Monday, April 27, 2009

A Forest of Books

Man, it's been awhile since I went a'blogging.
I even promised to write about Alyssa's and my monthly recipes, and so far haven't.
My excuse, or at least the one I'm using, is that I've been increasingly distracted by Baby Prep. My due date is late May, so there's still about a month till then, (unless the bean is early!) but whether late, early or "on time", I know these last days will go really fast. I've been scheming to make my own mattress (for a discontinued, oddly sized, craigs-listed co-sleeper), buying fabric for bumpers and sheets, sorting clothes from generous friends and neighbors, going to childbirth prep classes, renting a tub, and gathering supplies for birth. In reality it's not a whole lot to do, and we're certainly keeping things low key and collections minimal (no dedicating and painting a baby nursery or buying baby toys or anything like that), but it was a lesson for me to realize that just choosing a carrier or stroller can take hours of sorting through the customer reviews and recalls, not to mention the multitude of options. Guh.

Anyway, one project that I've made time for and can now share are the personalized bookplates I made for A's birthday.

When I met Adam (for the second time), he was 22 and living in CA with very few possessions. Part of that was because he'd simply moved out with little: only a duffel bag and a guitar tossed into his green Tercel (which I still drive). The other reasoning was because there was, I'll admit, some kind of delusional romance to sleeping on the floor in just a nest of second hand blankets and borrowing your nightly reading from the public library, not to mention knowing you could roll all your belongings up into an arm load or two and be off (whether you ever went anywhere or not).

When I entered into his picture, I was the collector. I too moved out to CA in a tiny car, but mine was packed to the hilt with art supplies, music, books, clothes, even my sewing machine made it out. As our lives morphed, our collections grew mostly due to my tendencies. For the first few years A was always diligent about semi-annual purging, but over the years he has picked up one real habit. I don't know whether my pack-rat-isms have rubbed off a little, or if stable life has let his own tendencies grow, but what A really loves to collect are books.

We've affectionately taken to calling him the Book Troll. This can be seen in action if you ever walk into a (cheap) second hand book store or library sale with Adam: he can be witnessed hobbling around with his arms wrapped protectively around a sizable stack of treasures.

Well, last year A lent out his favorite book and never got it back. This was a little devastating for him. Though we don't have a lot of first editions in the house, this one was, and also had a kind of sentimental value, so I decided for his birthday that I would make book plates for his loaners in hopes that they would encourage borrowers to remember from whence the books came. I chose to make a drawing of mushrooms to go along with A's Book Troll persona: it helps me have little daydreams of him as a furry footed book collector, reading amongst the moss and cold stones.

The plates started as a drawing:


And from there got messed around with on the computer:



And finally converted into the final:


I found the fonts here, the rest is either drawn with a pen and scanned in, or shakely drawn with a mouse. I'd really like in invest in one of those digital drawing tablets, but having never used one, I'm not sure if they'd be worth the expense (anybody know?). I'd also like to do more of these. I always talk about starting an etsy shop (one of those non-follow-through things), but if I ever get around to it, maybe a selection of book plates would go in (and thanks for the idea, Lyss).
Ahh...nothing like starting off a shop selling something people hardly ever use!

Oh, and Happy Spring :)