All posts for the month November, 2015

pb 01

I love to buy those holiday mini-magazines at the checkout. See those tabs at the top? That’s all the stuff I want to try out of this particular one.

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First up: Baked Pumpkin Bites! We’ll see how close I get.

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Getting started. Trick of mine: always put the eggs in first, so you can dig out shell if you need to. If I can’t do that, I crack them in a separate bowl first. And there’s my new mixer. I bought it because it has pastry hooks so I can make paper clay. Hope to use it for that some time this month.

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Here’s the actual recipe. Is it wrong to scan it in here? Probably. I rationalize that the little magazine is no longer available. Click to embiggen. I did everything to the directions except, well, I seem to have misplaced my brand new mini muffin tin. ARGH! I had cute little liners for it and everything! Oh well, it will turn up. So, cupcakes it is.

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These got baked for 21 minutes, rather than 12. Obviously, I could have put more batter in the cups.  Because they didn’t puff up over the liner (maybe I should have followed the recipe and skipped them?), I had to drizzle on the icing. The icing is very sweet, but it balances the cake, which is not so sweet, nicely. I was going to send these to work with the Spousal Unit. We’ll see how many survive.

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cembook 01

After making the log book for the Screaming Grimoire, I wanted to try another book with French binding. Got the sophomore blues a bit, but I still had fun.

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I started by cutting some 9×12″ drawing paper in half, as I only wanted a little book. Creased, folded, and nested, I ended up with four signatures of four sheets each, making a total of 64 pages. Now they get pressed under a brick for a day.

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Then I had to do math. Luckily, it was easy. I wanted to start my stitch holes ½” from the ends, then I needed four more holes to make six. The final four ended up an inch apart. Yes, I had to use a calculator. Shut. Up.  So why the Scrabble board? I’d bought a few at thrift stores and garage sales to get the tiles. The extra game boards came in handy for building a punching cradle, and boy am I glad I did–though mine is simpler than the one linked. It makes the hole punching so much easier. Here you see the template I made, sitting over the signature that’s getting punched.

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My cover paper is another thrift store find. Very pretty handmade paper new in the roll for $1.50. I win. It was a bit thin for this application, so I saturated both sides with matte varnish and let it dry. Didn’t make it a lot stronger, but good enough to fold.

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Though as it turns out, not strong enough to punch. I ended up putting a strip of book tape on the bit to be punched. It will barely show when the book is finished.

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Stitching the first signature to the back cover with some pretty blue hemp. It’s waxed, but I run it through Thread Magic anyway, because tangles suck. That big paper thing in the background is a paper-covered brick, to keep the pages in place while you stitch.

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All stitched. A little sloppy, as you can see when you look up instructions for French binding. I didn’t realize it at the time, but one of my kettle stitches was loose, so the book was also kinda loose. Sad face.

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Next, I put down some wax paper and glued the spine. Then I move the book back on the paper so no extra glue is touching, fold the paper over, and the brick goes on top to press everything for several hours.

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So how this fold goes: you lay it down like it’s another page–that’s your endpaper. Leave a little skosh room that you’ll trim later, and crease and fold at the spine. Stitching happens after that. Once stitched, you fold the cover forward then back again, and trim the endpapers. The actual cover is those two pieces of folded paper….

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….and that bit left on the end gets glued down to cover the spine.

Next, decorate the cover! I’ve been on a tissue kick, so I ran some different tissues through a die cutter, and made a little cemetery scene. Pieces were attached with matte medium, and the whole front cover got a coat afterward.

This was as much fun as making the first book. Of course I want to try it again, and actually get the stitching tight!

cem book 02


sg 01


Debi at Easel and Quill is also playing along, so follow us both for Halloweenie goodness all month!

The first project is something I’d been working on for a while, and with all the crap this month, finally sent off in the nick of time last week. It is a box for a friend’s Halloween letterboxing event, and since it was yesterday, I can share the work without creating spoilers.

This is an altered book box. I picked up the book at Ross or Tuesday Morning–I just remember I got a good price. It was covered with twee Paris-themed stuff. Incidentally, I freakin’ hate twee Paris-themed stuff.

The surface treatment will be familiar to folks who followed along last year, though this time I used tissue paper rather than bog roll. It’s a slightly different effect, but much faster. The pentagram and skulls I hammered together in my smithy. Just kidding. The pentagram is actually layers of washi tape, with a flat embellishment for rivets. The skulls are from a bag o’ skulls I got…erm…either at Dollar Tree or Spirit Halloween. It was a while ago, and I picked them up because you never know when you’re going to need a bag of skulls. They were treated with VerDay paint and patina, which I bought a few months ago. I decided this was a good excuse to use them.

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On the coffins, I used the whole VerDay set, even mixing some colors. So. Much. Fun. I adore the one with the hat, where I used iron paint. I can’t show you the inside of the boxes, but four of them contain hand-carved stamps of various magical artifacts (like the Kris of Kross, that allows you to jump to any location), and two contain…surprises.  I’m gonna guess at least one of the surprise boxes comes back dented from being tossed across the room. Heh.

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Part of letterboxing is that each box has a logbook, where you can impress your signature stamp. The Spousal Unit helped me pretty up some paper, and I put it together with a French binding.

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Sometimes, I can’t keep myself from the pretty paper at the art store. Not sorry–this made a beautiful cover, along with a shiny skull that’s hard to photograph.

This whole project was a blast from start to finish. I got to play with new paints, and use a new bookbinding stitch. Good stuff.

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My friend Godda sent me this video to kick off Hallowvember. I’m sharing it despite the egregious misuse of “everyday.”