Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Anxiously and impulsively covering up

I fear that this post may be in the nature of a confession, a baring of the soul which reveals a deeper truth about my nature. Or then again it may not, but that is for the reader to decide.

So I take a deep breath and reveal that I have a penchant, perhaps it may even be termed an addiction, certainly a compulsion, for filling my life with notebooks. And please note the plural - this is not one modest little notebook deep in the recesses of my bag; this is notebooks lined up on my desk, a notebook by my bedside, a large notebook in my filing tray, and spare notebooks waiting, in case of emergency, on my shelves.


In the past I have been quite free and easy in my choice of notebook, and was particularly attracted by pretty covers, but then in a fit of sophistication I moved onto a flirtation with black Moleskines in the hope that I would benefit from the Chatwin/Hemingway association. However, I began to find the weight of tradition, not to mention the weight of the notebook in my bag, a little oppressive.

Then I discovered the Moleskine cahier, and such is my enchantment with the wonder of the Moleskine cahier I am sure that I am not exaggerating if I term it an obsession.

Their infinite variety is most beguiling: they come in three different sizes (small, large and extra large) which I find a useful correlative to purpose. And with lines or squares or plain pages, depending on whether one feels literary, mathematical, or artistic - needless to say that I have dallied with all three. Cahiers also come in packs of three, which is strangely comforting (rather like having those mega packs of loo roll in the cupboard, it means that the chilling prospect of running out in an emergency is averted).

A nice little pocket at the back

But I must admit these notebooks have one drawback - the buff cover has a sort of minimalist, even scholarly, appeal, but they do not look quite a pretty as I would like when lined up on my desk.

Pretty

Luckily Michelle and her patterns have come to my rescue - Michelle does a pattern here (called a Swatch Book Cover) which is for a really easy to sew cover for the small and large sized Moleskine cahiers, and I have been running up pretty covers for all and sundry (it is an excellent pattern for last-minute presents it is so quick to make up).


You don't need a lot of fabric, so it is a great way to use up fat quarters, or left-over pieces from other projects.


And Michelle has also put me out of misery at my uncovered extra large cahier - she has just released a pattern called an Idea Pouch which fits the extra large cahiers (as well as iPads, but sadly I don't have an iPad) and joy of joys, it has pen slots and buttons on the front. You will not be surprised to hear that I have bought this pattern and am in the process of making the all-important fabric decisions. But first my Book of Recipes for a Frugal Housewife needs a cover - I feel that this combination looks suitably culinary. What do you think?


And before I go I will just leave you with a very deep thought. A renowned French philosopher and cultural theorist by the name of Jean Baudrillard took it upon himself to write about the significance of covers in the domestic interior. He uses the word redundancy, and sees such 'overworking of signs of possession' as indicating not only the 'intention to possess, but to show how well one possesses' in 'an anxious compulsion to sequestration'.* As I anxiously go to count my doilies and refold my tablecloths, I wonder at what point domestic coverings become redundant. Are patchwork quilts allowed, or is it irredeemably bourgeois to sleep under anything but a solitary, scratchy grey army blanket? I feel sorry for Mrs Baudrillard - I bet she wasn't allowed flowery notebook covers on her desk.


*Jean Baudrillard, For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (1981)





44 comments:

Angela said...

I LOVE your slipcovers. Whilst I respect the Amish, and their peaceful approach to life, in many ways I struggle with their insistence on utter simplicity and no decoration - I love to add a bit of stitchery, a swatch of bright fabric, a button or two to make life even more beautiful.

There is no virtue in making things deliberately dull. We have a God-given rainbow of colours in creation, and a glorious plethora of textures [crunchy autumn leaves, soft lambswool, smooth pebbles, velvety pansy petals...]

Keep on making your 'little cottage comforts', for they are part of what makes our lives so abundant!

Fabulous thought provoking post. thank you [tray cloths. I am much exercised about traycloths at the minute. Am thinking of starting a Proper Traycloth Revival Movement!]

blessings x x

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

This seems perfectly sane to me! Why shouldn't you have umpteen notebooks, you never know when you may need to write things down! Perfectly normal thing to do in my world!
Those covers are to die for, I'm definitely going to check out the tutorial after my sad attempt at notebook covers! Ada :)

marigold jam said...

Wonderful post - lovely cahier covers. This post has it all - well done!

Mrs Pixie said...

They are lovely. The fabrics are very pretty :)

Thea said...

What a transformation, your note book covers are so pretty
Thea x

Crafts on Sea said...

They are absolutely gorgeous!! Just found your blog through uk craft blog, it's lovely! Off to read more :)

Hen said...

Oh Crikey, that French chap was way off the mark. What's life without a sea of embroidered cloths, crochet pot holders and gasp...eidys and quilts. Daft man. You carry on making your lovely covers (gorgeous fabrics).
Hen x

Susan Standen said...

Prettier things are nicer to own. What do men know?!

Isisjem said...

Great covers. I have a stash of notebooks...one day I might actually write in them. I prefer having them rather than using them. Hmmm

Lulu said...

beautiful...
take care,

greenrabbitdesigns said...

I'll bet she wasn't!!! Glad I wasn't married to him!!!
Love the notebook covers. :) I do have a thing about notebooks but I either don't know what to put in them or don't want to write in them in case I spoil them!!! Daft I know! Do you think Monsieur Baudrillard had a theory on that!
Vivienne x

Gillian said...

You are not alone in your notebook obsession. I have too many, some even deemed too good to write in (I realise that is bonkers) and I have different notebooks for different lists/ideas (house stuff, crafting, birthdays etc).

Anyway, Baudrillard, phfft, what did he know about the pleasure of beautiful notebooks? Not a lot.

Lyn said...

they are so pretty, and so neat.
xxx

Indigo Blue said...

My "need" to make felt book covers, well infact my need to make anything, is part of the reason why I needed a website to sell some of them.....the aim was to have a turn over of books and be able to make more and not get snowed under with them!! I too have one by my bed for making notes and I shall confession a post-it note addicition as well but then that is another story for another time!!

xx

**Anne** said...

You can never have too many notebooks! So many things to write in them, lists, recipes, creative ideas. In nice little stacks they sit, just waiting to be filled with all manner of writings, doodles etc. Adding to the joy of all those notebooks is the delicious excitement of covering them. Sigh. Sounds like heaven to me.
Have a fab day.
Anne xx

Katy Cameron said...

Hah, while I've not got any table cloths or doilies, I may have amassed quite a large number of notebooks with covers. Oh, did I mention that then I can't use said notebooks because they might get dirty? *le sigh*

GardenofDaisies said...

Oh your notebooks are so pretty! I happen to have a covered notebook right here next to me at the moment myself. (This is the one that I keep a record of all our book club meetings.) And speaking of tablecloths, maybe I should go count and refold and take pictures of mine. :-)

Draffin Bears said...

Your post is wonderful and what lovely covers for your journals.
I have a line up of notebooks and journals too, which I enjoy keeping all my notes and quotes in.

Happy week
Hugs
Carolyn

Mrs. Micawber said...

Ditto to everything Angela has said. I'd have made a rotten Quaker.

While reading "Watching the English" I was fascinated by the bits on possessions and their class associations. If quilts and doilies be bourgeois, then I am colourfully and happily and hopelessly bourgeoise. (AND I love marigolds, despite their lack of refined subtlety. But perhaps our mismatched furniture and lack of wall-to-wall carpeting will balance out these unfortunate tendencies - though we did buy the furniture ourselves.) :)

Blue and yellow are very cheerful, and seem particularly suited to a recipe book cover - they make me think of French tablecloths, which carry an immediate association with good food.

KC'sCourt! said...

The note book covers are lovely, I have a confession too, I love brand new note books too, writing on the first page
Julie xxxxxxxxx

Naturally Carol said...

Hi Pomona..thanks for visiting me yesterday..I thought I'd come visiting too and ended up your newest follower! I have been looking for some notebook inspiration as I bought two the other day that I want to cover..I will follow your link to the tutorial. I hope you have a lovely week.

noknittedknickers said...

Perhaps M. Baudrillard should have been introduced to Mr. Morris. Your covers are both useful and beautiful. C.x

andrea creates said...

very cute!!

Old Magnolia Tree said...

Thank you so much for the lovely comment that you left on my blog. It was very kind of you. I so very much love the notebook covering that you made and the choice of materials are fantastic. You've inspired me to try one myself.

Old Magnolia Tree said...

Thank you so much for the lovely comment that you left on my blog. It was very kind of you. I so very much love the notebook covering that you made and the choice of materials are fantastic. You've inspired me to try one myself.

Mama Smith said...

These covers I lovely, I also collect little sketchbooks and always keep them in my bag. I will add this to my list of 'learn to sew projects' for the winter.

xo Lilly

Jo said...

I love notebooks too, in fact I love all stationery. The covers are so pretty, I love the fabrics you've used.

Cornflower said...

Wonderful!

Frances said...

Pomona, here's another notebook/sketchbook fan checking in.

I will not divulge just how many of the these little and not-so-little books I can spy from right where I now sit. Some are quite full of words and pictures, and some await the first mark.

Yes, the "cahiers" are perfectly designed for function. Your clever covers take then a notch along the stylish route. You've chosen terrific fabrics!

xo

Crafty Green Poet said...

What lovely covers, i love the idea of having pen slots in the cover.

gillyflower said...

Lovely notebook covers - I love the 30's type fabrics you've used - are they a particular range or just a random selection?
Your fabric choices for the recipe book are perfect!
Gill xx

...Tabiboo... said...

They say never judge a book by its cover, but do you know what - when it comes to notebooks that all goes out of the window.

They 'have' to be pretty.

I love the fabric you've used.

Nina x

angharad handmade said...

I am likewise a notebook obsessive. It usually takes me a good year to even think about using my favourites in case of wasting them. My sister just gifted me a pack of three liberty design notebooks which are just lovely.

I don't think you can have too many lovely things around. The covers are so pretty, gorgeous fabrics.

Chey said...

Hello - I am excited to explore your blog with all of its information. I am sure I will be using some of the knitting advice. Wonderful blog!!!
Chey x

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Only you, dear Pomona, could marry Baudrillard and a paean to the covered Cahier notebook!

But alas my heart lies with another, I am wedded to my Field Notes, with their Dachshund Nose ink!
http://knitsofacto.blogspot.com/2011/07/field-notes.html

(Apologies if half this post arrived twice, a whippet sat on the keyboard while I was typing!)

saffa said...

Pomona this made me laugh so much! Don't worry, I think it's brilliant your addicted too note books! And your note book covers are beautiful :) keep going, in my opinion there are never enough patch work covers or table cloths, they are pretty! Poor mrs Baudrillard! Safxxx

Susan McShannon-Monteith said...

The covers certainly can lift one's spirit.There is never too many of one thing if one has an attraction for such dutiful lovelies...
And what do you write in all these notebooks?
Susan x

Catherine said...

Oh yes! Notebooks are marvelous & yours look so much chirpier for the covering. I think I may have to start making tags for mine, however, I seem to keep forgetting what I was meaning to use some of them for..& once begun it is most annoyingly untidy to have to ahhhh rip out a page or two due to error or mistaken identity! x0x0x

Jooles said...

gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! i too love a notebook and as you said they would make perfect gits, especially with Christmas coming up ....hmmmmm i think you may have solved a problem for me , thank you x
love jooles x

driftwood said...

oh they are just gorgeous, I would struggle to choose which one to write in!

Olallieberry said...

How lovely.. I love notebooks too, particularly pretty ones like yours!!
xox

Sylvia said...

Beautiful covers !
I love pretty notebooks too :-)
Nice weekend,
Sylvia



Sharon Souter said...

Hi Pomona - I really enjoyed getting the comment you left on my blog earlier this week - Thanks so much! This is the first chance I've had for a return visit. I've enjoyed browsing through your posts and I think the photo you have chosen for your title picture at the top of your blog is absolutely gorgeous! - Sharon x

Barbara said...

I know the feeling - notebooks, pads, scrap paper. Probably more than I will ever use in this life. Even big yellow legal pads from the States in the 90's.

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