Thursday, July 25, 2024

A Look At The Practical Beginnings of Bookends

Bookends, for all their whimsical designs, had practical beginnings. While today’s bookends are a mix between the beauty of visual form and the performance of a necessary function, centuries ago bookends mostly just kept people from getting hit on the head.

Monks in the Middle Ages: Before Bookends
During medieval times, books were really only found in monasteries and a few other scholarly locations, as books required a great deal of time and special skills to produce. Books were chained in lecterns and study areas and read on slanted surfaces in carrels (no place for bookends!).

An Increase of Books and the Evolving Need for Bookends
Around the end of the Renaissance, books began to be readily available to more and more people. Those lucky enough to have a very great – or even a very small – collection of books, generally kept them together, as they were still quite valuable.


Before books became so much more regular, a small pile of books might be stacked flat, or horizontally; but as the quantity of books increased, forming mountains of books didn’t seem to make much sense, even just considering safety reasons. Shelves and book chests came into use; eventually books began to be stored vertically by the end of the 16th Century.

Shelves, Categories, and Bookends
As libraries and collectors formed categorical systems for arranging books, and shelves grew taller and more accommodating, bookends became a means for keeping books neatly horizontal on an otherwise unfilled shelf. Bookends of sufficient weight would keep the shelved books safely in place and reduce book avalanches, making vertical book storage and the use of bookends a definite improvement over horizontally stacked book mountains.

Bookends Today: Displaying with Pride
People today generally don’t depend on bookends to save their heads from harm. Most sets of bookends serve simply to keep bookshelves tidy and add decorative complement. A set of bookends might be chosen to balance a particular display of books, those with collectible or very personal value. Many book lovers are also lovers of bookends and might become collectors of both. Finally, with all of the styles available today, bookends might be chosen simply because they reflect a certain theme – nautical, sports, cowboys, circus, etc – or because the bookends complement a decorative style like art deco, rustic, modern or romantic. It’s easy to fall in love with a set of bookends before books even come to mind.

Bookends certainly had practical beginnings, and they still serve the same practical purpose today. However, today’s bookends can add fun and stylish flair to any room of a home or office.


How Channel Five’s Half Built House Ruined 120 Year Old Cottage

Half Built House Left Unfinished

After calling for much needed help from channel five home improvement program Half Built House, Colin Gibson and Judi Campbell, a Scottish couple from Pitlochry in Perthshire were left with their 120 year old cottage back to square one with problems that weren’t even there before.

After struggling to keep on top of the renovation work in their beautiful Victorian home, Judi and Colin were left with what they have described to be the builders “botched jobs” and were made to look like “fools” after channel five home improvement program left their home with uneven flooring, a window that had been painted over, an extractor hood that is far too low and much more. The TV show Half built House that is presented by Sian Astley who is a DIY and home design enthusiast and expert, were called in to work on Colin and Judi’s home in May and it was last night, 10th July 2012, the Perthshire episode was shown on TV which had the middle aged Scottish couple full of anger. The antique hand rail which took pride of place on their landing was replaced with what Mr Gibson said “looked like it had been fitted by a 12-year-old”.  He said one of the builders used an industrial sander on their wooden flooring and had left it looking like the “Sahara Desert”.

DIY TV Show House

Mr Gibson continued by saying “The expectation was that they would be in for two weeks, and then they would come in and ‘transform’ the house. They put in a beautiful looking kitchen and stuck in a TV that also looks great, on camera. But after they left we noticed how badly their builders had done things.” “When we questioned them after about why it was so bad, they said they didn’t have much time. But this wasn’t 60 Minute Makeover we’d signed up for. They were here for 12 days”. “They made us look like clowns. In the advert they showed Judi cooking in the kitchen in the advert, while I’m doing DIY. It focuses on me breaking a screw”. “They were trying to make me look the fool, and their team like the ‘heroes’ coming in to save us”. “We felt like we’d won the lottery when we got on the show but we’ve been misled. We’ve saw Nick Knowles and his team do great things on their show but we didn’t get anything like that”. “We still have a freezing kitchen that’s going to go damp. We still have bare plaster and uneven floors, but even worse than before. We’re beyond angry. We feel like fools.”

diy home repairs and maintenance


DIY tips this bank holiday

It seems it will be a very popular year this year for UK home-owners to spend their bank holidays touching up on their decorating skills and performing a little DIY with their time off work.

To many people decorating a room in your home is a very simple task and can be done rather quickly, but does it always turn out the way you had hoped or do you find yourself sat at home and your eye just keeps taking your attention to something may have missed? Maybe something you could have done a bit better?

With the basic know how and a few tips along the way means that you can decorate your home properly and manage to clean down your paintbrushes stress free ready for next time.

Simple things like washing your brushes in warm water rather than hot will stop the paint from becoming lumpy and gooey around the bristles and will actually wash off without damaging yet another paint brush.

When cutting in around the edge of a wall or door frame be sure to poor what paint you will need into another container, there are a few reasons for this, one being most important is that you do not want to contaminate your paint by dipping a brush that may have dirt on back into the tin, next reason is if you were to knock your tin over you haven’t just wasted yourself a full tin of paint, which may I add, paint isn’t cheap.  And last but no means least when you leave the lid off a tin of paint it starts to go off like it would on the wall you are applying it to and may become gooey or crumbly around the edges, so take what you need and put the lid back on.

Using an old brush with split ends is always a good trick, this makes for a soft brush if cleaned properly after each time of being used. Leaving you smooth and clean lines which a brand new paint brush may not give you.

Always allow the correct time advised on the back of the tin between each coat. If this is not done before each coat you are sure to smudge the layer underneath and will leave an uneven finish.

If painting onto a strong previous colour it is always a great idea to just take a bit of time to paint a light colour like white or magnolia on before you apply your desired colour. This will give the boldness your colour will need.

Bank Holiday Decorating

According to HSBC this year’s bank holidays will see more UK homeowners staying at home, saving money and catching up on the DIY and decorating around their homes.

Decorating your home to many people can seem a doddle but to many, when you get up close your lovely front door or living room wallpapering probably hasn’t turned out as well as it could have, with bubbles and drips in the paint, obvious brush marks and sags in the wallpaper, Homebase, leading home and garden store have trained their members of staff to a ‘T’ by sending them to DIY courses to brush up on their own skills enabling them to give the best customer service and advice when it comes to helping customers make the right choice in home decoration equipment.

So if you’re one of many who will be giving your home a makeover this bank holiday, pop into your nearest Homebase store and ask one of their professionally trained members of staff for help.

The professionals choice of paint is available here: