Jack’s Walk

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It’s been an overcast and humid day here, but at least it didn’t get overly hot. Still, neither Jack nor I like the humidity so we went out early to avoid the warmest part of the day. We just went to our familiar forest, but a pack of 4 shaggy, black and white springer spaniels livened things up a bit. They bounded up at us from behind, ran a few circles around Jack – all going in different directions and then bounded off down the path without stopping to take a breath. It all happened so fast that Jack didn’t get a chance to say Hi or Bye and he loves to say both. I think he felt cheated so I gave him an extra milk-bone and soon enough the world was right again and off we went.

The Art of Book Design: Easy Guide to the Constellations

Today’s book comes from Anne, Cranky Cat Lady and it’s absolutely charming. I’m pretty sure it’s a rare first edition and it looks to be in good shape for a book that’s 119 years old.

James Gall. An Easy Guide to The Constellations With A Miniature Atlas of The Stars. Gall and Inglis, London, 1900.

Purple Iris

Mondays are always better with flowers and Avalus has sent us some gorgeous Iris to help us start the week.

There was a beautiful patch of irises that attracted many visitors.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

Like this bumblebee,  just caught while taking off…

©Avalus, all rights reserved

And this leaf bug.

©Avalus, all rights reserved


My first Commission – Part 1 – An Offer.

I am still in a prolonged battle with my garden and my workshop, but it seems I am ever so slowly reaching a level of order that allows an actual work to be performed again. The whole workshop, the garden shed and essentially the whole garden were a huge mess whose cleaning took me the better part of my free time for, by now, a whole month. And I need to clean it up because I need to get to making knives pronto. I got my first commission.

I have sent the potential customer pictures of my past work and they chose a design, with a few requests for changes. It is, in fact, the sixth knife I have ever made and one that I am using personally until today – you can see it in the article “Knifesharpenophobia”. I think it is a good design for an all-purpose camping knife but also exactly because of that long time of me using this knife personally, I thought that the blade geometry can be improved, so I did exactly that – the blade is a tiny bit slimmer and the point is more centered and pointy than in the original.

I have drawn a sketch in photoshop, with two different wood variants. Then I made a pretty pdf and sent it to the potential customer to look at and, of course, a price list for the variants portrayed.

They chose and ordered a knife with stainless steel handguard and pommel, peened, full tang and a simple leather sheath. The grip from cherry wood, leather colored accordingly.

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I hope to do it justice. This blade has somewhat complex geometry and it was not exactly easy to make it back when hand tools were all I had. Making it on a belt-grinder should be faster, but it also allows for easy mess-up. So I will probably start making two blades and if two knives come out of it, good. I need at least one top-notch blade. And if I get two blades out of it, the second one will be fitted differently and sold in an auction for the Richard Carrier defense fund.

As a result, of course, I do not expect to meet the manufacturing time that I used for price calculation – I have used the expected time after I get some more experience under my belt, and the offer alone took several hours to draft because I had no templates for calculating the prices or drawing the designs. But right now it is not about making enough money to live by, right now it is about getting more experience, getting better acquainted with my tools, optimizing my manufacturing processes and getting some satisfied customers. We’ll see what comes out of it.

The Art of Book Design: Old French Fairy Tales

Old French Fairy Tales by Comtesse De Segur; illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett; 1920; The Penn publishing company, Philadelphia.

I’m not sure why, but Saturdays seem like a good day to showcase Fairy Tales. Perhaps because I spent every Saturday with my grandparents when I was young and my Opa loved to tell me stories.

Today’s story book is a classic of the Art Nouveau period and was illustrated by the incomparable Virgina Sterrett. Sterrett was only 20 when she received the commission to illustrate Old French Fairly Tales and the art she created is rich and full of colour and delicate details. Sterrett was diagnosed with tuberculosis shortly after the completion of this book and her failing health limited her ability to work. She did go on to complete the illustrations for two other books before her death at the age of 30. I will be showcasing those books over the next 2 Saturdays so make sure to tune in. But now, let’s just enjoy a few of the wonderful illustrations of Sterrett’s first book, Old French Fairy Tales.

The book comes to us from the Public Domain Review, but the entire book can be accessed at The Internet Archive.

Roslie saw before her eyes a tree of marvellous beauty

She threw her arms around the neck of Bonne-Biche

They were three months passing through the forest

A part of the wall crumbled with a terrible noise

They walked side by side during the rest of the evening

“Ah, ha! you are at last in my domain, little fool!”

Violette consented willingly to pass the night in the forest

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

I was off helping a friend today, so Jack and his daddy had a boys day without me. They are well-trained scouts, though, and upon my return I was told that the poppies are blooming at the end of the street. I grabbed my camera and set out to take a few shots. There are about a dozen flowers in total, but today only one was fully blooming. The rest look set to open tomorrow and I’ll definitely be back to take another look. I can’t resist those blood orange petals or their pompons of purple chenille.

©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

The peonies next door. ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I got a late start today because of rain. I wasn’t really feeling all that energetic either, so we stuck close to home and walked around the neighbourhood. Jack likes to do that every few days so he can keep up with the P-mail. When we’re on a trail I don’t notice that Jack is slow, but in town on a leash Jack dawdles and dithers and takes forever to get all the way around.  It’s his nose. It takes him in all sorts of odd directions, even backwards. He inches along inhaling deeply, seldom looking up and stopping often for an in-depth nosing. Sometimes he licks this or that particular blade of grass and sometimes he lifts his head to sniff the air around him, usually with his mouth open like a cat. He carefully leaves his own news in rationed dribbles on important posts and seldom leaves more than a few drops in any one place, believing that brevity is the soul of wit.

Lab Spider

It’s a perfectly posed arachnid from Avalus who says,

This spider found herself caught in glassware one morning in our lab. I contained it with a glass funnel to take the photo and released it.

I’ll bet that spider tells the story of this adventure at all the spider gatherings. Not everyone will believe her.

The photo is below the fold

[Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: The Romance of Insect Life

The Romance of Insect Life, by Edmund Selous, with B&W illustrations by Lancelot Speed and Carton Moore-Park throughout. Natural history stories from the insect world, published by Seeley & Co, London, 1907

I’m confused by the bird on the cover. Is it a gift of love or an object of love?


via: The Reader’s Desire

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

I’ve been waiting weeks for the first and only flower on my new purple peony bush to open. It sat there for the longest time just being a big, plump bud that didn’t change and I’ve been getting impatient. Well, finally, yesterday it started to unfurl and by late afternoon its petals were getting ready to spread themselves open to the sun. I was getting excited… and then the wind started to blow. And then the rain came and then my beautiful purple peony blew open and apart. Well, damn. At least the bees don’t mind. They’ve been busily gathering pollen all day so it hasn’t been a total loss.

©voyager, all rights reserved