Sunday, 29 April 2012

Team Teal - Happy Birthday to Marti!

Many of my blog friends will know about Team Teal.  If you can't remember, then see this post on Deb Turtle's blog.  And this is my post from last 29th April!

Deb's lovely mom, Marti is 70 today, which in my view, deserves celebration.  The fact that she's been fighting to be well and also has a milestone birthday makes it even more worthy of a celebration!! 


* * * * * * * * * * * *

Happy Birthday Marti!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Many happy returns to you and may you have a truly special day!


My Team Teal awareness band, sent to me by Deb.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Quick Update - More Books!

I am very much buried under books just now.  I don't mind, as it's exciting to have lots of orders and projects, but it's a bit exhausting (and the housework suffers!).

Tomorrow though, I will have a "Day Off", to go to Cambridge and meet two Special People.  More about this as soon as possible after the day! 

Meanwhile, I've been busy making.  These three are some of the latest things I've finished.  I'm also working on a project to make a large silk wedding guest album, with a storage/gift box to keep it in.   I hope to report on my box-making adventures in the near future!

A little picture gallery, of what I finished recently :
This Coptic-stitch book is for a friend, Melanie, who runs a stall at Farmers' Markets and fairs, selling wonderful hand-made herbal products - face & body care etc.  Her rose skin toner and rose & frankincense face ointment have really helped clear up the rosacea that bothers me sometimes.

Anyway, the label was not attached yet, so she could write her own words on it (and use the spare if it went wrong!).  The binding is in mousey-brown linen and the cover edgins are in a deep teal/golden brown shot-silk.

Back view.  This paper is by Cavallini and is called "Birds and Nests".  It does actually have those words printed in the design, but it's a very large design and those bits didn't come out on the part I used for this book.  (There's another in my shop just now, which uses the same paper on the covers and has the words on too!) 
Inside there is lovely natural-white smooth paper.  The covers are lined with Murano art paper, in a slate colour.  

This will sit on Melanie's stall and she will collect customers' comments. I took it to the local farmers' market last Saturday and delivered it in person (luckily she likes it!).

* * *
In the post this morning...

Another book in this lovely paper!  8" x 6" Wedding Guest Album, to hold polaroids, as well as the good wishes of the guests. 

Coptic binding, in turquoise linen thread.

It's very thick, as there are 50 pages (100 sides) of stiff paper, plus double-thickness spacers, to allow room for the polariod photos. 
I cut the second set of spacers from aqua marled Murano paper, to match the cover linings.  They are wrapped round each section (4 pages/sheets per section), over the top of spacers made in the same stiff, heavy-weight paper as the pages.

The bride chose a hand-cut label for the first page, to match the cover paper.
I wish them both a lovely Wedding Day and much happiness for the future!

 * * *
Two suede notebooks/journals, about 6" x 4" in size. They have metal buttons with wrap-round ribbon to fasten them - and add a bit of decoration.  

The teal & green book has green-designed end-papers and the red & bronze book has greeny-grey.  These are both scrapbooking papers, by My Mind's Eye.  They are just great for end-papers or linings.

I'm very pleased with how these turned out.  They're designed for presents (a certain BFF has a birthday this week...) and I hope they'll be well-received.

So, off to do some box-making!  I hope to have "completed" photos of the book and box very soon.  And tomorrow I'm off to Cambridge for a day out - excited...

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Leather Love - A Bookbinding Day at Knuston

Cup-of-Tea Warning!  This post is quite long and has lots of photos - you may need a cuppa and a bikkie, before attempting to read it all through!
* * *
A Bookbinding Day at Knuston Hall

I spent yesterday at Knuston Hall, on a bookbinding course and had a fab time.  The tutor, Doug, was a very nice person, who is a book conservator and restorer "in his day-job" and so knows loads about paper, leather, bookbinding methods and history.
It was a pleasure to be taught by someone who really knows his stuff and who was really interested and keen to see what his students produced.  There were seven of us altogether, which was a good number to have, as there was plenty of space for us all to work and to see the tutor's demonstrations.  There was a good spread of ages across the group too - from a young woman in her 20's, to two ladies who are retired and still busy - and Doug wasn't the only male member of the group, as there were male students too.

I think we were from quite varied backgrounds too - the two men in the group were engineers (I think, from the way they were talking to each other and jokes they made about measuring machines and special drills to do their paper-holes etc!), there was an upholsterer, someone who works at the council offices, people who sew and knit - and a bookbinder (guess who?).  I think we were a good group (I hope Doug would have agreed - I think we behaved ourselves and I tried not to be a smart-alec, as I was very aware that I most certainly did not know nearly as much as the tutor!!).

The course was to make a leather book, using a traditional Longstitch Early Codex binding method.  I had been looking forward to this very much and was a teeny bit excited... (perhaps I should get out more, but, you know...books...paper... bookbinding... well...).

So, we had some lovely examples to look at, which Doug had made:

Some beautiful details in these books - decorative stitching on the spine, lovely shapes cut into the fold-over flaps, interesting fastenings....

The last two photos are of a book with a vellum cover (that's vellum made with skins, not "vellum" paper).  It really was translucent and rather beautiful.  The fastening is made with two straps, that are attached to the fold-over flap on the front, then wrapped over to the spine, where they are fastened by pushing two hand-made vellum buttons through holes cut into the straps.  I think the design is based on original mediaeval bindings.  It certainly was rather impressive, with the fabulous stitching details and clever fastening. 

In fact, all the examples were lovely (I didn't photograph all of them... duh...). 

Inspiring - makes you want to make something lovely too!

So, we had some very nice leather pieces to choose from...
lovely paper for pages, and good instructions and demonstrations...
So, we made a spine stiffener, learned how to mark up the positions of the holes and how to mark the paper sections (which were already prepared for us by Doug-the-super-star!)...

Then we stitched our books... (for some reason I didn't remember to photograph that bit... too busy and forgot the camera, I think!)

...then spent some time making decorative fold-over flaps, fastenings and embellishments.

This lovely book was made by Katherine, whose table was facing mine.  She used a strip of the same leather, reversed to show its sueded side and made a wrap-round fastening.  The strip of leather wraps round a flower, which she made herself, from two short lengths of leather and a third piece that she wound into a flat coil and glued to the centre.  Isn't it beautiful? (I did ask her permission to photograph it and publish it on my blog - thank you Katherine!).

There were so many clever ideas and variations of decoration and fastening.  Everyone was really quite clever and ingenious.  I loved seeing what the other students all came up with - I think Doug did too, as he said he was leaving his example book unfinished (which he was making to show us the various techniques), so he could see what ideas we came up with for ours and maybe be inspired to do something new with his own!

And several of us began a second book, as we had some time left at the end of the afternoon and our tutor had brought spare materials (which we all paid him for, so he didn't lose out!)

* * *

I really had a lovely day yesterday.  And, being at Knuston, it meant that we were also very well cared for and well fed!  There was excellent coffee, homemade biscuits at morning break, cake in the afternoon (though we didn't go for our break... we were all too busy - but I know there were very nice cakes, because I snagged one on my way home - oink...).... and lunch was really yummy too - a proper cooked meal, with the choice of three different hot dishes, with rice or potatoes, or cold meats if we preferred.  There was a salad table too, with a great selection to help ourselves to.  And two different puddings to choose from also.  Amazing that we didn't all fall asleep after lunch - I think it was a testament to the tutor's excellence that we were too interested in our work, to even think of dropping off at our desks!

* * *

And me... what did I make?  Of course I intend to show off a bit, because I am proud of what I made, both yesterday and also an extra little book, which I made today:

Lizzie's Book One

Longstitch Early Codex Leather Binding - Buff-coloured calf leather, stitched with ivory hand-waxed linen thread.  Four sections of 14 leaves (28 pages/ sides per section - 56 leaves/pages - 104 sides in total), of  120gm cream-white smooth paper by Conservation by Design.  The paper was pre-cut and folded into sections, so I had only to bind it into a book (lucky me!).  Measures 20 x 14cm / 7.75" x 5.75" (almost A5 size).

I made a fold-over flap with integral tab, which is used to fasten the book, by tucking into a decorative leather bar on the cover.  I used a patterned stitched panel on each side of the fastening bar, stitched in matching linen thread. 

When I got home, I modified the tuck-in tab, by trimming the end corners, so it was more pointed and would slide through the bar more easily (the corners kept catching when I tried to slide it through - now it works very well).

Lizzie's Book Two

The photos are of the finished book.  I brought home a completed binding, with the cover and fastening not completed.

Longstitch Early Codex Leather Binding - Dark green sheep leather, with embossed false grain, stitched with ivory hand-waxed linen thread.  Four sections (56 pages/ 104 sides) of off-white Zerkall Butten 145gsm paper.  Measures 17 x 13.5cm / 6.5" x 5.25".

Once I was home, I added the red leather thongs, as fastenings - also to make a pen-holder inside the fold-over flap.  Even though I had fixed the ends of the folded strips, by glueing them inside, they still flapped and didn't sit very well, so I added some stitching to secure them and make nice, firm loops. 

I spent some time messing about with the other ends of the strips, tried adding beads to the ends, considered whether I should have some kind of button to hook the loops over and wrap the ends round... In the end, it was the simple solution that worked best - pass the strips through the loops, then double them round and tuck in on the back of the book - "simples", as the nice meerkat says!

Lizzie's Book Three

Today was "Scrap Club" day!  Two days out in a row - and Mr. LizzieMade didn't mind at all... he even made me a packed lunch (of course, it may be that I am impossible to live with and he was relieved to have some peace...but he hasn't complained and I hope that it's only that he is so nice and generous and kind, that he likes me to have fun!). 

Aaaanyhooo.... I spent part of the morning on this:


Longstitch Early Codex Leather Binding - Deep teal-coloured suede (calf I think...), stitched with golden yellow hand-waxed linen thread. The suede is lined with patterned paper (it's medium-weight scrapbooking paper). 
The book has 30 leaves/pages (60 sides) of hand-made cotton paper.  I used water to wet the folds, before tearing the large sheets into pages, so all edges are either natural deckle or hand-torn.  As the paper is quite bulky, I decided that only thirty pages, in five sections, was plenty for a small book (this measures approx 11cm / 4.5" square). 

I tried a variation in the stitching on the spine - having waffled on at length yesterday lunchtime, while wondering how "people I know" manage to make this particular stitching pattern.  I had thought it must be complicated and need two separate needles...

Of course it isn't complicated at all.  The basic stitching method is like a back-stitch, so there are two threads on each section of the spine.  The pattern is made by simply passing the needle beneath the previous thread, on the second and subsequent stitches. 
It really is very easy-peasy and I felt like a real twit yesterday, when I tried this stitching for my fastening bar, on the buff-coloured book, and discovered how very straighforward it is - after all my daft wonderings!  Sometimes I wonder how I've managed to live so long...  

Anyway, there it is, a nice crossed stitch effect in golden yellow.  I then stitched a deep yellow button to the fold-over flap (If I had been clever, I'd have done this before I stuck down the lining paper, then I wouldn't have had to tease it apart and re-stick it!).  The fastening is simply a piece of turquoise linen thread, which is passed through the leather from inside.  The thread wraps round the button.  That's it - nice and straightforward, for a change!

I really do like this little book and it was great to make one "all by myself", without an expert to hand, to rescue me if I messed up.  I didn't mess up anyway - just the little hiccup with the lining paper being stuck down, but that was just lack of experience, which meant I didn't think the whole design through before I started.  Next time...

* * *

So, this is what I made this weekend:
Three Longstitch Bindings, that I'm very proud of!

One or two things I need to improve on, but I think it's a very encouraging start.
Thanks to Doug, for a great day's workshop and for patiently bearing with my idiot ramblings about "difficult" stitching patterns. 

Friday, 13 April 2012

A Bit of Experimentation...

Hello all, sorry I've been so quiet and not really visiting/commenting recently.  I'm up to my kneck in custom orders - a couple of which are a bit challenging! 
Today I have been learning box-making the hard way; think "how not to make boxes" and you've got the idea...  Still, it's all useful experience and I can try again soon.  At least the result of today's session is usable, so I can keep it for my own studio - a handy storage tray!

Then I was mulling over some ideas for a pair of Recipe books that someone has asked for.  I've kept this lady waiting a while and really want to get on with it.  As soon as the book-in-a-box and another wedding album are in the post... 

Meanwhile, I made a mini tiny teeny-weeny prototype / experiment, to see if a particular idea would work.  Not sure about it still, but the little book is very cute!
Made a little concertina spine...  
Five sets of little pages...
Two sets of mini concertina folders (stuck with tape - it is an experiment...)
Scraps of coloured paper for covers...
(apologies for the dirty nails... glue all over them I think.. need a scrub!)

Tiny teeny little Coptic stitch book (but no covers)...

Fix a ribbon tie to the cover...
Double-sided tape on the flap...
Attach the concertina folders...
Tape a lining inside...
then attach an outside back cover...
Do the same for the front.
A super-cute little concertina-spine, coptic stitch book, with folders in the front and back!
Top view... 
Ribbon Ties to keep it closed (it would pop open otherwise) 
Quite a cute little book...

There are still a few "kinks" to iron out with this.  Not sure about the top-loading concertina folders, as they have nothing to close them at the spine.  I can solve this, but need to decide on the best method (I have some ideas!). 
I also think the inside lining of the folders should be a folded "page" - like the end papers in a hardback book. Just need to be sure that would work too... 
And I'm not certain whether I do want the concertina spine anyway.  Definitely a coptic stitched book, as it will then open flat the whole way through, but not 100% decided on the entire structure yet.

A Work In Progress, definitely!  But such a cute little book to play with in the meantime!

Anyway, this is why I'm not "around" much just now.  I promise to try and visit a few blogs in the coming week (and comment so you know I came!). 

Tomorrow I am going to Knuston Hall for the day, to do a one-day bookbinding workshop.  I'm not teaching - this time I am a student.  I will be making a leather book with a traditional longstitch binding.  Looking forward to this - my kit is all packed and the camera battery has just finished charging; I promise to report back as soon as possible!

Love to All Blog Friends (old and new).  Hope to be Back in Blogland very soon.


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