This week, I spent a lot of time pondering and piling. I didn’t spend much time making.

The pondering was the preparation for the June issue of The Monthly Muse. I usually don’t have to think too hard about what I’m going to do for each issue. Stuff just sort of comes to me, and about a week before the issue is due to be posted, I decide which projects might work for the next issue. Some of them get made, and some go back into the pile for next time.

This next issue, however, is going to be steampunk inspired, which required me to think ahead. Not all the stuff I need can come from the stash of goodies in my workroom—and I really had to do some planning to end up with either cool techniques that can be replicated at home, or projects that can be made from materials actually available. I had plenty of ideas written down that couldn’t be recreated unless you happened to stumble upon the exact oddities I have, which is really no fun for readers. What’s the point of writing instructions for something that cannot be recreated? I try not to be that kind of big tease.

The other project I was contemplating is my next altered book project. I’m doing another small round robin with the Ten Two Studios design team, and this time, we’re making and binding our own books. I’d been working on an idea for a book made from all sorts of recycled bits, like boxes and envelopes, and was starting to pile things from all over the house that I might use to make a book—and then yesterday, the fabulous Corinne Stubson posted pics of the book she made for the same round robin.

(Go ahead and click it. It will open in a new window, and you know you want to look.)

Now, who the heck can compete with that? Actually, it’s not really a competitive thing for me. It’s more like why bother making a book from recycled stuff when Corinne has already done such a good job of it? With just four of us in the round robin, should two of us really pursue the same direction with our books? Since hers is done, and mine is still a big pile, I have an opportunity to go another way—so, last night, I set aside most of the recycled things, and started with brown paper shopping bags. Then some brown handmade papers and some rolls of brown paper wrappings from the dollar store. Chipboard, because I have tons of it. Cardboard, from the corner of my workroom that I almost never paw through. By the end of the evening, I had this more unified pile of stuff assembled, that still looks kind of recycled, but more natural. Now, I’m thinking that I should find a way to bind it all together with hemp twine. And that maybe it should be a garden book.

So, there ya go. No actual work to show, other than a big pile of something that might be a book next week. We’ll see what happens…