Turtles Arrive, Eventually

IMG_0579[1]I walked to work a couple days this week. It takes a while, over half an hour, mostly because I am as slow as a turtle. But spring is a great time to walk down the sidewalks and peek into people’s gardens to see what is growing. Maple seeds crunch under your feet as you say “hi” to the lady who is out weeding. Sometimes when you turn a corner, you get hit with an amazing fragrance before you even see the culprit. It’s usually lilacs, but some blooming trees smell great, too.

The only downside to walking to work is the thought that you have to walk home again. After a day on my feet, that was the last thing I really wanted to do. When I said goodbye to Karla and headed for the door, she stopped me. “Brenda and I are going to the Arts Center,” she said. “They’re having snacks and opening a show by local artists. Want to join us?”

Well yes, yes I did. So instead of walking home, we walked downtown to the building that used to be our library, now transformed into the Arts Center. It wasn’t a huge exhibit, but it was amazing. There were watercolors, photos, weaving, woodworking, pastels, and even Norwegian rosmaling done by a woman I know, and now I also know that she makes beautiful art. Karla stopped by a self-portrait done by one of our recent high school grads, and was very tempted to buy it. She also kept looking at me, and I know she was wondering why I didn’t get my act together and enter something myself. She was just too polite to say it out loud. A couple months ago, she asked me to make some handmade programs for her dad’s memorial service, and she was totally thrilled with what I made for her.

Of course, it doesn’t do any good to WISH that I had something to show, too. It’s going to take time and determination, which both come to me in fitful spurts. I can keep saying “someday,” but since you can wake up in the morning and be surprised to find that it’s June already, I will need to forcefully turn “someday” into “today.” I seem to need a kick in the pants to get moving.

Earlier this week Marilyn, my boss, kicked me, though she didn’t know it at the time. She told me that three of our library board members are going to step down after twelve years on the board. She asked me if I would be willing to make each of them a little album of photos, like the one I made for Lorna, our former director, when she retired last year. Well, I cheerfully said “Yes!” and my brain began spinning. I’m not sure why I am never happy to make anything simple, or something I know how to make. After a quick cruise around the Internet, I decided to make three handbound books…which of course I’ve never made before.

After my first ever trip to the college library to get two books on bookbinding, I drove to the city today and hit up the craft stores. After changing my mind a million times, I came home with acid-free illustration board, delicious charcoal paper, linen fabric, and satin ribbon. I bought needles and red cotton thread for the binding, and I would have bought beeswax but it was too expensive for a mammoth chunk, so I’ll just use an old candle. Somewhere in my stash I have some paperclay, which I’m thinking of using to make a library logo, paint it, and mount it on the front of the book. It would look nice with the red binding, I hope.

I have a month to make three books. More than enough time, right? A big plus is that I get to use work time to make these, but I imagine I’ll use lots of home time too, starting with spending most of my day off today driving and shopping for supplies. Of course, I did come home with some gorgeous blue and green paper to cover a book for myself…a sketchbook, maybe? Hopefully, the temptation to use it will just be too great!


I hope you will bear with me because I’ll try to post photos with no bad language as the books progress. The more I learn about handmade books, the more I think they are beautiful and works of art in themselves.

I just need a purpose to do art, because without a specific goal and/or deadline, it just gets pushed aside. My Etsy store is still lurking like a spectre in the back of my head, instead of online like it should be. I could make and sell blank books, if anyone would buy them. Maybe I should shoot for making a book to enter into next year’s local artists show. Karla would be happy to kick me into motion. She would say, “Of course you can! Just do it!”

Not a turtle, our Karla.


7 thoughts on “Turtles Arrive, Eventually

  1. Wow. You and I are standing at the same place at the same time!

    Yesterday, I got an email from a friend who told me to “Just do it”. She was talking about me writing a book. I’m not ready to write a book. But, I gave myself an assignment a few weeks ago- to describe a different woman every day. Nothing long, just one a day. For a year. If I can do that, why not write a book?

    Take your assignments from others, but give yourself one. Make it challenging, but doable. Set your goal.

    You obviously have talent, if others are pushing you. Remember that, when you look in the mirror. There are already people who believe in you. Don’t hold yourself back. You could do something amazing.

    • What would we do without friends who encourage us? That’s a great exercise, writing each day even when you probably won’t feel like it. What kind of book would you like to write? That sounds like a big project, but I bet once you start, you would do a great job.

      We are sure standing in the same place! Thanks for commenting…it would be fun to keep up with how you are doing.

      • I have no idea. That’s the problem. I have to find a story worth telling. Then a style to write it. Just like your art, it can’t be forced or coerced. It needs to flow.

        I’ve got my assignment for the year- will you give yourself one? Think about it.

        Thanks for writing! 🙂

      • I bet as you write your descriptions of women, one of them will jump off the page and demand for you to tell her story. 🙂

        And I understand what you are saying about giving myself a project…and the more I think about it I realize that almost everything I do, I am doing for other people in some way. Even things that you would think would be relaxing, like driving to spend a day with my sister, are things I am doing for others. In that case, she wanted to have Dad come visit her for his birthday, so I was the designated driver.

        I think I will make a book, just for me, and make it look however I want it to look and have no other purpose than to make me happy. Thanks for your encouragement, and I hope to do the same for you! Do you have a “follow” button on your blog? I didn’t see it….

      • That sounds good- a book for you, but as an assignment, don’t forget to set aside time for you. I find that making time is the hardest part.

        Both blogs should have a follow button. On hubby’s laptop, a little button popped up at the bottom right side of the screen. I cheat, when I get notifications on my iPhone, I click names to follow. The assignment blog is Whoisjaindoe. You’ll know if I keep to task or not :).

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