The Whiff of Leather and A Good Book

Handmade Red Leather Belt (1)

Somebody in our house has started borrowing my rotary cutters, curved rulers, tracing wheels, hide mallet (from my ‘ upholstering period’) and has even earmarked a mannequin for a future project.

However, it is not one of the Madamoiselles but Mr. Tialys himself.  Thwarted in his plans to turn our downstairs storage room into a micro brewery due to an unforeseen and sudden attack of gout(!),  beer is now to be consumed in moderation – if at all.  Cheerful in the face of adversity and having discovered, after feverish and desperate extensive research, that wine is not included in the list of ‘undesirables’, he cheered up and went with his second choice of indoor creative activity – leatherwork.

I have to say that this is preferable as far as I’m concerned – I’m not a fan of beer to the extent that I need it brewing (and smelling) in a room beneath my feet – but I am a fan of leather goods, mostly in the form of bags and belts.

Anyway, this is my jeans belt he made for me.

Handmade Red  Leather Belt on Mannequin

He hasn’t been to any classes but is slavishly reading blogs, watching tutorials, buying equipment, designing patterns, looking at other peoples’ patterns and honing his craft – sound familiar?

And, when I finally got my Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday yesterday (I’d asked for it for Christmas but nobody remembered!), it came with it’s own, handmade by husband, leather case.

Handmade Red Leather Kindle Cover

Handmade Red Leather Kindle Cover

It beats beer in my opinion.

Talking of the Kindle, I am busy being mean and miserly and trying to find good books to download which are either free or cheap.  I will also download books I would have bought anyway but, for now, I thought I’d get some stuff on there in case – heaven forfend! – I should run out of reading matter and be stuck in a waiting room somewhere reduced to scanning the teeny screen of my phone as everybody else seems to do these days be it taxi drivers (dangerous!) or diners in restaurants (unsociable).  I have resisted the lure of the K for some time now – preferring the look and feel of a real book – but what finally decided me to go down this route is the space that all my current books take up.  I am at bursting point.  Local charities are awash with books to sell at flea markets and don’t really want any more.  I have donated some to the local library for their English speaking clientele but I am now down to my ‘classics’ and my ‘will read again somedays’ and I will be keeping all of those.

Overstuffed Book Shelved

This is half of the wall – the other half is almost as bad but with some bits of fabric I’ve managed to squeeze in as well.

So, my question is, does anybody have any recommendations for good books – free, cheap or otherwise – that I can put in my virtual library?  I have the space!

To give you an idea of my taste in books, here are the last few I’ve read and enjoyed:

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson     (I’ve read and loved every single one of her books so no need to recommend any of her others)

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies  by Hilary Mantel

Her Lover (Belle du Seigneur)  by Albert Cohen  (in English!)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Share your favourites!

Handmade Red Leather Kindle Cover

A nice touch on the back, bless him.

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  1. #1 by katechiconi on June 16, 2015 - 15:57

    M. Tialys has skyrocketed in my estimation! He was already well thought of due to his gardening activities, but this was excellent work, beautifully considered and executed. One of the first things I did when I got mine was to download the free classics, so I have the complete works of Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, chunks of Shakespeare, Kipling, etc. If you search Amazon for ‘free Kindle books’, it will produce them, interspersed with all kinds of crappy trash, but it’s worth sifting through. After that I bought things which were under $10, and I still wait for the Kindle version of books I want to get cheaper (as they inevitably do after a while) before I buy. Mine is still the original black & white version with the keyboard on the front, and I have one of those swanky cases with a pull out reading light powered by the Kindle itself. Yours is prettier, but mine works in the dark!

    • #2 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 20:35

      I haven’t tried it yet but I am hoping mine has a backlight so I can read in bed without p*****g off the leather worker too much. I did search Amazon for free books and, I must say a lot of them seemed to be a completely different sort of bedtime reading. Maybe it’s because mine is registered in France 😉

  2. #3 by PendleStitches on June 16, 2015 - 17:27

    Wow! He’s a natural. And I agree that this is so much better than beer! 😉

  3. #6 by ipatchandquilt on June 16, 2015 - 17:27

    Oh my word! That Kindle cover is soooo impressive!
    It is very inspiring to see that we are not the only ones obsessed by learning a craft and artform!

    • #7 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 20:30

      Thanks Esther – I’ll pass on your compliment, he’ll be very chuffed with himself.

  4. #8 by Carole Mayne on June 16, 2015 - 18:07

    Love M. Tialy’s new venture!! waaaay better hobby than brewing beer! You two are a power couple of creativity! (-:

    • #9 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 20:30

      Thanks Carole. I definitely think I’d rather have the whiff of leather than the whiff of fermenting beer and the results are so much longer lasting!

  5. #10 by quiltsandchemo on June 16, 2015 - 19:29

    I love the Kindle cover and the belt–what a great hobby for M. Tialy! Mr. Rainey only builds models of military vehicles–nice for him, but extra dusting for me! You might enjoy reading “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion, and its sequel, The Rosie Effect.

    • #11 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 20:29

      That looks quite interesting – I might give that one some thought. Thank you!

  6. #12 by sew2pro on June 16, 2015 - 19:47

    Poor Mr T, gout can be very painful 😦 But how wonderful that you’ve covered so many bases between you: sewing, knitwear, leather accessories…. Now he’s proven he has high standards, do steer him into making you shoes too!

    I’ve had my Kindle for a year and haven’t looked back, particularly as I do all my reading before sleeping; no need to disturb Mr Marianna with having the light on. In that time, I’ve only ready two ‘free’ books: Candide – which you’ve probably read already in order to get your French residence permit! – and ‘People of the Abyss’ which is a virtuous but difficult read about the poor in London a 100 years ago.

    But the best bit is that I don’t mind spending the money: I had great bedtimes around Christmas reading ‘Little Friend’, an enormous Donna Tart novel, which would have given my hand a ganglion had I had to hold a heavy tome for a month. At Easter, I read another of her monsters – The Goldfinch – which was even better and kept me engrossed for several weeks and all for the price of a pint or two. And no guilt over clutter.

    I’ve just remembered; last summer before Wolf Hall and BUTB (which I loved), I downloaded ‘Love, Nina’ and found it very funny in a Mark Haddon sort of way. Nick Hornby is adapting it for the screen.

    • #13 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 20:27

      Ooh! Shoes!
      I also do most of my reading before sleeping – sometimes only a couple of minutes at a time depending on how tired I am so, consequently, it can take me quite a while to get through a book. I love it when I’m on holiday or can sit out in the garden with a book as I can then actually get a few chapters under my belt at one time.
      I’ve read a couple of Donna Tart books, including ‘Little Friend’ and I have been thinking about getting ‘The Goldfinch’ so that might be one I will buy. Between writing the post and this comment, I’ve just bought ‘The Paying Guests’ by Sarah Waters who I also love. It’s already given me a good laugh as I was reading the reviews and one reader has given it one star and said ‘If one is interested in Lesbianism you might enjoy this book. It is the second book I’ve read and it will be the last’

      I also read the blurb for ‘Love, Nina’ and it sounds so familiar I think I might have read it. Alan Bennett being a neighbour rings a bell. This is also a problem with me. If I’m not studying a book to write an essay on – which I don’t do any more – they tend to go out of my mind quite quickly when I move on to the next one. A bit like films. Terrible really, but there you go.

      • #14 by sew2pro on June 16, 2015 - 22:41

        That’s funny! I’m reading Paying Guests right now. I’m 57% of the way, apparently! Affinity by Waters is one of my favourites; a real mystery.

      • #15 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 23:32

        Spooky! What a coincidence.
        My favourite of her books, so far, is The Night Watch.

  7. #16 by on June 16, 2015 - 19:47

    I was going to say most of what Kate said – my Kindle is loaded with classics. Once you order a few from Amazon they often send you emails with recommendations for free and cheap books to download, most of which are chosen taking into accounts your purchases. Where is your Kindle registered? Mine was originally in the US, but because my email address is fr for France, they changed it. My other tip is to get the early works of favourite authors which are often much cheaper than later stuff. I was like you in not fancying reading from a small screen, but several spells in hospital convinced me of the life-saving properties of a Kindle – specially when I didn’t have the strength to hold a book.

    Your library is minute compared to that in our previous house. Like you, we got rid of a huge number of books before we moved, but we still have about five times as many as are visible in your photograph! We kept reference books, art books and series of novels by favourite authors.

    Your husband’s leatherwork is breathtakingly gorgeous. And you say he is a beginner? WOW! A propos Gout: he needs to drink lots of water to dilute the uric acid, which is what causes the pain. Wine is not a frantically good idea if he is still suffering.

    • #17 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 20:13

      I do have a lot of the classics on my bookshelf – a hangover from studying Literature – but, of course, there are still so many I haven’t go around to yet. My Kindle is registered in France but I have done something tricksy with my address details so I think I’m getting the UK suggestions now.
      Although probably not as extensive as yours, our ‘library’ extends over another wall and also into several boxes in the loft – it has to stop!!
      I will pass on your compliments to Mr. T. for the leatherwork and your sympathy for the gout. He is now an expert on gout, having researched it all online and now he knows what he can and can’t eat and drink. He’s only had it the once but I suppose he will be prone to it now and will have to be careful.

  8. #19 by Jan Marriott on June 16, 2015 - 22:28

    The man has talent….get him an etsy shop.

    Yes I also recommend Donna Tart…though The Goldfinch is trying a bit too hard IMO
    The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin by Carolyn Moorhead,….. any thing by this writer too
    Kathryn Howard by Joanna Denny …..not the best but ties in nicely with the Hilary Mantel.
    talking of which have you got “Wolf Hall” on the tele over there yet?

    • #20 by tialys on June 16, 2015 - 23:27

      Yes, I have read mixed reviews on The Goldfinch. I must read The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin just because it’s such a glorious name.
      I’m not sure they have had Wolf Hall on mainstream T.V. here yet but I managed to watch it when it was on the BBC with some tricksy fiddling that we have to do to receive U.K. terrestrial channels since they moved the satellite last year. Worth it though – an excellent series.

  9. #21 by jendavismiller on June 20, 2015 - 13:26

    Good morning, I just stumbled upon your glorious blog and am now a follower (would follow twice if I could). The photo on your about me page is swoon-worthy. I’m new to blogging and new (again) to sewing. Just finished my first practice project and ready to forge ahead. And you could do a doggie blog every day as far as I’m concerned. Lovely stuff!

    • #22 by tialys on June 20, 2015 - 13:56

      Thank you! I’ll be following you to see how you get on with your return to sewing.

  10. #23 by Magpie Sue on June 30, 2015 - 20:09

    Doing a bit of catch-up while I can. Tell M.Tialys he has another fan of his leather work! That Kindle case is gorgeous – and I love the heart on the back.

    I find it interesting that others have said they prefer the Kindle over a physical book due to weight issues. I find my arm and wrist act up more when I’ve been reading on my Nook instead of an actual book. Must be the way I hold it or something. I fear my taste in reading material doesn’t mesh with yours. I’m a huge fan of Sir Terry Pratchett’s work. And Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels. I like something light and humorous before I go to sleep!

    • #24 by tialys on July 1, 2015 - 08:51

      I’ll tell him Sue – he’s working on a backpack/satchel thingy for our daughter at the moment. He’s nothing if not ambitious.
      I’ve read some Georgette Heyer in the past but never got round to Terry Pratchett so I ought to give him a try.

  11. #25 by Jan Marriott on July 1, 2015 - 15:43

    Oh forgot to mention
    Ann Patchet is a great writer, starting with ‘Bel Canto’

  12. #26 by tialys on July 1, 2015 - 19:35

    Thanks Jan – I’ve just stalked her on Amazon and she sounds interesting.

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