Saturday, February 21, 2009

Going Green

Well not in the way that most of us think of when we hear the phrase, but all my projects this week have involved the color green. I also have a project in my head for the next local book arts swap that will involve green....
Up first are my wonderful new wrist warmers, I made them from some sage green fleece I had around the house and used a blanket stitch on them. The blanket stitch took forever to sew around all the openings on them plus the side seam but I'm happy with the results. I didn't want the seam on the inside of the warmers so the blanket stitch solved the problem and looks nice. The photo I took with iphoto using the colored pencil effect, which it doesn't really show too much detail on the warmers I rather like it :)

Next on the green list is the book I made for my nephew! Monday I became an Aunt as my brother welcomed his son into the world. I didn't want to make a book that was overly baby looking and found some fantastic earth toned card stock packs at Ben Franklin. I cut up 4 sheets of each of the lighter colors and some spacers and made a stab bound album. Which despite the structural issues with the binding remains one of my favorite for photographs. The pages are 6"x12" which should give them lots of room to use the album for a scrap book if they so choose. I really like the dimensions of the book and am thinking I might make a second using the darker colors for my Etsy shop. The linen book cloth I bought for another book I had been working on the last few days but it was the perfect choice for this book as well.
The last book I was working on is fun case bound book but I must of had glue dripping from my elbow (or who knows where else) as I have two glue spots on the front cover and one on the inside end sheets as well. I'm pretty disappointed that a) I made such a mess out of an otherwise awesome book and b) that I didn't notice that I made such a mess of it until after I pulled it out of the press. I'm still trying to decide if it's bound for my shop as a straight to sale item, or if I would actually use it if I kept it around. I'll give my disappointment a little while to fade while I chew it over and see what I come up with.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gone to the birds!

The theme for my local book arts group this month is crows. I stewed this one over for a long time and really struggled. One afternoon I went out and hit the craft stores in town on my very last stop I finally found something I was excited about. I stumbled onto a product marketed towards scrapbookers called In Stitch'z. They are little templates that you poke into you paper and then sew the design on paper. I found a great little bird and took the pack home with me.
I then promptly sat down poked all the holes realized that I didn't have a clue how to embroider and the directions that came with the pack said "use your favorite stitch". I didn't think rationally and go get my laptop to google a solution, nope I sat there and stumbled my way through figuring out away to make it work.
With a practice bird under my belt I started in on the final project. I had originally planned on sewing an accordion to make a more formal book structure but came across the Venetian Blind Book while flipping through Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden. It solved my problem of hiding the stitches on the back and looked like a fun structure to try out.
Each bird is sewn black embroidery thread and they sit on brown embroidery thread branches. The yellow paper accents is a thin handmade paper with some sort of long grass/fibers in it.
I think my next step is to try sewing one into book cloth.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wonderful Treasures!

I need to get into the habit of cleaning my studio more often! I had let my studio go beyond the point that I was willing to share a picture of.... There was no usable floor space and my work bench had about 6 square inches of space on it, it was bad so I spent a full day reorganizing and cleaning up a few weeks ago.
While I was in there I found this fantastic stamp box that I forgotten I had! This is one of the few things I kept from my Dad's pile of art things when he passed away a few years ago. I brought it home, put it in a corner and forgot all about it. I would guess he picked it up yard saling as it was one of his favorite things to do. The inside says "-suggestion makes sales- the aristocrat sign marker- an up-to-date outfit for printing window and show cards, price tickets, streamers, bulletins, etc, etc, operation simple and rapid, results attractive. Sold by Russell J Hogg. Chicago".
The whole kit is in a wooden box that contains complete set of upper and lower case letters, two sets of complete numbers, two sizes of dollar and cents stamps, some punctuation stamps, and two arrows. I don't think it's complete but it's complete enough for me. There are two wooden ink pads that show use, some cotton padding, and several used charcol pencils that read "No. 365 1/2 Made in USA Dixons very soft" the two flower and leaf drawings in the top of the box look like they were made from rubbing the stamps with the charcol and coloring around with colored pencil. Sadly I don't have the flower or leaf stamps but the vine is in the box.
The grey box is full of thin metalic letters and numbers that snap together for clean straight lines. I don't think it was part of the kit originally but like the stamps you can tell it was used.

My other fantastic treasure is my valentines gift from my wonderful husband, he got me a mini camcorder that is kinda like a flip, but mac compatable! I haven't actually tried it out yet other than recording my husband being goofy, and he'd kill me if I shared that. Hopefully I'll be sharing video with you more often. This weekend I've done lots of crafting but no book binding. I'm working on two pairs of wrist warmers at the moment. I made the pattern off my own hands and the first pair I didn't quite leave enough seam allowance for so I redrew the pattern and tried again. I don't have the second pair sewn up so I'll let you know how it goes once I'm finished. I also have my exchange book for my local book arts group completed. I'll share that next post, too many pictures for one post!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Modern Nag Hammadi Book Swap

One of the members of the Book Arts Forum recently initiated a book swap with a modern interpretation of a Nag Hammadi Codex. Astrid's has been posting on her blog with the history behind the books if you would like more information about them! She posts first in German and then in English so be sure to scroll down for each post. My book was sent to Rachel and I received a book from Astrid.
I made Rachel's book using all recycled materials. The green leather is the first piece I've used from the couch that I stripped in the fall, the inside pages are trimmings from a project a local conservator was working on, and the liner paper is a piece left over from a custom order I made.
I decided to stay close to the original structure as I had never put ties on a leather journal or paper backed leather. I had a lot of fun attaching straps and was pleased with the results. Paper backing leather was a learning experience and one that I think I'll repeat again. I was surprised how stiff the paper made the leather. The couch leather was thin and I used a thin handmade paper was well, when the two dried it made a very stiff book cover. I'm not sure if it was combing the two together, the pva, or a combination of all but I had to press the book for two days to keep the cover flap closed!

The book I received from Astrid is fantastic! It's made from bonded leather which looks and feels like cork but smells like leather... mmmm... It has fantastic detail stitching and 3 pen loops on the inside. It's held closed by a belt buckle and has a bright orange elastic band around it to function as the side straps that my journal has. The paper inside is a mix of white, grey, and tan, the grey paper is 100% hemp which is exciting as I've not seen hemp paper before. I've stolen the pictures Astrid's book from her blog, you can see more detail of the book there as well!

Friday, February 6, 2009

CPSIA- Call Your Senator!

Many of us in the craft world in the US are all aware of the impending CPSIA regulations and the implications it carries for small business and the craft market. The good news is that our voices did not go unheard and Senator Jim DeMint has come up with a plan to try to fix things before people are forced out of business. You can read his message on Etsy, or stop by his blog and read about his plan. The number for the Senate switch board is (202) 224-3121 tell the operator you want to speak with a Senator from your state ask them to support Jim's legislation and tell them how it's going to impact your life or the life or so many you know. Our voices have gotten us this far, we need to make sure that we continue to be heard!

Thanks to those of you who commented on the hat! It made my day yesterday and I was forced to pull the Firefly dvd's off the shelf and get nothing accomplished! Well almost nothing... I did find those buttons I was mumbling about and finished this fat little leather journal. I wanted to keep it, but I already have two books I've made recently that I decided I couldn't part with. I just really enjoy the heft of it, I need to make thick books more often!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

And now for something completly different!

I finished the hat in question in my last post, and it's awesome. I'm hoping it fits Dan's head as it is a perfect fit to mine.... He wanted a huge poof ball and while you can't quite see it in this picture it is massive! Making the poof ball took me almost as long as the hat did, but it was worth it.
I know that I said I might have a prize if you can tell me where the hat is from but I can't resist putting the name in the tags so it will come up in searches. That being said the name won't give it away unless you know what it's from... so feel free to leave a comment if you know where the hat is from or if you did the google leg work, either way you'll earn some geek points with me :D

I spent some time yesterday working on photographing a new fold up album that has a fantastic cherry blossom paper that makes we wish for spring! Actually the weather here has been much like spring lately and it's a little scary. Normally by this time of the year we've had pouring rain for at least a month or so and it's been very very dry. On the days the fog burns off it's sunny and almost 60!

I'm almost done with a new leather notebook as well, I just can't decide how I want to finish the it. I'm on the hunt for some buttons I have a vague memory of purchasing, I cleaned my studio last week and now I can't find anything! However it is good to see the carpet again and I bought myself a stereo system for my studio as I am enjoying spending much more quality time in there. I've also been struggling with a concept for the exchange theme for my local book arts swap this month, it's ravens or crows and everything I keep thinking of is super complicated. I'm headed to the craft store shortly so hopefully some inspiration will strike!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Contemplative Silence

A lot has changed in my world since my last post, most notably I've become a statistic in the economic downfall in the US. The loss of my job has affected me more than I thought it would, I lost a large part of my life very suddenly and it set me a drift. At first I tried to pour more energy into my Etsy shop and opened accounts on other sites thinking I would use the opportunity to make this really work for me. That lasted about a day before the drift pulled me in another direction, which lasted again about a day and I've been moving rapidly from one idea to the next without any clue where I'll stop.
This morning I finally managed to put my feet down long enough to realize that I don't really have a lot of control over my path for the next few months. My application to grad school is hanging in limbo and until it becomes a done deal one way or the other it's almost impossible for me to make solid plans. I've applied for a few great jobs locally and we'll see how that pans out over the next few days. Hopefully deciding that I can't really decide will lift my spirits and give me the boost I need to get over this bug living in my chest.
Yes, I am still sick from whatever I picked up in Germany and am currently on round 2 of antibiotics and narcotic cough syrup. I'm under a threat of a chest x-ray if I don't sound better by Friday so my goal for this week is lots of sleep and some book making when I'm awake.

Which is much like last week, if you haven't been by my Etsy store in awhile I am very proud to say that for the first time ever it has more than 20 items listed! I have been slowly adding the fruits of my labor over the past few weeks so keep an eye out for more items coming soon. The stock up started with the album shown in my last post, the turquoise and chocolate mini album and was shortly joined by another blue mini album that holds ATC's or wallet sized photo's. I was very excited to take the photo shown here filled with my fantastic ATC's from the Book Arts Forum swap!
I also added the Celtic Weave I kept promising pictures of as well as a new case bound book wrapped in paste papers I made last summer as well as a few new pairs of earrings!
I have also been doing a lot of crocheting and working on a hat for a friend, I promise to get pictures of it posted before I give it away- we'll see how many fellow geeks I have reading the blog, maybe I'll have a prize if you can tell me what it's from :D