Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Making Books

Booklet production continues apace. 

Starching fabric heavily with spray starch (two passes, ironing between) then gluing it like paper worked better for me than using fusible stuff. Using almost any kind of fabric is going to require some ironing to remove creases, so applying spray starch before ironing is a minor step. The first fabric-covered booklets have a paper inner side; and last night I made a cover that’s fabric for both layers. I glued it together, and it seems to be holding. If necessary, I can sew the two layers together. 

My ream of 11” x 17” paper was originally supposed to be delivered by 8:00 or 8:30 pm on Saturday. At about 8:30 I checked, and Amazon was saying so sorry, sometime Sunday. I checked Sunday morning, and discovered that it had been delivered at 11:11 pm Saturday night. At least there was no precipitation. Unfortunately, I’d mis-read the description and got text-weight paper, not cover stock. 500 sheets should have been a giveaway. I’ve started using it for an inner lining for covers for booklets made out of lighter weight decorative papers or light-colored fabric that need help with opacity, so it isn’t going to waste. 

Sunday morning I did what I should have done originally, and ordered a package of larger paper from French Paper Co. It’s something like 12” x 19”, 200 sheets. But I’ve got some other paper from that particular line of French’s, I like it, and I know it’ll work. It was delivered this morning, according to UPS tracking. Which is good, as I have several booklet covers in-process and/or waiting on it. French packages well, UPS usually props things up so they’re under the eaves, and it seems to be a dry day out, so it should be fine sitting on the front porch all day. 

My thread and lined interiors arrived yesterday. Some of the covers mentioned above are for said lined interiors (I could start on covers for one size, as I have some that are graphed, and the text-weight 11x17 to use for planning), so yay. Annoyingly, I seem to have ordered white thread instead of the green I intended to get. Headdesk, headdesk. I partially blame the listing on Amazon, it was annoyingly difficult to select a color. At least white is a useful color, even if I do have lots of natural-colored linen, which I consider Close Enough to White, Dammit. 

Sunday I sewed up some of the booklets using dark brown thread and turquoise blue perle cotton I have on hand, and last night I sewed some booklets with cream (instead of green) thread that just arrived. Pictures posted on my G+ feed.

I’m missing some spools of my nice colored linen thread, I expect they’re lurking in the disaster that is the dining/work room. The thread I just got is waxed polyester, and probably would make bookbinding purists/snobs cringe, but for booklets it seems to work fine. I was thinking it was cheaper than the linen, but I need to double-check the actual prices per meter - the small spools of linen are more expensive overall, but the small spools of polyester are very small - only 25 meters. 

Last night I finished up folding some covers for pre-made interiors (waiting on the large cover stock delivered today), and made the interiors and covers for three smallish books out of scrap. The plan for  tonight is to try making wheat paste, which is cooked flour and water. It’s supposed to be a better adhesive for some applications than PVA (white glue), so I’m going to give it a try. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another Day, Another Post!

The craft fair at Xap’s office yesterday went pretty well. Lower total sales than the Fremd HS craft fair, but the whole thing was only 2 hours long and the cost was much lower, so I think that makes it the more profitable of the two. And Xap and I had homemade tamales (that another pair of her co-workers were selling) for lunch, homemade cookies for dessert, and I had the last two tamales for lunch today. 

We had one 6’ table yesterday, and I had a bright idea and put the belt bins on their sides along the back edge as a riser (with a tablecloth). That didn’t technically add horizontal display space, but it meant that things on the riser weren’t hidden by things in front of them. And I tucked the cash box and my iWhatsit in one of said bins, for extra clever. The nice thing is that we can do the riser trick with the belt bins even with belts in them. 

Since I only used short gridwall, we got everything in and out in one handtruck load. Which was good, as it was hecking cold outside. 

After a stop at the grocery store on the way home, I started poking at making booklets with fabric covers. I got the parts for two made, doing the covers two slightly different ways. The first one I tried fusing the fabric using Wonder-Under. I’m not sure if the stuff is finicky, or I was just at the very bottom of the learning curve. The fabric I used is light-colored, and so the turn-in under the green cardstock flyleaf shows slightly, and still required some gluing (or would have required placement of additional Wonder-Under). 

The second one I folded the fabric around a piece of cardstock, gluing down the turn-ins, and then glued down the flyleaf sheet (also cardstock). The turn-ins don’t show through, and the double layer of cardstock is stiffer than the first one. It didn’t require much more fussing about than the first one, and no use of iron, trim, fold, iron some more, so I think I’ll probably proceed with some variation of that process. I’m thinking of adding some spray starch, and going with text-weight paper instead of cover-weight for the interior sheet, both of which should help me get better corners.

The two covers dried under weights last night, and looked decent this morning. I’d also made the interiors last night. The two covers only used one fat quarter of fabric. I’ve also got an idea for adding a center fold reinforcement/bookmark. 

Today I ordered a ream of cream-colored 11” x 17” cardstock so I can make covers for grid paper interiors I bought, and other things where I want/need bigger than 8-1/2” x 11” heavy paper. I also ordered lined interiors in two sizes. I suspect that I might have sold some more books at the craft shows if the pages were lined rather than blank. So I’ll do that. And the cost to buy them printed, folded, and trimmed is quite reasonable.  

This evening I made the covers and interiors (folding and collating) for two more booklets. These have paper covers. The paper I used has a light-colored background, and I used dark brown cardstock for the cover lining/reinforcement, so I tucked a piece of plain printer paper into the covers, so the foldovers are between the printer paper and cardstock. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Still Here

Err, oops, I fell off the internet, blogging-wise, again. 

At the end of October Robin left the nest to go to work for Werner, and hasn’t been seen since. Ron resigned from Roehl, so everything that was in his truck came home, and much of it landed in the dining room. And then cleaning up the living room and kitchen for Thanksgiving resulted in more stuff in the dining room. Ron’s gone to work for Schneider, which got some stuff out of the dining room, but it’s still a mess, and pretty much unusable. Sigh. 

We did the Palatine High School craft fair at the beginning of December, and it was a complete fail, sales-wise. The weather also sucked. This Saturday was the Fremd High School craft fair. It was much much bigger than PHS’s, and much better attendance. I think the proportion of nice stuff was higher, too. Unfortunately, we didn’t do very well-sales wise. One of the sales was a set of two kosode to an absolutely adorable little boy. I wanted to hug and squeeze him and love him and call him George, but settled for making him happy as all the profit I wanted. :)  And he had really good taste and picked out the red kosode with the pandas.

I suspect I could have sold my “Happy Narwhalidays” book, except that the interior is dark green and red pages, so it needs a silver, gold, or other light-colored pen to write in it. I should pick one up and sell them together. 

We have some ideas for things that will probably sell better, though, if I keep trying craft fairs. Ron pointed out that things that sell well at craft fairs are probably going to sell well on Etsy, too, so I should proceed with them. I was going to try to make a couple things yesterday afternoon, for the craft fair thing at Xap’s office tomorrow, but I got sidetracked.

While rooting though bins in the storage locker for cotton duck, I also  shopped the stash for lightweight cotton for doll clothes, and upholstery fabric (originally bought for satchels) for slipcovers for the bolsters on the couch. When we got home we used the duck to make a woodcarving apron for Ron. Then I made the slipcovers for the bolsters since I wasn’t getting to doing Otter-ish things. More natter about those on the personal blog.

While we were at the storage locker I also found the very short gridwall hooks that I was pretty sure we had. They were already in an ammo can and pretty much filled it, so when I got home I emptied another ammo can, and transferred slightly longer hooks and cable ties (after making some quick & dirty fabric bags for the cable ties) to it, as the plastic bin they were in had broken on Saturday. Ammo cans may be heavier and opaque, but they have handles, latch securely, and are almost indestructible. I also have magnetic labels for them . . . somewhere Otter’s stuff.

On the doll clothes front I’ve made a prototype Korean-style outfit, and determined that it needed only minor tweaks. I’ve got several more cut out and started assembly work on them. Part of the Korean outfit is an underdress, that is, essentially, a simple sundress. So I’ve got several of those cut out and underway in almost-solids, too. 

Sticking with “ethnic” doll clothing, I made a prototype Afghan nomad dress, aka a doll-sized version of my Very Loud Dress. The prototype fits my doll, but needs modification to reduce the neckline opening, and to extend the center back opening to make it easier to get on and off. The modification leads to an interesting assembly challenge that I’ve pondered and think I’ve decided how to address, but I haven’t cut another one out yet. 

On the more general-public-friendly merchandise front, I need to make some more simple little blank notebooks. I’m also thinking of making some with fabric covers. If that works out, I may suck it up and . . . sigh . . . make some with sports-team fabrics. At the two craft shows I saw vendors with photo album/scrapbooks with team fabric padded covers, which is partly where I got the idea. But making them with blank or notebook interiors will make them more “mine” - I don’t want to do exactly what other people are doing.