Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Liberty Peacocks, Linen and Silk

Two more books, from a set I'm currently working on, in between Custom order work; both are now in my shops, for sale!

This guest book has covers made with 100% linen, which I hand-lined with fine paper, to make bookcloth.  I also used a coral coloured silk bookcloth to embellish the bound edge of each cover.  It's stitched with matching coral linen thread. 
Inside there are 32 nice pages of natural-white cartridge paper, so it's suitable for writing, but could also be a sketchbook. 

I love Liberty Tana Lawn fabric.   It's a very fine cotton fabric, printed with amazing Liberty designs, some of which go back to C19th.  The colours are always so zingy and bright, they don't fade, so they would last for a very long time.  The lawn fabric has a cool, smooth and soft feel to it.  Although it is fine and light in weight, it's also closely woven, so it's ideal for making bookcloth, so long as you're careful with it. 

I have made several books covered with Liberty prints; this is the latest, covered with a print called "Isis", in the blue colourway.  I found it in an Etsy shop, owned by Jo Greene, called "Organic Stitch Co".  She has a huge range of Liberty fabrics on offer, in sizes from Fat Eighth and also sells packs for quilters, which is great for people who want a selection.  I'm definitely a fan! 
I paired the Liberty print with a gorgeous periwinkle blue silk fabric.  It has a slubby texture, but is soft and shimmery, so it sets off the fine lawn very well.  I made a fringed edging and bound it with a deep blue linen thread, to match the colours in the print. 
I also made a matching tassel, with threads from the blue silk and a deeper blue silk embroidery floss.
There's a label for the front cover, mounted on matching silk.

I'm pretty pleased with these - they turned out very nicely. I have three more books waiting on the binding table, an ivory linen and silk, large book, plus two smaller ones in Liberty Prints, all with lovely Springtime colours.   

I'm now busy with the next batch of commission orders, so I'm not sure when the other "for stock" books will be finished, but I'll post them whenever they are!  

Friday, 23 March 2012

Small is Beautiful - especially when there are Peacocks!

My latest book.  A little photo album, with gorgeous covers embellished with peacocks and silk... 

...and pretty wrapped edges,

Silk edging on the covers, with a fringe; Japanese style stab-stitch binding in golden yellow linen,  

Deep blue linings on the covers,

Fifteen pages of smooth, pale blue card, pre-creased at the edges, so they don't crumple when you turn the page. 

I love it! It came out just as I hoped it would and I'm so pleased.  Off to work on the next book now - a small guest book with a Coptic binding.  Toodle-pip!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Make Someone Happy - Make them a Book!

I made my first sale in my new shop -
This London themed sketchbook.
One of a pair of stab-stitch sketchbooks, with leather and button fastenings.
The back and cover linings are in strawberry red art paper.  The front cover is a 100%  cotton, hand-lined bookcloth, with red bookcloth edge trim.  It is bound with black linen thread.

This is now on its way to California, USA!

* * *

Aaaaand... I also made this, with two pieces of paper that were left over from the Sketchbook I made for Mariann, when I went to Cascada Studio in Spain: 
A case-bound pocket journal (A6 size). 
The covers are in handmade mulberry paper, with a leaf decoration (I think this was done by laying on leaves dipped in some kind of bleaching medium, or by dyeing the paper with the leaves laid over it). 
The spine is made from a piece of deep grey suede (as I used for Mariann's book), which I lined by hand. 
With a case binding, the whole cover ("case") is assembled, from the front and back panels, with the spine in between, then the pages ("book block") is placed inside the case and the covers closed on top.  The book block is glued into the inside of the covers, then cover linings and/or end papers are added.
I used a sheet of hot pink kozo mulberry paper for each endpaper - front
and back - this endpaper is folded back, so you can see the paper of the book block.  Only the cover-side of the endpaper is glued down, so that you can open the other side. 

You'll have seen this in lots of hardback books - even the machine-made ones you find in the shops tend to have this kind of endpaper structure.  There are other ways to do it, but this is my preferred way - I think it's neater and gives the book extra strength (as there's a double layer of paper glued inside the covers - the outer pages of the book block, then the endpaper). 
There's a dark charcoal coloured ribbon bookmark...
...a tiny, hand-wrapped hot pink silk tassel decoration...
and a hand-made lino-cut initial, printed onto kozo paper, with deep burgundy ink and mounted on a square of deep grey suede, to match the covers.  I love to make personalised labels for my books - I think it really makes a book special, if it's been personalised just for you!

Just the thing for scribblings, notes, thoughts, favourite poems, recipes, even writing a novel (well, maybe a novella!).  I hope the recipient of this will love it as much as I loved making it!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Blissed Out Boys...

Davey has just finished a contract and is taking a few days off. He spent the weekend helping in the house, helping James find some new shoes (that boy's feet just won't stop growing!), shopping for the garden, making a nice lunch on Mother's Day, for me and my mum... Then this morning he planted the rose bush we bought my mum for her Mothers' Day present and painted her new bird table with wood preserver. After lunch (which he made, while I did laundry!), he planted out the new plants we bought for our own garden. 
I think he deserved a rest this afternoon!  
Of course, Sherlock considered it his duty to help.  He always approves of any plan that allows him to be near his Favourite Human.  

Both thoroughly blissed out!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Thoughts from the Washing Line: Funny Things People Do

[source] - it's not my garden, but I wish I lived there...

The sun was shining yesterday, for the first time since Sunday.  It was a perfect drying day, so I was out with my basket of clean clothes, pegging away.  And I was thinking about the Funny Habits that People Have.

* * *

The other day someone (and I can't remember who - if it was You, please remind me!!).... posted on their blog about a strange habit she has.  She wondered if she was weird/strange etc.  I remember adding a comment along the lines of - no, she is quite normal, others have even odder habits. 

Such as my friend, who waggled his head while cleaning his teeth (and the toothbrush stayed still).  He put his back out one morning and had to crawl back to his bedroom.  Then, once he could actually stagger to a taxi, he endured a series of bone-cracking osteopath visits, to put him straight again!  

And then, the friend whose mouth made "cutting" movements, as he manipulated the scissors to cut - mouth and scissors in perfect harmony - "cuuuuut, cuuuut, cuuuuut....". 

The Register of Things that People Do, ranges from the very "normal"
- such as nail-biting; or always doing up your buttons wrong (you know, you miss one part-way up your shirt/cardigan, then wander round with a gap over your tummy for the rest of the day?)

 - through the mildly obsessive - always stacking the dishwasher in the same way (guilty!); matching the colour of the pegs on the clothesline (guilty again!); or always eating the same meal on a Monday evening (errr....)

- to the mildly irritating - always leaving something in the gangway, forgetting to shut doors, switch off lights etc (teenager at home, anyone?); or sniffing (I hate sniffing!) - not just because they have a cold, but always, as a habit - sniff, sniff, snifffff  

- to the very irritating and really rather OCD - like having to check the windows are closed, Yourself, even though someone else just did it, or else you can't go out;  or eating things in a certain order, always, because you have to;  or cleaning their teeth every time they eat (I mean Every Time or they might explode...)

* * *

And then there are the "normal side of weird" and the "just plain weird" things.  With a fairly fine dividing line between them...  

A Boy I Know, "has to" go up the stairs in multiples of 2 steps - two, four or eight steps. He goes up two stairs together, to make the number of steps up a 13-step staircase into an even number.

A gentleman in our town used to run a second-hand and antiquarian bookshop.  The shop was small, but it probably contained more books than the local library.  Floor to ceiling books.  Packed on the shelves, two or three deep. Piled on the floor, in corners.  Stacked up the staircase on both sides.  He knew Every Book that he had in that shop.  You could say "Have you got such-and-such-a-book, please?" and he'd answer, "Yes, it's just... here." - and there it was, just there. 

A lady in our town dresses like an Edwardian lady. She wears a straw hat, trimmed with ribbon and flowers, a long skirt, short jacket with leg-o-mutton sleeves. She rides an old-fashioned "sit-up-&-beg" green bicycle, with a wicker basket on the front, trimmed with artificial flowers. She used to catch the bus to Cambridge quite regularly - pretty much every time that I was going with my BF, to visit his parents in Suffolk. She always looked the same. As if she'd stepped out of a novel, or through a time-warp. Even her umbrella was old-fashioned. I saw her again recently. She looks much the same, just a little bit older.
* * *

People waggle their hands when describing something, they click their fingers in the air when trying to remember something, or blink disbelievingly and slap a hand over their face when confronted with a case of utter stupidity.

James' friend buys a coffee from the common room.  He drinks about half, then says "But I don't even Like coffee". 

* * *

It's Normal to Do Odd Things... people who don't have any odd habits, are really a bit spooky and strange.  We don't like them.   
People Do Odd Things. They really do. And that's what makes everyone so interesting really.

What about You?  What do you do (or someone you know)? 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Fun on Fursday - the return!

Haven't posted a Fun on Fursday since last October...  Still, I thought this was fun and worth sharing.  It's my favourite cat again!
Have a laugh - it's Thursday!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Happy Happy Happy (Mail)!

Today's post.  Three parcels.  All Treasure.  Happy Three Times Over!

Happy #1!
A set of printing inks - red, blue, yellow, white, black and gold (!) - plus additional tubes of turquoise and a special print medium.   A bamboo baren (burnisher for rubbing the back of the paper to transfer the ink).  Samples of lino (the little grey one is the "traditional" hard stuff... don't think I'll buy more of that), the blue (green on other side), is a lot less hard than the original grey stuff - it's a kind of vinyl.  I want to try it out.  Pieces of Japanese mulberry and kozo tissues, to experiment with. 
Happy #2!
Three fat quarters of Liberty of London Tana Lawn fabrics, courtesy of Miss E. from Miss Elany.  Wonderful fabric - it's 100% cotton lawn, printed with gorgeous Liberty designs.  I already have quite a stock of Liberty prints, to make books for my shop.  These are new designs - the golden one has peacock feathers on it - I have some lovely ideas for these...
Happy #3!
A pack of hand-printed lino-cut cards, from Amanda Colville of Mangle Prints!  I bought a pack of 4, but she's sooo nice, she sent me an extra.  They're lovely - in fact, so lovely that I will have trouble parting with them; I may have to add at least one to my New Art Wall!

I could hardly believe they all arrived at once - it was almost like having a birthday... 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Scrap Club - Four Pages in One Day!

... must be a record (for Lizzie!)

Sunday was Scrap Club day.  As my title says, I managed 4 pages, which is pretty good going for me.  I tend to be slow and dreamy when scrapping, so it's not often that I manage more than 3 pages. 

I had a couple of details to finish, so I did that this afternoon, while the Gas engineer was overhauling the heating!

I used an adaptation of Shimelle's "Stash Diving" technique.  For Christmas I received a rather lovely and very thick pad of scrap papers, from my lovely Niece.  It is called "Lost and Found" by My Minds Eye.  There are a number of colourways and lots of designs, all co-ordinating beautifully.

I chose papers from three "sets", to go with a number of photos I wanted to scrap.  Then I cut pieces/strips of the papers and arranged them to make good backgrounds for my pages, using extras to mount the photos and create some embellishments. 

I have ended up with two single and one double layout; and I'm really pleased with them!  While I won't use this technique every time, it's certainly a handy starting point for creating some good pages with co-ordinating papers.

Here they are:

"Location Location Location"
The two photos are of our very favourite place, Wells-Next-the-Sea, in Norfolk.  As the journalling says, we'd love to live there, if funds and logistics would allow it.  We can't so we have to settle for frequent holiday visits. 

For those who are not familiar with "Kirsty and Phil", the title is borrowed from a popular British tv programme, where two property finders help people to locate their perfect homes. 
I cut little hearts from some scraps of the patterned papers, then used one of my small lino stamps, to make two prints, which I cut with a scalloped punch.  One was printed with a soft turquoise ink, the other with a much brighter shade, so I layered them, with the bright one raised on foam sticky-pads.

* * *
"Play Your Happy Music"
James loves his guitar - possibly more than he loves Sherlock!  He plays it every day and composes his own music.  His tunes are always "happy" and I love to hear him play.  It makes me smile! 

Recently I had a "proud mummy moment", when he played in a local fund-raising concert, at the church in a nearby village.  His friend, A,  got the concert started and his mum helped to organise it.  They did a fantastic job, arranging for the local middle school to bring their choir to sing and for local amateur and professional musicians to play for us.  A and another friend, M, have a band together; James joined them, with his guitar, as they sang / played two very nice songs.  James also had his own "spot", playing "Romance" by John Brunning, plus a tune he had composed himself, which he called "Spanish Armada" - it really sounds very Spanish and is a good, stirring piece, which he plays very well.  The concert raised a good bit of money - over £700 - which was split between the church fund and a charity nominated by A & his family.  We were all very proud of our boys!

The photo on this layout isn't from the concert, but it is James practicing.  We weren't allowed to take photos during the concert, however I know that A's mum did take one of James - I must ask her for a copy of it!
* * *
"Oh for a Book - and a Shady Nook"

Little E. loves to read her story books.  Keri-Anne took these wonderful photos of her reading and drawing. I think they are so lovely and just had to make a layout with them.  It ended up being a double-page layout, as I didn't want to separate them. 

I chose the large letters to emphasise the "Oh" and "Book", as I wanted to have a good "stand-out" title, but obviously couldn't make all words equally large.  This worked really well, with the two "speech marks" and the little pink letters for the rest of the quote.  I wrote the name and dates in grey pen, underneath the quote.  I used my new heart border punch to make some little trims for the title boxes, then cut larger hearts and some butterflies, to embellish little corners of the photos etc.  The cut-out hearts from the edging punch made great "confetti" to decorate the journalling box.  I haven't written any journalling - I think I will ask Keri-Anne to help me with that.

The photo isn't very good - in fact, none of the photos are good, as the light was very poor this afternoon.  You'll just have to believe that these pages look much nicer "in real life"!

* * *
My other Project this weekend, was to have another go at tidying and organising my Studio.  I didn't get it all done - there is still a lot to do - but I made some progress:
I put the folding table under the window.  It had been cluttering up the middle of the room, in the way of the white desk and shelves.  Now the room feels enormous! 
It's hard to see, but there is now an extra shelf at the bottom of the unit.  I had a big stack of paper on the bottom shelf, which was too difficult to get into.  Whenever I needed something, I had to lift out all the paper, so I could get at what I wanted; I had cleared the second shelf from the bottom (the one that's visible, without much on it now) and put half the paper storage on that.  However, the shelf has a big space above it, which wasn't being used.  We have added an "in-between" shelf, so my paper can all be stored on two shelves, but I now have the tall space back, to use for boxes etc.  Still need to sort it out, but I'll get there soon! 
I did tidy my desk and table, but the mess crept back onto them very speedily - especially when I got lots of stuff out, to get ready for Scrap Club!

* * *
The other thing I did on Saturday afternoon:
"Midsummer", by Mariann Johansen-Ellis - a lino reduction print.

I've had this print, which I bought from Mariann, since June 2010. 
It had been languishing in a folder, shamefully neglected, along with all my other prints. 
I finally got it framed up and mounted on the wall, above my white desk (spot the reflections)!  
And I was fed-up with having all the lovely art prints I'd collected, sitting in a folder, waiting for me to save up for frames and mounts.  So, I cut some pieces of white and black card, then mounted them with invisible photo-corners (so I didn't damage them).  Then I attached them all to the wall behind my desk.  I think they look fabulous!
On the left are three wonderful photographs, by my very talented niece, Keri-Anne Pink
There are prints here by four artists. 
Top left: Three Cat Lino Prints, Lori Dean-Dyment; Below: "Dandelions", Nina Moscrip (was Clough); 
Bottom Left and also the other bird prints along the bottom row: Amanda Colville;
Top of the middle section - the deep blue owl print - "Night Flight", Celia Hart
To the right, next to my poster: "Old Books" reduction lino print, Jennifer Bass
details of two prints by John W. Golden
The other four prints?  Well, they are my own work and I thought I really should put them up on my own wall!  They are "Reflection" - a three-colour lino reduction print; "Spanish Lemons" - a four-colour lino reduction; the central one, below the clock, is a drypoint etching, "Lace Birds", which I did on my printmaking course at Knuston.  At the top right is a collograph print, which I also did at Knuston; it's not fabulous, but it's not awful either and I like it, so there it is!!

And that is my new Art Wall, that I have been threatening to make for about two years!

So, I think I achieved something this weekend.  Quite pleased with myself!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Three More Books

I have a lot of books on my Commissions List just now.  It's good news really, though I'm having to keep myself organised, so I get it all done (those who have known me for a while, will know that organisation doesn't come easily to me, nor am I a particularly speedy worker... hmmm..).

This week, I've completed 3 more books (one of which I posted an In Progress photo last week). 
This - a ten-needle Coptic Binding - became...
this Wedding Guest Book, for Maria and Bruce.
This is the completed binding.  I think it looks good!
The cover images kind-of continue across the back and front pages. 
The Coptic binding allows the book to open out flat all the way through - you can see that the stitching forms a sort-of "hinge" on the bound edge.
I made a special label for the inside of the book.  The coloured section-wraps are cut with my new Martha Stewart edge punch. I thought it would be lovely for wedding books!
* * *
Yesterday, I finished this Japanese stab-stitch Photo Album, for Sarah.  She saw one I made last summer (posted on Facebook) and asked for a similar album, as a gift for her grandparents.
It has 15 pages of white stiff card, with spacers included, to prevent the photos making the book bulge.
A detail of the binding, made with a grape-purple waxed linen. 
You can also see the spacers and the gaps between the pages.
I used some threads from a piece of the silk, to make a hand-tied matching tassel.  It's tied with gold thread, to match the printed design on the paper. 
Sarah has seen the photos I posted on Facebook.  She says she loves the book, so it will soon be on its way to her!
* * *
This is a Coptic-bound book, that I completed today. 

It's a Comments book, for a lady I know, who runs a stall at craft fairs and farmers' markets, selling her excellent herbal-based remedies, soaps and skin-care products.  Her name is Melanie. 

I took a selection of papers to her, just before Christmas, and she chose this "Bird and Nest" paper, by Cavallini.  I made up some covers -  a pair of hinged covers, for a stab-stitch binding and this pair, for a coptic binding.  She chose the coptic binding, so she could have more pages.  I then added the silk edges, to enhance the binding.
The back cover has more birds on (though the silk has covered a bird's head).  It's not a very large book, so the big designs have been rather chopped up, but I think it still looks nice. 
Melanie wants a label for the book. 
I have taken a number of shots for her, with various label ideas.  This is one, for the inside of the book, with an oval label mounted on a piece of silk, to match the covers.
Really though, I think the front cover makes far more sense, and looks much more balanced, with a label mounted under the medallion with the big bird in it.  I hope this is the option she likes, as it's definitely my favourite idea.
I'm waiting for her to see the photos I posted on Facebook (it's so useful to be able to post an album full of photos on my Facebook Page, then send someone a link to it!), then for her decision on a label.  Then this will soon be displayed - and I hope, used - on her table, at various fairs and markets!
* * *
That's the three books I've completed in the past week.  I still have plenty to do; also I want to make a number of books for my shop, as Stock items, that are ready to send out immediately.   Tomorrow I must go "paper shopping", then get back to work! 


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