Tuesday, March 30, 2010

cookbook done!

after many grueling hours of binding, i finished the cookbook restoration of the joy of cooking! after all of the drama and heartache, i was really happy and relieved to be done with this book. the background on this project is here.

here's the final results:
i remade new cover with a similar color paper as the originals, then made the title plate for the front. the wording is hand inked and backed with navy cardstock.

the inner cover was lined with a dark blue (the photo is a little light) and i included a reference guide that was in the original copy of the cookbook. the inner edge of each set of pages was covered in Japanese paper to add some strength and color to the book block.

the book opens fairly flat (for a 900+ page book!) i added different colored buttons onto the spine for some decoration and little pops of color. in addition, it strengthened the binding a bit, as some of the buttons were wrapped as i bound the book.

so what do you think? when i delivered the book, i finally met the client i've been working with - she's so patient! she really liked the book (*sigh of relief*) and i hope her friend does too (since that's who it's for). now i've gotta get started on my next project - cleaning/organizing the studio!


we took the crazy puppy out during the weekend for a walk (full sprint for him). here's a couple of pictures:

sprinting towards our knees

not tired at all

since spring is coming, everything is melting and turning into a sloppy mess. which means vito is wet, dirty, and stinky. quite the combination. so, we got ready to give him a bath:

note the tail is a blur of happy

the end.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

boxcar base

with all of the oogling i've been doing at letterpress stuff, i've started to consider (again) buying this:

the AWESOME boxcar base

this is something i put in the bed of my press in order to print letterpress stuff. old school letterpress printing consisted of little tiny pieces of lead type, one piece for each letter, that are all "type high" (.918"). the new & more versatile way of printing to have plates made with whatever design you like and then sticking them onto this base, which then makes it type high. so i'll be able to get that embossed, beautiful imprint with having to find tons of lead type on ebay.

i've been considering this purchase for the past year and am probably going to commit to it in the next day or so. while i love the ability to carve linoleum blocks, i miss the impression of letterpress printing. plus, i've been wanting to try out a few things and come up with some new business cards and notecards with the tama press logo on the back. in addition to being able to print some amazing designs, i'll also have the ability to try my hand at custom invitations down the road. sooooo, who wants to be part of my first boxcar base project? (brandi, i'm looking at you! heehee)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


thanks to giovanna at swoon, i was introduced to the gorgeous world of spark, a letterpress company in south dakota. they do really gorgeous work and have a fun website too. here's some of my favorites (click on photo for credit):

lucinda wedding suite (same one giovanna liked) - i love the blue & brown!

closer view of lucinda suite

spark mallorca

passport invitation

sarah invitation suite

erin invite & envelope

i obviously don't have a thing for blue, based on my photo choices...ha! these make me want to run out and print some letterpress stuff! maybe i'll look into designing some photopolymer plates (which i have never done) and get back to my printing roots.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

puppy antics

our dear puppy vito stayed the night at our (& his) friends' house over the weekend. bfff & i were going to help out at a gun class early sunday morning and our options were to either take vito & have him be stuck in the car, then probably start eating the car....or leave his with his bestest friends. so we decided he would have more fun with his buddies.

he had a blast. and he was also exhausted. he slept hard when we picked him up and all the way through monday. and we started getting worried. "why is he SO tired? he should have bounced back a bit by now." he usually jumps up when he hears the cheerios box rattle. he normally looks out the window with a bit more excitement than this:

then, at about 5:30pm, bfff was petting him and vito started the sound. if you have a dog, you know what i'm talking about. the "i'm-about-to-throw-up" sound that usually happens at 3 in the morning and wakes you up from a dead sleep. fortunately, he made it to the linoleum. lo & behold...he had eaten a squeaker. we don't know when he ate it or where for that matter. at least he threw it up. and didn't choke.

5 minutes later, he was back to normal. he wanted to play, race around the house, bite bfff's ears, eat, and be his usual mischievous self. geez.

cookbook project drama

over the past week, i've been working on the cookbook project. and i made a ton of progress. i was all excited.

i decorated the spine:

i bound the covers together:

i started binding the inside of the book:

then saw a huge, massive, awful error. pretty much all hardback books have covers that are 1/8" larger than the book pages inside. this allowance protects the pages and makes it look nice. well, my book did not have that 1/8" on the outer edge. FAIL. it didn't occur to me that i needed to check this measurement because i was reusing the covers of the original book. i just assumed they would fit. but since i decided on a new & different binding, they don't fit. and that miscalculation makes it look bad.

bfff & i talked about some solutions - trimming the pages of the book (too risky), adding additional bookboard to the covers somehow (would look like a bandaid), or...remaking the covers. dammit. i went with the last option. because if i didn't, i wouldn't be happy with the project as a whole. and it would bug the hell out of me.

remaking the covers isn't as bad as it sounds. i will have to completely rebind the book though. mostly, i'm disappointed that i can't use the original covers. i liked the juxtaposition of the old worn covers with the new binding & spine. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


and here are the results (forgive the phone pictures):



Friday, March 19, 2010

book club review

for the slow readers book club, our first book to read was Jeannette Walls' Half Broke Horses. i sped through the book and finished it quite a while ago, then realized i completely spaced writing a review.

when i first heard the name of the book, i thought "ugh. horses? really?" since one of the main reasons i joined the slow readers book club was to broaden my reading horizons, i read it anyway. and you know what? it was pretty good. the story follows Lily Casey Smith (Walls' grandmother) as she grew up learning to handle horses & a ranch, floods, teaching, raising a family and a number of other challenges. i liked that she was an extremely strong & driven woman and had no problem speaking her mind. however, i also saw that her strength was a weakness too. she seemed to have a lack of empathy for people and would force her opinion on others, especially her daughter. she could come across with the mentality that she is always right. she probably had to have that kind of stubborn attitude to survive the number of tragedies & troubles she handled. overall, i enjoyed the book and am looking forward to the next one: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin.

i'm not very good at writing reviews - in school, it was something awful. but that was my first one in quite some time. hopefully they will get better.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

cookbook project update

after a ton more work/frustration/cursing....i made it to a much happier place in the cookbook repair project. i finished clearing the spine of yellowed, dried glue to the best of my ability and began disassembling the sections of paper. OMG. so, the last page of one section and the first page of the next was GLUED TOGETHER at the spine. just to make my life extremely difficult. well, it might have had to do with making the book more sturdy too, but still. so i took an exacto knife and carefully cut through 21 sections of obnoxious glue. awesome. it actually turned out okay and i can breathe a bit easier now that the deconstruction is finished.

because of all the glue removal and the use of the book itself, i had to do some reinforcing of the sections of paper. each section is folded in half & in order to bind the book, i sew through the fold. here's a pic of the reinforcement:

i wanted to do something a little fun and interesting, so i used scraps of Japanese paper. it wraps just around the spine of the section without covering any of the information. so as the owner uses the book, she'll have fun little pops of color. pretty & functional!

i saved the original covers of the book and updated them just a little - will show a pic or two soon, but they are drying under weight right now. time to continue planning the binding!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

hair, part 2

here's another round of pictures for the upcoming haircut. these ones are a bit shorter than the last set, but still pretty cute!




any thoughts? oh, and in case you are wondering, i googled "medium japanese hairstyles" - was trying to get a different variety of photos rather than the same old celebrity ones that are everywhere.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ski weekend

this past weekend, our friends rented a little cabin about an hour outside of our town. we met them out there for a little mini get-together and it was a blast!! bfff & i decided to attempt skijoring with the puppy, since all he ever wants to do is pull anyway. for those who aren't familiar with skijoring, i'll explain: vito has a harness that connects to us with a lead. we hook that into a harness we are wearing. and then he pulls us while we ski behind him. in order to get him used to the harness, we've been taking him sledding and having him pull up the sleds when we get to the bottom of the hill (partially training, partially because we are lazy).

our friends cross-country ski. bfff had never tried that type of skiing. and i hadn't done it in over 10 years. and quite frankly, i really didn't like it when i did ski 10 years ago. i learned how to cross-country ski in high school and HATED it. loved the people i skied with though, they were great. but the actual skiing part sucked. i wasn't good at it, the head coach of the team didn't give a rat's ass about you unless you were good, and the competition side of it wasn't fun at all. however, this weekend completely turned around my outlook - i had a blast! first, i actually remembered how to ski, which was a surprise. second, this was something we could do together as a family (me, bfff & vito) and with our friends. there wasn't the stress of racing and it was fun to see vito in his element. bfff picked it up SO quickly - he did so much better than me on my first couple of days on skis. he seriously impressed me. and was brave enough to have vito pull him around too.

i eventually had him pull me and that puppy hauls ass! he was SO receptive to my direction and if i fell, he'd stop and check on me. instead of dragging me through the snow on my face. so, overall, it was a pleasant experience.

poor pup is tuckered out. our friend got some video of us skiing a bit but i don't have a copy of it yet. so here's a pic of vito on our way back from our trip:

we usually can't even get him to sit down for more than 0.3 seconds when he's in the car.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


i felt the "i need to change my hair because it is driving me crazy" urge last night. uh oh. i thought about posting a picture of my current hairdo, but frankly, a) it isn't looking so good and b) camera phones don't exactly make me photogenic. so no picture. to give you an idea on length, its probably grown to about 4-5" below my shoulders. i've had a variety of different lengths, from pixie cut short to past the middle of my back long.

i'm scouring the internet for a decent picture of something i'd like. keep in mind, i'm completely lazy when it comes to my hair. i rarely "do" my hair. usually remember to brush it in the morning. most of the time i throw it up because it's irritating me.

here's a handful of pictures (click on image for link):

ok not a big fan of nichole richie. but she has cute hair.

this is fairly similar to my current cut. mine's just grown out a bit.

um so who doesn't love claire danes? long enough to put back but short enough to not make me crazy.

my favorite. might involve some actual "doing" of the hair, but won't take long.

thoughts? opinions? i'm pretty sure my mom will just say "DON'T CUT YOUR HAIR! IT'S SO PRETTY LONG!!!!!!" right mom? :)

Friday, March 12, 2010


i finally upgraded to an iphone a couple weekends ago and i'm loving it! i peruse the free apps quite often, and have found quite a few things. puzzle games are SO much fun. like this one:

line up 2 - involves matching colored blocks, kind of like dr. mario (pic from itunes)

i've recently had a lot of fun with ovenbreak. basically you're a gingerbread man that hauls ass across the screen, trying to get out of an oven, while collecting jellybeans & life. random and addicting.

pic from here

i have quite a few others but those are my current favorites. anyone have any suggestions for other fun apps? or useful ones?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

cookbook project

a while back, a customer approached me about re-binding an old beloved cookbook for her friend. i warned her that i had zero experience in this type of thing, but she reassured me that she's seen my books and has faith in my abilities. how nice!

i got the (old, stained, falling apart) cookbook and after surveying the scene, realized that it wasn't in as bad of shape as i originally envisioned. the pages weren't falling out, but the spine was a totally wreck. i decided to get a couple of titles on restoring/preserving books to see if there were any tips or big NO-NOs that i should avoid.

i've been working on deconstructing the book and am coming across many challenges. i carefully detached the covers, which i am going to preserve and re-bind, and the process left me with an uncomfortable & old feeling. i really didn't like "destroying" this book, even though it was a crumbly mess. it had character & was obviously well loved.

my next big task is breaking down the spine - so i've removed parts of the spine and am currently battling dried glue. a 9" x 2" section. which doesn't sound like much. except when i'm trying to carefully remove yellowed pieces of yuckiness and they only come off in 1mm bits. 18 square inches suddenly becomes an eternity.

i debated on taking a picture of the book in process...but decided against it. mostly because i should have taken a "before" pic already & completely forgot (which i do quite regularly with other makeover projects) and also because to book is looking rather vulnerable right now. all naked without its covers. i don't want to make it feel bad. to give you an idea of how it looked (aah, the joys of the internet), here's a similar picture:

just imagine this, but without anything covering the spine. (picture credit)

so wish me luck on this project, because i am gonna need it. after the glue removal, i'll be taking apart the sewing. eek!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


puppy posing over the weekend, when he wasn't busy biting bfff's ears or vacuuming crumbs off the floor:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

pay it forward reminder!

hello all! remember a while back i posted a "pay it forward" piece? well, if you don't remember, that's okay. go here if you want to read it.

i still have 2 slots open...so if you would like to receive a handmade mystery gift sometime in the next year by yours truly, write me a comment on this post or the original post. leave your email address too so i can get your snail mail addy.

*as of march 12th, all spots have been filled! thanks for reading!*

alice in wonderland

when i was little, i used to watch disney's alice in wonderland before school everyday. EVERY SINGLE DAY. i would sit and talk/sing along with the entire movie. my mom can verify this. so, needless to say, when i heard about tim burton's alice in wonderland movie coming out, i was ecstatic! there is a lot of advertising & hype along with the movie's release and some super cool photo shoots. since i adore blue...here are some gorgeous alice dresses (click on photo for source):

and my favorite dress out of the whole bunch:
can i please get a designer to make me one of these (for free)? thanks to green wedding shoes for posting the last photo :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

custom DVD holder

here are the long anticipated pictures of the custom DVD holder! this was such a fun and challenging project for me. and so different from anything i've done in the past. i worked with a palette of greens and added some fun patterns to mix things up. i also included some buttons since the person receiving this LOVES buttons.

DVD holder cover - with fun button closures!

inside of the holder - the pockets were cut & hand sewn. i added some paper "buttons" in the corners to spruce things up a bit

here's the side of the DVD holder - full with 13 DVDs & booklets

the cover of the box - to match the holder. i couldn't decide on one button!

the side of the box - it's a little hard to see, but i used 3 different closures that come from one central hole in the bottom of the box

the inside of the box - SO much fun. i fell in love with this paper & couldn't wait to use it.

the box set covers

the box set - inside

i am so pleased with the final results! handstitching the inside pockets was a little crazy on my part, but i just don't trust my abilities with a sewing machine. what do you think?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


how about orange posted an awesome quiz that will choose a career based on your favorite colors! click here to try the quiz yourself.

my results: i'm an ORGANIZER. (duh) according to my results i enjoy math. my suggested careers are: "
Administrator, Secretary, Printer, Paralegal, Building Inspector, Bank Cashier, Private Secretary, Statistician, Operations Manager, Financial Analyst, Bookkeeper, Medical Records Technician, Developer of Business or Computer Systems, Clerical Worker, Proofreader, Accountant, Administrative Assistant, Banker, Certified Public Accountant, Credit Manager, Store Salesperson, Actuary, Dental Assistant, Business Education Teacher, Food Service Manager, IRS Agent, Budget Analyst, and Underwriter."

i don't see artist anywhere in there. maybe those are all the things i'll have to do in addition to being an artist. except for a few, like dental assistant, medical records technician & food service manager. or irs agent. hrm.

my second best results: i'm a DOER. so i'm "
Emotionally Stable, Reliable, High Energy, Practical, Thrifty, and Persistent"

what about you??