Covers and Content

Bookbinding, writings, general creativity

Archive for the tag “all about Alba”

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…

Things I bought today

I’ve heard of the crowds at big sales, but I’ve never really seen them. I tend to avoid those sort of things. But they have nothing on the crowds when a theater sells off their old stage clothes. What they don’t have in trampling of people, they have in general weirdness. Instead of just dresses and trousers and shirts (which they have too, of course) there’s angels’ wings for children, soldiers’ helmets and big fluffy things with too much fabric that you’re not quite sure if it’s a dress, a skirt or possibly some sort of hat. And all of the clothes have sewn-in tags with names of the characters that once wore them. The blue dress I found, for example, once belonged to Gudrun. The cute hat was on a hanger with clothes from the play Och sanden ropar. A couple of years ago, I bought a robe called Man with torn clothes.

I didn’t buy any of the angels’ wings, nor a helmet (they were all to small), but I found a blue dress, a nice and sturdy petticoat and a very cute hat, among other things.




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.




Life likes me

The sad news first (sad to me, that is) – The machine bookbinding company where I worked four years ago went broke and closed. I’m really sorry for that, a little bit because I was thinking of asking for work there again, but mostly because I really liked the place and the people. It was my first real job, and I was good at it and liked there.

The good news, then – They had some six packs of paper (and that’s the big, uncut sheets of paper I’m used to, about 70×90 cm), some books and some other interesting stuff. And a friend of my father who worked there (the one who got me the job in the first place) made sure I got all of them! They’re now crammed into my really full storage room waiting for when I have space enough to make a small workshop. 

And I got a cutting machine from another of my father’s friends, so now I really have all I need to get started. Except space, of course.

I can’t really say how fantastic this is. 

It’s good to be home again

Last week was crazy. Moving to Stockholm, working night shift and then travelling back to Leksand for a friends graduation… but now I feel like I can maybe, hopefully start to relax a bit. Today, I’ve even been able to sit at the computer for more than five minutes in a row! I also got some sort of a productivity attack, so I have picked flowers and candied them (coat them in egg white mixed with water, dip in sugar, let dry) to use as cake decorations.



I’ve also become too used to making my own bread to like store-bought bread any more, so I baked some, using the porridge leftovers from this morning as a base.


Now I’m sitting reading fanfiction and crocheting. Life is pretty good sometimes.

If this unnatural calm continues, I’m going to write up the last weeks of college in blog posts. I know everybody are holding their breaths waiting to know what happened with the parchment. And I have to show you what high school graduation looks like in Sweden – in the case of my friend, for example, graduation looks gorgeous, because I made her dress for her…


I have realised, again, that we eat far too much chocolate. Yes, today us my first day at work at Marabou, the Swedish chocolate factory that’s located conveniently close to where I live, and where I’m working night shift this week. And I think we’ve produced about six tons of chocolate – and that’s just my shift, and my small part of the factory.

It’s starting to get light outside, and I’m actually not that tired. Maybe I’ll even have some chocolate.

It’s okay to give up

…or so I have been told.

Possibly it was me doing the telling. But I hope it’s true anyway.


Okay, this is going to be pretty rambly and personal. Feel free to skip it if you’re just here for the pictures of pretty books. There will be more of those tomorrow.


The thing is, I’m not going to finish all I should this year. Not ever nearly everything. This doesn’t come as a chock to me. I’m very, very used to failing.

When I do stuff for others, I have no problem doing it – I’m a good worker, my bosses have always liked me. When I do stuff that I’m not supposed to do, I have no problem with doing it – the Sherlock Holmes fanfiction book, for example or… well, nearly everything I put up here, really. When I’m supposed do stuff for myself, I… I just can’t. Homework, when I was in school. The historical books now.

(I want to defend myself and say that it’s not only my fault, that the schedule we decided on last spring might have worked for me but for some reason we never used it, and when I talked to my teacher about it, he didn’t really… I don’t know, get it. But I know I should have taken more responsibility for it.)


But the thing is, I decided that’s okay. I’m trying not to feel like a failure, because I’m really not. I’m still a bookbinder, I’m good at making books, I’m just not good at getting around to do it. And I can… well, I can accept that.

Now I just have to find a way to not be mad at my friends when they ask me if I’ve gotten my journeyman certificate yet…

A bit of self-confidence

In seventh grade, a friend told me I had a bad singing voice.

Never tell that to anyone.

I mean it. Even if it’s painfully true. For me, it probably wasn’t even true. It’s certainly not true today, after seven years of singing in various choirs, but I still have no confidence in it.

Then, today. Some of you might know that the choir I sing in right now is what can only be called ridiculously small. When we’re all there, we’re five. Well, seven if you count the leader and her nine months old son, which we don’t. At the moment, two of them are away. Of the three that are left, two said they couldn’t be there less than an hour before practice today.

That left one person. Me. And I wasn’t very happy about it. That is, until I got there, and choir practice turned into a personal vocal lesson.

I learned so much. Things about breathing. Things I do wrong, and what to do about them. That my choir leader thinks I have a good voice.

I feel much better now about the concert next week (where our great choir will be more of a duet, actually). I got motivated to go to a vocal coach when I move home this summer.

And I have much more confidence in my singing voice myself.

Writing exercise

One sentence. More than you could possible want to know about the state of my room. Go.


It’s not that bad a thing to be a messy person, I try to tell myself (over and over again), because that means when I finally after weeks and weeks take the time to clean my room thoroughly I find really interesting stuff, like money (friends who help me cleaning are always shocked by the amount of money I have in odd corners, but I think it’s a good thing to lose money in my own room because then I can always clean if I get desperate) and books I thought I’d lost, and needles (sometimes I find those with my feet, or by laying down on them and realizing that they’d been stuck in my mattress for weeks at least and I’ve been sleeping on top of them all this time and isn’t that kind of creepy) and candy that’s even edible sometimes, and shirts that I’ve wanted to wear for weeks now and suddenly I have enough socks again (although that one light blue sock will probably be lonely forever) and I can wear my newfound socks and shirts and scarves when I go out and buy more candy (for the candy I find is almost always horrible anyways) for the money I’ve found, and when I come back the monstrous amounts of washing might have dried and I should really put all those clothes away, but I’m far too tired by then so they end up in a pile somewhere and didn’t I clean just a moment ago, why’s my room looking like this?

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