August 10, 2012

50 Things - The Covers And The Binding

My 50 Things is my first "from scratch" mini book, meaning it wasn't a kit with a set number of pages, a package of embellishments to use, etc.  As far as those kinds of kits go, I've only put together one.  It was a Teresa Collins memory album kit, and I put it together as a design team project for Remember When.  I admit it was a bit daunting - scary, even - being assigned this mini book, and I turned it into a colossal, very personal endeavor.  And, I fell in love with the mini book concept.  (I haven't been able to share that Teresa Collins album with you yet, but when I get the okay from Remember When, I certainly will!)

So, I thought I knew what I was doing when I cut fifty 4x6 inch sheets of patterned paper and got to work on creating my 50 little pages.  "According to my research" (a quote from "The Magic School Bus") the norm in the world of minis seems to be using these binder rings to secure all of the pages together.  I designed each page keeping in mind that I would be punching 2 holes on the one side, and stitching 2 back-to-back pages together to form a pocket for inserting a tag with notes on my accomplishments as each was completed.

The stack, once layered with papers and embellishments was HUGE!  I would need 4 inch diameter binder rings (do they even make them that big?), which meant I could likely wear the book as a bracelet even with all the pages in it!  NOT the look I was going for...

One of the blogs I like to follow is Jenny Petricek's Starting Over Studio.  I remembered her talking about a class she took learning to bind her own journals, and poked around the web looking for alternative ways to put my book together.  That led me to a great tutorial by Jamie Butler, and a solution!

Since my double pagers were separate from each other, I cut some strips of leftover patterned paper to join each pair into a folded spread, then measured and pierced hold down the center, pre-drilling, so to speak, so I could sew through each to create a binding.

I still wanted those pockets, though.  I stitched across the bottom of each set (each "signature"), hoping I'd still be able to feed a needle through the pierced fold.  And, of course when I get an inspired idea I want to DO IT NOW, so I had to improvise with supplies as my local hunt for book binding supplies was unfruitful.  I used 6-ply embroidery thread and a beading needle.  The needle was a bit flex-y, but it held the floss securely and was long enough for me to wrangle it into the tight corner of my stitched closed signature.  I used some scraps of old blue jeans for the binding tape, and also for a decorative touch, and followed Jamie's instructions for stitching through each signature, across each tape, and knotting through the previous signature to secure before moving on to the next.

After all the pages were bound, I stitched up the outside edges to seal each pocket.  That was a bit challenging, but I just didn't see another way to get what I wanted the way I wanted it.  Perhaps some further engineering for next time, but the stitching gives a finished look to the edges.  I felt that sealing with tape or glue would lead to the pages getting peeled apart down the road.

Finally, the covers.  I cut pieces from a cardboard box that were just a bit bigger than my pages, gessoed, and decorated the front and back outsides.  I used Fabri-Tac to glue the binding tape to the covers, and also a ribbon on front and back so that I could tie the book shut.

I covered up that mess with patterned paper and then decorated the inside covers.  I made one last pocket in the back that will hold a Master List of my 50 things that I can check off as I go!

Binding this album was really fun, I love the results, and I will definitely be doing it again-perhaps with a little better pre-planning on the construction side of things.  It feels like such an accomplishment, and I can't even tell you how awesome it feels to flip the sewn-bound pages back and forth!

So, what do you think?  Will you give book-binding a try?

Thanks for visiting!

August 01, 2012

50 Things...Or, What I've Been Up to Lately

All craft, all the time.  Wouldn't that be nice?  There are so, so many lovely things to make, ideas to try, techniques to learn.  *Sigh*  It would be nice, but I fear, also impractical.  And yet, when I am not crafting in my free time, I find myself reading blogs about what other people have been doing craftwise, or chatting craft with them in the scrapbooking forum at Cocoa

It is there that I was inspired by Anja Wade to craft up a list of 50 things to do before I turn 50.  Her list is 40 by 40, and as 40 is...well....past, I decided to come up with 50.  Fifty things, compiled with an underlying panic, or at least a slap of reality.  "OMG!  I'm almost 50!  There are  so many things I need to do, so much life I've not yet lived!  I'd better get my butt out there and DO them!!"  I have a good five and a half years to complete the list.  Of course, I probably could have knocked off a few in the time it has taken me to make this mini album to document my intentions...

Binding this baby proved to be a challenge. My original intention was to use 2 binder clips, but as the stack was about 3 inches thick, I decided they would have to be too dang big!I will share what I ended up doing in a separate post.

It was challenging to come up with 50 things.  I wanted a mix of things that would be easy and challenging, silly and serious.  Many of the items were no-brainers; they've been on the back burner for years, if not decades!  Others required some reflection to identify. Going through the list once more as I write this post, however, I'm pleased that all but one are experiences that I've genuinely entertained the idea of over and over again.  (The newfound one came from learning that something I thought I knew was completely wrong, and now I am in profound need of reeducation!  I'll share more later! ).  Some things may require some monetary expense, and others may take some creativity to come by.  Some will call upon my courage and others will test my patience.  But all of them are doable, and I'm excited to get out and DO!

So, this is what I've been up to lately (craftwise), and here is my list!

#1:  Travel in Europe

#2:  Take an art class in person with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
#3:  Bake bread from scratch

#4:  Plant a Meyer lemon tree
#5:  Submit book for publication

#6:  Nap in a hammock
#7:  Go to Thursday evening Farmer's Market (here in town)

#8:  Make Oma's cheesecake
#9:  Swim/snorkel with sea turtles

#10:  Juggle 3 balls for 15 swaps
#11:  Donate an animal through
#12:  Walk a labyrinth
#13:  Hold a koala bear for at least 20 minutes

#14:  Get a spa facial
#15:  Have a duck for a pet (or a donkey)

#16:  Sew or crochet something I'd wear in public
#17:  Camp in an Airstream trailer

#18:  Learn to identify 5 constellations besides Orion and Big Dipper
#19:  Grow tomatoes successfully (must achieve at least 12 from one plant)

#20:  Surf, surf, & surf (that's three different occasions)
#21:  Read Faulkner's "The Sound and The Fury"

#22:  Find a Bad Hair Day hat
#23:  Learn how to play "House of the Rising Sun" on guitar

#24:  Go to Catalina Island
#25:  Fly a kite

#26: Have an interactive dolphin experience
#27: Get veneer fixed and teeth whitened

#28:  Adopt a desert tortoise for a pet
#29:  Find my Sleep Number

#30:  Make a gingerbread luminaria
#31:  Sell something on Etsy to a stranger

#32:  Go zip lining
#33:  Go to a live taping of a favorite sit-com.

#34:  Take the train to the Grand Canyon
#35:  Mountain bike down a trail (no jumps!)

#36:  Run a 5K
#37:  Get tap shoes and dance

#38:  Create a Will
#39:  Splurge on the perfect boots (don't let them get away again!)

#40:  Check out local Center for Spiritual Living
#41:  Watch all of the Best Picture Oscar winners

#42:  Go to Griffith Observatory
#43:  Try needle felting

#44:  Hike Vasques Rocks
#45:  Own a VW Thing

#46:  Go to a sporting event at each kid's high school
#47:  Do camel pose in yoga

#48:  Visit Watts Towers
#49:  Become a better Bridge player

#50:  Put together a wedding album/scrapbook.

So there you have it!  Fifty things!  I will report back on each with a little bit about why they are on my list and about the experience leading up to checking them off!

Thank you for visiting!