Thursday, February 28, 2013

Learning a New Stab Stitch Technique All By Myself...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
Today I'm sharing a new stab stitch technique I managed to learn by myself from the book "Cover to Cover"* by Shereen LaPlantz...

"Cover to Cover" by Shereen LaPlantz - a great book about book binding

I checked out the book "Cover to Cover" from my local library to see what offerings there would be. I had borrowed "The Art and Craft of Handmade Books" and learned so much terminology, as well as seeing many beautiful ways to make books, so I figured there would be just as much goodness in "Cover to Cover" and I was not wrong.

There were instructions for making different styles of stab stitch bindings, which are more decorative than the usual style that I have been using lately:

The basic stab stitch as practiced on a few mini booklets...

I don't know if this particular style stitch I have learned has a name, but it does include extra stitching on the corners, which I liked when I saw it in the book. Here is how I made my test sample...

I decided to use a journal page I had made and wasn't happy with. Since it was covered on the front and the back, I wouldn't have to add end papers!

I made holes using a Japanese screw punch my Artful Journey friend Diana was kind enough to loan me; I bought new tips to use for the retreat and I've been practicing working with the screw punch:

I've been having trouble figuring out how to punch the holes while keeping the book papers from shifting. "Cover to Cover" suggested using toothpicks in the holes to keep the shifting at bay. Using large bulldog clips helped a lot too:

Here is a view of the back of the book during the hole punch process. I think I will need to purchase a few more of these clips for more book binding in the future:

Though this book is a sample to practice the stitching method, I still wanted the binding threads to look nice and match the covers of this book:

I really love the look of chunky threads, but found some thread from my grandmother's vintage stash that looked better. I was ready to commence learning a new stab stitch style using the book to guide my learning...

Using the book meant working from drawn diagrams, which is not always easy for me. Although I can be a visual learner, I often need an example IN ACTION in order for me to grasp the concepts being conveyed. Sometimes, drawings or diagrams are not enough for me to figure things out.

At this point, all I had was the book to work from so I read through the directions while looking at the diagrams and when I thought I had some understanding of the process, I began my stitching. I did not take any process shots of the stitching, since I was focused on figuring out the new stitch method, but I do have some finished photos of how the stitch looks when complete:

Here is a detail shot of the decorative corner in the front:

And here are views of the back:

I am quite happy with the results of this test sample, especially since I worked out the challenges of learning this technique on my own! I will be using this technique on a few more books in the future, and possibly using this technique on books I make at the retreat this weekend...

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing the process of creating my new gratitude journal, so be sure to stay tuned!

* - I did a search for this book on Amazon, but didn't get any results; I'm afraid it may be out of print =-(

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hit The Road, Jack...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I'm busy prepping and packing for my trip to the Artful Journey Retreat which, sadly, has kept me from doing any blogging this week...

Packing my supplies and some decorative papers to use making some new books...

 Packing my work clothes that I can get colorfully messy in!

Some nicer clothes for the evening events...

The weather can get a little wet in Santa Cruz so I'm packing some cheerful rain boots, too...

I'm also packing my newly completed gratitude journal that I created, keeping with my personal challenge to use what I have and buy no new supplies (or blank books!)...making this journal has ended my dilemma on whether to make or buy a journal, at least until this one is filled up!

I'll share more about the making of this journal while I'm out of town...

I've been learning a new stab stitch technique that you can see in my new gratitude journal. I'll be sharing how I learned this technique on my own with tomorrow's blog post. Here is a peek at the sample I used to learn the new stitch:

I hope to use this new stitch while making new books at the Artful Journey Retreat during the weekend. I am SO excited to be learning new things and I can't wait to share it all with you when I return from my trip!

FYI: I am still hosting a raffle to win one of the books I'll be creating at the retreat - check out this post to learn about the details...

There will be a few posts about the new books and stab stitch technique in the upcoming days so be sure to stay tuned for those!

Thanks for reading and enjoy a creative weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm Hosting a Raffle!

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
Today I'm excited to announce a little fundraiser I'm hosting!

I am attending the Artful Journey Retreat at the end of this month and I am very excited about attending and coming away with some new skills in book binding and paper making. However, I have realized that I am in need of some funds to make the actual drive to Santa Cruz!

I was recently visiting the blog of Cynthia Morris, who writes at Original Impulse and was inspired by her idea to generate funds for her trip to Paris by offering to sell paintings she would be making during the course of her trip.

Then I read this inspiring story of Pia Jane Bijkerk funding her self published book project that succeeded in gaining the funds she needs to move forward with her book! (Thanks to Kat for blogging about it..twice!)

Reading about these creatively inspired ideas helped me realize that I could find a way to ask YOU for help in getting the last leg of my trip funded by creating a fund raiser of my own and my idea is to host a Creative Beast Raffle!

The raffle prize will be a book that I make at the retreat in the workshop held by Albie Smith...if you look at the books represented at the Artful Journey website or at Albie's blog, you will see that any book I produce in the workshop will be AWESOME! In the meantime, here are some shots from the retreat of 2011 to further pique your interest:

All work created by Albie's students from the 2011 Artful Journey Retreat...but I'll be making books and paper just as GORGEOUS!

And here is a shot of paper made by one of the students - so colorful and so juicy:

I can't wait to make my own richly colored papers!

Are you getting excited about winning one of my Artful Journey books yet???!? I sure am getting excited about making one!

If you want a chance to win one of my Artful Journey books, all you need to do is get a raffle ticket...

You may be asking:

"How can I get a raffle ticket, Creative Beast!?!?"

You make a purchase of one my handmade books from my Etsy shop!

Here is how it will work:

Purchase one of the small books and you receive one raffle ticket:

This is a great overview of the small books that qualify for one raffle ticket: mini books, small stab-stitch books and recycled postcard books

Purchase one of the large stab stitch books and you receive two raffle tickets:

Large stab stitch books with some of the small stab stitch books...

These books will be listed as soon as they are stitched together!

Purchase one of the Collage cover notebooks or one of my new Altered composition journals and you receive three raffle tickets:

Collage cover spiral bound notebook...

Altered composition books are now listed in my Etsy shop with more to come...

Each raffle ticket will have a hand colored design by yours truly that will also make a fabulous book marker!

The blank raffle tickets are in process of being decorated - but no peeking yet!

Just think: your purchase will get you one of my handmade books and a colorful raffle ticket that can be used as a book-marker, so that's two great items, plus the chance to win a gorgeous one-of-a-kind hand-bound book that will make a wonderful gift for yourself or someone you love!

This raffle begins starting today and all purchases to qualify for the raffle end on Friday March 8. The winner will be announced on Friday March 29.

Colorful Mini books will be listed in the shop soon...

Book purchases made by February 26 will be mailed out on February 27. Book purchases made after the 26th will be mailed after my return from the retreat, which is March 4.

I am announcing the raffle winner late in the month so I can share all that I have learned and all that I have created at the retreat with you!

I am very excited about being back at Artful Journey, especially after the retreat was cancelled last year. I am really looking forward to learning more about book binding and learning about paper making so I can begin to offer truly creative and original hand bound books and journals in my Etsy shop for you to enjoy!

Please feel free to share this news with your friends! I can't wait to make the beautiful book that will be given to a fellow book lover =-)

There will be a few more blog posts before the retreat so stay tuned!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Prayer Flags, Bound Books and A Gratitude Journal

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I thought I'd share some detail shots of the prayer flags I created for the Artful Journey Retreat coming up at the end of the month...some of you may remember this flag I created:

This flag represents a sheet of lined paper, but it would not remain a blank sheet. I decided to 'write' a letter to the artist who will win this prayer flag. This is how the 'letter' looks:

"Dear Artist" Prayer flag to be raffled during the retreat...

I wrote a series of quotes that I find inspiring and helpful in my life...

Click on the image to read the quotes better...

I was having so much fun making the prayer flags that I decided to make one more flag to keep at home:

I first encountered the concept of prayer flags at the second Artful Journey Retreat I attended and I learned more about them through Art Therapy Reflections, a blog I now visit regularly! (Do check out Karen's post on keeping a studio journal - it's a good one!)

Prayer flags originated in the Himalayas as a way to send blessings into the surrounding areas and it seems that we creative folks have begun making them in our own highly creative, artful ways, as you can see in this Flickr group.

I'm surprised that I don't make prayer flags more often, since they are really fun to make, but then I am usually making books, like this batch:

And this batch:

And there's my new gratitude journal as well:

And I've also been creating a raffle I'm going to host here on my blog as a fundraiser for this last leg of my trip to the Artful Journey Retreat. I will be posting details about my raffle in tomorrow's post so be sure to stay tuned!

Monday, February 18, 2013

My First Creative Workshop Takes Place!

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I'm excited to report that I held my first creative workshop from my home yesterday with one student - my dear wise woman Janet!

Folding the artful pages that would make up the completed book

For awhile there it was looking like there would be no workshop at all, but I got a message from Janet asking if the workshop was taking place so of course I said YES!!

I was happy to have even one student for my workshop, and even happier since it would be a dear friend coming out to play...

Adding elements of collage to the painted cover of her art book: bits of paper and washi tape

Janet is highly creative in many, many ways, but she is not someone who creates with her hands. She has been wanting to explore being artful and she remembered that I was hosting a creative workshop, which she knew would be a great opportunity for her to make something fun.

Janet really enjoyed learning how to use wax crayons and watercolor crayons to make a wax resist and was fascinated that the watercolors didn't affect the wax crayon design she created. She was also excited to learn how to use an awl for hole punching:

Carefully punching the holes to stitch the pages into the cover of the book...

And she was very pleased with what she created!

Front cover

Back cover

Then we celebrated creativity with some tea, cheese and crackers and deviled eggs! All in all, it was a great event and I am so happy that I finally got to conduct a workshop from my home. I can't wait to see what next month's workshop will bring!

I will announce the next workshop before the end of this month so be sure to stay tuned!

Friday, February 15, 2013

One Last Valentine and Some PiPs...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I hope you enjoyed a fun day celebrating the value of LOVE yesterday. I shared these wonderful blessings with friends yesterday that came into my email box courtesy of Magpie Girl. I love her blog, so inspiring, gentle and serene, as these lovely blessings can attest to:

Generally, my dear boyfriend and I are not very big on 'doing' Valentines Day because we believe that you should tell your loved ones how much you love them EVERY DAY...because you just never know when something might happen and since the passing of his grandfather last spring, we take this to heart...(I swear this pun was accidental!)

However, my dear boyfriend DID offer to cook me dinner so I thought I should make a special Valentine just for him and this is what it looked like:

I had been making other valentines to sell* that he had seen, but he is not too keen on the medical heart image so I thought making something less 'intellectual' would bring a smile to his face and it did!

I love working with chunky embroidery threads, so I had a LOT of fun sewing this valentine together. I also pulled out my vintage typewriter to type the word "LOVE" on a tiny scrap of muslin and I always love using my typewriter in my collage work whenever I can...yeah, I was feelin' the love all around!

I have been working on other projects this week too, like creating a new gratitude journal since I'm down to the last page in my first one! Here is a peek that I will share in detail soon...

This project got me using up some supplies I haven't worked with for awhile!
I've also been making prayer flags for the Artful Journey Retreat...

Made with scraps from a jar I bought at a flea market..

This flag was inspired by the book "Improv Sewing" that my knitting buddy bought and showed me; now I want a copy of this book!

I am starting to prepare for my trip to Artful Journey and I'm getting very excited about the workshop with Albie Smith and all that I will learn in paper making and book-binding. You can see some of the work made by her students in this post from the first retreat - it's easy to see why I am getting excited!

However, I am also concerned that I am coming up short on funds for the trip, but I have been thinking of hosting a little fundraiser here on my blog, inspired by one held at the blog Original Impulse, I blog I like to read every now and then. I really liked the idea that Cynthia Morris came up with to raise funds for one of her recent trips, but I will be creating a version of my own that I hope to launch starting next week and it is an idea that will utilize a raffle prize after the retreat is over...

Creating a hand-drawn raffle ticket template so I can make little collages on each ticket =-)

I was also inspired by this fundraiser that my blog buddy Kat had linked to**. I am really LOVING how people are getting so CREATIVE in generating funds for their art-full projects and using the internet to do it! I will talk more about this creative love in a future post since I have a feeling some of you might be on "LOVE" overload after yesterday!! ;)

I've got lots of creative goodness to share with you all so be sure to stay tuned!!

* - I actually sold one of my valentine cards - YAY!!

** - Kat also did a follow-up post and we are all happy to say that this book project is fully funded =-)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Projects In Process - Red "Love" Books and Valentine...

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
I wanted to share some of the process pictures I shot while making my little "love" books for Valentine's Day - maybe they will inspire you to create some of your own...

Some of you may remember this image when I first began this project. I discovered some scrapbook papers that I thought would be great for making some Valentine books, so I began to create covers using my Valentine rubber stamps, stamping an image on the cover and a love "emblem" on the back cover. After viewing this letter-press exhibit, I got the idea to print out folio pages of love quotes to create a "printed" art book. This is how the printed pages looked for the small books:

...and this is how they looked for the Red Books:

The printed pages you are seeing are my version of a "Title Page" and a "Colophon", both of which I learned about in the book "The Art and Craft of Handmade Books" by Shereen LaPlantz, a great book I luckily stumbled on at my local library one day. This book has a lot of wonderful information on the many parts of a book, such as the "title page", "verso page", and "broadsides", which are generally related to the publishing side of book making...

The Red Books were made using up what remained of some high quality, very heavy card stock and only three books were made. The heart embossed rag paper you see above was a scrap given to me by one of my knitting buddies...

There are still a few of these hearts left that will eventually be used for a future project...

I found this scrap while doing some searching for something else, as often happens with us creative folk...I'm glad I found the rag paper in time to use it for these books, though it meant I wouldn't be using the stickers I originally planned on using...

Don't worry - these stickers will be used for something in the future!

I tore the hearts individually so each heart looks a little different for each book and I used red thread for binding the pages together...

While making my books, there was often drying time for inks or glues, or time spent in my little book press for pressing the spines flat. While these processes were happening, I used the down-time to create two valentine cards. Here are process shots of my favorite card...

Rubber stamp of a vintage medical illustration of the heart stamped in red ink onto a scrap from a French language paperback book, then hand stitched onto a scrap of vintage watercolor paper from my grandmother's portfolio...

This would be attached with red brads onto a piece of thick and textured card stock I had in my own stash - the card stock was from a series of file folders that came from a company in Italy...

I used my vintage typewriter to type the theme of this card: "I give you my heart"; you can see the holes punched in preparation for the brads...

Detail shot of the typewriting - it almost looks like it came from a letter-press!

Once the brads were attached, the card would be glued to a larger card, creating a 'backdrop'; the card stock is buff colored, from my stash, creating a neutral palette that highlights the red ink, thread and brads...

A transparent envelope makes this card complete - the back side of the card is blank for writing your own heart-felt message...

I had a lot fun finding inspiration for my books and valentine cards from different places, like the letterpress exhibit, as well as inspiration from this Valentine Tag tutorial I found at this blog I like to check out from time to time. I'm sure you will see the inspiration for the red thread stitching I used in my valentine card from the tag project, but that is part of the fun of finding ways to adapt ideas for projects!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process of my recent creations. I will share some more projects I am working on, so stay tuned!