craft show micromanaging

With the Halifax Crafters Christmas market a month (give or take) away, I am only just starting to freak out… I am sure a much more profound and severe freak out is on the horizon. I’ve now done a few of these craft shows and am only starting to get a kind of rhythm down for what to expect, how to get ready and how to manage making so many things! For the first time I’m micromanaging everything. I made a spreadsheet of what I wanted at the show and broke down all the materials, priced them out and then went about searching for the best places/ cheapest deals.

So after I got this mega-load of supplies in the post, I took a trip to the Dawson Printshop and Letterpress Studio at NSCAD University here in Halifax (where I also graduated from… this printshop is a priceless gem here in the city!), and went to work on this beautiful machine (also other machines, but this one is my favourite!):

Speaking of a priceless gem, this machine is actually called the “Peerless Gem”.

So, what would have taken me probably 2 full days of work with this guy:

… Took 4 hours with the Peerless Gem… Oh Cutterpede (thats what this little plastic cutter is called) When I use the print shop, I realize I am crazy for not using it more. Cutting insane quantities of paper with the Cutterpede or worse- by hand is one of the reasons my back is ruined (the other one is food service + bad shoes … damn you food service!!)

So now I have all this paper cut (so. much. paper.)

(this doesn’t look like that much paper… there are stacks behind me also.. I’m known to exaggerate, but really though, there’s a lot)

Also, yes that is the show Lost playing on the laptop…

So, instead of doing what I normally do, which is just to go at it at random, I am taking it slow and doing one thing all the way through and then moving onto the next thing. I have already gotten through awling and have made the tiniest of dents in the sewing.

I am guessing this will take at least until the 3rd or 4th season of Lost to complete (I know, I know…)

Even though things feel a bit slow getting done because of the way I am working, I think in the end I’ll save a ton of time doing things this way, which in and of itself is worth its weight in gold. It’s also just a great exercise in managing my attention problems…

After I’m through with all this sewing, I’ll prepare all those spines and then I get to the best part which is designing book covers. It’s killing me that I am not allowing myself to put down the sewing (my least favourite part!) and do something more fun, but I think this is just a much smarter way of working.

Someday, I swear I’ll learn some discipline.

studio noise

I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts when I am working… A lot. Either podcasts or I have some old tv show or movie playing in the background which I sort of only pay attention to. Recently though I’ve just been putting my and my partners music collection on shuffle and seeing what happens… This can often produce wild mood swings (both the feelings AND the Cure album), the acknowledgment that my partner and I are coming from very different musical backgrounds (the likes of which are melding together slowly over time) and sometimes, the itunes shuffle can be so right on your wondering if it’s tapping into your brains’ musical archives and whipping out all the best stuff.

So anyways, I thought I’d start posting some sweet tunes that I forgot I loved/ haven’t heard in forever/ found and didn’t know I had or that I realized I didn’t have and then remembered I had to go buy…

I came across this song- Your Ghost by Kristen Hersh (with some Michael Stipe)…this song reminds me of a really strange, sort of challenging but really kind of awesome time in my life, working in Northampton, MA and becoming (slowly) a better human being. My friend Mikey put this on a mixtape for me and, didn’t know it then, but gave me so much great music I didn’t know existed, but hold dear to my heart now (Thanks Mikey!)… Also I am not reminiscing of ’94… Was just shy of a  decade late in discovering this song, or Kristen Hersh for that matter… Also I was 11 in ’94 : )


Repair- The French Pastry Book- Part Two

Now that I have the end papers all flattened and ready to go, I’m going to re-attach those pages that fell off when I removed the end papers, reshape the textblock in a press, pop on some fancy headband (the small colourful stripey bits on the top and bottom of the spine) and prepare the spine with some super and a strip of paper. (Super is like starched cheesecloth… it helps to connect the text block to the covers and strengthens the hinge on the front and back cover.)

This is the prepared spine …

While that was drying, I worked on the cover cloth. First I had to remove the old card from the cloth, careful not to rip it all up. It’s almsot as frail as the end pages. For some reason the front and spine of the book are significantly more worn than the back. Must have been the way the book was kept.

After scraping the excess paper off, I cut new card for the cover and rounded the corners like the old card.

Now comes the tricky part of attaching the old cloth to the new… To start I cut the new book cloth to the same size as the old and taped it face down. I marked out where the card should go and glued those down so that its nice and square.

Should have taken a few more shots here (!) but, after this I glued the sides in and then went to glue the old cloth onto the new. The trick is to apply the glue to the back of the old cloth rather than to the front of the new (although this is so much easier). Because the old cloth has a lot of parts missing along the spine and the new cloth will show through, I want to have those parts looking nice and clean rather than all gluey… PVA dries clear but it’s really noticeable when you get it on the book cloth.

So then I had to do something about those pesky tears in the end papers. I started off by mixing up some watercolours to match the discoloured paper . The paper I used to reinforce the older paper is a bit brighter so I want to tone it down a bit.

Matching colours spot on is a huge pain in the ass. Especially in this case because the papers are mottled with age and multi-coloured. It is something I think I am great at but in reality it’s actually pretty hard to match something perfectly. The front end paper turned out great because there wasn’t too much damage, but the back one had a big hole in it and I couldn’t make it look great . So I thought I’d make a label that says when the book was rebound and cover the hole up with it. It’s nice to have something in the book that says when it was fixed so I guess it was meant to be : )

SO, of course I took no pictures of actually putting the book together!! … But after the cover and text block have been pressed overnight, I basically just glued down the end papers to the cover… (Will post another time on how to do this!…Sorry folks.)

Here’s the finished product…

-please excuse creepy band-aid finger… –

Any questions, comments? Have a book you need fixed up? Let me know!

Repair- The French Pastry Book- Part One

A previous repair client recently came to me with this beautiful little pastry book in need of some help.

The book came from his father who used it in the 40’s while learning to become a pastry chef. It’s a great little momento with some pretty delish recipes inside – definitely worth helping stick around for another long while. Here’s a few shots of what it looked like before I started to take it apart:

So as you can see this little book is in pretty rough shape…

The plan is to first remove the end papers as carefully as possible. Since they are so frail, I’ll have to reinforce them with some similar paper . The end papers are integral to the structure of the book, so if they are frail and falling apart, the book wont last very long.

Next I’ll take the book cloth off the card it’s glued around, reinforce the book cloth with some new stuff and cut some new card to wrap it all around. Then finally I’ll put it all back together, hopefully with no big problems…

So, as planned, I carefully took off the end papers using my trusty micro-spatula (MEEcro spatula)… this was pretty easy because the paper is so old that they just kind of fell off. I really want to keep this original paper in the book because it has a really tiny and intricate tiled print on it. There’s a bit of that reddish paper left behind on the back of the end papers so I’ll take an emory board to it and ] lightly file some of that stuff off to make it flush when I glue it onto the new paper.

The first and last pages inevitably came off with the end papers so I will glue those back on before I go and re-prepare the spine.

So now I have these very beautiful but super frail end pages that need to be able to be strong enough to keep the cover on the book.

I found some creamy coloured paper and cut it to the size of the end papers making sure the grain is running long. It’s good to pay attention to the grain direction, your folds will be much smoother if you make creases along the grain instead of against the grain. This is especially important here because the frail paper could crumble if the fold is really messy and against the grain.

The picture below is of the new endpapers glued to the old ones after being pressed overnight. Also I rounded the corners to match the text block. (I use a corner rounder, I don’t do that by hand… would not look so good)

So next post I will re-prepare the spine, fold those end papers, address some of the rips and tears, reinforce the cover with some new card and new book cloth, do some fancy letra-setting and put the whole thing back together.