An old man and old books

Saturday, November 12, 2011

About a month ago I walked in to a very creepy used bookstore. I was a little nervous because this store wasn't in the best part of town. There are only two windows, and they're covered with some weathered yellow cardboard, so if I died inside... no one would know. I figured the hardcore mobsters probably don't hang out in used bookstores, but what if this wasn't really a bookstore like the sign advertised?

Inhibitions aside, I trudged inside the small store. Books were everywhere, stacked in every which way. Normally I would love this, because I love to read ...but I was still a little paranoid that I was going to get jumped by the, ya know, mob. 

Eventually I asked the large, frumpy man at the back for help. He had some severe pit stains from the lack of air conditioning. 
"Sir, can you help me find some books with aged pages?" Mistake number one.
He muttered something under his breath and reluctantly got up from his cluttered desk. Organization, I gathered, was not his forte. 
But what customer service!

"Thank you so much for your help! I figured you knew right where to go."
He picked a few random books of the shelf. "Will this work?"
"Umm...yes. That's good. Maybe a little more yellowed?"

After a few minutes of wandering the store, I guess his curiosity got the best of him because he eventually asked, "What are you planning do with these anyway?"
"I'm making a wreath! So I have to cut these all up," I said with a grin. Mistake number two.

His bushy eyebrows furrowed. Before I knew it, he had snatched the books out of my hand. "You're going to deeestrooooy these? I'm sorry then, I can't sell them to you."
“Oh, uhh…. I’m sorry?”
“I will only sell you books that are already falling apart.”
“Okay… well, can I see them first?”  Mistake number three.

After a little bit of haggling, I had my worn books and I was still alive, the mob hadn't murdered me.... so I considered it a successful trip even if I had offended a disgruntled old man. I'm sorry but if you own a used bookstore, something tells me you aren't exactly in a position to be turning away business. Just sayin'. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I'm a huge bookworm. I think that would have been rubbing salt into his weird wound. 

This project is not the faint of heart. It took a while. A very long while. That feeling that you get when you touch something hot is completely gone from me now. My identity is probably also gone, because my fingerprints have been singed off by all the glue. I guess I'm an official crafter now, huh?

I just followed the tutorial I found on Pinterest.
My fingers hated me after hours of hot glueing these paper rosettes. And don't worry, yours will too. You have to make gobs and gobs of them. 
I'm not sure if all that time was worth it. 
I think when I'm old and gray and my hands are suffering from carpel tunnel, 
I'll have the wreath to blame.
I hang in on the inside of our door because I spent too much time on it for wind or rain to tarnish it. This is horrible, because only Grahm and I get to admire it. He's super nice though and compliments all the time.  ("Whoooa babe. This is so great! I can't believe you made this.")

I bet he's wondering when my crafting will carry over into the kitchen. Me too, hubs. Me too.


Kristen said...

What a cute idea! It may be a lot of work, but hand-crafted always turns out way better than anything you can buy in a store. Maybe it's just knowing that you created it, but still. It's beautiful. And now it's not just you and Grahm that get to see it, we get to see it too (sorta)! Thanks for posting this. Oh, and I'm really glad you made it out of that bookstore! Sounds really shady to me.

Nagehan said...

Oh, super cute!! How in the world do you do it?

Elizabeth Kennemer said...

That turned out super cute! Good job!

not jules. said...

i really love it. great job girl!

Lost&Found said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog and I love this post! And that wreath is AMAZING! I'm not the one with the destroyed fingers, so I will say it was totally worth all that time. I want to make one now! Love your blog! If you ever get a change check out my blog,

Hope your having a great weekend!


Gig-ee said...

Awesome wreath and you should be proud. I love the story behind it, too.

Beth Shurtleff

Jamie Lane said...

Was this shop on 23rd and May by any chance? Anyway, it came out great! I made this exact wreath (there should be a post about it somewhere in August but I'm too lazy to go look) and it took me forever! I made a whole Walmart bag of those flowers and I couldn't believe they still weren't enough, haha!

christina said...

I was wondering where you were going with this, I was definitely intrigued and a wreath out of old books? Awesome. I guess it makes sense that the old man was sensitive about the books being used for anything other than reading, but I'm glad you were able to find a compromise and make it out alive.

Kim said...

It's amaaaaazing! And now I want to make one.

Although I have to make my tissue paper TARDIS lamp first.

Kim-A Creative Spirit said...

OH I love the wreath... it is def worth your work when looking at final product.

I am stopping by from A CREATIVE SPIRIT and thank you sooooo much for checking out my blog. I am a new follower and can't wait to get to know you.

Ashley said...

That wreath turned out great! I love it!

Jamie said...

Your wreath is so pretty! I made one with rosettes too, but I used felt. I like the paper!

I'm glad you made it out of that bookstore alive!! said...

God I love used bookstores, but I always find them guarded by the strangest hermit, troll-people. What is that?

That wreath was totally worth it though. Gorgeous!

Amy said...

That wreath is so cute!!
I really need a tutorial on how to use Pintrest. I got on there and was completely confused and overwhelmed!

Liv said...

I love the wreath! I have several "old book" projects on my list right now...I might just have to get to them sooner rather than later.

Malory said...

Haha that wreath is cute! I read through some of your blog posts and was dying laughing the whole time! It's good to see some more Okies in the blog world!

Dree said...

Your hard work was worth it - the wreath is gorgeous! How scary it must have been to head into that bookstore. Yikes!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I am going to catch up on yours now - I love it already.

Newlymeds said...

This is amazing!! I am seriously impressed. Your hard work paid off!

Lauren said...


Seriously amazing wreath!
and the story of the man is hilarious! Doesn't he have a pinterest account? Surely then he would know the importance of old books for craft!


Carly {xoxo teacherista} said...

Holy incredible! I cannot believe the patience you had with this project, but well worth it. My mom just purchased a wreath like this at Target for our front door that's actually made of wood, but yours is much more personal :)

Thanks for stopping by!