Apr 2, 2019

How to Alter an Old Book into a New Journal.

Altered Book Journal.
If you feel the need to journal your days, or are trying to keep track of things, why not make it really personal and create your own Notebook.
(If you have a problem with "hurting" books, please remember there isn't actually a "Book Police"..)
So here is my picture-rich tutorial on how to make your own Journal out of an old book.

STEP 1;   Get an old book from a second-hand book shop, flea market, or check with local library throw outs or relatives' bookshelves.
 Don't get a book that has hundreds of pages, it is just daunting to work in.
Make sure it is a hard-cover book, and that the pages have been sewn in, NOT glued in. After you are finished with it, and have added glues and paints and collage, you don't want your pages to fall out of the book because the glue holding the book together has weakened.
You can check if the pages are sewn in, by checking at the top of the spine, to see if the papers have been bend double. There should be a visible loop of papers. When you open the book in the middle of one of those loops (which is a stack of papers called a "signature"), you should find a thread down the middle of the pages.
Finding and reducing volume of signatures.
STEP 2;    In my case I found a (rather tedious) girls' book about an english boarding school. It had a faded blue linen cover. Each signature had 5 pieces of doubled paper. I reduced that throughout the book by carefully ripping out 1 full page, taking care not to break the thread. Because you will be adding extra paper, glue and paint, the book still needs to be able to close.
Each signature now had a number of pages divisable by 2, because now you are going to glue 2 pages together. This way the paper will be thicker and can handle all the stuff you are going to do to it. You can use either a good glue-stick for this, or tacky craft glue. Don't use normal p.v.a. or white craft glue, as it is too wet, and it will seriously buckle your pages. And will take ages to dry.
 I used a glue-stick for this book. Let dry by standing the book up with the pages open.
The end papers were really cute, and I left the inscription from 1962.

Old magazine, coffee and rip rip rip!
STEP 3;   Decorating your Journal-to-be. This is a really relaxing bit, where you get an old magazine, a hot cuppa, and cut or rip out pictures and quotes that you like. I used just 1 Country Living UK magazine for this whole journal, it was so chock-full of goodness. But you might like a fashion mag, or nature, or travelling; whatever takes your fancy.
Make sure the pictures are not too big, as you want to leave some space for actual journaling...

Some pictures are cut, some ripped for soft lines.
STEP 4;    Glue your pictures into the book, using a gluestick. Smooth any air bubbles out with your fingers, or an old plastic bankcard. Keep them to the edges of the book pages.

Stand the book upright with the pages fanned out to dry.
I found that I was colour coordinating images, or theming things together on the same page.

Using water activated colouring pencils, Derwent Inktense.
STEP 5;    Adding colour to your pages. I used my Derwent Inktense colouring pencils, but you can use other aqua pencils. I just scribbled different colours all over the pages, choosing to coordinate with the colours in my pictures.
 ( It's o.k. Really. No one is going to come and arrest you, for defacing this old book. You are just rescuing it from landfill, to live a new life...)
White Gesso.
STEP 6;    Now you can brush white Gesso over the top of all your colour scribbling, and partly over the pictures. Gesso is usually used to prepare a surface for painting, as it is a bit chalky to the touch and lets paint and glue adhere well. We are using it in the journal to obscure the printed words, and at the same time activate the coloured pencil pigments. The colours will blend into the Gesso, giving a soft colour, but you will still be able to faintly see the print and edges of the pictures underneath. This gives a lovely layered depth effect to your pages.
Obscuring text with tinted gesso.

Using the tinted gesso to soften and blend pictures into the page.

Drying in the sun.
Gesso a couple of pages at the same time, then dry well, leaving the pages spread open.

Drawing in cubbyholes for the days, using a cardboard rectangle.

STEP 7; Rooming in your Journal. Depending on how you want to journal, you can now create spaces on the pages for note keeping. My new Journal had 29 full spreads, giving me 2 spreads for each month, with some spare pages. I worked out how many rectangles I could fit across a page, without having to write too small, and then made a little rectangle from the magazine cover that I had ripped up. I used it as a template to draw around with a black pencil. These measurements all depend on how large or small your old book is.
I used a black pencil, because Gesso can be a pain to write on with a Sharpie felt pen.
For that reason I also suggest a gel pen, or ballpoint pen for writing.

I left some space at the end of each month to record things like exercise session totals, etc.
And a page for books I have read, at the end of my new Journal.

Adding vintage fabrics and notions for the cover.
STEP 8;    Decorating the cover of the book. I used some old embroideries, a piece out of a stained, but cheerful tablecloth, vintage cards of hooks and eyes, and a crocheted flower. I used pinking shears to cut out the fabric, to minimise un-ravelling, and carefully cut around the embroidery, without cutting the embroidery threads. Using a generous amount of tacky craft glue on the back of the fabrics I stuck them down. Make sure the fabric goes into the grooves of the book, to give space in the fabric when opening and closing the book. The fabric also covered up the original title of the book.

A bookmark with tag.
STEP 9;    I wanted a bookmark, and found a suitable length of ribbon. (Actually, this ribbon was inside the shoulder seams of one of my shirts, for hanging purposes, but always flipped out of my shirt while wearing it. So I cut it off...) Adding tacky craft glue to one end and using a thin knitting needle I pushed it into and against the spine of the book, and held it there until it started to stick.
A fancy card tag from a new garment was re-used to make my collaged bookmark. I also added some beads to the ribbon.
My Journal in use.
STEP 10;    Start using your Journal!  I use mine to track sleep patterns, exercise, mental health, and to prompt myself into creativity. It is your Journal, so do what you like in it.

 I just had to create one of my collage critters in it, with the left over magazine pictures. Fun!

A Sweet Collage Critter of mine.

Mar 26, 2019

Prompts, Posts and Pumpkins.

 I love doing checklists in my day, when I am feeling organised, or to make me feel organised.
 Beds made, check.
Dishes done, check.
Washing dry from last night, check.
Whoa, check out those accidental pumpkins. They're ready.

Our messy veggie-patch.

Harvest pumpkins, check.

Oh they do look cheery in our entrance porch. Signs of Autumn. 
Although there are some coloured leaves on the oak tree already, and every time the wind gusts through our little gully, the fall of many acorns go plunk plunk plunk. Especially on the opposite neighbours tin roof. Clonk clonk clonk, in the middle of the night... They must dread Autumn.

Dried starfish sanitising in the sun. Check.
"What..?" you say. "That's not a normal chore."
Well, no, but...

Oliva shell species, from different countries.

... I have at last come to a dreaded jobbie, which is going through box #3 of my late mother's huge shell collection. Recently it came back from the National Aquarium of NZ, having languished in their storerooms for nearly 10 years, without being seen by any member of the public. Which hugely disappointed us as a family.
 Now we will try to sell the collection, so someone will get pleasure from it. So I was making photos of the contents, (thanks to my Man for helping to lift out layers which was a 4 hands task) and trying to find her collection of her beloved cowrie shells. There were 15 layers in this box, such as Olivas, mussels and oyster varieties, clams, but also sand dollars, a layer of crab shells, and a layer of dried starfish. Those last ones still stink, which is why I did not repack them, but they are basking in the sun today.
The cowries however were not in box #3. There are 8 other boxes. Sigh...

I liked finding these shells, found many decades ago on a beach on the Isle of Ameland, The Netherlands.
I remember the long stormy, autumn weekend there with my brothers and parents, and going for bracing wet windy walks, and going back to our little batch for hot soup and bread. We could see the lighthouse from our window at night.

Making sure Noodle is ok, check. We'll go for a walk later.
After I finish this post, and having worked out I can't do it easily on my iPad, as I can't scroll down for some reason. So back on  the "big" computer.
I will post again soon, as I feel a tutorial coming on, about a "Repurposed Book".
Post finished. Check!

Jul 5, 2016

Ahrr, me Hearties, where's me treasures...!

Chocolate-box full of auction treasure.
So I couldn't felt last year. Not that I felt all the time, mind, but when you get told you can't do something, the itch gets worse. 
While tidying (yes really..) I opened the bottom drawer, which was empty many years ago and thus had become a perfect place to put interesting necklaces and beads into, which had come home because they looked useful. I decided to tip the drawer upside down on the empty table, just to see what had gathered there. And gave myself a fright.
Quite a bit of jewellery. 
So I started cleaning, dismantling and sorting everything. Colours by colours, metals by metals, glass, pearls, semi-precious stones, brooches, I even kept the findings and closures.

Some odd-ball bits as well.
A  course at the local Arts Centre presented itself, how to repair and remake old jewellery.
 Very timely the Universe provided, yet again.
I had a great time and learned a lot.
I won a couple of Auctions from down the hill, just to add really odd and old stuff to the mix.
I can't wait to somehow use those fountain-pen nibs, or that sweet little spoon.

Another auction lot...
And no-one else put a bid on that box with tatty looking rags, bits of fur and an old tin of baking powder, but I had already spotted in that jumble black silk dress pieces; never put together, water taffeta, handmade tatting and very old lace pieces, an old leather wallet with silver corners, sequins and gold lace, braiding and ribbons, and an old foxy stole. Most from the first half of the 1900's judging by the shape of the dress pieces and lace.
A veritable feast for a textile lover.
Now, how to incorporate fur....

It looked like a jumble of scraps, however...
Then I started playing. And combining, and trying stuff out.
Taking away and adding.

Treasure for myself.
This one is for myself.  
Sterling silver, real pearls, moonstone, rose quartz, antique lace, a belt buckle, a tiny key, sparkly bracelet links, vintage porcelain forget-me-nots and a Madonna medallion to represent the Goddess in all her forms.
I love wearing it.

Peony Roses in an old coffeepot.
Oh I wish it were Spring already. But we have only just gone past the shortest day.... 
Luckily photos cheer me up too.

Jun 6, 2016

Feather-weight Wool.

Felted aqua-blue feather wrap.

Wow, I haven't posted since March last year! That's no good, and I've sure been busy, so I have plenty to tell you. Probably too much for this time so I'll give it to you in small bites.

First up is the gorgeous wrap I finished this week, I am very happy with it indeed.
It is made with 2 layers of fine merino wool and layers of delicate silk tissue fabric, with embroidered feathers.
Finishing the felting process.

Nuno-felting details with silk tissue.
It took 2 trestle tables to lay out the wool, and a day to finish laying it. It was felted really well, and I adore the nuno wrinkled effect of the fabric fused into the wool. But I left an edge loose to provide movement with the slightest breath of air.

Hollow bubbles

I also felted air-bubbles into one of the ends of the wrap, again to play with the idea of lightness. It is a technique I have been practising since I went to the Wellington Area Felting retreat in February, where I tried it for the first time. It was wonderful to be able to go there again, now that my right shoulder is so much better. Still a few niggles at times, so I have to remain careful.

Draped in a different way off the shoulder.
You can wear the Wrap or Stole in many different ways, depending on how you drape and fold it.
It will be going up for sale in my "felt-shop" on the web.

This last year has seen me very frustrated with my inability to felt due to the injury, but out of that have come other projects. I was commissioned to produce 4 Hobbit Cloaks for the Wellington Rover tour company my brother works for, and it was a bit of a mission (, quest, thing....) to find the right fabric. It had to fall right, and show the weave. But I think I succeeded. 
Here are my hobbits to show them off. The cloaks were accepted, and tourists will wear them with a special elvish leaf brooch when they have photo shoots at the film locations.
3 of the 4 Hobbit cloaks completed.
In the last 1 and a half year I have also changed jobs, and am now working in a smaller rural school, still with special needs kids, but better hours, less travel time, interesting work and higher pay! Woohoo...! It took some courage though to change, but the more I looked at what, and how many my skills were the better I felt about looking around. And I was snapped up by another school within a day of handing around my C.V.s.
I am very happy there, great supportive team.

And there have also been some super exciting travels with my hubbie! We only just came back 2 weeks ago.
But that's for another time... Nice to be here again.

A Bali turtle dove taking care of the street offerings.


Mar 22, 2015

Graduation Ceremony with New Zealand style Pomp and Circumstance.

Adjusting her robes, with pink lining to denote The Arts.
So our eldest has gained her Degree with Honours (an extra year by invitation only), she has been studying English and History for 4 years, with 1 year off in between for her O.E. (overseas experience; most young people in NZ try their courage on an extended working holiday somewhere-in-the-world-but-not-NZ, usually starting in old mother England.)
Our girl supported herself with supermarket jobs and transcribing work. Like all students, she has a student debt. to pay back the government.
Usually the graduation ceremony is in April, but as she thought she might be away overseas again, she and a number of her friends asked for special permission to have it at the earlier date in October.
That coincided with the many foreign students, which added a very multicultural flavour to the whole affair.
Excited graduants and family milling about at starting point.
We managed to reach the starting point with 10 minutes to spare, after driving for 4 hours and struggling through the Friday evening city traffic.

All the graduates were to walk through the middle of town, an old tradition. To show off the cities' finest assets, the Educated. The traffic was halted, and people stopped to watch.
3 Development Graduates, the woman wearing her
Maori tribes' special feather cloak to honour her.
Although it looked like a huge dress-up party, the robes with their coloured linings and hoods, the trenchers and caps were all worn with pride, and many had added honourable symbols of their culture, such as tribal cloaks, flowers in their hair, leis around their necks. This was encouraged by the University, to make it more meaningful to the individuals.

Everyone marched through Wellington, the traffic was laid still. European kiwis,
Muslim women, Maori and Pacific Islanders all together.

Several pipe bands accompanied the graduates and family.

We all walked to the Wellington Public Library.
We all walked to the Wellington PublicLibrary, a lovely building to look at, to be addressed by the Mayoress and the heads of the University. After that we trooped into the Michael Fowler Concert building for the Ceremony.

A Pacific Islander( perhaps from Samoa) was wearing his beautifully woven
 lace patterned lava lava, to show the significance of the day.

The Mayoress of Wellington and the University president addressing the crowd.

This was the third ceremony this week already.

Please click on this  to experience the Maori Welcome.
We were welcomed with a Powhiri (poh-fi-ree), a Maori Welcome with the asking of ancestors' attention and a challenge to the new graduates.
I will spare you the next 3 hours; with trumpet players, speeches, jazz performance, classical music, speeches, and the long handing out of certificates.

Many families of the graduates responded to their loved ones by yelling praise, breaking into impromptu chanting, and sometimes well rehearsed haka's (maori or pacific island sung/shouted challenges with rhythmic footstamping and dance gestures). There were also a few outbursts of ululations from middle-eastern groups, towards some of the Muslim women getting their degrees.
And of course much applause for everyone. 

This added to a very excited joyful atmosphere, in which the audience contributed their part.

Our daughter just receiving her Degree with Honours in Humanity Arts.(English and History)

A very Proud Family.

All in all, a long, but memorable experience, which I would not have missed for the world.
We sure had a few drinks that evening with all of us to celebrate!

After the Ceremony, a weekend of nice dinners
and enjoying  our capital city.