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A Birthday Weekend in SF

This last weekend I flew down to San Francisco to surprise my mom for her birthday. It was a huge success.

She came in to the door and my nephew met her with flowers. Then he peremptorily said ‘close your eyes, it’s a secret!’ She, being a good grandma, did, and he led her into the living room, where I waited. (She did bounce off the walls a bit, he wasn’t very good at leading her, I must say.) When she opened her eyes — the look on her face was priceless.

Big hugs, lots of happiness.

Dinner was yummy and the gift giving great. I had a book I’d made for her . . . it was a copy of her dissertation from 1990. She’d never had a chance to get a copy of her own, something she told me ~2 years ago. I was determined to get a copy and bind it into a real book for her and give it to her for her birthday last year, the 20th anniversary of its acceptance and her graduation as a Ph.D..

As we all know, I was a little ill last year, so this project was put on hold for a bit.

With a lot of help from technology, I converted the scanned copy of the book into OCR text and then cleaned it up. (OCR technology has improved, but its not perfect.) With a lot of help from John, I converted the raw text into something that looked better than the original courier. I sized it as a traditional book, and added a number of color images to the interior. Then we printed it.

Making a book is a complicated process, but only because it has many steps. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures along the way. But the breakdown would look something like:

create signatures (4-8 pages that you fold in half)
sew the signatures (for strength)
sew the signatures together
glue the spine of the bound signatures
cut the covers and spine from bookboard
glue a piece of paper to the spine of the bound signatures
cut the interior pages, the hinge piece, and the bookcloth for covering the covers and spine
cover the bookboard with the bookcloth (I used two colors, one at the spine and the other for the rest of the cover)
glue the hinge to the bound signatures
glue the hing to the bookboard
glue the interior paper into the inside of the front and back covers

Here’s a bit of what it looked like, in the end:

florentine paper

I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

2 Responses to “A Birthday Weekend in SF”

  1. on 03 Jun 2011 at 8:40 pm Lorena

    That’s a very cool gift. Looks beautiful from the photos.

  2. on 05 Jun 2011 at 6:52 am lisa

    Thank you!

    It was both harder and easier than I expected. Cleaning the data file was the worst — I’m glad I left a lot of time for it. But, aside from measuring, the book cover itself was not difficult. Just exacting.

    I think I’ll be making more of them in the future.

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