Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mmmmm Vanilla

I love real vanilla flavor in just about everything... Where I live it's pretty expensive but I bought some on the internet and made vanilla essence out of it. The recipe is pretty simple - just add vodka and lots of patience as this little miracle takes a few months to be ready! Just store in a dark place and shake the bottle from time to time. I'm not good with measurements and following complex recipes and quantities but I am fairly sure I put more vanilla then the recipe states so it's gonna be a strong flavored essence. This vanilla is so perfumed - it is called Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla and it has a stronger flavor as opposed to the Tahitian one that is a bit fruity and goes best for drinks and such (just my internet digging, I have no idea how Tahitian beans smell)
Here it is, my magic potion... I guess around Christmas I'll be able to offer little bottles of essence to my family and friends :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vestige - Leather Journal with Vintage Ornaments

This is one of my favorite journals so far - I have a passion for really old metallic stuff and I was lucky enough to find these two pieces of ornaments at a local fare. I haven't changed their look at all - these is how I bought them and they seem to come from a really old piece of furniture or such. They have a wonderful patina and I used them as a part of my design, creating the appearance of two doors.

The leather I used for this journal's cover is a beautiful sturdy matte leather. I think it goes great with the metallic gate.
I engraved a wood pattern on it and painted it with leather pigments. I've just uploaded it in my shop and already got two appreciation hearts :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

C'mon Baby Light My ArtFire

Artfire has a wonderful deal these days! Only 5.95$ a month for a Pro account!
I recently set up my Baghy shop at Artfire - I hear it's a wonderful community with helpful folks.
There are two types of accounts - free (basic) and pro. Neither accounts have to pay for listing items and there are no fees for selling through them. The Pro accounts holders have to pay a monthly subscription which is currently 15.95$ - which is less then I pay on my Etsy monthly bill. And I even sold a journal even though I haven't taken much care of this shop yet. But now they have this awesome deal for 50.000 people tops. Thing is, you have to opt in for this deal and only if at least 20.000 people sign up, then the offer becomes official and only then they cash in your 5.95$. So I opted in now and have to hope lots of people sign up too. Till now, 3212 people have signed up, and I think they only started yesterday. You have to sign up for a basic account first.  So come out, come out wherever you are... Hope to see you there :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall Leaves Fall

I've given up sweeping leaves in my garden... Once I'm done, I look around and it seems like I haven't done anything. 
Instead, I embraced the fall leaves and enjoy walking on the leaves colorful carpet.
 As I usually do, I passed my mood to my journals so here they are - little cutout leaves in fall colors that I'll sprinkle on the journals when I put them in the envelopes. 
What they'll serve for, I don't know - maybe the addressee will use them for scrapbooking or just have a little fall happening when they open the package.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wood Buttons

Oh, happy day! There's nothing that makes me happier these days then interesting materials. Today I received a lovely package with wood buttons, from TheHickoryTree Etsy shop... they are just so sweet and have a perfect finishing - I can't wait to put them on some of my journals... And the big ones...oh, I have interesting perspectives for them :)
I love wood embellishments as they go so great with leather! Here they are:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gunfight at the OK Corral

Once in a blue moon, I take a custom order that I find particularly interesting. Usually I stay away from journal custom orders as I end up working much more on making that journal then I foresee. Beside, I am never sure if it worked out as the customer pictured it and I am always stressed out not knowing if I'll get my best feedback ever or the worst one. Anyway, this time the task was to make a book out of some documents that attest the legendary gunfight in Arizona, known as the "Gunfight at the OK Corral".

The book had to have the look and feel of a book from the old wild west. I thought that is really cool as the actual handwritten testimonies of the men involved in that gunfight are to be found on the internet, scanned at good resolution. The documents were recently found in a jail storage room.
The documents were yellowish with stains from old adhesive tape so I had to put them on a similar background so that when I'd cut the prints to size, there wouldn't be any white borders left or anything strange. I decided to print them in color, as if I were to print them in grayscale and then tan them they wouldn't look as good.

There were 8 testimonies and a cover sheet so I wanted to separate them somehow so I created some extra pages in between them, also on old paper background, using an old typewriter font to write which testimony that was.

It was lovely to discover details about the original files, like the type of paper used, the size of the documents and the binding type, all from little clues found in the pictures. I tried to stay as close as possible to the original.

Because of the size of the documents, I had to print A3 sheets that would contain two different pages on each side that I then folded in half. The hardest and most time consuming task was to figure out which page continues with which one, cause due to the binding would be like... page 37 continues with page 54 and so on.

Then, out in the town to find the best printer service - I made sample pages at about four different locations - one was too contrast, another made unequal borders that made the binding center offset compared to the other side of the sheet, another made the pages much too shiny, and finally I found one that printed them with a nice color and feel. I opted for thicker pages as if I were to print all the documents on normal paper, the book, which is quite large, almost letter size, would have the feel of a flimsy magazine.

After I trimmed the pages, found a distressed leather piece and sewed the pages in, the real fun begun - I folded the pages just a bit, then ironed them, to have these subtle creases that give it a nice look.

Then, I torn just a bit the edges and sanded the corners - now the page look much better and authentic.

I added a belt with a vintage buckle and distressed the leather even more, tanning it with sepia pigments.
The last part was painting the journal - my favorite part :)

Although making this book was a very difficult project, I love the outcome so much that I would keep it!

I just have to hope the customer likes it too :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fall Bookmarks

I love to let nature inspire my works - and now that fall begun in my part of the world, I made these lovely leather bookmarks with acorns theme, engraving the drawing first then adding gold, green and brown shades to them. I think they came out very nice and plan to keep some of them for the books that I read these days.