Sunday, January 3, 2010

She's smart and pretty!

I am really excited about this book! The idea and design for this necklace came to me all at once, kapow , and I couldn't resist making it. It's kind of steampunk or victorian, bold but still delicate. I absolutely love it! I want to keep it for myself, but I can't keep everything I make, right?

This necklace is so pretty and unusual, but the best part is that the book is fully functional. It's 80 pages of gold paper with gold endsheets, oyster-white Italian bookcloth and a stiff spine. It was even more difficult to make than the Handful of Stars book, but it still came out beautifully. It would be awesome to fill the pages with a poem, or a love note if it's given as a gift. I would melt if my man gave me this necklace, and wrote me a love note inside! (hmm, maybe he'll read this and get some ideas...) It's called the Well-Read Necklace, and it's listed on Etsy here.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

List of Resources for Beginning Bookbinding

There's a lot of useful information online that can be helpful to the beginning bookbinder. Here’s a list of the sites that have been helpful to me and that I have used most often, particularly when I was trying to figure out this whole bookbinding thing.

Please let me know if a link goes bad, so I can remove it or replace it.


Instructional Sites:


  • Hollanders Pretty much anything you could want for book arts. Their bookbinding kits are great for beginners. Great selection of artist’s, conservation and printing papers.

  • Talas Another supplier with nearly everything.

  • Volcano Arts

  • Paper Source Tons of gorgeous papers and some bookbinding supplies too. They have some neat thread colors, but they are a bit more difficult to use than the other waxed threads.

  • Articus Studio Design

  • ArtPaper

Other Useful Sites:

There are a lot more sites than these out there that are just as helpful, but I think these can at least get you started bookbinding.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

6 Tips to Get You Writing in Your Diary Every Single Day (and keep it interesting!)

photos courtesy of peregrine blue and creative commons
My Mom raised me to appreciate the written word. She got me reading difficult books early on, and tried to get me to write by buying me pretty little diaries and pens. I, however, could not be motivated to write in a diary. But that didn’t stop her from trying; she even went so far as to pay me to write in them regularly. $5 per seven entries. I tried to be smart and do all seven entries at once, but she was on to me.

Lots of people have trouble writing on a set schedule, especially for something as personal as a diary. I have friends that can fill up an entire book in less than a month without so much as a stutter on the page, but others (like myself) need a bit of a push.

1. Write when the mood strikes; don’t try to force it. It can be helpful to set aside a specific time to do your daily writing if you know you will always have that time available and you can flip the inspiration switch. Otherwise, this can backfire on you, and you may find yourself staring at the page, pen poised, with nothing to say and frustration creeping in. Instead, just keep your diary close at hand, and write in it when you want to.

2. Don’t try to make everything you write important. If the mood steadfastly ignores you, sit down for a minute before going to bed and jot down something. Anything, it doesn’t matter what. Write a list of places you want to visit, copy down, verbatim, a conversation you had, or write about how you suspect your downstairs neighbor is breeding monkeys in his apartment. Just write something.

3. Write about something specific, an idea, or a particular event rather than cataloguing your day. Instead of “This morning my alarm went off at 6:00, I got up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, brushed my hair, folded my towel, walked into the kitchen, opened the fridge….,” pick a particular incident to write about, and write about it engagingly and in detail. Like the old lady that pushed you aside and took the last grapefruit in the produce section. Or the kids painting graffiti a mural. Or the gorgeous wallpaper you saw through the window of a stranger’s house. It’s often the little moments that seem innocuous that stay with you throughout the day. Writing about these episodes can help solidify that day in your memory, and help you to remember it’s unique color.

4. Keep beautiful tools. It’s safe to say I have a biased opinion because I make diaries, but I really believe it’s important to have a journal that inspires you. Of course, you can write on scrap envelopes if that’s all you have, but investing in a diary that’s you will go a long way towards keeping you motivated. Same goes for your writing utensils. Using a nice, quality pen (not a pencil, it will fade!) helps to remind you of the value of your writing.

5. Let your mind and your style wander. Don’t try to maintain the same style throughout your diary; it will change with your mood. Write how you feel. If that means stream-of-consciousness, or a rant, or a short story complete with beginning, middle and end, then go with it.

6. Check your guilt and pressure at the door. You are not obligated to finish anything! Don’t think that you can’t start writing about something because you won’t have time to finish it. Diaries reflect lives; they evolve, shift, abandon old ideas in favor of the new, and can double back to pick up a previously deserted thread.

Check back for the next article in this series: Beyond Chronology: New Ways to Organize Your Diary (if you must be organized!)

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It Can't Rain All the Time!

I sewed this thick blue bookblock about a week ago, then kept it tucked in a shelf until yesterday while I tried to decide how I wanted to case it. I thought about a few different ideas, but ended up casing it in a gorgeous oyster-white Italian bookcloth over textured blue paper. Weather here's been stormy, so that inspired me to cut out a silhouette of a raincloud and drops, exposing the blue underneath. Then I trimmed the matching endsheets in a Victorian scalloped edge and gave the block a pretty blue bookmark. I couldn't be happier with this book; I think it came out beautiful! And it's super-functional... I love thick, dense books and this one definitely fits the bill. I listed it on Etsy as the It Can't Rain All the Time Book. Check it out!

On another note, I got my twitter set up. I've never used it before, so we'll see if I can come out of my shell and be social! I'm @artofthediary; follow me and help keep me motivated!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bite Size Books

I just listed the Handful of Stars Mini Book on Etsy. This tiny little book fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. I made it as an experiment, and it came out so well that I have some more planned. But, this mini diary was one of the most difficult books I've made so far. Working in miniature doubles the effort, I think! And, I managed to scuff a tiny spot on the inside back corner, so... *headdesk*. But really, it's barely noticeable, so someone'll get a good deal!

I'm thinking about making one of these in oyster bookcloth and silver-edged pages, and making a necklace out of it. Maybe it'll be even smaller than this one...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bluebirds and Blue Skies Book

It's been a busy week around here but I've found a minute to list the Bluebirds and Blue Skies Book on Etsy. This is an adorable little book that makes me think of those first warm days of spring and fresh cut grass. It's smaller than the other medium-sized journals, but it has twice as many pages, making it considerably thicker. I plan to pick up some picture corners and turn mine into a little photo book! I have tons of great pics on my computer, but I kind of miss the days of albums and carefully organized personal photos (or haphazardly organized, which is probably more likely in my case!).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Etsy shop is open!

Art of the Diary's Etsy shop is finally open! I have listed the Paramours and Parasols Journal and the La Roseraie Journal as available for purchase. I have several more books that are going to be listed over the next few days, including a tiny miniature book bound in blue and orange stars and pink linen thread, a small photo book covered in bird and ladybug bookcloth, and a large artist's folio filled with super high quality mouldemade Stonehenge paper.

I've made tons of books over the last couple weeks to give as gifts over the holidays. It's interesting because I'm not usually very diligent about gift-wrapping and packaging presents, but there's something about a gift I've made with my own hands that makes me want to wrap it beautifully. Too often I've neglected that and handed over presents wrapped in the shopping bags they came in. No more! Opening a present really should be a whole experience, from handling the packaging to the excitement of seeing what you have.