Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Diaries 2011 – All Finished!

2011 Diaries for Christmas Gifts

Well, last week this is what was on my desk:

Three book blocks, ready to bind,
and a selection of fabrics, ready to make into bookcloth for covers.

But the diaries were finished in time for Christmas, wrapped and given as gifts!


You may remember I posted about making this leather-covered diary, for my friend Su?

I added these three more to my tally…

1210_Diary_Black_Silk_2  1210_Diary_Black_Silk_6

Black tussah silk cover, with raspberry tussah silk quarter binding and decorative end-papers.  Made for Debbie.

1210_Diary_Red_Sprigged_1  1210_Diary_Red_Sprigged_4

Red-sprigged cotton bookcloth cover, with raspberry tussah silk quarter binding and red end-papers.  Made for Mandy.


Blue, William Morris Iris design cotton bookcloth cover, with yellow/red cotton quarter binding and cornflower blue end-papers.  Made for my dear Auntie Kate.  

The cotton was woven with golden thread one way and red the other, so I fringed the edge slightly and didn’t fold it, to give a nice effect.



They came out really well and I am very proud of them!

I will definitely make some more books with this kind of binding – journals next I think - but I will plan for 2012 diaries, which I will start making in August next year, so I can have a number of them ready to put in my Etsy shop and some for Christmas gifts also!

I really enjoyed the whole process of making these, even though it was rather tricky to work out the diary printing.  It’s not simple to print the pages, as you can’t just print the whole diary as one set of pages to fold over – it would be too thick. 

There were four seperate sections to each diary, where the pages had to run in order once they were folded.  This means that the first page in a-section contained the Friday/ Saturday/ Sunday/Notes pages for a week, with the next four days – Monday-Thursday – overleaf.  But the other part of that page – on the right – contained the Friday/Sat/Sunday/Notes for a completely different month, with the next Monday-Thursday overleaf, then the next pages had to continue on from there, with dates getting closer together as you get to the middle of the section. 

The next section did this all over again, then the next.  The final section also has note pages and address pages, so they also had to be set up correctly.  It was a bit of a challenge (alright a head-ache) at times, but I did get it right in the end. 

At least I have the structure set up now, so I can re-do the files for next year’s dates.  Then I just have to remember how to print them correctly!

After all that, plain journals / note-books will seem so easy!  I will try to get started on those quite soon and add them to my stock.  I have all the materials, so it’s just a case of spending some time on them.  I’ll post some photos when I have managed to make a couple of these – maybe you’d all like to see them and let me know what you think.

Any suggestions for design / cover choices would be welcomed.  I have the fabrics I showed above, also a few others with patterns and designs (a couple with London designs, one in B&W and the other in blue with red London Buses!), so I shall have fun thinking what to make next.  I’ve also got an incredible supply of papers, so I don’t think I’ll be short on ideas!


Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A Merry Christmas

Well, a rather belated “Merry Christmas” to all Blog Friends and Readers!  I hope you all have had a lovely time, with whatever you most enjoy in the Holiday Season – family, friends, lovely Church services and sweet music, good food and company. 

We have had a quiet Christmas here; normally my sister, nephew and nieces come over on Christmas Day, after lunch, but this year my elder niece is expecting a baby and they decided to stay at home for their Christmas celebrations.  We were invited to go there, but my mother can’t cope with such a long journey and my mother-in-law was also here; so there were just five of us here.   We had a lovely time though and opened our presents together after breakfast.  

J. was very pleased with a Nintendo DSi game from Santa.  He would hardly have put it down since he opened it, except to have a shower, eat a meal or go to sleep, but now and again we persuade him to take a break! 
D. was happy with a couple of DVD’s and the usual pair of new slippers (sad I know, but he needed them!).  He also had a small stash of chocolates and a few other bits.

I am spoiled – I now have a lovely new jigsaw puzzle, from D, some pretty sewing stuff from Su; I now even own a pin-cushion!  My mum gave me a pretty necklace and a box of toffees from Thorntons.  J. gave me some printing plates for my little Letterpress, which I’ve been experimenting with this afternoon – I’m making “Thank You” cards! 
I also have a set of lovely tins, which my sister bought me; I asked for a large cake tin, with “Cake” written on it, but she bought me a set of three nesting tins, with a design of pink roses and old-fashioned writing. I don’t think they will ever make it into the kitchen – they’re too pretty – they are currently on the shelf in my studio, waiting to be pressed into service as craft storage!

All in all, I have been very lucky for nice pressies!  I hope you all had a few nice surprises too.

We had a surprise visit on Christmas Eve, just after lunch.  My sister turned up, with my niece Keri-Anne and little Elle, to deliver our Christmas presents.  We were pleased to see them, but Elle hadn’t been very well the day before though and was still rather spaced out; Keri-Anne was also a bit under the weather and my sister was still recovering from a rotten fluey cold.  Not sure why they came out on a cold, horrible day, all the way from Northampton… I was pleased to see them, but we’ve been taking lots of vit. C tablets, in an effort to avoid inheriting their various lurgies!  Keri-Anne spent Christmas Day on their sofa, feeling really ill, (which can’t have been helped by her 60 mile round-trip in the cold! ) I think she’s on the mend now though.

The nice thing about having our visitors, was seeing the little one play with our Christmas books, reading the Christmas Story with her mummy – and Spot’s Magical Christmas! She had a go with our Nativity Set,  setting up the Holy Family, the Angel, lambs and donkey, shepherds and wise men, camels and cows… It’s lovely to have a small person here again, playing with the little people in the Nativity Set – J. is 13 now and too old to play with it any more. 


Somehow Christmas is more special when there are little ones to share it with.

251210_Christmas_Parcel  251210_Christmas_Daddys_Shoes 
251210_Christmas_With_Alexie2  251210_Christmas_Day

Later in the day, my Mum-in-Law arrived to spend Christmas with us.  She brought her budgie, Bailey, so we had a nice “friend” for the cat. We were all woken on Christmas Morning, at 7am, by MIL telling off the cat and bird for shouting at each other!  I thought it was supposed to be the cry of a newborn baby, not the squawk of a new-woken budgie!

J. gave his Nanna a lovely little gift:

This was from one of my favourite shops on Etsy – The Felt Menagerie, by Feltmeupdesigns.

And the garden birds weren’t forgotten either:

J. in the garden, in pj’s and boots, feeding the birds some breakfast!

All in all, it’s been a quiet, but very nice Christmas.  Mum-in-Law went home yesterday morning, so the afternoon was very quiet here, with just the three of us, relaxing.  

I popped over to my mum’s this morning, with her shopping and to check she was okay.  She hasn’t been too well, as she has had a few dizzy spells.  She ended up in the hospital on 23rd December, because she nearly fell down.  We’re still not sure if the problem is with her inner ear, or connected to her other problems – she has arthritis in her spine/kneck and osteoporosis. It could be caused by pressure on the blood/nerve supply from her kneck to her head.  We’ll be seeing her doctor in the next few days, to see what he thinks.  Meanwhile, she has some tablets and is coping okay.

So, we’re back to “normal” really! Off to the shops tomorrow, so J. can spend some pocket money and play Warhammer games at the shop.  Taking Mum to the nurse on Thursday.  But on Friday we’ll be having a lovely roast-beef dinner, for New Year’s Eve and if everyone is well, we’re off to my niece’s house on New Year’s Day, for a nice family lunch.

Christmas is not over yet… So Merry Christmas to All!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Next, Please! (and a Weather Report)

My Current Project


These three book-blocks will be diaries, which I am making as Christmas presents.

I have a lovely choice of fabrics!

The light-coloured sprigged fabric and the red, plus the William Morris to the right of it are cottons.
The remainder is a selection of amazing jewel-coloured silks. There are some dupion silk (one colour all through with a slight texture) and some great pieces of tussore/tussah silk (the warp is one colour and the weft another, giving a “shot silk” with a nice slubby texture).

You can’t really see the richness of those colours… they are just wonderful.

I am covering the diaries with fabric – two with the cottons and one with silk. Each will have a silk strip on the spine – like this :

This is a traditionally bound book I made last January, on my book-binding course.  My diaries will have a wrap-round spine that is a different colour, like this book.

I have just finished the first book, but it is drying under weights and I don’t want to mess about with it just yet.  You will have to wait, if you want to see the Finished Project!

But doesn’t it sound exciting? Go on, admit it!

* * *

The Weather Report

Yesterday lunch time, it started to snow.  Big fat snowflakes, so that by 4pm it was like this:



By evening we had about 5 inches on the ground:


It looked rather magical by moonlight.

D. brought in a snowball, which Sherlock thought he should try:

The Snowball Tester

This is as close as he’s been to the snow so far.  He looks outside, shivers and walks away huffily! Of course, it is all My Fault!

This morning, 8am sunrise:



The Boys had to go out for a Snowball fight.  I couldn’t join in, as my asthma was playing up (boo…), but I watched and took some photos:



They were attacked by some boys, from the other side of the garden wall!

All snowy!

Sadly the snow was too fluffy for good snowballs and they abandoned attempts to make a Snow-Bot, as they just couldn’t get it to stick together.

D. got some snow in his eyes, which scratched him and he had to give up and come inside.  Still, they had some fun before that and got some exercise too.

I enjoyed my role, as Official Snowtographer!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Two New Handbound Books

I’m feeling rather proud of myself this week.  I have completed two new handmade book projects, both of which turned out really well:

Planner Diary in Wrap-round Case

A Planner / Diary, covered in black silk, with pink leather-covered diary and notebook and hand-painted decorations.

There are two pockets on the left-hand panel, lined with bright pink fabric, and a small frame to hold a photo.

The diary is in the centre, so it can be opened for use without blocking the notebook.

The notebook is inside a leather cover, made to hold a standard-sized shop-bought notepad.

Both the diary and notebook cover are slid inside pockets, lined with pink fabric, so that they can be removed and used separately. 

Planner_Diary_and_Pen  Planner_Notebook_Cover
The pen-holder is made of leather, to match the diary and notebook, but there are elastic straps to stop it slipping out.

The case fastens on the right side, with magnetic strips.

This was a commission piece for a friend.  She asked for decoration on the diary and notebook, with matching decoration on the cover, so I made a painted design of flowers and a butterfly, with her initials stamped underneath.

I sent this off on Friday and my friend is delighted with it (so am I). I hope it behaves itself and will hold up to a year of regular use!

* * *

Diary in Dark Green Leather Cover

This is a Christmas present for my best friend (she doesn’t read my blog, so you can look in advance!).

I wanted to give her a really special present, as she’s had a horrible time over the past 18 months and has been quite unhappy.  I thought of a nice bottle of Single Malt (whisky guys!), but it’s very expensive and we’re a bit skint this Christmas. 
I spent lots of energy on trying to think of a good present – then had one of those four-in-the-morning Epiphanies; I make books, don’t I? Why don’t I make her a really nice, leather-covered diary?  (Duh…. seems so obvious now!).

So I did.

161210_Green_Leather_Diary_Back  161210_Green_Leather_Diary_for_Sue
The leather strap wraps right round the soft leather cover, which has a flap.

It fastens with a sweet red flower bead, that I found the other day in my favourite fabric shop in the village.  I stitched the leather strip to the hole through one side of the bead, then fixed it to the flap and added stitching at stress-points, to help the two strips stay together.

161210_Green_Leather_Diary_Endpaper_Front  161210_Green_Leather_Diary_Endpaper_Back
The endpapers are Basic Grey scrapbooking paper. They look fab and are absolutely the sort of pattern that she likes (so glad I thought to look in my BG paper box!)

161210_Green_Leather_Diary_Title_Page2  161210_Green_Leather_Diary_Pages
The diary inside is also hand-made. I designed the layout myself and printed it off in sections, then hand-stitched the binding and attached it to the leather cover.

The binding is red linen thread. I think it looks more interesting than white or natural linen.

I am So Pleased with the result! It has worked out amazingly well and I’m glad I took my time over it yesterday and today. 
The time and effort have really paid off.  I think she’ll be so pleased with her present and I now feel I have something special to give her. 

So I’m signing off now, full of smiles and with a shiny sort-of aura glowing all around…

Better go and do the laundry and make the dinner! 


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