Friday, October 10, 2008

Long time, I know.

Well, I could provide a multitude of excuses explaining why I haven't posted in weeks, some of which include the remnants of a hurricane causing a week-long power outage, school, being kidnapped by my pets....

Anyway, here's what's been going on in the paper-making venue:

I've started making pocket-notebooks for my etsy shop. I take the white (or mostly white, as long as there's no writing or pictures) bits of the stack of office paper in my room, tear it into equal strips and fold it into single singnature mini notebooks like the little pink one on the left. (Note: a signature is one section of pages in a bound book.)

I also have started a new line of handmade paper envelopes that are larger than the originals.
I've finished one of the big custom orders that I had as of last time I posted, and it has been sent, recieved, and loved. I'm nearly done with the second order, and only have about 14 more sheets of paper to make.
I'm also trying a new couching material, or will be as soon as it is finished through the washer and dryer. A bit of paper-making terminology defined: "Couching" is when you press the piece of paper that is on the mold (part of the mold and deckle set-up) onto a piece of material (newspaper, felt, cloth, etc) to soak up the excess water.
In the past I have used newspaper with limited success. Most of the time fine wrinkles develop in the sheet of newspaper and it flaws my paper, so only a small percentage of the sheets I make are high enough quality to sell as handmade paper sheets in my shop. I'm hoping this new couching material (a torn worn out bedsheet) will reduce the wrinkles and increase the percentage of sheets that I make that are high quality.
For more information on learning to make paper, see this site. It makes things a little more specific than they need to be (honestly, I don't use the deckle portion of the mold and deckle, and it isn't necessary to use tissue paper or paper towels, discarded office paper is fine).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Practice makes....

I'm very bad at this whole "posting-once-a-week" thing. I won't bother you with excuses.

So here's what's up with my crafts lately:

I'm halfway done with the binding of my first attempt at a journal with a sewn binding. It is my fourth journal total, but in the past I was using bindings with glued spines. This one uses no glue in the binding, and it turning out rather well. I do need to work on the width of my bindings however, because this one is too wide for how many signitures I have in it. It could have looked better if I'd had a thinner spine. Oh well. One thing I like about these journals is that each time I have learned something significant. I've gotten a new job at a local library, and after I've been there a while, I am hoping they will let me into the restoration department and there they will teach me how to bind books and make new covers for old books more professionally. At the moment my skills are self taught and based off what I've found on the internet. I'm really looking forward to learning something there.

Also, I've added international shipping to my etsy shop and as a result immediately recieved two requests for large custom orders of paper. This has taught me the need for keeping a stock of already made paper, so I don't have to make two orders, totalling over 80 sheets of paper, at the same time. Lesson learned.

I'm seeing Halloween decorations on the street now, and as a result, am beginning to worry about Christmas. It's my understanding that ALL stores pick up at Christmas, so after these two custom orders are filled, I am going to start stocking up in anticipation of the Christmas rush.

I also need to work on some card designs. When my favorite art supply store went out of business, I bought several large sheets of paper in different colors and patterns, and two of them are red and green. One is red on one side and green on the other, the second sheet is the same way, except the red side has green Christmas trees on it and the green side has red Christmas trees on it. It would make wonderful cards if I could just figure out an appealing design.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Okay, so I didn't keep to my goal of posting every Sunday. I'll keep working on it.

In other news, I have been keeping up with my crafts. I recieved a special order from a coworker for a sheet of blue handmade paper, so that is finished and currently drying. Another half-baked project is a box covered in recycled magazine pages. So far I have one side done and lots of work ahead of me. Because of repeated requests, I have ordered some flat rate envelopes yesterday from the USPS so I can implement international shipping in my etsy shop. I also made a card from my handmade paper and some old magazines (I have far too many laying around, so I am using them whenever possible). You can see the card in my shop here.

I'll try to be better about keeping up on my posts.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Enter: the Dragon

Well, I've finally decided that, having recently opened an etsy shop, I should also start a blog about what I do. I don't hope to gain fame and fortune (although that would be WONDERFUL), but I do hope to further expose myself and my crafts, and motivate myself to be more creative and adventureous. I also hope this blog will serve as an easy place for people to comment about my work, offer suggestions, things they'd like to see or have discussed.

So, with that having been said, I'll tell you about what I do. I'm an avid fan of dragons (to the point where I wrote my senior research paper in high school about them) and I have a love for working with paper. So my etsy shop was named after those two things, as well as the surname of a loved one.

My shop is quite new, but my experience with paper is not, though I'm by no means a master craftsperson. However, as I am further exploring the possibilities with paper, I am expanding my crafts and my skills. I work with paper in many forms. I make my own paper at home out of things friends and family would have otherwise pitched or recycled. I also use commercially produced paper and alter said papers to create my art. With this I make drawing paper, scrapbook paper, handmade envelopes, handbound journals, boxes, cards, and artist trading cards, to name a few things. I branch out from time to time (to keep from getting bored) so now and then I might interrupt my paper crafting posts with ones about polymer lcay, woodworking, woodburning, drawing, or who knows what. I get my grubby little fingers into a lot of things and am a notorious packrat.

My goal is to post at least once a week, to keep myself involved in my crafts and to make sure I keep making things, so look for a new post each Sunday. I tend to start projects and then leave them halfway done for a long time. Writing about them will (hopefully) motivate me to keep going start to finish.

At the moment I am in the middle of binding a journal with pages made of my handmade paper. It's going nicely, but slowly. It's a learning process. At the moment, I have made three (and a half) journals out of my paper, and each one has been a significant improvement from its predecessors. Even though it isn't perfect, I am proud of my journal and am anxious to see it finished. When it is, I will be sure to post pictures.

Also, today I purchased a book called Paper Transformed: A Handbook of Surface-Design Recipes and Creative Paper Projects by Julia Andrus. It has a lot of neat projects that I hope to incorporate into my work. Once I finish some half-baked projects I have going, I intend to go through it page by page and use each technique in some kind of project.

Now I need to find my thread and finish that journal....