Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Revelry

The snow had been gently falling outside my little bookbinding studio, and on wintery-white days like this, one of my favorite things to do is to curl up next to the fire with a hot buttered rum and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  This year is the 170th birthday of that fine work (first published on the 19th of December, 1843). Here are the opening pages of the first edition (click on the picture to see a larger version):

The charming illustration, by John Leech, is of the ball that Mr. Fezziwig gave for his employees, including young Scrooge. Here is a close-up:

At holiday festivities in those days, a variety of fortifying beverages might be served, including something called Purl (beer heated up, then mixed with gin, ginger an sugar). Which might account for the liveliness of Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig's country dancing.

At the end of A Christmas Carol, a newly reformed and convivial Scrooge invites Bob Cratchit to join him in making merry with a glass of "Smoking Bishop", an exciting-looking punch made with port, red wine, oranges, cinnamon cloves, and other spices. It's then heated or "mulled" before serving.

“A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. “A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you, for many a year! I’ll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a
 Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!"

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Moons and Moons

Around the time of the recent full moon, I got busy making some journals that have a moon theme. I named my shop Moon and Hare partly in honor of my great-grandfather, Quintilious V. Moon, who was a most excellent journal-keeper, and I like to have some moon themed journals in my shop as a nod to him. And also, just generally because I love looking at the moon, especially on full-moon nights.

This one is a reproduction of a 19th-century etching of a "man in the moon", surrounded by a verdigris filigree metal charm. I've always loved this etching, it has such a benevolent gaze. Surely, that's how the man in the moon would gaze upon us, if he were really up there, no?


My second man in the moon journal also has a face inside a verdigris metal charm.  This one made me smile a bit while I was making it.  The face in the moon is a 19th century photograph of a young man who, from what I could make out from the writing on the back of the photo, was a young missionary who had set out to conquer London. Oh, the doors that must have been slammed in this fellow's face, and yet, he had the gaze of someone who would not be easily deterred. You, my man, I thought, shall be a man in the moon! A man in the moon should be one not easily deterred -- after all, it must be awfully cold up there.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dreamers, Part One and Two

Did some browsing around the local antique stores a few days ago, and came away with some excellent antique cabinet photographs, and some other, smaller ones as well.

  I made two new journals with the cabinet photographs, plus some bison leather for the spines. Back when I was living in British Columbia, Canada, I found out about a bookbinder who lived in a tiny town deep in the woods, tracked him down and got the bison leather from him. That's the second bookbinder I've discovered living out in the woods. What is is about bookbinders and primordial forests? 

Dreamer No. 2 (Sold)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Dickensian Moment

I've been very busy the last few weeks, sorting through my treasures and getting them ready to make into books. Ah, Gentle Readers, the hours and hours I have spent bent over a vintage leather glove or handbag, unpicking a million tiny stitches, feeling somewhat like a character from a Dickens novel: "Please, sir, I want some more" and so forth. But at last I have a nice pile of leather:

I've also finished making a travel journal out of a piece of  upcycled leather with wonderfully worn edges. This one is lined with a piece of a cozy Pendleton wool blanket. 

The Traveler (sold)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Baseball Glove Journal

Whilst trolling through one of my favorite junktique stores, I found the remains of a vintage Carlton Fisk catcher's mitt in a dusty corner and knew it had to come home with me. After hours of unpicking stitches, I had the elements for the covers of this journal. I named it "Home Base":

Home Base

I really love this little creature (I know, I say that about all my journals, but it's true!). Here is the back cover, and the inside -- it has a photo of early baseball player Jim Conway printed on the first page:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Now,Voyager, sail thou forth

 After much thinking and pondering and a bit of mumbling, the vintage passport wallet I showed you in my last post has been transformed into a journal that I am really quite in love with. I added a bit of a wonderfully worn reclaimed leather to create the spine, and some hand-marbled end papers I discovered a while back in the smallest imaginable book shop on the Rialto bridge in Venice, Italy. Here is the finished book:


I named this journal "Now, Voyager, sail thou forth"
The title comes from a Walt Whitman poem:

"The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted,
Now, Voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

On one of my recent foraging expeditions, I found this wonderful little creature. It's a vintage (early- to-mid 20th century, I'm thinking ) Moroccan leather wallet, very unassuming on the outside, but on the inside...

...turns out it's a place to keep neat your rail tickets, ship landing card, baggage checks, foreign money, etc.

 The kind of thing you would clutch in one hand as you stand on the deck of Mauritania, waving your hankie to friends on the dock. The air is full of excitement and the scent of hair pomade -- can't you just smell it? From there, on to Europe, and the Orient Express and further adventures. So thrilling!

Anyway, for the last few days, I've been working my magic on this little guy, giving it a new life and hopefully further exotic escapades by transforming it into a travel journal. Stay tuned for pictures...

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (1958)

I saw this film once a few years back, and was totally entranced. Czech director Karel Zeman made the most wonderfully peculiar films, using a combination of live-action and animation techniques (you really need to see it on a larger scale than this to fully appreciate how deliciously weird it is). In The Fabulous World of Jules Verne Zeman seems to have been influenced by Jules Verne, Art Nouveau, and heaven only knows what else.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Bit of Inspiration

Whilst I was doing my outing and abouting at some of the local antique stores and thrift shops, I added a few more things to my horde of book-building materials. The thrift shop owners must think I'm completely mad at times. Whereas a normal customer would pick up a leather purse and check to see if the zipper works, there am I, muttering to myself, myopically squinting at every inch of the thing, mentally transforming it into a book or two. But I did come away with some very nice things.

Including this wonderful patchwork piece. An apron  made up of little bits of leftover material, all of it looking to be early 20th century vintage.  So now this apron, made up of recycled things, will have its pieces become part of my books. And so it goes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Edith Piaf -- La Vie En Rose, 1954

Ah, Edith Piaf.

Did you notice the rapturous expressions on the faces of her listeners in the audience? Wish I could have been sitting alongside them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

{A poem to read out loud: When You Are Old}

When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Share this text ...?

-William Butler Yeats

Monday, September 9, 2013

Louise Brooks - Diary of a Lost Girl (1929)

New City, New Studio

After living a somewhat gypsy-like life for the past while, I'm finally all settled in a beautiful old neighborhood. My new studio is light and airy, and I have all my lovely book making things about me again, including my stash of antique linen thread.

And some of the trunks I store my bits and bobs in.

The all-important inspiration corner.

And even more thread for sewing books.

It feels so good to be settled again. Even better, I now live near the quaint old Hyde Park area of Boise, which has many antique shops full of lovely old fabrics and things which are giving me some interesting ideas....but more on that, later, dear reader.
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