Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Usually I make a Christmas-themed book each year - you can see a few from previous years: 2010 and 2009 and 2008 and 2007. I had great aspirations for another book this year, but somehow, I didn't have enough time. The only festive books I made were these little Christmas pamphlet notebooks.

Nonetheless, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays to everyone who celebrates anything at any time of year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Journals with Steampunk Attitude

I did some new Steampunk-inspired journals using vintage and decorative elements embedded in the covers. They were for a recent sale where the theme was Gothic, Medieval, Fantasy and Steampunk handcrafted work. My favorites: And they all had some vintage train tickets on the inside, and paper with aged edges:

Friday, December 09, 2011

2012 Weekly Planners in so many colours

My 2012 Weekly Planners are ready to go, in several different colours of leather. Or if your favorite colour isn't shown, just ask, I might be able to do a custom planner for you! Available on Etsy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Leather Journals for Witherstone Gallery

A few blank journals made recently, now available at Witherstone Gallery in Lunenburg. All are full leather bindings, with raised images on the front covers.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's That Time of Year

It's that time of year, for buying and selling handmade goods at local craft markets. It started last weekend when I spent a couple days in Truro at the NSAC Festive Craft Market. It was a great weekend, in spite of the flooding!

If you missed me at that one, I have a few other events coming up:

Halifax Crafters Yultide Cheer Winter Market, December 3 & 4
Olympic Centre, Hunter Street, Halifax

Have Yourself a Gothic Little Christmas
December 3 & 4
Maritime Hall at The Forum, Windsor Street, Halifax

A Dickens of a Show, sponsored by Witherstone Gallery
December 10 & 11
St Johns Parrish Hall, Cumberland St, Lunenburg

Please stop by to say 'Hi' if you find yourself at any of these events.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

New Poppytalk Handmade!

The new Poppytalk Handmade pre-holiday market just launched earlier this week. My virtual table is all set up. Check it out, and all it's handmade goodness. It is time, after all, to be checking off some items from your holiday shopping list!

Friday, November 04, 2011

flickr friday - ORANGE

Autumn is in full swing here. The leaves turned bright red and yellow and orange and now most of those leaves are on the ground and the trees are looking rather bare. It is the fabulous orange colours of Fall, though, that inspire today's Flickr Friday post. You can follow the link to see all the photos that I have on Flickr tagged with ORANGE, but here is a sample, randomly selected using the Flickr badge tool:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Printing in Kentville

As I mentioned, the bookbinding workshop was part of the annual Wayzgoose at Gaspereau Press. They are primarily concerned with printing, of course, and following the workshop there was an open house at their shop. They had several presses functioning and were allowing visitors to print keepsake posters and such.

Wood engraver, George Walker was visiting and helping visitors print a poster using this incredible 1830s Planten press. First of all, we had the poster's text printed on a Vandercook in another room. Then we brought the poster to George and he helped us print Marshall's picture in the middle - from one of George's wood block carvings.

George Walker operating the press

And my finished poster, here on the right, with the wood carving printed in the middle. George Walker is a fabulous wood engraver. There were many of his works on display and he also did an illustrated talk in the evening about printmaking.

They were also helping visitors to make little notebooks with our names on them. First we cast our name in lead. This is done on a Ludlow Type Caster - very old and very big, but very effective machine! I was at the Wayzgoose last year too and they cast my son's name and printed it on little cards. Great idea this year to take it a step farther.

So as you can see, we used that lead cast (a slug, is it called a slug?) on a Parlor Press to print the notebook cover and then it was stitched into a quick pamphlet.

The offset printer was also running, printing off posters for people. They were also making paper during this event. They have a small Hollander beater and they were beating denim jeans to make the pulp and pulling sheets of gorgeous blue paper. At first the entire facility doesn't seem very big, but they had a lot of things happening on Saturday afternoon! Many of their books were on display, including those with George Walker's gorgeous wood engravings. They also had their annual offcut paper sale... so, of course, I stocked up.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bookbinding workshop in Kentville

Yesterday, Gaspereau Press held their 12th annual Wayzgoose in Kentville, Nova Scotia. As part of the event, they were offering a bookbinding workshop with Ruth Legge, a local conservator and bookbinder who I'd heard of but never met. I was looking forward to meeting her and taking part in the class. So I left home early and drove to Kentville for a 9am start.

It was a 10-person workshop, just the right size. Ruth provided a kit for each person, with pre-cut materials. This is a great time-saver, of course, when someone else does all that fiddly work in advance! We each made a blank book, with a basic case binding structure. Mine has six signatures sewn with a French link stitch and kettle stitch, sewn without supports. And, although I've done a tonne of case bindings over the years, I still learned many things from Ruth.

My finished book

First of all, I don't think I'd ever made a case binding with a paper spine before. She also showed me a new way of turning in corners, very simple and effective. The way she planned the placement of the cover boards and spine liner onto the spine covering, also different and very effective. She quickly mentioned her method of making wheat paste - which included an extra step that I'm going to try next time. I also learned about a Quebec paper marbler, Lucie Lapierre, whose marbled papers we were using on our books. There were a number of other little tidbits that I picked up as well; all great information. It was perfect way to spend the morning!

Everyone's books in the press

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Unfinished Project #3

This unfinished project turned into 14 books. Several months ago I started to make these. I prepared all the pages and then got busy with orders and other projects and all those prepared pages were moved onto the shelf of unfinished projects. But here they are, finally.

Fourteen small hardcover journals with mixed papers for the pages. Each book is colour coordinated, so the purple book has a mixture of papers that includes lots of purple, and the blue book has a mixture of papers that includes lots of blue, etc. You get the idea. And I decided to use Japanese Chiyogami on all the covers. Most of the spines are book cloth, but a few are actually leather. Hardcover pamphlet structure; I love making these.

It will take a while to photograph each book individually for Etsy, but I did get a couple of them added to my shop today.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Giveaway Winner!

Thank you, everyone, who left a comment for the Thanksgiving Giveaway. There were 110 comments! I can't tell where everyone is from, but just from the comments that included their location, I can see that I had comments from 9 different countries! Including Canada, USA, Denmark, India, Spain, Greece, UK, Belgium, and Netherlands - and there were probably people from other countries who didn't identify their location. I'm so glad that this little bit of Canadian Thanksgiving could be shared with so many people from all over the world.

Even more remarkable... the randomly selected winner (commment #9) lives right here in Nova Scotia, the same Canadian province as me. How unlikely is that?!

To select the winner, I used a random number generator at

So, congratulations to Nancy! Your new monthly planner will be en route tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unfinished Project #2

Several months ago, I stained a LOT of paper with tea. I had enough to make ten journals. So I sewed all the textblocks and then rounded and backed all of them. I started on the covers and finished seven then ran out of the leather I was using for the covers. So the three extra textblocks were put on the shelf of unfinished projects to be dealt with later.

Now they are finished! Not the same as the first seven since my cover material changed, but these turned out nice, nonetheless.

As usual, available on Etsy.
Another unfinished project is finished!
I've already started working on the next one.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Unfinished Project #1

I have shelves full of unfinished projects! Sound familiar? With a bit of extra time this weekend, I decided to finish some of them.

About a year ago, I made several books for someone who needed them to be a particular size and style. They all had plain covers made from Saint-Armand paper - here's a stack of the blue ones from that project:

There were also some done in red, navy, brown, and green.

While I was making these books, I made three covers that were the wrong size. Remember, measure twice, cut once! It's good advice. If I'd been more careful, I wouldn't have had three covers that didn't fit the contents. But - I did. I laid the extra covers on the shelf with the intention of using them for something... later. Later finally happened. It was awkward getting started, since normally I made the textblock first and then make a cover to fit it. This time, I was working from the other direction - the covers were ready and I had to make a textblock to fit into them.

The extra covers have been transformed into three blank notebooks, and the plain covers have been spiced up with some of my hand-marbled shipping tags and labels. The covers are made with turn-ins so they are quite strong. The binding on these notebooks is the "longstitch through a slotted cover" sewing.

Available on Etsy, of course.
One unfinished project finished... many more to go.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - Giveaway!

It's Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend! So Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canucks. We get to eat turkey and pie and have an extra day off from work and school. Woohoo! AND - I'm adding another bit of fun by giving away this "Acadmic Planner"! This is the last of the Academic planners that I made this year. It is a monthly format calendar, so there is a two-page spread for each month. It is set up for the current academic year - so it started in July 2011 and ends next August 2012. It also has lots of blank pages for notes, and a pocket at the back, a ribbon bookmark, and standard reference pages as found in most such calendars. It is handbound using a longstitch binding and the cover is a really nice brown cowhide leather. I will have a draw to pick a winner for this amazing prize! If you would like to get your name into the draw for a chance to win - you must leave me a comment here and either: tell me what you think is the best thing in my Etsy Shop right now! OR tell me something fun about your Thanksgiving celebrations (this is not just for those celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving - this giveaway is open to everyone, everywhere). Leave your comments before the end of day Thursday, October 13th. I'll draw the winner on Friday, October 14th.

Friday, September 30, 2011

flickr friday - Nursery Rhymes

Related to my last post - I have been tagging all the books that were made from that same old book of nursery rhymes. You can follow the link, NURSERY RHYMES, to see them all, or, here are a few of them, randomly selected using the Flickr badge tool:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nursery Rhyme Books

I picked up an old book of nursery rhymes at a thrift store, a while ago, and the book was falling apart. It was quite a large hardcover book, but the hinges were broken and some of the pages were falling out. I got it because it was full of great pictures. I used several pages out of this book previously, but it is a big book! So I made more last week. So these are my newest recycled and repurposed notebooks, and each is entirely one-of-a-kind. The cover pictures, obviously, are repurposed from the old story book. The papers used for the pages in these notebooks, are off-cuts from other projects that I have saved. That's why they are all different, odd sizes and shapes. I was also able to salvage all the book board from my scrap box. They are all bound using a chain stitch sewing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique & Letterpress Studio

Celebrating its four month-iversary this week, Inkwell Modern Handmade Boutique & Letterpress Studio is one of Halifax's best new shops, no doubt. If you are in the Halifax area, the shop is downtown on Market Street, go there! And definitely stop by on Sunday (Sept 25), while the traveling "Moveable Type" truck is visiting, how cool is that? More details on Inkwell's blog.

Inkwell's proprietress, Andrea, has done a fantastic job making her shop look great and it's full of awesome things. She is set up to do letterpress work with a press that she has restored. You can see photos of the restoration process on her blog.

In addition to the letterpress stuff, the shop is full of lots of other really amazing products - browse the blog and the Facebook photos to get an idea of the awesomeness.

She has kindly allowed me to be part of the awesomeness, carrying some of my books too. Just dropped off a new batch of books: the Recycled Mail journals that I mentioned last week, as well as some of my Margarita Journals, a few hand-printed "Underwater" lino-cut notebooks, and books made with my hand-marbled paper.

There is a great article about Andrea and her shop if you are interested in reading about her journey creating the wonderful space that is now Inkwell - visit Oh My Handbmade to read more.

Friday, September 16, 2011

flickr friday - WHITE

A surprising number of items in my Flickr photostream tagged with "white", over sixty. Follow this WHITE link to see them all. Or, here are a few of them, randomly selected using the Flickr badge tool:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A quick follow-up

Last week I showed you what was on the work bench... the junk mail, remember? Voila, very cool journals. The covers are, obviously, covered with junk mail and other previously-used envelopes. The pages are mostly blank paper (recycled paper, of course), with a few previously used business envelopes mixed in to keep it internesting. Each one also has an unused reply enveloped in the middle of the last section - those envelopes that come inside other envelopes so that we can easily mail our donations, or subscriptions, or whatever. So inside these books, those envelopes function as a handy little pocket to store secret things!

Main decorative element: security pattern from inside the envelopes...

This one is a total sweepstakes, someone with your initials is definitely a winner! Do not disregard...

And classic brown paper packages...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

You could win...

Etsian, blogger, and mommy extraordinaire known online as rikrak is having a little (kinda big) giveaway on her blog right now to celebrate her birthday. I bring this to your attention, since included in that giveaway is one of my handbound leather journals. Lots of other terrific prizes too. It's easy to get your name in the mix - all is explained over at the rikrakstudio:

Monday, September 05, 2011

On the work bench today

Speaking of recycling...

It's not just a pile of junk mail. Well, it IS a pile of junk mail; but, it will be transformed... stay tuned.

Friday, September 02, 2011

flickr friday - RECYCLED

Another tag that I have used a lot on Flickr is RECYCLED. I've made books from a wide variety of recycled/repurposed materials, and it looks like there are over 120 photos tagged as such. Follow the RECYCLED link to see them all. Or, here are a few of them, randomly selected using the Flickr badge tool:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gramma's Things

While going through my late Grandmother's things, my mother found a lot of handiwork that Gramma had done, or partially done. After hearing about 23 Sandy Gallery's recent Uncommon Threads call, I used one of Gramma's unfinished crocheted pieces to make this book (although it isn't part of the exhibit, it was that call for entries that prompted me to it).

The 'pages' of my book are made of book board, covered with the pages of one of her old Crochet & Tatting pattern books. I added a little narrative to the pages about my grandmother's things.

As you can see from these next two photos, the book structure allows it to open like a standard codex, or as an accordion.

It can be opened both ways because it is constructed like the old Jacob's Ladder toys. I even made a little video here to show the fun part, how it can be an endless ladder even though it consists of only six panels, er, pages.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Marbling Larger Papers

Until recently, I was only marbling small sheets of paper, about 9x12. People often asked if I could do larger sheets but my equipment prevented me from going bigger. Last time I was marbling, though, I found a container that I could use to try some larger sheets. I ruined several sheets immediately - switching from laying down a 9x12 piece of paper, to a 16x24 piece of paper, was not an instant transition! Suddenly it felt like I'd never done it before and I had to learn the technique all over again. After some practice, though, I did successfully produce several large sheets. These images are scans of the larger sheets - the scans show only a 9x12 area, though, since that's the size of my scanner bed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

flickr friday - RED

Another Friday, and about 85 pictures tagged with RED. Apparently it's a popular colour in my work! I do like red, actually, and this selection includes many shades of red - since, sometimes burgundy is red...etc. Follow the RED link to see them all. Or, here are a few of them, randomly selected using the Flickr badge tool:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Secret Belgian Binding -> Criss Cross Binding

As I mentioned a couple months ago, it is now known that the 'Secret Belgian binding' was invented by Anne Goy in the 1980s. It is not an obscure historical binding as many people thought. I had a little note directly from Anne after I posted here, and she says that she wants this binding to be called "Criss Cross binding" -- rather than the secret Belgian Binding. It's going to be hard to convince people to change their name for this structure, I think, but I wanted to share that information so that we can at least make an effort to call it by its proper name!