Monday, May 30, 2005

So happy!

I am more than a little excited about his journal that I just made for Scarlett. It was perhaps the biggest challenge that I’ve set myself up for in a long time and I see that my long dormant binding skills are surfacing and succeeding in looking good.

I need to make sure that I get a lot of pictures of this journal before I mail it out because it is one of my better journals.

I like the technique so much that I’m making a bunch of covers with the pink hide- all distressed but with different colors. I’ve got another going I the pink I used originally. I’m working on ideas in my head to use blues and purples. I saw a bunch of paste paper covers today and I was wondering what the hides would look like if I ladled on paint and medium mixed with water and then sandwiched it together, or used some plexi to smoosh the paint into the leather. I’m going to try it and we’ll see how it looks.

We’ve got a nasty storm hitting us right now and I’m gonna turn off the compy so I don’t fry this one.

Scarlet's Journal 95%

95% There

The custom journal for Scarlet is 95% done. I have finished distressing the covers, working on the spine and I’ve sewn it. I’ve also scalloped the edge of the flap and added the thong to tie it shut. I’m pretty darn happy with it. My roommate referred to it as girly. I think that’s compliment.

Sometimes it’s good to challenge one’s self with a project that is just a little outside of one’s style, and I think that this project was just that. Let’s face it, I don’t do pink and this project was bathed in it. My style is somewhat masculine and tough so to do a girly journal was difficult. Now that I’ve done it I’m pretty happy with the results and may do some more. I think that I may try to work them a little differently.

A review of the key points of this journal:

Feminize my style a bit

Pink- Hand distressed

1 and half inches thick, with 250 pages


And what did I learn:

I can make my style more feminine- color is a good way to work it but also there are little touches that make thins more “girly”

Hand distressing, while time consuming, is not expensive but makes great results and is wonderful looking. I could order white leather and hand distress it using paint. ANY COLOR!

250 pages is nothing I could have easily made this 300 pages

Lines are easy.

Next paycheck from the day job I’m going to purchase several white hides, that way I can distress them to any color I need. I’m so jazzed by my success with this project that I think I can try it on a white hide. Acrylic paint and sponges are my friend.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hand Distressed


I've got the leather distressed. I need to add a layer of varnish to protect it, but so far so good. I think it looks really great. I'm not letting much of the orginial color show through but the red colors I picked out match it really well. The pink was much lighter than I had imagined.

I didn't realize that I don't have my acrylic paints here. I just have a few here and there. No matter I had to simply drive out to michaels and pick up 2 containers of craft paint. Traffic was hellish but I came back within a half hour and had my paint.

I'll post a picture up of the dried cover. I'm going to give it a good half hour to dry.

Today I start the pink journal. I expect to make great progress on it. I have the day off so I can’t ask for better timing. Today I will dot he following:

Cut the cover.

Distress the cover.

Back the cover.

Measure out and punch the spine.


(Clean my table and desk.)

Hopefully I will be able to start the sewing tonight or work on it tomorrow.

I’ve officially been asked to leave the day job early on Monday (Double time!), so even if I can’t finish the sewing tonight I will be able to work on it Monday. The really great thing is that even if I’m not able to work on any one of these things today I have Tuesday off so I can get everything done and get it in the mail Tuesday or Wednesday!

Just Finished Custom

I finished this journal early on Friday. I found the cute little alphabet eyelets at Michaels and they were perfect for this journal. The lettering was perfect- classic and the metal was not too shiny, which wouldn’t have gone with the theme or style.

So I finished it or so I had thought. When I emailed the buyer, I found that I had accidentally substituted an R for his real middle initial M. It was very easy to remedy and the journal still looks great. I’m really happy with the spine too. I love the 5 groups of thread across the spine. I think it looks fantastic. The light thread shows up so well too. I spent a little extra time and effort on this journal and I think it shows in the details.

It’s also the first time in a long time I used ¼ inch spacing in the sewing; usually I use a half-inch. I really think the quarter inch works really well and had the proper weight in comparison to the half-inch especially for the smaller sized journals.

You’ll also notice that the pages are lined. I think I’m officially going to offer this service, some people really want it and now that I have the lines on the computer it won’t be hard for me to make them in my standard sizes, 4.25”X5.5” and 5.5”X8.5” (making a roughly 6”X9” journal) I won’t be able to do other sizes because of the limitations of my printer. It is something for me to think about when this printer dies that I should get something that handles larger sizes of paper. This printer more than does what I need it to do now that I’ve got a computer with a little more oomph.

Anyway, I’m really really happy with how this journal came out, and I think that knowing a little bit about the man receiving it really helped the design.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Now on eBay

I just put this journal up on eBay you can find it here:

Gallery Pics

I was checking out my eBay auctions and then searchingmy search words to see what came up and I realize I really need to pic my gallery pics much more carefully. I need to make sure that they aren't too dark, unlike the gallery pic for the chocolate brown watercolor sketchbook

it's here:Cocoa Sketchbook.

I'm pretty sure a dark gallery image disappears into nothingness when looking at those tiny little pics.

Finally a nice day and a journal nearly finished

I’ve been working on the custom order this evening. I managed to get the pages sewn in and the thong attached now I’m just dealing with the matter of the initials. I initially toyed with the idea of “branding” them in with my soldering iron, but I did it on some samples and it just doesn’t work for me. While I’m thinking of this issue I have to remind myself that anything I attach to the front has to be as flexible as the cover. I could attach something stiff but it will mess with the fold and bend of the leather and I don’t really want that. It also has to fit with the feel of the book. Which won’t be a hard thing to do, but still, I wish I were able to use something I have on hand. Though a small “appliqué” of leather with the initials eyeleted down to the cover would work….

I’ve created the appliqué that will sit on the cover held with glue and eyelets. Tomorrow after work I’ll figure out how to get the initials on there in a way that will be super sturdy. I may head to the supply store and get supplies, I get out early so it should be good.

I'll also upload some pics tomorrow.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Set Back

I had an amazingly long day at the day job today. I won’t go into details but let’s just say that I was tired when I left work. I had a light meal and washed it all down with a coke, and sometimes I’m amazed by how much a soda is reviving. It’s that little shot of caffeine and sugar.

It also prepared me for a major set back on the custom journal I’ve been working on. I had noticed last night that the leather on the cover was acting a little odd. Today I noticed that this hide is starting to have the separation problem that the black hide was having. This is the 2nd hide where I’ve had the issue. I’m not happy about it. I re-cut the hide from a different part of the hide and I noticed none of the issues. The other problem was that I had double reinforced the spine and hit it with too much heat and the tyvek melted. Really not good. Instead of a soft flexible but super strong spine I ended up with a hard stiff spine. Not good.

So I’ve re-cut and re-punched the new cover and I will sew it tomorrow. I also have some plans for advertising my work at the store. We have these little cards that we can post on the bulletin board and really the only time people see them is when they are waiting for the bathroom or for a class. I’m going to design a little book style advert that will hold my cards and let me post them easily at the store. It’s just an idea. I’m also thinking of spending some cash and advertising in some writing magazines. It could be worth it. Though I did notice that in some cases a tiny little classified ad could cost $150! Too rich for my blood but maybe someday. I think that branching off into handmade books of people’s first novels would be fantastic and great business.

A Major Case of the Blahs!

Okay, so the day job was incredibly draining. I took a nap rather than working on anything productive.

I did however, get the stations on the spine laid out and punched, so all I have to do tomorrow is punch the stations along the signatures and sew. We’ll see how draining the job is though.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I forgot to mention that I have 3 journals up on eBay right now they are here:

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Finished today

The accounting things I had to do today took much less time than I had expected. I’m finished in record time. Though I suppose it doesn’t matter as much as it could because I remembered that some of the files I had lost were in fact backed up online. All I really had to do was download and re-enter the information into the spreadsheets. Not bad.

So I managed to get all that done as well as verify some finishing touches for 2 custom orders. One of the journals is a very rough journal, the sort I really love to make. The details are all left up to me and a general idea of what the client wants as well as a little personal information about the person it’s being gifted to. I find that sometimes that’s the best thing I need when making a journal, just a little background. I don’t need a lot of information just a touch.

I’ve printed up the lined pages for both the journals. It’s strange for me to be including lines; most of my clients have been artists or art journalers, not poets or writers. It’s been a pretty easy thing to do. In the past I used PageMaker or lotus, but I’ve found that word does it just fine. The other thing that is working better is the printer, I think that my old computers just didn’t have enough oomph to drive this printer, because now it’s printing out 20 and 50 sheets at a time with no problems, unlike in the past when I would have to print out 5 sheets at a go because it would stop working and the computer would think for a half hour, it just works so much better.

Tomorrow I’ll be able to finish most of one of the custom journals, I’m not sure I’m going o go with a more historically accurate sewing or one that I like the best. We’ll see.


I have figured out how to make lines on a page. I’ve done it before but it wasn’t this easy. I had PageMaker ready to use and looked at it and realized I really didn’t want to use it for any amount of time tonight, so I pulled out my trusty Word and figured out how to do it the quick and dirty way. I must say that while lines aren’t my thing, they came out pretty damn well. I’m pretty happy with them. The proportions per page are good and they have just enough weight and distance that they look easy for writing.

I’m trying to decide if I want to take it to a Copy center to have it printed or if I want to print it here. I think that I don’t want to pay the extra cash for printing, so I’ll print it here. I have plenty of toner in the laser printer and plenty of paper. I’m rather looking forward to making this journal.

I went with a different vendor for the leather and I’m thinking she’s going to take along time on the shipping. I’m not happy about it as I paid top price for the leather and an exorbitant amount for shipping putting this hide in the top amount I’ve ever spent on a hide. Not to worry thought I’m sure that I’ll be able to sell journals in this color. Pink is after all quite popular. It would also make perfect pregnancy journals.

I need to follow up with a coworker with the journal she wanted me to make for her brother. I’m not sure what she had in mind but we’ll figure it out.

Tomorrow will be accounting day for me. I need to go through all my things, take an inventory of it all and figure out how much I’ve spent on hides, paper, and thread. I know that I’ve got a lot of stock right now- my paper rack keeps growing. I have it all strung up around the room like laundry. It’s pretty cool, or so I think.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Future plan

4 journals in one day, I’m pretty impressed with myself. Granted I had all the covers finished ahead of time and all I needed to do was cut and fold the paper and sew the covers on. I took a lot of breaks and took a decent nap. (C’mon today is one of my few days off at the day job I need to relax sometimes.)

One of the journals that I made today was a custom cover with a standard sewing, so that took more time, and I think it’s design I’ll be using in the future because it really was cool looking, very tuff.

I’ll be listing some of them on the website and some of them on eBay as time goes on.

I’ve decided that I will only be putting gone or two listings up on eBay at a time, probably one brown and one black or some combination of the two. Though I think it will always be the stock journals. I’m not sure I’m still thinking it through. My sales did get high enough that I was actually getting paid for my time not just the materials.

Tuesday is going to be my day for accounting type things. When my hard drive failed I lost all my information- all the spreadsheets I had made and all the information I needed for my money information. So I have to redo all those and I’m going to back it up to my thumb drive and perhaps my palm pilot. Trying to figure out everything again is going to be a huge pain in the butt, and I would rather spend my time working on journals rather than figuring out my money situation.

Station Cradle AKA Sewing Cradle

This is my home made station cradle aka sewing cradle. It's cardboard from leftover paper boxes and hotglue. Lots of hot glue. Iwould suggest that when buildingone of these not to use the cooler melting glue but the hot hot melt glue. It works much better.

I reinforced the bottom with tyvek so that my signatures would not fall through the bottom. I did this so that I could replace it. It's held with a couple of beads of hot glue on each side. Hte tyvek is then stretched tight over the bottom of the cradle. I think it seems to help the stations from flairing out too much.

It works for me. I'll be making one much larger for bigger books.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Last one Today



Every adventure must have a great journal

I made this journal with a friend of mine in mind. I may give it to him but I’m not sure I want to part with it just yet.

I think it fits his personality to a T and that he will enjoy it.

To the good stuff!

It’s a pocket sized travel style journal. It’s 5.5 by 4.25 inches in size with a wrap around envelope style cover. I left the flap edge raw. I backed it with my favorite paper- the backwards-raised printed phonebook paper in gray and brown. The spine is reinforced with tyvek. I used a simple sewing pattern to not compete with the patches. I had some scraps of black leather pre-backed with adhesive lying around. I heated them and attached them to the front cover flap. I then stitched around the patches to really hold them down and to add a little oomph. I used one patch to cover up an edge of the leather that was left from cutting too close to the edge of the hide. The other patch is used to reinforce the thong. In the back of the journal I attached a “packing list enclosed” pouch to create a pocket for storage.

It’s very unique journal made specifically with someone in mind. I’m convinced my friends get the best journals from me.