Paper Sweeties November Release Countdown!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Have you started your Christmas countdown yet? Too early? Good! Then, you still have time to make your very own Christmas Advent Calendar! Here's a look at mine, made using Paper Sweeties new Days Until stamp and Sweet Cuts die sets that will be available in the Boutique starting tomorrow ...
This calendar was one of my happy accidents, where I started out making one thing and ended up with something I never could have dreamed up if I was trying. I originally intended to make a Christmas card using the "Days Until" stamp and die sets, and I got it in my head that I wanted to use corrugated cardboard on it somewhere. But, by the time I finished doctoring up the cardboard, I had smooshed it flat and got so frustrated I almost threw it away, when I realized the flattened cardboard looked a little like a shutter, and it might hold numbered squares the same way people display their Christmas cards on a real shutter. And, sure enough, it worked!
The "doctoring" I did was to add red, green, and gold Inka Gold to the flutes. To get the nice metallic Inka Gold sheen, it has to be burnished with a paper towel or cloth, which, of course, flattened it. 

Once the cardboard is flattened, the rest of the project is pretty straightforward. I distressed the edges of a piece of peppermint patterned cardstock with gold Inka Gold and black acrylic paint, then adhered that, and the cardboard piece to strips of black cardstock, leaving small black borders around each. A 1/8" black border around the peppermint piece is sufficient to be able to glue the flourished pieces to the top and bottom of the project. Those pretty flourishes are also part of the Days Until stamp and die sets, as is the "Days Until" text.

For the numbered date squares, I just stamped 24 squares onto a piece of cardstock, then stamped the numbers into the squares. A square die, exactly the right size for these squares is part of the Days Until Sweet Cuts die set. Debbie thought of absolutely everything when she created this fun set!

I added a chipboard easel stand to the back of this piece so it could stand, but I had to trim a little off the bottom of the stand to allow it to lean back more so the squares wouldn't fall out. (If I made this project again, rather than using corrugated cardboard, I would probably just fan fold a strip of kraft cardstock instead, which would create a deeper channel to put the squares in, so they would stay in better.)

To have a place to store the numbered squares as they are removed, I made a tiny cardstock box, glued a metal washer to the inside center bottom and added an earth magnet to the side of a chipboard easel stand so the box could be attached, but removed easily every day to add another square.

Most advent calendars I have seen have a whimsical look to them. I love that this one is more elegant. It fits right in with the rest of my Christmas decor!

Now, you seriously need to visit the rest of the Paper Sweeties Design Team for inspiration for everything from cards to home decor! There's even another countdown calendar, too! They have really gone all out for this release!

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your weekend, and get your ready to shop in the Paper Sweeties Boutique first thing tomorrow! I predict this release is going to sell out fast!


Supplies Used:

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Paper Sweeties November Release Sneak Peeks!

Friday, November 13, 2015

With only 42 more sleeps until Christmas, it's about time to be thinking about Christmas cards, and the November New Release stamps and Sweet Cuts dies at Paper Sweeties are just in time to help you get your Christmas cards made.
I used the adorable new stocking die in the Stitched Tags #3 Sweet Cuts Die Set for this card. I cut the stocking once in red and once in white, then put the white cuff on the red stocking. I embossed the stocking and added a Snow Marker to the cuff for lots of texture. I love that the die set includes the dainty hanger, too. The stocking is hanging from a "garland" cut from the new Dear Santa Sweet Cuts Die set, and the sentiment is from the coordinating Dear Santa Stamp Set, also.
The sentiment on the inside is from a previous stamp set, Ho Ho Ho. I stamped it in red, then colored in the letters with Spica pens.

Be sure to check out the creations from the rest of the DT for tons of inspiration.

We'll be back tomorrow for our Countdown posts, and I can't wait to share my "Countdown" project made with the new Days Until Stamps and Sweet Cuts Dies.


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Flower Power Coptic Book

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I was never a "flower child." Even as a young child, I was probably too conservative to have fit in with that crowd. But, I did enjoy the fun flower art the movement inspired. The flowers on this book remind me of that, in design and color. I used matching orange, pink, green, and white paper to make the twelve 16-page sections (192 pages total). 
This book looks very similar in construction to my address book, with it's French Link and Long Stitch Weaving, but the thread is wrapped twice through the cover here. 

When I first saw books whose covers were attached with two threads, I thought they just went through each station of the cover twice. Oh my gosh, was I wrong! This stitch requires 9 steps! But, according to Keith Smith, in his book, Exposed Spine Sewings, this particular attachment (Type 5 Board Attachment Lark Spur, page 217) has "ideal" hinging action, so the extra work was worth it.
The inside cover

Since this is a small book (4" x 5.25") I had less weaving to do, but I packed it much tighter than on my address book.
And, here is the cover to cover pic. Because this book is covered in paper rather than cloth, the recessed grove for the elastic, on the front cover, is easy to see. Oops! I see now that I forgot to make grooves on the back cover for the small bits of elastic there. =$ Not to worry, though. I think my "signature" on all my books will be to include at least one purposeful mistake, just so there is no question that it is handmade. I just need to make sure I don't "sign" a book in too many places at once. ;)

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Custom Handbound Address Book

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

If you saw my last post, and actually made it to the end, you know that I have been working on a project for myself--a new address book. I almost gave up on it before I ever got to the binding part because getting the pages printed right was so difficult, but I persevered, and here it is! (Lots of photos!)
Most of my books are approximately 4" x 5", but this one is larger--5" x 7".  It is bound very similar to my journal from Monday, with a groove for the elastic band and Coptic and French Link Stitches over tapes, but I added Long Stitches with weaving, also.
Since this book has a longer spine, I was able to use wider ribbon for the French Link stitches, and I had a fairly large area for the long stitches. 
Here's a better view of the spine, especially the weaving. Weaving like this is simple, but given that I had 2" of Long Stitches to cover, and the thread was not very thick, it took awhile. And, since I don't have a lying press, I had to hold the book between my knees and sit all scrunched up while I worked on it, which did not make my neck happy at all! What a relief when I finally got to the last row!
I covered the inside covers with a calm, dark green paper. I like pink, but can only take so much of it at once. You can also see the first divider. I used white 65 lb. cardstock and added die cut tabs. The text on the tabs was made with a label maker. The black and white strip is Washi tape. I love how it looks, but I mainly used it to cover the part of the tabs that is glued to the divider. It didn't look too good sitting there all naked. ;D 
The best part of making your own address book is getting to put anything you want in it and leaving out things you don't need. These are the sections in my book. There are 15 in all, and I divided them by wrapping every other section with a cardstock folio. In all, each section has 12 pages--a total of 180, not including the dividers. You might be wondering if I'll ever get around to showing you the actual pages, right?
This is my title page. The pretty floral paper is a digital paper by Juliana Kneipp, called Old Sweet Times. Unfortunately, she no longer makes or sells digi paper, so I don't think it is available anymore. I used this particular image because it was only a border. Since I was printing this on my printer, I didn't want something that was going to drink up all my ink.
The entire book was created in Word, using tables. Here's my Personal Information page. I used that same floral image on every page in the book, adding a text box over it for the tables I made for the information. 
One of the things I really wanted in this book was a place to put things like the paint colors we've used, and major appliance information. I don't need to access it very often, but when I do need it, I can never find it. On the facing page, there is room for favorite babysitters, restaurants, theaters, parks, and libraries. 
The actual address section has 6 pages per letter, with room for 4 addresses on each page, except for a couple of combined sections (t,u,v and x,y,z). I can't imagine ever having more than 24 addresses under one letter of the alphabet, so I think I'll be able to use this book for a long time.
The last section is just a place for notes. All the pages in this section are set up the same, but 4 of them have a blank writing area, 4 have a lined writing area, and 4 have a grid writing area. You never know what you'll need to write in there. It probably looks like the text on every page in this book is printed in a different color. It's not. I can never get photos with lots of white to turn out right--especially when there is a lot of red in the photo, too. 
I see pics of handmade books with the pages fanned like this. Why? I have no idea. But, I figured I'd do it, too. :D

And, this is my favorite shot of a handbound book with an exposed spine. One that shows both covers and the spine at the same time.

After working on this for several weeks, now I need to fill it with information. I hope I can bring myself to actually write in it! I might need to work on my penmanship first. ;~/

Hope you are having a stellar week! Thanks for stopping by!

I'm entering this book in the following challenges:
613 Avenue Create #148: Anything Goes
Color Throwdown #367 (CTD#367)
Craft Your Passion Challenge #286: Always Anything Goes

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Coptic & French Link Journal

Monday, November 2, 2015

I've been making books again! This one was stitched with Coptic Stitch and French Link Stitch over velvet ribbon, and I used it to learn to do a couple of things I've never attempted before, in anticipation of making my next book.
I love all the intense color on and in this book. Not only was it fun to work with, but it made for easy photo editing--no white. The three rows of skinny black stitches are Coptic stitches and the wider stitches over the ribbon are called French Link Stitches. I probably should have either made the French Link Stitches wider or reduced the tension in them so that the ribbon wouldn't have wrinkled, but it's not nearly as noticeable in real life and it doesn't bother me much, so let's just say I did it on purpose...for artistic reasons, 'k? ;~)
There are nine sections, each with six folios, which comes to 216 pages. I would have had green paper in there, too, but couldn't find the right shade. I went with the green ribbon on the spine to make up for the lack of green paper. 
Here's a good look at the front of the book. The ribbons are threaded through the book cover, which I've done before, but on this book, I took the time to cut graves on the inside cover so that there wouldn't be any lumps under the end papers. This is the first time I've added an elastic band as a closure on a book, and I love how it turned out. Like the ribbons, I cut graves on the inside back cover to hide the bulge where the elastic is attached, but I went a step further and cut grooves into the length of the front cover for the elastic to sit in. I did the same on the outside of the back cover, also, so that the elastic is nearly flush with the cover. I didn't make that up on my own, though. I saw it here. Siuyuett also has a fabulous mini documentary about bookbinding, which takes you from start to finish in about 5 minutes. If you have any interest in bookbinding at all, I highly recommend the video.

Here's a look at the groove I cut for the elastic. Can you see it? It runs from top to bottom about 1/2" from the edge.
And, here you can see that the elastic is barely visible from the side when it is in place in the grooves.

This is what the inside covers look like. Most people who make Coptic stitch books just sew around the edge of the cover. Back when I went to the Bookbinding Bootcamp at Smokey Road Press we learned to tunnel through the side of the bookboard so that the thread doesn't have to wrap on the outside of the cover. I still used the wraparound technique, but I like this one better.
And, finally, a look at both covers and the spine all together. Thanks for staying with me to the end!

I've been anxious, for a couple of weeks, to finish a custom address book I'm making for myself. I wanted a particular color thread and had to wait on it to get here. Well, it arrived today! So, now I'm off to sew it together tonight. Unlike this book, though, it has a LOT of white in it, so even after I finish making it, it may take some time to get the pics edited. I hope you'll check back in a few days to see it.

Have an awesome week!

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