Tag Archives: lifebook

Single Signature Books, 1 month of Journaling

The first book most binders are ever
shown is the simple pamphlet binding. Its fast easy and can be made
pretty. There are 2 variations that I'm fond of, the 3 hole and the
figure 8. Each is exactly what it sounds like, the name does not

Here are some links to good references
on these bindings:

The stuffy Stanford treatise:


Hey Lucy's version of the traditional 3
hole Pamphlet stitch:


This a link to a hand out using the
hole stitch and a single sheet of paper folded.


TJBookArts has a great list of
tutorials, many are single signature, perfect for a months


Hey Lucy's instructions are the easiest and could be adapted to anything you want, but I like the Stanford, though stuffy,  it's shear amount of information and 2 signature options a the best for the art journaler.

Hump Day Prompt #10, #11 & #12: Gesso

The prompt is open ended and deals only with the
material, subject and content are up to you, but the
material is dictated.

Another great item that no art journaler should be without
is gesso. It’s an easy to use product that can be used to seal a page before
creating art on it, so that your paints go further but it can also be used
mixed with acrylic paint to give it a flat sheen and to make it more opaque. It
can be put on heavily to create great textural effects.

Prompt #10 Seal a page with gesso them journal on it.

Prompt #11 Mix gesso with Acrylic paints.

Prompt #12 Use gesso to create a lot of texture on a

Leave a comment with a link to your blog with pictures of what you’ve done!

Hump Day Prompt #6: Artist Quality Acrylic Paints

The prompt is open ended and deals only with the
material, subject and content are up to you, but the
material is dictated.

Artist Quality acrylic paints. There are lots of brands of
“artist quality” paints. I’m a fan of Grumbacher and liquitex. Grumbacher dries
flatter where liquitex dries shiny and plasticy. Acrylics don’t crack and
remain flexible forever. That flexibility over time is also a difficulty that
you’ll need to deal with as your pages will stick together if not treated
properly. At most craft stores you can find an inexpensive set of acrylic
paints with a variety of colors, these are great to get you started.

Prompt #6 Use “artist quality” acrylics to makes a

Leave a comment with a link to your blog with pictures of what you’ve done!

(Note: after you finish a page with artist quality acrylic, particularly more expensive brands you’ll notice a slight taskiness left tot he page, weeks and even months later. This is a serious issue to addressw ith a block of wax or candle. I favor rubbing down a page with a 50/50 mix of paraffin and bee’s wax  and then burnishing it down with a soft piece of cloth. This will seal the page and keep it from sticking. You could also just slip a sheet of waxed paper between pages. Do this last because you won’t be able to stick more paint on top of the wax- most won’t stick.)

Hump Day Prompt #5 “Craft” Acrylic

The prompt is open ended and deals only with the
material, subject and content are up to you, but the
material is dictated.

Next on the hit parade is acrylic. I love me some acrylic
paint. When you start art journaling your going to go to the craft store and
look at the seas of paint- 2 parted but like seas of artist grade VS craft
grade- what to do!!!!! Both are great for different reasons. Craft grade
acrylic has come a long way in the last 20 years. The bigger brands have added
some lightfastness and quality to their paints. IN terms of craft paint price
is directly linked to their quality. Most tubes are around $1. I like Delta
brand. Applebarrel comes in a lot of colors. Find a sale and spend $6. Pick up a
tube of red, yellow, blue, green, and orange. Buy darker colors- you can add
white later. These liquid paints are great for backgrounds and flat painting,
ie if you don’t want texture these are wonderful. They dry quickly and dry
matte or flat. They layer well and some people do fantastic stuff with them.
The great thing about them is that unlike artist quality paints they dry
completely and don’t stick to one another, so you can work on facing pages and
not worry about the pages sticking together.

Prompt #5- use craft grade paints to make a page.
Leave a comment with a link to your blog with pictures of what you’ve done!

(Note: In relation to last weeks HD Prompt craft grade acrylics are GREAT for toning pages. Try it you’ll like it.)

New Art: “Life Illustrations”

In my journal I’ve been doing what I call "Life Illustrations" in that I try to take one aspect of something on my mind and illustrate it in one image, distill it down so that the image is evocative for me later. I’ve done quite a few and many are too personal for me to share but I’ve taken a few from my journal and used those as sketches for a few small paintings and here are 2 of them:


I’ve been quite disgusted with this whole steroids in sports controversy. What disgusts me more is that my tax dollars are going towards investigating it. I’d rather have my money spent on kids in schools than knowing is Clemens infact took steroids. Perhaps Clemens should pay for the investigation with a couple mill of the money he’s made pitching. I made a sketch in my sketchbook of this first. I’ll load up some pics of that later.


I was discussing the idea of a carbon footprint with someone the other day and this image came to mind. You might remember this image from my sketchbook.

I’m putting both of these up on etsy, you can find them here.

New Hedgehog Moleskin

Immediately after finishing my last hedgehog/ moleskin I started a new one. This one has distressed brown and black sheep hide covers, is 3.5×5.5 in size and was entirely hand made by me. It got kraft paper pages which is something new for me to work on. I used rough wrapping paper kraft paper for the pages too so it has a great texture for drawing and such.

So far it has been taking every sort of abuse I can hand to it, thus far in this book, I’ve gesso’d pages in clear and white, tinted pages with acrylic, glued in magazine pages with matte medium, sanded gesso off the pages, added layers of magazine, acrylic and ink. I’ve scraped with a pallet knife and credit cards. I’ve wiped on and off with a rag. All in all this paper is tough as nails. Unlike the 140lb printmaking paper it does cockle a bit but after drying it smooths out quite a bit. I’m very pleased with the amount of abuse that this book has taken, and to think that this books was one I deemed unsalable because I screwed up and trimmed the cover short. (Note how far the fore edge pokes out from the cover. Looks good with this but not so good when first made.)

After you get done looking at these pictures head on over to my Flickr account and see more pictures. I didn’t load them all here because it takes longer but at flicker you can see all the spreads thus far that are in the book.







coptic bindings a bunch of styles and a cautionary tale of DayQuill and Movie Marathons

On Tuesday I found a few old posters at work, I asked the
representatives about them, if they were to be used again all said no and that
I could have them. I knew that at least one of the posters was at least 3 years
old, the other at least 3 seasons old. I knew in advance that they wouldn’t be
used again. Bringing them home I tried to figure out what I was going to do
with them. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to glue to them- one was a thin sheet
of plastic and the other typical vinyl coated ad glued to thin foam core.
Neither of which would take glue well, I knew it was going to have to have
Coptic stitching to use these posters.

SO I cut them all up, somewhat randomly to 3.5×5.5 inches
and then punched a series of 4 holes in each cover. I also matched up the
covers with some recycled backer board (very much like book board) that I had
saved from packages of tags also from work.

I expected that I wouldn’t have a chance to work on any of
these books until Friday, when I was to have my 2 days off. Instead I caught my
significant other’s cold and I have been sick and I’m still ill. It’s one of
those head colds where concentration is difficult and “stuff” comes from
sinuses. Let us not talk about that. Let’s talk of pleasant things like Coptic

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any style of Coptic stitch,
other than long stitch. I’ve been quite caught up in this recycled thing. So
I’m out of practice and on the first 2 books I made, it shows. The first one I
made was a standard 2-needle sewing done twice. The first set of stitching went
well and looked great. I started the second set and it went well until the last
signature. Where I forgot myself (James Bond Double OH Days of Christmas on
Spike- my favorite cold weather TV marathon) and pulled in the wrong directions
with too much tension. The combination of DayQuill and James Bond made me want
to find a bad guy to toss it at to distract while I got away… (Only partially
kidding, DayQuill does make me a little loopy.) I patched it up and cursed the
fact that I had tied off the other set of stitches already, because if I hadn’t
I would have been able to simply remove the bad signature and attach the cover.
Ah well. See some pictures of my mistakes below.


The next mistake I made was when I decided to attempt a
particularly difficult Keith Smith stitching where you attach the covers to
each other first and then stitch on as if you are sewing onto cords. Instead of
attempting this sewing with a single cord I attempted it with a double cord and
a pack. Here again I blame the DayQuill for giving me a sense of ability far
beyond my 2 year lay off from a stitch. It’s far better to practice a stitch a
few times before attempting it on a cover you like. It’s also better to
practice on easier stitched before attempting something so… Difficult. (Before
anyone leaves a message scoffing at the difficulty of said stitch I implore you
to go take a dose of DayQuill, fill your nose with mucus, smack your head with
a hammer and get back to me after attempting any stitching.) Again check out
the picture below. I realize now looking at the picture that though I wanted to
do a loop and pack I didn’t pack as I had intended. Go figure.


The next 4 books were very successful 2 single needle
coptics, one with a larkspur and braided linen book marker, one double needle
stitch twice on the spine and a particularly interesting spine with black
leather “split tapes” with a stitch and pack on them. The leather is then
stitched onto the cover. For all the work that book was it’s my favorite. I
love the binding and it just looks great. The red on black is a great
combination and the dense heavy stitching is fantastic as well.



I fell in love with the book with the coffee cup and coffee
beans. I managed to punch the holes on it upside down but still I love the
cover and I’m keeping that one for me, a little feel better soon gift to


Each is filled with 200 pages of Wausau opaque in ivory,
unlined, acid free paper. I cannot vouch for the archival or acid free nature
of the covers. I did test the backer board and it is lightly acidic. The
stitching is all done with hand waxed Irish linen thread, unbleached but dyed.
The 3 books without imperfects will be up on etsy later today and I’m deciding
what to do with the 2 books with imperfections. I’m considering putting them up
on eBay as a set. Or maybe something fun.