Sunday, 6 November 2011

Mini Book Photo Tutorial

Hi everyone! I'm new to the blog, my name is Ruth Bleakley and I have been bookbinding since 2002 (has it been that long already?). I love brightly colored designs and work with Japanese paper to make a lot of yuzen and/or chiyogami journals - you may have also seen my illustrated miniature books on Etsy. I also make nautical wedding invitations and stationery under the name Concertina Press.

But enough about me - here's a tutorial I made about miniature accordion books that I thought you might enjoy, republished from my bookbinding blog.

I figure that many of you, since this is a bookbinding blog, will be able to follow along, but if you'd like written directions, you can visit my original minibook tutorial post.

Some notes: the boards I used were scraps from the back of a notepad - I tested them with my PH pen to see if they were neutral, and then went ahead. the paper is 8.5x11 (regular US letter size) cut into strips in the short direction, I believe they are 1.5"x8.5", grain short (so the accordion folds more easily) but it's been a while. The glue I used is PVA.

Ruth is also on Pinterest, Twitter and Flickr.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Fall Swap: MakingMyRent

This mini coptic-stitched journal goes along with my fairy tale themed series and features scenes from "Cinderella" on each outside cover. On the inside, are black Graham Owen's handmade black paper endpages and 180 pages of Strathmore sketching paper. I used waxed brown linen to sew it up and the final journal measures approximately 3 1/8 inches tall, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. --Amber of MakingMyRent
 MakingMyRent's handmade journals always made with love are in her shop here

Fall Swap: roundtheworldin80pgs

This address book is covered in a red paper with gold coins on it, from Nepal. It is a one of a kind book, as are all my books. It was bound using a traditional French stitch, and headbands were added to each end of the spine. There is enough room for 260 entries in this book, with space for name, address, phone number, email address with a clear division between each entry. --Beth of roundtheworldin80pages
Beth's one of a kind items with papers from around the globe can be found in her shop here: roundtheworldin80pages

Friday, 4 November 2011

Fall Swap: CamilleRiner

I am happy to share one of my newest books with Cindy entitled, "Sky of Blue; Sea of Green." The image in this book is of a person joyfully swimming with a large school of silver fish. I wanted to communicate awe, peace and the idea of belonging to something larger than yourself. The relief print was carved and hand printed on my press, scanned and then digitally collaged with images of the sea. The poem reads: "We meet without words, in the deep green memories of the sea. Between the waves we rise in currents of silver reflections. We are at peace, a fallen tear returned home, pressed under the bright blue forgiveness of the sky." This nested accordion book has a blue and green cross dyed book cloth cover and a digital print collage slipcase and measures 4" high and approximately 9" wide when opened. I used metallic threads through the accordion folds to suggest the flicker and glint of a moving school of fish. Each book is signed.  --Camille Riner
 Camille's handmade books and notecards are in her shop here

Fall Swap: UsefulBooks

I sent Lisa one of my soft-cover books made from painted layers of kraft paper and Tyvek.  The cover is embellished with a crow cut from a star chart out of an old book and a scrap of marbled paper left from a larger project.  The crow has a little key charm dangling from his beak.  He's clearly up to no good.

The front cover wraps around the the text block so it won't get ruffled if you throw it in your bag.  The pages are heavily stained with strong tea so that each one provides a slightly unique surface for writing or art.  It's all stitched together with a criss-cross long stitch which provides a little interest on the spine.  The closure is make from an African trade bead and waxed Irish linen thread.  --Cindy of UsefulBooks

Cindy's eco-friendly and cruelty-free handmade books and journals can be found in her shop here

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Fall Swap: BlueRoofDesigns

Title: Slinky

Description: The spark that got me going with this book was that I wanted to make something that was both small and large. I decided to try a book with small covers and lots of pages.

The covers measure 2.125" x 2.25". The book is 4" thick, has 61 signatures, and a total of  488 pages - this set the record for the most signatures I've ever bound into a book. It took about 3.5 hours to sew it. The two papers used for the pages are manufactured by one of my favorite vendors, the French Paper Company - Glo-Tone Shocking Green and Pop-Tone Black Licorice.

When choosing a cover paper, I was immediately drawn to a textured black and lime green python print - I love its vibrancy. The pattern on the paper inspired the binding, a variation of the double needle Coptic stitch.

When you hold one of the covers in each hand, the pages move back and forth, much like a Slinky - this inspired the name. It seemed appropriate for both its movement and its snakelike appearance. --Elissa of BlueRoofDesigns

BlueRoofDesign's handmade journals, photo albums and guestbooks can be seen here

Fall Swap: MRsCHADT

My swap book is titled "Grateful."  This little journal is the perfect size to carry around and keep note of all those things we're grateful for. When times seem bleak, this journal is a best friend with cherished thoughts and memories waiting to chase the ungrateful bleak thoughts of a bad day away. 

It's my first attempt at a paperback coptic stitch journal. I wanted to keep it simple, so I stamped the cover design and added a tab. The inside pages stick out 1/4" beyond the cover, I made it that way on purpose, because every once in a while we find ourselves a little short and need reminding that nothing is truly ever perfect. We just need to be grateful for who we are. :)  --Suzy of MRsCHADT
MRsCHADT's albums, guestbooks, journals and more can be purchased in her shop

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Fall Swap: Veterok

This was my first time participating in the book swap. Since it's October, I decided to make a classic hardcover sketchbook with a bit of seasonal creepy twist. The book is sized 15.5 x 11 cm (approximately postcard size), with pages of cream coloured Canson Mi-Teintes drawing paper. The headbands are sewn with black and ivory white buttonhole silk on a leather core. For the cover, I used two vintage portraits that I was gifted with a couple of years ago. The portraits are glued and then sewn on the bookcloth which I have dyed in shades of rusty orange and turned upside down to reveal the crumpled texture of the backing paper. I couldn't resist doing some additional smudging with ink.
This design is much like the ones that I sell in my Etsy shop, and I hope PrairiePeasant will find it useful, either as a sketchbook or as a journal for daily activities and observations. --Elina of Veterok
 Veterok's handbound books and journals from one artist to others are in her shop here

Fall Swap: CinderLisaDesign

This journal is one of my softcover, fabric journals. The cover is made of felt and covered with two fabrics pieced together: a fine cotton batik in a blue, floral print with shades of pink, green and purple, and a bright yellow cotton with a layered print of leaves and tree branches. The inside is lined in a soft green Moda print. I like to think of this as a "night and day" journal.

This journal is long-stitched and with the stitches puckered, and features a crocheted wraparound closure with an oblong button secured by a loop. The pages are a recycled cardstock and there are 48 sheets. -- Lisa of CinderLisaDesigns

CinderLisaDesigns' shop full of paper and string and magical things can be found here

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Fall Swap: PrairiePeasant

I was inspired by the beautiful colours of fall for this book swap. My book is a fabric softcover book made from cotton quilting fabric interfaced for stiffness. The inside is filled with lovely handmade paper with grass trimmings in it, made by a local Winnipeg paper company called Botanical Paperworks. This book is bound with cotton embroidery floss in a longstitch binding and fastened with a wooden button. -- Laura of PrairiePeasant 
Laura's ecofriendly journals, cards and envelopes are in her shop.

Fall Swap Preview

Friday, 30 September 2011

Craft Show Confidential: Floor Tiles - part 2

On my last blog post, Katie of linenlaidfelt made the following comment:
You might also want to look into FLOR carpet squares. They come in lots of awesome colors and patterns. Here's the website:
For those of you who don't know about FLOR, they make a nifty product. All of their modular carpet squares measure 19.7" x 19.7". The tiles come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns - you can arrange them in an infinite number of combinations.

I thought that FLOR tiles were only useful for permanent applications, but after Katie's comment, I decided to do some further research.

I had a very helpful chat with Deidra, a FLOR representative. I asked her if FLOR was appropriate for trade show applications. She said the following:
Yes, since they are modular they are easy to pick up pack and move to the next location, great for trade shows.
She then added:
FLOR is engineered with structural integrity to "hug" the floor. Plus, the easy-to-use, non-toxic FLORdots that come with every order are designed to stick to the underside of each tile and not to the floor beneath. Using FLORdots secures the tiles to one another so there's no curling, gapping or slippage. Your design will stay put until you decide to change or replace it.

The next logical question was whether or not the FLORdots were reusable and here's what Deidra said:
No the FLORdots will need to be replaced when you remove them from each FLOR square.
So, FLOR can be used for trade shows if you purchase additional FLORdots. The cost is $4.99 for a set of 12.

The cost per tile on the FLOR website starts at $6.49 (when on sale) and can go up to $69.99 each. I was happy to discover that FLOR has an online outlet shop. Prices are much lower there, starting at $3.49 each.

For a 10' x 10' booth, you'd need 36 tiles - this would give you a rug that measures 1.8" shy of the full 10' length (118.2"). If you purchased tiles that cost $7.99 each, you'd pay about $288.00 for the entire rug. That's around what I paid for my area rug from Pottery Barn. The advantage over the area rug is that you can customize it further to coordinate with the rest of your booth.

I imagine that there's some way to do a FLOR hack, meaning that you can use the tiles but with something other than the disposable FLORdots. Perhaps using industrial strength Velcro?

If you're using FLOR tiles for your booth, I'd love to hear about it! Share your experiences with the B.E.S.T. team by sending me an Email and I'll include them in a follow-up post. Be sure to include your name and a link to your Etsy shop.

Many thanks to FLOR for granting permission for the use of their product photos in this post.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Craft Show Confidential: Floor Tiles

Last week I gave you a general overview of the importance of flooring. Today I'm going to talk about one option - interlocking floor tiles.

Camelback Displays offers many options for floor tiles. The most basic being their foam rubber tiles:

As you can see, the tiles are assembled like a puzzle and it's quite easy to put together by yourself. The tiles are very comfortable to stand on and come in lots of colors. They're also eco-friendly - not only do they contain 20% recycled material, but they are also 100% recyclable.

Each tile is 2 ft. x 2 ft. in size - since they're modular, you can configure them in an infinite number of configurations. They're lightweight and easy to transport. They're waterproof and easy to clean, making them perfect for outdoor shows. Best of all, you can use them on your studio floor while you work, making them easy to store.

One variation on the foam rubber tile is the tile with the appearance of wood:

These tiles share many of the same qualities as the rubber ones. You can choose from a variety of wood finishes, such as dark oak, light oak, red oak, cherry, and walnut. These tiles offer the warmth of wood with the comfort of foam rubber - it's a great combination. An added benefit is that they add a more sophisticated look to your booth.

The last option I'll talk about is the carpet tile:

Once again, these tiles share many of the same qualities as the rubber ones, the most important being that they are have anti-fatigue benefits. They come in a number of colors, mostly neutrals. Not only do the carpet tiles add a cozy touch to your booth, but they also add texture. Of the three types of tiles, the carpet tiles are the most expensive.

Even if you can't afford a floor to cover your entire booth, you should at least invest in some anti-fatigue mats for where you stand. Take care of yourself!

Some last thoughts:
  • If you plan to purchase floor tiles for your booth, order them all at the same time. Dye lots can vary and you don't want to end up with something inconsistent.
  • Be creative! You don't have to stick with only one color - you can create a pattern with two or more colors, such as a checkerboard or stripes.
If you've used any of these types of flooring, I'd love to hear about it! Share your experiences with the B.E.S.T. team by sending me an Email and I'll include them in a follow-up post. Be sure to include your name and a link to your Etsy shop.

Many thanks to Camelback Displays for granting permission for the use of their product photos in this post.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Craft Show Confidential: Flooring

Flooring is just as important as any other part of your booth. When I talk about flooring, I'm referring to all floor coverings - carpet, area rugs, hard floors, etc.

There are two main reasons why flooring is essential for your booth:
  1. Aesthetics
  2. Comfort
Let's start with aesthetics. You work so hard at perfecting the visual image projected by your booth. You strive to create an environment that matches your brand and adds value to your work. In general, your booth will look unfinished if you don't use flooring.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here's the majority of my blog post:

This is the carpet that haunts the room where I do a craft show every fall. To say that it's ugly doesn't begin to describe it. It's like a casino carpet on drugs.

Now here's a picture of my booth:

You can just barely see the hotel carpet peeking out from under my area rug. Now try to imagine if I didn't bring my own rug - can you see how it would not only detract from the design of my booth but it would also draw attention away from my work?

When you take control of all visual aspects of your booth, you can shape the perception that people have of your work. A complete, well-designed display conveys an aura of "I pay attention to detail and my work is worth it."

And if you think that flooring is only for indoor shows, think again. In his article From the Floor Up, artist consultant Bruce Baker offers interesting insight into another reason why flooring is essential:
At an outdoor show, if you are trying to sell art and there is grass under your feet, you are basically having a yard sale no matter how you dress it up. Grass also gets worn out with a lot of foot traffic and, if it rains, there is the mud factor. People won’t hang around your booth if they are slopping through the mud.
Next, I'll talk about comfort. You're not the only one on your feet during a show. Walking a craft show as a customer, you can cover a lot of territory. When the floor of your booth becomes a comfortable landing place, people will stay there.

Bruce Baker seems to agree:
When we get tired, walking is easier than standing in one spot. As a result, many customers move on to the next booth not because they’re bored, but because their legs are telling their brain to “keep moving.” And that is exactly what they do—they move on before you have a chance to sell to them.
So how do you handle this? One option is to use flooring that is inherently comfortable, such as foam rubber mats. I'll talk about these more in my next post. Another option is to put padding underneath another covering, such as an area rug.

However you choose to handle it, not only will your customers benefit, but so will you. While I use an area rug in the main part of my booth, I have thick anti-fatigue mats behind the table where I stand. I have found that my legs are much less tired at the end of the day when I stand on the mats.

In a nutshell, a booth without flooring is basically naked. It's like getting dressed up to go out, but choosing not to wear pants.

Don't go out without pants.