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After an endlessly long and frigid winter, spring was finally in the air yesterday. It was perfect road-trip weather – sunny but not too hot – so I hopped in my car and made my way to Grimbsy, about an hour’s drive from Toronto. The town was hosting its annual Wayzgoose Bookarts Fair, this year being its 35th edition. For a book- and paper-lover like me, it was hard not to spend my entire paycheck on beautiful handmade paper, letterpressed cards and posters, bookbinding tools, handmade books, and so many other lovelies…thankfully I was a model of restraint and only bought sewing needles and a few cool notebooks.
My new friend Hannelore of Hannelore’s Story Works was a vendor at the fair – we met last December at the Movies and Makers show and instantly hit it off. As she and I looked around the room at other vendors, we noted that it was interesting that although we (and many other bookbinders) work with similar materials (recycled maps, vinyl record LPs, old postcards and book covers, Japanese papers), each of our handmade books come out looking completely different from anyone else’s – we each have our own distinctive style.
I also had the pleasure of meeting master bookbinder Don Taylor. I’d been debating whether or not to take a week-long bookbinding course that he’s teaching this summer, and after a chat with him about the various projects made as part of the course, I’ve decided to finally go ahead and register. Since the aforementioned course is being offered in New Brunswick (my home province), I get to stay with one of my closest friends and hang out with him for an entire week (this makes me very, very happy). Creative vacations are the best!
Here’s a great video of Don Taylor talking about the art of bookbinding and book restoration:
All these thoughts of spring, beautiful weather, road trips, and bookbinding have inspired me to make…what else…travel journals:
I’ve also been having lots of fun working with spring colours in my art journal (you may remember it from this post). These are a few blank pages I’ve prepared ahead of time with acrylic paint, collaged papers and washi tape, so that I can simply add text the moment I feel inspired:
By the way, if you’re feeling inspired to learn bookbinding techniques – there are a few spots left in the Coptic-binding workshop I’ll be teaching on May 4! For more info and to register, visit wisedaughters.com/workshops.
Have you always wanted to learn to make your own notebooks and journals? Well, spring is a great time to learn a practical new skill, just in time for Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day!
I love making books using this medieval-era binding method – not only is the binding very decorative, but the finished book lays completely flat – making it great for sketching and writing (especially for lefties like me). This format is also very easy to customize, depending on the materials used. Here’s another example of a Coptic-bound book that I recently created for myself – the covers are made from small canvas boards that I painted and on which I collaged printouts of the guys from Flight of the Conchords, and the inside pages are made from a variety of different papers and envelopes. I love love love how it turned out, and use it as an inspiring art journal:
I’m also booked to teach another workshop on June 6 at Wise Daughters, but haven’t picked a project yet. If you have ideas or suggestions for a bookbinding project you’d like to see, please leave a comment or send me an email at papermusedesigns [at] gmail [dot] com!
So I’ve been quite remiss with updating my progress on my 30 Days of Lists project. I’ve actually managed to stay on top of the prompts; I’ve just been terrible at updating my blog! To avoid creating one crazy long post, I’ve broken down the last two weeks’ prompts, and my interpretation of them, into two posts – here are days 4 to 10…
I decided to try something new this month, by taking part in a month-long activity alongside other list-makers in the 30 Days of Lists Challenge. I’ve been focussing so much on work these past few months, that I needed a fun project to get my creative juices flowing again. This type of challenge is perfect for me because I am such an avid list-maker!
A total of 30 prompts is sent to participants (one per day). The challenge is to make a list based on the prompt, using whatever form or media you like.
In preparation for the challenge, I made a 5.5″x8.5″ mini binder to house all of my daily layouts. I used some beautiful paper featuring early 20th Century ladies’ fashions for the covers:
And now, the prompts – and my interpretation of them – for Days 1 through 3!
So far, this one-page-a-day format is working perfectly for me. I need something that is quick, especially if I’m busy or tired or sick (like today). I’ve always been terrible at sticking through these types of projects for more than a few days – the OCD person in me quickly gets discourage if I miss a day and fall behind… I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself and focussing on just having fun (and maybe learning a few things about myself along the way)!
Are you taking part in the 30 Days of Lists Challenge too? If so, share the links to your layouts – I’d love to see them!
I’m so excited to share this sneek peek of my newest product: Mini-binders made from vinyl LPs! Aren’t these adorable?
These beauties are made with a 1/2″ binder ring, which can hold approximately 100 sheets of 5.5″ X 8.5″ (half letter-size) paper. This standard size means that many accessories (such as the Martha Stewart Home Office™ products: zipper pouches, business card holders, etc.) fit perfectly inside this binder. Neat-o!
The front cover is made from the actual vinyl LP, whereas the cardboard album sleeve is used for the back cover. Included are also three cardboard dividers made from different album sleeves, as well as 60 sheets of paper: 20 blank pages, 20 pages of a “Things I Should Really Get Done” checklist, and 20 pages of lined paper.
Now you can be the hippest, most organized person in your entire office building!
Of course, the mini binder would also look great as a scrapbook album or notebook – just sayin’…
Be sure to check out the shop for the full list of LP mini binders that are currently available.
Have you always wanted to learn to make your own notebooks and journals? Well, Autumn is a great time to stay inside, grab a cuppa tea and learn a new skill! I’ll be teaching this workshop at Wise Daughters Craft Market here in Toronto on Sunday, October 14. You can find more details and register here.
I love making books using this medieval-era binding method – not only is the binding very decorative, but the finished book lays completely flat – making it great for sketching and writing (especially for lefties like me).
Register soon, while there are spots left!
If you’re in Toronto next weekend and looking for something fun to do, I’ll be teaching a bookbinding workshop at Wise Daughters Craft Market in the Junction. This is the class project:
This particular book was turned into an advent calendar – the 12 panels each fit two mini-pockets, making it perfect for this purpose!
If you’re interested in learning how to make this type of book (there are still a few spots left!), but at a loss for ideas on what you can do with it, I’ve gathered a few examples.
First up is a star book I made a few years ago for an online swap. My swap partner loved Frida Khalo, so I made her colourful paintings the theme of the book:
You can read my blog post and see more photos of this book here.
Next up, a circus sideshow-themed book by Courtney Autumn Martin that is simply stunning! I love how the book is in the shape of a big top and so colourful.
Another artist whose work I love is Andrea Dezso – here is a carousel book that she illustrated and made:
Although this isn’t exactly the same binding style as the star book workshop I’ll be teaching, it can easily be adapted for a similar result.
Other possible uses for this type of book:
- Travel journal – my last few travel journals were accordion books, but star books are definitely on my list…
- Sketchbook – cut pieces of watercolour paper to the appropriate size, paint or sketch on them, and bind them afterwards
- Art book – it doesn’t have to have a practical purpose – sometimes it’s just fun to look at a pretty book! I’ve been dreaming of making a Muppet-inspired book one of these days…
Through The Artisan Group, a wonderful collective of artists and artisans (of which I’m a fortunate member), an amazing opportunity to gift Tom Cruise and his family recently arose. What to make?
I searched local shops for the Top Gun soundtrack on vinyl, to no avail. I found a few suppliers online, but none could guarantee delivery within my timelines. In the end, I made Tom an LP journal from a Cocktail soundtrack vinyl album that I had on hand:
He sure looks great! Do you think he’ll like his new gift?
I used to journal a lot. I would spend most days writing about what was happening in my life, how I was feeling, often trying to work out any issues that were challenging me at that moment. I used written journals from my teens to my late twenties.
As a child I was very creative and loved spending hours drawing, writing short stories, and making crafts. Sadly, this part of me was abandoned when I went to university. It seemed there was no time for creativity in between all the studying (I now realize how huge a mistake this was). After going through a dark period about a dozen years ago, I set about re-discovering my artistic and creative side (I was inspired by my new artist boyfriend). During this process, I learned about art journalling and would spend hours upon hours painting, writing, and gluing ephemera into my journals.
As much as I enjoy journalling, I just don’t have the time to devote to it on a consistent basis anymore. I often felt like I was forgetting so many great moments in my life because I wasn’t capturing them as they happened. It saddened me, yet I couldn’t find the time or energy to journal about many of these experiences.
Then two years ago, I found a solution that works perfectly for me. Hurray!
I had come across designer Amanda Hawkin’s lovely DIY planner templates and promptly fell in love. I desperately wanted to find a way to use them on a regular basis just because they were so cool. I decided to print the monthly calendar template onto booklet-size envelopes – one for each month. These would be my journal “pages”. Then I made covers for the journal and kept everything with binder rings. I tried out my new journal throughout 2010 and it worked wonderfully for me, so I did it again in 2011! Here is what my journal looked like this past year:
The front cover (I love love love the paper I used, BTW). It is bound with binder rings and a fabric elastic band to keep the pages from wiggling too much.
One of the envelopes with the monthly template printed onto the front. I keep track of important events, dates with friends, appointments, and other things I want to remember.
On the back of the envelope I keep track of the books I read and movies I saw that month. Inside the envelope I place all the mementos I’ve collected throughout the month: photos, ticket stubs, pamphlets, cards, letters, etc. Some months the envelopes are quite thick, others not so much…
As I said, this system has worked so incredibly well for me these past two years that I wanted to continue with it again this year. Yesterday I made my 2012 journal using beautiful paper printed I bought in Rome last summer, featuring classic Italian movie posters. Now I can relive La dolce vita every day!
As you can see, this type of journal is quite easy to put together and even easier to maintain throughout the year, no matter how busy you are. And the best part is the pockets to store all the mementos that would otherwise clutter your life, or eventually become lost or thrown out. I also use these booklet envelopes in my travel journals whenever I go on a major trip – you can see my Greece journal here.
In large part because of this.
I’ve been making stuff whenever I have a spare moment in preparation for craft fairs and local shops’ holiday rush. There really isn’t much spare time or energy between planning and travelling to events for the pesky day job (7 in the past month), taking Italian classes, teaching workshops, fulfilling custom orders, and laundry. But my efforts are paying off in a big way.
Last weekend was the Crafternoon Tea fair, organized by the wonderful girls at nathalie-roze & co. As always, it was well-organized and well-attended. I sold more than expected (a good thing), which meant that I spent all day Sunday making new stock (a tiring thing, since I was hoping I could take the day off). This was what my booth looked like at the fair:
Sunday evening, I received an email from a new local shop, scout, with a message that they’ve sold out of my travel notebook and LP coasters and need more asap! Yikes! There go my plans to rest next weekend…
And tonight I’m putting together the final preparations for the CBC Charity Craft Sale taking place tomorrow. You know that last blog post I wrote about gifting George Stroumboulopoulos? This is what has happened since then:
Yesterday his assistant sent me a lovely email to say that George sends his thanks and loves his Clash LP journal. And today George tweeted about me and posted a photo of himself and the journal – how exciting is that?
I honestly wasn’t expecting such a fantastic response to my journal – I am truly flattered by his going out of his way to thank me publicly. All the more reason to be excited about tomorrow’s fair at the CBC!
This week seems to be all about making gifts for celebrities. It sure feels that way.
A week from tomorrow, I’ll be showing my wares at the annual CBC Charity Craft Sale. Last year was my first time participating in this event, and I have to say I had so much fun! I’m really looking forward to participating again this year, and now I know what to expect…
Even though I don’t own a TV, I am nonetheless a huge fan of George Stroumboulopoulos (aka Strombo). This recent interview with Kermit the Frog cracks me up every time I watch it – George’s giddiness is so completely adorable (particularly at the 5:09 mark):
I’ll be shipping it to him in advance of the CBC fair next week. Hopefully he’s so impressed he decides to stop by my booth on the day of the event! I’ll keep you posted!
Through my membership with The Artisan Group, an exciting opportunity recently came about – I was given a chance to send actress Ginnifer Goodwin one of my LP journals!
After some online research, I wasn’t able to find any information on her musical tastes, so in the end I decided to design a journal made from a Johnny Cash LP – since she played his first wife in the movie Walk the Line. I hope she likes it!
I apologize for the picture quality – it was taken earlier tonight in poor lighting. It’s hard taking good photos when the days are so short…
Once in a while I’ll receive an inquiry from someone asking if I accept custom orders. About two months ago, I received such a message from Hunter Residential Developments in Calgary. They were preparing to launch Coventry Station, a condominium development in North Central Calgary and were looking for unique packaging to hold official documents going to new buyers. They asked if I could create a prototype to their specifications, while somehow integrating a vinyl record in the design.
Now, I love creative challenges and was thrilled to be given this great opportunity! After a few trials and errors, I came up with the following design for an LP folio:
The folio can hold up to 1″ of documentation, and because I use the actual album sleeve, it’s quite sturdy. I covered the front cover LP label with a Coventry Station sticker, but the one on the inside cover was left intact, so you can see which album was actually used! What makes these folios most exciting [to me, at least] is that each and every one of them is one-of-a-kind!
The client also commissioned me to create a binder for their showroom [keeping a similar look]. It proved to be a much greater challenge figuring out how to keep the “essence” of the vinyl record while shaping it into a book/binder that would be sturdy enough for lots of handling. This is what I finally came up with – I used post binding so that the client could add extra pages, if needed:
I thoroughly enjoyed the creative problem-solving process for both these items. Back when I used to teach classes at my local scrapbooking store, I’d have to come up with new projects every month. I now realize how much I miss finding innovative and creative solutions to issues or problems!
I’ve always been big into journaling. I’ve loved writing out my thoughts, ideas, memories, etc. since the age of 13 or so. My journals have evolved over the years – for the first few years, they were the traditional, written form.
Then about 10 years ago, I started experimented with art journaling and immediately embraced this form of expression. For the first time ever, I could let go of my Type A, anal retentive personality and just play with colours and images, without judgment. It was fantastic! During this period in my life (mid-twenties), my creativity slowly started to resurface, after being dormant for too many years. I also felt that I was finally coming into my own and really getting to know the authentic me during this phase.
Since I started blogging a few years ago, I’ve been struggling to keep up my personal journals. Between the pesky day job, making books, teaching workshops, working on other personal and professional projects, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life, I’ve found it difficult to find the time and/or energy to journal. Yet I desperately wanted to find some way of capturing the moments, great and small, that make up my life.
Right around this time last year, I serendipitously found Amanda Hawkins’ wonderful blog, Ahhh Design, and the fantastic DIY planner templates that she designed. An idea formed in my head!
I downloaded her [free!] Index Cards template, and printed the Monthly Plan page onto 12 booklet-size envelopes. I made two covers, punched holes in the covers and envelopes, and voilà – my easy-peasy 2010 journal!
I kept the current month’s envelope in visible location so I wouldn’t forget about it. On the calendar side of the envelope, I recorded events (big and small) – concerts I attended, birthdays, appointments, dinners out with friends, etc. On the back side of the envelope, I listed books I read and movies I saw that month.
The envelopes I chose for this journal were large enough to fit cards, pamphlets, brochures, photos, ticket stubs, and other mementos [such as the x-rays of my broken ankle].
I haven’t shared this journal until now because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep it up consistently. But I’m delighted to report that I’ve recorded in this journal every single month in 2010. This format has been successful for me because it’s so easy to add to it – all I have to do is jot down a quick note or stash a memento in the envelope. Some months, the envelope is thinner than others – and that’s okay! It’s been a great way to capture the moments with very little effort, pressure or perfectionism.
As 2010 comes to an end, I plan to add my thoughts on the past year in greater detail as well as my goals for 2011.
And I definitely plan to repeat this journal format for 2011 – but I also want to add to-do lists, project ideas, sketches, and other elements so that it becomes more of a planner.
What about you – do you have an alternative journal format that works for you? Please share!
Every time I embark on a major trip, I create a handmade travel journal to take along with me. I am embarrassed to admit that the journal you’re about to see is the first I’ve actually finished!
I traveled to Greece in May 2009 to attend a friend’s wedding. It was an amazing experience shared with a few close friends – a trip full of so many memories that I really, really wanted to capture the sights, colours, sounds, stories, and emotions that I experienced while I was there.
This was my first time using an accordion binding for a travel journal, and I really loved it – I will definitely be using this format for future journals.
The covers measure 6.25″ X 9.75″ (16 cm X 25 cm); the chipboard covers are wrapped in real maps of Greece that I found in an old atlas. I made the book this size in order to be able to sew booklet-size envelopes in the page valleys. The inside pages are made of watercolour paper – I wanted something that would fold easily yet be sturdy enough to handle wet media. This paper was perfect for my purposes.
I glued two long strands of ribbon to the inside back cover so that I could tie the book shut.
On the pages I used a variety of media: acrylic paint, Caran d’ache Neocolor II watersoluble crayons, rubber stamps, watercolour paint, pen & ink, washi masking tape. Throughout my trip, I collected ephemera that I included in the journal: business cards, boarding passes, ticket stubs, brochures, maps, baggage tags, a label from bottled water, receipts. I also included the original wedding invitation, and of course, lots of photos. I sewed in large and small envelopes to insert any items that I didn’t want to damage or that were too heavy to glue or sew into the journal.
Even though I had the best of intentions, I didn’t actually record much in the journal during the actual trip (this always happens). I’ll diligently record everything that happens during the first day or two of the trip, and then I either get too busy or too tired to continue. Instead, I kept a list of highlights or memories of each day to spur my memory when I get home. It works – more than a year after the trip, I was able to recall what almost every item on the list referred to.
I also included several lists in the journal: Greek words and phrases, things I noticed about Greece, what I most loved…
I had a great time putting together this travel journal – what a great sense of accomplishment to finally finish it! Now I have to work on finishing my travel journals for the trips to Guatemala, Switzerland and the Northwest Territories taken several years go – whew!
As I sat perusing the blogosphere earlier tonight, I came across a post by Billie’s Craft Room, in which she posted her favourite five books on bookbinding and invited other bookbinders to do the same. I thought I’d take her up on the challenge! Here goes:
1. Books with Girth
- Author: Cherryl Moote
- Publisher: Moote Points www.mootepoints.com
- ISBN 0-9688811-8-1
Cherryl does a fantastic job of giving detailed instructions THAT MAKE SENSE – regardless of whether you’re a novice or a pro bookbinder. Her projects are lots of fun too.
2. How to Make Books
- Author: Esther K. Smith
- Publisher: Potter Craft www.pottercraft.com
- ISBN 978-0-307-35336-8
This is such a fun and visually stimulating book – I love the whole design of the book, from the inside pages to the chipboard letterpressed covers. It’s gorgeous. I also love the fact the Esther has many projects that include recycled materials.
3. 1-2 & 3-Section Sewings: Non-Adhesive Binding Volume II
- Author: Keith A. Smith
- Publisher: Keith Smith Books www.keithsmithbooks.com
- ISBN 0-9637682-2-0
Keith’s instructions can be tricky to understand and follow at times, but I love the incredible number of variations on each binding. Once you “get” his instructions and diagrams, you can make some pretty stunning books.
4. Unique Handmade Books
- Author: Alisa Golden
- Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co. www.sterlingpub.com
- ISBN 1-4027-0614-6
In truth, any of Alisa Golden’s books could be on this list. Her projects are fun, her instructions are great, and they’re a great mix between traditional bookbinding and art books. This was the first bookbinding book I ever bought (it was so pretty) – it actually sat on my bookshelf for a few years before I mustered up the nerve to attempt a project or two.
5. Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals and Albums
- Author: Shereen LaPlantz
- Publisher: Lark Books www.larkbooks.com
This is the one book you’ll find on most bookbinder’s shelves. It provides a good, solid overview of basic and more advanced bookbinding techniques.
Are there any other must-have books that you haven’t seen on this list? Please share!
You may already know that I have a fondness for advent calendar. I think I get it from my mom. As a child I remember her sewing together a large snowman advent calendar with pouches – inside each pouch was a felt ornament. Oh, how I loved it! She would also treat us to those store-bought advent calendars with a chocolate behind each door. Unfortunately I had to take turns opening the little doors with my little brothers.
Here’s a sampling of some advent calendars I’ve made in the past – I guess you won’t be shocked that they’re in book form!
This one is tiny, but chunky – the pockets are 2″ x 2″ and each one contains a tag. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but this book ended up taking about 8 hours to make! Between folding of the pockets, punching holes in each one, binding 24 signatures, gluing the pockets, then gluing the embellishments on each pocket…by the end of it, I was SO DONE.
This is a larger one – I made one for my mom last year (actually, today is her birthday – Happy Birthday, Mom!) and in each pocket I included a tag with “Merry Christmas” in a different language.
Do you have a great advent calendar you’d like to share? Please do!
I stayed home all weekend nursing a nasty cold, which meant I had lots of time on my hands. Perhaps too much.
As a result, I watched all 9 episodes of glee. Within 24 hours. Oh, but what joy! [Will I burn in hell if I admit that Sue Sylvester is my favourite character? The gems that come out of her mouth are shocking - but so, so hilarious!] For days, all I’ve wanted to do is sing and dance to Journey and REO Speedwagon… is that wrong?
Being sick also allowed me to make these beauties (while watching the aforementioned tv program):
Chunky books made from beer coasters! Can I tell you just how much I love these books?!!
I also spent time playing at Rollip (a fantastic site recommended by the lovely Shanley). It allows you to transform your digital photos into Polaroids – how freaking cool is that? For example:
BEFORE: Me and my *imaginary* boyfriend Jim Cuddy at the Jackson-Triggs Winery this summer (notice what he’s holding in his hand – one of my LP journals!).
This weekend I also discovered an amazing online magazine: Modern Handmade Child
If you’re into living simply, handmade gifts, crafting, and stunning photography and design, this magazine is for you. The Winter issue is chock-full of ideas and projects to try – and they’re not all centered around kids, as the title would imply. I am childless and have found so many items that appeal to my crafty, inner child…
Hope you’re enjoying your week so far – happy Monday!