25 February 2012

Deer Valley travel journal 2012

Grungepaper cover
I got my travel journal done tonight, much to my great satisfaction.  Putting it together was very much a last-minute affair, and I was sewing the binding in the car on the way to the airport, but it got finished before we arrived at the parking lot.

Ribbon binding of 3 signatures

In desperation I had purchased an Amy Tangerine travel journal at Archiver's in the morning of the day we left, but when I got home & opened it I could already see the stitching coming apart.  Not impressed with that.

Close-up of center bead
and braiding
I ripped the stitches out of the binding and used all the inserts that had been there along with sheets from Archiver's that I had (8.5x11" in colors of something like Polar Ice and Natural Cream).  The recent publication of Pages inspired the binding, although I had to modify it a little to suit my project.  I love the ribbon I used, which I'd gotten to make bookmarks as gifts for those who bought my holiday cards last year, and the bead is a Trinkette from Michaels.

Title page (on kraft
paper in case the Distress
Stains didn't set

For the cover, I used a sheet of Grungepaper that I colored with Distress Stains and then set with my heat gun.  No time for stamping or other decoration!  I ran the top of a trail map my husband had brought me from an earlier trip this year through my Xyron and adhered it to the cover, then I stapled the acetate cover piece from the aforementioned Amy Tangerine journal over that.  (I had to cut it in half; the back part is on my back cover.)

After coming home, I did
take time to draw the
little vases I bought
I guess it really should have been my "Park City travel journal 2012" since I didn't actually ski this year, but oh well.

Opening page, including
small circular Zentangle
(I think I used the wine
bottle base to draw
the circle)
Using the inserts from the store-bought journal worked out quite well.  I had great places to attach things like lift tickets and menus to, and they provided an eclectic element of fun to the overall look.  That will be a great way to use up further scraps from my paper pile.  And not just in travel journals but for my holiday books as well.  Must remember this.

Plenty of blogs occupy my reading list, and while I do honor the effort that others put into creating a remembrance after the actual event is over, I have come to the conclusion that said approach will just not work for me.  Once it's over, I am ready to move on to a new project.  Tonight I was happy to insert all my ephemera into the journal, and I do still plan to print out a few photos and include them as well, but otherwise I am DONE.  No going back and drawing fancy borders, decorating pages, etc.  If I didn't get to it on the trip, it's not going to be in the journal.
One of my daughter's
contributions to the
trip journal

I love the pictures that my daughter included on the pages (there is another one besides the one pictured here).  In years to come it will be so sweet to page through and see her recording of her trip.

24 February 2012

I finished my caterpillar book!

Woo hoo, I finished my caterpillar practice book!  I did the first one last week before going on vacation, and then today (while my 12-year-old recuperated at home from having four adult teeth extracted this morning) I did the other two caterpillars.  It surprises me how simple the stitch is and how quickly it can be done.  Once the head is done, instructions aren't even necessary because everything is so clear.

Now . . . I am not pretending that mine was perfectly executed by any stretch of the imagination.  I just think it's pretty damn good for a first go :-).

Front of caterpillar book, done with 7gypsies covers
and waxed linen cord from WalMart for 99 cents
I used one straight needle and one curved needle (would have used two curved ones but I broke one at the beginning of my first caterpillar and was too impatient to bend two more).  The curved one was nice but not absolutely necessary as when doing a Coptic stitch binding.  If you look closely on the middle caterpillar, you'll see that I managed to break one of its legs by mistakenly gathering into the wrap of the body.  As Rick Perry would say, Oops!  (Can't stand that man and am VERY SORRY he is my state's governor.  I certainly didn't vote for him.)

I think the caterpillar looks good, at least as far as I can tell.  If anyone who knows more about book binding than I do has any comments or things to point out, please do so by all means.

Caterpillar sewing across spine (this is the third--
bottom--caterpillar, so theoretically it's the best
one since I did it last)
Back cover of book showing the caterpillars' tails

Open book showing severe splayage due to too-tight
sewing from covers to signatures

13 February 2012

One caterpillar stitch completed!

Front of book with first
caterpillar stitching completed
Well, I must say that I am quite delighted!  I do not know what I thought would be so hard about this.  Maybe I am just getting better at following directions--although this was way easier than following those horrible little diagrams for Coptic stitch.

Spine of book showing signatures
attached with caterpillar stitching

The marvelous person who told me a couple of days ago that you just keep on doing what you were doing on the cover when you get to attaching the signatures couldn't have phrased it more perfectly.  And as the images show, that worked a treat.

Back cover of book showing tail end of caterpillar stitching

Possibly the only issue I am going to have is that, as usual, I may have used too much tension.  That is always my problem, it seems.  Ah well.

Inside front cover showing ladder rung pattern
of caterpillar stitch, just like it's supposed to!

I would like to do this in a different color next time.  Having done it with black thread, it does appear that a long bug has crawled on top of my book :-).

09 February 2012

Practicing the caterpillar stitch

Now that I'm done with my girlie glam from Traci Bautista's Strathmore workshop, my attention must return to my caterpillar stitch book that I've set myself to do.  I looked again at Keith Smith's book (Volume III) as well as at the wonderful online tutorial posted by some generous Aussies.  Oh--and I also watched this great video of someone demonstrating the caterpillar.

Yet I was still strangely reluctant to begin.  But I am sick of tiptoeing around this, I want to get the book done and its parts off my dining room table, and I need to get it done pronto so I can make a quick trip journal for our long-weekend-vacation that we leave on in one week exactly.  So, no more delaying.

But . . . I still wasn't ready to poke holes and blaze forth.  I have decided to be an adult about this and actually do a prototype.  In general I never do those--waste of time and materials--but if I screw up my nice book covers, I will be disappointed, so I thought some practice might actually be in order here.  I grabbed a piece of scrap kraft card stock and some linen thread I picked up from WalMart for 99 cents, intending it for just such an occasion as this (i.e., one not to waste the good supplies on).  I used a candle flame to bend myself a second curved needle, and I used a black Copic marker to color half of the thread black in order to replicate using two different colors of thread.  (In reality, I just cut one long piece of thread and put needles on each end.)

Much to my great surprise, this was pretty simple.  I think watching the video and understanding that the back of the caterpillar looks like ladder rungs helped a lot.  And now I get it that one just continues onto the signatures from the front board (thanks, Risi).  Doing the practice was good because I realized that I need to poke my holes a little wider to allow the legs to be longer.  I am still not sure how one turns around to attach the back board, but I will go back to Keith's book and figure that out--although I guess I do have to do that before I start because I need to punch the holes for it.  Hmm.

I am encouraged by this!

08 February 2012

My girlie glam!

Well, I still haven't touched my caterpillar stitch book, but after a few dry days I did get marvelously back into creating things.

I took a day off on Monday this week and did something totally new--a Scratchbord kit that I picked up at Jerry's.  It was interesting following the steps through and seeing what emerged.  I do like to follow someone else's instructions the first time when doing something new--it's a great shortcut to becoming familiar with something.  I still need to go back and scrape away some more from the area around the window and then reapply the ink, and I will also go back and redefine the tablecloth areas.  It was fun to do but I did have to remember to keep good posture and not hunch up.

Some of my time was also spent on the annual reorganization of my studio area (two walls of the dining room).  I realized that drawers just work really well for me at this stage, and they are a great way to put a lot of stuff in a pretty small space.  But I do think I need just one more cart out here (this is by no means addressing all the stuff I have crammed away in our utility room) . . .

Yesterday while going through stuff on my desk, I put some scrap papers my mom had done last August whilst working on a birthday card for a friend together with a quick 5-hole pamphlet stitch for a little journal.  Can't believe it took me six months to do that!!

I also spent some time (hanging out in the community center while kids had taekwondo doodling on a tag made from one of the earlier projects of Traci Bautista's free Strathmore online workshop.  The last six weeks plus Traci's workshop has made me much freer and more confident.  I think those two go hand-in-hand anyway, I suppose.

Finally, I have finished the final project of Traci's--the Girlie Glam.  I had absolutely oodles and oodles of fun doing this, and the end result blows me away.  Not with the quality of drawing, mind you, but how it really does get to somewhere amazing the more layers one adds.  I followed Traci's color palette pretty closely for this one, so not too many of my own choices there, but what fun!

I have never done a freehand drawing of anything that I expected to be recognized before, so I am quite glad one can see that it is a female.  With an eye.  And a mouth.

The doodling was so much fun, and I loved the way her hair turned out--it's got watercolor pencils, acrylic paint, markers, Prismacolor pencils, Sharpie paint pens, and Stickles, and it just looks cool.  I'm so pleased!  (For my own records, I used the following paints, all Golden Fluids unless otherwise specified:  Quin Magenta, Naphthol Red Light, Hansa Yellow Med, Perm Green Light, Quin Red, Pyrrole Red, Turquois, Ultramarine Blue, Quin Violet, Cobalt Teal, maybe some Green Gold, Quin Crimson, and Titanium White, and finally Derivan Matisse Southern Ocean Blue (Flow)).  Stickles were Waterfall, Crystal, and Silver.