Forgotten histories & decorative designs

Yesterday I purchased a selection of (okay far too many) books with the intention of turning some into clocks.  I’d used the Folio Society Shakespeare before to make a clock like this..

Measure For Measure Book Clock it seemed a good idea to bid on a large lot of books to make some more.  I’ve spent the day sorting out what I can create things from. Most of the books are on the way to the charity shop or will be on the bookshelves at Hopkinson (prices from 50p) soon so I can get back some of my shockingly overpriced investment (since I got bid up).  Back to those folio Shakespeare’s…

Folio Shakespeare

There are 37 Shakespeare books which I suspect is complete and I’m one of the few people who enjoyed Shakespeare at school (Macbeth hooked me) so they keep asking me if they can stay on my shelves.  My sensible business head points out the fact I need to make clocks.  My literature/theatre loving head says give them a home and preserve them!  They do have very pretty covers before you even look at the wondrous variety of illustrators in the different volumes (including Dali).

Shakespeare Folio Society detail

Some of the books were crumbling as often seems to happen with the leather spines.  As one opened when I lifted it what at first appeared to be a piece of silver paper slipped in between pages came into view.

Waverly novels photo silvered

The print from the book pages was transferred to parts of the paper and when tipped a certain way in the light I was sure I could make out the profile of a face (looking towards my fingers in this shot).  In the next volume I found what appears to be the same photographic image which had not deteriorated and a number of other photos, many also fading in intriguing ways.

Inside Waverly novels, flower photo Pressed leaves inside Waverly Novels Portrait photo inside Waverly novels Inside Waverly novels torn photos Inside Waverly novels face overlaid with print

Also in the box were some beautifully decorated covers, sadly detaching themselves from the books.

Everyman cover design Green leather, gilt decoration Decorated cover design Swirled leather Leather relief patterned book cover

Also in there was a bible published in 1806.  Amazing to think this was created over two centuries ago.  I wonder whose family it is from?  I know my mum talks of our family bible left when her grandmother died and my grandparents had had to travel several counties to clear the house by bus so could carry very few possessions away with them only practical things the family needed.  I wonder if that still survives somewhere today.

Bible marbled endpaper Family names in bible Family register in Bible 1806 Bible Bible illustration

We’re out of Puddleducks and Tiggywinkles.

The rather bizarre title of this post is what I found myself telling a customer on Sunday.  In my head this was a perfectly logical statement but the amusement of the customers made me realise how being a solitary craftworker means I’ve created my own code language without realising.  If you are wondering I currently have no clocks made from the Beatrix Potter tales of Jemima Puddleduck or Mrs. Tiggywinkle 🙂

Not The Camden Market April 2013 1

These are some images from Not The Camden Market last weekend.

Not The Camden Market April 2013 2

New display stand also in place at Hopkinson along with some vintage children annuals recently added, prices from 50p!

Hopkinson April 2013

One of the things I want to do this year is broaden the ranges I sell so I’ve been experimenting with some early tests for beads made from book pages.  These are the first two trials so there are lots of improvements yet to be made.

Sphere bead test Tube bead test

I want to get some other lines in production too if I can find materials at the right price and work out the methods for making.  Hopefully I’ll be able to reintroduce the paperweights.  I’d also like to have a go at small wall shelves made from hardback books.  Some other ideas I’m not sure are as feasible so expect more test product photos to show lots more design, fail and hopefully develop to working endeavours.

Children’s book illustrations (cats & dogs)

When in London I like to go and gaze in the windows of the antiquarian book shops as they have such pretty volumes.  Don’t worry I never want to repurpose these preserved treasures, I love the fact they haven’t fallen apart and will be treasured in a collector’s library.

Last month I was wandering along and was drawn to flick through the boxes of prints that often stand outside the shops off Charing Cross Road.  Outside one was a box of original painting/illustrations for children’s books.  I have no idea which book these were for but I loved the vibrant colours of the laundry day scene. Being a cat lady I couldn’t resist the images where the dogs were in uniform and the cats got to ride in a carriage and visit a castle too.

So here we have 3 unknown children’s book illustrations that I hope I’ll have the wall space to frame and hang one day.

Children's book illustration cats & dogs do the laundry Children's book illustration Cats in a carriage Children's book illustration cats visit the castle

100% busy but only 50% output.

Posts, like buses – nothing for weeks then two in one day.

I’m having one of those frustrated moments when you have spent every spare scrap of time you can working on one thing or another but the visible output isn’t as much as you need it to be.  In a few days I have a stall at the lovely Pretty Dandy Flea and I was supposed to gather stock and plan my layout this past weekend but it wasn’t to be.  Whilst fighting a cold/throat infection I was not at my most productive (still not) and if anything could go a bit awry it did.  Even getting new instruction inserts for the clocks printed turned into a 90 minute fiasco in Staples (long story) in which I had to stop my fevered self buying stationery I didn’t need – difficult at the best of times.  Fortunately the sale corner had a coin counting tray reduced to £2 so I was able to buy myself a toy to cheer up.

I’ve been working on some new memento keepers too and as soon as I fix one problem there is a new challenge to overcome.  Tonight I have decided I need a press to get it all right but searching for the right equipment is not going well and drooling over expensive book presses I can’t afford is not helping.  These are images of the prototypes so far…

Memento keepers version 3 style Memento keeper version 4 Memento keeper version 1

So on the positive side two clocks have been hand cut and are clamped for the glue to set.  I made ten hairgrips and only superglued one finger.  At least something saleable has been made amongst all the hours of trialling things.  Distracting myself with new ideas means I seem to have lots of unfinished odds and ends all over the desk.

Since I have no Forgotten Library time again until late Thursday afternoon I am hoping the idea that it will all come together in the end proves correct!

*Adds making non-smuding price labels to the list of things to do*


J. O. M. Ashley 4th February – 8th February 1919

Finally found where I had safely stored this treasure so I can share some entries and perhaps in a little while get close enough to the right date to try and post a daily entry (no promises  as I have been unable to find enough time for everything I’d like to do before!)

Tuesday 4th February 1919


The following letter received from the W.O.

Since this is a direct copy of an official communication I am not typing it all up here but Captain Ashley is informed he has been noted for duty at Gibraltar or Malta when opportunity arises.

Wednesday 5th February 1919


Once again at Bevan’s invitation go round to quest night at the RAF mess.

This afternoon in the middle of a violent snowstorm, a sea-plane landed off the coast beyond the ranges.  The occupants escaped but the machine badly damaged was not salved till next day.

Thursday 6th February 1919


A return visit – Bevan RAF dines with me at the RA&RE Mess – a bridge evening for a change.

Friday 7th February 1919


Saturday 8th February 1919


Fine and cold.

Out for a ride on a push-bike after lunch. Visiting Old Romney and Ivychurch.

Ivychurch, a funny little place consisting of half a dozen cottages, possesses a very fine old church.



Christmas markets & fairs

Goodness where does the time go!  I can’t believe it’s 2013 already. Thank you to everyone who has supported The Forgotten Library in 2012.  I really do hope to be updating this blog regularly this year.  I have some wonderful treasures I have yet to unpack and document, I think it’s almost a year since I was lucky to be sold some original patterns, sketches and documents from a lace firm.  Having been tied in rolls for decades and covered in roof dust they need careful unrolling and flattening so I was always too busy to get to them.  They really are top of my list once I’ve made some space round here.  Last minute making for fairs over the Christmas period inbetween a busy day job means it looks like someone shook all the books off the library shelves and sprinkled them with clock movements, findings, paper tags and binding wires.  I can’t even see some of the equipment like the laminator and the drill any longer!

Here are some photos of a few of the craft fairs and markets I enjoyed standing a stall at this past Christmas period.

Craft In The City, St Peters Church, Nottingham
Craft In The City, St Peters Church, Nottingham

St Peters Church Craft In THh City

Newark Vintage Fair, St Marks Gallery
Newark Vintage Fair, St Marks Gallery

St Marks Gallery Newark Vintage Fair

The Pretty Dandy Flea, November 2012
The Pretty Dandy Flea, November 2012

The Pretty Dandy Flea November 2012

Stall shared with gorgeous Elves courtesy of Rachel Gallagher.
Stall shared with gorgeous Elves courtesy of Rachel Gallagher.
Huge space, only managed to fill it thanks to the help of Rachel Gallagher and her fab fae folk.
Huge space, only managed to fill it thanks to the help of Rachel Gallagher and her fab fae folk.
Not The Camden Market, Bartons PLC
Not The Camden Market, Bartons PLC
Craft In The City, Waterstones, Nottingham.
Craft In The City, Waterstones, Nottingham.

Craft In the City Waterstones Craft In The City, Waterstones

Last fair of the season - which is why I look so exhausted.
Last fair of the season – which is why I look so exhausted.

Beautiful Books

So many lovely dustjackets on these books.

Blogging has been rather scarce due to day job commitments and being busy out at craft fairs and making items on any spare days.  This morning I was happy to get down to the local car boot sale to try and find some penguin books having sold my remaining stall stock of keyrings and magnets.

So many fabulous books.  I know my own shelves will be groaning as I found so many volumes to treasure myself alongside those I will use to make items for The Forgotten Library.  Here are a few snapshots of some of the wonderful editions I came home with.

These are bound for my own book shelves. So happy to find another Bronte novel in this series (so far I only had Wuthering Heights in this edition) and the Classic Myth and Legend book to go with the Celtic volume I bought in a book shop on holiday in September. As an Arthurian legend lover that Tennyson book has been a joy to read this afternoon.
Lots of beautifully designed book covers marking these volumes ready to become book clocks.
I love looking at peoples collections of cuttings to see what they chose to keep and what was important to them. I haven’t had time to look through all of these yet but an article from Kelmscott, somewhere I was lucky to visit this year, caught my eye and I love the fashion styles which look to be around the 40s.
Fabulous Frank Lloyd Wright book and a 1930s book on design. More fantastic finds I shall be adding to my own book shelves to enjoy on one of those dreamed of days off.
After finding some calligraphy pens in the summer I was overjoyed to find all these books and can’t wait to find some time in the new year to have a go at the art of penmanship.
Many books often have a bookmark or marker as a sign of where the reader left them. I know my own shelves have many unfinished volumes.
This may look very weary and the cover is coming loose but I was so excited to find this 1860 edition.
I love the way the bookseller labels are inside these Victorian volumes and the owners always wrote their names inside in such beautiful script.

October Giveaway Timmy Tiptoes Book Clock

My first giveaway is now up and running on Facebook.  Why not enter to win this cute cloth bound edition of The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes by Beatrix Potter as a book clock.  Simply like the page at and share the giveaway post to your timeline.  Please share the post directly from The Forgotten Library rather than someone elses timeline so that your entry can be tracked and placed into the draw.  A winner will be drawn at random on October 24th 2012 and will be contacted through Facebook to arrange delivery of the prize.