On happier note, some dreamy images of Europe under snow over at Pia's blog.  Glad that there are some who are enjoying the wintry wonderland.  (Still soliciting good thoughts for my sister's situation!)

So as many of you out there may know, Europe is under snow.  Which means that my sister and her family have been stuck since the weekend.  They've had two flights canceled already, and the third flight, later in the week, is looking uncertain.  With the thousands of miles between California and England, I only get to see them twice a year.  I really hope that they will make it time for Christmas.  I just don't know what we'd do without them!  Please send all the positive energy you can to the airports in  Europe, and to the hundreds of families who are stranded over the Holidays.  photo by mrs. french.

This is my favorite book that I've made thus far.  It was a really personal subject matter -- about a rough time in life that I went through a few years back, that involved my husband having massive jaw reconstructive surgery.  

Because the words are so intense, I wanted the book to feel really delicate, soft and textural.  I also came up with the metaphor of sewing for the way the doctors re-assembled Alex's face.  I used soft rice paper, that I then printed manipulated images of his facial x-rays on.  I loved the ghost like quality of the x-rays!  And then I literally sewed on the paper.  It was so much fun, and I'm so pleased with how it turned out.  Best of all, this one is actually easily reproducible, so I can make more!

This little baby blue has a rounded spine.  And peep holes where you can see the sewing and linen tape. I really love the finished effect of this.  So simple, but elegant.  

This book was supposed to have a kind of google zoom effect.  I used pochoir and guache to illustrate the idea of a local food movement in my own backyard.  I'm thinking about making a poster of these images, all together on one big sheet.  Maybe even selling it?

So this is the long stitch binding, which basically means that you sew the book sections (pieces of folded paper nestled in fours or fives) into the case.  And by sew, I mean literally take a needle and thread and sew!  Before making books, I had no idea that people still did that.  This book is 12 sections -- so 48 pages.  And as you can see, I kind of wanted to have fun with the inside, so I used some paper that I made last spring.

For those of you who don't know, the school I go to has an MFA program in Book Arts.  Even though I'm getting my MFA in writing, I'm still allowed to take these fabulous Book Arts classes, which I have to say is probably the biggest perk to my program.

This semester in my bookbinding class, we focused on traditional structures, as opposed to the contemporary structures that I made last year.  This is a coptic binding, which is one of the oldest ways to bind books in the world!  It originates from Egypt, and there are many variations of it.  This is probably the simplest one, but if you look closely, you can see the braids in the binding. 

I also made a clamshell box to house the book, mostly just for fun because I love making boxes.  It's all about the precision, and my closet perfectionist just adores being let out of the house from time to time.

Next Up: Long Stitch Binding

Guess what I was doing today?  Breaking down wooden type.  On that note, next week I'll be posting some of the book projects that I made this fall.  Have a great weekend, everyone!


Christmas List 2010

Last night I had a good time setting up my Christmas Wish List and sent it around to my family.  It's always fun to troll through the things that have caught my eye through the year, and to point people in the right direction.  Heath Ceramics teapot, Donna Wilson's Nos Da pillow, Rifle stationary, a subscription to the Australian magazine Inside Out, and Lauren Manoogian's gorgeous necklace are amongst this year's faves.

Sadly, when you are in graduate school, enjoying the winter holidays usually gets chucked out because there's about a million and one loose ends to finish up before the semester is over.  This year is much better for me than past years, but still I'm racing to finish.  In the meantime, we did manage to get a mini tree up (with lights), plus a poinsetta, wreath, and paperwhites. I'm listening to my favorite holiday music, and I'm sticking to my vow to try and decorate the inside Scandi-style, using lots of greens and bright candles to soak up the darkness that has fallen across the northern hemisphere.

I'm the kind of body that really gets affected by the darkness these days.  What do you guys do to brighten your days as the solstice approaches?  top: Maria JC; middle: (my fav) Abby Powell; bottom: Sarah Ryhanen.