Making books

Still absolutely the worst at blogging. But now and then I find there is something I would like to share. I’ve been making books, and it’s fun!

Over the past month or 2 I have been teaching myself book binding. I’ve been using whatever I have available, and it doesn’t take much in the way of specialist tools to have a go. It takes some practice, but with time and patience, I have made some nice books.

Making books

Isn’t it pretty? If I’m going to be critical, the front cover flap is slightly misaligned, and I’d like for it to line up with the front cover perfectly.

This one has multicoloured pages, and secures at the front with blue ribbon and a toggle button that slips through the ribbon if you want. I was quite pleased with it, and as a result, thought I’d test the waters on eBay with it.

Everything used to make this book was already in the house. The only things I had to buy new were a couple of tools (bone folders) and a pot of PVA glue.

This one has a cover made from wallpaper. I particularly like the way the embossed metallic squares catch the light. The leaf print enhances the design with a natural look.

My eBay items for sale.

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Making time

Today is about making time to do things. Over the winter I’ve let things slip, rested back on habits and conveniences that aren’t ideal. We’ve eaten ready meals, far too much junk food, and fallen asleep on the sofa way too often.

Then on lottery, or euromillions, day, we sit and play the what if game. If we win, we’ll have this house, we’ll move and live there, if we have more time to do stuff we’d write, grow things, etc. But would we? really? If we’re not making time to do those thing now, why would a bigger house or more money make that much difference?

I fancy having a go at lino printing, so why wait? Recently I wanted to get back into writing but I find that despite having hours in which to write, I don’t.

I think it’s time for a change in attitude. So, yesterday I loaded up the slow cooker and make a batch of what I call mince mix. It’s a tomato base with onion, courgette, pepper, mushrooms, which is blitzed smooth using my hand blender when it’s cooked. Then I add in a large pack of beef mince and let is cook for a couple of hours. That gets made into pasta bolognese when it’s fresh. Once it’s cool, I make lasagne, or freeze portions.

But my freezer is over-full and needs defrosting. So, 2 of us had pasta bolognese last night, 2 of us are having cottage pie or pasta bake tonight. I like cottage pie, my daughter doesn’t, so I made individual dinners. And I made a 4 person lasagne for when my son and his girlfriend visit at the weekend, and a 2 person lasagne for my daughter and I another day.

My point is that I am making time to cook more healthy food from scratch, in advance. It makes meals easier.

It’s far too easy to fall into habits that don’t actually help us. So, I’m trying to change that, at least a little bit.

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A change is sometimes needed

You know when you’re working on something, a long term project that’s going to take months to complete? Sometimes you need a break. A change of view, something different.

If whatever you’re working on is that big, that time consuming, it can be frustrating. In the evenings, while watching TV with my daughter, I like to knit or crochet. I’ve been working on a blanket for over a year, probably more like 18 months. The blanket is now almost double bed sized, just to give you an idea of the amount of work that’s gone into it.

change

It started with a large bag of assorted yarns that my Mum left when she died. I have woven memories in with the stitches. But it’s now close to finished, and it takes forever to go around the thing, and it’s heavy, and awkward to work on. Although the rhythm of the crochet is relaxing, it can be boring too…

So, I thought I’d try something a bit different.

Always keen to reuse and recycle, I often take unwanted clothes to local charity shops, and I’ll often find stuff to buy in there too. But what do you do with the t-shirts that can’t be donated? You can make chunky yarn with them! It’s really easy, even if my first attempts are uneven, and the fabric seams have a tendency to tear.

t-shirt yarn

For a change in pace, I decided to make yarn with some of my own old t-shirts and make a mat for the bathroom. It was either that or dusters, and everyone knows I don’t dust! Being mostly cotton the mat will be absorbent, and I can chuck it in the washing machine.

I’m using a 9 mm bamboo hook, purely by trial and error. Four random t-shirts cut into roughly 1 inch strips made the yarn. It would have been more even if I’d bothered ironing the shirts and measuring properly. But this was a rough try to see if it would work.

And it did! There’s still work to do, but I’ll have a colourful bathroom mat instead of t-shirts in the bin.

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It’s all about learning

The weather is cold, mostly wet, grey, and I haven’t had the camera out properly in weeks. So, until the weather improves, it’s all about learning again.

Last night I took a book to bed, and started trying to make sense of it! It’s the Nikon D3300 for Dummies guide, and it’s not an easy read. There’s a wealth of information on every page, but it does seem to assume a certain amount of previous knowledge.

I do want to improve my photography. There are times when I want to capture an image but I don’t know how to go about it. So, this book has been sitting on the bookshelf for over a year, and it’s time I took a closer look into the pages!

it's all about learning

I am mostly happy with the majority of my images, and I’m loving the camera. But I know there is so much more I can do. So, it’s all about learning, again. It is vital in any hobby, any craft, in any part of life, to be constantly looking to improve.

My skills are improving, I have worked my way up to Champion status on GuruShots. You can also find a selection of my images on PicFair.

2018 is almost over, and 2019 will be what we make of it. I intend to make pictures, and possibly write stories. We shall see.

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Making maps

When you’re writing, inventing worlds, exploring new places, you will need to map your world. Making maps means you have an idea of where things are. You can keep track of what’s going on.

If, like me, your drawing skills are sadly lacking, then Photoshop, or an equivalent image manipulation program is your new best friend for making maps!

I’ve been using this page as a guide, and this is the result so far…

making maps

Yes, I know, it needs work, and it’s not finished. But, that gap in the trees on the left? That’s where Fin crashes, lands, the ship. That beach on the bottom left corner, that’s where Sean and Joss end up.

Probably. I might make a different one at some stage, when I work out what needs to be on the map.

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