Monday, February 26, 2007

Allen's Etsy shop BookWorks

My brother Allen has an etsy shop., it's called BookWorks. He plans on having the aforementioned sewing cradles and of course his book presses on there. I'm pretty excited about it for him.

His etsy shop can be found here.

I'll have a link to the right side ASAP.

Sewing Cradle

Just a quickie before bed: This is the sewing cradle my brother made for me. It's 11 inches long and 6 inches high. It's made of solid pine. The boards that hold the paper are situated with a gap between them to allow an awl to pass between them.

I've put it through it's paces and it was wonderful. It's amazing what good well made tools can do to make binding easier.

These will be up on ebay, etsy and my brother's new etsy shop.
Another interesting item that I had my brother and father recreate/make for me is my version of the sewing cradle. For ages I worked with a cardboard cradle that I made after the pictures I saw on Volcano arts. It worked great. Then I decided I wanted something a little more stiff and permanent, so I designed and tried to make one out of wood, well my efforts with wood were crude at best but served to make a functional but ugly sewing cradle.

So when I went to Maine I took wit me my sewing cradle. Explained my original concept to my brother who said "Oh Yeah we can do that you just use this tool. What do you mean you tried to use the router to do that?" At which point my father said "Your lucky you didn't hurt yourself."

The result is a fantastic light weight 100% pine handmade sewing cradle. I put my nerw cradle through it's paces yesterday with the punching of 8 hedgehog blocks, and it ruled. IT sat flat on my table top and was stiff, allowing me to pucnh through more signatures at once than my old cradle. I'll post some pictures of it tonight.

Week 2

As many of you know I've changed jobs. I stayed with the company that I've been with for the last 4 years and switched to a position that is more in keeping with my interests as well as my temperament. I won't go into it too much here, but let's say that I'm a lot happier after a week of the new job.

ONe of the main reasons that I went for it is the regular schedule. IF this weekend is any example, after a brief nap I'll have very productive days working in the studio- I made 50 assorted notebooks and journals. (Swan a stack of yours are on that list.) That's a lot of work for a weekend and it pleases me greatly to know that I'll be able to reproduce that effort on most weekends.

Hopefully the upcoming weeks will leave me a little less exhausted than this week did. IT was the first week and all!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Recycled insides

This is what the inside of all the recycled notebooks looks like, on some of the larger books the "team member favorites" is along the top or bottom of the page, but essentially this is what they look like.

REcycled Sign Vinyl

I used to read a lot of online blogs and reports on recycling before I became bored with them. One of the things that a major recycling blog complained was that sign vinyl is overdone and too often recycled/reused to make bags or other items. (This is a bit of a rant so move down if you don't want to read it.) I clearly disagree. I'm pretty passionate when it come to recycling. I love the fact that I work for a company that sends it's vinyl signs back to a place for making into totes. I think that's pretty cool.

Let's face it sign vinyl is pretty terrible stuff for the environment, there's a reason it's the materials of choice for signs for the outdoors- this s*&t never breaks down. Where I work has signs from 10 years ago in the attic and its dirty but in good condition(the signs get used every spring.). IN landfills this stuff will be there forever. And let's not talk about what this crap DOES break down into when it does disintegrate, toxic nasty materials.

All of that is great reasons to use it to make bags (Think freitag) and also the covers of journals. The stuff stitches like fabric, and is easy to work with. It's heavy but light enough to comparable to nylon canvas. In other word this stuff is STURDY. I'm happy to give it a second life rather than send it to the landfill. I think more people should be encouraged to use this readily available material.

Rant OVer.

The covers are made from sign vinyl. In this case these are cut from a sign that was advertising nuts, so there is some lettering and a few little cartoons of a variety of nuts. The coloring is a chocolate brown. There are a variety of sized of these items. One set is 3.5X5.5 inches and 40 pages. The other set if 5.5x6 inches also 40 pages but with the addition of a hot pink recycled end sheet. These are all available on my etsy shop here.

Recycled Fleshy Ads

I call these the fleshy ads. They come form some of the same advertising posters are the other jotters, the only difference is that some of these have flesh tones and not necessarily words. Some do and others don't. I ove the variability of some of the advertising posters. I also like how durable the paper is. It's made to withstand some abuse in the stores so it's very tough. I haven't had to put one to the test yet but I'm willing to bet that they will outlast some of the other paper covers.

These like the other recycled jotters come in a set of 3. Each notebook has 40 pages of neehan paper, printed on every other papge with light green bands and the words "team member's favorites." They are individually machine stitched and hand trimmed.

They are available on etsy here.

Recycled AdWords Jotters

These jotters are 98% recycled. These covers are from advertising posters that hang inside a store. The paper is a very heavy stiff cardstock, probably 110lb printed on and then laminated on each side with a thin coat of vinyl. This makes the covers stiff and strong.

I then stack 10 sheets of 24lb recycled paper, neehan paper, of white and speckled in color a very pale tan. A good sturdy paper, that has been printed on in green ink to have a light band of green and some text and a logo. I was able to trim the logo off but the text remains, it says "Team Member Favorites."

This set of Jotters have the words from the ads as the covers. As such this can never be reproduced. Each one is individual. I think that the letters make interesting and abstract images. I made a huge stack of these for myself. I also made a lot of these for etsy. You can find them here on my etsy page!

These are mostly called for

I had a request for Jotters in a variety of colors. Canson makes their mein-teintes paper in 8.5x11in size, perfect for making jotters. On my way home on Friday I stopped at Charette and bought up a variety of colors, yellows and blues. They have a lot of great colors and I looked online and in some catalogs they carry a mixed color pack that I may have to pick up some time.

I had gone to my local crafts store and bought a package of "card stock" paper for scrap booking. I'm not sure whats going on out there in the scrap booking world but this paper was not cardstock, it was slightly heavy than regular paper, it was probably a 65lb paper rather than a 90lb paper I usually associate with cardstock. It's more cover weight paper for reports. Well it's just this side of useless for my needs. So it will end up as end sheets for hedgehogs and perhaps the pages of some hedgies.

Anyway, rant over, the canson paper was perfect. A nice texture and weight for my covers. I stacked Southworth linen textured 25% cotton, 24lb paper in ivory color wiht the canson and stitched it with the ecru and white thread combination. I dare say the off white thread looks good with all colors of paper, kind of the way Khaki pants look good with most colors of shirts.

I forgot to add these are also small cahier sized- 3.5x5.5 inches, and no pocket in the back.

For the Magpies

These little jotters are for the magpies out there!

For these I used acid free scrapbooking paper, in a nice textured variety that was too thin to be used as a cover on it's own so I laminated it to a stiff black cardstock. I let the covers dry for a few days under weights and then stacked the covers with ivory granite Southworth paper. I ran the stack through my sewing machine. I used heavy quilting cotton poly blend thread in ecru and white thread inside.

Each stack made 2 notebooks.

After pulling them off the sewing machine I folded the pages and cover, and then trimmed the fore- edges and head and tail. It was quite a process. Each stack made 2 books. These took a little extra work in comparison to the other jotters I make but I think they turned out quite well. So Shiney and pretty.

They each have 60 pages and are 3.5X5.5 inches. I didn't round my corners.

The green jotter above is on eBay here.

The above JOtter and the one below are on etsy here.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Allen's Book Presses!!!

My brother has been hard at work making book presses again. He’s got 2 done, and they are very nice. I’ve actually been able to physically handle them and stress test them this time. And I must say they are eve nicer than the one he made me! I particularly like the simple oil finish on these.

The press bed measures 8x11 and delivers enormous even pressure across the entire surface. The press will hold a 7-inch stack of books. Allen (my brother) has reinforced these presses with steel rod along the sides. This allows for more pressure from wood than is normal. All the guts are hidden away inside the wood so all you see is beautiful Maine grown wood. All the pieces are sanded smooth for a beautiful finish and a superior feel in your hands. He’s built this thing to last a lifetime of use.

It's listed on ebay here!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I’m toying with the idea of getting a paper guillotine, well it’s a pretty well formed thought at this point. But it’s a HUGE investment, a $300 piece of equipment, if bought on eBay. I might hold off a bit but I’m probably going to buy one soon.

Anyone have any recommendations about brands and size. I’m thinking all I’ll need is a 12 inch that cuts up to 300 sheets. With that I’ll be able to trim most of my books and cut stacks of paper into perfect little pieces. But what gets me is the shear volume of

Saturday, February 10, 2007


These little recycled notebooks are 85 to 95 pages. Filled with paper printed on one side that was rescued from the recycle bin at my job. I figured to reuse before recycling would be better. So I took the ream or 2. The covers are made from signs that I also rescued. AS such no two are exactly alike.

I’m pretty happy with how these turned out. The signs are always a little different and never work exactly the same.

Some are listed on my etsy account and one is on ebay here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


The one thing that I did that was different than other hedgies was that on the blue leather hedgie I left a envelope style flap and strap like my other journals. It will allow for maximum expansion and yet contain everything one might shove into it. It’s on etsy here.

This hedgie has the same paper as all the others and is listed on etsy here.

I loaded the following hedgie up to eBay today. It’s a little different than my usual because it’s made with Stonehenge paper, 140lb 100% cotton, and acid free. In terms of drawing it’s one of my favorites. I got hooked on it in drawing 1 in college. It was a required paper for that class and I hated that I had to buy expensive paper for work that I knew I wouldn’t save. I no longer have any of the work from that class but the one thing I’m left with is an appreciation of nice paper.

Little sections out of context.

These books are a gift for the coworker who took enough time out of her busy schedule to rain me for the position that I now have. Needless to say I’m pretty grateful about her spending the time to train me thoroughly without that training I don’t think I would have gotten the job.

I made the gift bag from a sign I scrounged from the recycling bin at work. The covers of these recycled notebooks are also made from the same sign. The inner paper is a heavy weight 28 or 32lb paper with some nice flecks in it.

These signs are MUCH stiffer than the signs I had before. They are made to be viewed from a distance so they look out of focus on the screen but I assure you- they aren’t.

I also found that when I cut these signs up that they can lead to some very. . . interesting imagery. And I may have to make a series of books based on this imagery, because it can be found on all the signs. An explanation, because these signs are big and they have pictures of people on them they have the normal folds and wrinkles associated with facial features. When I cut the face section out to utilize the guy’s smile and eyes, it left a section of his neck, and the fold where his chin met his neck. That fold when cut down to book size looked just like, well a shaved part of the female anatomy. For whatever reason I find this absolutely hilarious. So I may make a groups of “adult” get your mind out of the gutter books even though they aren’t really those parts of the body. The images remind me of the email/spam that went around a few years back of pictures just like that. Little sections of pictures taken out of context.

ending today

Just 12 hours left on the journal pictured below. You can see it here.

Also I was able to do a little work in the studio the other day so I have a few hedgehogs and I'm working on some recycled journals to list on etsy. I'll take some pictures of those later today and get them up quickly.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Work journaler

I am highly amused by this story:
Work Journaler

For many reasons, I think the main reason being that she went after unemployment and secondly that she was dumb enough to save it all on the work computer.

As someone who is a budding technology professional I can tell you that in terms of work computers someone is ALWAYS watching and everything you do on a work computer is always accessible to someone above you. It’s all very big brother but typically if your company owns the computer they can look at anything on it, nothing is private. And most company policies follow that rule.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hedgehog Spinework

I just loaded up pictures of my hedgehog spine work to my Flickr account. Check it out here:

it's been ages

I’ve been working on this book for what seems like ages, it has been months.

This book has 100 pages of Strathmore drawing paper, printed with lines. It’s 90lb or so and ivory in color. There are 3 hidden pockets within the journal. I’m not telling where they are because that would ruin the surprise. It has my usual flap and strap closure.

The really neat thing about this journal is the spine. Because of the Frankenstein style of this book the pine had special requirements. The franken part doesn’t transect the spine quite in the middle and it’s at an angle. So I had to take that into consideration when sewing the book. What I did was make the two sides of the book alike but not identical. When I design a spine I usually use a ruler and a triangle to be sure that all aspects of the spine are identical and are symmetrical. When I did that with this book it looked stiff and off. So I went to town on this spine freehand and eyeballed all measurements. I think that the small amount of looseness achieved by eyeballing the whole thing made all the difference in the world. The spine now fits perfectly with the rest of the book.

Integrated into the front cover is a PenSlip.

Anyway take a look at the pictures.


Another good thing going on this week, my brother’s presses are selling! He’s completely finished another and will send me pictures of it today so that I can list it. Which is pretty cool or so I think. I’ll post pictures and a link once he sends them to me.

good things

Because the craziness of the week I haven’t had a chance to write anything about the ebay and etsy sweep! Very exciting news, I’ve made a ton of great sales the last few weeks and because of it my etsy stock is very low. As a seller I suppose a lot of sales is a great problem to have but as a maker of those same items I’m taking a look at my stock and panicking ever so slightly, in a totally good way.

I did get to list the book below on eBay on Tuesday (seems so long ago) and you can see the listing here!

that's the plan stan

Holy Moly what a week! So I accepted my new position and my current boss went into panic mode. So I’ve been working like crazy these last few days. I’ve needed to have several meetings about what I do (buy flowers) and how I do it (practice makes perfect). That being said my boss’s nervousness made me a little nervous. So in addition to all that I currently do I had to spend a lit of time writing things down and thinking actively about what I do and recording it for the people who will be filling in while they hire for someone else.

So obviously I’ve been pretty darn tired when I get home.

So this week bookbinding has been on the back burner. Today however is another story, I’ll bin the studio all day. Or that’s the plan!

I have planned:

Cutting the spine into the cover of a very complex special order.

Gluing up 3 hedgehogs with Stonehenge paper.

Taking pictures of the hedgehog process.

Among several other things. I’m hoping to cut several covers today too.

Yesterday several half hides arrived, one jet black super smooth cowhide and another brown marbled finish. They are awesome hides. I can’t wait to cut some covers from them and see how they look. Normally I’m not a fan of cowhide, but I’ve started to like it for a few redeeming qualities, mainly it’s superior stiffness.