Saturday, October 3, 2015


crow linocut and collage, 9x12

Did you get to see the full moon eclipse recently? I and my partner went out for a long walk and viewed it for over an hour. I was mesmerized by it's color and beauty.

The next day I came across a facebook post about a pregnant mother who had pinned a safety pin to her blouse to protect her baby.

It reminded me of the story my hispanic mother often told me: She she was pregnant with my sister and she forgot to wear her house keys around her pregnant belly during a full moon eclipse. She looked out to view the lunar eclipse forgetting that she was not wearing her keys to protect her unborn baby. My sister was born with a split upper lip which healed just fine with no trace of it ever being split. My mother was a loving person who did so much for her children. I always felt frustrated that I could not ease her regret felt bad for looking at the lunar eclipse as she believed viewing the eclipse without wearing her keys was the cause. My mother was a loving person who did so much for her children. I always felt frustrated that I could not ease her regret.

I grew up hearing other stories from aunts and uncles ranging from mal de ojo (evil eye) to the infamous la llorona (similar to the boogie man).

I never believed any of these stories yet they fascinated me. I also never thought of myself as being superstitious, but I am. The art tutorial for my hands painting was about my conflict between reality and superstition. One hand reaches for something while the other hand pulls it away.

Despite my knowing my superstitions are baseless, I can't help but follow through on them. I need to wish on that falling star, knock on wood, make a wish when my pendant and clasp meet. It's mostly harmless, and I find I am knocking on wood less often now, but I think I'll always wish on a falling star.

crow linocut with full moon in my etsy shop

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

DIY Art Journal 2016 Calendar

altered book, 2016 calendar, art journal

Back in July, I noticed calendars were already coming out for 2016. I decided I would make my own again this year but with the added space for art journalling.

Altering the Book

Materials Needed:

  • Hardcover Book (I get mine from the local second-hand shops)
  • exacto knife
  • paper for signatures
  • bookbinder's thread for sewing signatures
  • glue (PVA glue for bookbinding is preferred)
  • assorted art supplies for making calendar pages

altered book wip, inside cover

Remove the inner pages by gently cutting the threads that bind the pages to the book's inner spine. To do this you'll open the book as much as possible and cut away at the paper. Be careful not to cut through the cover itself. Above is what remains, after I've removed the book's original signatures.

ItsonlyaDream97 shows this cutting out process in the first couple of minutes in her youtube video.

Making & Attaching the Signatures

altered book, wip, gluing last signature page to cover

Depending on how large your book is, you may need more than 3 holes for your signatures. For a 3 hole signature, please view Alissa Marquess' youtube video.   I used a saddle stitch for binding my pages and used sea lemon's youtube video as my guide.

I used 90lb watercolor paper which will work with a variety of art materials. If you paint very wet, you might need a heavier paper. However, the heavier the paper, the less pages you can have.

After you've made your signatures, there are a few ways you can attach them to the cover. The method I chose glues the signature's page that faces the inside of the cover to the cover.

last page of signature glued to book cover

After you have glued the signature's last page to the inside cover and smoothed out any bubbles, place a sheet of wax paper on top of the newly glued page and place a heavy object on top and allow to dry. Repeat this step for the other side of the inner cover.

Calendar Pages

oblong linocut stamp, 2016 calendar 

For the calendar pages, I carved an oblong, linocut stamp and stamped spaces for the days.

sliver of paper to married signatures

Because I did not sew the 3 signatures as one unit, I glued the last pages of each signature to each other (same method as attaching them to the cover). It's not the most beautiful way to marry the signatures, but while I learn bookbinding techniques, this creative way works for me. To keep the signatures snug, I glue an additional slice of paper to the pages that sandwich the married pages.

To make the pockets for this altered book, I cut off half of one page at an angle and glued that page to the next page in the signature.

I will use this calendar - art journal to write, sketch, draw, jot notes down, and whatever else comes to mind. My gratitudes will also go in this book rather than have a separate gratitude journal.

I had a lot of fun making this altered calendar book and am looking forward to working in it next year.

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