Saturday, December 3, 2011

...and the Winner is...

Thank you to all who participated in my first giveaway--it far surpassed my original goal of one more follower! It was so successful, in fact, that I've decided to host another! I'll update later this week hopefully on the next book (which will be full-sized!) along with the new rules.

However, I don't think the point system is fair for those who participated in the last giveaway, as one cannot follow my blog twice. So I'm keeping you all in! So all of you will have another shot at winning, while newcomers can also participate. More on this later, but for now, my congratulations to Exhibitsmith!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book (Necklaces) of the Week!

The Elizabeth Bennet necklace for sale here.
First, I want to thank everyone for their participation in my first giveaway--it's been much more of a success than originally anticipated! (I only wanted to get a few more blog followers, but the original number has quadrupled!) The Giveaway will be drawing to a close on the 30th, when I'll be doing the drawing. But more on that later.

Lately, I've been making tiny leather book necklaces, and I've listed a few in my shop that are inspired by Jane Austen characters.

I'm not a jewelry expert, so I've decided against chains unless they are requested, or if I find some vintage ones I like. Instead I'm mostly using silk cords, which can be tied at any length. They're both colorful and flexible!

The Emma necklace, which sold to a wonderful customer. 
Honestly, the little books are a nice break from regular bookbinding, because they are almost an instant gratification project. If I end up doing a tutorial soon, it'll end up being on these, since they are the best beginner's project EVER.

In other news:
I've started compiling a bookbinding blogroll you can see on the bar on the right. Those featured are either members of my Etsy Bookbinding Team, or just super awesome blogs I've discovered. You should check them out whenever bored. (The ones at the top especially, since they likely post most frequently.)

And here are some more of the necklaces I've made:

This is my sister's favorite, and if it doesn't sell by Christmas, I'm giving it to her. It's the Tinkerbell necklace found here

The mini musical necklace, has music paper endpages, and is covered in distressed, yet smooth leather. For sale here

Here's the first one I made, which has a vintage chain, and is covered in black leather. For sale here.

Here's one of my favorites, inspired by Long John Silver, from Stevenson's Treasure Island. (It's sold.)

The Elinor necklace inspired by the character in Austen's Sense and Sensibility. For sale here.

This one was inspired by Marianne from Sense and Sensibility. It's for sale here.

The 80 Days Around the World necklace features a jasper stone which looks just like a flattened globe. (sold). 

I haven't listed this one yet, but I'll put a link up when I do. It's inspired by the Aunts from Arsenic and Old Lace.
I have one more I've finished, but haven't photographed. I'll tweet and facebook both it, and the one above once I've posted them to my shop.

Let me know if you're interested in a tutorial by commenting!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Manifesto for the Ethical Treatment of Mini Books

I've been making a lot of mini books lately, despite their unpopularity. Actually, probably because of their unpopularity. I guess mini books are the geeks in the pantheon that is book-high-school.

Since mini books are natural minorities, I'm going to write them a little manifesto:

1. Mini books are just as cool, and should be held in equal esteem by bibliophiles.
2. They might be small, but their size has several advantages: they can fit into a pocket or purse, they travel well, can be hidden easily, and they're just darn cute.
3. Mini books have been popular for 4,000 years (see photos below).
4. They are more economical since they are often much less expensive to make and purchase.
5. They are more environmentally friendly, because they use less paper, and inspire you to write smaller.

This was a short manifesto, but I'll be continuing my rant in further posts. Until then, here's a picture of the little recipe book I made for myself this weekend.

For more information on the history of the mini book, go to the Lilly Library's online exhibition, here. And here are a few more pictures on the history of the mini book:

Mini Manuscript: "Book of Hours, Bruges?, Belgium, ca. 1440." from the Lilly Library

Also from the Lilly LibraryCuriosities of the Tower of London, Vol. I. London: Printed for Tho. Boreman, 1741.

Prayer book in French, 1881 from Etsy shop: LucieTalesVintage 

Miniature French-English Dictionary (1961) for sale in sinstuff's Etsy shop.
If you're interested in making your own mini accordion book, go here for a picture tutorial:

Also: found this just now; the miniature book society:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Giveaway!

I've been promising a giveaway for a while now, and I'm hoping all this waiting around has inspired a bit of excitement/impatience...maybe someone's even queued up for a chance to win? Well, here's your chance:

I've made two Where the Wild Things Upcycled Journals, and since they went so quickly, I've decided to offer a mini version as the prize this time.

Here's some stats for you:
- 220 pages (both sides) of Strathmore Sketching Paper
- 3 1/8" tall
- 2 3/8" wide
- 1 1/4" thick
- coptic stitched with black waxed (by me with this wax here) thread
- may contain monsters, but those with nut allergies are perfectly safe

Ways of Winning This Giveaway:
1 point  -  favorite one item from my Etsy shop
1 point  -  favorite my shop on Etsy
1 point  -  comment on one of my blog posts
2 points -  follow my blog (or convince someone else to) *Edit: if you follow me with some other method than blogger and/or your picture doesn't appear on the sidebar, let me know and I'll make a note of it*
2 points -  add me to your circle on Etsy
2 points -  like my facebook page
3 points -  purchase one item from my shop

For each point you receive, I will enter your name once into the drawing. The first three listed above can only be used once apiece...meaning, you can't favorite 12 items in my shop for 12 points. However, multiple purchases do count!

This giveaway ends November 31, when I will be doing the drawing. Best of luck to everyone! If you, for some reason, don't take a fancy to this journal, you can wait around until the middle of November, for my next giveaway. And here are more photos to drool over:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Book of the Week: Where the Wild Things Are, An Upcycled Journal

Ever read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak? Well, if you haven't, I suggest you run to the Library now, and get it. Or look at this small preview.

It's a lovely book about where imagination can take you, and I very luckily found a copy in the Friends of the Library Room. And of course, I made it into an upcycled coptic stitched journal for one lucky person to fill with their own imaginative tales or drawings. *It sold to a very special customer today, and I'm very happy it's found such a good home.*

The outside covers feature Max in his costume, just before he's fully transformed his room to Where the Wild Things Are, and the on the back are a few of the Wild Things he meets there. The signatures are covered with small cut-outs of the illustrated endpages, and sections of the same illustration cover the inside of the front and back. I LOVE this book.

Find the description here.

In other news, a.k.a. ranting:
Etsy's changed it's search default from recentness to relevancy--which is good for some, but VERY bad for me. It's good, for example, for someone selling "vintage alarm clocks" or "blue enamel teapots" or even "screen print t-shirts". But I don't make typical books, and often my customers are not looking specifically for, say, a journal inspired by Oliver Twist. This means that I have to title and tag my unique journals under more broad and general categories like "leather journal" or "upcycled journal" instead of giving them the air of whimsy they used to have. And it also means, that I'm much more hard to find.

I'm so sad about this, really. Not necessarily because it's meant I've had a significantly lowered number of views/favorites/purchases in my shop, but because so much of what I LOVED about Etsy was one's ability to browse and be SURPRISED by the unique and thoughtful things people create or find. I never would have thought to browse for some of the art pieces I've discovered: like this artist book of Shakespeare's 116th Sonnet, or these Bow Tie Fingerless Mittens by Vanessa Ewing. You have to STUMBLE UPON them.

Anyway, I've had to purchase search ads, which aren't exactly working well, and while I feel my tagging is accurate, It's irritating that because I make all unique books I'm rarely being seen. Stupid Etsy!
Stupid Grinch! Stupid Christmas!

Anyway, enough rant and onward to a good little tid-bit: I'm going to have my first give-away soon! Though I'm satisfied with my four brilliant followers, I'm feeling a bit ambitious. I want FIVE! You'll be hearing more about it next week so constant vigilance my friends! Constant vigilance!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book of the Week: The Sleeping Beauty Coptic Stitched Journal

About a month ago, I found a poor little coverless book in the free bin at the Friends of the Library room, and GUESS WHAT!

It had about six absolutely stunning vintage prints of classic fairy tales like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, The Snow Queen, Snow White and Red Rose, the Bremen Town Musicians, and The Prince and the Princess.

So I used each illustration to cover the front of an Upcycled Journal. I found matching patterned paper to cover the backs, and used different coloured threads for the stitching. One day, I promise, I'll put up a picture tutorial for how to make one, but for right now, I'm keeping it close.

The first two mentioned have sold, the second two are available, and the last two are in production. So look for them soon!

The best thing about these pictures, though, are that they are dark and mysterious, just like the old-school fairy tales were. No Disney cartoons here! (Not that I don't like Disney.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book of the Week: King Arthur Journal

After a pretty long hiatus, I'm back, with a bajillion more books. Including this wee-beastie called the King Arthur Journal.

After seeing a exhibition of illuminated manuscripts last year, I've been wanting to make a journal with vellum, and after picking some up at the Lobby I've done it!

It's a quarter leather sewn on cords with a rounded spine. On the cover I used red and metallic gold decorative paper and textured tan leather, while on the inside I've used recycled parchment endpages and vegetable vellum.

I'm hopeful someone will appreciate it's uniqueness and history. Vellum's not that commonly used as an art medium anymore, but it's semi-transparency causes an awesome effect that gives the contents dimension. Being able to see through the page means that each page's art plays on the next and that one on the next, and so on forever.

I will be honest and say that this book was difficult to make. Unlike ordinary paper, vellum is more adverse to being stitched up and it took a lot of care to round the spine. But I'm pretty satisfied with the end results.

In other news: I've ordered more marbled paper from MyMarbledPapers which I'm looking forward to getting in the mail soon. One's a full sized sheet but I also got two sets of samples in a smaller size. Also, I've been stocking up on Strathmore Drawing and Sketching paper, for my new listings and this week I've posted about 8 new books to my shop.

A long while ago I got a discarded children's book from the Library that was a fairy tale treasury missing it's cover. But inside there were so many wonderful vintage illustrations that I knew I could use in some capacity. So now, I've been making each into a beautiful coptic-stitched journal with corresponding printed scrapbook paper back covers. Find them here.

I'll also be featuring one of them as next week's pick, so look for that. In the mean time, check out my new listings.

ALSO: I've hit 22 sales!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book of the Week: Ebenezer Scrooge Journal

I made a new journal!

Isn't it gorgeous? It's called the Ebenezer Scrooge Journal, based on the character from Dicken's The Christmas Carol. Although originally it was going to be an Icabod Crane journal (but with the nameplate, it sort of lost it's Icabod-ness). Read the description here.

Also my mom's suggested I make a Mr. Rogers inspired journal, and I think i'm going to make it from a knit cardigan. And now I have a sewing machine!  And speaking of Mr's, I want to make a Mr. Bean journal. And a Mr. Darcy journal. Oh, there are so many Mr's that I can make journals after.

School's back, though, so we'll see how much time I have. Only have four classes, but we'll see how it all goes.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pricing War

I've been warring over myself about pricing for a good long while now, and I've decided that there needs to be some sort of standardization, so I've compiled a comprehensive list of "stuff that goes into making a book". And I've assigned a monetary value to each of these items. That way, I can price things realistically, and if people are like "why do you charge so much?" I can just refer them back to this list.
Micro Mini Journal for Reference

Stuff That Goes Into Making A Book:

$10 1-2 hours
$20 3-4 hours
$30 5-6 hours
$40 7+ hours
$3 Custom orders

Mini Journal for reference
$1 Micro Mini
$2 Mini, 100+
$3 Moleskine
$4 Regular size, up to 200
$5 Regular size, 200+
$6 Premium

Regular Sized Journal for reference
Base Materials (thread, glue, etc.):
$1 Mini
$2 Regular

Casebound Materials:
$1 Cover paper
$1 Board
$1 Mini bookcloth spine
$2 Regular bookcloth spine
$2 Mini full bookcloth cover
Quarter Leather for reference
$4 Regular full bookcloth cover
$1 Bookcloth corners
$1 Mini handsewn head/endbands
$2 Regular handsewn head/endbands
$6 Mini quarter leather (spine is leather)
$10 Regular quarter leather (spine is leather)
$1 Cardstock endpages
$1 Vintage paper endpages
$2 Specialty paper endpages
$1 Mini specialty paper endpages

Leather for Leather Journals:
$2 Micro mini (~1 1/2"x1 1/4")
$5 Mini (~3"x2 1/2")
$10 Medium (~4"x3" - ~5"x4")
$20-30 Large (larger than above)

$2 small
$4 large
$4 lace
$1 thread/ribbon
$1 button (each)
$7 chain for book necklace

Your 25% Discount Coupon Code is PRICING.

Yum, Beeswax..

Look what I got! Now I can wax my own linen thread! Which I've done for my Mini Musical Key Signature Journal.

I went to Pygmalian's the other day, to window shop. And by window shop I mean to pet the kitties and drool all over the bookbinding supplies. I asked one of the owners if they carried bookbinding wax, by which I meant beeswax in dispenser that you can easily run thread through. He said they had regular beeswax, and just look at how cute this is! $1.35.

Have to go wax some thread now, ttfn!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book of the Week: Custom Shakespeare Journal

 So I need to talk about this book, if only because it's taken me a month and a half to make. Oh My Bookbinding God.

I don't know if anyone's familiar with The Bookbinding Guy videos (more info here) but I checked them out at the library, and apart from having terribly loud and upsetting music, the instructions really are helpful and clear. They differ slightly from most of the instructions in books I've found, but actually seeing people do things like sewing headbands was AWESOME. (And yes I just yelled that.)

In the middle of June, I had a custom order for a Shakespeare inspired journal for a future English professor from his wife. (What would become this book). She was actually my first ever buyer, and she's the best customer I've had. We talked it over, and she gave me a lot of room to do whatever I wanted. My immediate thought: I WANT TO DO A QUARTER LEATHER! Hence the Bookbinding Guy's video.

Anyway, this was my first quarter leather, for all intents and purposes, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I sewed the bookblock on large cords, and the effect was pretty exaggerated. If you're wondering, I used antique leather, that was already weathered and worn, because Shakespeare should never look brand new. The marbled paper was from MyMarbledPapers on Etsy. This particular paper was based on Coriolanus.

I even sewed headbands! And then I sewed more headbands. It's addicting.

In fact, I don't know why more people don't sew them instead of gluing pre-made ones on. Honestly, sewing them is a lot more fun than holding them on for half and hour hoping they doesn't fall off after you let go.

Goodness, this book took so long to make, if only because I was trying really hard not to screw it up. I got feedback yesterday, and a really nice message from the buyer about how much her husband liked it. He said it was very "scholarly". And he's going to use it to take notes for his forthcoming book. Good luck to him!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Book of the Week: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

You might recognize this cover paper from the marbled paper porn post a while back. It's deliciously nautical. The seafoam green, the sandy tan, the white floating bubbles....the intermittent squid ink swimming about in the current.

When we were little, my sister and I read a lot and our mom would occasionally give us each books from her shelf. Well, my sister got 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and I was insanely jealous; I can't even remember what book I got. Well, this one was one of those 50's style covers with a weird illustration of a squid trying desperately to eat some kind of sea vessel. Yum.

So here I do homage to the book I never got. I hope Jules Verne isn't rolling over in his grave yet, because I happen to have ideas for two notebooks inspired by Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. Yay adventure! Hmmm....maybe some Nancy Drew or something too. That's an idea!

Anyway, you can read any of Verne's books here or find this specimen in my Etsy shop here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book of the Week: The Burnley FC Journal

My friend Stephanie commissioned a book for her man-toy last week, so I had to do a bit of research on the Burnley football team (nicknamed the "Clarets") who were the theme. What a blast! 

Honestly, the only trivia I knew about British football I got from watching Bend it Like Beckham, and reading Harry Potter. So I was surprised to find that the fanaticism attributed to British football clubs is just as crazy, if not more so, than American football fans. But, luckily, that meant more information for me. 

Looking over the club's official site (find it here) I discovered that--like most everything culturally British--history, loyalty, and tradition diffuses even something as simple as fandom. So I tried to make this journal very traditional by covering it in "claret" colored bookcloth and light blue endpages. Then, I drew a little sketch of the Burnley FC crest and stuck it to the interior. I hope the man-toy likes it!

Also, it's interesting how much music or background entertainment influences you, isn't it? I mean, my memory of a certain book is usually tied to what I was watching or what I was listening to while making it. For this, I watched Cold Comfort Farm while sewing up the bookblock, rounding the spine, and covering the case; then, I watched Ramona and Beezus as I cased-in and drew the little sketch of the crest. I'm not sure if the kid's movie, in which Ramona's dad is constantly drawing up funny cartoons, made me draw the crest so cartoon-y or if I'm just predisposed to drawing funny pictures. 
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