Odds and Ends

Even more reason to love books

I hope that when you visit my blog it doesn’t take you long to realise that books are an integral part of my life. I love my local library, and the Little Free Library just down the road (but the Little Free Pantry next to it has won my heart!). However, I also have many shelves of books.

As a child I fancied myself as an architect and still love plans of houses. My dream houses I created always included a library. While I don’t have a separate room, I did get bespoke bookshelves made in the lounge. After 20 years I still love them, and get great joy from seeing the books there.

During the time the hallway was in a state of disrepair, many of my books ended up in boxes and languished in storage for too many years. Then the boxes came home and piled up around the place until the carpet went down. (I didn’t want to put them in the bookcases before the carpet went down because I knew we would never get the hall finished. You know how these things go.)

So, recently, not only have I had the pleasure of new carpet, I have also had the joy of putting my books onto the bookshelves, two which are in the ‘new’ hall.

I have sorted and categorised ~ I was a librarian! ~ art books, history books, 20th Century novels, novels from earlier times, 21st Century novels, science books, crime novels, sci fi, travel, memoirs, and children’s books. It makes my heart sing to see that they have space, that they are organised, that they are not higgly piggly in random piles and boxes, and that I have room for more!

I have room because I have removed books from the collection. As many of you would appreciate, this was hard. I have donated some to the Little Free Library and lots to the op shop. However, some have gone to recycling. It makes me sad to think of these authors and their work just tossed away. A number of you are authors and I know how much love and care you put into every word you write. It is such a shame to toss these books, but I need the space. (Please, no comments about digital books needing less space; they are just not the same!)

But some of them haven’t made it to the recycling bin just yet. More on that in a moment…..

You may not know that I volunteer once a week in the library of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, housed in the National Herbarium of Victoria. As you can imagine the library is an extensive collection of books and journals related to botany and botanical history. It also houses collections of botanical art works, photographs and slides, maps and so on.

Recently I have been barcoding the bound journals, where some series reach back into the 1800s.


It is very mindless ~ take the journal off the shelf, open the back cover, add the barcode, close the book, place it on the shelf, repeat over 1000 times more! However its mindlessness is very soothing, and just what I have been needing.

Which brings me to what I recently learnt about books. I have always known that books take me away to unexpected worlds. They have a therapeutic effect. I remember surviving heart-break as a young thing by devouring Zane Grey novels. They were the perfect escape route and quickly took me away from my pain, but I have never read another since!

By barcoding the journals and sorting my books I learnt another life lesson from books ~ that their very presence soothes me, and handling them, sorting them, looking at them, brings me a great sense of calm. ~Sigh~

And I haven’t quite let go of those recycled books, because I am turning them into Christmas trees!

My book themed Christmas trees began after Dale posted about her recycled tree. A comment she made about trees created with books caught my eye. After about an hour I had created my own…..out of books. My brother cleverly called it the Tree of Knowledge!


Down in the rabbit hole created by a search of “Christmas trees books” I came across folded trees. Paper, books, origami ~ what’s not to love? I rummaged in the recycle box, found a couple of paperbacks and tore them apart. Yep, that was hard to do too, as I find turning down a corner of the page as a book mark difficult! But I loved the result, especially of the first one.



Then I made a larger one from an old magazine. The coloured pages gave a really good effect.


Even the stars are made from pages. This website has all you need to know to make the stars, including how to make a square into a pentagon, which you need as a starter shape. This video will show you how to fold the basic trees.

So, the perfect Christmas trees ~ no messy needles, no watering, no plastic, easy to pack away as they are recyclable and certainly, for the pile of books, reusable…. simply put them back on the shelf!

How have books been integrated into your Christmas this year?

BTW, in the new year I will post about my favourite books of 2019, but I know that Insomniac City by Bill Hayes will be on the list.



37 replies on “Even more reason to love books”

I used to have a lot of books, but when I was shifting, things had to rejigged! I had masses of cookbooks (downsized them); various technical books from Uni days…and not all the things were books, but rather booklets on varying subjects

Now with my new way of art-making, I’ve quite a lot of books – either to be gutted and turned into new semi-writable junk-ish journals, or pages from certain books that are interesting enough to have a page in the same journals.

I think the most interesting book I have these, is an old Pears Encyclopedia that I picked up for a $ from a flea type market. It’s very aged and just right for junk journaling…but I also have newer looking books that I age with either tea/coffee.

Sometimes, I actually read the books that I’m going gut, one found itself not being gutted it was quite interesting…

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I love real books too. The feel. The smell. The experience of reading. Being able to skim. Though I do read ebooks too.

I don’t hang onto many books. For many reasons. Next year I will try the folding Christmas tree. May make several and give them as presents to my book club ladies.

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They would be perfect presents for Book Club Ladies! Little ones…although you would need to start with little books.
Storage is always a problem with books, which is why I love my library. I get all the benefits and none of the issues!

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I love books and reading too Anne. I am glad you said you found it hard to tear up those 2 paperbacks. It has to be said the christmas trees look great. We planning to move this year and we can’t take everything with us. So, I am going through the long process of sort through my massive book collection, sending lots to the Charity/Thrift shop and putting others for sale on Amazon. I have shifted loads but I look at the shleves and shelves of books I have left and wonder where I put them all.

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It was hard to destroy the books, and I found that I was reading as I was folding! I understand how difficult it is to downsize books, especially as not a lot of places want them any more. We used to have secondhand book shops around us, but they have closed down. The op shops only take the ones they can move on, which is fair enough. All those words and thoughts just hanging in limbo.
Good luck with your downsizing!

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Oh yes, ebooks are not the same. I have tried reading library book on my Kindle-type device. Its fine to read on the train but then I totally forget about and never go back to the book again. With a real book, I’d carry on reading it in the bath.

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I love those trees – must pop over and have a look to see if I can manage one or two in the run up to Christmas.
For the most part, I buy hard copies of books by my favourite authors and get others as e-books or audio books.

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I am sure you will be able to make a couple of trees before Christmas. Once you get into the groove of folding they are remarkably quick to make.
I love audio books too, but can only listen when I am able to fully concentrate.


Your trees are lovely and the origami stars are the perfect finishing touch! But I know what you mean about getting rid of books or -gulp- cutting them up!

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Thank you! The stars had a lot of fiddly folding and unfolding, but they ended up looking good. I am going to make some more to give away as ornaments, so I will have a galaxy of stars!


Books books books books….how can you not love them?

I remember making some sort of sculpture type thing out of old magazines back in grade school (trees? maybe?). All my neighborhood Little Free Libraries are crammed full of books, so maybe I’ll delve into some of those grade-school art skills and play around with some books I need to get rid of. Still, I doubt they’ll come out as lovely as yours :))

On a similar topic…Have you seen the artwork where people carve the pages of a hardbound book to create scenes when you open the cover? Some of them are amazing!

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Tammie, did you see ‘Domna’ just sneaking into the header photo? No way is that going out!
These trees seem to be pretty forgiving, so you really can’t go wrong with the folding. And who says they have to be perfect any way?
I haven’t seen those carvings, but I am sure I would be intrigued. As Kate said above, I need another life time!

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I enter into your feelings about books wholeheartedly. And, like Tammie, I remember making folded paper trees in grade school. Seems to me we used Reader’s Digest magazines. I don’t believe we made stars for the top though! Well done!

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Readers Digest magazines would have been great. The size would be perfect, and they were the ultimate in deposable reading. Imagine a whole class of children diligently (or not so diligently!) folding paper to make trees! I wish I had thought of it when I was teaching.


I admire your bookshelves and your cataloging… I would feel very at home and it would take me quite some time to traverse the hallway past them. I love your papercraft Christmas trees and stars, they look wonderful on your bookshelves, and the stack of books tree is simply marvellous or marvellously simple. All perfect for a librarian.
I hate parting with books, so I don’t bring quite so many home these days but since I discovered little free libraries it’s not so hard… but the thought of divesting the greater or forbid all our books is unthinkable. I’m glad I’m once again in good company.

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Now that I have enough space to spread the books out cataloguing was easy and fun. It helped me refamiliarise myself with the books. There are lots that I want to reread.
And of course, I have you to thank for starting me on the bookish Christmas tree path 😘. Aren’t Little Free Libraries wonderful? I first came across them on Alys’ blog, as she created one outside her house. Since then I have seen them in lots of places. The Little Free Pantry is pretty special too.


My soul sister!!! Books are the things that bring me joy, even in my darkest moments. I have shelves, I have them stacked all around my bedroom, I have them in boxes, and there are at least 14 on my bed at the moment (so I can read in my sleep, if I choose). I have a friend who brags about the fact that she has not read a book since high school (she’s in her 60s now), and I think … HOW can you stand it??? My only trouble is that there are so many wonderful books and so little time. I cannot possibly live long enough to read all that I have, let alone the ones I don’t have … yet. πŸ˜‰


Soul sisters indeed!! I love the idea of piling books on the bed so you can read in the night. I think my Fella may object if I tried it. Do you have any recommendations for me?
How could anyone not want to read? While I do get books off my To Read List, I am always adding more to the bottom of it!

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😊 Ahhhh … yes, if I had a bed partner, I’m sure the books would be relegated elsewhere, but I have a Queen-size bed all to myself, so there are several stuffed animals and numerous books at any given time! I mostly read non-fiction … history and/or politics … but I recently finished The Century trilogy by Ken Follett that I found excellent and it left me wanting more! I’m like you … no matter how many I check off the list, it is ever expanding!


I used to have a room which I called the Red Room as the walls were a deep rich red, I had a wall covered in tall book shelves, my piano and a comfy chair, I loved my red room!! Love your book trees, I saw a great photo on facebook of a library where they’d picked out lots of green spined books and arranged them in a Christmas tree shape over about 6 shelves, it looked fab!!


I’m definitely in the book tribe. I cannot imagine reading a whole book on screen. I can imagine laying in bed turning the pages again and again as I want to know what is on the next page and yes I have fallen asleep with the light still on at 2:00am in the morning. The second hand bookshop in a close town has shut down but I still have another resource in the next town. And our library is still open. Books I LOVE !!!!


Thanks Anne. They look great, I’ve bookmarked the website now πŸ™‚ At my most recent fair in Ottery St Mary, we were in the church (which is the prettiest and best kept church I’ve ever been in). The lady on the stall next to me was making these Christmas trees, hedge hogs, and angels from small dictionaries that she – bought in (the horror) new purely for the purpose of converting them to decorations. They were very effective, but I prefer yours. Have a fabulous festive season.


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