Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Do You Tink About That? Part II

(continuing the making of projects based on a challenge set by TinkersShop)For this second Tink Project, I decided to use the owl label. After toying with several different uses for it, I settled on making a book. While I was getting my undergrad degree, I took a bookbinding class twice, just because I enjoy it. However, it has been several years since I’ve pulled out my bookbinding supplies. I’ve been carefully toting my binder’s board and papers around with me from apartment to apartment in the meantime, though.

I knew I wanted to do a paper-covered book, the more easily to incorporate the owl label. While I was mulling over the various papers in my collection, trying to decide which would be best, I got what I think is a brilliant idea: to cover the boards with a print from an old catalog, with fiddly little lists of prices and old-fashioned drawings. As I don’t have any antique catalogs around (and probably wouldn’t use them to cover books even if I did), I turned to another hobby of mine, the Distributed Proofreaders. This site coordinates volunteers from around the world to scan, proof, and format books in the public domain, then submits the finished files to Project Gutenberg and other sites for free download to the masses. A while ago, I proofed several pages from an old Harrods catalog. So I went back, found some promising-looking original images, and pieced together an image large enough to cover the front and back of the book.
One of the reasons I have not done much bookbinding of late is that I learned to cut the cover boards using a heavy-duty guillotine-style paper cutter. It was quick, easy, and made perfectly-sized cover and spine pieces. However, although I could maybe still get into the bookbinding room on campus to use the board cutter, I thought I’d better cut the boards by hand at home. I used my big utility knife. It was neither easy nor fun, but I did get my two pieces cut. As I was making a link-stitch book, I did not need to cut a spine piece. I covered the boards with the paper I had printed, added the owl to the lower corner of the front, and placed them under my some heavy books to be pressed while they dried. (By the way, that book in the middle is my college chemistry book. There is a story behind the paper cover, but not one I will tell at this time).
In the meantime, I prepared the twelve signatures of paper by poking the sewing holes using the same template I had previously used to poke holes in the covers. It was approximately at this time that I discovered that the template I had decided to use was not quite the right size, resulting in holes too close to the edges. However, at this point I couldn’t change that, so I decided to just make the best of it.
The next morning, I pulled out some beautiful blue-green paper with gold dragonflies and carefully tore it, glued the pieces to the covers, and returned them to the textbooks to dry.
In the evening, I poked holes through the cover paper. I then cut and glued a purple paper to the insides of the cover. After this was dry, I re-poked the holes through the inside paper. The book was now ready to be sewn.
I decided to use a silver paper accordion-folded between signatures for a decorative spine. At this point, I honestly can’t remember whether this is a method one of my teachers demonstrated, or one I worked out on my own. Either way, it is an effect I like, and I have usually done it with metallic-colored papers. However, it does complicate the process somewhat, especially when one hasn’t sewn a book in several years…. Anyway, I cut a long strip of silver paper the same size as the pages. And then I discovered I did not have the right color thread. I wanted purple. The owl was telling me its book should be sewn with purple thread. It is a very demanding little owl, having already dictated all of the paper choices thus far. I had a little purple thread, but I knew it wasn’t enough. I had maroon. I had light blue. I had black. But no, it had to be purple. Fortunately, as I am once again a student, I was able to go to the art stockroom on campus (which only accepts payment by student card) and buy some purple waxed linen thread there. When I got home and settled down to sew, I realized how much I’d forgotten over the years. But finally, I remembered how to sew the first signature to the cover. After that, the rest was easier.
All the same, it took me two movies (Shrek and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) worth of time to complete the sewing. I definitely used to be faster. There are some minor details my teachers would have taken points off for, but I am delighted with the book, anyway. And the owl label seems to be pretty happy with his new home, too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Do You Tink About That? (Part I)

A fellow seller on Etsy, TinkersShop put forth a challenge for those daring enough to accept it: use three vintage pharmacy labels, provided by her, in our own creations to be completed by October 2. I thought this sounded intriguing, and had an idea in mind, so I signed up. I received my labels and sadly neglected them for several weeks. This week, living by a very strict to-do list, I have finally carved out niches of time in which to work on the “Tink Projects”.
My first project was using the purple “Belgique” label. The elements of the label that particularly caught my eye were the scroll saying “Machelan (Brabant) Belgique” and the little circles with faces. The references to Belgium made this label a natural for my first idea—a pair of lace bobbins with the label decoupaged onto the handles. Belgium is famous for its bobbin lace, including one particular style, Bruges Flower Lace.
I started by turning a pair of cherry bobbins. The thistletop and neck were turned normally. For the handle, I wanted a smooth recess in which to place the paper. I did not do any decorative cuts, other than a little shaping of the area between the neck and the recess, as well as the end. For once, I did try to copy myself and make a matching pair. Although they are not quite identical (they never are), I surprised myself by liking the second one more! Usually when I am trying too hard to match, the copy is not as pretty. (The one on the right is the second one.)
Next, I cut the portions of the label that I wanted to use. I cut them to fit in the recess, but with excess length to roll up. I then rolled the papers on without adhesive to test the look and fit, and trimmed again as necessary. Then, I applied Mod-Podge to the back of the papers and carefully rolled them tightly on to the bobbins, also being careful not to smear the wood.
Afterward, I applied a couple of coats of the Mod-Podge to the paper (and a very small amount to the wood along the edges) to seal and provide a glossy finish. Then I carefully propped them up to dry. Yes, my drying rack is a cookie cooling rack.
The next morning I applied tung oil to the wood, this time being careful not to smudge the oil onto the paper. After the regular finishing and spangling procedure, the bobbins were ready to list for sale, submit to Tink, and just generally show off!