Friday, December 28, 2012

Envelope Journal

I made another journal . . . 
This one started (as so many projects do) with a YouTube sitting session. I sometimes spend so much time travelling from one video to the next that in the end I have no idea where I started. That's the case here - I watched a video, linked from that one to another "suggested" video, on to another (rinse & repeat) and then saw one where someone (and I hate that I cannot find the video that provided my first inspiration) made a journal with envelopes. A couple of days later I went on a failed search to watch that video again and ended up watching several envelope journal videos, but never happened upon that specific video again. But I wasn't deterred since I had the general concept.

However, on this subsequent video journey I did come across a video by Kathy Orta that showed her Hidden Hinge process. So I went with that and jumped right in. There are actually two different Kathy Orta videos that show the Hidden Hinge, but since I didn't care if my journal had a specific number of pages I made a slight variation by starting with a fold in the center of my cardstock and measured out 1/2 inch on each side of the center fold and went from there with Kathy's 1/4 inch gusset and 1/2 inch hinge-flap measurings. I ended with 7 hinge-flaps, so my journal has 7 pages. 

I had a couple of boxes of DCWV Linen Closet pre-made blank cards and envelopes that I had picked up on sale a couple of years ago and had only used one card (without using the envelope to go with it) - and, if my project had been a complete failure I would not have felt bad about lost materials. Which is good because I did make a first version that I did not finish. 

Let me tell you about that one right quick. I made the first hinge strip with the 1/2 & 1/4 inch measures - as Kathy provided in her video - but once I had it all folded and taped I thought it looked like the spaces between pages was much wider than necessary so I made a second hinge strip with 1/8 inch spacing between my 1/2 inch hinge-flaps. I made and attached the envelope pages but when I started placing embellishments to determine the layout I liked best I realized that the 1/4 inch spacing was absolutely necessary! So I now have a hinge with seven pages attached and not enough room for 3-D embellishing. Not sure what I will end up doing with that one. :/

So, on with the process: I sealed seven envelopes and trimmed the left side - just enough to open up the ends - not even 1/8 inch trimmed off - maybe 1/16 inch trimmed. I then used a Martha Stewart border punch to open the right side of each envelope. I now had seven envelope tube. I then cut some of the cards apart at the folds and trimmed them to fit as mats on the envelopes and taped the mats to the front and back of each envelope. 

Next up - I measured and cut the covers from chipboard. I measured to allow a scarce 1/8 inch extending beyond the top & bottom but a generous 1/2 inch extending over the open end of the journal. I knew my tags would hang out of my pockets and I wanted them protected from damage in handling and I wanted to allow some, just a teaser amount, of the tags to be peeking out of the cover. I also cut a piece of chipboard for the spine that was the same height s the covers and only as wide as the pages and Hidden Hinge assembly. (Overall size: approx. 6 x 4.5 x 1.5 inches (going with approximate because it is actually a slight bit larger, but not by but about 1/16 of an inch on any measurement)

I used some paper by MME named "Dream" (got it at Michaels) for the cover and some Bazzill textured paper in Quicksand for the spine. I carried the tan (Quicksand) paper over the front & back covers by 3/4 inch - both to give it a "fine" book look as well as to reinforce the Hidden Hinge flaps. Once the paper was on the cover & spine I folded it all to the inside and secured that.

I then added the hinge and pages with as much Scor-tape as I could fit on there and finished the inside of both the front and back cover with a darker aqua (Bazzill textured) paper.

I added embellishments to the pages - some are flowers that I colored with Copic markers to match my color scheme, some is rustic twine in a medium hemp color, some is ribbon trim that I got several years ago and some of pearl flourishes (different manufacturers and I failed to note who).

When I started making tags to put in the pockets created by the envelope tube I added a few pieces of solid papers in aqua and tan to add a little more variety as well as a small bit of the paper I used on the cover. I used some of the same embellishments on the tags as I had used on the pages. I tried to make all the tags different for interest: 
Inside front and Page 1
Page 1 - Tag 1 (front)
Tag 1 (back) - Pages 2 & 3 - Tag 2 (front)
(did not extend Tag 2 to show the back)
 Pages 4 & 5 - Tag 3 (front)

(Tag 3 is a booked tag that is sewn together with twine that came on some Lawn fawn stamps I ordered - I save all kinds of stuff like that for re-purposing.)
Tag 3 (inside)
Pages 6 & 7 - Tag 4

Pages 8 & 9 - Tag 5 (front)
Tag 5 (back) - Pages 10 & 11 - Tag 6
Pages 12 & 13 - Tag 7 (front)
Tag 7 (back) - page 14 & inside back

I'm not finished, but I haven't settled on the rest yet. I will add quotes or Bible verses to the pages and add a title to the cover when I decide whether to gift it or keep it, and then it will be based on who the final owner will be. But since that may be weeks or even months away I decided to go ahead and blog this post now.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

(Faux) Faux Leather Journal . . .

. . . From Recycle (for the most part.) Yes, two fauxs - since this faux leather is paper and not cloth. I figure, if faux leather is made from cloth, that this is a paper faux of the cloth faux. Have I lost you yet? eep!

Yep, I made most of it from recycled items. I bought the leather cord that closes it at Target and I bought the skeleton key on etsy, and all other components are recycled (of course the thread to sew the signatures and the glue to bind the cover to the liner is not recycled, but that probably should go without saying.)

This journal took a couple of months of migration and morphation (new word! Yay me!) to find what it wanted to be. It started with a piece of junk mail. Yep, junk mail - back in October I had a tri-fold cardboard mailer delivered to my mailbox with a free sample attached inside. I started to throw it all away when inspiration jumped right off the card. I removed the sample and the sticky that held it in place as well as the sticky that held the mailer closed and turned that tri-fold card over two or three times and confirmed that yes it would be a good start for a tri-fold journal cover. And so it's journey to a new life began.
I started out by breaking the glossy finish it arrived with. I took an emery file to it and filed some, wiped that down with an alcohol wipe, sanded some more, wiped some more - repeated until I felt that enough of the gloss was gone. Next up was a couple of coats of gesso. From there I tried different painted designs but none really felt like what I wanted so I would paint over that with something different. That poor tri-fold finally had reached a point where I was going to have to start over with a new coat of gesso or go darker to cover what all was there. That's when the faux leather jumped in. I had seen it done with brown paper bags, but I really didn't want to add too much bulk so I opted to use tissue paper. I painted a base coat of red and black acrylic paint and once that dried I added a good coat of burnt umber watercolor (tube) mixed with Collage Pauge. I then laid pieces of torn white tissue paper in the wet paint mixture and let that dry. When it dried to a tacky stage I started pressing the wrinkles down so that there was texture, but not peaks and valleys. Once dry I thought I would add a little variation to the color and added some raw umber watercolor, but that was too muddy looking. I tried to dab that back off but it would not all lift off so I tried to darken it with some black. Not that successful I finally had to nearly delete my tube of burnt umber to get back the color I liked best. Lesson learned: (again - I say again because I have to keep learning this lesson) less is more - stop while you are ahead!
Laid flat
Next up was to figure out the pages for the inside. That one took me a couple of days but I finally remembered an old sketch book that I have had for years (had pictures drawn way back in 1978). I had it in the bottom of a drawer in my bedroom because it was really too large to carry around. The front cover was missing and the back cover was to thin to use unless the book was on a table. I had not drawn anything in it for over two decades, so it was a very good candidate! And, serendipity . . . the paper had aged to a wonderful yellowing that went so well with a distressed faux leather journal!

And another piece of good fortune was that the size of the old sketchbook worked perfectly with the size of the journal cover. I tore the pages out of the sketchbook, cut them in half horizontally and then trimmed off the ragged paper ends from the spiral-wire binding and folded them in half - perfect fit! I could not have gotten any luckier! I then had sweet hubby make me a homemade book-press and proceeded to press all the signatures to get a nice tight fold and finish.

At this point I had started researching how to bind the journal and in my research I saw several handmade [real] leather journals that were closed with a leather cord and a skeleton key and knew that mine would be also. I found the leather cord at a local Target store and the skeleton key on etsy.

While all these parts were coming together I pondered several options for the inside lining. I decided I wanted a cloth of some sort, but since I had no suede leather available (and before I researched how to make my own) I decided one of hubby's old woven cotton work shirts would do just fine - except for the color. But that was easily remedied with some Noodler Polar Brown ink diluted in water. I cut a square of the shirt back and drenched it in the ink water. Squeezed out the excess and ironed the cloth, both to dry it and to flatten it. I had to repeat that process since once was not really as dark as I was hoping for. I then used the cover off an easel pad to add some firmness - just a little - the easel cover is cardboard, but a very very thin flimsy cardboard. But it was just the right level of firmness for what I needed.
Pieces and Parts
Coming together

 Next up was sewing the pages. Here is where I learned that the folded pages are called folios and the stacked folios create signatures. So I put together seven signatures with six folios in each. I have no idea how I came up with the page counts - it just kinda happened because I was cutting, folding, collating and stacking all at the same time and when I thought my stack was as thick as I wanted my journal to be I stopped. Sometimes lack of planning just works okay.

I decided to order an awl to make holes for the sewing and I also ordered some waxed linen thread to sew the pages so those are supplies that I purchased to make the journal, but they will also be used for other journal making (in fact the awl was already used to make a journal with my granddaughter earlier this month - see my previous blog post dated Dec. 15). I sewed the signatures onto the inside liner since I had no clue of any other way to get them to stay since I'm not sure I would trust gluing the signature block in.
Once I had my signatures sewn in I then glued the inside liner with the signatures to the faux leather journal cover. I once again used the homemade book-press my dear hubby made me to put pressure on the journal as the glue set up so that I would not have bubbles and buckles.
So there you have it. And I've added a bit of journaling to the first page already :D
And now, just for giggles and grins, here are a few pages from the old oversize sketchbook. The sketchbook still has plenty of pages that I can use in the future as well as any doodles and drawing from the past. I may find some other use for the drawings some day or they may just spend another couple of decades buried in a dresser drawer.
Time will tell.
Apparently from the first time I read The Hobbit and LOTR.

Copied from some graphic in a coastal newspaper.

Morning Glories (this one has my reference date: 8-78.)

Another from that coastal newspaper. I once wanted to live on a beach forever.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Handmade Journal

My granddaughter came to visit last weekend and brought her journal we worked on in July back so that she could add more pictures (Click HERE to see the July journal). She also pointed out that her journal was almost full and that we needed to make her another one. 

Well, I'm always interested in trying something different so I went in search of ideas for her next journal and found a technique I thought would be interesting - sewing it together using a coptic stitch. I watched several videos of different people using the technique and decided I could do that. 

Here is a WIP image: 
I cut the front & back covers from chipboard and let her look through my scrapbook paper for something she would like for her cover. I did the cutting and she did the gluing. 

We used basic copy paper folded in half for the pages. I would start the paper folds and then had her press the crease with the bone-folder. Once we had folded 50 sheets (we could now call them "folios") we put them together into 10 signatures with 5 folios, so each signature was 10 pages. A total of 100 pages for her new journal.

In all my research/video viewing I happened upon one where the girl made her journal from duct tape - she used duct tape on both covers and on the outside folio of each book signature if you want to see that one you can view it HERE). I knew we did not want to make a duct tape cover, but I liked the idea of using duct tape to add to the spine. We looked through my duct tape and while I do have a couple of pinks they were not a good match so we settled on a nice purple. We then opted for a lighter purple for the inside of the covers to compliment the deeper purple of the spine.

I thought I could make the duct tape step easy by putting a guide on one of my plastic work mat with blue painters tape and using a sharpie marker to put a straight line down the center between the two strips of blue painters tape (you can see part of it beneath the journal components in the image above) - did not work as well as I had hoped. It seems that when working with an 8 year old you have to factor in the impact of her hands resting on the project as she attempts to place a 10 inch strip of duct tape evenly along the paper fold. the results are that the purple duct tape is not even and in some cases wonky enough to make a drunk man sober! But not an issue really, since it is her journal and she can take pride in having worked on it herself.

Next step was the thread and we got lucky - I happened to have a very good match on the purple in my old collection of cross-stitch thread. I don't/cant (due to vision) cross-stitch anymore so (YAY!) a good use for some of my thread!

So at that point we had all of the journals components and we had stopped and I finished up after she had gone back home. The finishing up consisted of sewing the book together and I needed an awl and some tapestry needles (and some quiet in the house) for that. Once the awl and needles arrived I finished the assembly. 

She doesn't visit every weekend so she has not seen the finished book yet, but she will be here for Christmas soon and will be so excited! 

Here are a couple more images:
The stitches in the center of each signature look like this:
And the stitched on the inside of the covers look like this:

Now I'm off to work on a journal for myself that I have been working on since back in October. I'll post that one soon! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I'm not very consistent with blog posts, and sometimes I'm just in a short hiatus from crafty stuff, but that doesn't mean I'm not slowly working on something. Right now I'm in the process of altering a piece of junk mail to turn it into something I'm happy with for a homemade journal. But that is a slow process since I'm not really sure how I want the journal cover to look. So, while that has been on my table for a couple of weeks it my still be there in another couple of weeks. For me that is just how my creative process works. 

But, when I realized I had not posted any blog posts in over two months I thought I might ought to. So today I will share my granddaughters creative project. She is altering a pair of plain white Keds with Copic markers:

Pretty good if you ask me!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


This is Lisa, my little sister, in this video. I love this explosion box she made and thought I would share her video with everyone. I ordered this cartridge through Lisa a few weeks back but just have not opened it (much less used it yet), but this video makes me want to get finished with what I already have on today's "To Do" list so I can go play with this cartridge! Cute cute cute!

If you don't have a personal CTMH consultant, please consider ordering through my sister, not only because she is my little sister but also because she is a truly wonderful person. 

Here is her CTMH link:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tattered Past: Memoir Journal Workshop: Day 1

I've often started a written journal just to give up when I realized I had no clue what to write about. I usually figure the best place to start is at the first memory I can recall and work forward, but that thought always fails me because the logical part of my brain tells me "No, that is an autobiography.' So I bail on it altogether. 

Today I found a blog post for writing memoir journal entries and Rita A, the blogs author, will post journal prompts two or three times a week and the followers simply journal about that prompt. Sounds pretty good to me. The first prompts can be found on this blog she post:  

Tattered Past: Memoir Journal Workshop: Day 1

Okay, off to find a book to use for my journal. Y'all get a book and join in!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My View

My View by Redonna
My View, a photo by Redonna on Flickr.

Watercolor in my small moleskin - springtime view out my den window. I did take artistic license and chose not to add a chain-link fence that appears in the lower left and I did not include the neighbors house that sits on the other side of the lake.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Growing The Next Generation of Scrapbook/Crafters

Today I am posting the work of my 7yo granddaughter. 

She loves animals with a passion so we put together a mini-scrapbook for her to put cute animals in. She did most of the work - with a small amount of help but a lot of direction from me. I think she did a pretty bang-up job on it (all things considered . . . not the least of which is the fact that she is ADHD and not on medication - translation? A lot of patience on my part and a lot of telling her to come back & lets finish what we have laid out). 

We started by folding an 8X10 manila envelope in half and adding bright pink Duct Tape for added strength in the binding. I cut a square from a scrap of blotter paper and had her write the title on it. She stamped a flower border across the top & bottom and then we layered her title square with some blue cardstock. After running two short strips of woven ribbon through the Xyron I had her affix those to a pink cardstock (roughly 5X7, but not exact). Next up I ran the title card through the Xyron with a laminate feed and had her add that to the pink card. I ran the ATG on that and let her place it on her book cover :
I ran a zig-zag stitch around the pink cardstock for the layering aspect as well as to better secure it to the front. Once she had folded about eight sheets of paper in half and stacked those for me I sewed those to the inside. I only managed to get one line of stitching in the book when my needle broke and being the negligent crafter that I am I had no back-up needle so one row of stitching will have to do.

I added a Library card and card pocket to the inside of her book and stamped her birthday (without a year) in the "Return Date" field and had her sign the book out. I then had her glue the pocket in place and put the card in it's pocket. 
that bright white patch is where I photo-shopped her last name out - paranoia I guess - LOL.
I had her stamp a large background stamp to the opening page and then we drew a box around it to add a little more fullness. After she stamped it I realized the larger stamp was probably a little too large for her to try to get a good clean stamp - but it has it's own character.

From here we just started filling the pages with animals. No journaling . . . for one, her handwriting is still too large and unruly for journaling and for two, my patience level is too small for working with an ADHD on journaling at this time. SO, it is image only this go round. 

First two pages are pictures of her own kitten. It is a kitten that lives at her house - not mine - so I only have the two images I got from her other grandmother's facebook page. But it was enough to start her book out with. The rest are all images I pulled from the internet - various sources, so no specific credit given - some were cute pictures people had posted to their facebook page and some were from some other (unknown, unremembered) site. Several came from Chill on facebook: they are all just cute pictures of animals that she likes.

Here I will point out the artistic slant of the bunnies and the lavender paper behind it - all her doing . . . unintentional? yes, but artistic none-the-less. She is so talented that even she doesn't know it :D

In this image and the next we added stickers for added layering and interest. Yes, I explained that to her but my guess is that if her momma asked her why we added the stickers her response would be "because they are cute".

Source credit: bottom picture - the four squared cat - Plain Chicken blog: 

Ahhh, the image above has a tree branch that she drew (okay, she copied the example I drew for her, but she drew it in her book herself) and we added some 3-D leaf stickers. Too cute!
And again with that super-fantastic artistic slant to the cat and the purple paper! She's good, what can I say?

And, since the book is only half full, she has extra trim and stickers in the back of her book so that when she goes back home her mom or her other grandmother can help her add more pictures to the rest of the book:

Hopefully one day she will be less ADHD and we can do crafts together all the time. For now I have to limit how often I venture into that arena since my nerves can't handle too much of it at a time. But all in all I'm very very proud of what she did and I think her little book is adorable!

(EDIT: After I blogged this we went back and added some washi tape to some pages and some marker doodling to some other pages - not taking new pix though.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another Watercolor

I realize that I will never be rich or famous for my watercolors, but they sure make me feel good. Not only as I work on them but just looking at them when I am finished. This is today's watercolor - not any specific flower, but pink, and I like that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Today I'm posting something different. This is a picture I painted with watercolor to submit to 'The Sketchbook Challenge'. I came across this blog last week and found it interesting. The theme for June is 
Urban Sketching. I don't live in an urban home so I went to the internet and found an image I thought I could work with and gave it my best shot. 

I may be my own worst critic, but I also realize I could use a lot of practice with many aspects of this picture. But, none-the-less, here is is beside the image I found on the internet:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Journal Cover Finished

I didn't expect to finish another cover so soon, but after the gesso was dried on the smaller journal in yesterday's post I started working on that journal since I already knew in my head what I wanted to put on it. I did part of it last night and finished up this morning. Other than putting a good coat of fixative on it, well, it is done. White gesso and watercolor paints. Free-handed the picture. And I wrote the text with a calligraphy marker, but the gesso was not a smooth finish so it didn't come out as well as I had hoped (gotta try a different gesso).
Again, I call these journals, but I'm not sure that they are technically journals. In fact, this one is actually a Strathmore Watercolor Visual Journal that I use to sample my watercolors in so that I can see how they blend and pick up. And this book is almost filled since I have been using it for a while. It wasn't until I started altering the covers of the other journals that I decided to alter this one also.

Here are some of the pictures of some of the pages inside the book: