These are the drawing tools I reach for again and again. Walnut ink can be homemade through a simple process, though this is store-bought. Of course, Gibbie loves to use them too! I get mine at Wet Paint, my favorite art store. It's five bucks and comes in a palm-sized Nalgene bottle, pictured above. I like this, as I can be confident it won't spill if I chuck it in my backpack. (A gift to a friend including a glass bottle of ink once broke on her as she opened it on a plane. Sorry, Emily! A thousand apologies.)
Walnut ink is a joy to work with. It makes a sumptuous rich brown and is water soluble, so it combines beautifully with watercolors or watercolor pencils. I use a plain cheap pen holder with a bowl tip nib, as shown above. This is one of the only nibs I like to work with. It makes a fluid line, varies nicely between thick and thin, and letters without scratching. Sometimes I use another nib when I need a really fine script, as in my book, The Nightingale and the Rose. Even then, the bowl tip is the only one I really like. It may be because I am left-handed, but everything else catches and writes all scratchy.I'm calling this my Book of Days. It's a coptic binding. See? I sewed each pamphlet together at each juncture along the spine. There are twelve sections, one for each month. There is a pocket and a fold-out calendar in each section. I've just begun to illustrate them, using my trusty dip pen.
Resource-wise, I made the covers from bookboard I took from an old journal headed to the recycling pile, covered them with cloth leftover from books I bound in college, and the pages are surplus paper from our wedding invitations. Man, I use this heavy cream paper for everything!
Making books is satisfying. I've been toying with the idea of teaching bookbinding at next year's Creative Arts Festival at Clearwater Forest. Yeah--we'll see.
We will record birthdays, garden harvests, seasonal activities, and family traditions for each month, not as a scrapbook, but as a growing reference for future years. As I learn more of gardening and wild foods, I have trouble getting it all straight in my head. It would help me so much if I had been able to anticipate a month ago that right about this time I would want to be canning lots of applesauce and tomatoes this week.
I'm excited about this little tool tailored specially to our life, here in this place, with our own rhythms and history worked right into it to help me keep up with these days that rush so quickly by.
Speaking of seasonal activities, is it ever the time for garage sales! They're all over the place! This is one of the first notes to go in my Book of Days: September: watch for garage sales!
Lots of people move this time of year, so the thrift stores are full of new stuff every week, there're garage sales on every block, and alleys are full of unblemished furniture heading to the landfills*. I want to plan for this kind of stuff, rather than buying new when it's not necessary. Hmm... thinking ahead to what we'll need in the coming year. Actually, not much. Enjoy this lovely weather as you go saleing** this week!
*What? You never take stuff that people set out for trash? Ok, I melted with embarrasment at the mere mention of Dad doing this when I was younger, but come on; I got over it. Now I just think of Grandma Fern saying, "waste not, want not." We don't waste, if we can help it, and to our great thankfulness, we don't want.
**"Saleing" was what our sweet friend Ingrid called going to thrift, yard, or garage sales. As in, "I think I'll go saleing this afternoon. Wanna come along?"