Sunday, 25 May 2008

Saturday, 24 May 2008


Today I've been clearing out, tidying, decorating. My house is rented so I can't paint (or get rid of the artex or the wood chip wallpaper...) But I can make tree decorations to stick at the top of the stairs...

I'm waiting to see how long it takes Matt to spot it :)

And this... drumroll please... is my table! Yes, a table all for me, where I can leave bits of paper and material and pens and books (in fact, what ever I choose!) and they'll all be exactly where I left them when I want to pick them up again. Imagine! I put the table in the corner of our newly spare room today, and already I feel liberated... like a weight I'd forgotten was there has been lifted. I spent the most undistracted 3 hours I've had in a long time. Perhaps it's because it's sunny, or that I don't have to go to work on Monday, but I can feel myself starting to relax... 

Thursday, 22 May 2008


This isn't the book I showed you the other day... that one was going so well... spine rounded, case measured and covered and pressed and dry. It all seemed to fit really well, and when I glued it there were no glue finger prints on the inside (imagine that Kaija!)

But it was totally wonky. The book block was lined up with the cover just right on the fore edge, but the top had a gap of about a millimeter whilst the gap at the bottom was about 4... rubbish! I had a bad feeling about the book from the start though. I don't think the block was totally square... I wasn't feeling it, if you know what I mean. I should've know it would turn out wrong!

Anyway, this one is much better! (I did mess up the edge by trying to trim the endpaper just a little bit... What's the lesson? Get it right first time or leave well alone! (this one doesn't apply all the time, but you get the idea :) ))

And I'm sure last year this iris was purple... 

Monday, 19 May 2008

rounded spine attempt 2

I do love a nice neat row of stitches on a spine...

And here is my second attempt at rounding and backing a spine, firm but gentle hammering is the way forward I think!

Next step is a lovely layer of glue (and who'd have thought I'd ever say that about the dreaded PVA!?) nice and shiny and smooth. Tomorrow, the case...

Sunday, 18 May 2008

workshop pics

Some pictures taken at the workshop I ran at Leeds City Art Gallery last month...

Fastest hands in the (north) west, look at them go :) And there's nothing like a table full of concertinas to make me happy...

There were more photos (kindly sent to me by one of the participants in the workshop, thanks Karen!) but I'm looking far too silly on them, (oh, vanity!) I never knew I pulled such faces when I make things, all I can think is I must be concentrating very hard! 

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

red and black book

A few months ago Matt bought a telescope. Since then he's shown me the moon as I've never seen it before, Saturn and it's rings, nebular, a globular cluster and two shooting stars... 

I made this book for him, at his request, to record the things he sees...

A hardback, with rounded spine (I planned to back it too, but I couldn't get the boards to stay in the press, perhaps it was my hammering technique!) I'm pleased because the covers fit, and the black spine covering is the same on both sides (I measured it and its right!!) I enjoyed adding layer upon layer of glue to the spine until it was shiny and smooth, and covering it with brown paper (even though its hidden by buckram, I still know its there).

I hope he likes it :)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


I like boxes. I like the way they fit together, enclose things, hold surprises... I find it hard to throw away a good box (in to the recycling of course) and my cupboards, shelves and under table spaces are evidence of that... full of carefully stacked, variously sized, turned inside out to reveal their flat brown cardboardy  loveliness, mostly empty, boxes.

So, the natural thing would be for me to make my own boxes... clam shells and slipcases and portfolios... but so far, it seems, as hard as I try I always manage to get the measurements wrong in some little unforeseen way (a millimeter here, a millimeter there) and the box ends up all wonky, or at least a bit wonky... and I need to get it right!

This is another attempt...

It's not made to contain anything specific, more of an exercise in getting the buckram to wrap round the boards without unsightly seams, but I'm (hesitantly) quite pleased with how it turned out... the edges skim each other nicely (but would it be too harsh to say that's more luck than management?!) and it seems to close ok...

Clam shell here I come :)

Sunday, 11 May 2008


and suddenly it seems summer has arrived... after grey for so long, there's colour everywhere :)

And warm sunshine shining through the trees... 

Saturday, 10 May 2008


Well today is a lovely sunny day, so I'm going to take these...

out here...

and do not much at all except laze about! Hurray for weekends :)

Friday, 9 May 2008

second attempt

A while ago I made a 'secret belgium' bound book for a friend's birthday. I found the binding a bit tricky, but after receiving some helpful comments on different ways of construction I had another go...

This time I sewed the book block first using plastic strips as tapes, then constructed the cover around the book block hooking the thread under the plastic strips and connecting the whole lot together at once (thank you Mary!)

I must admit though, I still found it a bit tricky :) And although this time the cover seemed easier, the pages feel a bit wobbly... Perhaps a mixture of the two methods should be my next experiment; sew the book block, use it to sew the covers to the correct tension and then sew the pages to the spine and tighten it all up... third time lucky?

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

2 books

Ooops! Well, I never meant to be away for this long... I'm not sure what I've been doing really, I've certainly not got much to show for my time away, I feel to have spent most of it at work! It's getting really close to the end of term now, and although I'm trying not to let students stress transfer onto me, I'm sure it's not really entirely possible. Oh, why do we always seem to leave things to the last minute?? (And I most certainly include myself in that statement...)


I've started going to yoga again, and swimming too, but I'm still in the oh-this-is-making-me really-tired phase. Roll on phase 2 (the whoo-hoo-i'm-full-of-energy-hurray phase, and as yet, un-reached in my life so far, but I know its out there...)

So, two little books. 

The pages of the first one are sewn in using pamphlet stitch, starting on the outside of the covereach time and leaving the ends fairly long. I like it :)

But, I thought it might be nice to have the knot without the dangly ends, and so instead of cutting the thread after the first page I just kind of carried on going... I used a kind of kettle stitch to tie off the thread at the end of each page, and it seems to work!

I'm pleased with this book as it's the first binding I feel I've really thought of for myself, without seeing a picture first or peeking at instructions. It just seemed to come to me, and even though I'm pretty sure it's nothing new at all (I'm not that tired) I'm still happy as it means my brain is still working. Always a good thing :)