Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New Book in Progress and ATCs

I started my next book yesterday; it will be a case bound repurposed book using 67 lb cover paper with a little texture as the pages. It has 6 signatures with 5 folios in each for a total of 120 pages. There will be pretty paper added as end papers which will be glued to the first and last pages, so there will be 118 pages.  Here is what it will look like:

I will be joining the signatures with a modified link stitch and adding decorative end papers.

I was hoping to get a couple of books made yesterday, but was asked to take Little Miss 3 for the day and her sister, Miss 8, got off the bus here. Their Mom worked until just after 9 last evening, so I didn't get much done. But I sure had a good time.

Miss 8 made me a few ATCs while she was here. I am planning to put them in my three ring binder with others I have so they will be preserved. She is quite excited to join my collection.

She makes such lovely art for me.

On Saturday, I am watching Little Miss 7 and her new baby sister (I can't believe Zoë is 5 weeks old already) while Mom and Dad go out. I am so looking forward to it. My Little Miss 7 is an artist extraordinaire; I think I will give her some ATC blanks and see what she comes up with. I need to have some of her art in my collection, too.

I have a busy day planned today. The hubster is taking me to East Lansing to the bookstore so I can find a collection of hard crossword puzzles and then out to lunch. We will then stop in Mason at the Maple Street Mall to move him from the booth he has been occupying to a new one and will be swapping out some things and bringing them home.

I'm hoping to finish the Riis book this afternoon and start another. I ordered some Arches 140# watercolor paper from Dick Blick yesterday so I can make watercolor journals. I've had several requests regarding the use of "real" watercolor paper. I will make a book and then decide what I will have to charge. The Arches paper is a bit expensive, but will make a wonderful journal.

I'd best get this day started. I'm still in my jimjams and haven't had my second cup of coffee yet.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting Back on Schedule

I'm just enjoying my first cup of coffee and am still in my jammies at the computer. I haven't gotten dressed yet because I need to get on the treadmill. I need to get back into my morning routine. I am hoping to get a bit of house cleaning done today and then get started on my next couple of books. I also need to update my online shopping site to include my newest books.

I wanted to show you the frame that I purchased at Big Lots with my colored pencil bird art matted and ready to hang.

The hubster has been working on making me another book case to match the existing one in the spare room that is becoming overflow for my art supplies and books. He also made me a small desk for under the window between the bookcases. I am quite happy with it.


The bookcase on the left is the one he made years ago when this was the daughter's room. There used to be an old desk that I bought for the hubster many moons ago that really wasn't right for this room. It will be passed on to Little Miss 7 for her room.

The magazine boxes on the top of the left hand bookcase and the three ring binders on top of the right hand bookcase have to go. I really don't like them there, but they are too tall for the shelves. I think they need to be stored in the closet instead.  The magazines are a couple of years of Photoshop and the three ring binders hold several years of digital scrapbook pages of my kids and their kids. They are definitely keepers, but don't need to live on top of the bookcases.

It is still quite cold here (I've not had my morning coffee on the screened porch yet this year), but is expected to begin to warm up next weekend. I just hope we get a month or more of 60s and 70s before summer weather arrives.

I'd better get on my horse (treadmill) and get this day started.....


Monday, March 28, 2011

Back Home and Some New Old Books

I am back home from a wonderful visit to my sister. I stopped to visit with Sandy in Niles (I was able to see lots of her artwork. She is a genius.) and then spent 3 days with my sister and her husband.

On Friday, my sister and I went to the marts - JoAnn's, Michael's, and Big Lots. I found two really nice 11" x 14" frames at Big Lots for $5 for the pair. They will be perfect for my ATC-sized bird drawings on dark paper. We had lunch at Panera's my treat. We both had black bean soup and 1/2 sandwich. It was delicious. We then retired back to home base where we played cribbage, Yahtzee and Scrabble for hours on end. Her husband made angel hair pasta with a wonderful pasta sauce for dinner.

On Saturday we drove into St. Joe and stopped at the Krasl Art Center on our way to downtown. I registered for a Drawing with Water Solubles workshop with Kristy Kutch on May 21 and May 22. I will stay with my sister while I am there. Then we stopped in an art cooperative and met a wonderful fiber artist, Marilyn Mussman. From there we stopped in an antique store and then went to Bigby Coffee for a cup of joe. And then we went to the Beachside Deli for lunch, her treat. I had the most delicious gyro I've ever had. I can't wait to take the hubster there. We then went back home for game-o-rama.

We watched a couple of Tiger games (preseason) on tv and played games all day on Sunday. While we were out shopping on Saturday, her husband made the most wonderful beef barley soup with turnips, rutabagas and parsnips. Yummy!

While we were out and about, I found more books to repurpose. I am quite excited by these finds.

I hope to make a couple of new books tomorrow and get the new ones posted on my online shopping site. The internet connection here has been so undependable, I am completely frustrated; and it irks me so that I don't have any other option than HughesNet except for dialup. Ack!!

I've missed you and so appreciate the wonderful comments and suggestions on the post with the cigar box. I hope to have something for you tomorrow.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Internet Woes and A Short Trip

I've been experiencing a couple of days of internet interruptions so severe that I couldn't even check my email. I have been on the phone with the HughesNet people for three mornings in a row. Each of those days I was on the line with them for so long that the battery in my handset died. Finally today I seem to have the internet back.

Yesterday I got Little Miss 3 around noon and then her sister got off the bus here around 4. Just before Miss 8's bus arrived, my son came over to bring the new baby and Little Miss 7 to stay for a few hours. I hogged spent time with the baby while Papa and the girls made pancakes and sausage for dinner. It was a busy, noisy evening, but loads of fun.

I have a couple of finds to show you and would like to ask you for some ideas. Firstly, the last time Nancy and I went to Ann Arbor, we stopped at a smoke shop (no we weren't smoking or buying smokes) and the proprietor gave me a lovely cigar box. I didn't look inside until I got home and then I immediately thought it would be a great pencil case, but the pencils are much too long, so what would you use it for? I need some ideas. The dividers in the case are 6 inches long and 7/8 inch wide. Isn't this a beauty?

I also went second hand shopping in Charlotte earlier in the month when I took my sister out to lunch for her birthday and she found these two books for me at the Goodwill store. I love them. Not only are the covers in good shape, but they have some very interesting pages and pictures inside.

It is colder than aitch e double hockey sticks and I am getting pretty tired of it. I do, however, have some definite signs of Spring in the yard. I would really appreciate it if we could get a month of 50s and 60s before the 80s and 90s arrive.

I am leaving to visit my sister in about an hour and am planning to stop in Niles to visit my friend Sandy. I will be away for the weekend, so don't know if I will be posting or not. You know that I will be thinking of you and if I have anything to share I will. My sister and I have such fun playing cribbage, scrabble and yahtzee and shopping, walking, whatever. Her husband is a good cook and puts up with us with grace and elan.

I hope you are all well and warm and that you are making time to be creative.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making Books and Hitting the Books

I've finished the two books that were on my agenda for today and am pretty pleased with them. The first one is a 2 needle coptic stitch of a 1924 children's book from a series. It has 4 signatures with 10 folios in each for a total page count of 160. I really like everything about it.

I absolutely love the end papers so chose to leave them instead of covering them.

The other book is also a very old book and it is letting some of its age show. There is some discoloring (like gray hair on me). I reinforced the spine with book cloth and then stitched the signatures using a pattern of Xs. There was some weakness between the spine and the book ends that allowed a bit of ripping. Even so, the book is very sturdy and is made of 5 signatures with 7 folios in each for a total of 140 pages. The paper is 67 pound cover paper which takes markers and fountain pens without bleed through. It even takes light water media very well. The plain end papers were replaced with decorative ones.

Another favorite.

The day has gotten away from me. I was planning to get on the treadmill for my hour work out, but I have an Algebra student coming at 3 and a Trigonometry student coming at 5:30. I have a haircut appointment at 7:30. Yikes!!! Somebody slow this day down please.

Tomorrow I have Little Miss 3 for the day and Miss 8 will get off the bus here, so I'm not sure any book making will take place. We will do art of some kind I just am not sure what yet. Perhaps I'll have something to show you tomorrow.

For now, stay warm (c'mon Spring) and if you are in southern Michigan stay inside tonight. The weatherman is predicting up to an inch of ice overnight.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Titmouse II and More Books

I've tried the titmouse again; this time with Pan Pastels on that same dark card stock that I've been using. I actually used a bit of colored pencil also as I don't have a orangey brown color for his underwing area. I don't think this one is quite right either, but it is an improvement over the first attempt. What do you think?

I purchased a couple of ATC mats from Dick Blick this past week and they arrived this weekend. I think I am going to be really happy with this. Now I just need an 11" x 14" frame and I think I will hang them in the living room. Here is what they will look like:

I've made two more books this weekend - one of them is for the giveaway and the other will go into my inventory here. I also have a couple more started and need to do some final assembly and sewing today.

This one I am sending to a giveaway winner.

This one will be available at Faint Heart Art for $25.

I am still procrastinating about cleaning house, especially the bathrooms. I must get to them today after I do my workout routine. Then I will reward myself by making books. 

Here are the next ones in the works:

I kept the spine on this book and will either attach the signatures with an X pattern through the spine or may do a long stitch through slots on the spine.

I've been getting more covers ready and here is the selection so far

I really like the title on the bottom one: The Foolish Gentlewoman.

Well, if I am to get anything done today I'd best get it in gear. I hope all is well with you and yours and I hope to see you again tomorrow.


Friday, March 18, 2011

New Web Site and A New Giveaway Winner

First of all I would like to announce that I used the Random Number Generator again this morning and it chose #20 which just happens to be"

Betty, send me an email with your snail mail addy and I will get it in the mail to you.

The second announcement I'd like to make is that I've removed the "Handmade Books" page from my blog and have instead transferred them to a new website, Faint Heart Art, where my items and the hubster's custom signs are available. 

I have reduced the prices of the journals that I've already made and am planning to make some more today. I've finally found a print shop that will cut a ream of paper for me so that I don't have to stand at a paper cutter for half the day cutting the pages one by one. This will significantly reduce the labor required to make each journal.  Do come and see what I have in stock already and do check back as I will be adding more soon.

Here are the next covers I will be working on:

I'm really excited about these two. What great titles for a journal.

I'm off to start folding folios into signatures. I hope to have these two journals finished today so I can show them to you tomorrow.
For now, have a great day and enjoy this spring weather.....


This Should Have Been Yesterday's

post, but I got all caught up in the lovely day and forgot about it.

I wish you a belated Happy St. Paddy's day and have a little picture that I think is appropriate for the occasion:

This is the newest little lassie in my girl tribe.

Also Miss 8 has given me permission to post her sketch of a jelly fish. She gave me the hanging for my art room when she and her Mom and little sister moved from my house into a house of their own when she was 6. She told me she was giving it to me "so that when you are really missing me, you can look at it and it'll be like I am there".

Here is the jellyfish hanging from the ceiling.

And here is her sketch of it.

I have some things to do to get ready for today's post, so I'd better get a move on. I hope to see you later. I will have a big announcement about my journals and will be drawing a new winner for the slotted spine journal since Jeanne hasn't responded yet.

C'mon back later.....


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A New Book and Another Bird

I've finally followed through on the design I've been carrying around in my head and in my dreams for about a week. It worked out even better than I envisioned. But it was quite difficult to sew. I am thinking of some revisions for the next one, but for now this might be my favorite to date. What do you think?

I've also tried another colored pencil bird - this time a titmouse. I am not as happy with him as I've been with the others, but from "viewing" distance he looks okay. What would you change if this was yours?

I'm afraid the gray looks too blue and the beak is a mess; I may have to do another one of these.

Well, I've heard from Dotti and she has chosen the colorful coptic stitched journal. Now I am just waiting to hear from Jeanne so I can get her snail mail addy and get hers in the mail. If I don't hear by Friday, I will choose someone else using the RNG online.

Well, I have Little Miss 3 coming around 12:30 today and her sister, Miss 8, will be getting off the bus here around 4:15. We will do some art and I will get permission from her to share some of her sketches with you. Her jellyfish is incredible.

I hope to see you tomorrow.....


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And The Winners Are

Drum roll please.......

Let's see who these comments belong to:

Dotti - since you were the first number chosen you have your choice of journals. You can choose either the new colorful one with the thick covers and the coptic stitch or the soft vinyl one with the slotted cover. Please let me know your choice.

Jeanne (A.R.T.) - you will get the other of the two journals after Dotti has selected which one she wants. 

By the way, you know that today is the Ides of March, 

The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other conspirators.

On his way to the Theatre of Pompey (where he would be assassinated), Caesar saw a seer who had foretold that harm would come to him not later than the Ides of March. Caesar joked, "Well, the Ides of March have come", to which the seer replied "Ay, they have come, but they are not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned to "beware the Ides of March".

There you have it - the winners and a history lesson!

Dotti and Jeanne - I need you to email me [vholdwic(at)] with your snail mail addy so I can get these journals in the mail.

To the others who entered but didn't win - stay tuned. I am planning to have more giveaways in the near future. I appreciate all my readers, but especially those who take the time to leave a comment.

I am in my shorts and t-shirt and have to go get on the treadmill before I talk myself out of it. I'll be looking for emails from the winners. If for some reason I don't hear from them, I will use the RNG to draw another winner.



Monday, March 14, 2011

Just One More Day

to sign up for the handmade journal giveaway. For a chance to win, go to this post and leave a comment. Tomorrow morning I will use the random number generator to choose a winner or two.

I've spent most of the weekend Spring cleaning and intend to do more today. I am getting rid of many things that are taking up space that are not being used and making a trip to Goodwill. I am also trying to box up arty things so that I know where things are. Yesterday I bought some banker's boxes at Office Max and have so far filled one with dominoes, bamboo tiles, findings and other pendant/jewelry making supplies and moved it to the closet. That way when I again want to work play with that kind of art I will know where it is and while I am intent on making journals this stuff won't be taking up my precious space in my art room. I have to do something similar with all my stamping supplies to free up shelf space here in my work space.

I did take some time to sketch a bluebird on dark paper with colored pencils. I am quite happy with these little sketches so far and think I am going to have to come up with a way to display them together. Here is my latest:

I am going to get on with this Spring cleaning thing while I am still fired up about it. I hope to have time this afternoon to try out my latest idea for a repurposed book. I will share it with you tomorrow.

Take care,


Friday, March 11, 2011

The End of the Week

It's been a very long day and not exactly what I was expecting. My Little Miss 3 was delivered to my house around 8:30 and we played and worked puzzles until I had to shower and get ready for my tax appointment, after which I was driving to Charlotte to take my sister out to lunch and shopping at second hand stores.

I arrived to my appointment about 10 minutes early only to find that I had been scheduled for 9 am, not 11 as I thought. I rescheduled for next week and then drove to my niece's house to pick up my sister. We went to Hospice thrift store where I found a couple of great old books to repurpose and a couple of "dress up" things for my little one.

This little leotard still had the tags on and the shoes looked like brand new. She loved them as you can see.

From there, we drove to Goodwill where I found a few more books, a small palette, a couple of books for Miss 8, and a coloring book for Little Miss 3. I also bought a few used CDs for $2.99 each.

From there we went to Applebees for lunch. I had a luscious Asian chicken salad while my sister opted for a cheeseburger and fries. By that time, it was already 3 pm and I knew that Miss 8 was being dropped off by the bus around 12:30 (she only had a half day today), and that Papa would like a break. So I drove home to find Little Miss 3 asleep on the couch and Miss 8 waiting anxiously for me to come home and do some art.

We sketched a bit in my art room and shared our sketches - she drew a jellyfish that was really quite good and I planned to show it to you, but she took her journal home with her. I drew a chipping sparrow as the next feathered friend in my colored pencil on dark background set. I'm not overly happy with him, but not totally unhappy either. What do you think?

I am in disbelief over the tragedy in Japan and can't stand to see all that destruction and my heart goes out to all who are affected by it or who have loved ones there. It makes me appreciate each day once more because it reminds me that we are only here for a short time and we never know what the next day will bring.

I know this is the second Friday in a row that I haven't done a blind contour, but I will try to get back into the swing of it again next week.

Don't forget to leave a comment on yesterday's post if you would like to be in the drawing for a hand made journal. I'm so excited about the giveaway and so many of you really liked the colorful book that I thought wasn't perfect enough, I may draw two names and give the winners a choice of the two journals.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Don't Know If I Like It

I think the stitches are a bit tighter than they should be and I'm not sure the coptic stitch is the best method to make a journal out of such thick board. I am going to try sewing over leather strips that are glued to the board as one method and perhaps add a bookcloth spine and then do some decorative stitching on it for another method. But for what it is worth, here is the little book I've been working on:

It is not perfect, but I learned a lot while making it. I really don't want to give away a book that is not very well put together. I've decided to give the slotted spine journal that I made some time ago as the giveaway instead. Here is what it looks like:

It has a soft vinyl cover and is composed of five signatures with 5 folios each for a total of 100 pages.  It is my favorite size - 5" x 4.5". The paper is a smooth heavyweight paper suitable for sketching and drawing. It may take a light wash. The journal is very lightweight and fits nicely into most handbags.

If you would like a chance to possess this little journal, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Be sure to include some way for me to contact you - if you must leave an email in your message, use the word "at" instead of the @ symbol so bots won't recognize it as an email addy. I will draw the winner using a random number generator on Tuesday, March 15 (for the winner this ought to remove the negative connotation of the Ides of March).

In other news, I was the lucky winner of a lovely little journal from Diane at Pocket Blonde. It is a Passport journal with the theme of Oz. It fits very nicely into my handbag and my little girls are going to love it. Each page is lined and has a lovely sketch of Oz characters along the bottom.  Isn't it so cute?

I also received gifts from Stephanie of Rhodia Drive. She recently had a pencil case and pencils giveaway on her blog. I didn't win, but she sent me a couple of pencils and a Rhodia dotPad to try out. I tried to take a picture of them, but the pencils came out yellow every time no matter how I fiddled with the picture in Photoshop, so I am using their pictures instead.

Even their picture doesn't show the gorgeous orange color.

The dotPad is about 3.25" x 4.25" and is cute as can be. The paper takes both pen and pencil without bleed through and my little girls love it. They want to play the classic dot to dot game and I think we will do that. The pencils are very nice - I used them to draw Raena and Dan in yesterdays post. I am in love with the color and the smooth feel of the triangular shape. The pencils hold a sharp point and write very smoothly.

Well, I have an appointment with my tax preparer tomorrow and I still haven't entered the hubster's info into my business software. I don't know if I have ever mentioned the software I use, but I should. I've been using it for a couple of years now and I find it perfect for my needs. It is called TinyBooks and comes with lots of capability. I use it for keeping my month to month expenses and income and to produce my monthly invoices. It also produces wonderful reports with many options, including by date and by account. It comes with lots of typical accounts built in and you can add what you need. If you use an Intel-based Mac and you need this kind of software, you should check it out. Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with this company and I get nothing for this mention. As a matter of fact, they don't know I am writing this.

I am off to eat a bit of cereal with blueberries and kiwi and then will sit here and get the hubster's info put together for tomorrow's appointment. After that I will either do some sketching or try to make a new book with the thick book board by trying sewing over leather straps.

I hope to see you tomorrow - don't forget to sign up for the giveaway!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Taking A Risk

With apologies to Raena and Dan, I have been meaning to try to sketch them since I saw others doing so, but I could never get my courage up. I have taken the challenge and have produced a sketch of each of them. I'm sorry they are not more flattering, but I think I caught a bit of a likeness. What do you think?

I had forgotten how much I like to sketch faces, and although these aren't great, I think if I practice more, I may have to apologize less frequently.

I have been subscribed to The Retirement Chronicles for some time now. I was first attracted to it because the woman lived in the western UP and I am fond of all things UP (I was raised in St. Ignace, which is the first town you go through after you cross the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). But after I read her for awhile, I was so impressed by her photography that I would highly recommend this site to anyone who loves nature photography. On her blog yesterday, she had a close up of an ibis with bright green on his head around his eye and along part of his lower beak. I was so taken by it that I emailed her to ask if I could use it as a model for a quick colored pencil sketch. She gave me permission so here is my rendition.

This is another that I drew only with the colored pencil; I didn't sketch in pencil first. He is not perfect, but I like the look of him. I drew this on another piece of the lovely colored paper I bought at Hollo's Papercraft near Cleveland, Ohio. Boy, would I love to make another visit to that store.

I just finished my hour and a half workout and the coffee was so old and smelly by then, I haven't had a cup yet. I think I will go have some cereal with blueberries and a banana and make a fresh pot of coffee.

I hope to have more art and whatnot for you tomorrow. Thanks so much for visiting.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Too Much To Do

The hubster is taking his truck in to the dealership this morning and I am following him in my car. From there I am taking him to get a haircut and then have plans to get the shopping done. We haven't done any real shopping since we returned from our vacation. I am going to try to cut my grocery spending and to that end I am planning to stop at the Dollar Store, Big Lots, Aldi's, Sam's and Meijer's. It makes me tired just to think about it.

Meanwhile, I am working on the next blank journal that will be a giveaway that I've been talking about. I have found a way to cut the covers and went to Hollander's with my friend Nancy yesterday to purchase some punches to facilitate making the holes in them.

Here is what the covers look like:

I cut these from an old 9 x 10.5 book that was part of a set called "The Family Creative Workshop.

I didn't have a good tool for making the holes in the covers without making a mess, so this is what I purchased yesterday for that job.

I am expecting these to do the job neatly.

I expect to work on this journal after I get the groceries put away this afternoon and hope to have a completed book to show you tomorrow.

The hubster has thawed my blueberries for my morning cereal and is impatient to hit the road, so I will end here. I hope to see you tomorrow.


Monday, March 7, 2011

I finally tried colored pencil on dark card stock

and I really like it. I am not all that happy with the colors, but I really like this guy. I didn't draw him first; I drew him as I went. Now I just have to get better at achieving the colors I want.

I spent most of yesterday at my son's house. While his Dad (aka the Hubster) helped him mount kitchen cabinets and install an under cabinet microwave, I played with the baby - changed her, talked to her, let her sleep on my chest, changed her, fed her, changed her, talked to her........I was in heaven.

I started my day with an hour on the treadmill and about 20 minutes of weight training and am now eating my breakfast. I need some coffee and then will get in the shower. I am going over to my friend Nancy's house and she and I are going out to lunch somewhere. She has a new grandchild also, but he lives in Nashville. She will be going to meet him and visit with his big brother some time later this week.

I am working on the giveaway book for my 50,000 visitor celebration and hope to pick up a tool I need today in order that I may have it to show to you tomorrow. I will let you know how you can have a chance to win at that time.

I'd better get around and get this day started.....


Friday, March 4, 2011

Cloudy with a chance of Art

I didn't get any art done yesterday with the two girls here, but I did tutor an Algebra student and had a very nice evening with Little Miss 3 and her big sister Miss 8. I didn't get much sleep, but it was so nice to cuddle with them.

I did get my one hour plus workout in this morning. Miss 8 had a two hour delay for school, so Papa just left to take her. She and I will be doing some art work after school today. Little Miss 3 will be "arting" also.

Meanwhile, I have some pix of each of the little girls holding the baby. I think these are so cute, but they were taken with the son's cell phone camera. I need to get some better ones soon. But for now, these are just fine:

Big Sis (Miss 7) Holding Little Sis

Miss 8  Holding Zoë

Little Miss 3 Holding Zoë

Nana Holding Zoë

Little Miss 3 just came in here with a large container of Lincoln Logs and wants me to help her build a house, so I'd better go.

I hope to see you tomorrow....