Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School: Weekly Planners (and *free* book pendants)

Now I have weekly planners, as well as the monthly and daily planners that I mentioned before. Some people are very particular about their planners and it can make a big difference if you have space to write every day or not! My favorite planner is the "weekly" variety like these ones. These particular planners are 13-month agendas, starting Sept 2009 and ending Sept 2010. This is one designed to my own preferences concerning size, format, page layout, etc. So whether you like daily, weekly, or monthly, these might just work for you! And for the next month, I'm going to give away *free* mini leather journal pendants with every planner. Woot! Kinda like these ones:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bookbinding in the bush

As I've mentioned before, I have a rather different approach to the "travel journal" concept. Rather than taking a blank book with me when I go away, I travel with no book, just a bag. I collect papers, postcards, tickets, maybe some random notes here and there, and end up with a bag of loose papers and brochures and other related paraphernalia. Then when I get home and get organized, I transform the paraphernalia into a book.

Recently, I made one of these "travel journals" for myself, using papers and materials that I collected over the summer with my family. We didn't have a big vacation, just a bunch of smaller weekend-type-stuff, but there are lots of memories to be kept nonetheless. I never seem to have time to make books for myself so this time, before we went on our last camping trip, I packed up everything I needed and took all the materials with me so that I could make the book while we were camping.

The camping/bookbinding studio:

I completed the book in a few hours, all the same day. It was dark when I was doing the last of it and I was working by the light of the campfire and a the case is a little crooked... and the whole thing has a lot of swell due to the nature its content...but that's ok.

I had a plan for this book beforehand, so I knew what I had to bring with me. The cover has real birch bark on it - collected during a hike earlier this summer. But the little window in the front cover was unplanned so I had to be resourceful finding material to use for the window pane. I ultimately settled on some cellophane-type-stuff from a cracker package. Why bother with the window? Well, the day before I made this book, Raland (my dh) discovered wild mussels in the waters by our campsite so he collected a big pot of mussels, boiled them on the campfire and ate them. Rather to his surprise, unlike cultivated mussels, wild mussels have pearls inside them and he nearly broke his teeth on every one of them. Ah, the memories! It was amusing... so I saved some of the little pearls and put them in this little window so they will rattle around in there forever... or as long as that cracker-box cellophane survives.

Inside the book, the content consists of all the papers and ticket stubs and whatever else I had. They are organized chronologically, and related stuff is grouped together of course. I wrote a few details on shipping tags and stuck those into each section.

I used some larger papers to create pockets in the middle of each signature, so the loose bits like ticket stubs and the shipping tags, etc, are tucked into those pockets. There are also a few pages that fold out, and stuff like that.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Starting fresh in September

I've had people ask about getting monthly or daily agendas that start in September, rather than in January. So I made some. These are small, pocket-sized books. These mini monthly planners start in September 2009 and end in December 2011. This daily planner is also mini, but chunky, at 3.5cm thick (1.5"). It has a full page for every day, so this one is great for really busy people with lots of appointments or lots of homework! Available on Etsy, of course.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Opening Action

I was introduced to the concept and importance of "opening action" in a class with Gary Frost at PBI this year. I had never thought much about it before, but it made me very happy to learn about it and to learn why it is good and how it happens and all that good stuff. It also answers some questions that I've been asking myself. The questions I've been asking myself are primarily concerned with exposed spine bindings like the chain stitch binding and some other similar sewings where the spine of the book is so often left unlined, but which historically would have been lined. I have made some of these chain stitch bindings (popularly termed "coptic") because they seemed to be very common and I thought I should keep up with the Joneses, so to speak. I was never happy with how the covers were just sewn on and just laid there, dead. I wondered if this was really alright, and how durable it would be, and wondered if I was missing something. To show you what I mean, I made this little video of an exposed-spine chain stitch binding with a very dead cover: It is dead because it has no relationship with the rest of the book; as if the cover and the book are entirely separate objects. In my class with Gary Frost, he talked at length about the "opening action" of books: the opening of the cover should facilitate the opening of the book. The cover and the text block should function together. In this class we made a book that demonstrated the opening action really well so I am beginning to understand what is happening. I decided to try infusing life into this chain stitch binding with the dead cover. This is the result, showing the same book with opening action: Achieving the opening action just requires a few extra steps and ultimately a covered spine. I prefer a covered spine anyway. The whole point of a book's covering is to protect the textblock, and an exposed spine isn't very well protected, is it? For those of you who are now thinking, "oh no! the book won't open flat anymore," do not worry, it will still lie flat. I made a couple of these chain stitch bindings with opening-action-improvements; however, I don't particularly like sewing the chain stitch binding so I started sewing onto raised cords instead, which, I think, is a more suitable binding for various reasons. And the raised cords look really cool. The book shown here with the really dark brown cover is made from wooden boards given to me by Simon over at Paper Curious when we swapped a while back and I'm keeping that one. The others are made with wooden covers that my Dad prepared for me, thanks Dad! He made them using a variety of hardwoods: teak, oak, cherry, and maple.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Water by George Erikson

An edition of 30 books, handbound for Nine Point Publishing:
Water by George Erikson.

This is one of the projects that kept me busy during the last few months and after several interruptions and delays, the production of the books was finally completed a couple weeks ago and today is the official publication date. This is a book of poetry which I handbound and then I made a matching Japanese-style wrap-around case for each. If you're interested in more about the process of making these, I posted a bit about these books previously, here and here.

This edition is available directly from Nine Point Publishing.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Making Recycled Paper

My kid and I recently made a couple batches of recycled paper. Most of the steps involved in the process are very attractive to four-year-olds. Using a paper shredder, using the blender, making a tub of mushy pulp, then splashing around in it! What could be more fun than that?

We started by sorting through my paper scraps, making a pile of brown and black papers, and another pile of pink and red papers. This is a great way to recycle paper scraps that are too small for anything else. After the papers were sorted, we shredded them.

The black pulp was rather dirty to work with but that didn't bother my little assistant. The pink pulp, he thought, was very similar to a strawberry smoothie.

The results of our labour: several sheets of dark grey and pink papers. The grey paper has a secret ingredient as it is intended for a special project, but that's all I'll say for now - more about that later!