Monday, April 30, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 18: Playing with Paper (Mache)

I dig paper. Anytime I find a book that helps you fiddle with paper, I buy it. Papercraft Workshop guides you through paper mache, paper cutting, bookbinding, cardboard crafts, and papermaking projects.
Last week I was gluing paper towels to books. This week, I want to play with paper mache. The book has a cool cardboard table project in it that I'm going to save for another time. Who says I can't revisit a book later on? I make the rules around here. :)


Old Books to New Tables

I always wondered who bought old textbooks at the thrift store. Now I know it's me.

I've been on the lookout for large books to make a side table for my couch. You know, just a place to put a cup of tea and the remote. I lucked on a book sale where every book was 10 cents each and loaded up the cart.

I found a few books that had the gold foil design I was looking for.

For the rest, I would have to fake it. I covered the shiny books with a layer of paper towel and white glue and painted them to look like leather. Then I glued the pages shut.

Now for the design. I wanted to use A Handbook of Ornament for inspiration. I had to answer the big question: How do you transfer a line drawing to gold foil?

This is how I did it using the supplies I had on hand. I scanned an image, opened it in Photoshop 6 (any drawing program with layers will work), added a new layer, and traced the lines on a new layer using my Bamboo Fun pen tablet.

Once I had it traced, I made the red lines black and inverted the image.

Some of the images I chose and the results:



I printed out the designs on a sample of gold foil inkjet paper I had, cut them out, and glued them to the plain book spines.

I stenciled a fleur–de–lis onto this spine.

I just stacked the books for now. My husband has embraced this project and is engineering a way to keep the books stacked and sturdy, which is good, because he's adopted the second book stack I got.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 17: The Art of Ornament

I had a hard time choosing a book this week. It's not that I had no inspiration. I have a project in mind and I was looking for a book to help me with it, and nothing was coming to mind.

The book I chose is more of an inspiration book. Back in 1888, when it was first published, it also was intended to offer inspiration to designers.

The Art of Ornament by Franz Sales Meyer is a dictionary of classical design. You know you'll find some eye candy when the forward to the 1945 edition states: “Plain, unadorned, uncompromising, pure form is basically inhuman.”

I'm really not sure what will happen this week, but I can feel the ideas swirling.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

More S–V–O blackout poetry

Bring nature
Fill gaps
Forgo cards
Pair the notes

Sometimes they work.

Coolers hit the spot.
Cut shapes and hot–glue.

Sometimes they don't.

S–V–O Blackout Poetry

Blackout poetry finds the hidden profundities in the mundane printed word. I'm an editor. I had more fun editing the sentences down to their basic subject–verb–object structure.

This exercise is from Unstuck by Noah Scanlon.

War and Change
It was inevitable.
The scale is startling.
It goes.

The center increased.
It had added the survey, the supervision and receipt, the issue, and the management.

The Department increased.
Increases resulted.
The Interior was responsible.

The Office introduced improvements.
Delivery was introduced.
There were improvements.

The army set up organization.
There are difficulties.

A New Era
it was natural
they were unfamiliar
pressure mounted
their image became tarnished
an enthusiasm and the lure had drawn sums

much passed
events worked

rates reduced earnings
charges stimulated opposition and fostered demands

the railroads were forced to cut rates
they had a monopoly and could raise rates
the railroads entered politics

Source pages: an old history book.

Here are a few more from an old human biology book.

Difference can have an effect.
The comparison played a part.
Blood-pressure is recognized.
Cases fall.
The distribution is continuous.
The pressures increase.
Workers believe.
The form is due.
Others hold.
Bimodality is obscured.

The blood-pressure is constant, and the conditions must be standardized.
The subject should be free.
The type and the method must be considered,
and it should be remembered.

Figures vary.

The Size and Shape
The need was felt, and anthropometry has been the mainstay.
It is true, but aim was the definition.

It is surprising.
Bias is reflected.

It was felt, and characteristics were a guide.
This is an assumption.

Measurements are important.
Measurements may be required.
Both are forms.
Many can be expressed, but we use measurements.

I found myself stressing over getting the perfect poem with traditional blackout poetry. I had a lot more fun cutting through the adjectives and prepositional phrases to get to the meat of the page.The results read like some profound experimental verse. I may try this with the junk mail too. Poetry day!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 16: Mojo!

Here I am, only one-quarter of the way through 2012, and I'm feeling stuck again.

I started this craft book challenge because I was feeling stuck. I bought Unstuck last year hoping it would help me out of my funk. Its time has come.

Ever have one of those days when you feel like sleeping is your best accomplishment?


Friday, April 13, 2012

No–Glue, Folded Paper Book (with Sewn Signatures!)

Remember when you had to cover your textbooks with paper bags at the beginning of each school year?

I made my second book by covering two signatures with an elephant–dung paper cover using the pattern “Folded–Cover Feather Journal” from Making Books and Journals, although I used completely different dimensions.

I gathered up a bunch of eclectic papers from my stash and cut them all down to the same dimensions. I made two signatures of eight pages each, and then I sewed the pages together using sturdy thread waxed with beeswax. The whole process was a lot easier than I've been telling myself it would be.

I only had letter–sized pieces of the elephant dung paper, but it's sturdy and textured, so I glued two papers together to get a piece long enough for the book cover.

I cut two pieces of cardboard that I scavenged from the back of a notebook as the supports for the signatures. Then I followed the same instructions as you would for covering a textbook. The only difference is that you pop the cardboard in the horizontal folds before you slide the first and last pages of the signatures into the side flaps.

I almost forgot; I also added a piece of turquoise raffia ribbon along the length of the cover before I placed the cardboard covers in the folds.

I could have pasted one of my needle–felted rabbits onto the cover, but I thought the red doily worked with the ribbon. I'm a complete novice at crochet, but I am proud I was able to hook up that little doily. It's nice to have a place to display it.

Pattern from Making Books and Journals, designed by Paula Beardell Krieg.

What should I fill this book with?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Starting Small with a Mini Paint Chip Book

Sometimes you have to start small. Not because big is hard but because small is just right.

I chose the Jelly Bean book for my first foray into book making using Making Books and JournalsThe name sounds silly, but these little books pack 24 pages into a 2 by 2½–in. package.

Pattern from Making Books and Journals, designed by Paula Beardell Krieg.

To make one of these little cuties, you'll need:
○ Paint chips (I taped two together to get 9½ in. for the length.)
○ Embossing tool & pattern folder
○ Wide paper packing tape (which I wish I had used instead of clear packing tape)
○ Craft Glue
○ Scissors
○ Ruler
○ Craft Knife

For one signature, you'll need:
○ White paper, six pieces cut 2 by 4¾ in.
○ About 10 in. of twine, ribbon, or silky cord

1. Tape the paint chips together lengthwise using the paper packing tape. I used clear packing tape, and it took more glue, weight, and time to stick together. You'll cut the taped paint chips to 2 by 9½ in. for the book cover.

2. I embossed my paint chip cover using an embossing tool and script pattern to give it texture. I also gave the embossed paint chip a quick sand with sandpaper to reveal the white backing, which really brought out the pattern.

3. Score the cover according to the diagram below.

4. Score and fold the top corners in on the diagonal to create a point and glue the flaps to the inside of the cover. Then fold up the bottom section at the score line and glue the two 2¼–in. sections together.

5. You'll make the signature next. Cut a piece of typing paper into six pieces, 2 by 4¾ in. each. Fold each piece in half separately and then nest them together.

6. Match the folded signature to the top fold under the point made in Step 4. Close the cover and snip the top corners off the cover and signature fold, which will keep the cord in place. Open the cover and wrap the 10–in. piece of cord from the center of the signature fold to the outside of the cover. Give it a knot, and tie knots in the ends of the cord.

7. Close the top and bottom edges over the signature and cut a slit for the point in the bottom edge of the cover. To determine where to cut, leave about ⅝ in. on each side of the point. Use a craft knife and metal ruler. Don't cut into the signature below!

Now, write your book.

I'm going to write my favorite quotes in my mini book.

Jelly bean books are a satisfying little project. Better than a handful of real jelly beans.


Linking up @
House of Hepworths * Craftionary * homework * Crafty Texas Girls *

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 15: Make a Book

I love books. I wanted to be a librarian when I was in third grade. By high school, I wanted to write.

While I love my ebook reader, I can never give up the paper–bound book. Paper books are beautiful and make reading tactile.

This week, I'd like to make myself a book. It's obviously on my crafty bucket list as I have at least five books on bookmaking.

I'm starting with Making Books and Journals, which is part of The Weekend Crafter series.

The tools don't look complicated: hole punch, needles, bone folder, and clamps. I have the heavy thread and paper. I may actually cross another obsession off my crafty list!

Have you been putting off trying one of your passions too?


Friday, April 6, 2012

Drafting a pattern & wearing the result

I will never use a commercial skirt pattern again.

Not when I can use my measurements as the pattern and draw my cutting lines directly on the fabric using the instructions in  Sew What! Skirts.

I used 1 yard of  54–in. printed cotton twill in my stash. I drew the lines for a straight skirt before I realized I did have enough fabric to do an A–line.

I even attempted darts, which gave me a no–gap waist. All I did was put the skirt on inside–out and pinched the extra fabric. I pinned the extra, stitched it down, and gave the stitching a press for perfect, personalized darts.

All in all, I'd make another skirt. I can't believe it took me this long to give it a try.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thrifting goodness (and no sewing)

I've been thrifting this week. It seems my sewing mojo has left me, and I'm looking for an excuse not to make a skirt.

But look at all this awesomeness! (Awful pic, I know. My camera was still set to take sports shots.)

One of our thrift stores conveniently sends all craft donations to one store. The wooden scissors open. The Xyron stuff was new. The cashier was happy someone found a use for them. Uh, what?!? And what is Mailbox Art Deco–Shield spray (that unreadable blue can)? For 50 cents, it was worth the risk.

And I found an entire set of Make it Yourself craft books from 1974. I was able to finish out my collection. On half–price day, too! More fodder for the craft book challenge, even if all the projects are “groovy.”

I have been working on my skirt pattern. I've washed, dried, and ironed the fabric, and I took my measurements. At least it's a start.

But let's talk about thrifting. Any great scores this week?


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Craft Book Challenge Week 14: Sewing an Easter Skirt

I know this is my third week in a row with a sewing project, but when I get the sewing bug I have to embrace it. It may not come around again for awhile.

I've never been too keen on sewing clothing. I can count on one hand (and maybe on one finger) the number of clothing items I've sewn that I've been truly happy with. The fit is the problem. Something always sags, wrinkles, pulls, or rides up.

This week, I'm going to design a skirt to my own measurements using Sew What! Skirts by Francesca Denhartog and Carole Ann Camp. The book is full of simple designs that can be customized depending on your mood. Ruffles, anyone?

I'm will attempt to sew and wear one skirt by Easter. That means I have to hem it and everything.

Am I the only one who can't make commercial patterns work? If you can, please spill your secrets in the comments.