Thursday, June 30, 2005

oh yeah!

I forgot to mentionthat I loaded up 2 new journals to eBay today.

ialso put up a large journal- 6x9 outter dimmensions

Youc an see them all here:

progress and plans- oh and a vacation is coming up!

Today my leather and drawing paper arrived dry and quite safely. I’m completely overjoyed at the quality of the leather. It’s simply fantastic. Super smooth heavier than normal and just great. It’s damn near flawless. Brad came through again. Even the distressed leather is pretty darn great. I had bought a ream of Strathmore drawing paper from Utrecht and I’m pretty happy at their speed of shipping and the condition it arrived in- in this weather – it was dry and not one damaged corner. Not quite what I can say for the significantly more expensive fabriano I bought a week ago from Jerry’s. Super cheap prices, not so safe shipping. Though shipping was more expensive from Jerry’s. Go figure.

Today was quiet and not as hot as it h as been, I drove home in thunder and some small amounts of pouring rain, my tomatoes are happy! I had to rip into that leather tonight. I cut all the remaining covers for the Pastor’s order and got them glued up. Tomorrow I’ll finish trimming the glued portions and hopefully get them backed for the most part. I also cut 2 large sized journal covers for the eBay line and 11 covers for the small eBay line. 7 black and 4 distressed. The next group to get sewn will be the Pastor’s order.

I’m going to wait until Friday to see if the HP paper arrives after that I’m asking for a refund. I have 3 other orders to work on and I’m pretty excited about all of them. One is for a small HP watercolor journal, another midsize journal filled with kraft paper and another larger sized journal filled with drawing paper. I was able to get the kraft paper all hand torn tonight. 12 signatures of hand torn kraft paper, it’s rough and very earthy. The hand torn edges look the most like a deckled edge than any other paper I’ve torn. (Insert happy dance here!) Tomorrow I hope to get some of the drawing paper cut to size too.

I’m having some issues with the map I purchased for the inner cover. The map shack owner was or is a heavy smoker and the map stinks. Really stinks. I’ve had it in baking soda since I bought it and still when I crack open that bag it smells. I may be heading out for another map. I’m going to try kitty litter next- anyone else out there know anything to remove smell from paper? It’s just too cool a map to give up on.

My vacation from the DayJob- and several days from Bookbinding are coming up soon- July 19th through the 25th. I’ll spend some time binding, I expect that I have all special orders done before I leave and I will take orders during that time but I’ won’t be starting them until after I’m back. I will be listing items before I leave on Tuesday and I’ll check email periodically while in Maine, but not as often as I do here. I’ll be in a place with no electric and no internet for much of my time. I’ll be spending a significant portion of my time in a lake.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

3 more makes a total of 8 today


well I'm feeling pretty good I completed 6 books today. Granted I had made the covers and punched the stations on the previous 3 days but still it feels good to get all that done. That being said that's a pretty good output for 3 part-time days. (I finished 2 more late last night.)

Today was spent sewing the 6 books and sourcing out materials for a custom order. My HP paper still hasn't shipped yet thoguh I've been billed for it- what's up with that? The custom order I'm working on is for a journal with drawing paper and maps on the inside covers, a very neat idea. I was hoping to find some nice topographical maps but he didn't have any that were in my somewhat limited pricerange. He also didn't have a small map of the US for inside the front cover.

I got the GRAND idea of heading over to Melrose to the used book store. ONly to be hit by devastating news once I arrived on Main street. The book store closed sometiems ago and has been replaces by, of all things for a dry town, a jazz bar?!?!? I think it was a jazz bar, could have been a coffee shop I'm not sure. I was too heart broken to go in, just kept on walking. So the vintage map I was hoping for wasn't to be had, instead I've got a recent map that I'll be looking to vintage-fy on Saturday. I also plan on heading to yard sales to see if I can find a book with a more authentic map. I am glad I was able to find an older map for the backing paper- a street map of Austin. It's very cool and very very out of date. (I can't believe the guy was trying to sellit as something that could possibly help someone when driving in Austin!)

I'm still wainting on my leather. I'm getting a little cheesed about it not being here today. It always arrives one day late. *grumbles*

So I'm off to cut mroe covers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Potential Specialorder

These are the first 2 journals that I've made for a 25 journal special order.

First in the Large eBay experiment


This is the first in my large line for eBay. I'm not sure I'm going to be happy with the experiment. I'mgoing to give it a half dozen in this size before I give up on it. these are twice as expensive to make but take about the same amount of time to sew. We'll see what happens with them.

You can view the auction HERE!

Several days activities in one shorter than normal post!

I didn’t get a chance to write a run down of all the things I got done book binding-wise yesterday.

I had a particularly productive day. I also realize HOW important it is for me to drink a lot more water than I have been, coffee is good but water is better. Anyway, I managed to cut, reinforce and back 7 travel sized covers and 2 large sized covers. I folded and gathers enough signatures for god knows how many books. I then laid out all the book blanks for the covers I had made. I cut all the spines. Finally I finished sewing 2 books- both in distressed leather but one larger and one small. I’m getting ready to start sewing this morning.

The great thing about the books that I have been working on is that they can fulfill my eBay needs and the large order needs- if she likes the coloration of the leather.

The thread that I used seems thinner than the thread I usually use; it didn’t flair the spine nearly as much as it usually does. The paper also seems thinner? I know it’s the same weight, 24lb (90gsm) but it seems different. It’s acid free and a nice color. To the binding table I go.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Pastor's Eight


Quick Update

Yesterday was a sort of productive day. I did much of the hosue work I have been meaning to do and got a lot of binding work done. The heat has been brutal and hasn’t really made me want to make books. It’s made me want to spend lots of time in my air-conditioned bedroom.

All in all I’m pretty happy with my progress yesterday. I finished half of the pastor’s order- 8 of the 15 journals and will start working on the final 7 as soon as the leather comes in. I’m hoping to get them done by the end of this week or the start of next. It will all be possible if the leather comes in today. If it doesn’t arrive then I’m working on the eBay/2nd order line.

I have a large special order for around 25 journals of the eBay line. I’m breaking that order up into manageable chunks of 8 or so journals. Shipping on that order is going to be a beast. I just weighed a eBay line journal and it’s a half pound- meaning I can only get 4 or 5 of them into a priority mailer. Weight-wise, unless I go media mail it’s actually the cheapest way to go.

I headed to staples to get some much-needed supplies and to see what they carried for paper. I ended up getting catalog enveloped cheap. Since O go through so many I figured I’d jump on that. I also bought a magnetic organizer- very visual and something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I also bought 3 reams of Wausau 24lb paper. I decided last night I’d use it in all the journals for the 25 custom orders- it’s a great warm ivory color- the color of heavy cream. It’s quite nice in that respect but I’m n ot in love with the paper. When I open a box of Strathmore or Fox River I’m in love with it. The texture of the paper is simply terrific, but this is not quite the same. Don’t get me wrong it’s very nice paper but I just didn’t understand why everyone on the AJ list raves about it. It’s just not Fox River.

I always get a bunch of stuff I don’t need when I’m at staples. I also bought pens and a soda.

In actual binding related news, I worked on making covers yesterday. I cut 7 small sized and 2 large sized. I actually finished reinforcing and backing 6 of the 7 small covers and both the large covers. Today I’ll start laying out the spines and punching the stations. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to blow through a good amount of sewing. I plan on cutting at least one large cover from every hide I get. Speaking of which, I already need to order more leather. I’m blowing through it like crazy!

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I spoke with my friend about jumping on this running after your dreams bandwagon (She’s about to embark on a journey of self employment- a combination of XXX and XXX XXX.) Everyone has been right about this. I’m jittery and nervous but in a really good way. I have self-doubts and that’s what led me to stop making books last time- nearly 2 years ago- I stopped because I was nervous. I stopped because of fear of success. How can one be afraid of success? I feel pressure when I make books I get nervous but it’s wonderful. When I’m filled with nervous energy about the books its great- I can stay up late and create these wonderful pieces that while they may not be the piece I need to finish it’s a great work of art anyway. It rejuvenates me and energizes me. In short, unlike the day job, the pressures of making books are a good one that makes me feel good. I know that no matter how much I need to do I can do it. I’ve got time, and I’ve got the motivation. It’s just a matter of getting through the nervous energy and focusing on the end goal- working for myself making my art. Art makes me feel good. Books make me feel good. Making books makes me feel great.

A note here for my coworkers who read this: I'm not leavibng the company. I'm thinking of it down the road- perhaps in 2 years or so. Even then I will step down and work a day a week or so. I still have thoughts of moving into a regional buying position. I'dlove to be KE's part time assistant.

(The DayJob has been a living nightmare lately. We had a Bridezilla and a nasty Maid of Honor come in and let’s just say my job is not to take verbal abuse. I make pretty flower arrangements and deal with some issues, but that’s it. I don’t get paid to have people make faces at me and treat me like I’m stupid. Speaking of which, it would be an interesting to study how people treat the workers at the store. It is a gourmet grocery store and the people who come in are for the most part pretty well off I think that what they don’t know is that many of my coworkers have college degrees and some even have masters and are working toward their PhD. I have a BA in Art with a concentration and a nearly finished minor in psychology. Perhaps it would be a nice starting point for an artist’s book.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Order Book

I decided that I need to keep track of my orders like we do at work, with an order form. I thought I could also keep the forms in one place so that i could refer to them easily. It also seemed like a great opportunity to work on my smaller book size skills.

I decided to make a 2 signature book- 40 pages of order forms and in a sewing pattern that I hadn't made yet.

I made the cover from Wasseau confetti cardstock. I reinforced the spine with tyvek from a priority mail envelope(used). I laid out a quarter inch spine and punched stations for keith smith's sewomg called Descending X's. It's a sewing style that I have never really been attracted to, in fact the page hasn't been marked in anyway, which in 1,2&3 section sewings is an oddity. Most pages in the book are quite abused, post-its, coffee splashes and tabs mark all the pages I've read and refered to often. (I tend to refer tot he books while drinking coffe- it sets that tone for my day and helps me to think in terms of binding. I refer to it as some may refer to their bible. Sad but true. I find it gives me a lot of guidance and direction in my binding. Refering to a style every moreing helps me to design my own styles. This is a whole other entry from what i was getting at!)

I printed and trimmed 10 seets to size, folded and gathered them. I then punched the stations. Wrong. Completely freaking wrong!- not just upside down but also backwards. So I had to retrim the back cover, which I had designed to be a matchbook style closure. Thats gone in the finished book. I have the idea in my head so maybe next time.

I like how some of the descneidng Xs came out, but not many. I think it's an attractive if overly fussy binding. It requires a lot of attention to detail, which i was,CLEARLY, lacking when I bound this book. Luckily it's just for me and for reference.

I did learn something from this book. One is that I don't like when the upper part of the X is as long as the tail. Two is that I do like it when the upper partof the X is half the length of the tail. It's compact and functions on the spine. the fussy detail of the sewing is visible and quite nice. IN the first instance the X is long and drawn out. It's quite unattractive.

So I'll be making one of these for every 2 months and then make and slip cover forthe assortment.
Without further Adu here's the spine:

The first pic is the whole thing. the second is a picture of what I like and don't like. I like the first finished set and don't like the second set.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Finished Smooth Black Goat Journal



I wrote about this journal the other day. The cover is the hide that I found stuck in a drawer. I think I really like goat hide, too bad its so darn expensive and hard to find. This one happened to be from Alberta and cheap on eBay.

Anway, it's up on eBay now.

The last Several Days- in a long rambling entry!

Yesterday at the day job I had a wedding order to make. Not a bad bit of business for the man, but I also wanted to take pics for my portfolio. I took my camera, tripod and backdrop with me to work. It involved me taking down my journal shooting area. Which was fine as I was able to revamp it and make things better. I’m going to pick up another halogen light so that the lights are brighter and I can take pictures at all hours. That will wait until after my next paycheck. I want a light that has a lot more flex in the arm, this one is great but I need something with a little more directionality.

I’ve finished all the eBay line covers. I have a large back stock of around 12 books. I guess you could say that’s not really large, but I would come back and tell you it is for me. I usually make them as I go and place them on eBay as I make them. So I average 4 to 6 books per week plus custom orders. I pushed myself over the last week to really get more done. I found that in 2 weeks I could make and finish at least 16 of the eBay line and some custom orders. And that is with a 40 hour a week DayJob! Imagine what I could do if I only made books. MMMMhhhhhmmmmm, that’s what I’m talking about!

So I have 3 more of the eBay line that I finished. I just loaded them to the computer and haven’t had time to edit them and get them ready for Photobucket. I’ll do that soon and then I’ll post the pics.

Today I’ll be loading up several journals to eBay, my last black leather for awhile (I’m out of black leather!), a distressed, a cocoa brown and a deer hide. I’ve got several other journals waiting in the wings ready to go too, a whole dozen!

So starting today I really start to concentrate on the Pastors order. I’ve finished 5 of his books and I’m waiting on the black leather to arrive to finish his covers. The other things I’m going to do is make a special order form that I can refer to an order at a glance and know exactly what it is, sort of like the form I made for the DayJob.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I like this one



I've been working on getting a backstock on my ebay line of journals for the last couple of weeks. So far I've completed 9. I have 3 more covers to go and i'll have 12, freeing me up to work solely on the Pastor's order. I just bought another distressed hide and I've got perhaps 3 more black hides coming. I've got a cove that I discovered hidden in a drawer from the first hide I ever bought- I had cut a small journal sized cover and backed it with really cool black and white fabric, I'd alsopaired it with paper and a thong and tossed the whole thigns in a ziploc and then hide it away on a drawer. Well i found it and I can't wait to bind it. It's goat hide, stiff and smooth, strangely enough, it still smells like leather! Got to love ziploc.

Anyway the journal that I've got here, is a distressed sheep hide backed with this wonderful handmade paper printed with I'm not sure what the writing is? Arabic maybe? I cut a series of slots on the spine and sewed it with the long stitch and then went back through and added Xs.

I though I might take a moment and explain whythe Xs. When signatures are sewn to the spine through slots and not alternated sometimes the slots that aren't sewn down gape and are unsightly. I find it happens more on soft leather backed with softer, washi style papers. I'd have expected it with other paper- stiff rattley papers. The Xs serve to hold the cover spine to the spine of the book block elminating that unsightly gape. Not to mention it looks pretty cool. I'm thinking of toying with some other patterns to eliminate the gape.

Anyway, for whatever reason this cover came out really nice, the threads aligned themselves exactly where they should, very little unevenness and well spaced across the spine. I think I'm geting better with sewing to slots. After all for how long did I sew into stations only?

Anway, this is one of my favorite journals as of late.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

5 for a Custom Order

I've been working on a custom order for 15 to 20 journal, all either dark brown or black, 48 pages, 2 signatures with my envelope style flap and thong closure.

I've got 5 sewn up, ready to be trimmed and finished. I choose a fast stitching pattern, a variation on the long stitch. One of them is the machine style stitch from Keith Smith. Usually the sewing takes me longer than the covers, but in this case, the covers have been taking me a lot longet than the sewing.

getting pages square to the cover

I've been asked how to get the pages square to the covers. Or how to line up the book block so that it's square to the covers. Here is how I do it!

I start with a finished cover, leather cut to size and backed with a paper.

I then get out my trusty right anlge square! Its a mini square that I found at a salvage store in maine. It's about 2 inches on the short side and 3 on the long. It's very small, and in this picture covered in Leeho 2way glue. That's accidental! I use this with a sample signature (i.e. one I mispunched the stations.) to line up where I want the spine to be and to make it square.

Here's my signature and square. I pick one side to be my assumed square side. In this case, and most, I picked the bottom edge of my cover. I lay the signature on the cover, leaving some room on the fore-edge from the front cover and slip the square along it's side. I line the edge of the square against my assumed square edge of my book and then line up the signature along the square. (Did that at all make sense?)

The next step is to insert the spine template. It's a 1 inch wide piece of scrap paper cut to the same height as my signatures. One side is coated with Leeho 2 way glue, allowed to dry and make it removable. You just need enough ofthe glue to keep the template from shifting as you draw your spine pattern and cut or punch it.

This is the tricky bit. I hold the signature, all lined up and straight to the covers , down firmly, and don't allow it to shift. I then bring my template in and line it up against the signature. I smooth it down and removethe signature.

This is what it looks like when I'm done with the lining up. I've eye balled a distance from the top and bottom of the book. I give the bottom a little more space, because it gets more damage and abuse than the top.

Now I'm ready to measure out my slots or stations. I line up my clear fiskars quilting ruler along the template.

After I line up the ruler i measure out where I'd like to see the slots or stations. I use my trusty right angle square and the ruler to measure things out in a pleasing manner.

If I'm doign stations rather than slots, I draw a series of lines that go the length of the template to show where the signatures will line up.

I find the template to be the only way to get the spine straight along the cover. In the early days i measured from the fore-edge and it could sometimes be quite ugly, especially if my foredge were off a fraction of a degree.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

not every day can have a gold star

Everyday can’t be a perfect day. I came home from work today and pretty much crashed all I was able to do was cook, eat and fall asleep. The fact that I’m updating is pretty motivated for me right now. That being said I did drive to ACMoore and purchase linen thread in black and white, since Joanne’s won’t special order it for me. (Don’t get me started, I go through 100 yards of this stuff in a month, I told them so and they won’t order it. I even offered to buy the WHOLE case, and still no.) I like ACMoore 100% more than the local Michaels- everything is in stock, organized and the staff helpful. That being said I was able to get my Leeho glue, 9 rolls of thread and more paper for my business cards, in 15 minutes and I was out the door.

After the drive, no wonder I was tired. Driving on RT.114 through Salem was not a bright idea at 3:30pm on a Friday. Not smart at all. After that I headed home with every intention of working. I did little work listing 3 journals on eBay and getting little else done. Pretty sad.

What is even more sad is that I don’t have another real day off this week, I work only 4 hours on Sunday, but it’s going to be a brutal 4 hours of counting. I’ll be able to get a lot done before that. Hopefully I’ll get the folding done for all the Pastor’s journals. I’m in process of ordering more leather for his journals. I’d love to find a local tannery that would let me go in and see the leather before I buy it. I love brad’s leather (from upstate NY) but I’d like to get things closer to home too. I’d of course love to get things cheaper too. I have to say though; Brad’s leather is pretty damn good.

Friday, June 17, 2005

day at a glance

That aside I feel pretty accomplished due to the large amount of work I completed. I finished, in this order:
1 custom order for 2 3-signature journals
9 covers for a 15 to 20 journal custom order, I cut and backed them, so all I have to do is figure out what sewing style I’m going to use for them and lay it out.
Cut down 2 sets of 10 signatures
Finshed 4 eBay line journals, devising a way to fix the screwed up sewing pattern I made on the last of my gold deer hide spine (I double cut the spine, laying them out twice and then cutting twice. In this rare case measuring twice before cutting didn’t work, I’d already cut them, though I didn’t know it.) What really stinks about this particular screw up is that I did it not once but twice, to both the deer covers I had left. The sewing pattern I used is a modified long stitch, continuous. It looks great, really dense along the spine, but takes a lot longer to sew.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

4 of the eBay line


Custom Order #2 for the day

This book is very similar to the last I posted and is in fact for the same order. Again I went with a simpl stitch and I varied it form the last. I made the top staions align and varied the stations inside the sewing. I like it. It's subtle and nice.

The journal size is 5.5h X 8.5w (inches) and 60 pages. All the same specs as the last too.

Custom Order

I've been working on this special order for 3 days, mainly thinking of what style of sewing to use. Because it only has 3 signatures I wanted to use somethign a little different. Slots could have been done, but what a pain in the butt to do for only 3 signatures. I also considered doing all 3 signatures in the same stations along the spine, but it wasn't doing it for me. It made the pages bunch upin an udly bump along the spine. So I refered to my Keith Smith book 1 2&3 signature sewings and decided that simple was better. I chose a modified continuous saddle stitch. Simple yet very elegant.

This leather is gorgeous. Smooth, silky; speaking texturally: sensual. And I'm quite in love with it. I didn't want the sewing to be so amazing it would detract from the leather. This is one of those few hides that I've decided must stand out from the sewing. This sewing is simple, in natural linen to stand out and compliment the deep darklightly distressed color of the leather. the flap edge is rough but still controlled. I added the pen holder that has become something I use on almost everything. It's so simple yet makes so much sense.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Loaded 2 up to eBay

I loaded these 2 journals up to ebay:

I finished them a couple of days ago.

They are these 2:

Finished 3 tonight

I finished these up tonight. 3 journals. 2 distressed and one cocoa brown leather. All with long stitching and some decorative X's along the spine. You can't see it on the cocoa brown book, but trust me, its there, along with a faux endband.

So yeah, I'm exausted. I'm going to bed.