Thursday, 30 June 2011

New Photo Albums

Hello All Blog Friends! Two posts in two days - goodness, what an extraordinary event!  I just wanted to continue the little story that was begun by yesterday's post.

Yesterday I showed you four sets of book covers, that I had been working on and which were just about ready to use.

Today I worked veeeery hard and completed the binding of two photo albums, using two of those pairs of covers:

Photo album covered in Cath Kidston floral paper
The book measures 11.75" x 8.74" (approx A4 size).  It has a Japanese style stab-stitch binding, in bright pink waxed linen thread.  The bound edge and inside of the covers is an ivory-white Canford art paper.

There are 15 pages of 300gsm Canford card, in Snow White.  I also added a card spacer to each page, to allow room for photographs to be added.
The book will take two 6" x 4" photos per page, either in portrait or landscape format.

Large photo album in blue mini-spot Moda cotton and white silk bookcloth.
Like the Cath Kidston album, the binding is a Japanese style stab-stitch, this time in ivory linen thread.  The bound edge has a wrapped overlay of white Dupion silk with a frayed-edge detail on the front cover.
There are 15 pages of Snow White Canford card, with a spacer between each page to allow for the photos.
This album will also hold two 6" x 4" photos per page, with plenty of room to add a written description of each photo.

I was pretty tired after all the cutting, trimming, punching and hole-making - not to mention the fiddly binding through the silk-edged covers of the blue album.  With paper-covered boards, it makes sense to make punched holes, of the same size as the binding holes in the pages.  The binding looks neat with these holes and it's not difficult to push the needle through the same hole over and over again, as is necessary for this type of binding. 

However, with the fabric covers, it would look ugly if punched holes were used and the fabric would begin to fray and go tatty round the edges of the holes.  Sometimes I punch the holes before I add the edging fabric - then as I smooth down the fabric when sticking, little dimples show where the punched-out holes are and I can push my needle through the fabric quite easily. 

Today I didn't remember to do this, so I had to make the holes with an awl instead, meaning that they were really quite small.  I use a fairly thin, quilter's basting needle for this type of binding.  They're good because they are quite fine, but strong, with an eye that is straight at the sides, rather than bulging as on some types of needle.  The bulging-eyed needles are not good for small holes, as they get trapped and break. 

It's not easy though, to push the needle through a small hole several times over, as the threads from the various stitches make the hole smaller and smaller.  I have a clever little circle of rubbery material, that helps me to grip and pull the needle (it's called a "needle grabber"!), but I still had sore fingers and felt very tired, after all the work to keep the small holes lined up and coax the needle through the thread-filled gaps!

Still, the end result was well worth the effort, as the holes don't show and the binding is neat and clean.  I'm very pleased with both these books.  They're in my etsy shop for sale now! 

Taking a day off tomorrow, as J's school is closed for a teacher training day (always on the same Friday in each year), and also on Monday.  So J. gets a four-day weekend, which will do him good, after being away on a busy activity weekend last Friday to Sunday.  However, he won't be able to sleep in tomorrow - we are going out just before eight am, for another trip to Oxford.  Watch out for a post about our day!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Wednesday Worktable 29th June

I've had such a busy period, over the last couple of months.  I've been binding books, then more books,  also planning and teaching workshops (sock monkeys and bookbinding); with the odd bit of scrapbooking thrown in, to stop me getting bored!

Today, this is what has been going on in my Studio:

A pile of Pages, all ready to be bound into books of various kinds.  There are two Wedding Guest books here, plus several sets of stiff pages for large Photo Albums.  The books are orders and gifts, but I hope to make a couple of extras soon, to add to my shop stock!

Four sets of book covers, wrapped in non-stick paper, then placed under boards and weights to dry and flatten.

These are the four pairs of covers, that I made today.  The top two are Wedding Guest books, for customers.  The bottom two pairs will be photo albums.

So, guess what I'll do tomorrow?  How about a spot of Book Binding? Wedding Guest Books tomorrow morning!

Friday, 24 June 2011


This week it was Mr LizzieMade and my Wedding Anniversary.  

We buy ourselves a joint gift for our Anniversary - have done for about 4 years now.  It tends to be something lovely for our garden, that we can share together.  We've bought a garden bench, a large parasol/umbrella, a tree....  This year we have chosen a rather nice arched trellis, to go in a space created when we removed an overgrown shrub.  I don't have a photo to show you though.... Must take one "before" and "after" the arch goes up! 

However, I also received a Delivery:
My Lovely Anniversary Flowers from my Wonderful D.H.

I made DH a present:
An Anniversary Book
It has a wrap-round cover, fastened with ribbon.  The pages are held in by just a loop of linen thread, in the top corner. 
Page 1
Pages 2 & 3
Pages 4 & 5
Pages 6 & 7
Pages 8 & 9
Pages 10 & 11
Last Page - a lovely quote I like so much...

The papers I used were part of a gift set, in the Simply Homemade magazine.  They are a collection of papers and cut-out elements, designed by KaiserCraft.  I thought they were just lovely and they really suited what I wanted to make.  I used cardstock from a pack by Papermania, in chocolate brown and a gold colour.  The black written quotes were on a sheet of bible quotations, but I can't find the label to say where they are from (sorry!).

This was a "quick make" for me.  I decided I wanted to produce a mini-book, with photos of us two and DS.  I found the papers and thought they were just right, then found the cardstock... Then just went for it! I kept the design of each page as simple as possible, just adding the odd little "extra" cut-out shape or paper-ribbon trim, with the quote stickers here and there. It worked so well and DH was delighted with it (so was I!).

He suggested I should photograph his book and post it on my blog - so here you are!  The photos are not great, as I took them in the evening; but I think they look quite okay.  I'm rather proud of my little mini-book.  Amy is so right - Simple is often the Best.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Where I Have Been...

I haven't been blogging much recently.  I just haven't had the time - or when I did have time, I had no energy.  You may have noticed me pop up occasionally, with a comment on one of your blog posts, but I admit I have not been a very good Blog Friend recently...  Sorry!
I have been Busy... I really have!  My small bookbinding business has suddenly taken off and I have had Work To Do! 

I'm not a very organised person;  nor do I have much stamina. For me, it is a challenge to run the household, do housework, help DS organise his life, help DH with bits of his own life, keep the laundry and grocery shopping up to date.  Somewhere I need to also fit in the outstanding decorating and clutter-clearing tasks...

Then there is my mum, who needs varying amounts of my time and assistance, depending on her own state of health.  She has had another series of nurse / dr appointments recently, which have taken up a couple of mornings a week; I also do her "Monday jobs" every Monday morning - collect her pension, pick up her prescription and then drop back round to the dr with the new prescription for next week, collect the eggs from Mrs B. in the village, pay the newspaper bill (once a month), help hang out / bring in laundry, make her bed and take away the sheets for washing at my house, occasional bits of shopping, other little jobs...There are often other jobs or appointments to fit in too. 

So, I have a full-time job already... Then I start a Business from Home! 

Hum... sometimes I wonder Why? Why did I do this?  Why tie up 3 or more days per week, that I could use for all those other things?   Why remove them from my "available" calendar and say "I work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday"?

But, on days like today, when I just took two completed Wedding Guest books to the Post Office and sent them on their way; weeks like this week, last week, the week before, when I have finished lots of books, I know why...

16-photo Template, kindly sent to me by Amy
These are 16 of the books that I have made since February.  Most of them have been commission books, made and sold in the last 3 months.  

And I still have orders on the go, for four large books and one set of 16 pocket notebooks, for wedding favours! 

I have had such a great three months, working on all this.  I feel very lucky and quite blessed. 

Why? Because I have this God-given ability to create, coupled with a desire to make beautiful things; because I so enjoy making things that will give pleasure to others; and I love to have my hard work appreciated - so Wedding albums and other books are an ideal vehicle for my creative talents; because I have been sent all these wonderful, lovely customers, who have patiently and enthusiastically embraced the process of imagining and designing a special item for themselves - which has made my job so much easier and more joyful; because I have been able to produce these beautiful and useful items and send them out, all over the world, to carry that joy with them. 

So, this is where I have been, the last few weeks, while I have not been blog-hopping (much) or commenting (much).  There just haven't been enough hours in the day, for me to keep up with everything; blogging has had to take a bit of a back seat.  I'm sorry to have missed many of the things going on in my friends' parts of the world; I am sorry that I have been unable to join in with some of the great group activities going on; but I am oh, so glad that I've had this wonderful Springtime, full of creativity and joyfulness, improving, experiencing and sharing my craft!

I truly feel that my talent for books has been given to me, so that I can share a little joy with the world! It has made me so happy!

So, where have you all been? Have you been doing anything special that I have missed?  Tell me where to go, so I can catch up a bit! 

Thanks for coming here to read my post - and for bearing with me while I have been "too busy" to take much time out.  I do miss my blog friends; I will try to plan more blog-time into my week from now on.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Fun on Fursday 5

Just a bit of fun for a Thursday afternoon - a new Simon's Cat film:

Hope you liked it! (sorry about the silly advert that pops up - can't stop that!)

Monday, 6 June 2011

The Prize Kit - First Scrap Page

I posted about a prize I won, from the wonderful Susanne of Snaps and Snippets.  The Kit was put together as part of the Counterfeit Kit Blog challenges.  This was Susanne's Version and she was offering it as a prize - which I was lucky enough to receive!

I was determined to make the most of a whole day's scrapping, at yesterday's Scrap Club and I set out to use some of these papers and letter stickers -  
along with some of the lovely embellishments that came with the kit.
There was lots more, but I won't include any more photos. 

If I could remember where the instructions are, I'd use one of the Photo Collage Templates I downloaded last month!! I just tried to make one and can't remember how to use it.  Obviously, I need to do a lot more of those, to make it stick. 

Anyone care to remind me where the instructions are to be found?  I'm sure someone out there (Amy? Sue?) knows how!  Duh...

Anyway, I had some great photos from last Saturday, when we all went to the park for a good run in the sunshine.  I chose four lovely pictures, of J and E. having a wonderful time on the big swing.  These go just right with the bright colours of the kit. 

Here's my finished Page - J. was responsible for choosing the words of the title - I think it was a good choice!

I love the zingy feel of this page. I don't often make such brightly coloured pages, but I'm sure I should do them more often. 
The photos are just too lovely not to scrap - J and E were having such a great time together, with much laughter and messing about.  They are such good friends and J is really quite good to E, considering he's a boy of 13 and she is only a tiny girl.  She seems to love him too and will happily join in his games.  She's a brave and adventurous girl anyway, so the big swing was a thing of excitement for her, not something to be scared of.  I love seeing them play together! 

The quote on the chipboard embellishment seemed really apt.  I will enjoy remembering those few minutes of our lives, when the children were so happily playing. I hope they will remember too. 

I started a second layout, using this kit.  I hope to finish it this week, in odd moments between book-binding projects.  I'll post it soon, with the other projects I was working on yesterday, which are nearly finished too!

Hope you're all having a good Monday.  

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Great BIG Cupboard

Woo-Hoo!  Finally we have put together my new cupboard!  It is huge... enormous... gigantic! 
This is a wardrobe carcass, from Ikea, with three packs of shelves inside, instead of a hanging rail etc. 
This is the stuff I have put away so far - but I reserve the right to shuffle it all around, about twenty times, before I decide exactly where it all goes best!

At the very bottom, are the A1-size storage bags, with most of my book-binding paper supplies, plus some sheets of boards, for book covers.  These have been clogging up the floor of my bedroom wardrobe, since 28th February (see this post if you don't know why!)
Above that are boxes of fabrics, felt and some materials for my sock-creature courses. 

In the middle, for now anyway, there are pizza-boxes of paper, scrapping project bits, mini-albums and chipboard embellishments.  This may all change round - I have another of those big white boxes under my desk, which needs organising!
The two white plastic boxes above that are for tools - bookbinding and scrapping etc - and general "bits", of the type that create so much clutter on my desk, shelves etc.  These all still need a lot of organising. I am thinking of ways to put the things in the boxes, without it resulting in chaos!
The shelf above these is for scrapping and crafting materials, such as paper pieces, embellishments of all sorts, brads & eyelets, grommets, studs, ribbon bits, stickers, feathers, flowers... just stuff really!

The second shelf from the top holds some A4-size (letter size) white boxes, with various papers, quilling and origami papers, templates, bits of vellum, film, metallic paper, special paper (like stuff to make your own rub-ons, which I had forgotten about), shrink plastic sheets.... There's also my quilling kit, a tin of card-toppers, a stack of petal-point ink sets, my sewing basket and a few other bits.

At the very top are papers that are rolled, rather than flat (though I aim to tackle this, as rolling isn't good for paper), also rolls of hand-made bookcloth, leather pieces, baking parchment, waxed paper, bondaweb sheets...  These are all tucked into a large, stiff paper bag, from a boutique shop (you know, the bags that make you glad you went shopping there, because it's such fun to carry your stuff home!).  The large grey box holds my "Stock" - the ready-made books and stuff that are currently on sale in my Etsy shop. 

So that's it so far.  Lots to do though.  There are still loads of things hanging around my studio, that have to be organised, sorted and put away.  I am keen to have everything on the shelves set up so it's easy to get at things - especially the stuff I use often .  There are some large spaces at the back of the shelves, behind some of the boxes, as the cupboard is very deep.  This means I can store less-used items at the back, also in the gaps between the white drawers etc.  I just want a way to keep items together, so I don't have to take out lots of little things, just to reach one item.

Meanwhile, there are still plenty of messy areas in the studio...
... like this corner, for example...
...and my desk is a tip!  Tidying up always seems to make more mess to begin with!  This must be sorted out, as I have more orders to make as soon as possible. 

But tomorrow, I'm having a day off and going to Scrap Club.  I certainly need a break!


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