Sunday, November 28, 2010

Topsy Turvy Book

I'd like to introduce my new topsy turvy journal.  It started out as a spell book, which has now been dismembered and is no more. 

I liked the size and wanted to make another journal with the covers.  It has great endpapers too.  (I'm pretty sure I got the book at one of Gaye's yard sales.)  The main purpose of this new journal is to try out some new papers recommended by LK Ludwig in her online class, Just 3 Journals.  I found a great deal on Stonehenge and Lenox papers at JerrysArtarma online.  For years, I've used Fabriano Artistico and still love it.  But it has gotten so expensive and I am venturing out to try something new.

I made this book combining the seed pearl stitch and sewn over tapes.  I really like how it turned out. 
The reason the book is "topsy turvy" is that when you open the front cover, there are five signatures of the Stonhenge paper.

Flip the book over, and the back cover becomes the front cover, and there are five signatures of Lenox 100 paper. I'll try them both out and see which I like better.


I'm sure I'll add something else to the cover, but for now I'm loving this new journal!  However, I am trying to figure out why I think I need yet another journal to work in!  I guess I'll just admire my multi-tasking skills instead.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I did it in the name of research.  I did it for you.  I needed to find out the difference between the fortunes in Chinese fortune cookies and Thai fortune cookies.  The fact that I ate a whole box of Thai fortune cookies is irrelevant.  (They are yummy, by the way.  And I did not eat them all at once.)  I like the parchment paper fortunes in the Thai cookies.

I'm working on binding a new book, and hope to show it soon.....

Happy belated Thanksgiving by the way.  I was working.  It was raining.  And I woke up to snow this morning!  Life is full of changes and surprises...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Meanwhile, back in the laboratory....

I've seen different versions of this technique, and finally gave it a try.  After all, how hard could it be since I already had what I needed:  a book page, Quink black ink, and bleach. 

This wasn't my first result.  Turns out bleach goes bad after a few years.  I'm not sure how long I've had it, but apparently I don't use straight bleach too much.  I use cleaners with bleach and laundry detergent with bleach, but not straight bleach.

So my first attempt to make magic on a painted black page failed.  I tore pages from an old book ("soft" pages are good), and painted them with black ink.  After they dried, it looked more reddish than black, but that's okay.

With anticipation, I dipped Q-tip cotton swabs into some bleach and made marks.  Nothing.  Zilch.  I thought maybe it takes time to dissolve the ink, so I let them sit for a bit.  Still nothing. 

Then I figured if bleach is the tool, why not use a cleaner with bleach. I had Lysol all purpose cleaner with bleach, so I poured some in a little cup and used that. Worked instantly! What fun. Only later did I think about using the spray bottle itself that the cleaner came in to spray onto the pages. Very cool.


While waiting earlier for something to happen, I had used up the ink in my cup to make marks on other papers.  I also sprayed those.  Where the paper was white, I painted walnut ink over it.  Interestingly, where there were bleach spots on the white part (not visible until painted), they showed up darker with the walnut ink.

Laboratory experiments successful.  Onward...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random Acts of Culture

How could you not have a wonderful day after experiencing this while shopping.  Thanks to my friend Connie for sending this link.

(Having lived previously outside Philadelphia in South Jersey, I thought I recognized the Wanamaker organ.  When I lived there in the 80s, there was a Wanamaker's Department Store, apparently now a Macy's.  Good to see the organ is still in operation!)
Where the organ resides in the Grand Court.
They just don't make deparment stores like this anymore.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Three

I have just finished the third book from an online class with LK Ludwig (class info here).  This is a great class, three for $15.  Can't beat that! 

My third book is the Seed Pearl stitch.  I just wanted a quick sample book for myself, but in retrospect, I should have used some real cords.  Instead, I used some old paper twist (? drawing a blank on what it is called) that was in a bag of stuff to get rid of.  Seemed like a good idea at the time - it was sturdy enough, handy, and I could fray the ends when done and fan the paper to make an interesting cover.

When LK says sewing over all those cords is sometimes like fighting an octopus, she wasn't kidding.  What I was using was even worse. Since it had been coiled for who-knows-how-many-years, it had a natural curve that would not lie straight while I was sewing.  And I'm not sure it's every going to be flexible enough for the book to lie flat.  But...I like the binding and will do one again.  For sure.

(In case you are wondering, book 2 is the wrapped straps, and my sample is in the Nov 4th post.  Book 1 is sewn over tapes, which is what I've used on all my stencil books and is in LK's book Creative Wildfire.  The sewn over tapes really has become my go-to technique lately!)

Good / Bad

They say you can't go home again.  Actually, you can, it's just never the same....  I just got back from Tennessee where I helped my mom celebrate her 80th birthday.  It was very low-key.  In fact, I had a hard time convincing her we did Not have a big surprise lurking around the corner.  She hates surprises, she hates not being in charge, and she hates not knowing what's going on.  She also mentioned while I was there that old photos depress her.  So, in a way, it's good that I never got my project finished that I wanted to make for her birthday, which involved heavy use of old family photos. 

My first day there, even though I had been in the car all day, we immediately got in her car and drove out in the boonies to the little Mennonite store.  They have great stuff there, and even if you don't buy anything, it's fun to look around.  Good that we made the trip (as it was a beautiful fall day), bad that they had switched to winter hours and were closed.  Guess I'll to wait until another time to get some more Chili Soup Mix (not to be confused with just chili). 

We went home through "town" (a term used very generously).  It was good to see a whole little park filled with flags honoring local veterans.

It was bad to turn around and see yet another vacant building falling apart and awaiting demolition.

However, other buildings have been painted in bright colors - such a contrast. 

My mom has been in her house 35 years, and just put it on the market last week.  She is ready for less yard, less space, less headaches.  That's good that she is thinking ahead while her mind is sharp.  Bad for us, but only temporarily, since it is sad to see the For Sale sign in the yard.  The biggest thing I will miss is sitting at the kitchen table, having coffee, looking outside in the backyard.  There are lots of bird feeders and lots of birds.  Beyond that is a large field where sometimes corn grows, sometimes soybeans, and sometimes cotton. 
This was taken a few years ago, after cotton had been harvested just before my visit.  They sure don't pick cotton like they used to when I was little.  If you've never picked cotton, the cotton bolls have a hard pointy outer shell, and it pokes the heck out of your fingers when you pull the soft cotton from the inside.  (Not that I have a lot of experience doing that.  I think my sister and I picked cotton once when we were younger.  I remember picking for what seemed like a very long time, taking my bag to the scales to be weighed, and being presented with a grand total of twenty-five cents.  Bummer.)  Of course, these days it's all done by big machines, which leaves the cotton in large blocks.  How they pick it up later is beyond me. 

I still get nostalgic when I see all the cotton fields in West Tennessee.  And that's good.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Doodly Do

I have been piddling here and there lately, just haven't posted any of it.  It's pure guilt on my part, because I have another project I need to be working on, and have been playing elsewhere instead.  Like doing this...

I've seen other people put photos in a sketchbook and build the page around it.  Not what I saw in my head, but I do plan to play with this some more.

I've also done more spraying and stenciling on paper And fabric (with new purple and blue spray I found on a sale table).  One really should iron the fabric before spraying, I learned.  But since my name is not "One", I neglected to do that!

I also tried out a new book binding, using things I already had lying around.  Came across this stack of paper left over from cutting other sheets down to size.  I always liked the tiny pattern of checks, and couldn't throw it out.  So I used it for my sample book to try out the stitching.  (The book is above in the previous photo.)  The twill tape has also been hanging around for a long time.  I think it was an experiment with alcohol inks on the tape. 

So many ideas... so little time...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Small Town

 This is why I like living in a small town (well, it does not even qualify as a town as it is unincorporated and does not even have a single traffic light.)
6:00 a.m. - Take out the trash.  Bring in the newspaper.
6:02 a.m. - Drive to the voting precinct.
6:05 a.m. - Arrive at voting precinct and park ten feet from the door.
6:10 a.m. - Vote.
6:12 a.m. - Drive out of the parking lot (but pause, roll down the passenger window, and take a picture of the flag fluttering in the breeze).
6:16 a.m. - Arrive home.
6:25 a.m. - Log onto work computer and begin my work day, right on time at 6:30 a.m.

No matter what your views or affiliation, voting is a precious right.  Hard to believe women did not get to vote in the beginning!