Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hello World!

Have you ever tried to learn a new programming language? I've tried it a couple of times.

The first thing they always teach you is how to get the computer to spit out, which is computer talk for display, "Hello World!"

The second thing they always teach you is...well, I don't know what the second thing is because I'm always so proud of myself for learning how to make the computer spit out "Hello World!" that I quit and go onto the next thing. (Did someone say OCD? Did someone say umlaut? Maybe I should learn German. German chocolate cake would be good for supper. Where's my grocery list? Wait, why am I standing in front of the pantry? I'll just go fold a book until I remember.)

Anyway, the equivalent of Hello World in the book folding universe is to fold the word "Read." One of the first people I saw do it was Isaac Salazar and Heather has a series of articles on RhymesWithMagic with her version. Now I see examples of it all over the Internet.

I'm a little late coming to the party, but here's my version.

By the way, it's not just art, it's good advice.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bountiful Harvest

I made this book this week. It is one of my new favorites for a lot of reasons...

For one...Those of you who voted for the dark scrapbook paper on the Blessings book, you got your wish on this one and I think it's beautiful.

For another...I wish you could all come over for Thanksgiving dinner because the colors of this book are even richer in real life. The pages are really oxidized into a gorgeous ochre color. They were more brittle than most books--not that the broke off into my hands or anything, but they did leave this very slightly rough edge as I folded them, which is pleasing to the touch. You can almost feel that rough edge in this picture.

But the the most important reason I like this book is the word Bounty. It sums up my life. I have been blessed with more than enough for as long as I can remember--not just food and clothes and that kind of stuff, but love, and family, and serendipity. (Also sometimes deer legs.) My life is bountiful!

Here is another book I made. Harvest is another of my favorite words.

It reminds me of when I was a little girl and I would go with my mom and grandma to feed the men in the field as they cut the wheat. Here is a picture of my first harvest.

My favorite part of this book is the cover. It looks like wheat to me.

Here they are next to each other. 

It's funny that the book on the right is 20 years older than the book on the left. The pages on the right are still a beautiful cream color, thick and supple.

Bounty and Harvest. It's nearly Thanksgiving. (Happy sigh.)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Me, the zookeeper

Those of us who live in the swampy, piney woods realize that occasionally one has to deal with the pesky varmint who wants to take up residence in one's house. I thought I had insulated myself fairly well from that circumstance by specifying in my wedding vows that Captain America would be solely responsible for taking out the trash and removing said varmints from our home. Being the ingenue that I was at marriage, however, I did not take into account that Captain America's occupation would require that he spend at least half of each week away from me and said varmints.

Although I still make an especially loud request for him to exterminate every giant, flying cockroach that seems to delight in greeting me when I open the bathroom door first thing in the morning, I have learned to be fairly resourceful in removing said cockroaches when I am alone. (Interestingly, the decibel level when I make my request and when I must remove the cockroach myself is the same.)

In the past year, however, the varmints have gotten bigger and/or creepier and frankly, I have had it up to here with them trying to invade my house!

Case Study #1: You already know the spider story.

Case Study #2: The copperhead that I saw squiggle across the living room floor at 1 a.m. and then disappear into the darkness about a year ago. My next-door neighbor and personal hero, Carlos and his lovely wife Debbie, came over at 1:10 with boots and a shovel to lead the search and then came back the next night until we found the snake and sent him to snake heaven. (That's right, the snake lived in my house for 24 hours.)

Case Study #3: The pair of raccoons who recently chose my attic for their new starter home. One evening they came down from the attic into the garage and knocked a bag of cat food off of a countertop onto the floor. Captain America and I were watching TV at the time when we heard the big kaboom. My heart leapt to my throat until I realized that finally my knight in shining armor was home when varmints struck.
"There they are!" I exclaimed. "It's the raccoons."
Captain America carefully considered his options and then bravely responded, "Well, I don't know what you want me to do about it." 


To his credit he bought a raccoon catcher the next day and then took them both to their new home in the woods when we caught them.

Which brings us to this past weekend.

I live in a very modern house with lots of glass and clean metallic lines. Normally that is good when I try to take pictures of folded books, but when I tried to take pictures of the turkey, needed something more than stark white.

It needed the warm, rich hues of Thanksgiving. So I started looking around.

Which brings us to... 
Case Study #4: Our TV room has a built in entertainment center with big lighted cubbies above the TV. I decided to see what the turkey looked like there. I pulled the ottoman close to the wall and climbed up and just as quickly jumped down. What was that in the cubby? My first impression was that it was a stick but with something on the end. Was it a snake head?

I took a deep breath climbed back on ottoman. The "stick" was in exactly the same position it had been in a minute ago. I was pretty sure whatever it was, it wasn't alive. I moved in a little closer and then I saw it was...a leg!

And when I say leg I mean A BIG HONKING, HAIRY, CLOVE-TOED LEG!

And then I realized that there was another leg in the back of the cubby.

Worst of all, I have no idea how these legs got in the cubby in the first place. I know I didn't put them there. I pretty sure Captain America hasn't been sawing the legs off teeny-tiny deer. So now I am wondering if perhaps someone has put a voodoo curse on us. (Although life has been treating us pretty darn good recently so I am considering leaving them there.)

My nerves jangled, I hopped down from the ottoman and took the turkey into the living room, the one with lots and lots of light and windows that discourage varmints from making an appearance, or so I thought until I ran into 

Case Study #5: As I reached down to position a table just so before taking a picture, I saw something scurry across the windowsill and then stop. I jumped back and then quickly realized it was a gecko.

Now normally I have nothing against geckos, they make funny insurance commercials and I see them frolic on my back porch all the time without raising my blood pressure one point, but this one had particularly bad timing as I was still reeling from the animal  parts in the cubby and so I screamed and the gecko, sensing my panic, jumped down and started to scamper across the floor which brought the pandemonium in my house to a whole new level until I realized that I was actually quite prepared for this moment. And that is when I introduced the gecko to my new cat.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Blessings

The plain truth is though I have possessed a few talents in my life, I have not been able to pass them on to my kids. I used to play basketball pretty well. Them not so much. I can also play the piano. Them not at all. And, of course, I can dance.

But they have one especial talent that totally escapes me--the ability to memorize entire scenes from a movie and recite them over and over at the dinner table. Don't spend all your money at the Red Box. Just invite my boys over and say "Caddyshack" or "Nutty Professor," and let the fun begin. I guarantee they will have you in stitches and rolling on the floor in 30 seconds or less and they will keep you that way for the rest of the evening.

My entire repertoire of scene recitation, on the other hand, consists of the first 12 seconds of this clip from the most awesomest movie ever to come out of the 80s, Airplane.

"Johnny, what can you make of this?"
"I can make a hat; I can make a brooch; I can make a pterodactyl."

Cracks me up every time!

I like to think that Johnny from Airplane is my muse. Stephanie, what can you make from this book? I can make a flower; I can make a word; I can make a pop-up card. I can make...

a turkey!

This gentle fellow is made of a combination of techniques. The body is an autumn-flavored RDCB that I smocked.

You can see the smocking a little better in this picture.

Even the ends of a book look good smocked.

The feathers are the same cones I use to make wreaths. And the head is a vintage Thanksgiving graphic printed on one of Barb's dictionary pages.

 You can't see it in the pictures, but he sparkles because I added a sheen of gold glitter. Why? Because I can!

He makes a really nice companion piece for the Blessings book I (ahem, we) made.

Or if you're in a more whimsical mood, you can set him next to Gobble.

I can make a serious book. I can make a fun book...

Spreading Goodwill again

I'm on an unintentional roll. Today's Goodwill find is this three volume set of Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.

I bought them for $2/book--total $6. eBay has sets starting at $50.

Now to figure out how to sell on eBay.

Goodwill Hunting

The other day I drove by a Goodwill store and so I stopped because, well, that's what I do now every time I see a Goodwill store. It is sort of like wiping down a doobknob before you touch it (which I don't do) or bumping elbows instead of shaking hands (which I don't do but think would be a little fun) or kissing the clasp on my necklace and making a wish every time it makes it way to the front of my neck and touches the charm (don't judge me).

But Goodwill stores sell used books for a very reasonable price, so I like to check out the inventory whenever I see one, and by whenever I see one I mean about once a week.. Anyway--this particular Goodwill store has the smallest book rack of all the Goodwill stores I frequent, so it usually takes me only a couple of minutes to see if there is anything I like. I've learned, however, that it's best to walk around a rack at least a couple of times because each time I seem to find a book I didn't notice before.

On the second time around I found this really great Harvard classic, Two Years Before the Mast.

It's got this really pretty gold-embossed cover...
and gilded edges on all three sides of the pages.

That's going to make something very special one day.

I was just getting ready to head to the front to pay when I saw a skinny volume with the word CROSBY embossed in gold. Normally I'm looking for big, fat books, so this one had escaped my eye the first three times I had made my way around the rack. But it was so glittery that I had to pull and it out and I found this.

 Just the prettiest cover ever, all navy and green and gold.

 I turned it over and the back was just as glittery even though that was a picture of what? A hot water heater or something?

I mean look at this dazzling cover.

My first thought was WOW that will make something super-spectacularly beautiful!

Then I opened it up. Believe it or not, this was actually a catalog for the Crosby Gage and Valve Company. It starts with pictures of all their factories and then continues with pictures and specs of all the products they made for steam-powered contraptions. 

Then  I noticed that it was printed in 1904. That's 14 years before my 94-year-old grandmother was born!
According to accounts I've been able to find on the Internet, Crosby was started in Massachusetts in the 1870s. By 1904 they had offices in Boston, New York, Chicago, and London as it proudly boasts on the cover. Some accounts say there were also offices in Hamburg. By the 1950s they were bought up by another big company. (Been there, done that, Crosby.)

Anyway Goodwill was asking their standard $1.99 for a hardback book, so I snatched it up.

When I got home I checked eBay to see if anyone had ever sold a book like this. And SCORE! There have been two that have been sold in the last year or so for about $85. Heck yeah! I guess kissing the clasp does work. (I told you not to judge!)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The only thing that separates us from the animals

Captain America and I have similar tastes in clothing. When he is not in uniform, Captain America can be found in house pants, sometimes accompanied by a shirt. Sometimes not. Me too.

Well, I do favor wearing a shirt more than he, but regardless, we tend toward the casual.

I am also not a big wearer of make-up. I don't wear it daily, but I do make it a point to wear it if it is Sunday and if I find my make-up bag in the car on the 10-minute drive to church and if I get stopped by the train on the way.

But Mama didn't raise a complete slob. I do try to always wear lipstick and earrings, because as she taught me, it's not just how you look, it's how you accessorize!

The same thing is true in the world of book folding. Accessories matter.

Take this book, for example. I'm on a Thanksgiving kick, so I decided to fold the word Blessings in this chocolate covered RDCB. I was pretty happy with the way the word turned out. Trying to fit nine letters in 250 pages isn't as easy as it looks, but this font really works well, I think. The original end papers, not so much.

The vintage yellowed pages are just too close in color to the washed out orange of the end papers. This book needs the equivalent of a new pair of earrings. So I convinced Captain America to drop me off at Michaels the other day and (happy sigh) went and bought some autumn themed scrapbook paper.
But as usual I bought too much, so now I need your opinion. Help me accessorize this book. Which paper do you like the best?

No 1: Autumn leaves photo

No 2: Thanksgiving Paisley

No 3: Dark Leaves

No 4: Sparkly leaves (the dark orange ones are glittery)

No 5: Light leaves
No 6: Pumpkin polka dots
 Whaddya think?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

October Showers Bring November Weddings

Seasons of life.

A few years ago I couldn't go to the mailbox without getting at least one graduation announcement. Now it's weddings and showers. My kids are of that age and so are all my friends', it seems.

That's fine by me. I love weddings and I love showers. Weddings and showers mean lots of presents, lots of smiles and best of all...


So in honor of all those beautiful brides and handsome grooms out there, this one's for you.

And speaking of love, here is how I blog these days.

That's Rudy, the dauschund, with her head hanging over the edge of the couch and Oreo, the cat, spooning my arm. 

They love me, and I love them. Love is grand. So is cake.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Supply Chain

My name is Stephanie and I'm a bookoholic. Lately I've been in supply acquisition mode, as Barb likes to call it. I try to control it, but it controls me.

There is another box of RDCBs in my trunk that I'm waiting for the right time to sneak upstairs.

And there is a sack full of fun stuff like this old textbook (teacher gift anyone?) and this giant cookbook (oh, I have great ideas for cookbooks). And what could be better than this beautifully embossed vintage volume?

How about a sack full of embossed vintage volumes...and a vintage school dictionary?

The other day when I went to the library to pick up the latest batch of RDCBs, I picked up these, too. I mean who could resist something called Gentlemen, Scholars, and Scoundrels? Or Leon Uris' Trinity (gotta do something St Patrick's for that one--although I actually might read that one first)? There was even a hymnal for 50 cents. 

Oh, and did I tell you that I found some more Michener? Another copy of Texas to begin with. Same blue and same gold star on the front.

My first was part of a two-volume set, but this new one is the whole honkin' thing, so it's taller and really thick.

 So thick in fact that it has over 1000 pages. Now that can spell a really long word. Or a couple of words.

So maybe it doesn't become a vase, but spells Lone Star instead? Or maybe it's a vase. Or not.

And then there is this gorgeous copy of The Source. Definitely a vase.

I really have been trying to cut back, but fate is working against me. Just the other day I was driving to the craft store to smell the scrapbook paper, when I saw this sign.

I mean, c'mon, who can turn down books for a buck? So I winded my way through the woods to get to the store and guess what. It was a house. Just a regular ole circa 1975 house, but when I walked in it was full of books. Books in every room, on every wall---and there were a few new walls just for books. In fact, there were a few new rooms just for books.

Here's a picture I took from one corner with the fancy-dancy panorama feature on my iPhone.

And I thought to myself gleefully, "One day my house will look like this. My books will spill over from my attic and down into my garage and onto shelf after shelf stacked into bedrooms."

And then my eye went to the window. I glimpsed this piece of art that the owner had hung there and had a Kurt-Douglas-at-the-end-of-Planet-of-the-Apes moment. I have seen the future and there is no escaping it.

And you, dear readers, will all be invited to come dig me out when that happens. I will be at the bottom of the pile, happily folding.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

TV Wars - Red River Rivalry Style

Q. Why do more Texas fans watch NBC than the Longhorn Network?

A. Because they keep tuning into The Biggest Loser hoping to see Mac Brown.

Go OU! Beat Texas!

Want this stunning pair? Check out my new Etsy shop!