About six months ago, my friend Jan gave me a cigar box that was an often seen brand, but in an unusual size: the lid was only 3 1/2 x 5, roughly the same as a standard index card. Many of you know that I have taught classes using cigar box lids as book covers, requiring 2 identically sized book covers for the project. I was so thrilled with this petite gift that I immediately set off in quest of a second identical box.
Apparently I live in a heavy smoking area, for there are no less than a dozen cigar & smoke shops within a ten minute drive from my home. A year or so after moving here, I made two field trips just making the rounds of all the possible sources, noting which shops had the cooler brands, which ones had the most gorgeous wood boxes, and what they charged for them. (Why is it that the shops with the highest priced boxes put the money directly in their pockets instead of the cash register? Hmmm..... ) This helped narrow the list to about 5 or 6 shops that are now my regular haunts when I need to build stash.
After scoping out the usual suspects, I found only one carried the cigar brand and size I was seeking and, alas, they did not have any more empty boxes. They had a full box, but it was securely shelved in the walk-in humidor, and I was assured it wasn't going anywhere until all the cigars in it were sold. So, yes, I did the math -- 10 cigars at more than $10. a pop -- and decided not to make the book with the hundred dollar covers at this time. Thus began my new adventures in stalking.
This is a slow moving cigar, folks. I popped in every two weeks in the beginning, and never found more than one cigar gone from my target box. After a few months, when there were five left in the box, I stepped up my visits to weekly. No trouble to visit often. This particular store always has a wonderful collection of the all-wood boxes, which they price at a dollar or two each, so my supply shelves are currently filled to capacity with beautiful all-wood boxes. When we got down to two cigars, I started going in every other day. The day arrived when only one cigar remained. I could not stand the drama any longer and purchased it along with the box. Success at last, after five months of stalking! Now, does anyone out there want a nice cigar?
So, now I am working on this book and it is nearly ready to be prepped for sewing. I added some collage elements to the covers on both sides, and decided to use a multitude of checkerboard and stripe papers as signature wraps because I love the way they create patterns on the exposed spne binding. Stay tuned for the finished product!