All change

It’s the beginning of March, and life looks so different than it did in December.

Not the politics. Don’t even get me started on politics. No, it’s the rest of life that has changed.

First of all, it’s getting lighter. The weather may still be wintry, but the days are longer. The difference in my energy levels is dramatic; it’s like the difference in a coffee addict between waking and finishing the first cup. My brain no longer feels wrapped in cotton wool, and I can think again. The payoff is all around me, in my relationships with Martin and Alex, in the way I run the house, in my work.

Work. There’s another area of change. I’ve been back at work since the new year, but I haven’t truly settled in. I’m doing a three-month stint in my old department. After Easter, I’ll be changing divisions within the Bank, moving to a team I worked with during Y2K. It promises to be a challenging time, with a steep learning curve. I should be intimidated, but every time I think about the work, and the people, I smile. I feel like a runner at the starting gate.

Going back to work has changed the shape of my life enormously. I’m only working three days a week, Monday – Wednesday. But those days are really tightly scheduled. My focus has to be on getting everything done that needs doing, getting enough light to stay sane, then going to bed early enough to get the sleep I need. It’s like being a hamster on a wheel. How do full-time working mothers do it?

Still, the working time has its rewards. Martin has Wednesdays off, so Alex is in day care for the first two days each week. He is has settled in well, but he does miss us while we’re away. So every day he’s at nursery, I pick him up (Martin does the dropoffs, I do the pickups) and take him home, and all he wants to do for the first half hour is cuddle me, flirt with me, and play with my earrings. It’s an enormously rewarding time, like having a whole day’s attention in a short spell.

One of the real pleasures of the last two months has been the learning curve with my bookbinding. Martin got me a couple of books on the topic for Christmas (at my request), and since then, I’ve been binding non-stop. (See the previous entry for a list of what I’ve done) In addition to the books themselves, I’ve made a lot of the hardware I need, including two different types of book press.

I can hardly wait to see what spring will bring.

Bookbinding (old)

This is old news – for my current bookbinding work see the Bookweb

Since Christmas, I have been learning about bookbinding. I have bound the following items; each has been a learning experience in its own right. All but four of them have been hollow-backed case bindings, usually kettlestitched or sewn on tapes.

I have destroyed some of my initial work, particularly the binds of three sections of an English law book I bought used some time ago. Other volumes have been sent to various friends. I only have about a third of the binds I have done in January – February 2002.

Finished Works

  1. Cream card notebook sewn on external cords, with embroidered cover.
    Now used as a needle book in my bookbinding kit.
  2. Cream Coptic-stitched notebook with gold signature guards
    Still unused.
  3. Kettlestitched binding of 1/3 of an English law book, covered in ochre fabric.
  4. Tape-sewn binding of 1/3 of an English law book, covered in ochre fabric.
  5. Tape-sewn A6 notebook in cream laid, covered in blue paper.
    Sent to (darsi), a friend from my online community.
  6. Flexible-bound 1/3 of an English law book, covered in ochre fabric.
  7. Binding of editions of “Sirius Moonlight”, the fanzine from the St Andrews Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, for Martin’s four years at university. Tape sewn, covered in brown paper. I tried to trim the fore edge, but tore the edges as a result. The book was labelled with computer-printed titles on the spine and front cover.
  8. Grey leather and black wool quarter bound cover for the “Forma Urbis Romae”, a map of ancient Rome. Labelled with a computer-printed title on the cover.
  9. Tape-sewn A4 lined notebook, quarter-bound in grey leather and blue fabric, for Martin‘s role playing game, Edelvain.
  10. Tape-sewn A4 lined notebook covered in blue paper to use at work.
  11. Tape-sewn A5 blank book with false bands, quarter-bound in grey leather and rose fabric.
    Sent as a gift for my younger sister Kathleen.
  12. Tape-sewn A6 blank book with false bands, quarter-bound in grey leather and rose fabric.
    Sent as a surprise to Gritchka, a friend from my online community.
  13. Tape-sewn edition of Sherlock Holmes short stories, covered in brown leather with false bands. The endpapers are green marbled paper. I decorated the cover of this book with an outline of Sherlock Holmes, drawn in permanent ink. I then deepened the colour of the leather cover with the application of red-brown shoe polish.
    Currently retained, but may be given to the daughter of a colleague.
  14. Tape-sewn A5 blank book of white laid paper, with false bands and red-brown leather cover. Green marbled endpapers. I deepened the colour of the leather with black shoe polish, and added texture by pressing the covers with crumpled aluminum foil.
    Sent to Teiresias, from my online community, as part of a Secret Santa arrangement.
  15. Kettlestitched binding of Edgar Allen Poe’s humourous stories, covered in leather, with false bands. Blue marbeled endpapers. The cover is made of two colours of leather, in an abstract design loosely based on a vertical arrangement of the letters “EAP”. Sized approximately 147mm x 215 mm. (Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version)
  16. Tape-sewn blank book with guards, intended to hold materials and project notes from sewing and bookbinding projects. False bands, plain endpapers, and ribbon ties. Sized approximately 144mm x 213 mm. (Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version)

    This project was not entirely a success. The pattern was too interlaced, and too interdependent, and as the leather strips were pasted, they stretched. The result was poor joins at crucial points.

    In addition, there was not time to define the false bands well enough before the paste dried, due to the time it took to arrange the pieces of the design. Definitely more of a learning experience than a triumph.

Future Projects

  • Re-bind Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, which was bought with a ragged spine and is getting worse
  • Two Dorothy L. Sayers mysteries (Strong Poison and The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club)
  • An edition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, currently paper-bound
  • An edition of Pride and Prejudicecurrently in flexible covers.