Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Treats

Halloween Treats for my Etsy customers on October 31st!!

I have just whipped up these little Halloween accordion books. They are quite small, about 2" at the widest point. And they were made quickly from scraps and inexpensive materials that I had lying around. Nothing too impressive or high quality, but they are cute! And they really are little accordian style books, with a front and back cover and folded pages and all that there should be. Lots of fun!

Right now I have only these two: I have a Jack-o-lantern that still has one of its leaves and a bit of vine attached - and dark orange pages inside. And I have a witch (or wizard) hat, garnished with a tiny jack-o-lantern tucked into the hatband. The hat has dark navy pages inside.

These little books will be given out as treats to anyone who makes a purchase from my Etsy shop on October 31st. I have only two right now, but if necessary, I will make more! So, you might not get one of these pictured here if I have to make more - but they are likely to be similar.

I will give one of these to anyone who makes a purchase on October 31st between 12:01am and 11:59pm (Eastern/Etsy time zone).

(If I don't have two sales on Etsy on Octber 31st, I will randomly select someone to get the extra book(s), from all the people who have left comments on my blog during the month of October!)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My first blog award

Some time ago, I was awarded a blog award and I need to follow up with that since it is my responsibility to pass it along to another blogger. I received this award from Tulibri. Thank you so much!
The Rockin Girl Blogger award was originally started over at robertaferguson's blog in June 2007. She passed on the award to some of her favorites and then it has been passed along continually since then.

I am passing this award on to these bloggers:
Flurrsprite's Nook
Uli's Needlework World

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Books for sale

I really could have found a better use of my time this weekend, but it was a good experience. Of course, if I'm calling it "a good experience" then you know it wasn't a very successful sale! Apparently there weren't a lot of book-people shopping in Hilden this weekend.

So I sold a few things but there was only one thing from my Etsy shop that sold so everything else has been relisted and the shop is full again. So on the bright side, restocking my Etsy shop was really easy and quick!

Oddly, most of the people who stopped to look at my books would look at a few items then look at me, twist their face and head to the side a bit and ask with a wrinkled forehead, "did you make all these?" This happened a lot and I am unsure how to interpret it. So my books didn't look handmade? Or I didn't look like I could have been the one who made them? Or maybe more generally, how could a person possibly make a book? Someone mumbled something about, oh, so like, is this scrapbooking? I have no idea what planet they had just come from. Anyway. My general conclusion is that book-people don't shop at that particular craft show.

Having said all that, the few customers that I had, were wonderful and asked me lots of great questions and went away very pleased with their purchases. I do hope they enjoy their books immensely!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ready to Sell Out

This weekend I'm taking my books to a local craft market in Hilden. It is for two days, Oct 26-27 (Happy Birthday, Brad). So I have emptied my Etsy shop and my Dawanda shop and my Mintd shop and have everything priced, tagged, and packed ready to go. Phew. If I have anything left when I get back, then I'll fill up my online store again on Sunday!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Shelves

I am still making stuff to sell at the craft shows even though the first one is just a few days away. Tomorrow I stop making stuff and start getting organized. In the meantime, my Daddy has made me these cool display shelves for me! I will have the best looking table, for sure.

Perfect for displaying my handmade books.

Buy HandmadeSpeaking of handmade books... BuyHandmade.Org was just launched today and I took the pledge already. This is an initiative to encourage people to buy more handmade gifts this holiday season rather than mass market big box stuff.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

CSB Solo

Finally I've made a couple of the Crossed Structure Binding Solo books. I couldn't use leather for these since the covers need to be folded double - and the kind of leather I use won't work well like that. So these books have handmade paper for the covers.

I first did the CSB Solo in 2004 in a class with Susan Mills at the Dawson Print Shop. These two books are made using my notes from that class. I compared this to Arregui's CSB Solo instructions and there are some differences so I will have to do another session on the CSB Solo and actually follow her instructions next time.

The main difference between the CSB Solo and all the other CSBs is that the cover is made with one long piece of paper (or vellum or whatever you're using) and the front and back covers are never cut apart. The sewing strips are cut from one end and stuck though where the spine will be - then the text block is sewn onto the strips.

Then the other cover is folded into place and all the strips are waving around at the back.

At that point, the strips are crossed over the spine then stuck through little slits in the front and back covers. I like these little books with the handmade paper covers. I spend so much time working with leather that it is fun to get away from it occassionally. And now that I've looked back at Arregui's instructions I do want to try this again to see how it differs.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lefty Journal

I was asked recently if I could make a "lefty" journal. I do like new projects. So of course I went straight to work.

She says it is perfect! So here it is, a lefty journal. Dark brown cowhide, longstitch and link stitch (or chain stitch) sewing visible on the spine.

I really did need to think about this a lot before I started. But it turned out to be very circular thinking. Because honestly...if I just turned it around it would be a righty-book. I didn't have to do anything different to make this. A little disappointing actually. But good to know.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dictionary Day

all my dictionariesToday is Noah Webster's birthday so it's recognized, mainly in the USA, as Dictionary Day. Webster being the one who Americanized the British dictionary for the masses. And my old Websters is definiely my favorite dictionary although the Canadian Oxford ranks high on my list as well.

I was going to just mention Dictionary Day and post that little photo of all my dictionaries but as I was gathering them I found my Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and decided it might deserve some mention today.

This was originally a perfect bound paperback that I got, um, maybe 15-20 years ago (gulp!) and the spine dried and cracked and came apart after a few years. So when I had a chance to learn how to turn a perfect-bound paperback into a sewn hardcover, I selected this dictionary. It certainly turned out well. It never looked as good when it was new.

That was the first time I rebound a perfect bound paperback. I have done a couple more since then, but this one is the best because I did it in a class so I had my instructor, Joe Landry, there helping and all the best tools on hand in the Dawson Printshop and Bindery - including the ability to make that gold printed spine label.

So the loose pages were gathered into sections, about 15 pages each. Then I punched a row of holes very close to the edge of each section - and it is a lot of holes, one every 15 millimeters or so. Then all the sections were sewn onto tapes, kinda looping over the edge of each section. I tried to get a photo here that shows all the little sewing holes.

So the sewing was tedious but once the textblock was sewn together like this, casing it in was standard procedure. I thought the book would not open very well being sewn like this, but it does open really well - not perfectly flat, but it is quite good especially for a dictionary that isn't being read cover to cover. And, as an aside, I really love this marbled paper.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stamps and Tags

I got a stamp. This is something that I've been thinking about for a long time. It is a really simple basic stamp that says "this journal was made by....etc" and I want to use it to stamp the last page in the books I make. In the past I have tried actually printing on the last page but putting a sheet of paper through the printer before I start binding the book. That has always worked out fine, but I have never liked the way the paper curls and feels kinda wierd after it goes through my printer - so that one page would always seem like it was different paper than the rest of the book. So I ordered a stamp! I like this low tech device.

I seem to be able to get just about everything I need on Etsy...that's where I got the stamp. I ordered it from the Etsy shop called SweetPaperie and it is a great product. And of course, I purchased a brown ink pad the other day - perfect for all the brown books that I make!

So that will work well as I'm getting all my books ready for the craft sales that are approaching...first one is Oct 26th! In preparation, I also got 200 cute little price tags from AmieHartmanDesigns on Etsy. I don't think I'll actually have 200 books! But it's good to be prepared. Again, lots of brown there too. Hmmmm, what else do I need? I need to devise some creative methods of displaying my books so they aren't just flat on a long boring table...


Monday, October 08, 2007

Art vs. Craft

Bookbinding used to be a trade. I convinced myself at one time, that if it used to be a trade, then it is a craft. If it has always been art, then it is art. Thus the distinction might also be made that a craft results in an object that has some functional purpose (a journal to write in, a rug to wipe your feet on, etc.) whereas art is art is art is art…to behold rather than use.

So bookbinding, weaving, woodworking, ceramics, etc would be craft. Whereas fine arts such as painting, drawing, sculpture, etc are art. But of course, you can paint on your ceramics, and use bookbinding techniques to creature sculpture…so the distinction becomes all blurry again.

Red Stripes Leather Journal by
Rhonda Miller, bookbinder

So now I have been thinking that maybe it depends on the creator of the piece. If the creator calls himself an artist, then his work is art. Obviously, someone who considers himself to be an artist is intentionally creating stuff that should be called artwork; however, if the creator does not call himself an artist, then he probably doesn’t think of his work as artwork. I, for example, call myself a bookbinder and consider my creations to be “books…” not artwork. So I suppose, for me, bookbinding is a craft. Melissa Jay Craig, on the other hand, calls herself a book artist and her books are certainly not just books, they are definitely works of art.

(S)edition Prototypes by
Melissa Jay Craig, book artist

Whenever I think that I'm getting a little closer to an understanding, something else always comes along to change my mind. But I'll go with this for now.

This post was submitted to Blog Carnival over at the Trans Canada Etsy Team blog.

Friday, October 05, 2007

First Foray into the Real World

I just sent 10 books to a shop. This is the first time ever that my books will be made available in a real store. They are going to be available at "Nomi" in Newmarket, Ontario (206 Main Street South). I just sent 10 leather journals: five are crossed structure bindings and five are combination longstitch & link stitch bindings. The store is owned and operated by KrisCrossDesigns on Etsy.