Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here are some last minute place setting ideas from Martha Stewart.

My family is coming in to spend the holiday with us. We started the new tradition of eating at my house because my mother can't find her dining room table in the midst of all her mess! You think I jest? I'll have to post a photo of her dining room one of these days. She'll be mortified, of course!

Time spent with family can be a blessing, or a trial! I'm looking forward to being together, but hope we can avoid another "cheese incident". My nephew who is now 5, is a bit...uh, shall we say...high maintenance. A couple years ago, he had the mother of all temper tantrums because his uncle opened his cheese wrapper for him. I'm still unsure as to what was supposed to happen, whether he wanted to do it himself or have his mother do it. At any rate, it's become a family joke--Whatever you do, don't open the cheese!

I hope your Thanksgiving is a special time with friends and family! I'd love to hear about your holiday, cheese and all, so please share a comment!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Laundry Day

Brace yourselves for an exciting topic! Today is laundry day! This is not my laundry room. I wish it were. Look at all that space. And the cabinets. And the counter tops. You could even iron in there. *Sigh*.

It seems I always get injured on laundry day. I usually end up slamming my wrist, knuckles, or elbow on the agitator of the washer struggling with tangled clothes. Don't they have washers now with collapsing agitators? If so, I need one of those. I've tried front loading washers before, but I don't like bending over and end up sitting in the floor to do laundry.
This is not my laundry room either. Look at all that space she has! Surely though, if this was my laundry room, I'd fall over that chair or smash my elbow through the window.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful to even have a laundry room. Sitting around a laundromat all day isn't much fun. I used to have to do laundry in the garage in our other house. My washer was on one side and the dryer on the other, with the motorcycle restoration project in the middle. I'd leave a trail of laundry across the garage on my way to the dryer...underwear draped over the handlebars, silk shirt dropped on a greasy get the picture.

I had to step down to get into the garage/laundry room. You see where this is going, don't you? Carrying a large basket of laundry, can't see where I'm going, steps involved...on my butt I landed with the basket sailing across the garage. The dog thought I was trying to kill him by means of suffocation in a mountain of laundry. I couldn't have aimed better if I tried. Poor dog, draped in dirty clothes (a dog's dream!) peeking timidly out at me. "What did you do that for Mom? Am I bad? And why are you on the floor?"

It's nice to have a room designated for laundry, and not in a cold garage. However, I blame my injuries on a tight space. Would it have been too much trouble for the builder to have extended the room by just a few feet, allowing me to be able to turn around in the room?!This is my laundry room. I ran out of cabinet space, so I bought some plastic crates for storing beach towels and doggie items. I have to climb on top of the washer to get to them. Convenient, isn't it?

I like having a utility tub, but I use it mainly for storing the dog food container. Sometimes I back into it or trip over the legs.

Usually I have a ginormous dog kennel in the laundry room, you know, the wolf size one. A little overkill for our greyhound mix, but we had no idea how big he was going to be and overestimated. Oh well, if we ever get a lab or golden retriever we'll be set. Anyhow, I often hurt myself carrying the kennel out into the hall so I can get to the washer. The poor walls are so beat up from me ramming into them. And moving the kennel isn't an option. The only room big enough to put it in is the living room, and I don't prefer it in there! (It doesn't match my decor!)

For all my complaining, I guess I have it good after all. If I could just be more careful and not hurt myself so much! But if the wish fairy is granting extraneous wishes this season, perhaps she could magically give me a few more feet of laundry space...please? And a fancy new washer, klutz-proof, preferably!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Sticky Subject!

Here is a technical posting for all you bookbinders out there, or anyone trying to glue paper to another surface. I hope you'll find it to be a helpful resource! I originally wrote this article for our BEST team blog and have incorporated the information left in comments and have some new information as well based on my latest personal experience.
With all the adhesives and glues on the market today, it can be difficult to know what to use for the application of bookbinding, particularly if you’re new to the art.

Not Recommended!

When I first started tinkering with bookbinding, I had no one to mentor me and was just learning from experience. I certainly learned what NOT to do!! I got a book on simple bookbinding and they recommended using glue stick for their step-by-step projects. Lesson one—DON’T use glue stick! It may be quick and easy to use, but over time the glue hardens and cracks, causing the paper to pull away from the book board, ruining all your lovely work. Someone recently recommended Tombo’s glue stick to me, which reportedly does not do that, but I have been unable to find it to give it a try.

Another product on the market is YES stik flat glue found at most craft stores. A bookbinder I took a class from actually recommended this glue (!!!!). It won’t wrinkle delicate papers and is water based making for easy clean up, but it's messy to use and I invariably end up with most of it on my fingers and transfer to everything I touch! I've been told YES paste will darken paper over time, even though it claims to be acid free. For that reason, I don’t recommend YES. I've particularly had problems with it pulling away from the board with slightly heavy weight papers. In fact, I'm trying to use it up on a project I've been working on and that very thing just happened! Now I've got to re-glue the entire thing! Grrrr!

Why is it that when you're trying to to conserve something, it goes away twice as fast, but when you want to use it up, it won't ever go away? That is my story with YES glue.

**Note added later- I just threw away my jar of Yes glue. It ruined my project and this is the last straw! After my paper popped off my project, I tried to reapply first PVA, then white glue over top of the dried Yes glue. It acted as a stripper, peeling off the Yes glue and not sticking to the paper. I had to strip the entire sheet first before being able to reuse it! The sheet is now damp and wrinkled and I'm hoping a night in the press will flatten it out.

Good Glue!
Wheat paste is a glue used in traditional bookbinding and is still in use today. The great thing about it is it can be made in batches according to how much you anticipate needing. There are many recipes for wheat paste or rice paste; here’s one from Solar Cooking. has a video tutorial on making wheat paste.

PVA is another highly recommended glue and can be mixed with methyl cellulose to slow down the drying time, allowing for repositioning. Menthyl cellulose is also good as a thinning agent for the PVA glue. It is not a good idea to thin the PVA with water because it can affect the stability of the glue over time.

Noted bookbinder Peter Goodwin recommends SuperFlex PVA glue by Fuller in his YouTube video, appropriately titled “Glue”. This very basic tutorial shows the technique he uses to apply his glue and some helpful tips.

Cindy from The Paper Studio also recommends a PVA glue and demonstrates the technique of gluing for book covers in this YouTube video, “How to Glue for Bookbinding".

One last resource is this great site that gives glue advice called "This to That". I love their slogan--"Because people have a need to glue things to other things"! I wish I'd had this info years ago!! Oh, the trials I could have avoided!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My first show

I finally bit the bullet and participated in a craft show. I tend to stay away from them because they seem like so much work, getting inventory ready, pricing everything, preparing your display, and traveling to the show. It kind of reminds me of holding a yard sale (except without the travel)! I've had some bad experiences having yard sales, but that's for another post!

This show was put on by our ACE (Amazing Carolina Etsians) Team and hosted in one of our teammate's home. We had a lower than expected turn out, but most of us did okay. The best part was getting to meet each other in person--I would have attended just for that!

I learned a lot from this show and hopefully will attempt another show at some point. The picture above is of my display table. I think it was too small, or else I crammed too much on it! I should have done a trial run at home with the display, but I ran out of time trying to get all my stuff together. I was even pricing things in the car as my husband drove! Maybe I'll be better prepared next time!
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