Wednesday, January 31, 2007

the new job

I didn’t get to announce the great news! The job that I mentioned below that I was interviewing for on Monday I was offered and accepted.

What does this mean in terms of the studio? Well I won’t be so darn tired after I get out of work. (I hope anyway.) While the new position is with the same company it is a less physically demanding job and should leave me with enough energy after work that I can have time and be awake long enough to work in the studio. It also means that I can work a regular schedule, essentially 6 to 2:30 every day and I should (hopefully) have my weekends off and I’ll have 2 days off in a row, which never happens now. Basically I’m hoping this job will leave me with more time to work on studio related things and will leave me with more energy.

This position is physically further away but due to where and how I’ll be driving I’ll really only be on the road an additional 15 minutes. I almost forgot to mention that I'll be starting the weekend after valentines day.

Sorry for the text-laden posts these last few days but I swear I’ll get to some nice pictures ASAP.

it's falling down around my ears!!!

I thought that I had an easy fix on my hands when the pipe below the sink became dislodged and water leaked all over the place. I took a look at it and thought that it would be a quick and simple repair.

That night I hooked it all back up in 10 minutes or so. There didn’t seem to be any more water coming form the pipe under the sink. So I put the heater under the sink and let it dry out the very saturated bottom of the cabinet. The next morning I got up made my coffee, only when I rinsed the pot I heard a familiar dripping of water that wasn’t inside the pipes, looking below my sink I saw water dripping along the bottom of the pipe I had reconnected the night before. Cursing my lack of skill with a monkey wrench I got myself under the cabinet. Only to find that the leak was not from the pipe I had reconnect my sub-par monkey wrench skills had bee enough to tighten the pipe and connectors. What my skills with a wrench could not fix was the ancient copper tube under the sink that had corroded over time to become a very effective sieve.

When I pulled the pipe from under the cabinet I was met with a great deal of corrosion, and a nasty white sludge that had probably kept the leak slow over the past few years, and of course the last year and a half of this house’s existence was unoccupied so that sludge was probably hardened into a cement.

I then drove my butt to Home Depot purchased the wrong items for repair came home screwed up the repair. Royally ticked myself off and then drove back to home depot bought the proper tools and items for repair. When I came home with the right stuff the repair took me all of 20 minutes, including clean up time.

Obviously this took the majority of my day off to accomplish.

I didn’t get to spend much time in the studio at all. I did have just enough time to tear down 3 books worth of Stonehenge paper in 3 colors and stitch them up into book block which are resting in the press until I get home from work. Tonight they will get glued into blocks and then hopefully the next day end up in book form.

I also have finished the final format for a book I’ve been working on for 2 months now. While I was under the sink I gave the book a lot of thought, it’s funny how some around the house items are pretty mindless and I can think of other things. Although an overriding thought during my stay under the sink was that I really hope that nothing else goes wrong with the plumbing ‘cause I really hate it, really hate it. I also thought a lot about how the house is structurally sound but little things like pipes falling apart and the toilet running are probably going to happen a lot over the next few years.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I have a group of auctions ending today or tomorrow. The auction ending today ends around 6pm Eastern time. That’s for the book press. You can see the auction here. and the original post about it here.

I’m hoping that tonight after my interview I can actually get a chance to get my butt into my studio. I’ve been so busy with household chores that I haven’t been able to work in my studio much at all. It’s been one thing after another with the house too. Last night the pipes under the sink became dislodged and water from the dishwasher leaked all over the floor. Luckily it was just age and use that loosened the pipe and it was a simple fix, as a matter of fact the fix went faster than the clean up. With the recent cold snap here I was worried about frozen pipes so imagine my surprise when I went into the kitchen to find water everywhere. It was quite horrifying.

(Now that I think about it I don’t think that I’ve mentioned my interview here…. I’m interviewing for a new position within the company that I currently work and I’m pretty excited. The job is right up my alley, and I think I stand a good chance. I’ll write ore about it later, probably both if I do and or don’t get the position. Man, I hope I do!)

Thursday, January 25, 2007


THe notebook that I wrote about last night was featured on!!!

Notebookism is one of my favorite websites. One of few that I check every morning before I go to work, it's set to open in Firefox with the rest of my email services!

Click the link above to ekc out notebookism entirely, and if your only interested in my book click here!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Nearly Done

This hedgehog is up on eBay right now, with one day left, and it's only at $9.99 right now. It's filled with Fabriano Artistico in antique/natural white cold press 140lb paper. Check it out, link below.

It will be up on ebay here!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Strathmore 500 series Paper

So I dipped into my Strathmore 500 series paper stash and ripped down several sheets into pages for these covers. One is on eBay and one is on etsy. I stu with simple sewing patterns and I think they turned out well.

This little journal is 124 pages of Strathmore 500 series charcoal paper. Simple linking long stitch in black Irish linen. It's on etsy here!

This also is Strathmore 500 series paper, 148 pages. It's a alternating long stitch in natural unbleached Irish linen. It's on eBay here!

on eBay right now

The JOurnals blow are on eBay right now:
You can find them here.

I promised a picture

The pictures below are pictures of the watercolor sketchbook that I made from my unknown stash of watercolor paper, unknown that I can't remember the brand or type all I known is that it's 100% rag, white, 140lb, and cold press. IT tore beautifully and made the most wonderful deckled edges ever. I covered it in blue cowhide, with an elastic, a pocket and I can't wait to use it.

I did tell myself no more sketchbooks until I fill some of the many that I already have, but I just can't resist, I'm in love with this little book.

I used my new press r this book and I've got to say- perfect covers!

Monday, January 22, 2007

a list of sorts

I stitched up a couple of journals the day before last but haven’t had a lot of time to work on getting them uploaded, due to well, as you read below life commitments. So I have a huge laundry list of things to do for tomorrow, not much of which has to do with getting the electrical finally hooked up in the room upstairs and the majority of which has to do with bookmaking.

I plan on making a few larger format hedgehogs, probably in 5x8 or something similar and in that Fabriano or the Stonehenge I have stored up. I’d like to tear down sheets into sizes that leave me with no scraps. That would make me really happy. That being said I am on the verge of buying new leather.

So tomorrow you can expect to see books listed on etsy and eBay as well as a fe new announcements, about the shop for my brother.

Book Presses

Figured that this deserved a post all it’s own. After I bought my bookbinding press on eBay a year ago, I knew that I‘d need something with a little more. . . Oomph. So I gave it to my Dad and asked him to reverse engineer the thing and add strength to several specific points:
#1 the cross brace
#2 the uprights
#3 the base

I also asked him to make the things perform a little more smoothly, get rid of the nuts and bolts on the handle so it was more comfortable to use, hide some of the mechanical aspects of the top brace and in general class it up a bit. He did this and then turned the project over to my brother. I’m pleased to announce that he’s now able to produce them on a small scale- 2 or 3 per month. He can also produce them in other colors and we‘re going to come out with a chart so people can choose the color they would like.

For now we’re focusing on eBay but I’m going to make him an Etsy shop and let him stock it. Hopefully he’ll be able to take this and go with it. Right now I’m dealing with all the money issues for him and dealing with the fees associated with eBay. Pretty soon everyone will be able to buy directly form him. Exciting news.

That being said I’ve been using one of his presses for about a month now and I’ve got nothing but rave reviews. It’s been taking all the pressure I could ever use on a hedgehog and the quality of the hedgehogs I’ve been making has only gone up since using this press. My covers are tight and perfectly smooth, not a hint of curl. I’ve also found that I have far less swell in my spine. When the damp spine is pressed down with this it really flattens it out. I’m going to mess around with some hard cover books soon I’ll make some hard covers for so Coptic books I’ve been thinking of for a few months.

Anyway you can find my Brother's press for sale on ebay here!

Here are a few pics to whet your appetite:

Sunday, January 21, 2007

let there be light

Phew. What a hellish amount of work. I just spent about 8 hours installing electrical wires into the upstairs bedroom. It was a ridiculous amount of work to lay in 20 feet of wire and put in 2 electrical outlets. There were several steps involved.

First I had to go around the room with the circular saw and cut 2 grooves one half inch in depth in the baseboard. That sucked but not as much as the next step; which was to chip the wood from between the 2 grooves using a chisel, and to make sure that the depth of the groove was one half inch or greater. That took the most time I am happy though that the builders used cheap pine as it made my job so much easier, I can’t imagine the pain I would be in if they had used oak or something harder.

After all that I had to decide where I wanted the electrical boxes. I should have picked where I wanted the inner one first as I knew I didn’t want it in a certain spot. It ended up there anyway as I started from the end box….. . I’m a little mad at myself for that one. The box ended up needing to be in a spot where there was and is a crack and because I didn’t just shift myself down a foot I now have some more plastering to do. After putting in the wire I now also see that I probably could have gotten by with a mere 50 feet of wire, instead of the sale I found on 250 feet. I put wire in the groove and then kept it in place with some insulated staples.

Attaching the outlets to the wire was the easiest part of the job, on the back of the box was a clear diagram of how to wire those up so that was a piece of cake. Those went in smooth.

Somehow I’m thinking that the job should have taken far less time than it did. I think that now that I know what I’m doing t will make it far easier for the next wall.

My lower back and thighs are killing me. I’m sure tomorrow will be painful. I'll be calling the electrician to check my work and hook it all up to the circuit breaker.

NOtbook related but it's what I've been doing all day.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ending tomorrow

I have 3 books on eBay ending tomorrow.

They are stil at super low prices.

I"ve been busy with work. I'll hopefully post more tomorrow, though I'm learning how to wire a room tomorrow and Sunday. If I post again, you'll know if it went well or not!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fabriano Hedgie

I dipped into my stash of Fabriano the other night, tore down a sheet into hedgehog sized sheets, folded them and got them ready. 1 sheet makes 1 hedgehog. Pretty sweet, considering I bought a fat stack of Fabriano Artistico quite some time ago and have used some of it for books but mostly its just sat there waiting. So it was nice to tear it down into pages. It made quite a sweet little hedgehog too. I also dipped intot he unknown watercolor paper and tore that down as well, pictures of that will follow in a bit. But I love the torn edges m the hand torn sheets.

It will be up on ebay here!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Book PRess

I put my book press up on eBay 6 days ago. It will end tomorrow around noon.

It's a great little press. I used it recently to press my hedgehogs, and it worked wonderfully, giving just the right amount of pressure to perfectly press the covers to the block and kept everything flat.

I foresee that someone out there is going to get a press at a great price.

As a reminder here are a few pictures:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

2005 Journal

This is a journal that I made and used at the start of 2005. I recorded my thoughts for a few months in it. I used mainly Pitt Pens, Pigma Pens and watercolors as well as various and assorted emphemeria that I found along the way. IT's colorful and documents some time of rage that I had as well as some very good times.

It has pages made from Strathmore watercolor paper 140lb, is stitched with irish linen and is made of dark chocolate brown sheep hide, super smooth ans soft with a unique pebble pattern. I love it.

Travel Journal- Maine

Travel journal for my visits to my parents.

Big Hard Cover Sketchbook on YouTUbe

Go to YouTube see a larger version.

Also i started a group on YouTube for videos of sketchbooks and art journals me appropriately enough ArtJournal. You can sign up or view videos here.

YouTube Group

I created a YouTube group called ArtJournals. I'm interested in other people's videos of art journals.

You can see and join the group here:
ArtJournal Videos

Binding Books

I started a Google Group called Binding Books. Feel free to head over there and sign up the page s here:

Book Binding

I'm hoping to make it an active community and have a lot of discussion about book binding.

So head over and sign up!

Binding Books

I started a Google Group called Binding Books. Feel free to head over there and sign up the page s here:

Book Binding

I'm hoping to make it an active community and have a lot of discussion about book binding.

Time of my life

This is a small watercolor sketcbook I worked on in 2002 and 2003. THe pages are thick HMP made in Nepal. the book was made here as well. I had purchased the book with the intent of rebinding it into something I liked a little more, as I ripped it apart it became apparent that was going to happen, the binders had used some harsh stiff and non flexible glue that was not reversible. It made the whole thing a pain in the bum and I abandoned the project as fast as I started it. Needless to say i simply kept the book the way it was but added a sleeve in the back that allowed the end sheet to slide and allow the book to open. The paper in this thing is thick and stiff, very nice for water color or gouache.

I have again done the horrific thing with this journal and torn out pages. When I worked on this journal I really looked at the journal as a means to an end and not a finished product. Tearing out pages meant nothing, or not much. As such pulling a page out and selling it didn't bother me at all. I sold many of the pages from this journal on eBay, they averaged about$50 for the 4x6inch pages. Not bad for me at the time as I was very poor and they funded my electric bill and my food bill.

Though I was dirt poor I loved that time I spent as an artist and making money off my art. It was seriously some of the best times of my life. I can only dream of devoting my life to art like I did those 2 summers.

Anyway onto the video, (see a larger version on YouTube.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Post mania

Holy Post Mania!!!

This journal is 4.5x6 inches and is swathed in thick 4oz cowhide in a mottled marbled pattern. There are 200 unlined pages hand torn from full sheets of Strathmore 500 series charcoal and pastel paper a 100% cotton fiber, acid-free paper that has a laid pattern. The color of this paper is sand.

The stitching is a simple elegant linking long stitch. In naturally colored Irish linen.

I bought stacks of paper a while ago and never really had the chance to use them, I had them in the boxes they arrived in and couldn’t real see them to think about using them in books. Now that I have a area for sheet storage I can see each of the stacks of full sheets and decide if I want to make a journal with Fabriano watercolor paper, Arches Text wove (just bought 30 sheets) or the assortment of colors of Stonehenge or Strathmore 500 series. I plan on going through my stacks of paper and making a few books.

I'm not sure where this little gem with go- ebay or

2 for a Custom Order

Also finished are 2 of the 3 to 4 books that are for a special order. These small sized journals, 4.25x5.5 inches, have Southworth 24lb, 25% cotton paper that is a flecked tan color; they call it Ivory Granite. I think its tan. They are lined as well. 200 pages stitched up with an alternating long stitch. I made the patterns related; each is the inverse of the other. I stitched one in natural unbleached Irish linen and the other black. I think they turned out pretty sweet.

These are both for a custom order, thus I can’t sell them to anyone but the person ordering them… But I would take orders for something similar.

3 chocolate hedgehogs

These 3 hedgehogs are interesting. 1 is made with chocolate brown sep hide and the other 2 are made with new leather, a mottled chocolate brown cow hide. Its super stiff and doesn’t require backing (I’ll wax philosophical about this in another post) and makes a damn fine hedgehog. I was particularly impressed with the stiffness of the leather when glued down to the stiff card end sheets I had put on the 2 hedgehogs. It does require some special care when cutting.

In other words, use a SHARP blade! I would also suggest that anyone working with a heavy weight leather like this NOT use their good rotary cutter, it dulls the heck out of it and it’s not worth it I would suggest my favorite tool – the simple box cutter or click knife. (BTW this is 3.5 to 4 oz weighted leather, my usual leather is 1.5oz this is a heavy weight leather.)

Back to the hedgehogs, these are lined 160 pages of 20lb Wausau ivory colored paper. OF course they are stitched in the normal hedgehog way, clamped and glued under pressure. I used the book press to adhere the cover and it was perfectly smooth. The leather is flat and tight to the book block with no evidence of curling or cockling. I love the book press, I he’d never really gotten to put it through it’s paces before I gave it to my Dad to sse if he could make a heavier duty stronger press. I must say that it’s sweet, and I do wish that I had room for both presses, but alas I don’t.

The hedgehog above is the new cow hide with a sheep hide inlaid corner. There are some letters and numbers punched into the edge of the hide here, I'm t sure what they are for, probably something to do with the leather and color, to keep track of it at the tanning factory.
This one is choclate brown sheep hide- super soft and smooth with a hint of darker spots in it.
This is ALL the cow hide, when I ordered it I wasn't sure of the "marbled" coloring, but seeing it in person really made me realize how cool this mottled brown is, like milk chocolate.

Anyhow 2 will be on etsy and one on eBay or some combination of that.

Old Book Press

I also listed my old light duty book press on eBay. I’m hoping it sells for a decent amount, but it may not. Its in great shape and I used it the other day on the current batch of hedgehogs. It provides just enough pressure to evenly press the covers of hedgehogs and keep them flat.

It’s here on eBay, take a gander or make a bid.


Phew! It’s been a crazy couple of days in the Comfortable Shoes Studio. There are a number of new and exiting thing either here or on the horizon! This the first tiem all week I’ve and time to stop and post.

First, last weekend we had a friend move in to stay with u for 4 to 6 months until he can find a place of his own- wow is that a big difference! While it’s nice and all it certainly does changes thing. Secondly, I have applied for a new DayJob, it is with my current company but off the sales floor and dealing with the computer systems with in the store. It’s not an easy job nor is it a hard job, but there is a lot to learn and I do like that. So learning and applying for the new position has required that I give the DayJob a few extra hours of my time, time I can’t really afford to give, but all the same I must.

I’ve been making books here and there, but I’ve been doing all the boring bits; cutting covers and folding paper as time has permitted. After a 10-hour shift at the DayJob I had to the studio and cut a few covers etc…I didn’t realize that I had been actually finishing off books in the short time I’ve been in the studio. 3 days ago I headed to the studio to see on my ready for spines shelf that I had a stack of a dozen books. So I spent Thursday night punching spines and stations in signatures. I can’t remember what day but one day this week I spent gluing up hedgehogs. Finally last night I set to work on stitching p some of the mammoth stack of journals that I had made. I finished 3.

I’ll give each type of journal it’s own post with pictures at that!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Quick String Pad Binding

I just posted another video to youtube, kind of a cop out though as it's just a series of stills strung together with music.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

NEw Fees

I'm starting to hate eBay again. They have raised the low end insertion fee to$0.40 cents and the percentage that they take after that to 3.25%.

I know that this doesn't seem like a lot but when you add all the fees and paypal fees together it end up being a lot, currently eBay takes something like 10% off the top of EACH journal I sell through them. This is going to to raise their take to close to 11%.

Ebay's business model seems to be get people hooked and then jack up prices. Rather than to focus on marketing and gaining new customers. A road to new profits shouldn't be gouging your current stable customer base but to gain new customers- with eBay this could be buyers or sellers; either way they win.

I'm pretty peeved. Not so mu that I'm going to nevr sell on eBay, but enough that etsy is going to see mroe and more of my books and eBay will only see 1 a week now.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

another verbal post, but read for mole skin

I put the 400 page journal up on etsy today (see link to the right) and I’ll be putting the other on ebay tomorrow.

My coworker J’s husband T works for a local press company and has access to a supply of left over papers. Mostly small amounts f paper left over from printing jobs that company has, so it’s odd papers in small-ish amounts. Shortly before Christmas J slipped me a couple of envelopes of papers. I glanced at them and didn’t really have time to sort them or look at them too closely. I noticed some nice colors and nice heavy paper, enough to make a journal in each shade. Good stuff. Today I took the papers down to the studio to take a closer look and put them away with the rest of the paper. The first envelope contained some of my favorite Strathmore papers in some of my favorite colors. The next envelope had the stiff and thick paper. I pulled the stack out and found a nice stiff card stock, with barely perceptible gray dots all over it; another parchment and then what looked like at first a super thick slick white paper with a texture on the back. When I flipped it over it was black, and had a moleskine texture! I think its mole skin. Essentially it’s a heavy white cardstock with a texture black vinyl coating. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it but it will be cool to play with. I think that I’ll be playing with it for personal use, as I’m not sure how much my designs would violate copyright.


I didn’t eat all day while I was at work so when I came home I was exhausted and tired Once I had a couple glasses of water and ate (we made a ham dinner, roasted carrots and potatoes and corn) I felt a lot better. I browsed the internet and relaxed for a little bit and then got down to the business of making art.

Essentially I glued up the 4 hedgehogs I stitched up last night and thought about the spine for the hidden pocket journal. I made a sketch and think that it will fit the theme of the journal. I’m toying with one or 2 other ideas before I settle on any one idea.

I also cut and folded the end sheets and pockets for some of the experimental journals that I give every year as gifts. Tomorrow I’ll see if I can get them folded and ready.

I realized that I’m pretty cerebral about my process of making books. I think about the spine design a lot before I ever put my pencil/pen to paper and sketch out ideas. Then I sketch out 2 or 3 ideas and 99% the time the idea I go with is one of those. Occasionally those ideas get morphed as I handle the materials. For instance the idea that I originally had for the hidden pocket journal was an elaborate long stitch with variations of linking along the spine. That was when I was working with the other leather. When I cut the new cover and put the patches on it (franken style) whole new ideas came to mind, once I handled the materials. My original ideas for the hidden pocket were stiff and worked form a different angle than the pockets, thee flow from the materials themselves and work better than my original ideas. Of course my original ideas managed to ‘eff up a rather large chunk of hide but I won’t talk about that now.

Anyway, the FrankenGiantJournal is coming along well. I’m not taking any progress shots because they will give away the secrets of the hidden pockets.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So much, yet no pictures

Last night when I got home from work I took a look at my bench and I couldn't see it. IN the holiday madness and family visiting I had let it get covered in culch. So I spent about an hour clearing it off and cleaning it. The great thing about the varnish is that a quick spray of windex and a wipe it's clean.

I have been on a roll today. I managed to get 3 6x9 covers cut from a new cow hide, 3,4.25x5.5 covers cut, folded paper for all of those and cut a few spines as well. I also made an emergency trip to AC Moore. I had called a couple of print shops in the area to find out about paper and printing. Since my printer only can handle 8.5x14 (legal) sized paper I needed to get someone to print on 11x17. I called around and no one carries nice paper in that size. Seems you can only get cheap 20lb bond paper. Not what this piece calls for. I was clearly ticked off about it and trying to figure out how to get the lines on the paper....

When the idea hit me to print out lines on a full sheet and get them to print it on my paper. I knew the person likes a particular paper and had used it with him before. So I made the trip to AC Moore and bought 2 large pads of the paper and cut the pages I needed down to 11x17. I gave the small local shop a call first and they refused to put my paper through their machine- fair enough, they don't want it gumming up the machine, so I called another place, same deal. SO I called Staples and sure enough, they decided they would do it. So I headed to Staples and they did the printing and the charged me the regular price.


Anyway. have 12 signatures, enough to make 2 books at the proper size with lines on 90lb Strathmore 400 series paper.

I bought a strap cutter on ebay a few weeks ago, and thus far I'd had only frustrations with it the straps I cut with it came out uneven and looking like I used a razor and no ruler, like I tore them off the hide, a mess. Today i figured out how to use it, and now that I'm getting better with it, it may be faster than ruler and razor, but I'm not convinced.

I have a large stack of books waiting to be sewn over the next few days.

In addition to that I did the sewing on a stack of lined hedgehogs.

No wonder I can't sleep I'm on a roll!

Monday, January 01, 2007

I'm on a roll with the journal that I've been working on for weeks now. After the major gluing screw ups I tossed the old one and started fresh- with a new chunk of hide and new patches... I decided to add a few eyelets to the cover to further Frankenstein the patches and I'm using a brown thread to stitch them on. So far it's working well. I like the look of the whole thing. It's coming along well along with the rest of the order. All the paper has been printed and cut. Tomorrow will be all about stitching up the small books and getting the local printer to print the pages. I really wish I had gone for the larger printer, ah well, the one I have does most of what I need to have it do.

I forgot to post pics of the press that Allen, my brother, made for me, based on the other press. He added a lot of strength to this one, I can crank it down until I can't tighten it any more and get a really great press out of it. I've got a few book blanks set up in it to show what it can do and stress it a bit. It's got 7.5 inches of upward/downward movement a stainless steel screw, steel support rods, and an 8x11 inch bed.
I can't wait to putt some hedgehogs in it tomorrow.

Allen has 2 more almost finished (with Square corners on the press plate) and I can take orders on it asap. They will be $90+ shipping, with a few up on eBay.