Sunday, 20 September 2009

A Summer of Inspiration

Perhaps it seems as though not much has been going on in the Paperfection shop this summer. But, when we weren't making stuff, we were for sure getting inspired. Tamara fulfilled a lifelong dream and travelled to India and Nepal. Ah, to have seen Mount Everest!Elzeline need not travel far for inspiration. In fact, many people came to us to spend their holidays picknicking by the lake, the river, under the cherry tree or in the ruins of a 1,000 year old castle.
One friend delivered my sewing machine from Holland. Time to explore a whole new medium! I have lots of ideas but must first discover how to work it...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Surprise & Supplies!

Goodie, goodies! We're so grateful: one day we received a huge package from India and Nepal, the next an enormous one from
The Netherlands. From whom?

Tamara, my Paperfection sister, traveled to Nepal and India and is sharing some of the bounty with us. A beautiful bright pashmina,
an embroidered kameez that I love, a cute dress and bangles for her niece, tasty teas, prayer flags, and even some Japanese foods from Holland that I cannot find out here. Also.. some exquisite silks for bookbinding, though I'm not sure about cutting them up just yet!My parents spoiled us with yummy cookies, foods, books, and gifts for our little girl. Even the tablecloth, with a game printed on, was in the box. And, there were fabrics, ribbons and an assortment of wallpaper samples for my books! I use the latter for the inside covers or first pages of my minibooks, I think this looks really funky:Life's also abundant out in the wild. We picked heaps and heaps of blackberries, a few figs, wild fennel... And now I'm happily jamming and chutneying away. A friend suggested blackberry ice cream,
I think I'll give this a try too! I've only labeled and decorated my peach jam jars, so far, so here's a picture. (There's a tutorial coming up about this!)

Friday, 14 August 2009

How to Make a Simple Cahier or Notebook

It is a gorgeous summer in The Pyrenees and many of our Dutch friends are visiting. They come to relax, swim in the lake, enjoy the views and see the vineyards and winery grow. Needless to say, we had fun and I had little time for bookbinding. But, when dear friend Natascha needed a simple travel journal, I wouldn't let her get away with buying a spiral-bound notebook, mass-produced in China.
So, I made her a 'quick and dirty' cahier, in less than an hour.

This was refreshing as many of my painted or appliqued books take me days, even weeks to make.. This fabric-covered cahier is simple but still entirely hand-made and bound, pretty to see and nice to touch. Make one yourself? Here's how!

You will need:
  • 15 sheets of paper, white, coloured or both. I used A4 printer paper (w 297mm x h 210 or 11.7" x 8.3").
  • cardstock or cardboard, same height as but a little wider than your paper.
  • fabric, to cover cardstock, big enough to leave a margin of one or two cm around your cardstock. Iron creases out if necessary.
  • cutting mat, sharp knife, pencil, ruler, and set square if you are a perfectionist.
  • cotton thread, large needle, pair of scissors, one or two beads, paper piercer (optional).
  • acid-free glue (for books or, cheaper, for wood), big brush.
  • bonefolder or wrong side of a table knife.

Step by step:

1. Making the book
a. Carefully fold your 15 sheets in half using a bonefolder or the blunt side of a table knife.

b. Collect these sheets, fold them into one another until you have what begins to look like a book. If you haven't done it already, cut your cardstock the same height and a little wider than your paper, using ruler, set square, knife and cutting mat. Fold in half and slip around your book.

c. Hold your book correct side up and you'll notice that the right margin (where you open your book) is uneven. Cut through cover and pages to make a straight edge.2. Decorating the cover

a. Take your cover off of your pages again, squirt a royal amount of glue onto the front and spread out evenly with a brush (easier with a slightly damp brush). Leave to dry for a few seconds and press onto fabric.

b. Make sure you fold your cover before you glue the back to the fabric too, so it won't get too tight.

c. Cut the fabric off along the edges of your cover.

3. Preparing for binding

a. In the crease of your cover mark one cm from the top and one from the bottom. Between those two dots distribute two more so you create three intervals of the same length (with this size paper 6,33 cm each). You end up with 4 dots.

b. Take a needle (or paper piercer) and pierce through the dots.

c. Repeat this marking and piercing on the inside of your pages
(all at once).4. Binding the book
a. Cut approximately two metres of cotton thread and put through the needle.

b. Pick up your book without cover. From the outside put the needle through the top hole (#1). Pull through and leave a tail dangling that is roughly twice the height of your book.

c. Fold your book back into its cover. From the inside pull needle through the second hole (#2). This time go through both book and cover.

d. From the outside pull needle through hole #3.

e. From the inside pull needle through hole #4.

f. Now go back up again. Put needle through #3 from the outside, then through #2 from the inside.

g. At the top hole, #1, only pierce through your pages, not through the cover. Your threads meet up again so now you can tie a knot
(left over right, right over left). The knot will be neatly hidden between pages and cover.

5. Finishing off: making a pagemarker

a. Take both threads over the top of your pages, place them along the inside fold.

b. A few cms below your book tie a knot, slip on some beads,
tie another knot and cut off excess thread. You now have a fully functional and pretty pagemarker.

c. Leave the booklet to dry for a while underneath a pile of books. Et voilà: your own hand-made cahier or notebook, containing thirty pages (sixty counting both sides), ready to use!
I'd love to see pictures of yours, if you make one!

Monday, 3 August 2009

An Amsterdam Wedding and a Book

A hot summer's day in Amsterdam. An historic house by the canal. Balloons, cocktail dresses, champagne, smiles and the click-click-clicking of cameras. The beaming couple arrive on bikes, sunflowers attached to their handlebars. 'Yes, I'll marry you, you're the love of my life!' Applause, hugs, kisses, a luscious six-tiered cake with summer berries.
And... a personalized Paperfection gift book, hand-painted with the Trinité font and bound Coptic style. I hope I succeeded in making it more of a guy book than a girly journal by leaving out beads and frills and keeping it simple.
The wine, Luscinia Canta, by the way, is a blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon. It was made with loving care too, by my own sweetheart, in the Catalan Pyrenees.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Bird Books for Babies

This was a lovely custom order to make: bird books for (the moms of) little children. Pere gets a green, orange and turquoise bird. For Milena, Magalí and Marçal I appliqued birds in reds, pinks and greens.

Especially embroidering the names neatly took forever but I like how it turned out. Next time, though, I should perhaps use thinner thread or heavier fabric.

I immensely enjoy adding all the little details:

These are coptic bound books with heavy high quality white paper and coloured cardstock. They measure 14cm x 11cm, or 5.5" x 4.3". The books were intended as gifts so I made matching little cards.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Easter Gifts Inspired by Nature

A hot summer seems to have arrived in northern Spain but I'd like to glance back at Easter, if I may. I joined in the Secret Easter Bunny swap (which I blogged about on 17 and 28 March) but so did Paperfection-Holland, aka my sister Tamara.

She was paired up with Jealousy Design, a Swedish artist who creates beautiful jewellery. Jealousy uses natural materials. Her style is, as she puts it herself, 'very variable but often pretty clean design'. At first this scared Tamara a bit because she herself usually makes lavishly ornate and colourful origami objects. So, what to do?

I think she came up with a very elegant version of her star garlands using paper in earth tones, shells, wooden beads and seeds.
A complementary keychain:
Tamara, in turn, received a beautiful pair of earrings from Zsuzsa of ZsBcreations: glass flowers in delicate pink, silver leaves and turquoise swarovski beads. Totally her style! Thank you Zsuzsa! Thanks again Mitsy for facilitating this exchange.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Crochet Flower Books

One of the good things about Art School was: building up a repertoire of skills. So that when you want a specific idea to materialize you have this wide spectrum to choose from whether it is painting, linocuts, using computer programmes or any other method or material.
Only after studying graphic design did I take up some techniques
I considered to be a little too frivolous back then: bookbinding, sewing and now crochet too. But these open up an entirely new range of possibilities, especially once you start combining them. Such fun!

These are my first crochet flower journal and...
I just love coordinated sets of handmade items. So, my Easter Bunny suprise package for Viltalakim also included a crocheted flower brooch. Kim teaches floristry and loves reds, purples and pinks.
She makes amazing wet felt creations herself.

Paperfection Holland, my sister Tamara, (who participated separately in the Secret Easter Gift Exchange - we'll blog about that soon!) threw in an origami keychain in matching colours. The soft toy is also the first of many I sense that are going to materialize...

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Surprise! Easter Presents from Huismus!

Last weekend. My daughter and I just arrived in The Netherlands and my parents threw Merlijne a big party for her first birthday. They served a massive cake with her picture on and had invited the whole family. Merlijne was, however, not the only one to unpack a pile of presents... ...because a suprise package had been delivered for mom too! A box full of gorgeous Easter goodies! We´re taking part in the ´Secret Easter Bunny´, a gift exchange between European Etsy sellers organized and matched by ArtMind. My secret bunny benefactor turned out to be... sweet Simone aka Huismus! Recently, I got to know Huismus a bit when I tagged her to show 16 pictures about herself on her blog. I learned that she travels for work, adores her beautiful son and daughter, and that she loves the colour turquoise. She crochets hats, bags and baby booties and makes beaded jewellery. Little did I know that she was probably already making me some wonderful gifts! With an injured wrist she crocheted me a basket and filled it with chocolate eggs. She created a summer flower scarf for me in soft pastels AND made Merlijne a cute little handbag with handles, buttons, a little bunny and raisins. All presents were beautifully wrapped, tied and labeled with Huismus stickers and tags and there was a sweet hand-written card saying it puzzled her that I live in Spain but love to wear scarves! Just like I mused over the fact that a stewardess calls herself Huismus (a house sparrow but also someone who loves to be at home).

Thank you so much Huismus, thank you ArtMind!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Spring: Life's Alive in Everything

I'd say Spring is well underway for Paperfection-Spain in the Southern Pyrenees! 'It is when life's alive in everything', the poet Christina Rossetti said. The almonds are blossoming (2); they paint the valley with delicate pinks and snowy whites. In my living room cherry branches are flowering too and on my balcony I have some early basil and water cress (3). A few apple seeds I planted for fun are sprouting! All this inspires me to finish two tree books I've been working on (4). And I made a flower brooch for granny's birthday (5). Meanwhile, Paperfection-Holland got soaked again riding her bike to work. She tries to invoke spring by folding countless green stars (9). At the hot springs of Boí hundreds of toads were busy creating new life some three weeks ago (6). We marveled at them, photographed them, and Paper-Holland listed froggy earrings shortly after (7). Spring is also alive in my lemon curd (8): a yummy fresh mix of lemon rind and juice, butter, sugar and eggs. It has the soft yellow colour of newborn chicks.

(1) is a spring poster I made a couple of years ago with almond blossom and a dreamy little fairy. It was never printed so I thought I'd get it out just once more. Let spring come!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Pretty Treasuries

I love to arrange things by colour or theme. Each individual item seems to take on new qualities I hadn't noticed before and the whole is a delight to look at. That's why I enjoy Etsy's treasury feature so much. Members can curate galeries of twelve products that are for sale on the site in whatever manner and order pleases them.

This morning I was happy to find two of our items in especially pretty treasuries. Tamara's Icy Blue Origami Ball looks very fresh amongst these desirables:

My A-Z Journal is definitely not vintage, but look how well it goes with these finds:

Thank you, Warmandsoft and OldFashionedButGood!

Saturday, 28 February 2009

16 Things We Love

Glasfaden asked us to show sixteen things about ourselves and then to tag someone else. She did the same on her blog.

So here are 16 things we love:
1. Our daughter & niece.
2. Observing.
3. Snow-capped mountains.
4. Tapas & also good wine.
5. Mr Paper & also Mr Fection.
6. Making books & ornaments.
7. Cats Frits (pictured), Tommie & Evie.
8. Smiles.
9. Games, having fun & a little competition.
10. More smiles.
11. Colours.
12. Trying new materials & techniques.
13. Cakes, the more sugary, fruity & chocolaty, the better!
14. Themes & colour collections.
15. Even more smiles!
16. Trying more new materials & techniques.

Makalewakan, Lapaperie, Huismus, Paperiaarre and Lacunawork, you've been tagged to show 16 pics about you too!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Birth of Paperfection

In the pre-Paperfection era we always had a piece of paper, a pair of scissors or a crayon in our hands. So when big sister fell pregnant little sister invented her own nine-month project and started crafting a huge welcome present for the baby.
Now the little one's bedroom features a stunning mobile: sixteen intricate origami balls dangling from a mosaic-tiled cross and finished off with beads and bells.

A year earlier big sis needed ten presents for her girlfriends who she was meeting on a decadent trip to Gran Canaria. She learned how to bind books coptic style from the internet and bound, painted and sewed a series of cutesy little friendship books.
Soon after, when everyone in the family had all the journals and origami decorations they could stand, we decided to set our creations loose in the larger world. Paperfection was born!
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