In software development, this is what we call a “day for day slip.”
BUT at least I’m caught up with dates on posts and things that actually happen ON those dates (for now at least. I’ve no fucking idea what happened on Sunday.)
But on SATURDAY (after all of the near masturbatory book shelving) I took my first stab at some very VERY basic leatherwork.
Now, part of my book fetishism is a love of journals, notebooks, and organizational systems of damn near every type. The problem is that I can’t actually USE every type of organizational system and notebook out there, which I don’t mind telling you, seriously marshes my fucking mellow.
But I’ve settled, tentatively on the Midori Traveler style of notebook as something I carry around. There’s their “normal” size, which is pretty big, and fits wonderfully inside an inside denim jacket pocket, then there’s what they call a passport size, which isn’t, but can be (hypothetically) kept in a back pocket (though not quite a shirt pocket.)
A midori traveler notebook at its most simplistic, is really a leather cover with an elastic band down the center. You buy the inserts (you get a couple when you buy it) open it half way, and slide it in to the elastic. I think you get a couple additional elastic bands that let you just add inserts, up to about 3 or 4 tops, before the thing’s just not big enough to handle it.
It’s lovely. My primary one has 3 inserts in it:
- General dated notes and horseshit (including overheard conversations, recipes, etc.)
- A planner insert. Mostly just a running-todo list, but I used to do the whole “Bullet Journal” thing (look it up, it’s neat.) But it just doesn’t really work for me. I can’t be arsed to keep it up. I’m more interested in Mark Forster’s organization stuff now. More on that some other time I’m sure.
- Lists. I’m learning to love lists. Lists of programming projects, a separate list of NON programming projects, book lists. I’m actually surprised how much I love having one just for lists of shit.
One of the neat things about the “multiple inserts for multiple purposes” thing is that I can fill them up and switch them out at different rates, which really appeals to a particular insecurity I’ve got about misusing space in notebooks. It’s…a whole thing.
But the sizes of these things are terribly frustrating. No reasonably priced notebook will fit in them. You’ve pretty much got to buy theirs. Not the fieldnotes, not the small moleskines. I mean, you can make your own with a nice paper cutter, some xacto knives and such. But then you get in to this whole craptastic fight with what kind of paper makes for a good insert. Lined? Are you going to print them yourself? What kind of ink? Gonna do the double-sided thing yourself? Are the lines gonna line up? Aaaannnd don’t even get me started about the fun of cutting them to size and trimming them down so the edges are even.
I made a few. It’s just not worth it. No. It’s a huge pain in the ass.
But I’m sick of paying the premiums for the midori inserts and, as nice as the paper is, it’s not THAT nice. I want to be able to walk in to Barnes & Noble and grab some of those small moleskine 3 pack notebooks. Yeah, those are pricey too. But not THAT bad.
So I went to Hobby Lobby and got a few 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of veg tan leather and some other stuff I thought I might need. I’d bought a “basic kit of intro leatherworking stuff” off of, wait for it….amazon.
I watched a bunch of “home made midori traveler” videos, or…well… the first 3 minutes of a lot of them. If I have to hear the phrase “ohmygod, it’s supercute” one more time I MIGHT actually go on a damn killing spree.
There wasn’t really so much to it in the end. I bundled a few notebooks together and used them to come up with a measurement (which I screwed up in the end) cut the leather pretty cleanly, punched holes for the elastic closure and binding, and folded it over and weighed it down.
I thought about beveling the edges, then burnishing them down. But, when I practiced with some scraps I realized I just didn’t have anywhere near the dexterity or control required for an even result, so I decided to create the first one as the simplest thing that could possibly work using a few little Field Notes notebooks for sizing (which are almost exactly the same size as the little moleskine ones.)
The only real error I made was that I wanted to make the thing wider, so that I could fit 4 or 5 inserts, instead of just 3 in there. Other than that it’s just fine. I really don’t think there was enough to possibly screw up, which was sort of the point for the first attempt. I’m working on the technology of getting some pictures up. But don’t really want to host rich media here directly, owing to bandwidth and storage limitations.
I think my next little leather project will probably be something with stitching, maybe a simple little wallet, I’m not sure. The idea of tooling leather seems neat to me. But it may also be one of those things I start in to and find it’s FAR more of a pain in the ass than I’m willing to undertake.
That’ll do for me for now. I’m going to spend a bit working on getting those pics up.