Skip to main content

New Hobby: Book Making

I've been fishing around for something to do as a hobby for while. Making beer, while fun, isn't something we have the facilities for me to do with any regularity. Plus, it's kind of a pain in the ass (sorry brewers, it is). J-- had recently turned our spare bedroom into a writing room, which freed up a corner in the den. I quickly set up a card table, decked it out with a random Ikea shelf that had been sitting in a corner, and instantly realized I had nothing to do with the space.

A couple failed trips to Riders Hobby store later, I knew I wouldn't be building model planes or cars anymore. I really enjoyed doing it as a kid, but I felt no passion for building what are, essentially, toys. I still don't have quite enough space or money to bump up to making model sailing boats or R/C planes, so I found myself adrift without options.

But then, due to a random conversation at work, I was Googling for more information about making books. I watched some videos, browsed the few websites that are out there, and then a planned trip to Hollanders in Ann Arbor. Soon, I found myself in possession of a bone folder and some supplies.

I spent a couple tense hours measuring, cutting, gluing, and fretting as I assembled my first book; a deckle-edged, blank-paged journal with a cover cut from a map of the world. It an amateur's job, which goes with my skill level. But I loved it and I wanted to make more books. I love the feel of books and the fact that I can create them taps into a visceral part of me, that part that used to hang out in my dad's shop, breaking all his tools and cutting up his stock of wood.

This past weekend, I made book number two: a conventional, lined journal with a book cloth edge. It's constructions is slightly better than the first book; practice makes perfect, right? I had planned to spread the construction out over the weekend, but I managed to finish it the same day I bought it.

I think I've found a hobby.

[caption id="attachment_1776" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="My First Two Books; 1st one on the bottom"][/caption]


  1. They look fantastic! I can't wait for you to make me one :)


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Google Inbox: A classic Google product

My work domain (an EDU) recently had Google Inbox enabled so I had a good chance to try it out. My personal email is relatively quiet and, I believe, doesn't provide a good Inbox experience. Work is more active and requires actual management, something I've tossed many a tool at over the years. As part of my work life, I supported the Google Apps for EDU installation here and took a pretty extensive presentation to campus about how to manage large amounts of email.

Inbox is a classic Google product: the distillation of a number of excellent ideas into a set of half-complete features built for a use case most people don't meet. We've seen this in the past in products like ChromeVox, Google's Chrome extension for accessibility. ChromeVox works great on ChromeOS devices, but completely ignores the point that most users of accessibility tech (AT) don't have or want ChromeOS devices and come to services with their AT in tow. ChromeVox also ignores decades of convent…


Evernote, for better or worse, is the best note-taking service for my needs. It works across all my devices/computers/modes. It's fairly easy to get stuff into it. Hell, they even have 2-Factor authentication. The Windows app is a little clunky and my girlfriend and I have never been able to get shared notes to work properly (conflicted note! three times in the same grocery trip!), but what service is perfect? At least they have nice socks.

Everything, in fact, is pretty good as long as you don't screw up. And screw up I did. I'm not very regular about making backups, but I do make them every month or so. Once you figure out how to create a backup, that is.

There's a helpful Export Note option (which turns into Export Notes when you select multiple notes HINT). The export process is essentially opening All Notes, selecting every note, and then choosing Export Notes. Or something like that; Evernote never tells you, you're left to figure it out on your own. The file…

RIP Tom Petty

Tom Petty died today, aged 66. I won't claim to be a huge Tom Petty fan, but I've bought an album or two and sang along in the car to one of those songs everyone knows. I'll  stream a lot of his catalog today to remember the songs I've heard once or hundreds of times.

I also owe Petty credit for a singular moment in my life, and one I never expected to last in my mind.

Nearly 20 years ago, I was a fresh-ish faced transplant to Ann Arbor, MI by way of my first "real job" out of college, working for a software company in Dexter. I was renting a house with some other folks who'd also been displaced as a result of a fire at my first apartment. I was the only family member East of Lansing, which made me a contact point for anyone going through Detroit Metro airport.

Which is how my uncle Dean came to spend a few hours with me one evening. At the time, my grandparents (his parents) were wintering in Texas. My grandfather had health problems most of his life and…