Not really a day of rest

It’s been a while since I updated this blog. A “while”. More than two years, during which life has taken its usual path between loss and gain, between hard pavement and sweet green turf. And Bookity is still here. I have a new workshop now, in the spare bedroom of our new house. I built a desk at the window, and I look out at a leafy view of back gardens and trees rising up Brunswick Hill.

Today I visited a great little pop up shop on Hatherley Road, staffed by a really sweet group of people who took time to chat to me, and then gave me an email address and told me to keep in touch. Cath’s house used to be a shop, one of those ones in a row of terraces that has a large plate glass window still. Ideal, although sadly she’s moving soon. But maybe next year I could do something like this, with a few other like minded people. This is what I need to do more of, meeting people who fire up my enthusiasm for my business. It’s hard work, sometimes, to have a clear picture of the future.

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Last night we went to a friend’s party. A great party, where we read poems to each other. It turns out that gratuitous amounts of Keats, Shelley and Byron make me happy.

Extract from Prometheus Unbound by Shelley

The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears
Of their moon-freezing crystals, the bright chains
Eat with their burning cold into my bones.
Heaven’s wingèd hound, polluting from thy lips
His beak in poison not his own, tears up
My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by,
The ghastly people of the realm of dream,
Mocking me: and the Earthquake-fiends are charged
To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds
When the rocks split and close again behind:
While from their loud abysses howling throng
The genii of the storm, urging the rage
Of whirlwind, and afflict me with keen hail.
And yet to me welcome is day and night,
Whether one breaks the hoar frost of the morn,
Or starry, dim, and slow, the other climbs
The leaden-coloured east; for then they lead
The wingless, crawling hours, one among whom
— As some dark Priest hales the reluctant victim —
Shall drag thee, cruel King, to kiss the blood
From these pale feet, which then might trample thee
If they disdained not such a prostrate slave.
Disdain! Ah no! I pity thee. What ruin
Will hunt thee undefended through wide Heaven!

Patinating silver

So the kind of thing I find myself doing in my spare time is trying to patinate silver plate using eggs.

I wanted to give the silver plated cuff link settings below a nice dark patina, so decided to test out this fangled egg theory.

The only thing you really need to know is that I thought I had to use raw egg yolks instead of cooked ones.

The cuff links are still in the bag with the yolks after 4 days. They are just sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting. I daren’t take them out.

 

Next time, when I have more eggs, I’m going to follow the method on e-how, here.  Failing that,  there’s always Liver of Sulphur, which is significantly less egg-involving. Hoorah.

Pinning

I have a Pinterest board here: Bookity

I started it mostly so I could curate front pages for Folksy, which is something they’ve introduced recently. So far I’ve made one, but obviously haven’t got round to submitting it to Folksy folk or anything useful like that.  Too busy making stuff out of paper.

But every time something catches my eye on Folksy I pin it, and add it to one of my boards. I also have a board for cute animals, because of course that is mandatory in any internets venture.

Creating chaos from order

This weekend went by in a blur of slicing, punching and stamping. No, I have not become a member of Fight Club – all the violence was directed at bits of paper, as I ploughed my way through an order for 300 (300!) paper decorations.  It did concentrate my mind, and I devised a hand protector made of a foam and sellotape, and a new way of punching holes.

Remind me to get on Ebay after this and get an industrial strength hole punch.

During my decoration-fest, I listened to all the episodes of Cabin Pressure, some of them several times (downloadable for peanuts here).  I also ate a lot of Nakd bars, which are a sort of concentrated fruit and nut mush bar. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Yummy! Mush, my favourite!’. They are tasty, believe me.

Here are a couple of pictures of the massive pile of decorations, plus a picture of my very untidy workbench on Sunday night.

Newsletter!!

Oh, hey! I have a newsletter now. I’m going to be sending out the first one soon, at the beginning of December and it’s going to include some very special products and discount deals especially for my customers!

Click on the link to be taken to the sign up form:  sign up!

Tales from the gluepot

I love the smell of epoxy resin in the morning. Actually that’s a lie, it’s awful. I reckon by now, a (calculates) year and one month since I began this madness, my entire house is covered in a light film of glue. I’ve lost count of the times my cuffs have dragged across a lightly hi-tacked surface to pick up a crusting of wood-based glue. When it dries it looks suspiciously crusty, as if I never have a hanky and use my sleeves instead.  I’ve also lost count of the times I’ve been out in the world with actual people instead of Radio 4 voices and have blanched at the state of my apparently-covered- in-snot-cuffs, withdrawing my arms and folding them over.

Anyway, instead of just moaning about the state of my clothes, I intend this post to be of a short review of glues that are particularly useful in my dealings with paper, cloth, metal, glass and plastic. Let us begin with the queen of all glues:

Epoxy – if glues were Hollywood actors, epoxy would be Marlon Brando: a powerful performance but oh my god is it difficult to work with. I admit, I used to have more faith in its powers on smooth surfaces and used not to sand both surfaces before I used this, but I learnt my lesson with those cufflinks. In my experience, it’s by far the best thing for glueing metals to anything, for jewellery. Absolutely the worst one to get on your hands as it just lingers for ages like a sticky slime.

Super glue: a far more brittle performance. In my experience this is not suited to bonding anything with a smooth surface that needs to flex or that gets regularly put under pressure. I use it to seal the knots on the twine I use for my garlands. It solidifies them and seals the cut ends so they don’t unravel and embarrass me.

Hi-Tack – my favourite glue! A massively sticky wood-based glue that I use for all things cloth related. I also use this for glueing the edges of books when I make them into boxes. It also seals the cut ends of ribbon and you can even use it to glue up hems.

Double-sided permanent sticky tape – I love this. I use Stix brand. When I buy a new roll it feels like I can live forever; my power to adhere things to other things reaches a god-like pinnacle! I use it to make my wallets, it really is so amazingly strong. But it’s also not cheap. I prefer to use  Sellotape double sided for light stickings.

Dimensional glaze – there is so much I don’t know about how to use this glue. It’s mysterious! What I do know is that it glues glass to paper like a mad bastard, leaving a clear, smooth finish. If you squeeze a drop out onto paper and let it dry, it forms a clear raised surface. There must be a hundred uses for this but I haven’t had time to try them out. Anyway, it’s wonderful. I’ve used it most recently to both glaze and attach bits of book paper to bookboard to make a little brooch. They become completely waterproof.

Craft mount – by far the best to use when attaching paper to paper to make something doublesided. But, a tip,  avoid the Nobbycraft permanent stuff in a pink can unless you want massive blobs of yellowy adhesive showing through and spoiling the effect. Actual Craft Mount is far superior.

Uhu (or any clear, super strong glue) – I don’t know it well enough in terms of making things but if I had a choice I’d always go with Marlon epoxy resin.

This is as far as my gluespertise goes. Also, I need to go and glue things. If you have any tips about glue, please do share them with me!

Folksy Friday – grey edition

A double rainbow graced the skies of Reading yesterday evening, shimmering against the dark grey clouds. We stood outside and got rained on and looked up at it. I wanted to grab the passers-by and people in their cars going home from work and point it out to them and make them look, but of course I didn’t.

Today it’s cold and windy and raining; I like it. The greyness is appealing, if only because it makes the virginia creeper hanging from the apple tree glow like its lit from within. It sets off rainbows well too.

Handprinted pale grey and ivory dragon cushion £35.00 by Helkat Designs

Felt clock by Kelly Conner (seller is on holiday)

Grey notebook by Kate Bowles – £15

Handmade 100% Liberty cotton riding stock by Topstocks – £29.00

Tourmaline and silver ring by JAusten – £30.00

Grey cashmere coat by FashionCouture – £169

Okay, now I’m greyed out and loving it. Bye for now x