Sunday, August 28, 2005

HAD a lost post

Yesterday I wrote out a long rambling post about an assortrment of things. I'll spare you the drivel and get straight away to the good stuff.

My obsession with the moleskine knock offs- now better known as Hedgies or hedgehogs is waning a bit. I've made a giant stack that I'll slowly be auctioning off on ebay as the feeling hits. Fabric hedgies will be special order only, as they are actually more work than the leather, go figure. Ther fabric went for way to little $$$ on eBay and the leather was inconsistant, just like normal. I've got a stack of things to photograph and list tonight, so I'll have fresh picks for next week.

Next week will be interesting. It's the first time in nearly 3 years that I've had Labor day off. I'm heading to Maine for some quality time with my folks. I'm hoping to get some time in painting but I know I won't, i'll at least take my materials with me. I'm hoping to bring back my sewing frame and a few other art supplies. I'm taking some book binding thigns with me and i'll sew2 books like mad while I'm there. I tend to not do much of anything while i'm up there, so I t will be good for me to take things to do.

I've got a large stack of covers cut and ready to be backed and filled. I've got to order more hides soon. I'vegot a couple of partials and whatnot but I need a few more full sized hides. this last distressed hide was particularly fantastic, even if it was tiny. It had a lot of areas where it ws dark and light making nice patterns on the hide.

So the agenda for today- finish up listing on eBay, photos, back hides and cut paper!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

wordy wordy wordy

After some trepidation filled thought I decided to list my moleskine style on eBay. I can’t fund the “research” without selling some of them, as much as I would like to hoard away my first dozen or so books, I have to make a go at making them work for me as much as I like to make them. I have a tendency to focus on one style and learn as much as I can about it, and in the process of my research I make a lot of books, I’m sitting next to a shelf full of prototypes I’ve made- around 50 or so, and this is after culling the ones that didn’t work because I missed a step in the pattern. That being said I also have a bunch of really ugly bindings sitting next to me, but it’s good to look at those in reference of being ugly. So in an effort to fully explore this moleskine style I’m going to sell off some of the first I’ve made. Of course I’ve given away a bunch of them as well, and I have two more that I’ve deemed unacceptable for sale- either the spine is screwed OR I screwed up the leather.

What I’ve learned thus far about the moleskine style- with heavy card or cover stock it’s easy to get the gluing right but with soft ABSORBANT leather it’s really easy to screw it up. Stiff leather is easiest, i.e. cowhide but not my favorite. I’m determined to make the sheep hide work. I know it can but I need to find way of it working consistently without a lot of trimming. I don’t want to cut the leather a full inch too large and have to trim off a half inch every time I make one. The idea behind these is that I’m able to use some of the scrap pieces I’m wasting now. Selling it on eBay for peanuts isn’t so great.

So I need to do some of the following: make a new leather template for the Moleskine size; figure out the easiest way to bind up multiple blocks; buy new clamps for the purpose OR make a gluing press/clamp; figure out if it’s worth it for me to buy a small plane for shaving my book block edges or to not cut them at all (this is an idea I’ve been stewing in my head- adapt a wood plane- smaller size for shaving down the edges of my books easily getting rid of that ratty ugly edge, I’m pretty sure it can be done but the question is how (these are the times when I REALLY miss my Father’s decked out wood shop.)

The place I’m trying to avoid is taking this to the level of the little hardbound books I used to make- the thing I loved about those is that they were tiny and hard cover but I got peanuts for them. So I stopped making them (I discovered a stack of the davey board that I had precut to size….)

Anyway, I have an early morning so I’m off to bed. I’ll blog som pictures before I goof my Moleskines.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

hedgies continued

I'm deeply invloved with this hedgehog style of binding. I tend toget like this- obsess ov er a new binding. I might explain this by the fact that I never do any glue based bindings, and this binding style, while a sewn binding is super string because of the glue. I hate that the sewing is almost completely hidden, but at teh same time I do like how tough the finished book is.

I'll post some pics later but I made some with LEATHER covers. I'm pretty excited at this possibility. It takes it one step ahead fo the moleskin in my opinion- leather is super tough. The only difference is that the cover is much softer than with paper or the originial. If I do offer these for sale it will be in limited quantities and maybe just special editions? I'm not sure how to handle it.

What I do like is that it lets me use leather pieces that I normally wouldn't have been able to have with my previous sizes. what's great about this is that I"m going to be able to use more of the leather than I would have been able to before. I'll have less scraps.

I've got 16 covers to glue up and back tonight, as well as some of the paper for that. I've already got a load of pre-cut paper from ages ago. I'm planning on Setting aside half the small sized journals for GM for her special order. I've got a few more journals that I can offer her, but for her purposes the Wausau paper is just not going to cut it. There were several journals in her last grouping that had the wausau paper, and I'm pretty displeaqsed in general with the paper. It's great for writing journals, lined and unlined but it's not so great for anything else. I should say that it's good for general use sketching, but not for washes.

I foudn a deal at Charrette on paper- some clearance on large sheets of lightly colored drawing paper and also on 80 sheet reams of Eaton paper- 25% cotton, laid texture and 24lb. It's great paper right up there with the Strathmore that I'm so in love with.

I ordered a load of thread from JohnNealBooks.Com- a great little website of bookbinding do dads and tools. i can't wait for it to come in. I've pretty much had it witht eh overwaxed thread I've been getting. Where I've been using so much thread lately the differing quality of the different threads has been astounding. The thread from ACMoore being of decent quality 90% of the time, the thread from Michaels being way too waxed and good about 60% of the time and the thread from Joannes being of questionable quality 80% of the time I'm pretty fed up. There are only so many knots one can put up with. the joannes thread has been the worst- 4 or 5 knots per spool and wax balls all over those knots making it impossible to work with it. And the Michaels thread has been fibery- I'll sew somethign up and flip it over only to notice that there are loose fibers all over the spine of the book.

So anyway, my exacting standards are going to be tested by the John Neal thread- if it' half the quality of the "pro binder's" thread I bought in Boston, I'll be stoked beyond all compare. That thread I've onlybeen able to use with the hedgies- it's too thin for my usual use, but it's so nice- stiff, it doesn't require heavy waxing and it doesn't tangle easily because it's nice and stiff.

pics later- coffee and work first.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hedgehogs forever

I’m been knee deep in Hedgehogs* for the last week or so. Needless to say it but I’m hooked just as I was before. It’s such a perfect size of a journal- pocket sized and perfect for on the go jotting of notes. The difference between these and what I used to make is that these are Smythe or hollow back bound. Meaning my stitching is hidden and I use GLUE! ARGHHHH the horror! I do quite enjoy them but I’m not sure I’m going to make them for sale, but more for gifts. I do quite love the covers, I miss bright pretty things when I work with leather all the time.

Smythe binding is a binding in which you sew the book block up and glue it to the cover using a nice flexible glue.

Without further adu, the books I’ve been working on:

*Hedgehogs are Moleskine knockoffs. Similar in appearance to moleskine notebooks but filled with the paper of your choice and cover material of your choice. For more information visit Yahoo groups and join Hedgehogs Forever group.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Finished Watercolor journal job!

The watercolor journal below was a long time in the making. I spent I don't know how long waiting for paper to arrive, it not arriving, putting in a new order among other things. today i had enoug o fthe waiting and drove myself to Charrette and spent way too much on paper. I lucked out and found a bunch of great paper on clearance but paid full on the Fabriano. Anyway, check out the stats on this journal:
6x5.5 inches
Fabriano Artisitco HP 140lb paper
100 pages of blissful paper (I dont like HP paper but his seems to have mroe "tooth" than others I've tried...)
1.5 inches thick
Premium dark mahogany distressed leather
Adhered to a printed green washi paper
The sewing:
Natural linen
eyelets at the stations
long stitch, false endbands and linking with a pattern in the center.

It's heavy and quite nice to hold, simply a fantastic experience. I'm very happy with it.



These 3 on ebay now



Wednesday, August 10, 2005

just finished-giant

I just finished this giant journal, it's for a custom order and I'm pretty excited at how well it came out.

the stats:
smooth black sheep hide adhered to a printed washi paper
360 24lb acid free lined Wausau Ivory colored pages
18 signatures
unbleached linen thread waxed
False end banding, linked stitches and an X pattern inthe center of the spine
raw flap with strap to hold it closed

It's 6X9 inches and about 2 inches or so thick, and hopefully they guy who ordered it likes it!

On ebay- ending soon

I have a journal up on ebay endong soon.

It's here

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Whooo Hoott

Its been blisteringly humid here in the fair town of Wakefield and I swear parts of my body are melting off me.

The pollen count is amazingly high as well so those of us with Tree Pollen allergies it's been the worst of the worst. All that being said Ihave some news!

The guy who ordered 10 identical journals, lines for his grooms men backed out at the last minute. So I have 10 lined journals that I'll be auctioning off on eBay, they'll be up there for $24.99 each and auction stylings. I'm out $249.90. I'm pretty peeved about the whole thing and the experience (it's the 2nd time in 2 months that this has happened!!!) has taught me several things: I need to take a deposit! So I've come up with what I think is a fair deposit plan:
50% up front for most custom orders, anything with lines will be 75%. The rest with shipping will be billed before shipping. I'm toying with making it policy that the refund is non-refundable but I'm not sure yet.

I've been pretty peeved about this and had expected everythying to go as planned. I've not heard from the guy since a couple of days before i finished and well, it stinks.

I'm nearly finished with 2 more custom orders and I have to pick up paper tomorrow. car issues prevented me from heading to Charrette to get materials alst week, and this weekend allergies were killing me. Let's not talk about the day job, let's just not!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

10 nearly identical journals

these 10 journals are for a special order. They are 10 journals, all with dark chesnut brown distressed coversbacked with a tan lama li paper, to match what a sueded interior would look like for the back of the leather. There are 200 pages of lined wausau paper, 24lb. It's all sewn together twih a long stitch and deco Xs and false endbands. It's quite an impressive stack, weighing somewhere around 5 pounds. Thank goodness for priority mail flat rate envelopes! Hopefully the gentleman likes them and pays up!

I don't get out until late tomorrow and i don't know what I was thinking that I should work until 3 on a crappy day like teusday.. garh.

Anyhow, take a peak at the pics, and scroll down and visit my ebay auctions, still crazy low prices on a couple of great water color journals.

Monday, August 01, 2005


Well, i must say that I've been remiss in my studio blog duties this past week! You'll have to accept my apologizes, I've had a few issues at the DayJob that required nme to work a total of 7 days this week. Yeah 7 days, it stinks but it had to be done. Firgive me. When I wasn't working at the DayJob I was hurriedly finishing a custom order for 10 nearly identical journals to ship today. I finished them by the skin of my teath and the hair on my chiney chin chin (we won't talk about it) luckily it's all done now.

I'll post pictures of them later, it's a pretty impressive lot when you look at them all together, a b ig fat stack of small journals.

That all being said and done, I've got 6 auctions on eBay ending today! Most of the bids are ridiculously low! So check them out here-->crazy lowq priced journals on ebay! These austion include 2 watercolor journals, a large sized journal and a couple of pocket sized journals. Check them out!

PIctures later I promise! (okay so maybe tomorrow!)