Don’t wake the kids up!

The eagle-eyed detectives will notice that my Alphasmart is resting on a blanket and that the screen of my Alphasmart is showing a reflection of a painting. To avoid anyone being left wondering, yes, I am blogging from my bed, and the next pictures show the painting. I bought it for £45 in the summer of 1996, from a fellow Fine Art Graduate after our final degree show at Falmouth. I’d had my eye on it since I’d first seen him working on it in the studio. I love it still, it is titled, Human Element, the artist is Edward Lewis. I’m not sure if he is still painting but that is quite irrelevant…

Human Element, Ed Lewis. Oil on Canvas. Approx 100 x 85cm
Human Element, detail
Human Element, detail
Human Element, detail

Silver linings

I’m gonna be a new woman by the time this thing is over …
Random shadow selfie. On my way back from posting some letters.
The plastic-free rainbow ribbon option. Comes on a little wooden bobbin-bead. Very cute.

“Recommended for you…”

Sophocles, 496 – 406BC

I watched it last night, and I’m watching it again with my teen tonight.

I deleted the Instagram app off my phone 2 weeks ago, feeling strange after realising that the unique barrage-set of ads being pushed at me were for me alone. That no one else was being offered these ads in this order. That the suggested accounts being pushed at me were a combination unique to me. That I was scrolling more and more through ads and that they were catching my attention, soaking up my time despite my being aware of the model of money-making going on. Despite my trying to scroll past and ignore. These seconds being eaten away, added up to minutes and would add up to hours and days of my life. Simply scrolling scrolling scrolling. I deleted, feeling like it was the right thing to do in that moment, feeling like my happiness was being sucked at by an invisible vampire. I still have that FOMO sickness. Early days. I’ve got two new books to read. I wish you all a good weekend, and week ahead.

Long Live the Post Horn! By Vigdis Hjorth, translated by Charlotte Barslund. Girls Against God by Jenny Hval, translated by Marjam Idriss. Both published by Verso

It’s the little things

A new A7 notebook in dark green goatskin offcut. Work in progress on the finishing.
The design is based on pine forests. I wanted to create something to induce a feeling of calm. The spine of the book represents the trunk of a pine tree, with pine needles scattered at the base catching dappled light. The slivers of pared leather are fixed in place with a mix of water-based pva and starch glue

Writing room decor choices. A lesson in not backing down.

On a happier note, I found this wonderful collection of Scottish poetry for 50p in a charity shop. Always look inside the book!
The originals are facing the translations
My brain doing somersaults over how you might even begin to translate Scots to German. I’m full of admiration and sad that my German is criminally basic.

P.s. The grey walls are now officially a temporary midway state to the perfect writing room colour scheme.

Simple Remington portable typewriter case handle: how-to

Take one sorry case
Gather some materials: scrap leather pieces, leather hole punch, cutting tools, curved upholstery needle, thick waxed thread, and a pencil
This piece is 14mm x 260mm. Insert the cut piece and mark where you want the stitches to be.
I put the marks underneath so it would be easy to see. Make sure to protect the cutting edge of your hole punch with scrap leather.
Do the other end, and reinsert the leather to mark the other holes underneath
Like this
Your leather piece should now look like this
Thread your curvy needle and go in like so. This will hide your loose end. Do not tie a knot!
Go to your diagonal top corner, and take the needle through both layers. Be careful not to pull the loose end right through. Pinch the leather together with your other hand as you sew. This photo just shows me sewing and taking pictures 🙂
Come back in underneath through both layers..
And go over to the fourth hole. Pull tight.
And now come back to your first hole again through both layers.
Repeat your cross stitch several times until you feel like it’s enough.
To finish off, take the needle through only one layer…
And pass the needle through and behind your stitching between the layers of handle.
Trim thread leaving a little tail of about 15mm
Repeat process on the other end. One simple handle.

Getting a handle on it

Probably the easiest handle I’ve made
Jazzy purple shoe leather off cut with a sturdy cross stitch at each side

I haven’t had my Remington Portable on the desk for ages. One of its old issues was letter piling so I typed a page of random words to see what was what. Only a couple of instances of piling. Usually the more I use this machine the less it piles letters

I’m always keen to increase my vocabulary. I remember the first time I heard the word “realtor” and I thought huh?! I must have been about 20. Before that I assumed the Brits and Americans were speaking basically the same language with merely a large expanse of water between us. Then I learned what “rubber” meant and that it’s not for correcting mistakes on your life drawing. Oh no. And how could anyone say “fanny” in public without blushing?! Well probably me. But I blush for others.

The creator of Aunt Fanny used a Remington portable

If we read these books we (my kids and I) usually ended up having a talk about sexism and racism at some point and how different the stories might be today. I would not have chosen the books myself but if you give children free choice at the bookshop I think it’s worth exploring historical texts, and learning to say “Aunt Fanny” and “Dick” without cracking up mid-sentence is a life skill it’s never too late to learn.

Buffed up Brother

Though I’m pleased with the way this brother turned out, I’m just not in love with the plastic shell. During cleaning I noticed that the body sported some redundant screw holes and tabs and so I’ll be interested to see if I can swap out the plastic for a spare metal shell I have (nicer design and also blue!) That’s a job for another day though. For now I have a few letters to write to put this machine back into proper use. I treated it to a new ribbon all its own too. There’s nothing like a clean typewriter with a new ribbon.

Two screwdrivers and an action figure.

Or, how to take the shell off your brother without dismantling the machine.

Post first clean

Remove the two screws under either side of the carriage on the plastic frame. You will need a flat head screwdriver. Prise the plastic shell up from the plastic base. It will resist with as much force as a teenager confronted with a hot shower and soap. Be firm but understand its point of view. Engage shift. Slide carriage all the way to the right. Lift the shell up and over the carriage.

I once saw a YouTube video of a guy struggling to get the shell off a Lettera 32. He ended up removing the carriage lock or something. I don’t know, it was too painful to watch all the way through. The same basic procedure here can be followed for a Lettera 22 or 32. ( And it was my previous experience in Letteras that meant I wasn’t fazed by this hunk of plastic )

The base is fixed with four feet screws. You will need a Philips / cross-head screwdriver.
All assistance gratefully received
Make sure your cotton buds have paper stems!

Oh Brother! One careless owner

Telltale spider poo
Plastic!
Nooo!
Deciphering messages from the past

Ok it doesn’t look -that- bad, really. No dead things other than pools of molten rubber washer here and there, and the crusty tippex. And I have this adventure all for free, so I should not complain too much. The ribbon has provided a lot of fun this morning for my teenage assistant. we should have this one typing by the end of the day. What better way to spend a pandemic Sunday together. May your typewriter adventures stay cool.