Tag Archives: bookbinding

Another noteworthy gift

There’s always a present that I find myself working on at the last minute. This year it was a gift–actually, several gifts–for my niece, my nephew, and my nephew’s girlfriend, a delightful young woman who appreciates a handmade gift (I hope).

Simple stuff, but I’m pleased with how they came out. Each got a set of Japanese stab-bound journals, one each in folio and quarto size:

I finished these just in time to wrap them up and get them into the mail, and I used up the last of some wonderful kraft paper cardstock making them. But as soon as the smoke clears and I can find another source for the heavy brown cardstock, the Japanese screw punch and waxed linen thread are coming right back out again so I can make some more.

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Tomatoes–hothouse, dirt, and ripe

No, not the kind that you put in your mouth, though we are finally approaching the time when we can renew our acquaintance with them here in the up-until-now rainy and cold northeast.  Last week, on a day when I thought summer might actually be coming because it hardly rained at all and I didn’t have to put on a sweater until after the sun went down, I visited my favorite truck farmer, Jake. When I took my corn and tomatoes to his till to settle up, he was at pains to tell me–apologetically–that those were his tomatoes, but they were hothouse tomatoes. “We won’t have real dirt tomatoes until August,” he sighed.

I can wait. And this will help to tide me over.

My Floating Ink blog has been honored with a Ripe Tomato for Blogging Excellence award.  I was surprised and tickled.  Fellow blogger and comrade in the (increasingly deep) trenches of freelance writing Ron Doyle gave this little honor to 15 blogs he admires and loves to visit, and–whee!–yours truly was in a prime spot on the list. Thanks, Ron!

First, go to Ron’s Blog Salad to check out the other blogs he loves–great ones about bicycling, humor, writing, parenting, food, travel, and all the rest of life.

Then check out the blogs below. Part of Ron’s plan is a sort of “pay it forward” approach–he’s asked each of us on his list to create our own lists of our 15 go-to blogs.

Here are mine:

whipup:  The hub of the crafting blogiverse, inspiring crafters and artists all over the world, showcasing clever and creative people of all stripes, and providing inspiration even on those days when you’re sure you’ve seen it all before and you could never make that yourself–you haven’t, and you can.

Sandi Kahn Shelton: A writing and life blog not just for writers;  this author of wonderful, wonderful, wonderful books (a 4th wonderful is in the pipeline) will make you laugh so hard that tea comes out your nose, and cry over characters that you wish were your best friends.

The Panopticon:  The incomparable Franklin Habit.  Funny, wise, snarky, erudite, and adorable. Ostensibly a knitting blog, but even if you’ve never knitted a stitch, reading Franklin’s posts will make you wish that you, too, were a cute, multi-talented, artistic, Buddhist, creative gay man whose alter-ego is a boozing, politicking, philandering, rabble-rousing sheep named Dolores.

Spirit Cloth: To call Jude a textile artist is like saying e. e. cummings dabbled in poetry. Astonishng, soul-feeding work. I visit there regularly but don’t comment as often as I should because there are only so many ways of saying “oh, my god.”

Whiskey River:  Disseminator of wisdom via an electronic chapbook.  Poets, zen masters, lovers, and fools.

Green Chair Press:  For lovers of books, makers of books, font fans, letterpress and type geeks, and appreciators of all sorts of typographic and literary beauty.

Woolgathering: Artist Elizabeth Perry’s daily sketch journal. She inspires me to see the beauty in the everyday–under her skillful eye a tossed-0ff sketch of a candy wrapper, a lighted lamp, a few cherries, even a pair of flip flops shows us the essence of the thing. And makes me think it’s not silly to subject you fine readers to sketches of staplers and jars of peppercorns.

Nichobella:  Healing through art. Acey’s journals, textile arts, and explorations of what makes us who we are take us beyond the level of “crafting.”

Contemplating the Moon:  Ah, if only. This blog introduced me to encaustics. Which I will never, never master. But I will always, always try.

Joe Pastry:  Want to know how to make your own pasta on your kitchen table?  Why you should make jelly rolls?  What kind of flour makes the best pizza in your back yard bread oven (because we know you have one of those)?  How to make Cornish pasties, an Alsatian onion tart, two kinds of fruitcake and your own homemade caramel? Course you do.

Tea Spot:  My friends and family know me as someone whose blood type is Earl Grey, so I was delighted to find Ana’s tea blog. Besides taking the best food photographs around, Ana gives you the scoop (get it? little matcha joke there) on all kinds of teas and how to brew them. Best of all, she shares info on where to find (and, often, how to make) yummy comestibles to go with them.   Japanese Hiking Donuts, anyone? Or tea-poached pears?  Put the kettle on–I’m on my way!

elsewhere: He takes you there.

3191: That’s the number of miles that separate photo-bloggers Stephanie and Mav in their respective Portlands. Their cameras are our windows on the quotidian beauty in their worlds that let us see the same in ours.

maya*made:  I read many, many, many art and craft blogs and would love to be able to list them all here. But since Ron says that 15 is the magic number, I have to pick one, and this is my pick.  Beautiful, simple, creative things made with love and shared with us.

the worst horse:  Had enough of those boots of Chinese plastic?

Now, each of these bloggers has to think of their list of 15–tag, you’re it.

And thanks again, Ron–hope it’s a beautiful day for a bike ride where you are.

Handmade notebooks and blank books

Mostly just pictures here, though I’d love to do a little tutorial pretty soon on the foam covered journals.

Let me start, though, with my first ever hand-bound hardback book:

If I can find a better photo in the next few days I’ll swap it for this one.  It has 4 hand-sewn signatures bound between covers of illustration board covered in hand-made (not by me) black and blue paper from India. Not bad for my first try, though I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to write in it. Still . . . it’s a start.

Not too long ago I hit on making a moleskine-type book with a softer cover.  Second Child has a huge stack of sheets of craft foam, and it occurred to me that they’d be easy to cut and fold. So the covers of these two are quite flexible, with just enough body to protect the pages (80 pages per book). Each of these also has a moleskine-type pocket inside the back cover, and an elastic strip to hold the book shut.

The foam is ridiculously easy to cut into shapes with scissors (or to punch holes in–I used a fine gauge hole punch to detail the center of the sunflower and the eyes of the . . . hmm . . . bug? alien? robot?  I cut these out of large sheets of craft foam, but I’ve since discovered they also come in stacks of smaller sheets already exactly the right size for a little notebook. Making the text block is the hardest part–if you had several assembled at once you could just pop them inside the covers and you’d be all set.

The only caveat I have to offer about the foam bound books is that, although the texture of them is incredibly appealing to the eye and to the touch, the covers pick up dirt rather easily, and I haven’t found a great way to clean them. You might want to reserve these for use at your desk.

Or maybe you’re just neater than I am. That’s a distinct possibility.