Monday, December 28, 2009

Journals : Pay It Forward (or Paying Homage)

With the proceeds from my day vending at the craft sale a few weeks ago, I purchased a couple of original hand-made journals from artist Elis Cook.

Aren't these luscious? I love-love-love the texture she adds to her collaged journal covers. And look at the script along the binding. She talks about creating your own alphabet here. Very interesting idea. Neat! It looks like Arabic, or something ...

Here's a link to her etsy shop. You can purchase an Elis Cook hand-crafted journal of your very own.

Meet My Heddle Jig

What's a heddle, you ask? And why does it need a jig? Is it going to dance?

I needed to make a new set of heddles for my little table loom. The ones I had were probably original to my loom, probably older than me, and in serious need of updating.

Here are the new heddles installed on the 2 harnesses of my loom. The warp strings will eventually run through the center loop and can then be pulled up or down via the harnesses, and thereby "program" the weave pattern on the resulting cloth.

Here's a single heddle on the jig [top view]. Oh yeah, my sweetie made this jig for me out of scrap cherry wood. ;-)

The heddle jig allows me to tie new heddles and get the square knots in uniform places--so that all the heddles are more-or-less the same. 120 heddles with 3 square knots each equals 360 knots (not counting the accidental granny knots I had to re-do).

The hardest part has been remembering how to make the square knots. They seemed much easier back in my 4-H macrame project days in grade school. Enter the surgical knot tying guide from the 1960s:

Yeah--I know I could have just googled square knots, but isn't a source like this just as interesting? And it was at hand ...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter's Glow (and How to Stay Hydrated)

I'm not sure where I got this recipe anymore. It's so basic, it's pretty much the same anywhere you go on the internet. Some recipes even use sugar, instead of salt.

Last summer at the Renaissance Faire, I tried a salt rub hand massage. My mom had given me some body polish a few years ago, but, frankly, I didn't know what to do with it then ... Now I get it! With a scent you like, it can be addicting--and great for rubbing out calluses and hangnails and for keeping dry skin hydrated. Even Oliver tried it this morning with a batch of Red Clover Tea.

This year, I decided to make some lip balm, There are many recipes out there on the web, and I tried a few of them. Here's the recipe I liked (from Mystic Mountain Sage) :

Honey a la Creme Lip Balm

45 grams Sweet Almond Oil
15 grams Cocoa Butter
10 grams Coconut Oil
10 grams Lanolin
20 grams Beeswax
1.5 grams honey

I added : 1 tsp Lemon Juice
Measure all ingredients into a heat-proof jelly jar. Set the jar in a pan of water on the stove. As the water boils, the oils will melt. Once melted, pour into containers. Actually, I used a plastic spoon and spooned it into the pots.

This could use a little more flavoring ... something to think about for next time. I left the remainder in the jelly jar. When I need a refill, I'll just warm it up again and fill a few more pots.

I couldn't buy the chap stick cylanders locally, so I opted for the next best thing : In the beading section of Joanne's, they had these little containers for storing beads. It was $7 for 12 little "pots." That worked for me!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

More New Journals

I attended a small craft sale yesterday as a vendor to sell my handmade journals. Up until now, I've used the journals myself, or given them away. This weekend, I had 25 journals in stock, ready to sell. I sold 9 of them throughout the day. Lagniappe (a little something extra) : The first 6 buyers got to pick a free pen to go along with their new journals.

As the day began, I was getting a little worried that in our computer-cell phone day and age that no one would want to write by hand anymore (or remember how) ... Many people walked by my table and were just amazed at the beauty, colors, and textures of my journals. I encouraged them to touch and feel and ogle--things you can't do online as yet. I use an antique laid paper for the pages--so it has a rich feel that makes you want to write on it--by hand, old style--to feel that paper under your skin. It's comfort food--really--even though you can't eat it. ;-)

One woman (Marie, a potter who wore a wonderful t-sirt that read "Throwing my Life Away" with a potter's coil below the words) is also a musician. She bought one of the journals so she could write songs and music on it's pages. I was so honored that I could "go along" with someone so artistic and creative. Another journal was purchased as a gift (Thanks Dottie), to be a travel journal for a trip to India. ;-) Cool--my journals will get to travel the world, too!

I am humbled and awed by the idea that these blank books will live lives of their own once they leave my care and keeping. Someone else will breathe life into their pages. ;-)

It was such a good experience, I'm planning to open an etsy shop in the new year. No I don't expect to make millions, but it will be fun. When it ceases to be fun, I'll quit. Oh-oh--now I've said it. I'll have to actually make that happen.

Here are some recent journals not previously cataloged here on Sweet Leaf Notebook :

Close-up of the bead (rolled polymer clay rubbed with gold):

Detail of the bead and elastic attachment point on flap :

Elegant Black & Copper Paper Cover with flap :

More Copper Paper (difficult to photograph--sorry for the shine) :

Royal Purple Paper for Fannie W. :

Taupe Journal for Caroline :

Leather-looking Lokta Paper rubbed with gold :