Friday, June 28, 2013

On My Bookshelf

This week's book is another of my must have books regarding bookbinding: Bookcraft--Techniques for Binding, Folding, and Decorating to Create Books and More by Heather Weston. This is the last book from which I have completed every project. This book is one of my go-to books when I need a refresher course in basic bookbinding or if I need some inspiration. This book so impressed me that I actually bought it in paperback and hard back editions (actually, it was a mistake but I do have two copies).

As I was struggling with the current Iron Craft Challenge, I was flipping through this book and was inspired to create my version of the tunnel book presented within the book. I will be sharing that with you next week.

The book has a four section format: Introduction (discussing materials, rules, and methods), Bindings, Page/Cover Treatments, and a Gallery. The bindings include; Pamphlet Stitch, Case bindings, Perfect bindings, Post bindings, Concertinas and variations, and a Portfolio binding.

Page/Cover Treatments include debossing, embossing, folded pages, and pop-ups among others.

The instructions and directions are superb and well documented. The steps are easy to follow and comprise traditional bookbinding techniques. My only complaint is that the author only provides dimensions for the project at hand rather than general instructions so the reader can make their own size of books. If you extrapolate the dimensions from the project, you will be able to design your own books.

This is a must have for any level of bookbinder. For the beginner, it is a fantastic DIY book. For the accomplished bookbinder, it is a great resource to have on your shelf.

Highly, highly recommended.

Folded and Cut Pages

Full Disclosure: Neither nor the authors have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Art vs Craft Part 2

Option 1

As mentioned in a previous post, I am trying to incorporate craft tools into my bookbinding projects. Here is another edge treatment that I am working on. I inaccurately mentioned that this was a Celtic Knot pattern when in actuality, it is a Greek Key pattern.

I haven't quite decided how I will use these pages but I will think of something. Someone asked me about the asymmetrical placement of the punch. Yes, there is more room at the bottom of the edge treatment than at the top. This was done purposefully so that the reader can turn the pages of the book without damaging the edge design.

I still haven't decided if I will cut away the thin strip that is on the foredge so that there are only a bottom and top tab that leads into the pattern. The weakest part of the page is this thin strip. I am afraid that if I leave it intact that it will tear away on its own after repeated use.

Option 2

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

LA Journal

I have returned back from Los Angeles and decided that I would share with you the journal that I am making from my trip. I was there for 7 days and 6 nights, so I decided to dedicate one page to each day that I was there.

The source material for each day will deal with a headline from the newspapers that I read. Each page will be dedicated to one topic. I clipped the newspaper articles for source material and brought them home with me.

Here are the seven pages that I will be using.

Granted, some of the pages turned out lighter than I would have wanted but I will go back and add more color to them.

Let the creating begin.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vacation Blogging

I thought that it would have been easier to create while I was away in LA but the weather was so beautiful that I just couldn't bear to waste the sunshine by being stuck indoors. This was my morning view when I did start off. I got three backgrounds one and will certainly finish the four remaining backgrounds before I return home.

I on't feel badly about not getting further especially since I  wanted a no stress type of vacation.

Week 24

Front of postcard

Back of postcard

This week's card is a variation of a card that I presented earlier. Rather than a folded card, I decided to print it in black and navy blue on the front and white on the back in a postcard format. The front images are the same as the ones presented here. The duplex card stock used for this postcard is the chartreuse/blue combination.

On the reverse, I decided to add the postcard lines and stamp area so that people who use the card know where to write. More importantly, it was for the Post Office to know where to look in order to process the postcard. I wanted the lines and instructions to be there but I didn't want them to be intrusive. I think that the white on the blue works well and will blend into the background when filled in.

I have always been a fan of postcards and I give these to my friends to use when they visit NYC and want to send something home to friends/family.

Friday, June 21, 2013

On My Bookshelf

This week's book is a companion book to last week's featured book--or so I thought when I bought it online. The title, More Making Books by Hand: Exploring Miniature Books, Alternative Structures, and Found Objects by Peter and Donna Thomas, naturally lead me to believe that it was a continuation in the series. If I had been observant, I would have realized that it was done by different authors and by a different publishing company.

The book is divided into two sections: Basic Skills and Projects. There are twelve projects shared in this book and most of them delve into the classification of artist's books. While they are made from common and standard structures, the authors clearly use examples from established book and print artists. The main structures include: miniature cased in books, accordion style books, dowel spine books, Flap/Flag books, and found object books. The one saving grace for this book was the fact that each structure also provides suggestions and examples of variations. What I found annoying was that the instructions/directions were illustrated rather than photographed.

This is a nice book to have for inspiration but not a necessary book to add to your personal collection unless you are seriously delving into bookbinding and/or book arts.

Modified Accordion Book
w/dowel hinges

Full Disclosure: Neither nor the authors have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Road Trip Journals #3

By the time you read this, I will have already traveled across the United States and landed in California. I am traveling to do a photo shoot. Since we have been discussing road trip/travel journals, I decided to share with you the materials that I take along for my on-the-road art journaling.

The materials consist of two main parts--paper and my goody bag. I tend to take thick paper that can stand up to a water wash which is usually my modus operandi. Since I usually don't know how I am going to bind the materials, I try and keep them in loose leaf format. The second element is my zipper bag that contains all of my materials. I put both pieces in my carry on luggage which is usually a backpack.

Materials that appear in my zipper bag are: Sharpies in various sizes (usually always black), Micron markers in various colors and point sizes--these are a little pricey for me so I tend to get them on sale, a self-contained pencil sharpener, china markers in various colors (these are relatively new for me and I am experimenting with them), Caran d'Arche water solulable wax pastels (which are primarily used to color my backgrounds), Pentel color markers (relatively inexpensive--in a variety of colors),  watercolor brushes, a self-contained water brush, colored pencils (brand du jour right now is Crayola--i.e., non-expensive), acrylic ruler, acrylic baby protractor, gum eraser, a glue stick, and my reading glasses.

Depending on my luggage, I will either increase or decrease the materials depending on how much stuff I need to put in my backpack, the length of the trip, and the time I have to journal.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Road Trip Journals #2

My First Screw Post Journal
This is a continuation of the discussion of travel journals. Following an earlier post regarding travel journals/business journals, I wanted to share with you an easy solution to many of the problems that people have--starting a journal from scratch.

As mentioned last Friday regarding Making Books By Hand, I was asked to make a Screw Post Wedding Album for a friend's wedding. I had never made a book of this type before so I decided to purchase the book by Mary McCarthy and Philip Manna. One of the many lessons that I learned while catering, I decided to do a run through and make a screw post journal for my own purposes. I wanted a journal that I could use for work or pleasure.

This is what I came up with.

I decided to use preexisting materials that could be found at any stationery store--namely, pre-made pages, folders, envelopes, dividers, etc in the 5" by 8.5" format. By doing so, I could concentrate on making the front and back covers and not have to worry about the text block, or type of paper.

I used lined paper, two envelopes, tabbed dividers, and alphabet dividers that were already pre-made. The beauty of this type of construction is that you can easily move pages or elements around wherever you need them because all you have to do is loosen the screws, rearrange, and reassemble the book afterwards.

Inside front cover
I used Davey Board for the front and rear covers. I covered them in orange reptile embossed paper that has a plastic coating on the front and is paper backed. I wanted something that was easily cleaned and wouldn't show dirt or fingerprints. The end sheets are a paper backed Chinese silk that I had available. Sometimes when making books, you simply get lucky with your materials. So was the case with my book--the materials I used worked great considering there was a working hinge which could wear away the materials if they weren't so sturdy.

Envelope in front and
tabbed dividers
I wanted to be able to subdivide the sections of the book so I purchased tabbed dividers so I could section off pages for different purposes. If you are using this for your own purposes, these could include daily itineraries, maps, etc. I always wanted to keep receipts and loose papers so I included a top loading envelope to the front and back of the book. I simply hole punched them to place them in the book. In the top and second picture, you can see that I included a bulldog clip so I could clip materials that I needed at a moment's notice or pieces that were too large to include on a page.

The inside back cover
For the back section of the book, I decided to add alphabet tabbed dividers and another top loading envelope. Since I was using this book for work, I wanted the alphabet tabs in order to register names and addresses/business cards that I collected on my trip. When finished on this trip, I simply remove the pages and put them somewhere else more permanent. 

Since I am always at a loss for a writing utensil, I put a pen in the back envelope so I would always have something to write with.

I was glad that I put some thought into the book before making. I still use this book for business and it is my go-to book when I need to grab something fast.

With all of the new materials that are being made in this format (pouches, photo holders, business card holders, etc.) there are plenty of options to make one of these for yourself. Tomorrow, I will share with you my traveling journal pouch with my journal art making materials.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Iron Craft Challenge #12--Picnic Placemat

For this challenge, we were tasked with making something associated with a picnic. I have to say that I was really stumped by this challenge which is a good thing--I suppose. I know that I wanted to make something out of paper, go figure, but I really didn't know what to do. Maybe a picnic invitation?

I was going through my paper stash to work on another project and I ran across this recycled plastic "paper" that I used to cover a book on a previous project. This "paper" is made out of recycled plastic shopping bags that are melded together and then dyed.

When I felt it, it reminded me of an outdoor placemat so I decided to do something similar but with a little added touch.

Placemat side
On the topside of the placemat, I simply wanted an area to use to place your paper plate. I knew that I wanted to use a material that could be wiped clean and this recycled paper is just the trick. I also knew that I wanted to so something beyond a placemat so I lined the back of the placemat with suede paper.

Underside of placemat

I turned in the edges and only partially glued down the bottom edge. I left some of the area free so I could place the silverware that would then allow me to roll up the placemat and tie it off so I can store the rolled placemat in the picnic hamper.

Placemat and silverware

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 23

This week's card is one of the most difficult to manufacture--a truly masculine handmade card. I have always struggled with making cards for men to enjoy. Most men that I know are (1) super critical or (2) don't appreciate the time and effort put into making a handmade card.

Either reason is enough of a deterrent to prevent me from making cards for men. With that said, I am glad with the way that this card turned out. It is different enough to make a statement but simple enough to be appreciated. This card fits in a standard size 10 envelope. The Happy Birthday sentiment is stamped on the inside and the card is cut through the top two layers to reveal the stamped image.

Friday, June 14, 2013

On My Bookshelf

Today's book was probably one of the most influential books in my bookbinding career. When someone asked me to make their wedding album, this was the book that I purchased--having known nothing about bookbinding. This week's book is Making Books by Hand: A Step-by-Step Guide by Mary McCarthy and Philip Manna.

By the time this came about, I was still making handmade greeting cards and boxes so I was familiar with the materials needed to make a photo album--what I didn't know was how. I ran across this book at a brick and mortar store and immediately knew that this was the book that I needed. I had purchased album kits before and had made books from them but this was going to be a start from scratch book.

The book is divided into three main sections: Techniques, Book Types and Projects, and Resources. The Techniques section is the basic beginning section of any craft/DIY book: materials, supplies, tools, etc. The second section provides step-by-step instructions on how to make accordion books, journals/scrapbooks, photo albums, and box books. The third section is an appendix of resources, suggested readings and a gallery of works.

For me, this is a perfect introduction to basic bookbinding. The directions are clear and well photographed/documented. The materials are basic and easy to acquire. This is a must have for anyone interested in making their own books or as a reference book for established bookbinders. This is only the second book in my library that I have made every project listed. Highly, highly recommended.

Journals and Scrapbooks

Full Disclosure: Neither nor the authors have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased in person without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Road Trip Journals

Kat over at Just Crafty Enough blogged about her trip to Ireland and her Road Trip Journal. I also make journals before making major trips. Many times, I make handmade journals to suit my needs like here. Unfortunately, I don't always have time to make the journal before I leave. Often, I make the journal when I return--very much like a scrapbook.

When I need something to write in before I go, I will go out and buy a simple spiral bound notebook and will keep notes, receipts, and all other kinds of information that will either stand alone or can later be used as pages in the "real" journal. I tend to buy the notebook in the country that I am visiting.

Notebook from Japan
A Pocket in a must
When I travel, I will always carry my travel case of journal materials (pens, pencils, etc)--I will share that post with you next week. The only requirement that I make is that the journal needs to be convenient (small or hand-sized) and must have a pocket or pockets to hold all of the loose materials that I need to access.

Many times when I travel it will be joint duty and will require me to work. Having the pages perforated (or pre-cut, as the Japanese say) is really helpful if I want to turn the pages into journals elsewhere. I will have to say that I prefer the term pre-cut--perforated is so hard to spell. 

Work page--The nights guest list
One of the musts in my book is to have a local map with the hotel information in English and the local language. This page has saved my bacon on many occasions when trying to get home by taxi late at night. I have even called the hotel on my cell phone and then handed the phone over to the taxi driver on several nights.
Local Map a must
I am very fortunate to say that many times I get to combine paper with work--especially when I go to Japan. Often, I will include maps, directions and locations to my book before I go. I provide detailed instructions including exact subway exits. I always include the phone number when I can. On my last trip to Tokyo, I got so lost I asked a local utility man, who was working on the street, to help me. He spoke no English and my rough Japanese just didn't do the trick. He called the shop on his cell phone, got the directions, put me in his truck and drove to the shop to drop me off. Of course, he asked permission from the customer he was working with who wholeheartedly agreed to the disruption of her service call.

Page with folded maps

Page with unfolded maps

When the pages are too wide for my notebook, I simply fold the pages so they fit and glue one edge to the page. This allows the pages to fold open for easy access to all of the information that I need on a single layout. I actually find it fun to be creative with the folding to make them fit.

In closing, you don't need to have a fancy book to be able to have a travel journal. You can make any book your own for the immediate or extended future. I find that these journals are a major help when returning for future trips to the same locations.

Next week, I will share with you a different travel/work journal and my travel journaling kit.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mail Art #4

Today's entry in another example of Mail Art. I can't seem to stop myself from doodling. Yesterday, I received a call from The Sketchbook Project asking if they could feature my envelope on their website. The received my envelope and sketchbook and delayed opening it before showing it to people within the library. I have to say that I was pleased to be asked,

Today's theme is circles. I didn't realize how difficult it is to trace circles without them going wonky. Now I have to decide if I want to color them first before doodling or vice versa.

Oh, my. Decisions, Decisions. Decisions.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mail Art #3

OK. I finally broke down and sent my Sketchbook away to complete my Sketchbook Project. I prolonged it as long as I could realistically do so. Here is the back of the envelope in all of it's doodled and colored glory. I was really happy with the way that it turned out. When I took the envelope to the post office, the person at the desk said--Oooh, pretty.

I never realized how soothing doodling could be. Although the patterns are not as random as I would have liked them to be, there has to be some comfort in the organization of the geometric patterns.

Good bye dear sketchbook--I hope others will enjoy you as much as I did.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Week 22

This week's card is a not totally successful Gocco printed card. I had to make a card for a friend that loves animals--especially cats. I had an old photo of a cat and I thought that I had gotten the image light enough to print but obviously not.

While the card is cute enough--and my friend love it--I need to revisit the print settings to make it better.

Friday, June 7, 2013

On My Bookshelf

This week's book is a new book to my collection. Playing with Paper: Illuminating, Engineering, and Reimagining Paper Art by Helen Hiebert.

The book is divided into three sections: Getting Started (Techniques), Projects (18 separate projects), and a Gallery. The book provides templates for all of the book's projects. The projects cover all ranges of techniques, materials, and difficulty.

There are several projects that I want to try and the first will be the piano hinge project shown below. There are plenty of illustrations and pictures to guide you along the way for every project. The projects range from mini-projects to very, very large projects.

I recommend this book for all book artists and paper artists.

Full Disclosure: Neither nor the author have provided any compensation for this review. This book was purchased online without a personal perusal before purchase.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mail Art Part 2

So if the front of the envelope can be stars then the back can be hearts. I decided to document the progress of the mail art for no other reason than to stretch out a couple of posts.  I wanted to do a zentangle type of mail art.

First I positioned the hearts and decided where to overlap them. I used a Fiskars plastic template to place the hearts. I then used the edge of the template to draw lines at random widths across the envelope. I chose sections of the envelope to keep the direction of the lines consistent.  As you can see, there are four distinct areas for the lines.

I will probably draw all of the doodles in black Sharpie and then come back and fill in the areas with colored pencil but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mail Art

I still haven't sent out my Sketchbook. I think that I am procrastinating so I can subconsciously keep it around a little bit longer.  Therefore, I decided to decorate the envelope before sending it out.  The front of the envelope is based on stars.

It is a little rushed in some places--especially around the lettering but overall, I like the way that it turned out. Who wouldn't enjoy receiving this in the mail? I know our letter carrier will enjoy taking it from the outgoing mail boxes--she always is good for a nice comment when I am sending out mail art.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Iron Craft Challenge #11--May Flowers

Building up quite a selection

The challenge for this time up was RAIN or things that we would do on a rainy day. I felt right at home since the weather here has been cooperating. This wasn't the project that I had intended to do. I wanted to do a handmade puzzle and I had all of the materials needed to complete it but it just didn't work out. I will share that failure with you later in the week.

Instead, I decided to share two more flowers in my tissue flower series. These were made last night and I am building up my collection and techniques.

The difference with these flowers is that I decided to color then using homemade alcohol inks. The inks are made with rubbing alcohol and drops of ink from stamp pad re-inkers. I have a complete collection of Stampin Up ink pads and re-inkers from my days in rubber stamping (Caveat: I have not kept up with the new colors of pads/inks with Stampin Up since I haven't been stamping lately). I purchased the sets when I was using them to color the edges of my book blocks.

I also bought a ton of atomizers in which to make the alcohol inks.

Here is my storage tub of inks

The first attempt was to spray the completed flower with different shades of ink much like those edge colored carnations you see all of the time. While the effect is different, they turned out really well and the process  is quick. Although you lack the control normally associated with painting before forming the flower, I like that you get to see some of the original color of the tissue (white in this case) much more readily than when painting before.

Monochromatic Carnation

The second options was to paint the tissue before forming the flower. I decided to hand tear the edges and to vary the width of the layers. This flower I am calling a peony because that is what it looks like to me.

To prepare the sheets, I spread them out and overlapped them. I sprayed different layers of color on all of the sheets. I then separated the sheets and overlapped them again (exposing the white parts that weren't tinted on the first round) and layered color again. I then let them drying on top of each other. The beauty of alcohol inks is that they dry very quickly because the alcohol evaporates fast. You can even speed up the process by using a craft heat gun..
Tissue sheets drying.

I then assembled the sheets, tore the edges and formed the flower. This was done with 8 layers of tissue with the layers split into 2-3-3. This means the top layers are made from two sheets and are the narrowest. The middle layers are made with three sheets and are wider than the top layers but shorter than the bottom layers. The bottom layers are made from three sheets and are the widest.

Overall, I am very pleased with the peony. I like the way the edges add dimension and the purple color palette. Right now, I am just pinning the flower garden on the wall until I decide to do something artistic with them all. This way, they are up and away and prevented from getting damaged.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week 21

This week's card is another in the aspiration series that I started last week. This is another cutout card based on the same font.  This week's word is Create.  The interior of the card is lined with a fern green plain paper.

I like this combination of orange and green--I guess that I have a citrus mood coming on.

The card is blank on the inside so you can use it for any purpose you desire.