Not just any bum, either, but the sort of teacher-bum who forgets to get (or make) awards for the students who won the poetry contest SHE SPONSORED. Yeah, that kind of bum. I don't know who was more embarrassed at the awards ceremony: the three winners who had to walk down from the bleachers in front of everyone or the bum of a teacher (me) who only had a handshake to offer in appreciation of their great and magnificent poetic talents.
So, when I went to Ann Arbor this weekend to shop and catch up with my oldest best friend, I had an eye out for good awards. I dragged her through a few used bookstores, looking maybe for a beautifully bound slim book of verse. Nothing. Or, nothing that was both a) good to read and b) in my (I'll admit: low) price range.
Then JJ suggested Hollander's, and I think the heavens really did open up right over my head because I felt a direct beam of light shining on my brain and I'm pretty sure I heard an angelic chorus. Hollander's is, in all seriousness, heaven for those who love paper. It's a bookbinder's store. It's beautiful. Here's a link to the store: Hollander's.
Well, I could have bought some very lovely gifts there, and indeed, I did consider it. But when I'm in a crafty, creative place like this, I get these urges.
The urges to make something. To touch and fold paper. To glue it to other pieces of paper. So that's what I did. I made journals for my girls. It was a little bit tricky and I almost had to waste a piece of paper (but I salvaged it!). Also, I have a very small wound on the fleshy part of my hand and I'm still scrubbing the glue off my fingers and the counter. But other than that, it was lovely work indeed.
Here are the things you'll need to make one book:
24 sheets of paper (I bought a pad of drawing paper--9 x 12 sheets--and took it apart 'cause I wanted nice, heavy paper) (but you can use copy paper too!)
Two 1/2" strips of heavy-ish cardstock to reinforce the binding (I cut apart the backing of a crappy notebook) (Maybe a cereal box would work?)
12" x 12" piece of heavy-ish cardstock for the cover
Two 3" x 12" pieces of coordinating cardstock to cover up the edges of the cover
Two 5" x 9" (or so) pieces of another coordinating paper to finish the inside cover
Some DMC floss or heavy thread (more colorful = better)
A really beastly heavy needle. Like the kind you'd use to stab...no...just kidding
Here's how you do it:
1) Find the middle of the cover and glue the two strips of 1/2" cardboardy-stuff to it. Right on top of each other. If you're smart, you'll wait till it dries to proceed. You don't have to, but just be warned: glue is sticky. Very sticky.
2) Make a template for hole placement. I made marks 1/2" from the top and bottom, and then one right in the middle. Keep the template! You'll use it again. Oh, and mark the spot on your binding for the holes.
3) Use that beastly heavy needle to poke three holes right next to each other in the binding. That's right: three holes per measured mark (Here's why: once you make your four folio thingies--that's the little booklets of folded paper, which I'll explain in a minute--you will be sewing each one to the binding. It's going to be tight, but that's how you want your book, right?). I put something under the cover like a piece of foamy-foam or--better yet--my pincushion so I can get a nice jab going. (PS: Watch your fingers! Don't get too crazy with the stabbing)
4) Paper folding time. Fold your sheets in half (you can do 4 at a time, but not more than that; you'll lose the level of perfection I'm sure you want). Put 8 of the folded sheets together, so you'll have 3 booklets (I think they're called folios) (Not sure though. If I'm wrong, just pretend I'm right, okay?).
Then, you can write something really cool inside. Like I did. And if you give this as a gift, make sure you sign it somewhere so everyone knows you're the artist.