A Book a Day? What's Up With That?

Hi, and welcome to this year-long project. So what's this all about and how did it happen, you might ask. In mid 2007, artist Noah Scalin decided to make a skull out of anything he could find, every day for a year. It stretched him in ways he never imagined, as an artist, a writer and a person. His experience turned into a blog that went viral, and then a book.

Others have picked up on the idea: 365 Hearts, 365 Masks, 365 Bears drawn on a cellphone, 365 paper napkin mustaches.
I wanted to play, too, and I chose books. I love books, I know a bit about making books (thanks to my talented book-maker sister, Marilyn Worrix), and they're broad enough in definition to give me a lot of creative leeway.

The whole point is not really the books. The idea is to stretch myself in many ways as an artist and a person, to set up a discipline, stick with it and see what that teaches me.

I hope you'll join with me and follow along on the journey chronicled here, and let me know what you think.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Book 184 - A Tee-Tiny Hand-Made Mini-Journal

This is a tiny and lovely little thing, the perfect blank mini-journal to drop in a pocket or purse to jot down a phone number or address or capture a stray thought before it escapes. This mini-book measure 1 3/4" x 2".

This little book is put together like a codex, though the cover is soft rather than covered boards. For the cover I used a very pretty and delicate scrap of pale pink hand-made paper with a dried flower embedded in it. The 26 pages of lightweight cream-colored paper are glued in a perfect binding. The block is then glued to the spine. It's a simple, very straight-forward structure that works well on this scale, since there is little strain on it.

Book 184! I'm over the hump and now sliding down the far side. Only 181 to go!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 183 - A Snake Fold Mini-Book--How Do I Love Thee?

Today, a pretty and romantic little snake-fold book.

But first, a treat...

Today, I passed the half-way point on this year-long challenge. 183 books. It's been a tad more than 183 days (I think I'm about 3 days behind, but I will catch up in the next week or so). I am inordinately proud of myself. You sort of have to know me to fully understand what a big deal this is. I'm creative, I'm interesting, I'm sometimes funny. What I'm not is disciplined at sticking with something till the end. So yeah, I'm feeling pretty good. And I have no intention of quitting. On to 365!

OK, today's book... This is a little, 2 3/4" square accordion book that is a snake-fold, all nine pages made from a single sheet of 8 1/2"x11" card stock. The trickiest part of this folded book is getting the text laid out right so it's reads correctly when it's cut and folded.

The two cover boards are covered with decorative paper. The front cover has three hearts added, cut from three different colors of metallic finish paper. The cover is then sponged with gold Pearl-Ex. The text is Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous love poem, "How Do I Love Thee?" The whole book is held closed with a silver stretchy tie that slips over the corners.

A sweet romantic little book--it would be a good Valentine's or Anniversary gift.

Book 182 - A Navy Leather Mini Journal - Fat Journal

Time for one of my standby leather journals. I had this lovely piece of dark blue leather, but it was quite small. So... a mini-journal. The book measures 3"x3 1'2" x 1" at the spine. This little book has great depth and feels substantial for all its small size. The hand-torn pages are 70 lb. cream Neenah velvet finish paper. It's one I love the feel of and it has a nice weight. Eight signatures, six sheets each, 96 pages (192 both sides).

The exposed binding is the longstitch done with waxed linen thread in a dark plum/brown. I crossed the threads on pairs of signatures for added interest.

Really a sweet little mini-journal.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book 181 - "Conspiracy" - A Hemp Cord Spiral Bound Notebook

I'm late posting this spiral-bound notebook done with hemp cord stitching. I'm finding that keeping the blog up to date--what with taking photos, resizing them, uploading, and writing the post is harder than actually making the books!  This offbeat little notebook has been sitting around for two days now, occasionally calling out "Post Me, Please!"

So I finally answered the call. While wondering what book to make the other day, as my eye wandered around the room, I saw the box for the board game I used to make the book trio a few days ago. The game title "Conspiracy" was emblazoned across the front of the box in big yellow and red letters and just called out "pick me! pick me!" (Hmmm, Am I getting completely batty here? Why are all these things yelling at me?)

I cut the top off the box cover and cut the giant word in half. I backed the pieces with black textured card stock. Then I printed out words for all the "conspiracy theories" I could think of--the more far out the better--and added them to the covers and the insides of the covers. I sure hope this comes across as really tongue-in-cheek as I mean it. Because I do think all this stuff is just plain silly.

The finished book measures 8 1/2" long x 3 1/4" wide with approx. 100 pages of white text paper. The spiral binding is done with loosely wrapped black waxed hemp cord. On the whole, a pretty silly little book, but making it was fun.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book 180 - A Simple Lotería Pocket Notebook - Japanese Stab Binding

This is a really simple little book, a Japanese stab bound notebook. At about 3 1/2x4 1/2', it's a nice size for a pocket or purse.

I realized recently how much money I've already spent on this challenge in materials, so I set myself a special challenge today: to see if I could make a book for literally pennies in materials.The lotería cards were cut from one big card from a set I bought in the open market while I was in Mexico. I think the whole set cost about $3, which means the part I used is worth about 15 cents. The pages are cut from brown painter's masking paper. It's t hin and slightly shiny on one side. I bought it at a paint store, in a roll 9" wide by 180' long for about $1.50 For the pages, I used about 15' off the roll, sot he paper cost me about 13 cents. The two feet or so of blue hemp cord was about 5 cents and the 6 beads were 1/2 cent each.

Total cost of this book in materials = 36 cents. So I guess I managed to meet that challenge.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book 179 - Recycled Children's Book/Journal - Winnie the Pooh

I'm loving making these recycled children's book journals. This one has a single-needle coptic stitch binding. The cover boards are very sturdy and that made stitching it and keeping it flat a breeze.

This one is a Disney version of "Winnie the Pooh & Tigger Too," another thrift store find. I carefully removed the book block and cut the cover down the spine, trimmed the raw edge, folded it over and glued it, then clamped it to dry. The book block is made up of six signatures of six sheets-total 72 pages (144 counting both sides). To the first page of each signature, I tipped in a full-page illustration from the original book. I also added the original end papers back in.

Nice little hand-made journal.

Books 176-177-178 - Game Board Book Trio - Coptic, Stab & Perfect Bindings

We have a group of books today, all recycled/upcycled from a board game board. The trio includes a Coptic Bound Journal, a Japanese Stab Bound Book and a Perfect Bound Notebook.

On my recent trip to the Salvation Army store, I scored this very cool game called "Conspiracy" in like-new condition. I loved the graphic on the playing board and I love the way it looks in these books.

The first book, on the left in the photo, is the one I made yesterday, but I waited to upload it so it could be part of the set. It's a coptic bound journal with eight signatures of five sheets each, for a total of 80 pages (160 counting both sides). After cutting the board into pieces, the covers had two finished edges and two cut edges. I finished those raw edges with black tape like electrical tape. The coptic binding is done with waxed linen thread.

For the next book, a Japanese stab-bound journal, I decided to use the part of the board that includes the center fold. It seemed perfect for the hinge for a stab-bound book. Again I finished the raw edges with black electrical tape. I cut the stack of pages, positioned them and drilled holes through the whole thing. Then I stitched it with a herringbone stitch with red waxed hemp cord. A nice book.

Finally, for the perfect bound notebook, I took the remaining pieces with a very cool graphic from the center of the sides of the board. I finished off the two raw sides with electrical tape, cut the stack of pages, clamped the whole thing together and glued it with a couple coats of padding compound. When it was completely dry, I covered the top glued edge with a piece of black bookcloth to give it a clean look. For a lark, I turned the back board "inside out," so the fun graphic is on the inside of the back of the notebook, sort of a surprise when you get to the back.

I think this trio of game board books is very cool.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book 175 - Recycled Children's Book/Journal - Pooh

Here's another upcycled children's book as a blank journal. I love this little Pooh book, "Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition." As with yesterday's book, I carefully removed the book block and cut the book in half down the center of the spine. I was not able to save enough of the spine paper to fold over the edge, so I covered the edges with small strips of dark blue book cloth. I was able to keep the original Pooh board liners.

I cut beige text paper to size, stacked it up, drilled holes and stitched it with a loose stab sewn binding. Like with yesterday's book, this is not the perfect stitch for this kind of book. I discovered it works much better with a soft cover book that is also not this thick. The book does not open perfectly flat and the pages still tend to shift just a bit. It looks like I'll have to go back to a coptic binding for these recycled book covers journals.

Still, it's a cute book, a nice size and will make someone a nice journal.

Book 174-A Recycled Children's Book Journal-"Danger in the Desert"

Here's a new kind of recycled book projec for me, a children's book that is literally upcycled into a different book/journal.

For my faithful followers who have wondered where I was the last couple of days... I repeat. I AM NOT QUITTING. I have been working on books, I just could not post them for a couple of reasons. So today I'm posting the last two days and will post today's book later tonight.

Anyway, I've been wanting to do some of these journals using old recycled book covers for awhile. I finally got to the Salvation Army store in town and found a few kids books I think will be great. Here's the first.

I carefully cut out the book block and cut down the center of the spine to separate the cover boards. I left enough of the spine paper to fold over and glue down for a clean edge, then lined the inside with card stock. I cut the pages to fit, drilled holes through the whole thing and stitched it together with waxed jute cord in a double spiral (like a cross-stitch). This binding works better for thinner, softer books, I found. This book does open flat, but it's sometimes hard to get it to close perfectly. The pages tend to move out of alignment. But not too badly.

I do like this and plan to do more of these recycled covers with other stitching.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book 173 - Rotel Recycled Packaging Book/Journal - Handbound Book

And another bit of chipboard packaging is saved from the landfill! When it comes to making handmade books, especially inexpensive ones, you can't beat living in a mini-mart. There is never a shortage of colorful packaging material here. Free book materials!

This one is made from a carton that held 8 cans of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies. I just chose two sections of the carton I liked and that were undamaged for the covers, cut them out and lined them with some pretty raspberry colored shiny card stock. I cut a stack of white text paper pages, stacked them up with the covers, clamped them tight and drilled holes for the stab binding. I stitched it with red hemp cord. Oh, and I added a bit of my favorite red duct tape over the spine.

Simple book, and a bit anticlimactic after all the work I put into yesterday's book. But they can't all be fabulous (because I can't spend 5 hours every day on them). I'll have to put this one on the shelf right next to the Rosarita Refried Beans book from Day 1 (man, a long time ago!)

In other news: I just found out I will be spending two weeks in Oregon in September. My 95-year-old mother lives with my sister there. My sis and her hub want to take a vacation (driving trip to Yellowstone) so I'm going to go stay with my Mom and give them that time off from caretaking. Two glorious weeks of not really having to do anything buy spend time with my funny mom and play in my sister's heavenly studio. She has every toy imaginable--every tool, every kind of supply, a hydraulic cutter, a band saw that cuts metal, a set-up for etching, huge work tables. It is heaven. I'll not only be able to make some fab books (no excuses), I'll be able to get completely caught up on the few days I've missed. Can't wait.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book 172 - "Imagine" . . . A Stab-Bound Book for Peace

I do like today's book. It's something I've been wanting to do for awhile. This is actually a prototype to work out the details since I plan to do this book as an edition. I'm not sure how many I will do in the edition-- maybe 25.

This is a stab-bound book with board covers in decorative paper. The pages are traditional Japanese style. That is, each page is double, folded in half with the fold at the fore edge. I used very thin translucent paper, like tracing paper, and I will probably change this for the edition. I like the look, but the paper is just too fragile. Also, the ink does not dry well on this kind of paper and it smudges horribly. I had to print about 75 pages to get the 50 clean ones I used.

Each page has a quotation about peace--and the stupidity of war--something I feel pretty strongly about. Of the 50 quotes used, here are a few of the best:

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?" ~ Eve Merriam
The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war. ~E.B. White
War does not determine who is right--only who is left. ~ Bertrand Russell
I hate it when they say, "He gave his life for his country." They don't die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them. ~ Rear Admiral Gene R. LaRocque 
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity. ~George Carlin

I look forward to making more copies of this, with some improvements.

P.S. Sorry I did not manage a book yesterday. I'll make it up, probably tomorrow. No, I'm not quitting!