Something Pithy Here

"Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop." -- The King of Hearts

I'm an adopted Texan. As they say, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!" I post pictures and opinions as suits my mood, mostly because I can. Hooray Internet! 

So far I have three blogs here. By the Way is the oldest. I started it in 2003. I lost a couple of years to Vox because I was too lazy to bother to export when they shut down. I consider it an exercise in accepting impermanence. When I followed my husband to Singapore for his first expat assignment, I started (T)expatriate: A Southern Girl in Singapore. That covers 2010 and 2011, give or take. Next came Oslo, and (T)expat 2: Norwegian Boogaloo,  in 2012. Now I'm back home, and back on By the Way.

Pix live on Flickr. I toss links out on Twitter when I feel like it. I'm still not sure what to do with G+ but I kinda like it.


Making Books

Tonight I finally finished assembling my Sardi books for an artist's book swap. I'm quite pleased with the results, but this is the first time I've played with this group and I'm a bit intimidated after seeing pictures of some previous swaps. The theme was "Ancestry" so I decided to tell Nana's story about getting the sardines from the corner store when she was first married and living with her mother-in-law, who didn't speak English.

[Long, with lots of pictures!]
I decided on the structure of the book early on--a single sheet fold (maze) from Shereen LaPlantz's Cover to Cover (p. 90). I built a digital collage of images and text so that the book could unfold to show the entire picture. Originally I thought I'd ask my mom to print the pages for me, so I made the sheet 12 x 18. However, I ran out of time (I am such a good procrastinator!) so I had to come up with a way to get the project done on a regular-sized printer....

I knew I wanted to back the printed pages with patterned paper, so I cut the image up into pieces that would allow me to alternate seams on the front and back sheets.

I printed the pieces larger than necessary so that I could trim them to fit after printing. For my mockup, I trimmed all the panels first and then tried to fit them together. That was not very accurate. It finally occurred to me to register the pieces while they were still oversized, and then cut to the right size through all the layers. Double-stick removable tape to the rescue!

If I had had any idea how much I would end up using the quilting tools I bought in college, I wouldn't have complained so much about how expensive they were. An oversized self-healing mat, quilter's square and rotary cutter are a paper junkie's best friends.

Next I used removable tape to temporarily piece together the patterned backing paper.

I flipped over the backing paper, drew some guidelines, and started pasting my (now perfectly sized and registered) image panels.

Once all the image panels were pasted down, I trimmed the edges all around.

Next I had to make the cut that would allow the single sheet to fold up into pages. Nothing beats a fresh new x-acto blade!

Then I scored all the folds

and with a little sleight of hand, the single sheet becomes pages!

From the original 12 x 18 sheet, I ended up with eight 4.5 x 6 pages.

I made light board covers, wrapped with contrasting patterned paper. The covers are not joined to a spine so that the book can be unfolded back to its original single sheet. I put a picture of Nana on one cover and her mother-in-law on the other cover. The folds result in a book that works "right side up" from either cover for the first four pages.

On the backs of the pages, I pasted the colophon and a descendancy chart.

When the book is unfolded flat, the collage is on one side and the covers and back pages are on the other side. This is the back side:

So, finally, five little books. Three to swap, a prototype to keep, and one for Nana. She gave me the story, after all!

In retrospect, I would have done a few things differently.

  • I think the font I chose is too hard to read. At first I wanted it to be a little old-fashioned-y and difficult, but by the time I was done pasting them all up, it was just irritating.
  • The extra piecing and pasting required by not being able to print a single 12 x 18 sheet was incredibly time-consuming, and I would really prefer not have the extra cuts in the main image. Starting with an 8.5 x 12 sheet would have made the final book very small, though, so I guess I need to either plan further in advance or shell out the dough for my own large-format printer ;-)
  • I would have made the covers slightly larger. As it is, they are almost exactly the same size as the pages. I did this on purpose, so that when you fold the book flat they don't interfere as much, but I think it would look nicer if they were bigger.

It will be interesting to get feedback from the swap group!

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