Friday, May 7, 2010

Why I {{Heart}} Bookmarks

I love to read. I have always loved to read, ever since I can remember. My mother read to me early and often and supplied me with plenty of varied reading material. My kiddie library was enviable, and I had subscriptions for Highlights and Humpty Dumpty magazines for years. As a result, I could read all of my Little Golden Books and then some to myself before entering kindergarten. I was destined for a lifetime love of reading from the very beginning.

Since having my children and being a full time working mother, I haven’t had as much time to read as I used to, but it is still one of my first choices of things to do when I do have free time. As my kids have gotten older, I find myself with a bit more time to do things of my own choosing, and have rediscovered my love of escaping into a book. The life of a working (or any other, come to think of it) mother is very full and can be stressful, and reading has always been like a mini-vacation for me. To me, it is not just a fun pastime, but a way of maintaining my health and well-being. (At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

I am lucky to share this passion for reading with my best friend. She and I have been friends since we found ourselves in four out of six classes together in the 8th grade. We remained friends throughout high school, moved away and lived together in college, and were each other’s maid/matron of honor. After we both moved out of the state where we grew up, we stayed in regular contact via email. Even after having kids and being buried in new mom responsibilities, we still communicated at least every week or two.

As our kids have gotten older and entered school, we have both found more time to pursue our own interests, and reading was at the top of the list for both of us. We started to send books back and forth to each other a few years ago, so that we didn’t always have to keep buying new reading materials. Then, in early 2007, she emailed me about a book swapping website that she had just joined, . A couple of months later, I joined as well. Suddenly, we both had a great source for new reading material, book recommendations, and a community of other book lovers. In other words, we had both found our home! Sharing the experience of being PBS members has brought us closer as friends than we have been since our college days, even though we still live over 1,000 miles apart.

Since I am reading more now than I have since I was in high school, I am in constant need of a bookmark. In the three years since joining PBS, I tend to have books everywhere- the family room, the car, my work tote, the nightstand next to the bed- and could never find a bookmark when I needed one. I have used all manner of things as bookmarks: receipts, check stubs, torn off corners of magazines, bill stubs, pretty much anything that was within reach when I needed to mark my place in a book. I have bookmarks, of course, I just tend to misplace them. Most bookmarks don’t hold up very well either- they get bent, torn, stained or water-damaged, and end up being thrown out. One of my favorite bookmarks, a gift from a fellow PBS member, met a sad end in an unfortunate encounter with a spilled glass of water. I remember mumbling something about waterproof bookmarks being a good idea at the time.

Much, much later, in fall of 2009, I was walking after work from my office to the parking structure, admiring the general splendor of the changing leaves. I noticed leaves of all shape, size and color, and noted some tiny, perfect maple leaves in vibrant red shades. At that moment, a vision sprung to my mind of these stunning leaves on a bookmark, framed by complimentary colors, and laminated to protect the leaves and keep the bookmark beautiful through many uses. An idea was born! That day, I went home and told my husband that I wanted a laminator for Christmas. As it was only October, I had to be very patient, but it gave me time to plan and come up with other ideas. By the time Christmas and my new laminator arrived, the beautiful fall leaves were, of course, all gone, and spring was a long way off. When I discovered that dried, pressed flowers could be purchased online, my ideas began to take shape, and I was on my way. I went through many weeks of experimenting with techniques for making the bookmarks, as well as designs. Finally, I have all of the bookmarks I could ever need, and they’re nearly indestructible as well! (Well, not quite…for example, DO NOT let one accidentally go through the washing machine with the laundry.) I love making them, and I love sharing them with others!

I hope that this blog can be an opportunity to share and get feedback on my ideas and designs, as well as chronicle my journey into the creative arts (if you can call making bookmarks art.) I look forward to what is ahead!

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