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Journals By Me, For Me...

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So, partially inspired by the price of a good 8.5x5.5 journaling journal, and partially by TMLee's amazing thread and seeing how his journals went from where they started to what they are now...and since I've got a TON of paper my work gave me for free...I've decided to start a thread of my own cataloging my journal making adventures! Don't expect anything as epic or as helpful as the thread TMLee has going, I don't know how long this will even hold my interest. I have a bad habit of obsessing over new hobbies for short stints and them dropping them when a new one catches my interest. :P I'm also new to fountainpens, and journaling, so this is a big one for me since there are soooo many aspects to master and explore. It might hold me for a long time to come.


So far I've been assessing my materials at hand, and figuring out what I need. The paper I have in a massive quantity is 23x35 inches, 148gsm Matte Reply Card. Its light for cardstock, heavy for regular journal pages. It takes FP inking well, no bleed or feathering, pretty nearly opaque. If I had a complaint it would be that it tends toward a fatter line than on some papers I've used. (I'm finding that line thickness has much to do with paper used as it does the nib.) Also, there are sometimes "spots" on the paper that seem kinda waxy. I know its treated to resist humidity, so that's probably got something to do with it.




My lady has a ton of fabric, I've only ever seen her sew like 3 or 4 things since we've been together (5.5 years) but she's long resisted getting rid of it all. In fact she got a brand new sewing machine and a surger for her birthday 2 years ago and has never used either one. Anyway, I'm glad she was hoarding it all now, cause I raided it for stuff that might make suitable journal cover materials and I found a nice stack of stuff I think would look nice. Most of them I had myself in mind, but I might make some as gifts for various ladies in my life too, so I grabbed a few out I thought they'd like.




She has some ribbons too but they're all too fru-fru for anything I'd want, and most are too wide. I thought she had a rotary cutter too, but I can't find it. Our kids have raided our craft supplies a lot over the years and stuff is a jumbled mess. I did find some thick crocheting thread in "natural", and some really thick crocheting thread in orange. I am not sure if the latter is too thick, and the former too thin but I'll experiment.




I ran to the store and got some needles, to attempt to do the 2-needle coptic stitch, with all 6 needles since TMLee said it creates a tighter bind, and I'm definitely looking for that. I also grabbed an awl to punch my pages, and some white elmers glue (which IS PVA glue, in case you didn't know)


I cut down 3 or 4 sheets of the 23/35 paper (man what a pain that is) by folding it a few times and trimming off the excess using a wooden ruler with a metal edge, and hobby knife. I have no type of "square" to check, or bone folder so I folded them all by hand, compressed with some heavy stuff for a bit and then marked and punched the holes.






Once I had heavy stuff piled on that to squash it flat, I took an extra signature I had and cut the plastic hobby board down to size. Trying to eyeball for squareness via the lines on the self healing matt.




I've identified some challenges I'm having. My craft area is cluttered and dusty. Causing me to get the paper pretty dirty. I'm sweating and leaning on the paper, causing my skin oils to get on it, which will suck when writing on it later. I don't have a bone folder so have been using my thumbnail to crease, which will exacerbate the skin oils issue. Also, sweat plus dust = dirty paper. Can't find the rotary cutter anywhere and not sure I'll ever find it, so might have to put that on a shopping list with bone folder and more appropriate stitching chord.


I tried making a pocket flyleaf and glueing that together was nearly a disaster. Not sure how TMLee does that, but I definitely need to iron out that process. I'd like an elastic, but I'm nowhere near ready for that level of complexity, not to mention I don't actually have any and my "project" budget is still needing to recover from the "I'm gonna repaint my bicycle flat black" endeavors. Still haven't figured out how to get those cables back on right...




I'm pretty much dead in the water until I find the rotary cutter.

http://www.behance.com/rgdesignhouse • Ghost Letters Pen-Pal: Sir Francis Drake

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  • Nonstickron


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Your post has me chuckling.


One of my first rules of crafting is clear (and clean) your workspace; give yourself room to work. If, as you say, your work area is dusty, clean it up first. Dust and grime is no friend of paper (I work in a print shop).


I see you have your paper upright against a wall; ideally, it should lay flat so it will stay flat. The way you have it there, it will begin to warp before long. If you plan on making notebooks/journals out of all that paper, consider finding a print shop with a guillotine and having them cut it down to 8.5 x 11" (or your preferred size). They'll charge a fee, of course, but it will, at the very least, be cut uniformly and saves wear and tear on your wrists and sanity. You can also let them know which way you want the grain of the paper to run, which will help with folding.


As far as a folding bone goes, you say you have kids? I'm sure there is at least one old, broken, clear, plastic ruler around somewhere, right? In the absence of a real folding bone, the edge of a plastic ruler will work (just don't use a coloured ruler; some of the colour could transfer). It won't be the best but it will save your fingernails (trust me on this one). The ruler won't last long but until you get a real folding bone, it will work.


I'm not sure what you want the rotary cutter for... to cut the fabric for the cover? Sewing shears will work in the interim. Use a pencil or tailor's chalk to mark your cut line and use scissors. I have a rotary cutter but I rarely use it. I much prefer to work with a good pair of scissors.


I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. And, keep in mind my advice is only worth what you paid for it. ;)

Your life is the result of the choices you make. If you don’t like your life, it’s time to start making better choices.

- unknown -

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Well done Nonstickron,

you're on your way ... :D


I assumed wrongly, I thot it was cm , but its in inches ! and that is large !

faster to get your papers trimmed down to size commercially.


you have SPACE !

and thats a great convenience :)


yes a rotary cutter is best for what you are gonna do.


nice matt black bike too :D


(use an ordinary box cutter with snap-off blades, you dont need an Xacto one. The snap-off blades give you very sharp blades anytime you need them, which is what you really need as you go thru the various stages of bookcrafting - there will always be times when you need to cut precisely and cut once thru with one pass , this is when you need a very sharp blade. )


You also need a brayer.


And a steel straightedge , not a wooden ruler.


Good luck and work safe ! :D

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Great start! You will see once you have done the first journal, your mind will be all like "well, it wasn't as hard as I thought!".

By the way, from the pictures looks like the orange thread is ok. The other one looks too thin. Also, it would be great to wax it, but if you don't have beeswax it's not that important. If you need anything I can help, just let me know!!

You are welcome to visit my blog: http://gatzbcn.blogspot.com/ and that is my shop: https://www.gatzbcn.com/shop

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I did get some beeswax, I have a friend with a beehive.


What size roller if I'm mainly doing 5.5x8.5 notebooks with the occasional small one?


A 3inch or 4inch wide roller is more than sufficient.

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Ok, wiped down my project table and everything on it. Definitely feel like I can work here now. Wish it was a bit bigger for cutting down those 23x35inch sheets, but I'll make due. (No I'm not gonna have a shop do it, would defeat the point of using free paper.)


I have a bookshelf nearby thats mostly covered in paints. Have to keep everything up high, away from where the 3, 4, and 4 year old can reach it. The stuff I worry about them ruining, or using to ruin something else, anyway.



http://www.behance.com/rgdesignhouse • Ghost Letters Pen-Pal: Sir Francis Drake

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Love the small notebooks!

Your life is the result of the choices you make. If you don’t like your life, it’s time to start making better choices.

- unknown -

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I went to dig through the wife's cutters the other day and a corner cutter was the first one I picked up. I was very happy :)

Pens: LAMY Safari Medium Nib with Delta Blue in converter, Bright Yellow LAMY Safari Fine Nib with R&K Helianthus in converter and a Baoer 051 with Deep Dark Purple in, you guessed it, a converter...

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What are your thought on binding with yarn? I ask because my fiancé has quite a lot of it in various colors and textures. It seems thicker than chord, until you pull it taught, then it seems like it might be ok.


I'm actually going to use plastic hobby boards as book boards. They almost seem like very very dense foam. I hope they work. I'm a tad worried about how well the glue will adhere to them.


My lady found the rotary cutter. (YAY!) I need to stop after work to grab some blades for it though.

http://www.behance.com/rgdesignhouse • Ghost Letters Pen-Pal: Sir Francis Drake

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Im not sure yarn would hold up to the stress of pulling and staying pulled, depending on what the fibers are it may snap, but they are just fibers twisted together and more spun in as the yarn is spun. Maybe some knitters could help you with more info on that

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