Still in the Red 29,192.

Cast your mind back a few posts (if you’ve been hanging around that long) and you might remember one I did which was heavy on photos because I had loads of things to write about but I couldn’t decide where to start and as a result I didn’t write about any of them and used photos instead. I said I owed you a thousand words for each picture.

…yeah nope.


From those 30,000 potential words I have selected one picture.

My book in the lying (cheating, sneaking) press.
My book in the lying (cheating, sneaking) press.

It might’ve been worth a grand in the old economy but I’ll let you have it for 808. Because it’s you.

Anyway in case you were wondering what this is a picture of, it’s a book in progress. A half-bound, case-bound book I made from scratch. I took this pic during an introductory bookbinding course I did a while back; you may not know this about me but I am a total stationery slut. That is, stationery not stationary.

I’ve always had a passion for beautiful notebooks, journals and papers; sometimes I think the real reason I’ve kept a diary all these years was so I could indulge my lust for them… once I bought them I had to fill them with words, you see. Not necessarily worthy ones, but at least they were presented nicely. You’ll see my entire collection in the fullness of time, notwithstanding I don’t get around to it, or The Apocalypse. Anyhow when Rory reached toddlerhood I had to give up hand-writing my journals because time. I couldn’t stop writing though so my ramblings migrated to the PC, and now I have hundreds of virtual pages yearning to grow up into a real book, which I am now able to make myself.

The course was held over a very hot weekend at the Queensland Bookbinders’ Guild in Brisbane. Making a book starts simply enough; grab four sheets of A4 paper and fold them in half, corners lined up perfectly. Repeat a dozen or so more times – easy peasy. I remember that much clearly; the rest is a bit of a blur. There was sewing involved; I cut my thread about 1.5m long so as to avoid the tricky stitch required to join a new one, and as a result when I pulled the (possibly overlong) thread through with a flourish I stabbed the lady next to me. I apologised profusely as she wiped droplets of red from her book and we joked about the literal blood, sweat and tears that were going into our creations. She stabbed herself a couple of times more that day and might have also nicked herself with her Stanley trimmer – but at least it wasn’t me the other times. I made sure she kept her fingers well away from the guillotine.

Making sure the edges of the pages line up perfectly. Perfectly.
Making sure the edges of the pages line up perfectly. Perfectly.

There was also a bit of this:

Gives new meaning to the term "battered old books".
Using a backing hammer to shape a poor defenceless spine. Gives new meaning to the term “battered old books”.

And we used several thingamabobs to measure things also.

This thingummy was very handy indeed.
This thingummy was very handy indeed.

Thankfully, you don’t want to hear every last boring detail and would rather a cooking segment-style cheat where I simply say “here’s one I prepared earlier”.

Ta-daaaa! My half-bound, case bound book. With sprinkles.
Ta-daaaa! My half-bound, case bound book. With sprinkles.

Thankfully we were given notes and a DVD of the entire process as my hastily scrawled notes and photos help not in the slightest.

My first few diaries were shitty DIY glued together leftover exercise books and  I was pleasantly surprised at again being able to smuggle recycled matter into a handmade journal – ie bits of a Weetbix box went into the case (hard cover) and I covered it with some leftover wrapping paper. But it looks a helluva lot better than my first effort at age 11 with Clag and some textas. (Please note if you need to look up what Clag is I mean Wikipedia‘s definition NOT urbandictionary! OMG NO NO NOOOOO. NO.)

I’ve now begun the laborious job of printing off my virtual diary – after a final edit and some fiddling around to get the pages to collate in the right order and the right way up – and I must say seeing the sections stacking up is quite a thrill. Technically I’m self-publishing! This must be how real writers feel when they see their work in print.

diary pages into book section bookbinding

Printing, folding…

The first section completed!
The first section completed!

…by my reckoning I’ve got about 20 more to go. I don’t think I’ll do the difficult  fiddly case bound style for this one though; there’s a course at the QBG in August for coptic binding which I might use instead. Squeee!

– Michelle

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