Tuesday, May 27, 2008


What a fun day yesterday!!! :)
First of all--here is the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen that Jennifer picked up for me at Wet Paint in Saint Paul. Jennifer got one, too--an early birthday present from Tickpuppy--her birthday is Friday. She let me try hers and it is great! Has lots of strength, bounce, and comes back to such a sharp point--nice!

Took a while for me to get the ink flowing in mine last night, but I finally did. I really want to learn how to write a few things in the Chinese characters--at least my name--hehe! This will work nicely and has permanent deep black ink. People use them for sketching, too. And since it is permanent ink, you should be able to do watercolors right over it without it bleeding. Thank you, Jennifer, for doing that for me!! :)

Okay--here is the sorry little book that I made in that two-day, mini-seminar (as an option in my art class at Concordia) about six years ago or so. This is the tiny book--with all its glaring mistakes and glue smudges and misfit, too-few signature pages--that set me on the road to buying up materials for my "some day" bookbinding projects!!

I can really chuckle now! The professor said to cut the signatures half an inch shorter than the length of the cover. Well, I didn't know she meant the entire cover--front and back--laid flat--hehe! Which would have meant they'd have been 1/4 inch shorter than the cover, of course. My inside cover green paper was too short, too! Luckily I had thought I had to cover the inside of the cover with the same paper as the front and had used way too much--was upset that it didn't cover the whole inside (I am chuckling as I write this, even!)--so my scrawny inside green paper still covered up the bare cardboard. Always a silver lining, right?

She said 1/2 an inch shorter than the cover--she got 1/2 an inch shorter than the cover--ROFL!! I wasn't the only person to have heard the instructions that way, either. A couple other people have probably kept their funny, stunted little handmade books, too--hehe! This is probably not that amusing to other people, but it absolutely cracks me up!

We had about 8 people out of the drawing class that wanted to try bookmaking. We were over to the side of the room trying to be quiet while the other people were drawing. It was rather chaotic, actually. The professor had never done this before--had just learned herself and was all enthusiastic about bookmaking--but I think deeply regretted making this spur of the moment offer by the end of the second day--chuckle! Or regretted the lack of planning, maybe.

I have never regretted my goofy little book. I was hooked! Being a reader and book lover--(as is Jennifer!!)--actually constructing a book is like a fantasy! And yesterday--I finally got to use some of the materials I had gathered over these last few years!! Hurray! The excitement was palpable!

Learning something brand new--what more could somebody ask for? Well, for good company and a lot of laughing, of course!

Jennifer was following instructions for making over a composition notebook with file folders--two parter:
Jennifer's turned out better than the girl's who made the video!!
Then--here I am--very serious--intently learning the kettle stitch for coptic binding. I was basically following this video--for the stitching:
I realized, I always look tired. If I am not laughing, I look like I am going to fall asleep on the spot--hehe!
Here's Jennifer's first masterpiece!

This heavy paper will take a lot! Collage, inks, colored pencils, etc. It is thicker paper than the Moleskine sketchbook, so Jennifer is going to see if watercolors will bleed through like the Moleskine or not. :)
The girl left a string on the bottom and attached beads and charms. Jennifer didn't know if she was going to do that. I can't remember now if she already had cut that off or not--hehe! But--the next thing Jennifer will do is decorate the cover--front and back. Can cover the journal with pretty paper, paint it, collage it, whatever she wants.

And here's mine.

It is small--5 X 6 inches. A tiny, pocket size watercolor journal. The guy in the video didn't use any eyelets and didn't use a "covered" cover. I just wanted to do it this way.

Look! My pages fit the book! hehehe!

Cheerful inside paper--that fits the cover--hehe!
The book doesn't close flat because it is watercolor paper and so much heavier than regular drawing or writing paper. But what I love about the coptic binding is that the book will lie flat when you are using it, so it is perfect for artwork or for writing.

My stitching--well, I did mess it up in a few places because I have never done it before, but it didn't turn out too badly. This video was supposed to be a simplified version and I think it was a good one to start with.
I can see why they say a curved needle is a handy thing to have. At first it was awkward, but after you got the first signature sewn in--it worked easier than the straight needle the guy in the video was using. Glad I bought those!
This is the method that I want to use for the thick leather covered journals I want to make--just two hunks of leather, some eyelets, and sew the signatures together. [I do need extra long eyelets, tho, to do that. So, my plans for buying a little watercolor paint in June---well, I am buying up some bookmaking supplies instead. I wasn't going to have a lot left over anyways. But, thanks to the government, I will be ordering my KitchenAid mixer--woohoo! So, I am happy happy happy! Paints will come later. It's not like I don't have plenty to play with as it is, right!!?]
Anyways, Jennifer and my projects may have looked fairly easy on the videos--but they took us like 5-6 hours? Amazingly, we finished about the same time. Jennifer would have been done earlier if she had used some of the waxed thread, I think? I sent some home with her. She was battling crazy, curly string all day--ended up using the porch door knob as an extra hand--hehe!
I used waxed thread for the very first time yesterday. I was expecting it to be awkward, because it feels so thick and weird, but it didn't twist, curl, and knot up like the unwaxed string Jennifer was using. But when you did get a knot--was hard to get out--so I had to go slow, too. I'm sure Jennifer's next jounal will go much more smoothly.
My next one--I am planning on trying to make an actual book cover like we did in the class at Concordia--but using watercolor paper inside, of course. That is the plan, anyways!
BUT--definitely NOT today--hehe! I have been doing too much for several days and have been taking the new stronger pain pills twice a day. So--time off. R&R. Feel the pain. I don't want to get hooked on the narcotics. It would be too easy for me to do, you know? When you have taken the pain pill you don't realize you are overdoing it--then it wears off and you are in extra pain, so you need a pain pill--and so it goes. My normally quiet, peaceful days where I do my little this and that in my hour sessions a few times a day--well, I can usually tolerate my normal pain level without medication. I am blessed to have that option.
And so--I will not be doing a lot the next few of days. But that is just fine. Karma will get to cuddle more. And I will have more letter time. It was all worth it--hehe! :)


  1. Rita - That was so fun! I had a blast! And I love our journals :) I'm so proud of us. Hey - I can barely sew a button on a shirt...so that says a lot there! Oh - and I'm scared of that first picture of me. :)

  2. I think you look cute in that picture! At least you were smiling--unlike me somber photo--hehe! :)

    Was really fun! We'll have to do something like that again soon.


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