Tag Archives: portfolios

Garlic Festival and Heat

I haven’t blogged for a couple of months and am feeling that it’s about time!  Doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, but it’s been very hot and dry and my ability to actually sit down and write is at a low ebb.  My grass is so dry that it just crunches when I go for our morning walk. I’ve been watering the garden and the tomatoes are just coming on, so I see canning in my future.  Cucumbers are a disaster, just not enough water for them.  I met a very tiny baby rabbit in my garden this morning – just the size to hold in one hand and easily pass through my fence.

Enough of that.  Last week I joined Sam Castner at the Fox Run Vineyards’ Garlic Festival. It was a very hot day, but we were fortunate enough to be in the last row of booths by the vineyard. Most of the time there was a breeze coming down the hill. Not a cool breeze, but at least air in motion.  Here are some photos of our site.

The side panels are now installed on the gates and you can see pictures of them on Sam’s Facebook page.  He’s hoping to install the entire gates within the next week.  Can’t wait to see it. You can see how dry and dead the grass is here. It’s been a severe drought for this area. We usually have great weather, but this summer has been brutal.

I made a bunch of books and notepads using stainless steel miniatures of Sam’s designs from the huge gates he is making for Fox Run. It was fun to point from the 4″ tree on my book to the 12′ version outside the tent.  Compare the jumping fox below with the one in the header.  Same design, just scaled up.  The wonders of computers and laser cutting.

Please excuse the reflections on the photos, but I had covered everything in Mylar to protect from rain, dust and sticky fingers.

One of my favorites was a large portfolio with a maple tree. I must have looked through 50 papers to find the right one for this background, but it was worth it for the result. This portfolio, along with others,  is for sale on Etsy  and others are at the Arts Center of Yates County.

I also had a lot of my Fox Boxes that I blogged about last winter.

It was a fun time, in spite of the heat and my exhaustion!

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Accomplished! Pickles & Portfolios

The last few days have been very productive, both for me and for the garden.  When  I was in the garden, I started picking cucumbers and got seven or eight ripe ones.  Many too many to eat, so it was time to make bread and butter pickles!  This is the first time in about ten years that I’ve had enough cukes to make pickles, so I was happy.  Took them inside and got them sliced, but didn’t have any onions.  Unfortunately they are not quite in season yet so had to get them at the grocery store rather than the local farm stand. Sliced the onions and put them with the cucumbers to sit in the fridge and do their thing.  By late afternoon they had sat long enough, so I started cooking up the syrup.  I had forgotten to check on the canning supplies, so a frantic search for rings and new lids took place.  I knew where the canning jars were since I have boxes and boxes of them from the years that I canned in a major way.  I grabbed the canning kettle and a box of jars just in time to add the cucumbers to the syrup.  Everything worked out in the end and I now have ten pints of pickles for the coming year and I’ll probably have lots more, if the raccoons don’t get the cucumbers first.

On the Portfolio side, I finished my next set of portfolios.  I design a way for them to hold a pad of paper that I hope is strong enough!  There were, of course, some hiccups on the way – like cutting paper the wrong size – that happens when I’m pushing to get something done.  They all worked out in the end and I’m pleased with the final results.

These are all for sale at Long’s Cards and Books in Penn Yan, NY.

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Gardens, Portfolios and Vacations

I haven’t taken time to write about my activities recently, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been quiet.  I was able to plant a garden this year in spite of the cold April weather and it was off to a beautiful start.  Now I just have to keep it watered in all this heat.

Here’s what it looked like a week or so ago.

It’s not very big, but it gives me all the  tomatoes I can eat and delicious potatoes.  I try cucumbers every year and I think this year I will actually be feeding myself instead of the deer and rabbits.  You can see my rather makeshift fencing.  Although a determined deer could easily jump it, it seems to be enough of a discouragement that they don’t bother.  After I found a rabbit sitting inside the fence which has only 2″x3″ openings, I wrapped the bottom with chicken wire and that seems to have kept them out.  There are lots of other wonderful things for them to eat on the rest of the property, so they have to stay out of my garden!  

There is a nearby farm that has U-pick strawberries and every year I plan to get some to freeze.  It works out that I do about half the time!  This year I picked 14 quarts and was very glad I did.  It was a wonderful strawberry season. We had a lot of rain followed by hot dry weather at the perfect time.  The strawberries were luscious! Big and sweet. I’ve found that the varieties that are  huge can tend to be tasteless, especially when frozen.  These are a variety called Sparkle and they have a wonderful flavor no matter their size.

Enough of food, so what have I been doing with my paper?

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve started making designer portfolios and last week I finished a set of four.  Here they are:

I’m very pleased with these and there was only one real problem.  On the red one somehow I made two left sides and so I could either throw it all out, have the cranes flying upside down or have the “pocket” on the wrong side.  I opted for the latter.  My next set of large portfolios will have replaceable pads on one side like the smaller notebooks do. Not sure I like this, but I’m trying to sell them in a local office supply store and the owner suggested that might help.  We’ll see.

In mid-July I’m taking off for one of my favorite places – The John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C.  My granddaughter and I will be taking a course in wood carving, so that will be a whole new world for me!  I don’t know how the blogging schedule will go for the next month, but I’ll try to pop in with pictures occasionally.


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Portfolios, for people who still find a need for paper

Carrying real paper documents these days seems hopelessly old-fashioned, but there are times when nothing else will do.  Sending someone a resume doesn’t need a stamp, but when you are sitting in a job interview, I’m not sure that handing out flash drives to all the participants is the way to go.  So in the hopes that someone, somewhere still carries paper and wants to make a statement at the same time, I’ve designed some portfolios that fit standard 8.5×11 letter paper.

I posted the prototype a few weeks ago and last week I made the first batch.  I forgot to photograph them before I put on their shiny packaging, so please excuse the shiny spots! Here they all are:

The outside paper and the side strips are all my hand-marbled paper, but I found that using marbled paper on the inside also was just too much, so I’ve used commercial, printed papers there.

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Notepad Covers Join the Party!

A few posts ago, before being distracted by the Clay books, I was playing around with designs for portfolios and notepad covers. Last week I got down to business and lined up the materials for four of the notepad covers.  I finished three of them, but not the fourth.  I was unhappy with the choices I had for the spine of that book.  I had a bit of the color of bookcloth I wanted to use, but not enough. Of course, instead of just gong with a lesser choice, I decided to order more.  My rationale was that I had hardly any brown bookcloth left and I’d need it for other projects anyway. The result was that for want of a 3″x12″ strip, I ordered three yards (brown, black and cream) and some headbands that I needed.  I try my best to keep bookbinding supply companies in business!

Here are the three finished notepads.


Below is a gallery of  the three notepads with various views.

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Trial: Stamp Book or Card Holder

Back to fooling around with papers and boards.  I tried out a new folder this week.  It was originally designed to hold stamps, but I don’t think stamp collecting is very popular any more, so I may have to put it to a different use.  When I was young, stamps were all the rage and I had a stock book similar to this one. Well, not as pretty: It had plain brown covers and, as I remember, more rows of pockets.

The stamps are held in place by Mylar pockets. I could use paper if it is not necessary to see the entire object in the pocket.

This book is only 4.5″ x 6.5″.  I think a larger size would be more useful.  I need to figure out a specific use, like holding business cards and then design around that.  Just haven’t focused  on particular use.  Suggestions sought and welcomed!

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Decision Time Again: Which Box to Make?

I’ve been thinking for a while about making some other types of boxes, but I haven’t settled on any one style.  Here are some of the ones I’ve been considering.


These are some of the styles of boxes and portfolios I’ve made in the past.  I’ve probably made at least a hundred calmshell boxes in various styles over the years.  Most were made to fit specific books, papers or other objects and I’ve created many different variations.  I enjoy making them, but they are nothing new for me. Another negative is that they use a lot of purchased materials.  The brown and blue boxes on the top row are clamshells.

The first photo on the second row shows a few of the origami boxes I have made.  They are cute and easy to make. On the pro side, the only material they use is my marbled paper.  They are also great for using the perfect parts of an imperfect sheet.  When I marble, I still catch air pockets or stray hairs which ruin parts of the paper.  On the con side, they don’t require any creativity, just good dexterity.  To counter-balance this, I rarely make the top and bottom from the same paper.  Drives the folks where I sell the boxes crazy!

The next two photos show lidded boxes.  These can be made in any size and shape as well as being able to be lined or partitioned.  I’m leaning toward these for my next project, but I’m still pondering.

The matchboxes with the book inside are cute but rather useless.  I tend to put sayings, quotes or lines from poems or songs in the books, but once you’ve read them, what do you do with it?  I much prefer structures that have some useful function.

The miniature books are neat, but again, not really functional.  I have seen them made into jewelry as pins or hung from necklaces and earrings, very nice but not me.  I rarely wear any jewelry anymore.

The last photos are the portfolios.  They can be made any size or shape and are very useful.  Carrying a hand crafted custom portfolio is neat.  The major drawback is that they use large quantities of bookcloth, especially the 9×12 one.  The outside needs to be cloth rather than paper if  the portfolio is expected to be used.  Paper would be prettier, but it wouldn’t wear well.  Unless I could do the hinges and edges in cloth and the center in paper, like a half-cloth book.

So there’s my dilemma.  What to do?  What to do?

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