Monthly Archives: December 2013

Making Note Cards

Interruptions are constant for me, usually from myself.  My latest book project was interrupted when I noticed my stock of note cards was getting low.  So I decided to make some more before finishing the books.  I have lots of marbled card stock on hand from marbling sessions over the past years. I can make two cards from a perfect 8 1/2″ x 11″  sheet or  only one card if there are imperfections in the marbling.  I have also marbled lots of cards that my Mother printed from her artwork.  The cards with line drawings are especially nice with the marbling.

The first step is to cut the card stock into 5 1/2″x 8″ pieces,  These will make 5 1/2″ x 4″ notes that fit into A2 envelopes. The cards are folded in half and printed with the Losing Her Marbles logo on the back. I then take various colored writing paper for the insides.  The inside pieces are cut slightly smaller that the card stock.  These make a better writing surface for the cards, especially for the darker card stock.  At first I tried gluing the inside paper to the card stock, but I found that it didn’t work well.  I tried doing a simple pamphlet stitch and it is just right. Of course, by the time I’m finished, I’ve put much more time and effort into making the note cards than I can ever recoup, but I do enjoy it.


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Books, Step by Step

Sometimes I make books in almost a production mode, working on them every day till they are done.  Other times, I do it in fits and starts, leaving them half started for a while and coming back to them after many interruptions.  The last four books that I wrote about appear to fall into the latter class!  I did the design work, choosing papers and then put them aside.
This week, I went back to them for the next step – choosing paper for the text block and deciding on the size and shape of the book.  I didn’t do anything special with the papers this time.  I’m using my standard Strathmore and Canson drawing papers. I like the weight and feel of them.  I would love it if I could get them in colors, but the colored sheets tend to be heavier as well as much more expensive. I do use Pastel paper occasionally, but it has a definite “tooth” and is not right for some of my books.  I also like the Strathmore “Toned Tan” and “Toned Grey” for my earthier creations and have used a lot of that in the long-stitch books.
Back to the current four.  After cutting the text paper, I print a title page, verso and colophon.  Most blank books don’t have titles, but I like adding them.  I think it makes them more like real books. My titles range from the pedestrian My Journal, to the whymiscal Wish on a Fish. They tend to reflect the color, Purple Prose, or content, Purring Thoughts, of the book’s cover.  These titles were more of the pedestrian variety. Here the pages have been cut and folded and the titles printed.

The two larger books are almost the same size. The smaller one was cut to fit the tiger endpapers and the medium sized one was determined by the cover design. The pages are folded and gathered into sections or gatherings, ready to be punched and sewn.  I like to add an extra ornamental page of light weight paper around the even sections, just to add a little something special. Here are the papers I chose for the larger books.

I also added frontispieces to the two larger books.  These are illustrations that were taken from two different books from 1840-1850.  The books were badly damaged and had fallen apart, but I was able to rescue some of the engravings.  The illustrations are not copies, they are the real thing.  As you can see in the photo, they need to be trimmed down and tipped in.  I’ll do this by leaving a narrow edge that will fold around the back of the title page.  The flap will be glued in, but it will also be sewn into the first gathering, making it an integral part of the book.  Sometimes, when the paper is too brittle to fold or is smaller than the book, I just tip it in opposite the title.

My next steps will be to attach the frontispieces and sew all of the textblocks.  In the meantime, I have learned to put all parts of each book into a separate plastic bag!  Before I did this consistently, I would switch papers mid-stream and discover I had to cut paper all over again to match the new configurations!Bagged2

The reason I didn’t move on to sewing the textblocks was that I was sidetracked by note cards, which will be my next blog.  I hope to get to it soon.

I have written at length about all the processes in making a book on other pages on this site, starting here.



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Tigers by Design

Last blog I mentioned wanting to do a book cover from some tiger patterned paper that I had.  Here’s the paper:DSCN5377It’s a long, narrow piece and I was thinking about making a very small book with just one or two tigers on the cover. As soon as I started to think about size, I realized it would never work.  Even a small book needs at least 1/2 inch turn-in on both top and bottom.  This is what the cover would look like after a normal 3/4 inch turn-in. DSCN5378 Not really what I wanted.  I can use it for endpapers, so I revamped my thinking and started looking for paper to use as covers. I found a piece of my marbled paper that goes quite well with the purple, so even though it’s not at all what I’d planned, I’m happy with the combination.

Since it’s easier to do several books at a time, I had to go on a hunt for more papers that I could become excited about.  As I sifted through stacks of paper, I came up with the following pairings.  For a change, I found good matches quite quickly.  Only the airplanes gave me a hard time, but I like the final choice.

It feels a bit strange to reverse the normal place of cover papers and marbled paper.  I like to emphasize my marbling and give it pride of place and covers use less paper than the endpapers, so I can use pieces that are too small to be inside.

I don’t know what size these books will be.  I’m thinking of trying some larger sizes for the gray-toned papers.  The largest size I make on a regular basis are 7 1/2″ x 5″, so maybe I’ll try 8″ or 8 1/2″.  I can’t do anything taller than that because of the size of my printer.  It depends also on the size of the text paper.  The sheets I start with are roughly 18″x 24″, direction short, making great 6″x 6″ pages.  I’m tired of square books though.  I frequently change my mind once faced with the text paper and having to study the cover paper to see exactly which pattern would fall on the front center.  All over patterns are so much easier than larger, poster type papers.

I may even start cutting tomorrow, I may not though!  I’m sitting watching the snow fall – very gently, but it is getting deeper.  I’m glad I don’t have to go anywhere farther than my studio!

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How Does One Recharge?

Ever since I came back from the Folk School and my exciting classes there described in my previous blogs, I’ve been trying to get started again.  Not very successfully!  I put the finishing touches on a few books right away, but my snakeskin book languishes on my work table, untouched.  I go into my studio every day, look at the leather, look at the enameled pieces and end up sorting some marbled paper or rearranging stuff.  I spend some time there and then go upstairs to play Civilization or Solitaire on the computer.  Not much accomplished.

One thing I have done is to buy some large bins so I can sort my papers.  I had them in drawers and boxes and had to go through everything to find what I needed.  Having them in smaller groups by type and size should make life a bit easier. Now I just have to decide where to put everything!

Today was the first time that I have been inspired. While sorting the printed papers I found a long, narrow strip of purple Lokta printed with gold tigers.  It really called to be made into a book.  Maybe there’s hope for me!

In the meantime, this is what I seem to be doing most of the time.

Lucy with fire

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