Archive for the ‘bookbinding’ Category

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I’m still decluttering my studio, which is taking forever: I have so much stuff in there.  Yesterday I rediscovered a pack of replica vintage garden ephemera that I bought at the Chelsea Flower Show many years ago.  I’ve used a few bits from it, but the rest had been chucked in a drawer and forgotten about.  I’ve chosen a few cards with which to decorate my studio, and today I turned the remaining bits and bobs into a notebook.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how useful a curved needle can be, especially when one is binding envelopes into a book.

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I ended up using the biggest garden leaflet to make the cover (which is lined with card from some posh shirt packaging that came into my possession), the leftover garden bits and some repurposed paper (brown paper that had been used as packaging in something I received in the post, and some squared paper from an old maths exercise book) became the pages.  I found some old envelopes lurking in another drawer so those got thrown in too.  It’s turned out beautifully!

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Actually these are from last week, but let’s not be picky eh?  I’m still slowly trying to slimline my studio and struggling because I can’t bear to just throw things out, so it leads to quite a bit of head-scratching to come up with creative ways to use things.  I thought that these saddle-stitched exercise books were a good way to use up three things: some coloured paper that’s been languishing on a shelf for years, some book cloth that I’ve always struggled to team with anything (the blue, the orange is actually offcuts from some previous books), and old ordnance survey maps (of which I have, er, quite a few).  They turned out beautifully: deceptively simple on the outside, but interestingly colourful within.

I won’t be adding these to my Etsy shop until next month, but if you’d like to reserve any of them then let me know.  The A5 blue ones will be available in two sets of three, and the A7 orange ones in a single set of four.

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Which is exactly why you should buy one of these.  Fun notebooks made of felt, with a book belt that’s made of Lego tape and a piece of Lego.  Go on, you know you want to.  Click here to visit my Etsy shop.



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…so here are some books that feature (reproduction postcards of) vintage advertisements.  My favourite is hands down (no pun intended) the gloves that come with a cigarette pocket.  One of my biggest bugbears is that women’s clothing rarely comes with useful pockets.  Usually the pockets on our clothes are too small to be of use or, worse, they’re FAKE pockets just added as a design feature.  Seriously, WTF?  We need pockets.  We need FUNCTIONAL pockets.  I have a whole rant on this subject but I’ll just leave you for now with what would probably be my slogan if I went campaigning: Pockets Against the Patriarchy!

If you’d like to purchase any of these books then click here to visit my Etsy shop.





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Beatrix Potter notebooks now back in stock.  This includes a few Peter Rabbit ones, which are usually the first to sell out so grab them while you can! Click here to visit my shop.

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These sweet little notebooks are, once again, a result of using up leftovers.  Slightly dented/creased signatures of paper teamed with scrapbook paper, random cardboard, and offcuts of bookcloth for the covers.  Voila, two composition style notebooks.  Available in my Etsy shop for a bargain price, click here to view the listing.




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Another little notebook made from leftovers.  I had a lot of reasonably-sized trimmings of paper, so decided to turn them into a little perfect-bound jotter (using some leftover scrapbook paper as the cover).  This one’s not for sale as my partner has taken it to work with him!



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I’m a bit frustrated at the moment because I started a project towards the end of last week, and now I’m house sitting for a fortnight so won’t be able to work on it again until I get home.  Maddening!

Since the start of the year I’ve been on a mission to use up the surplus supplies in my studio.  There are a lot.  I could almost open a shop selling paper and card, it’s ridiculous.  There’s only so much bookbinding I can do, and I’ve finally admitted that I’m unlikely ever to use up all my supplies that way.  So what else can I do to use them up?  That, readers, has been the question on my mind almost constantly this past month.

One of the things I have a lot of (apart from pretty paper) is thin card.  I can’t recall why I bought it, although I must have had a reason, but there’s quite a bit of it and I’ve been wanting to find a good use for it.  I made some book style storage boxes using thicker card (from repurposed shoe boxes) and loved the finished product, but they were very labour intensive and thus not a terribly good use of time.  However, I do really like boxes that look like books so it was only a matter of time before I thought of a good compromise.

Which brings us to last week.  I thought the problem with the last boxes I made was that they were too good.  The quality was high because the box was the product.  But what if the box was only the packaging?  Which is why I’ve set my little heart on making some sets of Jane Austen stationery.  Cards featuring quotes from the books, housed in a book-style box.  The box will be well crafted (of course) but not made from as sturdy card.  The sets will be pretty, and the box attractive enough to keep, and of course you get stationery inside which is always a good thing.

I made a prototype to work out the kinks, and it’s very promising.  I had a go at embossing the silhouette on the front and that went well, I just need to fine tune the embossing of fine text/script.  I also now know I need to adjust the measurements for the cover somewhat.  I’m looking forward to getting back to this in a couple of weeks!






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I’ve done embossing before: not much of it, but the results were good.  However up until recently I’d only ever used a rubber stamp to mark the area that was to be embossed.  It hadn’t even occurred to me that you can buy pens with the embossing ink in them, so that you have total freedom in design.  So I bought a Versamark pen and decided to give it a go last week on a postcard I drew to send to a friend.


Doesn’t look very interesting from that angle, but…


…bingo!  Not perfect, but not bad either.  The problem I had was that the ink seemed to sink into the paper really quickly, so the embossing powder didn’t adhere firmly.  I ended up having to go over areas again once I’d heated the paper and then going over it with the heat gun a second time.  I suspect this might be a problem caused by the paper (watercolour paper) being too absorbent.  So I’m going to try again, but do things a bit differently.  I’ve ordered a refill bottle of the ink (which you’d usually use to reink a stamp pad) and next time I’m going to try applying the ink using a paintbrush.  Hopefully that will allow me to get enough ink on that it doesn’t dry out or get absorbed before I can sprinkle the powder on.  I’ve also learned that I need to do something to the rest of the paper before I start so that it’s easier to tap/blow the excess powder off before applying heat.  You can see all the little flecks of powder that got accidentally embossed on this attempt!  I’m away from home at the moment so any more attempts at embossing will have to wait a couple of weeks, but in the meantime I’m going to come up with some designs.

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