A fiend of ours contacted me about making some book risers. This firend has just moved to a new house that has some built-in bookshelves that are deep and tall, which is nice for hardbacks but inefficient for paperback. My solution is to stack books vertically and sideways.
Not everybody like this solution, though. They like to be able to see at least a portion of all the spines, even though it is less efficient.
To achieve this, though, you need some kind of riser. I know people who use foam blocks, or cardboard inserts, but plywood is way stronger and more durable, so this friend contacted me.
Here they are being painted matte black in the driveway. They are basically just open-bottom boxes. There is an extra support piece in the middle, just to keep them stable. They are made from half-inch plywood, with simple butt joinery, glue, and 23 gauge pins. Two different sizes, one for paperbacks and one for trrade paperbacks. They are clear-coated to keep the black from rubbing off, and felted on the bottom to keep from scratching the shelves. They are not perfect, but since once they are in place it is possible that nobody will ever see them again, that’s probably OK.
In Japanese, what Americans call “chopsticks” are called “hashi“. “Maki” is the word for “roll”. Many years ago, I bought a pair of hashi that came rolled in a piece of fabric, secured with a cord and a bead, and this was such a handy thing to have that I realized these would make great gifts, and would be a good way to use up small squares of surplus fabric. I bought a couple packages of bamboo chopsticks at the Asian grocery, and away I went.
Here are the products of that idea. The fabric came from my stash of surplus fabric. You may recognize some fabric from previous sewing projects. The beads came out of my stash of beads and baubles that have been given to me as tokens of appreciation over the years. The basic process is to sew two squares of fabric right-sides together, leaving one corner un-sewn, Turn the squares right-side out, and insert the ends of the cords in the unfinished corner. Top stitch all the way around, sealing the corner and securing the cord.
To use, place flat on a surface with the corded corner pointing to the right. Place a pair of hashi just to the left of the center line, oriented vertically. Fold the top and bottom corners over the ends of the hashi, so they can’t slide out of the roll. Fold the left corner over the hashi to the right. Roll the hashi up in the fabric, wrap the roll with the cord, and tuck the bead under the wrapped cords to secure the roll.
Most years, I try to make one of my holiday gifts for Sharon be something that I made myself. This year, I decided sort of at the last minute that it would be a knock-off of a garment she bought for herself earlier this year. She bought a kind of smock / poncho garment, and it has become one of her favorite things. It’s a good thing to throw on as an extra layer for warmth, and it adds a couple of handy pockets. The catalog she got it from only offers a couple of colors, and she bought the one she liked. If she was going to have another one, it would have to be hand made.
The fabric is a light gray mostly cotton stretch knit. Don’t underestimate the comlexity of this garment. The shoulders actually slope down from the neckhole, and the sides taper in towards the bottom hem. The hems have narrow turn-unders, and mitered corners. The pockets have rounded bottom corners. The neck hole has a narrow facing band. I have done almost no work with this kind of stretch knit fabric before.
Anyway, it took me a few days to get everything laid out, cut out, lanned out, and sewn. It was finished in time for the holiday, but still had chalk marks all over it so it had to be washed before it could be worn. Sharon sent all day yesterday wearing it, and found it to be as comfortable as the original, so success.
My days are nothing but free time lately, but holidays doubly so. I’ve spent most of the last few days sewing on different projects, but nothing I can post about quite yet. I sewed a present for Sharon, but I didn’t get a chance to launder it so it’s covered in tailor’s chalk markings and needs a few touch-up stitches here and there. I sewed a flannel shirt for myself, but it needs a trip to the fabric store for buttons before it can be completed, and I’m not sure I want to go to retail-ville on Boxing Day. It’s all about stymied ambition, isn’t it? Anyway, hope you all got a chance to spend the day doing something you enjoy.