Monday, May 31, 2010

Polka Dots! Moleskine cover

I love polka dots. I really, really do. I was going to make a book something like this but covered in the little things, but I adapted it for a cover instead. Oh, and wouldn't you know it, this way I get to play with little bits of different paper too. At least I'm consistent.

I made this using my eyelet setter - well, the hole making tool of it, I jsut have no idea what you'd call it. But it works great for making regular holes through leather. Just put some different papers underneath, and here we are!

I also put some heavy paper in between to emboss the straps a little because it didn't look quite right when it was at one level. I'm not sure how well you can see it on the photos.

I was going to put the patterned paper on the cover rather that on the inside, but I thought that might be a little much, kind of like the Spring Green one I just did. Which I like, but you have to admit is a whole lot of different patterns. So I managed to find a blue that exactly matched on used it on the front instead, and then you get a nice shot a colour inside. I like it!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Marbled Paper is Awesome - Moleskine cover

I'm still working on some new/different items to bring to the Hotel Sask next week, so here is another Moleskine cover, this one fits a large notebook. I decided I really needed some items that were a little more masculine, and it's really kind of hard when most craft supplies (or at least the ones I manage to get a hold of) are geared towards women, and as I am one my designs tend to be a little more on the pretty side. I had my husband go through all the paper I had and pickings were sort of slim on the things he would like side of the equation... I guess that means a trip to Paper Umbrella is in order. But while this isn't overtly manly, at least it's more on the neutral side for some variety.

The covers are made with marbled papers from Rhonda, another member of BEST. Check out here blog and paper shop. The inside blue paper I really like, it just picks up the really subtle bits of the marbling.

I originally had more of the large brads holding inside leather straps on, but I underestimated how much room they took up and the notebook wouldn't fit inside, and they popped off as I tried to force it! No good! And by that point the book was done, I couldn't take the whole thing apart and hide something else under the cover paper. (I make these in a somewhat confusing overlapping of layers to keep the underside of the various parts hidden). SO... what to do? I made the new sewing part of the design by making it bright blue (good thing I had some thread that matched) and wrapping it a few times to give it a bit of impact.

I kind of like it and may do it again... only on purpose.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Spring Greens - Moleskine cover

I'm getting a few new things ready for the Hotel Sask next week. I've been meaning to try some Moleskine covers after making this one for my husband's birthday.

This fits a small notebook. It's made of a whole bunch of green and green-ish papers because it's spring (in other parts of the world. It's snowing here. End of May. Seriously). I think I like making things with loads of little bits of paper not because the Mennonite in me compulsively uses every last bit of everything, twice, but because that way I can show off more of my paper collection at the same time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - and they lived happily ever after. The End.

All right folks, tell all your rich, American Lit loving friends. It's finally, totally, absolutely finished! It's destined for the Hotel Sask next week, but I'm putting it up on Etsy for the time being, so hurry and buy it right away!

I'm very ridiculously pleased with the cover. (This is a scan before I attached it so that you can see the whole thing). It's made of some nice thin recycled leather (bet this furniture scrap never anticipated its future life), embroidered with silk in the same shape as the inside title page, cut-out to exposed the binding, and then the front and back have plenty of raised designs under the leather to make it interesting.

I got the idea for the raised designs from this tutorial on Karleigh Jae's blog. I just took it a little further. I made it really really complicated with the amount of detail, the positive and negative shapes (some are embossed, some in relief), and then I put a few shapes on a second layer to top it all off.

This is the spine with open binding. Well, open binding is maybe not the right term, because I actually hid the binding. Originally I was going to have it exposed, which is why I made holes in the leather. However, I decided that the book was simply too small, it would be extremely crowded, and just a detail too much, so I hid it instead.

Another view of the cover. The 'E. A. Poe' was a bit of a last minute addition.

The inside pages. Looks great when they're all together!

The front and back endpages, in that terrific paper I found in blood-red that looks like it had veins running through it. Perfect! I really enjoyed doing these cut outs because I've gotten quite good at them, and because they are glued down I could add so much extra detail with some pieces floating unattached to the larger paper.

Another detail, and the one that caused me the most grief. I've been trying to find some nice, thin, black paper for a couple of months now, ever since I started, and nothing! Then I was at work (well, volunteering actually) at Ten Thousand Villages when I found a gift bag in black paper made of recycled silk. It was printed on, but there was enough blank spots in between to let me make a few little shapes and add them between the pages. Most of them are smaller than this one. It was really difficult to cut the paper and almost impossible to see what I was doing.

The binding I did with the same silk thread as the cover embroidery. In keeping with the feel of the entire book it's uneven and is in a different pattern in each signature.

The End.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coming to a Hotel Sask Near You

OK, so there is only one Hotel Sask. Point is, there's a new gift store/coffee shop opening up (reopening?)and it's going to feature some of my books and paintings. This is impressive people, it's where the Queen and Prime Minister stay, and puts me on a level with some of the other fabulous things available there. Like Bushwakker beer. mmmmm.

I'm going to be taking a few of the things in my Etsy store, so things will be changing quite a bit in the next week or so as I get organized. I will also be making some postcard books and moleskine covers to round out what I bring and have a nice selection.

Oh, and one other things will be featured. The Tell-Tale Heart! It will be finished later this evening. Stay tuned for many many photos. If I can stop staring at the cover long enough to finish, that is. Yup, it's that nice.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - a quick cover preview

As the proud new owner of a wrist brace on the look-out for another that fits my left hand, I may not have as much to show you in the next couple of weeks. So for now, especially since I haven't posted much even though I've been busy busy busy, here's a quick look at where I'm at with the cover for The Tell-Tale Heart. This is embroidered in silk thread (three different shades blended) on leather. It will go over the spine. There are cut-outs between some of the lettters, where you'll be able to see the binding. The cut-out bits are actually a bit too big for the pages, so they'll continue on to the spine. I'm not really sure how that will work quite yet, but I did it anyway figuring I'd work something out that looked cool later. That may or may not be a bad idea in the end. I guess we'll see! It's a same design as the inside cover, and it supposed to look a little erratic, to fit with everything else I've done. That wasn't really hard to do as it's very very difficult to embroider on leather, even thin stuff like this. I left a few thread hanging out.

I finally found the last supply I need, so I just need an tiny knife to cut out a few more shapes and I can put the whole thing together!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Spanish Tiles

This is the second of two custom postcard books I've been working on (the first was Love Letters). This one is Spanish themed. Since I was unlikely to wander into Paper Umbrella and find the perfect map of Spain, we decided to go for a a design inspired by the beautiful tiles of the area. The cover has raised designs copied from a tile I really loved. (Oh Google Images, where would I be without you?) This also served a secondary purpose - I put more detail into than I have before so that I could see how much would come through, in preparation for the cover of The Tell-Tale Heart. And was pleasantly surprised by the result! The small lines came out very well. I think it looks great with the brads and buckle too.

The person this for also loves Gaudi's fantastic architecture (so do I!), and he used a lot of tile mosaics in his buildings. So when I stamped/painted the back paper with Spanish designs I did a bunch of different designs rather than a series of identical ones. The colours, of course, are taken from popular ones of the area. I like the contrast of the yellow and blue. I was originally going to make the postcard corners/pockets out of the same paper, but I just couldn't get the stamps to look right, and didn't like the end result of the yellow paper instead. The silk I used to sew down the pockets alternates between the blue, green, and red of the back cover to keep the colour scheme going inside. It looks much MUCH better this way, and I like the contrasting yellow and blue from the top when it's closed. I think it fits better with the idea behind it then if it had all been the stamped paper. It's got plenty going on, but it's not messy and confusing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Love Letters Straight From My Heart

This is the first of two postcard books I'm making for one of my Etsy customer. It's inspired by the look of old love letters, complete with red ribbon tying them all together. The paper on the back is lightly antiqued, then covered with my writing. I was at a loss what to do for the cover for some time, and finally settled on some older, darker antiqued paper I had lying around. I then made a quick lino stamp of vertical lines and made a pattern around the outside so that it looks like an old air mail envelope. I decided it needed plenty of ribbon, so I doubled up the front ties. Should come in useful as the back paper is awfully springy! I'm pressing it now to get it to behave.

I really like making these postcard books because I love things that show off so well when they're done. I'd forgotten what dimensions I made the original book, but fortunately I remembered to check if the postcards fit before I cut everything too small!

Here's a close-up of the paper I made for the back. I copied a few of Shakespeare's sonnet's for the 'letter.' I love this scarlet ink. It's the same I used for the Tell-Tale Heart.

If you're interested in how this all gets put together, here's a progress shot. This is the inside of the book. The red paper is what I'll be using for The Tell-Tale Heart. It works great here because of the rich colour and vintage type look. That gets all folded, then the triangles get folded (and the writing is all going the same way, I made doubly sure nothing was upside down!) and the back tabs glued. You can see that they're sticking out, so I sewed the middle down on each one, which is why the postcards stay so securely in their little tabs. After this I backed this with more of the outside letter paper so that it looked all nice and neat, and attached the cover.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Golden Birches

I managed to finish a couple of projects today, but this one has been in the works the longest so it's getting posted first. I actually drew up the idea for this a couple of years ago, when I sold the first painting I tried with gold leaf, of some lily pads. Actually, I traded it for some glasses, but that's not really the point. I can't find the photo right now, sorry! I wanted to try some more and was looking on things that had reflections when I got the idea of birch trees with dark painted shadows. I finally started it a couple months ago when I had nothing else to do and thought I had plenty of gold leaf left. Wrong! I got maybe three trees in before I ran out, and then had to wait for new to arrive, since there's nowhere to buy any in Regina. The gold leaf is raised enough to be a little smooth (or it won't shine), but still has the texture of the handmade paper it's on.

Well, it finally arrived last week, and I finally made it to the art store for some matte board. I love pictures that are matted so they're at the top of a tall frame. It'll fit any standard 11 x 14 frame.

For sale on Etsy. Go buy it now!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - splattercon!!!

Ok folks, this is it. The very very last page. Except the credits, but that just felt like a little flourish at the end. This is the important one! As promised, it's covered in ink and 'blood' splatters and I think looks really cool doing it.

I've got a bunch of postcard books and drawings started that I'm going to move on to, so this may be the last post on The Tell-Tale Heart for a few days as the next stages are somewhat time consuming and not at all interesting piece by piece like the text was. Oh, and the Habs won last night and advanced to the Conference finals, so there is still loads of hockey to watch! I know you were all interested.
I think I'll got through and see if I want to add anymore cut-outs, I've been trying to find some thin black paper to cut out fluttery bugs between the pages, and then on to the cover. A couple of people have asked about that so I may try and get few photos up soon. I'm slowly embroidering the name of the book on the cover, which will have a sort of open binding, and then there will be beetles and gears underneath the leather showing through as embossing.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - this one's my favourite

I like this layout best out of all the ones I've done (including the almost-finished last one). Maybe it's all the red letters. Anything that's italicized in the text is in capital letters in the book, and with the narrator going crazy there's a lot of that at the end. I really like it. The important one, or at least the one I like best is the part where he hears the heart again "much such the sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton", combined with it being a very long phrase meant I spread it out over the page and inserted the small writing around it. So when it came to filling it in I made that part very brights while the other letters are a little less saturated, just so readings a bit smoother.

I also started dropping some of the scarlet ink along with the black, but it's so thick and dark straight from the bottle it doesn't make a huge impact. I think I'll mix in a little water and have it all over the next page. I like that it looks a bit like blood splattering all over, rather than just ink. Maybe it's because I'm reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but I'm feeling particularly bloodthirsty at the end of this.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - the we've all been waiting for

Alright, so nobody has been looking forward to today bu me, but it is a momentous and special occasion, the most rare of all days: a day off after payday! Not to mention, the day after the Habs forced game 7, and nothing could possibly go wrong. Once the boring house chores are taken care of I will be indulging in all the yummiest paper, ink, and brushes. I'm even out of binding board! Stay tuned, there will be many new things up in the next week or so.

Until then, here's another page of The Tell-Tale Heart.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - so close now

I'm getting excited as I near the end of copying this thing out. Of course that doesn't take into account all the extra things I want to do and the complicated cover I have planned, but still, the biggest part is almost done. Three pages after this one, if fact!

There isn't much to say about this one. It looks an awful lot like everything else I've done, but the text has more emphasized words so there's more red in it. And some ink made a mess when it bled through a beetle from the previous page. ummm, yeah. That's all.

For Want of a 25w Bulb

I started out this morning with some more copying of The Tell-Tale Heart, but my bulb burnt out. I haven't been able to make it to an art store in weeks (there's only one and it's in the middle of nowhere) I have no paper and nothing much to do. Except this. I started it ages ago and it turned out just brutally bad.

First, a couple of credits. This drawing is from a photo my friend Starsha, who generously let me paint it. You can see her work on her webpage. I love having many photographers for friends (and thank God I do as I can't take photos to save my life). I could paint loads of this guy, she has tonnes of good ones. I loved the expression in this one. The band is The Creationists. I got the title (Funk is it's Own Reward) from a comment on their page I liked.

I used some handmade watercolour paper I'd been dying to try, and unfortunately it didn't work all that great. I made a smaller painting and discovered that the paper sort of came apart when it got wet. Not ideal, obviously. But I loved the texture, so I thought I'd try it with some charcoal. Just a nice, traditional, straightforward drawing such as I haven't done in, well, probably years. No good! It caught all over the place and ended up being a dusty mess with no detail at all. So much for my careful copying of his features. Luckily I'd put some masking fluid down first where I wanted really bright highlights, so there was at least something to work with instead of being universally grey.

So, lacking anything else to do and figuring I couldn't possibly make it any worse, I brought it back out. And fell back on my usual device of scribbling all over it with ink and watercolour until I liked it. tada! I like it, even if it's not quite as precise a portrait as I was originally going for.

It's on a large sheet - 16" x 20" but was made to be matted to 11" x 14". I'm leaving it up to whoever buys it before I matte it because I think it will look good even smaller, cropped right into his face.

Buy it at my etsy shop!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - changes

Alright! He's finally dead and the story has changed, so the layout changes here too. This even even more confusing to read than the rest of the book (so far). The phrases meanders more, turn sideways, and then there's the half size words as well. I hadn't been planning on doing that when I started out, but when I got to this page I wanted something different. I originally just had the large letters all along the right side and open space for the rest of the page, making the final pronunciation of the death really dramatic. But I didn't quite like it and wanted a good way to work things around it, while still keeping that the focus. And eventually inspiration struck! A subtly new layout that allows for a slight shift and new flexibility.

The Tell-Tale Heart - now we're getting somewhere

I'm not sure if this admission makes me incredibly morbid, but I'm quite excited for the old man to die and we're just about there! I'm getting a little bored of this. This page, at least, does mark the end of this format, or at very least, the transition into a slightly different post-murder layout. Patience, I'm afraid, is just not one of my virtues and I'm beginning to despair that I will ever master the art of enjoying the moment. I want to see the finished product! And then I want to get on with the next project, and the one after that! My head is crammed full of ideas and I have to go to work and pay bills and all that other nonsense instead.

A little note on the text. I'm using American spelling because Poe was American, but it's really annoying me. It looks funny and that's all there is to it. Also, I only barely keep catching typos because it's one thing to say you're going to do it, and another to break years of habit.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Tell-Tale Heart - wating, waiting

You would probably never notice when you're reading a story this short, until you write it out by hand several times, just how much time the narrator spends hesitating. He could have killed the old man three pages ago! Or more! Maybe I'm just grumpy because my hand hurts. A lot. Is that the measure of a productive morning? I hope not, because I'd rather not have major injuries until I'm much older. It's a good thing it turned out well.

The page has the first mention of "the low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton" that I took the watch gears imagery from. That's why this page has the big escapement cut-out in the corner. I also went over the words to make them a little bolder because it comes up again later. This page also marks the end of the third signature and beginning on the fourth. I'm half way done the copying!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Moleskine Cover

It's been a busy but pretty terrific last week or so, especially yesterday's Our Lady Peace: Clumsy Set concert (if you ever get the chance, go), and will be capped off by my husband's birthday today. I started out with waffles topped in gobs of cherry pie filling (he loves that stuff) and whipped cream, and ending in a pile of presents.

He loves Moleskine notebooks (traitor!) so I made him a cover for him based on a photo he loved. He wanted one with this type of closure that keeps the book secure and holds a pencil:

Turned out great! I can't believe how well this stays shut. With a few adjustments of the measurements and whatnot (I am NOT sewing the whole thing again. That took forever, hurt my hand, and just didn't turn out as precisely as I like) I think I will have a new product for my Etsy shop.

He loves maps, and I had just enough leftovers to cover this one. I accidentally put the back cover on upside down though. Too late! I'm not going to tell.

Nice and snug. I left the elastic on and usable, though I doubt there's much of a point with the outside closure. The only problem is the envelope in the notebook is covered, or at least held down, by the strap. I will have to find a way to include one in the next book. Possibly the front will have a strap but the back will have a large pocket the Moleskine cover slips underneath. hmmmm.