Thursday, August 30, 2012

Respondez Vous

I liked all the ideas you guys gave me for what to do with the travel journal I picked up at Marshall's. I decided to go with RSVP which was suggested by Jim Wheeler. I thought RSVP went really well with the postal theme of the cover and the very cool endpapers. So here it is.

I used a new font on this one that I found on Pinterest. Very bold, don't you think? It's called Freshman, and it's hard to see here, but the thick letters really shine with silver gilt during the day.

I'm getting faster at making these, too. This one took me one episode of History Detectives, one episode of Antiques Roadshow, and one episode of David Letterman, so all in all 3 or so hours which includes making the pattern and doing the actual folding.

Now comes the hard part--figuring out what to do with it. Some people have suggested I sell my books. Do you think people would buy them? What do you think they would pay for them?

In the meantime, Jim, do you want this one?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In the Beginning

The most common question I get asked when someone sees one of my folded books is, "How did you learn to do that?"

The first folded book projects I did came from The Repurposed Library, the book I bought in Palm Springs.

It was a very simple design with a single point fold on each page, similar to those old Reader's Digest Christmas trees we all used make back in the day, but with a book cover. I just used a book I bought at the Dollar Store. Here it is reimagined and sitting in my mother's house.

What I liked about this project was that I got to cover the plain endpapers with scrapbook paper. I learned that I love scrapbook paper, even though I don't scrapbook.

And by love I mean hoard.

Anyway, I started searching on the Internet for more folded book projects. That's when I ran across the work of Isaac Salazar.

The dude is amazing and his Etsy store says,
Unfortunately he is no longer accepting custom orders as he is completely booked (no pun intended) thru the end of 2013. Thank you all for your continued support!
Holy schmoley!

I started printing out his pictures and blowing them up to see if I could figure out how he did it. No luck.

I kept searching, and that's when I discovered Heather Eddy at Rhymes With Magic. She has a GREAT website, free patterns, and very inexpensive tutorials on how to fold books on her Etsy store. In fact, she published a new one just last week.

Heather taught me how to smock books...

(see what a difference scrapbook paper makes!) and twist books...

...and arch books.

And in the end she even taught me how to fold words, like my name.

Obviously she did not teach me how to count because I got as far as S-T-E-P-H and ran out of pages. You will learn that running out of pages is a recurring theme in my work.

Regardless, check out those endpapers! The butterflies are foil and in real life they shine! I think I will go back upstairs now and smell my scrapbook paper. Did I mention...yes, I did.

Anyway, the moral of the story is if you want to get started folding books, start with Heather's tutorials.

In today's Books I Read news: There is nothing better than getting a notice like the one I got today from
Congratulations. You've been selected to receive an Early Reviewers copy of Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee by Thomas J. Craughwell from the August 2012 batch.
Thomas Jefferson's Creme Brulee: How a… 
From Amazon:
In 1784, Thomas Jefferson struck a deal with one of his slaves, 19-year-old James Hemings. The founding Father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose” – to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom.

Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in U.S. history. As James apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so the might be replicated in American agriculture. The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, champagne, macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, and a host of other treats. This narrative nonfiction book tells the fascinating story behind their remarkable adventure – and includes 12 of their original recipes!
Over 1000 people requested it; only 30 copies available; and I got one of them.

Another book! A free book! We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

When Fate Pops In

The other day I realized that I have a problem.

OK, another problem. (Did I mention I'm a hoarder?)

I make many of my projects from Readers Digest Condensed Books (RDCB). (Oh yeah, I did mention that I'm a hoarder.) That's because RDCBs have a lot of pages, are easy to find, and have stellar covers!

Case in point, here's Volume 90 from 1972.

Open up an RDCB, however, and it is filled with kitschy pictures like this 


 (Harold Goldfluss? Really?) or this

(Fifty Shade of Grey meets The Patriot!)

So these pictures are great fun to look at, but whenever I start a project I have to tear them out or they ruin the look of the folded book. And now I have this...

...a stack of kitschy pictures. A stack big enough to be its own RDCB. I've been trying to figure out what to do with them. And then...serendipity.

A couple of weeks ago we were vacationing in Mendocino, CA (go there!) when I happened upon the Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books (bookstore + vacation = happy, happy, joy, joy!). That's when I found this:

The Pocket Paper Engineer, Volume 3: V-Folds: How to Make Pop-Ups Step-by-Step, Of course! Pop-ups + kitschy pictures = more fun with books! So here's my first endeavor, a greeting card. The outside:

and the inside:

So OK, it's a fairly simple pop-up and it doesn't actually fit in any envelope, but I had great fun making it. I'm definitely sticking with this.

Those of you with kids (or who were once kids themselves) should really check out the Pocket Paper Engineer series. Lots of fun for all ages with tear out projects on every page. I own all three books now. (Did I mention I'm a...yes, yes, I did mention that.) 


Oh wait, I just found one of my favorite pictures. Caption anyone?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Book Review: The Emperor of All Maladies

Title: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Format: Hardback
Reading Dates: June 21 - Aug 13, 2012
Rating: *****

A couple of months ago if someone had used "page-turner" and "cancer" in the same sentence, my first thoughts would have been of Love Story or Brian's Song, tearjerkers that, by the end, left me in a big puddle of mush. I definitely wouldn't have thought "non-fiction, written by a doctor," but that is now the case after having finished The Emperor of All Maladies, by Dr. Sid Mukherjee.

I chose the book because it won all kinds of awards, including the Pulitzer, and was on everyone's best book list back in 2010--and deservedly so. This was one of those books that after every chapter--and sometimes even during--I'd turn to Captain America and say, "Did you know...?" or "Let me read you something."

The book is a history of cancer--where it first shows up in literature, how doctors have treated it (or not) over the centuries, how we've tried to prevent it, and how we've tried to figure out what makes it tick. Mukherjee does a masterful job of weaving all these long story lines together. Like a good novel each sub-plot had me going until he would reintroduce another and that new one would be just as riveting.

Mukherjee brings two things to the book which make it immensely more readable. The first is his ability to describe difficult scientific concepts in similes that even a do-do brain like I can understand. I felt I was able to follow all the experiments and the science and kept turning the page to see what the result of each new tack would be. The other is his personal story as an oncologist as he relates stories of the patients that he and his colleagues treat.

There's blood, mystery, politics, science, tears, hope and hope dashed. All the elements of a really good book, and this is one. Highly recommended!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's time Michael's admitted it's an enabler

Oh, and I bought another book today while at Michael's. This one is for my reading pile, not my cutting pile.

Don't judge me.

I Corinthians 13 Triptych

Normally I don't like to pay much for books that I'm going to "reimagine." My go-to source for cheap books is the Dollar Store. I also have my name in at the local "Friends of the Library" book store. About twice a month a get a call from them telling me that someone has donated a bunch of old Reader's Digest Condensed Books (RDCB), which they sell to me for a buck each. I usually sneak off during lunch to retrieve them and hide them in the trunk of my car so Captain America stays blissfully unaware that I've added more to my menagerie. (Did I mention I'm a hoarder?)

Anyway, $2 per book is my max and that's only if it's got a really special cover, but recently I broke my own rule. I was perusing the shelves at Marshalls/Home Goods and ran across this book.

So granted it was $5, but that fancy-dancy cover was the first thing to catch my eye. I thought it would look really pretty sitting on a shelf. And then when I opened it up, the end papers were beautiful, too.

 But best of all the pages were gilded in silver. And not just on the sides, on the top and bottom, too! Now wouldn't that look cool folded!

So I bought it and then I bought two more. Not exactly the same, but companion pieces if you will.

 And breaking my rule was totally worth it. Here's what they look like now. 


And unexpected bonus--they look really cool when you set them next to each other.

I call them the 1 Corinthians 13 Triptych. It's hard to see in the picture, but the words sparkle ever so slightly in the daylight. Really pretty!

The hardest part about making these was choosing the fonts. I wanted different fonts for each book, and not all fonts work for folding. Fonts need to be fairly simple.

Add to that each book only had 200 pages. (Little known fact to wow your friends. An RDCB almost always has 572 pages.) The number of pages and the length of the word determines how big your font size can be. It took me an evening of adjusting font sizes and counting and recounting pages to make sure the words would fit.

The good news is that there was no cutting involved. Smaller fonts like these can be done with just folds. That made everything go much faster.

So now I need your input. I also bought this book from the same series. It has a letter/mail theme on the cover, very cool endpapers, and shiny, gilded pages. What word shall I fold? Remember the longer the word, the smaller it will be. Four to five letters is ideal. Help me out here!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

True Confessions

I have always loved books. That's why it came as a bit of a surprise even to me that I like cutting them up, too.

I became aware of this inclination earlier this year while on vacation in Palm Springs. Captain America, my husband, decided to go play golf--again--and as I had had my share of golf courses on this particular vacation, I went shopping instead.

I was only a block away from our hotel when I wandered into a small, indie bookstore. I was just inside the door when I saw this:

Of course the first thing that caught my eye was that thing hanging under the title. What was that? It looked like a book, but it wasn't a book, but it was. I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. I knew right then that whatever it was, I wanted to make one of those.

That turned out to be only one of many fabulous projects in The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti. I quickly bought the book and spent the rest of the afternoon poring through it. I couldn't wait to get home and start cutting up books.

Or could I? Could I really cut up a book? I love books. And by love I mean hoard. I have books stashed in cupboards, on shelves, in cabinets. I even have a library in my bathroom.


I love/hoard books so much I bought a barcode scanner and cataloged my library so I could put my books in Dewey Decimal order.

I knew there was no way I was going to be able to cut up my library. So I sucked it up...and went shopping.

Now I have my real books and the books to be sacrificed to the taxidermy gods. I started out by putting these new books on the shelf in my craft room.

And that overflowed to the furniture up there.

And then into boxes.

And now I have a library in my attic.

Oh, and also in the trunk of my car.

So now I am on a mission to cut up as many of these books as I can--the ones in the craft room, and the boxes, and the attic, and my trunk, not the ones in my bathroom--before Captain America takes a trip upstairs and goes a little mental. I'll show you some of the stuff I make with them as I go, and while I'm at it, I'll try to review the books from the other pile (the ones I'm reading). Now, where are my scissors?