29 January, 2009

Latest Restorations

Spine almost completely separated from this sweet board book

An old dictionary whose front cover is very loose and torn.

splitting the rest of the spine to begin repairs.

Exposing the spine of the dictionary to begin cleaning and repairs.

Layers of old spine material: Spine, mull, glue, endbands

Cleaning off the old "gunk" :-)

The spine is now all cleaned off and ready for a new spine!

Spine now exposed for repairs

Adding an extra (color-mathced) lining to help strengthen the spine and attachment to the board book

New hinging material, and new spine

That color matched tissue is going in here, to seal up any holes and tears on both the head and tail, and along the sides. You might be able to notice some splitting of the cloth on the spine edge (toward the middle of the photo)

This is the progress so far. I'll post the final results as soon as I get them finished!


26 January, 2009

Elizabeth Gaskell Connections & Chronology

I discovered a definite connection between Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell, and have enjoyed reading some letters between the two this past weekend.

What got my interest going on this...

While watching the BBC version of Elizabeth Gaskell's "North and South" recently, I thought to myself how Gaskell's story was like a neat hybrid of Jane Austen (or even Charlotte Bronte) and Charles Dickens. I had not read the book, yet (for shame, I know!) and wondered if the movie adhered closely to the book. I have since read that there are just a couple of changes for the movie. I look forward to seeing what they are.

I have read most of Wives and Daughters (EG's unfinished novel because of her early death) and am two-thirds of the way through Cranford. Wives and Daughters (the movie) follows the book quite well, but Cranford is very different...whole parts of the movie are made up, other parts are rearranged or enbellished that were not in the book as I've read it so far.

That set me to thinking about Gaskell, her contemporaries, and who had input or influence in her life.

This interesting chart is from my copy of Cranford, copyright 1909:

(click to enlarge)

The notes are helpful, but I was ever so excited when I found the Norton Critical Edition of North and South at our library last week. In it are letters from Charles Dickens to Mrs. Gaskell, as some of her work was printed by Dickens, in serial form (in weekly, numbered appearances) in his magazine called "Household Words." He liked her writing and her ideas, but shared (in all manner of gentlemanly fashion) his opinion of an occasional edit needed in order for a particular scene to fit into his magazine.

I was excited to find out that there was a relationship between the two authors, and that his input had some bearing on her work. As well, Gaskell was one of few friends to Charlotte Bronte, and Gaskell even wrote a biography of Miss Bronte. There is at least one letter that EG wrote to Bronte for input on North and South, and a letter back from her. Other letters included are from Thackery, John Forster (friend of EG and of Dickens, who became principal biographer of Dickens), Harriet Beecher Stowe, and several others.

I think I may have to find a copy of this book for our library, because two weeks is simply not long enough to 1) read all of North and South, 2) pour over the details of various literary criticisms from EG's own time, but also 3) read the extra letters, notes, the short story of "Lizzie Leigh," (written in 1850) also set in an industrial town in England.

Stay tuned for more thoughts on this topic in the near future.

Ciao for now,


24 January, 2009

I must confess...

...that it has been easier to keep in touch with friends and family through :::Facebook::: which has taken the place of blogging for a short while. I have been pondering off and on this past week about something interesting to post on the blog. I find it takes longer these days (for some reason) to purpose out a good post, unless I "get a bee in my bonnet" over something. Well as it is, things have been going along with our family in such a way as to not have much time for overmuch serious, educated or thoughtful posting, though I have been doing a lot of thinking while cooking for the family, reading, grading and prepping Spanish lessons. After all, I still have the Charlotte Mason bookclub once a month to prep for, Spanish I and Spanish II classes and grading, and I picked up a new student to tutor weekly just this month.

I have exciting updates on several of my hobbies:

~ Birds visiting our yard this winter and perhaps tomorrow I can share about and
~ Reading discoveries made this week regarding my most recent favorite author, Elizabeth Gaskell.

So without further ado... a post on our latest visitors to the feeders and bushes. These were all taken today (1/24)

flock of red-wing blackbirds that have found there way here this past week. They some times hang with the grackles, starlings, and cowbirds, who stop by the feeders daily, as well, though we do our best to scare the grackles away every time we see them. All it takes is to push back the vertical blinds/curtains and they fly off.

This red-bellied woodpecker has been here since the summer. I've seen a second one from time to time, as well.

They all share quite well, believe it or not.

Mr. Chickadee. He and his spouse come to the feeders daily. They are so tiny, lithe, and quick! Even moreso when it is cold!

purple finch. This guy used to come in the summer quite regularly

mystery grey birds (Still need to find them in my books-they have more marks than the dark-eyed junco, and seem a little larger, as well. Their beaks are almost blue)

mourning dove (six or eight make their appearance daily)

part of our white-winged dove covey. We see upwards to 25 or so on a regular basis, even in past years before we began feeding them.

This cardinal is a little bit ruffed up!

Miss cold cardinal

little miss cardinal

poofy miss
Bluejay imploring me for more seeds

house finch and purple finch and spouse

Four swashbuckling cardinals

Dark eyed Junco is new to our feeder. He showed up about a week ago.

Cardinal feeding time at sunset. Tonight, there were at least 13 cardinal couples taking their turns in some unspoken birdie queue, moving from one tree to other trees closer to the feeders, then to the branches nearest the feeders, then hopping on down to one of four feeders, then finally, down to the deck, where leftovers fall throughout the day, from the messier birds.

This time of day has become a magical, birdie wonderland, and I am content.


03 January, 2009

Happy 2009 and Goals from 2008

Resolutions that went right last year:

I spent more time at home, being available to my family and NOT running around to field trips (most of which we've already done in our 17 years of homeschooling). Busy-ness in co-ops was discontinued. It turned out to be exactly the right thing to do (isn't God's leading amazing? :-)

I read my Bible more. Not daily, as I had hoped, but definitely more and deeper. I also continued to study from my Spanish Bible, as well.

The journey to get rid of the plastics in our life is about 75% accomplished, so I will continue that endeavor into this New Year.

Getting rid of the "-Parabens" (and a few other nasty ingredients) in all personal grooming products, lotions, and make-up...or rather, discontinuing use of all products with "-parabens" in them.

We were also very successful at continuing our commitment to cook at home 98% of the time.

We planted a veggie garden last spring for the first time in years. It was a good year, and the tomatoes lasted into December of '08. I still have some small ones ripening in a bowl from the last harvest in mid-December!!

I reduced my consumption of coffee in 2008. I've been able to stay down to two cups a day.

Soy Chai lattes helped, but even those were enjoyed only once or twice a month.

My first New Year's Resolution for 2009:

~ Drink more herbal tea :-)

What are some reasonable, attainable goals you are aiming for in 2009?