Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Blue Suede Journal

My newest journal is for a friend. It's made from blue dyed suede with a collection of different papers inside from scrapbook pages to sketch and lined papers.

This time I doubled the matboard and am happy with how it turned out.

Here's a photos of the inside cover. And some of the inside.Trace

Monday, February 02, 2009

My 500 page Suede Journal

I've always wanted a thick, tome-like journal, but could never find one I liked that didn't cost an arm and a leg to purchase. So, since I've been playing around with bookbinding, I thought I'd try to make myself one.

Here it is so far. It has 500 hand stitched pages. The cover is made from sage green dyed lambskin with a raised frame in the middle of the front. It has darker green paper for inside the front and back covers. The overall size is 7" x 8.5". A little smaller than I really want, but good enough for this every day journal.

With this being my first attempt at making such a journal I made mistakes. First, because I really wanted to get it done to use it, I forgot to add in hand sewn headbands and a bookmark ribbon. I think I can still do it though. The paper is not glued to the spine. Second, I used mat board for the hardcover. It's ok, but not great. Even though this morning it seems to be a lot stiffer now that the glue dried, I'll have to find some bookbinding board next time. And last, I need to find a better way to even out the ends of the paper on a 500 page stack. Cutting it with a ruler and Xacto knife wasn't as clean as it is with smaller journals. But good enough for a book I'll use. I used a lot of rubber cement to attach the cover too. I've never used the stuff before. It dries fast. A little too fast sometimes.

All in all, I love my new journal. I'm already starting on another one with less pages. Now, where is that tutorial on how to make book headbands? Hmm


Friday, January 30, 2009

My Art on Fabric

For a long time I've wanted to put some of my art designs on fabric for my own use. I've tried doing it myself by using both pre-cut fabric sheets for the inkjet and using a product called Bubblejet Set. Of the two, I liked Bubblejet Set. It worked great in my printer and it didn't feel like plastic when I was done.

But I own a printer that only does normal 8.5" width sheets. So if I wanted a yard, it would take a bit of printing and sewing.

A while ago someone pointed me to an online fabric printing company called Spoonflower ( There, designers can upload their designs and order what they need as a sample, fat quarter, yard, or three yards amounts. As of this post, they do not offer it for sale to anyone other than the designer.

I thought I'd give it a try.

The uploading process was quick and easy. I chose to use TIF format for my photos, but they allow jpg and png as well. After the image is uploaded a new section comes up where you can chose how you wanted the image printed. As it is, repeated horizontally and vertically, or in bricks and half bricks.

At $18 a yard, the price to me is a little steep, especially if you plan to sell your own fabric designs. However, their shipping prices are low at the moment. I chose to have three of my designs printed (the designs in this post, of course) as fat quarters ($11 each). I probably should have gone for the sample sizes to make sure they'd print right, but I wanted to have enough to add to a quilt later.

Spoonflower is still in Beta testing, which is why their site says it will take three weeks to process your order. I got mine within a week, two days after they emailed me to let me know it shipped.

First thing I noticed is the colors weren't as dark as I'd like them to be. Two seemed faded. That is through no fault of Spoonflower. Monitors are different and I was afraid my prints would come out too dark. Easy enough fix. I darkened the images and uploaded again. Of the three prints, Minta fairy was my favorite. Now that I've looked at them some more, I realize they're good just the way they are.

I also noticed that the images were larger than I hoped for. Their program showed what my fabric would look like by checking which size I was buying, so, I should have known better. By shrinking the image on my graphics program I fixed that for the next time.

As for the material, it's 100% cotton. Nice feel. It's a little too thin for my liking, but most quilters who've used this service like the fabric. Probably light to light medium thickness. Seems close to my bleached muslin, which is what I use when I use Bubbleset jet.

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at the large white border around the print. I haven't measured yet, but I'm pretty sure the print is in fact a fat quarter.

All in all, a good service. My suggestion is to order samples to make sure the colors, print size, and lightness are the way you like, and then tweak the photo. I plan to buy more for my personal use. I haven't decided if I like it enough to sell. Well, at $18 a yard right now, it's probably a no unless someone shows a real interest.

To see more designs visit my profile at


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hand sewn suede leather buckle sketchbook

I love hand sewn bookbinding. Here is my latest creation, a sketchbook made from heavy brown suede. It measures 9"x11" with 100 pages of handmade pink and white sketch paper.

I used a template from Tandy for the flower designs, but instead of tooling them in (this suede won't do it), I used archival blank ink. Next time I think I'll add my own twisted tree designs.

Of course, this one is for me.

Now, to get back to work on a 500 page journal.