Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Different File Folder Book!

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
Today I am excited to share another book project with you, made using file folders, but not like the file folder book being given away this week! This is a different file folder book...

Long File Folder Book
This project was inspired by a local book maker and author, Jeannine Stein, who was teaching a workshop earlier this year on making her version of a file folder book, using the full length of a file folder. She shared her tutorial for file folder books on her blog and I loved this simple, yet fun idea.

While perusing her fabulous and inspiring blog, I found a post about making envelopes and adding them to hand-bound books. I loved this idea and thought it would be great to add this idea to her file folder book concept! Here is how my other file folder book came together...

I had a packet of old file folders I bought from Target many years ago that were not being used for their original purpose, so it was time to re-purpose them and put them to good the form of a BOOK! The sides were folded into the center fold and the edges taped down to create pockets.

I made a 6 page signature using a combination of plain and lined paper. I usually like to use plain, lined and graph paper in my personal book projects, but I had some nice 'parchment' paper that I thought would look nice in this book...

'Parchment' paper gives the file folder book a 'vintage' feel =-)

Then I remembered some colored paper in my extensive stash of papers that would match the craft brown paper of the folder - this would be my envelope pocket...

I used the envelope template found in the book Good Mail Day, which I use often for my personal mail art projects. This was a good size for a pocket envelope...

The trickiest part of this envelope was NOT gluing it BEFORE sewing it into the spine of the book! (But, then again, I was making a LOT of envelopes on this day with a LOT of gluing) The gluing would have to take place AFTER the envelope was sewn into the spine...

I used hemp twine for the binding, in keeping with the 'natural feel of the materials...

A tag is added, but I might make some special tags for this book...

The cover pockets can hold tags, maps, brochures or business cards...even some photos!

You might be wondering just what I will use this book for. I think I will use it for recording my thrift shop/flea market/yard sale adventures. I like to record my finds and keep the receipts, in case I decide to sell the goods later...

Another completed book project!

I began to assemble this project back in June, so the completion time for this PiP was faster than some of my projects, which is rather silly considering how quickly this project comes together. I might add some embellishment on the front and back cover of my file folder book and I might try to make a few more of these books as well!

If I do, you can be sure it will be shared here for your creative inspiration, so stay tuned!

PS: there is still time to enter the giveaway for a specially made file folder book! Just check out the details for the book and how to enter to win it at THIS BLOG POST - you have until MIDNIGHT tomorrow, Pacific Standard Time. Good luck!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Celebrating 4 Years

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
Can you believe that I have been blogging for 4 YEARS??!?!

When I first discovered blogs I didn't even think I could start one (though I wanted too!), so of course I never imagined I would actually be maintaining a blog for 4 years...and it has been a wonderful four years:

...and it has all been celebrated right here...

In The Beginning
I may have mentioned once or twice that I was never much of a journal/diary keeper, yet keeping this blog is very much like a journal. I record my thoughts, my positive feelings and my negative feelings. I record my creative projects complete with photos, along with snippets of my life. There are many memories contained in this blog...

This blog has become a wonderful record of my life for the past four years and I love using this medium for 'journaling'...though making books and journals has begun to inspire me to actually WRITE in a journal and my recently completed 'journal' project is no exception:

My 'pretty in pink' file folder journal book ready to be bound together with extra pages to write or draw on...

Let's take a peek at this recently completed journal project, which was inspired by a 2011 issue of ClothPaperScissors magazine, then tweaked a little, because that is what I love to do with ideas I come across!

The ClothPaperScissors File Folder Journal/Book

In my last post, I shared a few peeks at this journal/book project which came from the ClothPaper Scissors magazine. I had actually seen a video of this project on the website (sadly, it's only available to view for members only), and I was trying to figure out how to create one, since the video did not include instructions, only extensive views of completed journals/books.

I am REALLY good at being able to break down processes to figure out how to make things, even if there is only one image to work from - this skill was learned through my pattern drafting and 3-dimensional art school training! However, it wasn't until a copy of the magazine was given to me, that I was able to really figure out how this file folder journal actually came together. Then I thought of a way to tweak the adding some signatures to the design!

I love the recycling aspect of this project and the pockets for tags is wonderful. I am a BIG fan of pockets for journals/books and love decorative tags and the recycling/re-purposing is a huge bonus! 

Two signatures made with 3 folios (3 pages each) will be stitched into the journal, instead of gluing decorative paper onto the spine

However, a journal book with pockets but no pages for writing is no fun for this Creative Beast, so some signatures had to be added. After learning how to create a 2-in-1 signature book at the Artful Journey Retreat this year, I knew this would be the perfect way to create, then BIND this journal project...

...punching through all the layers of this journal was tricky, but once the holes were in place, the stitching could begin...

Luckily, I discovered some chunky pink embroidery threads hiding at my dear boyfriends place so I could use them to bind this journal. I cut a long thread which left a long 'tail' after the stitching was complete and this long thread became...

...a whimsical 'book marker' for the journal with a little button at the end!

I still have a few tags to create for this re-purposed journal book, but I have an idea for one of them, so far - a matching paint chip:

This paint chip might be added to a larger tag or the back of it will be decorated with pretty paper...

And another PiP is successfully completed!

 My pink file folder journal book with pages to write or draw on - I love this project!

This was a fun project to begin and eventually complete and I am so happy to celebrate the creativity of it here with you!

I hope you like this project, because I am going to make another file folder book to giveaway to celebrate 4 years of blogging =-)

Giveaway: File Folder Book!

If you would like to win a file folder book, here is what you need to do to enter the giveaway:

1) Leave a comment about the file folder book at this blog


2) Like my Facebook page, then leave a comment about the file folder book at my Facebook page

See how simple that is??!?!?

You have until MIDNIGHT 12:00pm Pacific Standard Time FRIDAY AUGUST 2 to leave a comment to win your very own file folder book, complete with signatures for your journaling or drawing pleasure.

The winner will be announced here at my blog next Monday, August 5, so be on the lookout for it!

The winner will then be contacted by me and I will ask about favorite colors OR what kind of paper is preferred for the signatures (lined writing or plain drawing or maybe even watercolor paper!), which means the winner will get a journal made especially for them!

And you know that I LOVE to make special giveaway items =-)

I can't wait to hear what you think about this file folder journal project!!

Some Last Thoughts...
This year has been a bit of a challenge as I begin to forge my creative career, which often leaves little room for blogging, but this blog has provided much needed community (one of my values!) and it provides wonderful support in the form of comments from YOU. This blog also serves as a 'journal' of my creative projects and my personal growth. This blog has been a wonderful companion so far and I hope to continue with it for 4 times 4 more years...and then some!

And I sincerely hope that YOU will continue to be a part of it all...

More pink in the form of my own party hat celebrating a New Years Eve...Maybe its time for a new party hat to celebrate 4 years of blogging?

There are some fun projects to be shared here later this week, so be sure to stay tuned!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Celebrating Failure

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
You are probably thinking to yourself right now:

"Did I read that right? Does that really say 'Celebrating FAILURE'??"

There is nothing wrong with your eyes! I did indeed say 'celebrating failure'. Let me elaborate...

Time to Celebrate Failure
Thanks to a link from one of my friends (and dear blog buddy), I discovered this interesting blog post that really spoke to me - "A Party for Failure".

It came at a good time since I recently encountered something I consider to be a failure:

My submission to teach workshops at my local community college will not be taking place for the Fall season, which I had hoped for.

I really felt like a failure when I received this news, despite the education manager requesting that I contact him later in September to be included in the Winter catalog of classes...

My French fold book workshop which turned into a party event this year - this was NOT a failure!

I also felt like failure when the art books I submitted for an eco art exhibit for Worldfest Earth Day didn't make the cut...

My recycled and repurposed art books made from vintage paper ephemera and artful bottle caps

Then, I felt like a failure while participating in "Make Art That Sells", due to my lack of graphic design skills and I felt like a failure again when I tried to sell my goods at the Silverlake fair last month, barely making $20 for all my efforts.

It feels like it's been a summer of 'failures'.

But as Jo Anna Rothman wrote in "A Party for Failure":

"We all fail. The more amazing things we do, the greater the opportunity for failure." 

Learning to make colorful papers at the Artful Journey Retreat this year - this was a great success!

Reading these lines made me feel so much better about my recent 'failures' because these words helped me to see that I am TRYING! Of course there will be some failed opportunities along the way, but each attempt has got to get me closer to having the creative career I want, doesn't it?

Or I could look at it this way:

If you throw enough cooked spaghetti at the ceiling, some of it is bound to stick eventually! ;)

Starting A Habit Of Completion
When I wrote about my struggles with the Make Art That Sells workshop, I mentioned the concept of "identity capital", something I've always done for myself but never really knew had a name. One thing that usually adds to my identity capital is when I complete a project, especially one I may have begun and dropped for a few I have recently begun a "habit of completion" so I can continue to add to my identity capital:

A project from last December - a file folder book project from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine - Everything was in place, ready to be stitched...

Lately, I've been sharing some projects that I have been returning to, or knitting projects I am completing. It's a great feeling to return to these projects - they remind me of the excitement I had when I first started them...

Vintage style button bracelet - this one is VERY close to completion - Maybe I can complete the necklace I began in Nina Bagley's workshop 2 years ago!

Being a Creative Beast can be exciting when there are so many projects I can choose to make! On the other hand, it can be overwhelming when I keep starting projects and don't finish them. These unfinished projects tend to add to the clutter that is my home...

 The file folder book with stitching of paper (and pockets!) completed...

...but getting these projects finished is definitely adding to my 'identity capital' and my self esteem as I begin to cultivate a new 'habit of completion'...

My book before a hand stitched binding and some extra additions - stay tuned for details!

Another quote from Jo Anna Rothman that spoke to me was this one:

"I’ve failed enough that I am no longer afraid of it."

Yes, I know exactly what she means by this! I've done many, many things in my life and held many jobs and not all of them worked out, so I know what failure looks like. But I also know what it means to reach out for something you want...and sometimes getting it!

A drawing I made for publication in a wonderful book written by Patti Digh - I tried and I succeeded!

One of the reasons I share my attempts at opportunities here is because I often find other people blogging about amazing, fantastic opportunities that happen to them, but I see very little reporting about the REAL HARD WORK that goes into making those amazing, fantastic opportunities come to fruition...and what I don't like about that is it begins to appear that 'magical' things can happen with virtually no effort. From my long and vast experience, I know this is not really true...

And I don't want any of you dear blog readers to think that amazing opportunities happen in my life without a few glitches or failures along the way, because I know better...and I think you do to!

With that, I will begin some new habits - a habit of completion and a habit to celebrate failure, both of which will be shared here with you, as always.

Next Monday is my 4 year 'blogiversary' and of course this is something to celebrate...with a giveaway! I hope you'll stop by to continue celebrating everything creative here with well celebrating my 'failures!

Sometimes Creativity is messy and that's okay!!

Do YOU have any failures that you can celebrate? How will you CELEBRATE some of those failures?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Returning to Some PiPs and Another Deck Swap Coming!

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I don't know about you, but there are many, many creative projects I begin. I'm sad to say, they often take far longer to complete than they should. Luckily, I have gotten inspired to return to some of my abandoned projects and they are getting my creative juices flowing!

Return to my Shabby Scrap Journals
Last year, I began to create journal covers as I started to make my way through the Mary Ann Moss online workshop, "Remains of the Day Shabby Scrap Journal". Last week, I returned to my journals to start sewing some pages for them:

I used paper clips to keep my scraps together prior to sewing them together - I do this when creating collages too...

I had to look up information on how other people who sew paper with their machines manage to do it without having thread tension problems and it seems that using a very fine needle goes a long way toward keeping the tension on both sides of the paper even and smooth. Once I got started with my size 8 needle, the sewing was a breeze!

 A page sewn together. You might notice that my threads match elements being sewn - that's how I roll!

So far, I have been rather restrained in my sewing pages together, compared with the style of Mary Ann Moss and her very visually dense journal pages. For my journals, I like some space for resting my eyes, and some writing, upon...but I might continue to add to my sewn pages, which I will share at my Facebook page for some real-time creating fun! In the meantime, here is how the finished (so far!) sewn pages look combined with other artful papers ready to be made into signatures:

Some vintage lace added to the edge of the cover - now a tie to keep it closed and the cover will be complete...

And just think - I still have another shabby journal to fill!!

My second journal cover pinned and ready to be stitched...

My second journal cover surrounded by some hand dyed papers, watercolor paper and some special decorative paper I bought last year before my challenge...

Vintage Button Bracelet
A few months ago, I began to create a button bracelet using items purchased from last years Costume College. With the next Costume College looming on the horizon, I felt I should attempt to complete this bracelet project to wear at the upcoming event, but I got stalled due to the button shank needing some filing. Well, I finally got around to that last week...

Filing away in the kitchen so the metal shavings could be washed down the sink...

I really got the shank down compared to how it looked a few months ago...

And now I can finish gluing the pieces together as I decided to arrange them:

The bracelet will look great with some earrings I recently to create a pendant to make a whole set! ;)

I know I have a personal challenge to buy no new art supplies, and I have extended this challenge to virtually all supplies for all crafts, but I may have to break this challenge to purchase a few more bracelet chains so I can make a few more button bracelets. I have enough supplies to complete the myriad variations I played with before choosing my final bracelet design:

 Some of these variations are really pretty but I can't have all these bracelets...or can I??!? ;)

Jessica Brogan is hosting another card deck swap!! You can read more about it at her lovely new website for her card deck swaps...I love the theme for this swap: song lyrics! I love music and there are many wonderful songs I love for the lyrics, so this card swap would be great fun for me. If I join in, you can be sure I'll share my deck with you before they are mailed off.

Next week is my 4 year blogiversary and I'm thinking of a giveaway, though I'm not sure what it will be, but I'll have an idea by July 29, which is the big day - I hope you'll stop by to celebrate this momentous occasion!

I'm off to continue working on my shabby scrap journals and a few other book projects I began this year but stopped, so be sure to stay tuned to see the progress!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekend Activites...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I hope you all enjoyed a fun-filled weekend that included some creative field trips or projects. My weekend certainly included both!

Creative Field Trip
Friday morning I went on a creative field trip with Kristen, a fellow book lover and journal maker. We made a trip to Bergamot Station to visit some of the galleries and to peek at Hiromi Paper and there was lots to see!

Kristen had never been to Hiromi Paper and had not even known about it until I shared my love of this wonderful paper shop with her. She loved seeing the many gorgeous papers available! Neither of us bought any papers but I did purchase my very own Japanese Screw Punch so I can create some special Japanese Stab Stitch books. It was a great day of art and lovely weather in Santa Monica...

My new screw punch with an extra hole punch in a smaller size; I can't wait to get back to making some stab stitch books again!

Silverlake Craft Fair
On Saturday, I went to the Silverlake Art*Craft*Vintage Fair in the hopes of selling some of my book goods, or to get some folks interested in my creative workshops. I'm sad to report that this outing was much like the last outing...

My set-up was a little different since I forgot to bring one of my display items and the vintage items were not as plentiful. I had a little time to check out other vintage vendors before the fair officially opened and I realized that my esthetic is not in alignment with the esthetic of the other 'vintage' vendors at this fair...but there were a few people interested in taking some of my creative workshops who signed up on my email list!

My hand-bound books and art books on display - they got a few folks interested in joining future workshops I'll be offering!

I made sure to bring a project with me in case I had a lot of downtime on my hands, which I did. I stitched up my first two tea coasters, completed the third coaster and began knitting a third coaster:

I'm nearly ready to move on to the embroidery part of these coasters!

I barely made $20 for my efforts at the fair and now that I see my particular visual style doesn't match the Silverlake esthetic, I have decided that I will not be returning to this particular venue. However, someone was giving out promo cards for a new craft fair that is opening elsewhere in Los Angeles and I just might check it out to see if it is one that will support my style of hand made books...I'll keep you posted!

Changes To Be Made...
Since my experience at Silverlake last month, I have been thinking about how I will move forward in a way that will bring higher financial earnings into my life. I am considering closing down my vintage goods shop on Etsy and selling the remaining items to a friend who sells vintage goods at an antique mall. This change could allow me to focus more on handcrafted goods, not to mention clearing some much needed space in my home. 

I have also been considering making rag dolls and stuffed toys again. When I have shared these items here on my blog, they get a very enthusiastic response!  I recently shared a unique rag doll I made a few years ago on my Facebook page and got some comments about it. It was made to help a coworker vent her frustration with a department supervisor and I had a lot of fun making it and people love seeing it! It's making me think that there just might be a market for such a doll...

My "Mad Doll" encourages you to join the 'dark side' - after all, cookies ARE yummy! ;)

In Other News:
My blog turns 4 years old on July 29! I can not believe that 4 years have already sped by so quickly. I will certainly be celebrating with some kind of a giveaway so be sure to stay tuned for it.

I have really enjoyed my blog and the community that has stemmed from it. I have met many wonderful people through my blog and I'm so grateful to know so many creative souls! This blog has been a wonderful means of creating a supportive community and I hope to be blogging for four times 4 more years to come...

Thank YOU for being a part of my community and stopping by to read about my creative adventures and experiments! I hope you find my posts inspiring and that you begin some creative experiments of your own. If you have, I'd love to hear about them!

Stay tuned for more creative goodness to come!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Knitting - Completed and Started

Hello Dear Blog Readers!
It's Summertime and things are definitely heating up in my part of the world, in fact, some days it's over 100 degrees...

But it doesn't stop me from knitting!

Wool isn't the only fiber one can knit with - there are wonderful cotton, silk and linen fibers to be had and they often knit up into some pretty lovely items. I thought I'd share some of the knitting projects I've been working on, between the assignments I had to complete for the Make Art That Sells workshop...

I have been knitting a kerchief/shawl from this pattern that is available on Ravelry. This kerchief is made in a merino wool, but it is quite soft, not scratchy at all. The knitting is complete but there is some blocking to be done before I can wear it:

"The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief" knitted in hand-spun yarn bought at the Renaissance Faire...

The yarn is made by Royal Hare and it's a merino wool in the color "Toffee"

I also began this project last week, taken from the Mollie Makes magazine, Issue #24. It's a set of coasters for tea service and it requires cotton yarn:

I have actually knitted up two coasters so far but I only shot this photo after knitting the first one. The other colors I am using are similar to what is shown in the magazine (yellow, turquoise, green) but one coaster will be a bright fuchsia color, instead of red. I can't wait to complete these coasters so I can begin to embroider them...

Embroidery is a craft that I enjoy doing but haven't done for quite some time. Lately, it seems to be calling me as I discovered this charming embroidery designer (thanks to the links in this gorgeous post from Nina Bagley's blog), then I stumbled onto the patterns of this fun and colorful embroidery designer at Etsy, and then I discovered this sweetly whimsical embroidery designer on Craftsy.

Am I wrong to think that embroidery is in my future??!? ;)

I created a Facebook fan page and I have begun to start posting my Projects in Progress (PiPs), as they are happening, on my fan page. You can find my page here and if you like it, you will be able to see my projects unfold, along with other fun creative items I find and share on my page.

I will be selling book goods and vintage goods at the Silverlake Art*Craft*Vintage fair again this Saturday, July 13. You can  get directions to this event on their website - the fair is open from 10am until 4pm. Stop by and say hello!

I have many creative ideas brewing in my head these days, so be sure to stay tuned and see how they develop!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Brushing Up My Book Binding Skills

Hello to my fellow creative experimenters! I hope you are engaging in some creative projects and learning new things. I certainly have been...

Book Binding With Wendy!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been learning a lot in Lilla Rogers "Make Art That Sells" workshop, but I made some time to brush up on my book binding skills with my wonderful book binding instructor, Wendy Poma.

Wendy was offering her Traditional Bound Book workshop, which I needed to do since she gave me supplies to make such a book at home when my first book in an early workshop didn't quite line up; sadly, the materials sat around for over two years! I made sure to have my signatures tied and ready to go since I would be making TWO books in one workshop. I sure did have my work cut out for me!

My two codex books ready for glue to be applied to the spines...

Being in the workshop with many fellow creatives wanting to learn book binding was just what my spirit needed and we all fell to work and learning with joyful enthusiasm, though many participants were fascinated that I was making TWO BOOKS in the workshop...of course I had to tell them I have taken the workshop before!

My extra book using gift wrap paper I found in a gift shop for my book cover - I've planned the look of this book for over two years!

As the workshop began, the memory of making a codex book began to come back to me...

Gluing the signatures together to create the book block...

Gluing the book boards to the cover paper...

Wrapping the cover paper inside the book covers, adding a matching centerpiece and ribbon for a book marker, then finally gluing the book block into the spine of the book...and waiting for 48 hours as it cured!

But I now have two wonderful little journals to keep and to use...maybe one will become a gratitude journal!

Gratitude and Mutual Appreciation
Speaking of gratitude, it was great to catch up with Wendy and to share some of my doings with her. She was excited to learn that I had begun to teach creative workshops at my home and still more excited when I shared my application proposals to teach at my local community college. Wendy was quick to share other places for me to teach at and she even said I could use her as a reference for teaching!!

I just have to say that Wendy is actually my role model for teaching - cheerful and enthusiastic, Wendy definitely does share what she loves (book binding) and makes it seem incredibly easy to do. I adore her so much I brought a little gift for her to show her my appreciation for all that she has taught me:

I completed one of my exposed spine books to give her, using a small embossed tin made as practice for the large tin covers we used in another workshop last year...

I knew I would be able to use the embossing practice tin to complete one of my small books and I knew I would give to it to Wendy. Without her wonderful teaching skills, I would not have been able to figure out how to create an 'exposed spine' book...

Wendy was really happy to get one of my specially bound books and that made me feel very proud of my skills, though I know I still have so much to learn about book binding, but I do believe that learning from Wendy has given me a very good foundation of skills to start from!

I only hope that I can one day convey as much enthusiasm and provide just as strong a learning foundation as I continue on my path of teaching, or sharing what I love with others.

Do you have special people in your life that you treasure who have taught you important skills that you value?? If so, reach out and let them know how much they mean to you - it will bring joy to you both, I guarantee it!!

There is more creative goodness to be shared in my next blog post, so be sure to stay tuned!