Tuesday, August 21, 2012


It took most of the summer, but I have finally finished my "Book of Dreams".  At several points in the process, things did not go smoothly or according to plan.  You can read about the whole adventure here, here, here, here, here, and here, if you wish.  (Wow- that's a lot of "here"s! This really was more of an ongoing series than I realized.)  One of my purposes in posting each stage of the book's creation was to share my thoughts and technical processes with others who might be able to learn from my techniques- and from my mistakes.  So, if any of these posts has helped you in any way, I feel I have accomplished that goal. (Or even if my cluelessness brought  you some laughter, I'm happy to entertain!)

Front Cover



1st spread



2nd page spread


3rd page spread





If you recall, I had a problem with the spine, and ended up slicing it apart down the middle because it wasn't quite wide enough for the pages.  I thought long and hard about how best to fix it.  My first idea was to sew something, such as the spine of another book, over the cut, using the same stitching I used on other the pages.  I quickly realized, however, that I couldn't do that because the pages were already glued in; there was no place to put the needle through. My second thought was yikes- I've totally ruined the whole thing.  I was afraid that if I just glued some kind of paper onto it, it might not be strong enough to take the repeated opening and closing that the book was likely to have to endure, and wouldn't look right, besides.  Luckily, while looking at book binding supplies for the guest book I'm making for my daughter's wedding, I happened to see this Lineco Satin Cloth Tape.  I thought it was worth a try, so I ordered it, and it worked- in fact, the width was perfect.  But the tape was so pretty and shiny and new-looking that it seemed out of place in contrast with the old, well-used appearance of the rest of the book.  I attempted to resolve this by gluing on a 'skin' of dried acrylic gel I had peeled off from the earlier front cover fiasco.  You can see this on the photo of the back cover, below.  I'm still not sure about it, but have decided to leave it be for now.

back cover

FINI!  (The End)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Recent Developments at Shabo-Mekaw

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you're no doubt familiar with Shabo-Mekaw, the lovely piece of paradise in the country that serves as both sanctuary and on-going construction project for my husband and me.  If you're a newer reader, welcome; you can find out more by clicking here, here, and here.

In early spring, we walked downstream to look for an old beech tree that our friend Ken Lobitz was curious about. Ken, former owner of Shabo-Mekaw and builder of the original cabin, wondered if a particularly huge old beech was still there.

Unfortunately, we were not able to locate a trace of it; presumably it had fallen and decomposed.  We had a nice walk, though, and saw parts of the creek that we don't often see...

... strange and colorful fungi...

 ... names carved into trees in 1944...

... and my favorite spring flower, mountain laurel.

 This summer, we have been working on insulating and siding the original cabin.  This is what we accomplished the day I broke my ankle in the creek.  Needless to say, it was a while before I was able to go back.

When I did, we found a large oak laying across the drive.  Like most of the country, we've had some pretty wild storms lately, accompanied by unusually high winds.  If you haven't experienced them where you live, you've probably seen pictures on the news.

I couldn't do too much other than sit and watch my husband prepare the back of the cabin for siding, and help to hold up an occasional board.

After yet another bad storm, I was alarmed to hear that part of a huge oak had split off... 

and fallen across the front yard and onto the cabin.  (I don't have photos of the part on the cabin because my husband had it mostly cleaned up by the time I got there.) 

We were extremely lucky that there was so little damage to the cabin- the roof was bent in a few spots, and the metal chimney (you can see it in the first photo) was knocked off, but that was about it.  Unbelievable!

 The poor pine tree in front of the cabin was not so lucky, however.  All of the branches, except for the ones at the very top, were either blown off by wind, or knocked off by the falling oak. (You can also see the absence of the metal top of the chimney in this photo.)

 The next time we came out, I was able to help with siding the back of the cabin,

 which is starting to look pretty nice, don't you think?

I still couldn't walk down the steep hill to the creek, so I had to content myself with taking a few shots from above, behind the cabin.

I was very careful not to fall off here onto the spot where I broke my ankle!  How would that be for irony (and stupidity!)?

I couldn't see all of it, but I could see the part of the swirl hole where the water flows out of it...

... and very soon I'll be down there again...

... maybe tomorrow!