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.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book 257 - Recycled Wallpaper Hard Cover Journal/Blank Book - Single Needle Coptic Stitch

Back with the wallpaper. I brought a giant pile of the stuff back with me form Oregon, so you can expect more of it too.

This is a really nice, neat hard cover journal/blank book. The covers are made of Davey board covered is recycled wallpaper samples. The liners are a mottled umber paper. The pages are gray 24 lb text paper folded into six signatures - 72 pages (144 counting both sides).

This is a nice sized journal, just a little larger than I usually make. It measures 8 3/4" x 6 1/2". It would make a nice desk journal. It's bound with brown waxed linen thread with a single-needle coptic stitch binding so it lays perfectly flat when open.

A keeper...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book 256 - Purple Pebbled Leather Journal/Blank Book - Long Stitch Binding

 Here's another pretty leather journal/blank book. This leather is just wonderful... and I have no idea what it is. I fished it out of a scrap bin of what was called "upholstery leather" at Oregon Leather in Portland. It is most likely cowhide that has been machine embossed to add the pebbled finish, but I'm not sure. The surface effect looks quite authentic and is lovely. The color is a rich deep eggplant purple.

I paired the leather with hand-torn Arches Text Wove paper for the pages. I love this paper. I don't use a lot of it anymore because it's pretty expensive. Although it is thick, it is also very soft, with a nice tooth for pen, pencil, charcoal, ink, etc. It's so wonderful to the touch, I just want to stroke it.

The binding is done with red waxed linen thread in a long stitch binding. The liner paper is a print of an old map, printed in washed out brown. A quite nice book.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book 255 - A Small Perfecet-Bound Pocket Notebook

Well, y'know, not every book in this 365 book project is going to come out perfect.

This book is not awful, it's just sort of blah and has a little more "crafty/home-made" look than I'd like. And I'm only about 85% certain the perfect binding will hold for the long term and not fall apart. I won't ever offer this one for sale.

I do like the paper of the pages, creamy yellow smooth paper with a naturally deckled egde like hand-made paper. I really  have no idea what it is, just fished it out of my sister's scrap bin. I cut the spin edge nice and clean--crucial for a perfect binding to work--tapped it very firmly together and painted the  spine with padding compound (glue for making notepads) then clamped it tight until the glue dried. I cut the covers from chip board, covered them with two colors of textured cardstock. On the inside, I glue the book block to the spine, glued on some liner papers and blocked it well. Where the textured cardstock creased on the outside cover, it showed white cracks, so I got out a silver paint pen and painted over the cracks, then added some scrolly flourishes to make it look like it was supposed to be that way all along.

It's a nice size for dropping in a purse or even a pocket. It has enough body to be able to write on it without a table, but it's not really heavy. It's... OK.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Book 254 - "Peter and the Moon Trip" - Recycled Children's Book as Journal

Another kids' book. This one is just too cool--"Peter and the Moon Trip." The illustrations take me back to "See Dick Run."  They are so good I had to include a few of them in the finished book.

If you been following this blog, you know the drill on this by now. I cut the book block out of the pre-loved and slightly tatty book I slit the spine down the center and trim/even. I covered the cut edge on the covers iwth some light blue Washi tape, then punched the holes/sewing stations.

The signatures are made up of 35 sheets of Neenah 24 lb Classic Laid paper in light cream. The sheets were folded into seven sigs, then the sewing stations were punched on sigs and covers. The spine edges of the signatures were then wrapped with Washi tape--which also held on the appropriate illustration.

I decided to go back to the single-needle coptic binding on this. I think it's a bit faster and there's no getting a handful of needles mixed up. The binding is stitched with natural linen thread.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book 253 - "Dark Harbor" - A Recycled Children's Book - Blank Book-Journal--Double-Needle Coptic Stitch

Another recycled children's book tonight. This one is a young adult novel called "Dream of Dark Harbor." I picked it up because I loved the mysterious illustration on the cover. This was another "pre-loved" book from the Goodwill. The cover shows a few spots of wear, but I don't think that detracts from the finished book.

I cut out the rather tattered book block and slit the spine down the middle.I turned the cut edges over and glued them down, then clamped them to dry. Then I lined the inside of both covers with textured black cardstock.

The pages are a 24 lb creamy beige paper with a parchment like mottled look to it. I folded eight signatures and stitched the book with the double-needle coptic stitch, again using six needles for the six sewing station.

I really need to do about a dozen more of these multi-needle coptic bindings before I will really "own" it. Every time I start one, I have to rethink it all over again. not the middle part of actually stitching the signatures, but the beginning and end. I seem to have trouble remembering the order and feel like I'm reinventing the wheel all over again.

So expect more of these...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Books 251 & 252 - Amate Paper Mini-Journals w/ Banana Paper Pages - Long-Stitch Binding

Here's a pair of little mini-journals with hidden long-stitch bindings. I made one yesterday and liked it so much I made another one today--same cover paper, different color and lining.

I love amate paper, the Mexican paper that is made from pounded tree bark. I bought quite a lot of it when I was in Mexico in May--took up half my suitcase getting it home. I love the swirling look and the feel of it. The covers of these journals feature two different colors of amate paper--one dark brown and one light natural. Though it is thick, amate can be a bit fragile, especially when folded, so I knew I was going to have to reinforce it at any folds. I used strips of heavy cardstock to reinforce the spines, and also covered the spines after stitching, creating a hidden long stitch binding.

The dark book has darker brown lokta paper on the spine and fore edge and light hand-made paper as the inner liner. The lighter book has the same dark brown lokta paper on the spine and fore edge as well as inside for the liner. I love using lokta paper. Despite the fact that it is lightweight, it is quite strong. It is also very flexible, handling almost more like fabric than paper.

I wrapped the cover over the fore edge to the front so I needed a closure. I used dots of adhesive Velcro. I would have preferred to use brown but didn't have any. I may go back over these with a brown marker so they don't stand out quite so starkly.

These little journals measure 4" x 5 1/4" and are approx 3/8" thick. The pages are a wonderful natural banana paper that makes a perfect complement to the amate covers.

Quite a nice little pair, I think.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book 250 - "Wake Up!" - Energy Drink Recycled Packaging Journal - Long Stitch Slot Binding

Perhaps this little recycled packaging book was inspired by the other night when I was obviously asleep while I was posting my book of the day. So much asleep that I forgot to post the photos. Let's hope I can stay awake tonight long enough to add the photos to this post.

We've carried Red Bull and Monster energy drinks in our store for awhile, but several people have asked us for these little 5-hour energy boost drinks. So when we found we could buy them by the case at a reasonable price, we went for it.

The colors and graphics on the box were bright and sunny and... "wake-up-y," so I figured they'd make a good book.

I cut one side off the box and lined it with black cardstock for extra strength. I scored where the folds for the spine would be then folded them over. I made 8 signatures of 5 sheets each for a total of 80 pages (160 both sides). After punching the holes for the sewing stations in the signatures, I cut corresponding slits in the spine.
Then I stitched the book together with a modified long stitch binding with black linen thread.

 I'm still not convinced about this binding.It is really difficult to keep the threads that show on the spine lined up neatly and keep the tension correct. And even when it's done well, I don't like the look of it as much as a regular long stitch binding sewn into individual holes.

But it's still fun to see what can be done by recycling cheap store packaging into nice books.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Book 249 - COZY - A Fuzzy Little Lambswool Mini-Journal w/ Long Stitch Binding

This little journal is... cozy. I can't think of a better word for it. It is made of the softest lambswool imaginable. While I was making it, the feel of the butter-soft leather and soft fuzzy wool reminded me of the balls of lambswool we used to put into the toes of our pointe shoes when I was studying ballet as a girl (a half century ago!!! OUCH!)

This little min-journal is a really simple book. I used the cut-off ends of the signatures of a book I made a few days ago-so the pages were already cut and folded into sigs. I cut a length of the lambswool leather the width of the book and 2 1/2 times the length, folded it in half and stitched in the signatures using a long stitch binding with brown linen thread.

I left the fore edge long and ragged for an organic look. I slit holes in the two long flaps and threaded a soft leather thong through them, then tied the ends of the thong in a loose knot. To open the book, you untie it, pull the covers apart and let the thong loop back over the book. That way, you don't have to keep threading and unthreading one end of the thong through the cover slit.

This would be nice to stick in a pocket. You could just put your hand in there every once in awhile and feel it's cozy softness. You could also hang it form a belt or purse, but someone might ask about the tiny dead animal you were carrying around.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book 248 - Little Blue Notebook w Chinese Paper - Japanese Stab Binding

I made this little notebook so I could use some odd paper my sister picked up in Vancouver's Chinatown. (Also because I was tired and it's easy, but don't tell anyone.)

I have no idea what the pierced cream-colored paper is for. But it was intriguing. The weight and texture are like a two-sheet paper towel after you've peeled off one layer. I liked the cut-outs and wanted to show them off with some contrast, so I opted to put a piece of solid color paper under each sheet, The colors alternate bright red and royal blue. I cut the question mark from red paper and glued it down.

The covers are cut from a heavy, canvas-textured card stock. After wrapping it around the block, I clamped everything together neatly and drilled the holes for the stitching. The traditional Japanese stab binding is done with narrow navy blue ribbon.

This is kind of a silly book. It has no purpose at all and would not be practical for much of anything. But I think it's cute. And it got me to finish my book for the day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book 247 - "Lunch-210 calories" - Recycled Food Packaging Blank Book/Journal-Long Stitch Binding

I'm on a diet. And it sucks! But at least I can use the package that my 210 calorie stuffed pepper microwave lunch came in.

So... another book from recycled packaging. I took the single-serving Stouffer box and cut the front and back off for the covers. They were pretty flimsy so I knew they would need some sort of backing. I decided on a long stitch binding but I also decided to experiment with putting it together a different way.

I cut the pages from 24 lb text paper and folded 40 sheets into 8 signatures. Then I cut a piece of pale mossy green vinyl wallpaper the width of the spine plus 1 1/2" wide. I stitched the sigs to the vinyl with a long stitch with brown waxed linen thread. Then I glued the outside covers over the excess vinyl, using it like a hinge. Finally, I cut another piece of the vinyl and glued it to the inside of the covers, like an end paper, sandwiching the vinyl "hinge" between the cover and end paper.

It was a bit difficult to photograph well, because I JUST finished it and it is in serious need of a few hours under some heavy weights to flatten it and set the glue well.

It's an OK book, not my best effort, but OK. (And hey, every day isn't going to be a star!)

I'm off to eat my 80 calorie cherry vanilla non-fat yoghurt. Yum.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book 246 - "The Dancing Man" - A Recycled Children's Book Journal-Double Needle Coptic Stitch Binding

Here is another charming pre-loved children's book I have recycled/upcycled into an equally charming journal/blank book. The illustrations in this book drew me to it on first sight, so I knew I wanted to include several of them in the finished journal.

I cut out the book block and threw away some damaged pages. Then I sliced the cover in half at the spine, folded the raw edges over and glued them down to create the covers. I drilled holes for the coptic binding and set them aside.

The pages are 24 lb white text paper. I folded 40 sheets into eight signatures. Then I tipped in an illustration from the book at the front of each signature, using decorative masking tape. I wrapped the tape around the fold of the sig so it would show at the open spine as a design element. I also glued down two other illustrations from the book as end papers inside the front and back covers.

This is a double-needle coptic stitch binding. With six sewing stations, that meant I needed six needles, two on each end of three threads. Keeping all those needles and threads in order is the challenge! But I finally feel like I've got a handle on this binding. The stitches are much neater than my earlier attempts.

This is a charming journal. Since a trip to St, Vincent de Paul's Thrift Shop this week netted quite a haul of great kids' books, look for more recycled children's book journals.