A little down time is a dangerous thing

Whew! Upright again after 10 days on the couch with my foot in the air. Tip: watch out for foot/soccer ball/dog mouth collisions.

The bad news: having a laptop computer takes away any excuse a self-employed writer might have to lay off work during a convalescence.

The good news: 10 days on the couch still gives one lots of time to get into trouble dream about new projects. I started lists of new projects, made notes about ways to complete unfinished projects, and basically ended up with some very exciting to-do lists, enough to fill many weekends when I’m off and many minutes and hours here and there when I should be working instead.

I kept my little idea book and pen by my side (right there with the antibiotics and the bandages and the DVD remote), and filled pages and pages with ideas, inspirations, and notes. And now I have more projects to do than I’ll ever have time for.

Indeed, a little down time is a dangerous thing.

Owing to the goodness and patience of my Better Half and the bounty of our state’s inter-library loan program, I was kept well inspired by the steady stream of books that came to me while I was down.

These are among the books that kept me inspired over the last 10 days (in no particular order):

Gwen Diehn’s wonderful (that’s redundant, of course–all of Gwen Diehn’s books are wonderful) book for kids on making books. Don’t let the “for kids” part put you off–it’s a great introduction to making books that don’t just lie there, and has given me new ideas for my sister’s belated (belateder and belateder by now) birthday present.

This one’s so great I’m going to have to get my own copy after I turn it back in to the library. I already have her other book on journals, so I got it out, too and added it to the stack by the couch:

This one taught me a lot and gives me confidence that I can pull off another project that’s on my list.

This terrific volume from Lark Books (whose whole catalog I would love to own–Lark people, are you listening?) is another one that goes on my to-own list. Even Second Child, who deliberately skirts the edges of much of my making-things drive (don’t worry, she has plenty of wonderful creative outlets of her own), got caught up in this one and spent a long time going through it with me: “Oooh, look at this one!” and “Could you make something like this for me?” (note to self–add more projects to the list).

I checked out a lot of books that began to look the same. But even after looking at a number that I won’t mention here because they began to feel a little same-old-same-old, I’d find a gem–same genre, but with a fresh, original take on the subject. This book by Holly Harrison was one of these–really worth going to get.

Here’s another I almost overlooked–at first glance I was afraid it was another of those “if you stick a paper crown on it, it’s art” books, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong–I loved this one and especially picked up a lot of tips about different techniques and materials from this book by Lynne Perrella:

Finally, this one was still hanging around from when I made the noren a month or so ago.  I checked out several newish books about printing (with an emphasis on printing on fabric), and some were good and some were disappointing. I won’t reveal the name of the hip, hot, newish one that I thought was wayyy too simplistic and not terribly inspiring, but I will say that this book by Lena Corwin is much better–this is one to buy if you’re going to buy a book on hand printing on fabric.

My art and craft book budget is pitiful these days, so my new technique is to look up on Amazon all the books I might want and then try to hunt them down through inter-library loan.  I’m astonished at how often I’m able to get my hands on the ones I want–and for free, too (good news for the poor, the broke, the frugal, and the just-plain cheap). Then, once I’ve vetted them, I like to support these authors/artists whenever I can, so I buy the ones I know I’m really going to want to refer to again and again.

Cheap tip:  open a tab on your browser for your online bookstore of choice, then open one next to it for your local library and bring up your account there. When you see a book you think might be useful, pop over to the library site and put it on your “request” list. I find that these books often become available within a very few days.

What?! you don’t have an account at your local library?! Go and get one immediately–it’s free and it enables you to maintain a list of things you want to have sent to you asap. You can also probably sign up to be notified by email as soon as the library gets the book for you. Between the Better Half* and me, someone from our family is at the library at least 3 days a week.

———–

*Of course, some of us are retired and can read any time we want to. Hrmmph. Lucky man. On the other hand, my little taste of being able to read whenever I like was delightful, but if it means I have to be an invalid in order to do so, I’ll take health any day, thanks.

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2 responses to “A little down time is a dangerous thing

  1. What a great bunch of books. Confession: Sometimes I fantasize about an injury that keeps me from going to work so I can read and sew.

  2. I have the same routine for browsing amazon listings with a “twin” inter-library loan window. But you apparently have a much better selection available; I think I live in the wrong part of the state for great variety.

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