Friday, March 28, 2014

Cannonsburg Village Leather Journal Sale!

You are going to love the most Perfect Leather Journal for all your art and writing needs.
Come to the Cannonsburg Village Community Sale!
I'll be there selling one-of-a-kind leather journals made from re-purposed vintage leather coats.
Priced to Sell A Lot!
Raising money to give Naieva her biggest desire - a couple days at Art Fest in Memphis.
"Hello, I did all the work, so why is she taking the credit," Zane Grey.
Cannonsburg is a cool place to shop.
Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Secrets of Vintage Leather Journals

As you'd expect, it starts with an idea.
Lusting after those amazing leather journals from Italy, that cost too much, I thought, why not try to make one for cheap.
Leather material and new leather coats in the stores are expensive. But, Goodwill, yard sales, places like that have beat-up leather cheap and even better during half-off day. So it starts with scouring around for some scrumptious leather in funky places. This is actually the most fun part of the process. Look for coats that have great pockets and straps. 
The next step is to cut the coat apart. For those who aren't blessed with claws, just use scissors.
Measure the size piece you need against the journal you're using, adjusting for the pocket or most interesting part of the jacket to land on the cover or the back.
I've pick out just some different size and type of plain journals on sale at the craft stores for now. We've learned that the Ultimate Glue is a great one to use. It's the right thickness, dries quick and adheres to some heavy layers.
Once it's glued, you stretch the leather over the book.
Embellish and glue down leather straps, buckles, whatever cool things that you've dug up in your junk journeys. This one I've actually cut up an old purse. However, coats provide the most and easiest materials to work with.

Seriously, do I need management behind my back? No.

Once all the stuff is glued down and  things separated with the wax paper, press down on them and let them dry. A heavy press is a nice thing to have as well, but a big old dictionary can work in a pinch. A nice tip: see the wet rag to the right of me, it helps to wipe off glue from my claws as I work.

Drying time will take a few hours, so take a long catnap.

Then, look over all your work, glue down any openings along the corners, trim anything that doesn't look right to you. It's suppose to be kind of raggedy, so just use your artistic judgment of how you'd like it to look.

Then you can ship them off to whoever lusts for them.
The truly inspired artistic cool people will want them.

Any Questions? I thought not.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Joy of Cooking Up Books

My husband does the taxes because he's the Master's degree in Economics guy. Impressive, yes, but he can't find the mayo and he reads only dude books like Clive Cussler.
My hand (and soul) cringes when asked to write Housewife as occupation on the form. To me that's something you just do like taking out the garbage, not something one aspires to be. Trying to tell my son that yes, I was an Editorial Production Manager once and an Advertising Designing, I didn't just make him dinner and clean the floor. On the other hand, I'm grateful that someone still wants me after all these years.

 Just mentioning this because it leads to my unconventional methods of being a Housewife.
For instance, wax paper is used to keep artwork from sticking together instead of whatever it's suppose to be used for (don't actually know).
And what exactly is the black metal thing? It is either a hamburger press or something to use for flooring? In either case, it also is put to use for flattening artwork.
I wash the car in the rain so I don't have to drag out the hose. It looks crazy to the neighbors but it is a very Green thing to do. Saves money, water and time. And, it actually works.
The last time I ironed it was to iron out a crinkled page in a book.
The Joy of Cooking book is happy to be used as a press to keep journals flat while the glue dries.

"You got a problem with that?" Zane Grey Graalman
So, is this what's for dinner?
No, I still manage to put something on the table for dinner since I have to eat anyway.
But, "We're running late tonight, honey, because I'm writing this Blog! Be there in a minute!"

Just recently, a friend saw my books, boxed them up and carted them off and put them in a store!
This makes my husband glad, for he's not typical either, he'd love for me to Not be a Housewife and make some money again.



Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Very Bookist Christmas

At a craft show, there was a guy selling exquisite leather journals. Loved them, except for the price. So why not just make my own version of these for much less. At yard sales and Goodwill places, I bought old leather coats and disassembled them. Then found a variety of inexpensive journals to speed up the process and started attaching and arranging.

Some of the first ones turned out just okay. 
They came to life when incorporating parts of the coat buckles, buttons, sleeves and pockets.
Brown leather with a cuff.

Orange leather with a belt loop.

A shoulder strap holds a marker.

A hanging tassel adds a little drama.
At first I didn't like the pocketed tan one, but now I've been using it for everything from daily notes, errand lists, ATCs, collecting ephemera to saved ideas.
Today I gathered a bunch up and shoved them in a Steampunk Trunk and passed them around to the church staff. I'm not sure if this is too funky of a thing to be passing around to church folks, but what the heck, they can put down music, ideas, addresses, prayer requests, all kinds of stuff. Wouldn't a humble imperfect journal be just about right for this work?
They are called the Imperfect Perfect Journal.
The idea is that they are already flawed, so you won't feel nervous about using it. You know how some journals are just too beautiful or expensive to ever mark in and mess up. Since these are already imperfect, here's hoping that everyone who got one will fill its pages.
In this Technological Age this could be a Lost Art, but I'm lost in it.
So what else can you do with them?
Well, if your an artist, you can draw and paint, of course.
Being relieved after the trauma of my missing cat being found, I painted this by accident. I'd put in the brown to offset the brown leather on the inside cover and the gray part looked so much like the hole the cat dug for herself that I decoupage her inside it. It makes me giggle now to look at it.

Then, there's the fantasy journals. Who doesn't want to be Queen Elizabeth and marry Doctor Who?
I made a copy of the Tardis and decoupaged it, then painted.

So what do you think? Do you want one? If you write me, I just might send one to you.
Merry Christmas

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013 Pen Pal Author at Linebaugh Library

My friend Raina (and fellow board member) said, "I heard you stalk male authors."
I said, "No, that's not right, I stalk the women authors too."

Bats at the Library by Brian Lies

It's 2006 during down-time at a tennis competition for our son. I force my family to check out the local bookstore. We probably shouldn't buy anything because we have to focus on the boy's tennis, but there's no harm in looking. Then I see it!  Bats at the Beach. It is the cutest bat I've seen since Stellaluna (and that's cute). The little guy was toasting an unusual marshmallow with cricket parts. The other guy was flying his friend like a kite. 

So, how does a grown woman explain to her husband of many years that she MUST have a children's book that costs $16? We could pretend it's for our child but he's known me too long to believe it. It wrenched my heart to walk away without possessing it.
This is a sad story of loss and despair. And, I never forgot the book.
Seven years later, not only do I  own multiple copies of Bats at the Beach but all the other books too of Brian Lies. So, why not meet this guy that has made this iconic bat? We started negotiating to have Brian as the next Pen Pal author to visit Murfreesboro.
When an author says Maybe, I hear Yes. And when the author says, well I can only . . . fill in the blank . .. . I say Yes.  Yes, yes, of course it is for the kids. I'm certain that at least one of those kids will want to become an author or illustrator.
Brian Lies sharing his wisdom with the children of Murfreesboro.
Hobgood welcomes Brian with a great sign.
Having a little fun by drawing on the wall in the bookstore.
"Have our author and eat cake too" - that's our motto.
It's tradition now that my son comes for the cake.
I'm looking a bit raggedy, but who cares when I can meet Brian Lies.
We learn all his cool tricks. One is that he uses a blue crayon to sketch. Blue is his favorite color and helps to relax him into getting the work done.
He goes through many sketches and smaller versions of paintings until it's Better. He doesn't believe practice makes perfect, but practice makes Better.
I really dig my job on the library board.
So, how are we going to top this?
Shssh, I've no idea, but we say that every year. 
If you have any suggestions for next year, ah never mind, I probably won't listen, because it will start with  wandering some local bookstore and noticing the best book ever.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Le Cirque Challenge Somerset Studios

Somerset Studio magazine proposed an art challenge to their readers to send them Circus Art and called it Le Cirque. It could be any type of art. I've never been a fan of the circus, it seems creepy, sinister and out to take poor people's last quarter. Yet, the little cracker-tiger from the metal tin, holding paint brushes on my desk, was crying out to be made into a journal. I still hesitated to cut up the metal container, because they are already cool, and probably hard to come by these days, but the polar bear said, go ahead, and I put on the goggles and made the first cut into the tin.
The whole process is fun from hunting yard sales for old odd pieces to slopping Mod Podge everywhere. I will take a photograph of anything, so  I've thousands of images to use. Making the paper from Gesso and all colors of paint is a blast.
The only part of the process I dislike is sewing the signatures together.
Erin Morgenstern visited the Nashville Public Library. She's a sweet woman, so of course she needed to be taming that orange Bengal tiger. The Life of Pi author visited too, and it just dawned on me right this very second that I missed the opportunity of using that tiger. I did address an SASE and when it returns, I will add that. Work is never done.

Even though the circus is a dark topic, these circus crackers are just funny.
Surely, you also played with them before you ate them, like I did as a kid (okay, I still do).
Another item that was lying in the attic was a circus-cracker game. I photographed the game pieces, printed out the image and then glued and pained over that. Don't you just want to eat him?

There is something about those striped tents that make you want to go look inside.

Morgenstern and me getting eaten up by animal crackers.

This guy is getting a little worried about someone chewing on him.

Morgenstern autographed her book and a flyer. Don't worry the First Edition book and signature is safely tucked away in the Triangular Book Case.

At the Southern Festival of Books, I met Hannah Barnaby, so heck, why not include her new circus book into this journal?

And have her get carried away by a big ape. Who knows, this could be a fantasy of her's?

It wouldn't be fair to alter them and not doing something dumb to myself. I do love Big Cats.

The tent invites you in. I photographed the tents when there were in town (for the Fourth of July firework sellers), printed out the image and then painted over it.

The center spread is the tent pole holding the whole thing together.

Of course my own big cat, Mimi, who sits on all my work during the process can not be overlooked. Ringmaster, yep, that sounds about right. Zane is in there too, but it's a secret to find him.

Jerry Lewis is an image that must be in my work. Now how do I include Jerry Lewis in a book about the circus? He did play Vaudeville which is circus like, but I wanted it to make complete sense. Then it struck me, by thinking of Jerry Lewis, that this circus journal was missing the last important thing about a circus. And yes, it's just dawned on you now.
The Clown.

Like the circus, the clown is also a bit dark and gloomy. Jerry Lewis's clown is the same way and the perfect obvious choice to be highlighted. The book is King of Comedy by Shawn Levy.

I love this creepy handsome duality.

We end with some popcorn. Seriously, I will take a photograph of anything, folks looked at me funny when I photographed the popcorn they served at the Morgenstern event, but you see it did come in handy, so who's right in the end?

 The end.
Note: Artist Leighanna Light held a class on Metal Art Journals in Nashville at the Art Is Life Retreat last Spring. Even though I was intimidated by her great journals and the fear of boring a hole in metal (and myself), I signed in anyway. Since then, I've made a bunch of metal journals and even had Mike Wolfe of the America Pickers sign my first found-junk one.