Tuesday, 27 January 2009

You should've seen me...

Books. Tall and narrow. Already bound or just waiting for tomorrow. Soon, I promise. (And the leather one is finished too, I just need to remember to photograph it too!)

I swear only on very rare occasions, but ever since I fell over last Friday someone is cursing inside my head, in English, to make things more hilarious. I didn't even hurt myself as the fresh snow was soft and there was plenty of it. Later that day I read a news headline saying that one third of Finns fall over every winter. After too much dancing last weekend I could hardly walk, and yesterday I landed on my butt, very ungracefully. This time it was ice not snow, and with an audience of teenage boys, who just thought stating the fact that it was slippery was kind enough of them. No help for Bambi on ice (I really thought I'd never get up). And when I got back home, my knees and backside hurting, I read another news headline saying that half of all Finns fall over every winter. Maybe I was statistically very important (the straw that broke the camel's back).

And today, in front of the busiest bus stop in Turku, I did some wild acrobatics and didn't fall over. Thanks to all the shopping bags I had I managed to keep my balance after all. Shopping=good. My new, ridiculously inexpensive spring coat saved me from further humiliation and bruising. (And the coat isn't black or gray like you'd think it is if you know me at all, it's purple. How strange is that!)

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Brownie time

A book in a bag, but this is all I can show you at the moment. It's for a friend, and I don't want to ruin the surprise. I hope she likes it, in fact I'm almost sure she will. At least she knows exactly what I like.

My little full leather binding is one step closer to being ready, but I'm really reluctant to finish it. I'd rather doodle some new designs and bake the awesomest cherry brownies. Oh, I really deserve those brownies, despite the birthday cake we had earlier this week! Sad news for my eager readers, good news for me. I'm going back to the library, as a full time apprentice this time around. A little less bookbinding and a little less blogging I'm afraid. But if all goes well, in 2011 this will be a blog of a master bookbinder and a librarian. Now, let's all be patient. And if you're in the neighborhood, there's brownies for you too.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

i carry your heart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,mydear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

-e e cummings

The little adventurous boy I fell in love with years and years ago is a quarter of a century old today. And I keep falling in love with him. We've been together for over a quarter of our lives now. This kind of mathematics I like.

Once he brought me a witches'-broom like he was bringing me flowers. It was the most beautiful thing.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Looking back... me too.

I'm not procrastinating! I've finished a ton of things yesterday and today. So I thought I should treat you with a little glimpse to my past. We had a beautiful day today, perfect for taking photos and that's exactly what I did. A huge pile of books was photographed, and now, after loads of magic tricks and patience, you can see them on Flickr!

The set doesn't only include blank books or books written by real people, but also sketchbooks and diaries, worn and used. A page here and there photographed for you too...

...like this overly romantic one. It's actually from a book my boyfriend (now husband) made me. Dried flowers and found feathers. If you know Finnish, don't click to enlarge. Silly girl overload.

Instead of a long blog post, read long explanations and some of my bookbinding history here. As always, you're more than welcome to leave comments here, or on Flickr.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Pellavaista / Linen-y

Experiments with color. I'm so confused. The lovely mustard yellow you've seen before and it's here to stay, but the other ones are colors that I have never used before. I'm sure they love me at the fabric shop: I just keep walking around and around the table where the bolts of linen are, touch every shade of blue and still can't make up my mind. Then I ask them to cut something ridiculous like 30cm of the five or six colors I want. I just don't want to end up with meters of linen in some unbearable color should I not like the colors when I get back home. Shopping for clothes is easier than shopping for linen! Too many choices!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Not just any white

I'm saying goodbyes. They've discontinued the making of my favorite paper. This is the second time I've had this happen to me, but luckily I can still get some of that lovely 100% recycled grayish brown paper from the local art supply shop since I'm probably the only one buying it. No such luck this time, the perfect creamy white is gone for good. I now need to learn to use a bright white paper with a similar light grain but a slightly heavier weight. It's fine, but it's so very white. Of course I have other creamy whites but they're not the same. I just keep falling in love with things that are bound to be discontinued or are no longer available in Finland when I finally realize what a gem I've found. Like the perfect lip balm, chocolate bar, or just the right colored tights, and well, paper.

Can you tell that I'm procrastinating? I just don't feel like wearing my respirator and goggles. I'm never going to get that sanding part done. I know it would take like a half an hour, but I just can bring myself to getting it done. I did almost finish a skirt. I guess it doesn't count.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Saima in my dreams

Some months ago I got a huge photo album from my grandmother. She thought I might be interested in re-using the cover leather. Well, I have absolutely no interest in tearing that precious album apart, let alone toss away the photos like she thought I might want to do. The album is huge, and even though it's only partially filled there are hundreds of amateur photos from the early 1900s taken by my great great aunt's husband. And of course my lovely great great aunt Saima was modeling a lot for him.

It was pure magic seeing the photos for the first time, alone in the room where I grew up, knowing nothing about the people in the photos. Stories rushing to my head, my body tingling from excitement. By now I know a little more about the true stories, and they're just as fascinating as the ones I made up myself...

Seeing her hair makes me shiver. In a good way.

So gentle and happy. Kissing a puppy.

Saima has occasionally been a special part of my life despite the fact that she had died long before I was born. I remember my mother telling stories of her long hair and the crafty things she made. And I've dreamed of Saima so many, many times. When I was a little child, I had a nightmare where I pushed this very old and fragile woman and her rocking chair into a fireplace because I was so scared of her. Then I just stood there, stared at the fire and watched her burn. A terrible dream. But later, when I was 16-17 I had dreams of Saima as a young girl. She wandered alone in a big house, it was definitely summer, the light was beautiful. In one of the first dreams she said that everything was all right, she bore no grudge about me killing her when I was a child. After that I felt so good for many weeks. And she kept coming back to me at night time. In my dreams Saima even answered some questions I had about my life. She was really nice to me, and so beautiful every time I saw her. It makes me so happy to see photos of her having a picnic or just sitting in a rocking chair barefoot, dressed in her white nightgown.

The great great aunt who visited me when I needed her the most brings me comfort since I'm not really a dreamer, most times I remember the dreams I've had the previous night they're nightmares that make no sense. Honestly, very few things in life make any sense, but it's okay.You'll eventually find little treasures that make sense.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

So you know this really talented friend of mine...

Just a quick post today, I've got my hands full. Sewing, folding, gluing, picking lint from my hair etc. You know the story. The leather bound book is almost finished; just a little more sanding and gluing down the endpapers and it's done. I think I need to make another one, it was great to work with leather again. No need to worry, I'm still working on some linen books for my shop too.

Ages ago I told you that I got some very special things from Karen when I met her in London, and that they'd deserve a blog post of their own. Well, this is the post. Details only, since blogger is apparently scared of pincushions and doesn't want me to upload photos of such things. I hate it when it happens. But these things I love:

I'm in awe every time I get to see Karen's work. These things are almost too beautiful and fragile to touch! (but they feel so nice that I just need to touch...)

I know I've linked to Karen's shop and blog a zillion times, but she's just too great for me to not give her a shout out when I can. Of course there's always the possibility that her amazing work is news to you, so hop over here and here. And I've got good news for the people who already are fans of hers too; due to the current value of pound the prices are really, really reasonable!

Ad talk over. But I do love her work. A lot.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Sininen = blue = blå = blau = bleu

Doesn't Finnish seem to be the most imaginative language to you too?

It's been a blue day today. Not sad blue, but blue blue. So I thought I'd share some of my London treasures with you again... Gorgeous blue batik fabric from the mind-blowing Cloth House, velvet ribbons from VV Rouleaux and The Cloth House and the notebooks are from Muji. (And why, oh why, don't we have Muji in Finland? I'm fed up with the stationery available here. I need more simplicity.)

The leather notebook is coming together really nicely: headbands sewn, leather pared etc. Now I just need to finish some more detailed cutting and do some magic tricks before I get to the covering part. I think it won't be too long before I have a book to show you. And it will be a book worth seeing, I hope.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


Sewing headbands, definitely yet another thing I miss daily. Fancy silk headbands don't really work with coptic bound linen notebooks, so getting to sew them is a rare treat. When choosing colors I usually just tip over my small stash of silks and brutally eliminate until I'm left with the right number of colors. It's strange how that obnoxiously acid green silk works in certain contexts like nothing else, but on its own... uh, no. I get a rash from looking at it. It didn't make it through to the finals this time, it doesn't really match with eggplant (the cover leather is under the spools). I'll show you what I chose once I'm finished with the sewing.

Today I've been spoilt with beautiful winter light so no blog post in a while needs to go without photos just because of gray days. I wish I could breathe this light. Or just buy some on a spool.

The Quadrantids I didn't see.

Another photographless post. I won't make this a habit. I just climbed up a snowy hill on a freezing cold night (-12C) to watch the Quadrantid meteor shower. I saw some shooting stars, but now I'm almost convinced it was my eyes playing tricks, since we actually looked in the wrong direction to see the Quadrantids. Nevermind, the night was gorgeous. The moon so yellow and lazy, stretching over the city lights. It was worth the climb and the frozen toes. I ran on the way back, greeted the new year with a little howl. Felt so very much alive.

I'm starting this new year of bookbinding adventures with the making of a small full leather book. Working with leather is like going back home. I should go home more often. I think we all should, don't you think?