Sunday, January 31, 2016

Face Challenge

After struggling and feeling like I botched the porcelain doll's face yesterday, I decided to challenge myself with an actual face...............me as the model.

I am one who avoids having my pictures taken.  And taking selfie pictures is just not my thing.  In fact when I took this selfie, I felt really stupid and the expression here definitely portrays that.........LOL  But I wanted to challenge myself so I took the selfie.........hair pulled back and all messed up...............me in the raw :-)

All in all I didn't do too bad of a job.  In fact everyone who's seen this definitely says it's me.  But there's still room for improvement and I may make this an ongoing challenge until I feel more confident in what I'm doing.

Stillman & Birn Zeta  /  2H and 2B pencils



Saturday, January 30, 2016

An Absolute Gorgeous Day!

The page pretty much says it all :-)

Stillman & Birn Zeta, 2H and 2B pencils, W&N Watercolors, 005 Micron



Friday, January 29, 2016

Gold Dipped and Enamel Roses

Like many women, I love roses but so disappointed in the fact fresh roses don't last.  If given a preference, I'd rather have other type flowers like mums and daisies that last several days (if not longer).  My husband knowing how I felt, wanting to give me roses but knowing how I felt about fresh cut, found a solution.  They last forever :-)

This is a sketch of these gold dipped and enamel roses my husband presented me with 15 years ago.  It's amazing to me how something so fragile can be preserved in this manner and last as they have.

First worked the pencil sketch and was going to leave it at that but then yesterday decided to erase some of the pencil marks in shading and add watercolor.

Stillman & Birn Zeta / Mechanical Pencil / Uniball pens / Daniel Smith Watercolors



Saturday, January 23, 2016

Latest Sketches - Scribbling Technique

Seems I'm hitting another low tide with my journaling; however, I did work these two sketches.

I'm trying something inspired by a sweet lady, Minerva, in one of the art groups I'm in on Facebook.  It falls under Scribble Art but not sure I'm really following the concept correctly.

Regardless, I've had fun working these two sketches with what I understand using scribbling for my values.

The first is using pencil and the second is using a ballpoint pen.



Monday, January 18, 2016

Today's Journal Sketch and Thoughts

A gorgeous, quiet day to sketch...................this idea from a duo parrot figurine, choosing only one of the parrots to sketch.  Was in the mood to job down various thoughts going through my mind.

Stillman & Birn Zeta journal; Pilot Falcon; QoR watercolors




More Christmas Gift Sketches

These are two of several new Willow Tree figurines my family bought me for Christmas.  I love this series for the simplicity of the figures.

Handbook, Pilot Falcon pen with Lexy Gray ink, QoR watercolors.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Electric Lamp Post

Dad was quite the handyman and craftsman back in his day. He loved creating things like this and my step-mom would stain or paint his creations.

I always wanted one made but Dad never got around to doing so before he passed. My hubby sat over one day visiting my step-mom and with paper/pencil mapped out the design taking measurements and then put one together using an old Ball Mason Jar Peggy (step-mom) gave him.

I stapled a leaf garland to the post and then added a string of white Christmas lights to it. The electric candle still works (needs a new light bulb) but I had to remove the Christmas Lights as they stopped working. Still need to find another small electric string of lights to put back on.

Stillman & Birn Zeta journal and Micron 03 pen





Challenge Sketch - Pen and Ink

Now and then I like to challenge myself and this is one of those times.  Not only using pen and ink only but with a subject I find really complicated.

This camera arm used to be set up mounted from the wall with a heavy camera attached.  The camera was hooked to a small TV where I could view what the camera saw taking photos and videos.  Since the few moves we have made over the last several years, I've not been able to set this up like I had it.

Several days ago, we came up with this set-up using a broom handle and 2x4s for a base.  Mid way up the broom handle, we have a clamp holding it to the back lip of my table.  For now I have a web cam attached as we're not sure if the broom handle can handle the extra weight of a camera.  This metal arm is quite heavy.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pink Rose

Not a whole lot I can add to what's already showing on the journal page.

Handbook, QoR watercolors, and watercolor pencil darker shade to the pink watercolor.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kitty Sketches

Today's sketching is of my two sons' cats.  Kiddo being a slim white cat while Mocca is a very large fat cat.

Sketched in the Stillman & Birn Zeta journal.  Micron pen.  W&N Watercolors



Monday, January 11, 2016

Cacti Watercolor Sketch

Night before I was up all night and last night was in bed super early.  Of course it figures I'd wake up every hour middle of the night until I finally gave up trying to fall back to sleep and got out of bed.

So while it was quiet with everyone else snoozing, I worked this little sketch in the handbook journal.  Micron pen and QoR watercolors.

Now that it's breaking daylight, I'm ready to go back to bed.......LOL


Late Night Sketching

One of those nights where I couldn't fall asleep so I sketched while watching TV.

Stillman & Birn Zeta, micron, and watercolor


Using My First Hand Sewn Journal

Although I already have several open journals going right now, I just HAD to start in my own home-made journal.

Here are the first two page spreads I've done using the first journal I put together.

I had forgotten how much I love Fabriano watercolor paper!!  It will be so nice using my favorite paper again.  Just love the surface texture and how watercolor flows across the surface.  Love the ease in lifting as well.





Friday, January 8, 2016

Madison's Howling Wolf

One of the accordion fold journals found a home with my eldest granddaughter (age 12) and this is her first entry.

Graphite and paper is Fabriano  Bianco


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Additional Journals Made

This makes three hand sewn hard bound journals I've made.  Each were done a little differently as I try various methods to see which suited me best.



The first as shown in previous post was using scrapbook paper for end pages and purchased book cloth.

The second here was trying scrapbook card stock paper (little thicker than paper but not a real stiff card stock).  I found when I folded this it wanted to crack a bit at the fold.  Was easier to glue but at the same time wasn't as easy to smooth out wrinkles when glued down.  With this journal and the third, I made my own book cloth taking cotton fabric, iron on adhesive, and tissue paper.



The third journal I decided to go without the end pages.  I think for future books I'll either use the thinner scrapbook paper stock or none at all.  This was easier to put together (text block into book casing) either because I didn't mess with end papers or because it's getting easier with each one I make :-)


After I finished these, I made three spiral journals using the same 140lb cold press watercolor paper.  Two were made with soft vinyl covers and the other was made using mat board.

Even though I would have liked to have covered these with fabric, I wasn't sure how my binding machine would handle cutting through glued on fabric.

So here are the journals I have been working on the last several days.  I made a total of six accordion fold journals with 14 usable pages and three twice the number of pages (shown here).

With the size spirals used (9/16"), I was able to fit 19 pages in the hard cover - 38 front and back and 21 pages - 42 pages front and back (covers were thinner allowing two additional pages).  Hand sewn journals were made with 20 pages - 40 pages front and back.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

My First Hard Bound Hand Sewn Journal Book

Ohhhh what lessons learned with my first attempt!!!

It was touch and go with various mishaps along the way but I managed to finish my first journal and I have to say, I'm pleased as can be.............flaws and all.

I watched so many YouTube videos on this and in doing so became a bit confused with stitches used on sewing together the signatures.  With this first one..........I can't say what stitch I used but definitely not the coptic stitch which I later used on the other two text blocks I have waiting to be covered.  This stitch didn't really pull this thick watercolor paper together as tightly like the coptic stitch but I understand gaps are normal between signatures when using heavier paper stock regardless of stitch used.

I debated gluing the text block along the spine but ended up doing so which helped a bit but still have some gaps between signatures.  When I glued the spine on this book, I didn't add any paper or cloth.......instead straight on the spine itself.  I think with the other two books, I'll add a piece of cloth when gluing the spine.

With this one, I made end sheets (or liner sheets for front and back of text block).  At first I thought maybe I should have used thicker paper but it actually turned out OK in the end.  Still think I'll try for thicker paper as it might not wrinkle as easily when gluing to the hard casing.  Then again, I may just glue book casing straight onto the first and last page of the actual signatures.

Another little mishap was with the book cloth.  I purchased actual book cloth for this first book, rather than making my own.  It's not a very big piece either so I didn't have room for error.  What do I do????  I'm all set up with glued mat board to place on the book cloth and lay it down smoothing it out only to realize I had just placed it on the wrong side of the book cloth.  I quickly pulled the mat board back up but glue was on the cloth.  Trying to (hopefully) dab the glue up with a wet cloth, the material lost its stiffness and started to deform and wrinkle.  I thought for sure I had ruined it.  But I decided to go ahead and continue forward after the cloth dried from where I wet it.

Amazingly, it all worked out smoothing the cloth with a bone folder onto the glued mat board (correctly placed on the proper side........LOL)

As a last minute decision, I decided to use headbands but of course should have been placed on the text block before adding the mull.  But again.........it worked out OK in the end.

Placing the case onto the text block was the most challenging of all.  I honestly didn't think it would look all that great and had trouble placing it.  Thank goodness the glue doesn't dry too quickly.

One other lesson learned is taking greater care in measuring my boards for the book casing.  I only wanted about 1/8" to 1/4" border showing around the text block but ended up with much more.  Top and bottom were OK but the right side not so much.  Had I planned it that way, I could have added a loop to hold a pencil which would have worked out perfect in the space.  Maybe next time if I decide to go that route but I really prefer to have less inside casing border.

All in all.................I am truly happy with the results.

1)  Sewing the Signatures into Text Block

2)  Inside after gluing the spine (still some gaps between the signatures towards the back of the book



3)  Text Block after adding End Sheets and Mull (that green paper as added support holding it all together)


4)  Cutting the front and back cover boards (mat board) plus spine support


5)  After gluing cover boards and spine support on book cloth and folding glued cloth around edges


6)  Outside of book casing


7)  After text block glued to book casing


8)  Front cover finished book


9)  Inside front cover


10)  Center of book


11)  Inside back cover


12)  Back of finished book



A special thank you to Vicky Williamson and Cathy Johnson for answering questions I couldn't find answers to prior to starting this.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Accordion Fold Journals

I've been working on various handmade journals..........one type being the accordion fold or what I think some refer to as meandering journals.

After watching Cathy Johnson's No Sew Journal video on youtube, I wanted to make my own.  (Thank you, Kate!!! :-))

Many people make these out of whole sheets of watercolor paper or even half sheets.  I have a ton of quarter sheets I used to make mine.  They make cute little journals with either 14 single pages or six 2-page spreads plus two single pages or one panoramic 2-page spread page.

A few I have glued together two folded quarter sheets giving me 28 single pages or twelve 2-page spreads plus four single pages or two panoramic 2-page spread pages.  (better understood or pictured if watching Kate's video).

Third picture shows the two book presses Terry made for me.

From top left to right; center left to right; bottom left to right:

Scrapbook paper, folded accordion paper, spritzer bottle, Elmers Glue All

Mat board cut just a smidgen larger than accordion folded paper, utility knife, pencil, dish for glue plus sponge applicator (or brush can be used)

T-square ruler, bone folder, scissors.


Left - mat board glued to scrapbook paper (3/4" border around mat board for folding over)

Center - paper cut at angles at corners leaving about a 1/8" paper where corners of mat board are (for tucking in when folding)

Right - Completed after glue brushed on and folded over.....working long edges first and then short edges (tip from another video viewed on youtube).

Placed covers in book press as they completely dried.  Mat board will warp slightly with wet glue so I put them in the book press to make sure they laid completely flat for gluing onto the accordion folded paper.


This shows the two book presses Terry made me plus the finished accordion fold journals closed and opened.


Close-up of finished journals.



In the upcoming days, I'll be sharing my experience making hand-sewn hard covered journal books.  :-)


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