. Phelps book. Nine people left comments, but Jase asked to be left out of the drawing. He’s chivalrous that way.
I’m doing the draw the old fashioned way — I wrote down everybody’s names on individual pieces of paper, and I’m pulling them out of a bag in real time as I write this!
And the winners are:
Elizabeth gets the Joel R. L. Phelps notebook!
MerryOnion gets a long stitch notebook!
YC gets a long stitch notebook!
Gayle gets a long stitch notebook!
Jonathan gets an accordion album!
Sue H gets an accordion album!
I’ll be contacting each of the winners by email to get your addresses, and will get everything out in the mail later this week. Thanks to everyone who entered, and to all the readers who have stuck around in spite of my long silences. I’ll try to update a bit more regularly this year — hopefully work and life will cooperate!