Covers and Content

Bookbinding, writings, general creativity

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Artist trading card and lots of plans

This last half year has been very unproductive, as far as bookbinding goes. I still haven’t unpacked my bookbinding stuff. It’s horrible. The only creative things I’ve been able to make are small paper crafts, like a couple of Artist Trading Cards.

 

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But things are happening! My roommate and I just bought a screen-printing kit that’s on it’s way here. We’re going to print t-shirts and fabric and PAPER! Paper that I can hopefully even try to sell. Otherwise I will have far too much paper soon.

I’m also going to hold a workshop with some of my NaNoWriMo participants where they get to bind their own NaNoWriMo books. That is always exciting, to get to see what other people create when they make books.

Ghost chocolate and other things

So, I work at a chocolate factory. I’m working through a temp agency, so hardly know from week to week when and how much I’ll work. That’s kind of bad, but also kind of good, because I’m also studying creative writing, so the days I did get work, I’d get ahead with my studying.

The last two months I’ve been working full-time, so that plan didn’t really work… That’s also the reason I haven’t had much time for blogging, and no time at all to make books.

As if I didn’t have enough to do, I’m also doing NaNoWriMo, but more about that in some other post.

This is what happens when you’re too stressed at my work: you accidentally put the roll of wrapping paper the wrong way on the machine. I think it looks a bit like ghost chocolate.

This is what happens when you’re too tired after work: you accidentally buy papers for $60

 

I am not what I make

As a bookbinder and as a creative person in general, I identify very much with the things I make. They are what gives me my sense of self-worth. In some ways, this is very useful. When the anxiety starts creeping closer, I can usually drive it off by creating something, anything. Writing a poem, sketching a dress, knitting or needlebinding something, anything that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

But it’s an advantage that comes with a rather too high price. As my sense of self is connected to the things that I make, I feel bad as a handicrafter and as a person when I see someone making better books (or any else of “my” crafts) than me. I nearly started crying when the cake I made  for a party yesterday got burned. I didn’t, but not because I realised that it would be a silly and not very productive thing to do, but because the cake turned out awesome in the end. Which was… good, of course, but I really need to start telling myself (and listening to it) : I am not what I make.

Just talking here

Okay, so something really great might have happened/be happening. I don’t want to write about it on facebook or talk to my friends at home yet, because it feels like that might jinx it, but I had to write about it somewhere.

I’m moving together with a friend this week. We’ve got an apartment in a part of outer Stockholm where neither of us have really been before. This morning, as we were moving some of her stuff here, she told me that the ugly orange building we pass on our way from the train is in fact a bindery. So that’s already sort of really awesome, and I definitely have to look for work there.

Remember I talked about the bindery I worked at four years ago, the one that got closed this year, where one of my father’s friends worked? Well, I talked to my father today, and he told me that this bindery actually bought one of their machines, and are thinking about hiring my father’s friend. One guy that I sort-of-know from the closed bindery already works there.

So, without knowing it I have moved withing five minutes to a bindery where I already have a small opening for conversation and possibility of getting work. This is so good it’s scary. Now I have to pretend to have good self-confidence, so I can go there (possibly bringing chocolate) and make them like me…

Something in the mail

Work today was… not nice. I amused myself by planning to post pictures of the smallest book I’ve ever made. Yes, it’s smaller than this.

But that’ll have to wait for another day, because all unhappy feelings completely evaporated when I opened my family’s mailbox. There were letters! For me! Even one that I had to go and get at the post office.

One was a postcard from my bookbinding friend Stéphanie (who is in a lot of the parchment pictures – which reminds me, I have to write the final post on that!). Two was from swap-bot swaps. And then… do you see what’s under the letters? Yes, that’s another letter. Here, let me give you a better view:

 

This penpal and I have a bit of a competition going on, about who can write the strangest letters. I was honestly impressed this time. But my response will win me the victory, I just know it…

Doodling

When I was seven years old, I used to draw squirrels. Sometimes in bridal dresses. (I was a weird kid)

For a while, I was in love with geometrics. Stuff like this star (drawn by me age fifteen… and how did that suddenly get to be so long ago?), that I drew or sew. I had a flash of nostalgia recently when I saw a birthday card with this pattern in the kitchen of one of my mother’s friends. She had saved it for about ten years.
In high school, I wrote an embarrassing amount of names in the margins of my notebooks, over and over again. (It’s useful, now, I can date how old my notes/stories are by which name is written beside it…) Sometimes I drew a big heart and filled it with the names of all people that made me go warm and happy inside. Friends and crushes mixed with fictional characters from stories I’ve read or from my own head.

I also learned Tengwar, one set of Tolkiens elvish runes. That was good for when I wanted to be extra secret about the names or things I wrote. I was also very afraid of the one other person in my acquaintance who knew Tengwar.

Nowadays, my doodles have settled on the common theme of swirls. Swirls and leaves and small, small pictures. Like this:

This all makes me wonder what your doodles looks like. The things you draw when you’re really thinking about something else.

Take it as a challenge.

 

Remember that thing I said about marbling?

 

 

Because I do. All the time and everywhere, I said.

Every night for the past week when I’ve been preparing for bed, I’ve thought about how the striped toothpaste might possibly… and then I start brushing my teeth, because when you rise at 04:30 in the morning, you’re too tired for that sort of things.

But yesterday I got fed up with just thinking about it. I used a toothpick to make some kind of fan pattern (on the left) and some sort of double comb pattern (on the right).

And then I brushed my teeth and went to bed (one and a half hour too late).

 

I have lost all sense of proportion

(I know I said something about writing part two of last blog post, but I haven’t had time to take the pictures that can properly illustrate why LARPing is a horrible idea. So instead…)

There’s a store at the chocolate factory where I work. They sell chocolate. Cheap chocolate. To start with, most of the factory’s production at reduced prices, but the best part is the chocolate that went wrong in some way. Wrong sell by-date, wrong language on the packaging, strawberry flavour where no strawberry flavour should be – stuff they can’t sell in stores. They sell it there instead. Really cheap. Three kronor each for the dark chocolate bars that usually costs around 20 kronor. Forty kronor for a box with twenty-four bags of daim pieces.

And the thing is, since I handle about six to ten tons of chocolate very day, my sense of proportion is completely wrecked. This looks like scarily little chocolate. Will it really be enough, now that the store has closed for four weeks? (No, I’m not going to eat it all myself, but I try to always have candy with me, to all of my friends, all the time, because… I don’t know, to show them why they’re my friends. Even my poor penpals don’t go safe…)

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24 bags of Daim pieces. 24 bars of Digestive crumb chocolate (with accidental strawberry flavouring). 23 bars of dark chocolate. 3 bars of almond/seasalt light chocolate. Two boxes of pralines. Three bags of assorted filled chocolates. 16 assorted small chocolate bars.

Till the day I die – the good parts

The LARP was amazing. The people in my group were fantastic both in game and as themselves. We had care of about fifteen other refugees (since the whole story was about fleeing from a magic war), so we cooked food for about 221 people every day on a small wood-fired stove. Maybe it was the way everything tastes better outdoors, but the food really was great. I had brought lots and lots of chocolate for when we set up camp, and lots and lots of homemade toffee for when we were in game, so everybody liked me…

It’s hard to describe what happened in game without it sounding really weird, but I’ll try to give you an idea of it.

I, as my character Novice Ermin, have talked to a hero, talked back to a living saint, had a vision of a dead saint, banished a demon, given water to a tired and thirsty knight, sung songs that I’ve written myself, cried, laughed and even made some new friends.

This was the good parts. Tomorrow, or whenever I get the time, I’ll tell you about the horrible parts. For now, have a picture of Sara making the butter that we ate there.

Also, here’s another appearance of the marble sent to me by D.A. Bancroft. For those who don’t know, he’s got some sort of weird project that consists of placing a marble in every country in the world. This is the one he sent to me in Sweden, and of course I couldn’t pass up the chance of doing something slightly impossible and taking a picture of it I’m a fictional country. So this, dear D.A. is your marble in the country of Nedan in the world Kastaria.


Glad midsommar!

I thought I’d take some pictures of our traditional Swedish midsummer celebrations to show you.

I didn’t.

These are the pictures that I did take in midsummer’s eve yesterday – My friend Sara, as she looks at work. The shawl I’m crocheting, and how well the color goes with my hair. The litter in the metro station, that’s nicer on midsummer’s eve than on any other day in the year.

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