Friday, November 4, 2011

Wooden Pen

Here is another item I picked up at the San Diego artist's fair. It is a beautiful hand turned wooden pen in a cherry wood box. I love supporting the local artists.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Whenever I travel, I try and locate and support local artists at craft shows and craft fairs. Recently having returned from Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to drive to San Diego to watch some of my friends perform at the Old Globe Theater. On the day that I was there, the local art guilds were hosting an art weekend on the Saturday I attended the show.

While my first choice is to support other paper artists, I couldn't find any paper arts at the festival. I did find this one shop that was a joint effort of a polymer clay artists and glass artists. I don't normally buy buttons but I have been deficient in having a variety of buttons available for my books and boxes.

I purchased this set of matching buttons for my stash.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Iron Craft 44

This week, we were challenged to create something out of or with a pillowcase. This was a hectic week for me because I left for Los Angeles on Wednesday of last week and I did not return to NY until Tuesday--so I had to do a quick project.

I decided to do a monogram stencil and then air brush the stencil onto a pillowcase. The idea was to replicate the fancy embroidered pillowcases that couples get for wedding gifts. I wanted something that was a little bit more masculine plus I don't want to wake up with an indentation of my initials on the side of my face when I wake up every morning.

The most difficult part for me was choosing the font. I probably spent over an hour trying to choose a font that would transfer well into a stencil. Considering all three letters of my monogram have islands (the sections of the letters that are not connected to anything--like the top section of an "R" or the top and bottom section of a "B")--the choice of a font was important.

The font that I chose had a Celtic feel to it. Unfortunately, the J was a little crooked when I ironed it onto the pillowcase and I got a little too close to the surface when I airbrushed and the orange paint leaked under the stencil.

Overall, I am pleased with the way that it turned out and would do this project again when I had more time.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Star Book 3

Here is another star book that I have been working on. This one features a front frame panel. The second layer is a layer that has a heart cutout. The final layer is a background from which a cut out heart is suspended.

Here is the opened book.

Here is the front view.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Star Book2

Here is my next Star Book. The front layer is simply a frame. The second layer is composed of a variety of vellum and thin papers so I could see how transparent the different media were. The back layer is a reverse folded panel with a hand cut heart. The purpose of the reverse folding is so I could put a battery operated tea light in place.

There is the view of the book without the tea light.

Here is the star book with the tea light illuminated and the lights turned out. The light gets projected through the cut out and onto the vellum.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Star Book 1

This is my newest bookbinding obsession--star books. Here is the latest addition to my arsenal. The star book.

The front layer is a peephole that looks onto the middle layer which has a cutout heart. I believe that I have finally found my niche.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Iron Craft 43

This week we were challenged to do a craft that we had never done or were afraid to do. There were so many projects that I could have done. First, I thought about trying knitting again. Nah. Started and stopped too many times. I then thought about doing a candlemaking project but I didn't want to go and buy some supplies. I also thought about doing a project with sculpey or shrinky dinks but I didn't want to go out and buy more materials. After last week's sewing project, I thought about sewing or possibly a block or two for a quilt.

I then thought about doing a paper quilt. I had seen books on the topic and thought that I would try one since it seemed right up my alley. The problem that I had was converting the quilt directions into paper directions. Unfortunately, sewing measurements require you cut larger pieces than needed to allow for seam allowances. With paper, you don't need seam allowances so nothing fit together. After about three hours of cutting, trimming and pasting, I came up with the above piece. While suitable for this week's project, I know that I could do better.

I decided to try a different approach. If I thickened the lines on the patterns that I was using, I could then cut out the outlines similar to a stained glass look. I could then piece together the interior pieces which would be guaranteed to fit. Here is the same pattern but with the "grout" lines intact. I went from a paper quilt to a paper mosaic.

Once the pieces are cut, you can then fill in the interior pieces. I chose a three color monochromatic palette. I alternated the pattern between light, medium and dark shades and then alternated the patterns in a 3 x 3 grid. I placed small strips of paper to act as borders.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

P10K:Day 59

The last entry for catching up--Week Ending October 23, 2011

Sewing Project (2 hrs)
Blogging (1 hr)

Sewing Project (3 hrs)
Photography (1 hr)
Blogging (1 hr)

Star Book (1 hr)

Butterfly Book (2 hr)

Blogging (1 hr)

Inventory (4 hrs)

Inventory (4 hrs)

Week total: 20 hrs
Cumulative total: 206 hrs

Monday, October 24, 2011

P10K:Day 52

Week Ending October 16, 2011

Blogging (2 hrs)
Paper Cuts (2 hrs)

Blogging (1 hr)
Paper Cuts (2 hrs)
Photography (1 hr)

Photography (1 hr)
Blogging (1 hr)

Blogging (1 hr)

Star Book (1 hr)

Class (6 hrs)

Sunday (6 hrs)

Week Total: 24 hours
Cumulative Total: 186 hrs

Sunday, October 23, 2011

P10K:Day 45

OK, so I know that I am behind in my Project 10K posting but I will rectify that now.

Week ending October 9, 2011

Clear Day Poster (2 hrs)
Star Book (3 hrs)
Blogging (2 hrs)
Photography (1hr)

Star book (1 hr)
Angelo Book (2 hrs)
Blogging (1 hr)

Butterfly book (3 hrs)

Blogging (1 hr)

Photography (2 hrs)

Class (6 hrs)

Class (6 hrs)

Week Total: 30 hrs
Cumulative Total: 162 hrs

Iron Craft 42

This week's challenge was to create a plushie based on an imaginery friend. I never really had an imaginery friend when I was growing up but one of the first TV shows that I remember growing up was the New Zoo Review. I was enamored with Henrietta the Hippo. I always loved owls so Charlie the Owl was also a favorite.

This week, I decided to make an homage to Charlie the Owl. I wanted to use to types of material and in support of my pledge not to buy any new material for these challenges, I donated two of my shirts to the cause.

I was going to use both fabrics but I just couldn't get them to work together so I decided to use the brown material. I also had to get my sewing machine and recover it from the cobwebs that had settled on it.

I didn't realize how rusty I had gotten with my sewing skills. It took me 30 minutes to remember how to thread the machine, another 40 minutes trying to wind bobbins and several failed attempts to get the tension and stitch length correct.

Here is the final result. While I completed the project in time, I will probably do this project over and ask for a mulligan. The project is simple and turned out OK but I know I can do better. Next time I won't wait until the last minute to do a sewing project.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Iron Craft 41

OK--I know, I know. I'm behind in my posts this week and it's all because of that stupid holiday. No, the holiday isn't stupid; it's simply the extra day off gives me more time to do stuff that I don't usually have time to do. So rather than rest and enjoy the extra day off--I fill the time up until the break of exhaustion overtakes me and then I need a day off from my extra day off. People who tell me they wish the day had extra hours in a day are simply crazy. I would cram more stuff in the extra hours and make myself even more tired than I already am.

This week's challenge for Iron Craft was Halloween. I knew it was coming and yet I was still unprepared. I hemmed and hawed over what to do. I was going to do a papier mache monster--didn't happen. I was going to do a big wall hanging--didn't happen. I was even going to paint a clear shower curtain with blood stains--but I couldn't find a cheap shower curtain, so--it didn't happen.

So, I fell back on an old mainstay--paper cuts. I did two paper cuts this week hoping that I would like at least one of them. I want to do an airbrush t-shirt for a Halloween party that I have coming up. These are the two designs that I finished for this week. I do like the mummy skull on the right. Both of these paper cuts are mounted on a hand dyed paper which gives it that withered look and I will then mount them on white paper and frame them for Halloween decorations in the future.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Iron Craft 40

This week we were challenged to make something out of a glass or container. I cheated a little bit and make something with glass rather than out of glass. Some might call it cheating--I call it using artistic license.

The title of this piece is "Pickled Garden." I cut a flower garland out of card stock and then wrapped it around some PVC pipe and glued it to the lid of a mason jar. There are three layers of garland and two different PVC pipes.

The first layer is wrapped on the inside circumference of the smaller pipe. The second layer is wrapped around the outside of the smaller pipe. The smaller pipe is then placed inside the larger PVC pipe. The last layer is wrapped on the outside of the larger PVC pipe.

(l) Pickled Garden

(r) detail of the lid

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blue Book

A friend of mine had a birthday recently. He was hosting a birthday party at his party where we had a grand old time. Thinking that I was doing something good, I brought him a couple of bottles of alcohol. Having done so, I thought that I was a good friend by bringing a bottle of liquor for the party and one for my friend as a gift.

Two weeks pass and I meet with my friends for Sunday dinner and I asked the birthday boy if he had a nice birthday and if he got everything he wanted. I was surprised when he said he didn't get the one gift that he really wanted. When I asked him what it was, he replied "I really wanted one of your journals." Well, color me surprised. Secondly, how in the hell was I supposed to know.

I put this book together to give to him as a belated birthday present. I hope that he likes it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Star Book

This is another example of how instructions in a book are not specific enough to accurately complete the project. I have been doing some research on Star Books. The instructions in one book clearly stated that the difference in page size between layer one and layer two has to be one half of the difference in page size between the second and third layers. In other words, if the first layer has pages that are 1.5 inches and the second layer has pages that are 2 inches then the third layer has to have pages that are 3 inches in width. Theoretically, this is correct but unfortunately, what they don't tell you is that a 1.5 inch pages does not adequately allow for the book to open into a star. After a lot of trial and error, I realized that the second layer should be .75 inches wider than layer one. Also, the double rule of the second and third layer is then still applicable. In other words, if your first layer is 2.5 inches wide, the second layer should be 3.25 inches wide and then your third layer should be 4 inches wide.

(l)Lots of trial and error
(r) Even more trial and error

One important aspect of this project is the need to use lots of scrap (i.e., inexpensive paper). Because of the need to build several prototypes, it would be unfeasible to use your expensive paper on making models. I always make prototypes beging committing to a project.

Here is my paper pile for the protoypes. The orange and yellow paper was on sale for ten cents a sheet--perfect for prototypes.

(l) Here is the completed prototype.
(r) An aerial view of the prototype

Once the prototype is completed, you are free to experiment with other media. The above were make with cover weight paper. The prototype below was made with Duplex 110lb cardstock.

(l) Here is the detailed view of the duplex cardstock star book.
(r) An aerial view of the duplex cardstock star book.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

P10K:Day 38

OK--I have to admit. I was a slug this week but it wasn't all my fault. I got a new phone on Monday and any extra time was spent learning about my new touch screen phone, programming, searching for new apps, buying said apps and being all together too cool to know what do about myself. And no--it isn't an I-phone.

0 hours

Blogging (1 hr)
Photography (2 hrs)

0 hours

0 hours

Blogging (1 hr)

Inventory (2 hrs)
Shopping (2 hrs)
Clear Day Poster (1 hr)
Star Book Research (1 hr)

Blogging (1 hr)
Clear Day Poster (2 hrs)
Cleaning/Organizing ( 2 hrs)
Paper Box (2 hrs)
Star Book (2 hrs)

Week total - 18 hrs
Cumulative total - 132 hrs

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Iron Craft 39

This week, we were challenged to create something that "holds" or "contains" something. I have to admit that I was a bit selfish this week. I had a meet with a potential client who wanted me to create a CD/DVD holder for her wedding. Since I had to make something to hold something else, I decided to create this prototype for our meeting and for my Iron Craft Challenge.

This is the final design that I presented to her. This will be one of three different prototypes that I will provide. Since I buy most of music online, the only CD that I had available was this American Idiot CD.

Overall, I am very please with the way that this project turned out. BTW, the CD is held in place with a "CD hub" that is adhesive backed that you can buy online--who knew these things were even available?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

P10K:Day 31

This week was a compromise between a busy work week and evening commitments but I still managed to make some interesting projects.

Etsy Listing (1 hr)
Photography (2 hrs)
Blogging (2 hrs)

Blogging (1 hr)
Wedding CD (1 hr)

Wedding CD (1 hr)

Ebay listing (2 hrs)

Blogging ( 1 hr)

Wedding CD ( 2hrs)
Paper Box ( 2 hrs)

Blogging (2 hrs)
Wedding CD (2 hrs)
Paper box (2 hrs)

Week Total: 21 hours
Cumulative Total: 114 hours

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Craft Advice

Granted, I am not a master crafter. Some people call me an artist but I use that term loosely as I don't necessarily consider myself as such. While I live in my own little self-contained world, I do believe in sharing tidbits of knowledge with those people who read my blog. Every now and then, I will offer tidbits of advice regarding how I create.

Today, I want to share a creating delayer that prevents people (at least, me) from creating in a continuous and fun matter. If you concentrate on the larger picture of having fun, you can enjoy the fun and bypass the drudgery of crafting/creating.

In other words, don't let the chores of creating get in the way of the creation. As an example, let me explain my OCD tendencies. I usually need to organize and clean my studio before engaging in a new project. Usually that means, putting supplies and instruments back in their place before moving on. What I have learned to do is to place these items in their general locations (where I can still find them and use them) rather than in their specifically designated homes.

While I could easily waste time and organize all of the items and place them where they SHOULD be, instead I put all of the items in their general locations (i.e., card stock with card stock, cutting utensils near my storage box, etc.). This way I can still find the items but I don't get bogged down in organizing when organizing isn't desperately necessary.

In the long run, this frees me up to create rather than postponing having fun with the nuisance of having everything perfectly placed at which point, I would mess them up again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Iron Craft 38 & Accordion Book (Part 3)

This week's challenge was based on the classic color combination of Black and White. While I do have to admit that this is one of my favorite color combinations, I decided to do some double duty with this challenge. I wanted to use this week's challenge as a prototype for a book that I have recently been commissioned to make. While I had figured out many of the logistical matters with Parts 1 and 2 of this series, the special challenge of this commission was an accordion book that had pockets. While not an outlandish request, it did take some special planning.

(left) the book tied on the fore edge (using one black and one white ribbon)

(right) the ribbons as they exit the spine of the book

I decided to use a white paper with a black flocked pattern from India. There is a beautiful tactile quality to the paper and the black pattern really is striking against the white paper. The difficulties with the paper are that it is thick and the flocking comes off when cut. I had to make sure that I cleaned all my work surfaces after each step of the bookbinding process--especially when gluing.

(left) Front of the book--six pages including two pockets

(right) Back of the book--four pages including two pockets

To illustrate to my client the capabilities of the book, I decided to continue the challenge and mount 4" by 6" black and white photos to show what the finished book could look like. For the pages with no pockets, each photo was mounted on black and silver card stock. For the pages with pockets, each photo was mounted on black card stock only.

(above) Page with pocket--photo with single mat

One of the aspects of photo albums that bothers me is what to do with a photo that has the wrong orientation. When this happens, you have to keep rotating the album according to the photo's orientation. By having a pocket in your photo album, you simply can place the photo in a pocket and pull out the photo to look at it (as illustrated above).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Accordion Books Part 2

(front cover)

As promised, here is the commissioned work that I told you about yesterday. The customer wanted an accordion book that had sixteen pages (fourteen usable sides) for 4" by 6" photographs. She provide me with a piece of vintage fabric that she wanted to me to use.

We met on three occasions so we could agree on size, pages, and images. I made an acetate viewfinder so we could pick the images that she wanted to feature on the front and back cover.

(back cover)

As you can see below, the ribbons exit from both the spine and fore edge so that the book can be fully extended (both sides untied) or opened like a book (spine tied shut, fore edge ties untied.

Above: here are the two covers next to each other
Below: the opened book

I have to say that I am very pleased with the way the book turned out. You might notice that I used a narrower ribbon which helped with the problems tying the book as mentioned yesterday.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Accordion Books Part 1

This past week, I have been dedicated to mastering the Accordion book form. The accordion book is one of the first book structures taught in bookbinding class. The premise of the book is relatively simple--you fold some pages, cover your front and back cover, and then you glue the text block (the folded sheets) in place and you are done. While that might sound simple in theory, it is deceptively difficult to execute with precision.

The first problem (and one that I will illustrate later) is pyramiding your pages. The perfect accordion book has pages that lie exactly on top of each other. You have to fold with precision in order to make this happen. Most times, one page will jut out past the other pages which will spoil the look of the book.

I had a special order from a customer that wanted me to make her an accordion book and to use vintage fabric for the book cloth. In order to get the mechanics right, I made some prototypes because I didn't want to ruin or waste her fabric.

Here is a book where I used a fabric from a baby shower as a book cloth. While I love the fabric, there were a few problems that I had to work out. The customer wants ties on the front and back of the book. This option allows you to open the accordion book like a regular book (if you keep the back tied together). In the sample below, the ties are too short and I forgot to cut the grosgrain ribbon at an angle (thereby allowing it to fray).

Below is the second problem that I had. The photo shows the inside covers of the book and the ribbon is leaving a large indentation in the cover. What I also realized is the ribbon wasn't too short--it simple didn't need to be placed so far into the covers.

Having noticed my mistakes, I decided to try and make another prototype before tackling my commissioned book. This time, I used a separate piece of fabric from the same lot. Also, I wanted to try a different closure. This closure would have the ribbon exit the back (spine) of the book and would come forward to tie on the front (fore edge).

This solved several issues that I had with the first prototype and would help me with a book that I would make for my Iron Craft project this week. I also solved the problem with the indentation of the ribbon as shown below.

While this is a bad picture because of the lighting, you can barely see in the middle crease where the ribbon is fixed to the book. This time, I cut a more shallow groove for the ribbon and then I filled in the indentation with a piece of scrap paper. I then used a waste sheet as filler so the the turn-ins wouldn't be as prominent.

Tomorrow, I will share with you my commissioned project.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

P10K:Day 24

The week has been plagued with a struggle between my new freedom and my pursuit of artistic endeavors. The show that was playing at my theater closed and now I have my evening free. Granted, I should be rushing home after my day job and dedicating myself to my art. Unfortunately, like a starved man visiting a free buffet, I have been enjoying my evenings while they last--especially since the evening weather in NYC has been glorious.

As I look at my hours of productivity, I notice that I dedicate my weekends almost exclusively to my art so all is not lost. This week has been dedicated to making prototypes for some sales that are due this week in my etsy store.

Blogging (1 hr)

Blogging (2 hrs)
Small Accordion Book--Iron Craft (4 hrs)

Blogging (2 hrs)
Ribbon Paddles (4 hrs)

Accordion Books (3 hrs)

Blogging (2 hrs)
Accordion Books (2 hrs)

Accordion Books (4 hrs)
Cleaned Studio (2 hrs)
Bowling Book (2 hrs)

Fun Fur Book (2 hrs)
Cleaned Studio (1 hr)
Handmade Book Cloth (1 hr)

Week ending total 32 hrs
Cumulative total 93 hrs

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Craft Hint

Today, I had an epiphany. I was tired. My circadian rhythms are off and I am getting to bed early and rising even earlier. It was 5:00 AM and I woke up and wanted to organize my container of ribbon. Ribbon had been on my mind because I had to stop off at M&J trim to get me some 1/4" ribbon for a accordion book project that has been vexing me. I will share that project with you on Friday. Because I ordered so much ribbon, this was what I was given.

Yes--an absolute mess. Now granted, this is only part of the mess because it didn't dawn on me to take a picture before I started the organizing. Anyway, I knew that there had to be a better way to organize the ribbon than to leave it loose like this. I decided to make some ribbon paddles out of scrap book board that I had been saving. I usually save all of the off cuts of paper and book board until they are absolutely too small to use for anything else. Here is a photo of my trash bin filled with the book board off cuts.

There was no precision to the project. I simply started cutting pieces of book board in 2.5" by 5.5" sizes. I was planning on storing the ribbon in some small snack size ziploc bags that I had in the kitchen. When I was learning about portion control for my diabetes, I had to portion out snacks into these snack size bags. Of course, me being one to go overboard, I bought boxes of these bags to use only to find out that I only needed them for about one month. So, I now had another purpose for these bags.

I wrapped the ribbon around the paddle (btw, it is easier to turn the paddle rather than wrap the ribbon around the paddle), placed it into its little bag and then moved on. The final result--

The beauty of this project is that all of your ribbon remains wrinkle free, easy to handle and lies flat in the container. I am now wrapping all of my ribbon like this. This will reduce the space taken up by spools of ribbon which is a big waste of space.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Iron Craft 37

This week on Iron Craft, we were challenged to create something small. At first, I had a little trouble deciding what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to work in a book format, but I was fighting with time constraints. Also, I knew that I wanted to work with scraps so the size was going to be determined by what I had left over.

Since I have recently been working on some accordion books (a later post this week), I decided to do a miniature accordion book. I had a strip of paper that was already cut and folded in half so all I needed to do was fold the accordion pages. The pages ended up being 3.75" wide by 2.5" tall. Once the boards were cut, I covered them with a Japanese washi paper in a chrysanthemum paper.

Not satisfied with a plain white page accordion book, I decided to decorate the pages before pasting them to the covers. Since I am starting to work on my Valentine's cards, I decided to make this a Valentine book--a small book to place one's love devotions. I punched hearts in different locations on the white page using two different punches. I then cut and punched different red color card stock and pasted them to the back side of the white pages.

So the white pages have red hearts.

And the red pages have white hearts.

Overall, I am very pleased with how these turned out.