Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Hate HTML...

Sorry if the tutorial been popping up in your reader like gazillion of times. I'm trying to line up the images properly and it's really annoying me. So for the moment I'm just going to leave it until I can rectify it or until someone can help me out...

Tutorial: Greeting Card Recycled Notebook

I'm big on repurposing objects. One of the things I repurpose are greeting cards, festive season greetings, birthdays and such like. They have lovely prints on them and too nice to just throw away. The cards I used are the 15cm by 15cm variety, I take the front print and use the plain back to punch out gift tags. Interestingly I'm running out of cards and if anybody feel like donating and would like to get rid of them, send them down my way. More than happy to get them off your hands for you.

This particular method I'm showing is called the '3 hole binding' it was taught to me in uni and I found it again in one of Keith Smith's '1-2-3 Section Sewing' book. I hope the instructions are clear enough...

We start of with five sheets of A6 paper folded in half, a section. Fold another to make two sections. (In this picture there are several sections ready folded)

Here are a bunch of pre folded greeting cards waiting to be sewn.

This is how the card should be folded, it sort of forms a W with a very low middle, one low peak and two valleys. Cut it down to the same height as the sections.

Line up one of the section with the card along one of the creases, open up the folded section and using a sharp point, punch a hole through the section and card. In my case, I used an embroidery needle with a large eye.

Create three holes. Here you can see the three holes along the crease of the opened section.

line up the second section with the first to create the same corresponding holes.

Now you have two sections ready with holes that lined up for sewing.

Using the holes that were already marked previously on the card, use the needle to create holes for the other valley.

Here you can see the holes all lined up along the valley creases of the card.

Starting from the middle hole, thread the needle through the first section and all the way out through the other side of the card and through the second section.

The black arrow shows the path of how the needle is going to go.

Here is the needle back at the first hole it started. Once the needle is through, tighten the stitching.

Lie the two ends of the thread on either side of the middle stitch.


Create a knot so that the middle stitch is held down by it.

Like so, do a double knot so it'll stay put.

Turn the finished sewn book over and fold the book at the crease and use a bone folder to crease down firmly.

Close the other side of the book and repeat.

If you find your book opens up by itself is because the creases are still fresh and you just need to put it under weight for a while.

And there you have you own little notebook. It has about 40 sides to write on and it fits inside your wallet even.

These are the little notebooks that I give out in my classes for the students to write their notes in. I've ran out and I'll need to make some more...

You can make them any size, you can even use the whole greeting card. It's all up to you. Let me know how it went, did you make yourself a bunch of little notebooks?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Old School Album Class & Notes On Upcoming Classes

Proud faces from left: Suzy, Fizah, Siti, Kay, Shao Ling and little Oscar.

Well, my second class for albums. I had a basic class that morning and the last students finally left at half one, and 15 minutes later Shao Ling turned up with Oscar!  She wanted to get the good seats, ie nearest to me and came early. Funny incidents really that sunday afternoon. My soon-to-be was entertaining Oscar with Batman cartoons and chocolate. Our new kitten Shazam was streaking in and out of the living and dining room, and fell asleep on Kay's bag. Everybody was looking at Suzy's notes because they forgotten some of the steps and she was the one with the complete notes she took from beginners class. Siti, I still remember, from being a none arty person made her album with a flurrish, complete with twirled ribbon and I quite like how she attached the hearts, told her I'm borrowing that idea. Shao Ling worked really fast, and finished before everyone else. Somewhere in the middle, Lian and Nonah turned up with little Ern Ern and maid in tow, a plate of yummy yam cake, the album she made in class last week and the skeleton cover she just made that afternoon. She was having challenges with it and wanted my opinion immediately, hence why she came over. Problem was solved and they went home happy. Nonah made me proud, within a week she had made three books and two albums since the intermediate/advance class last week!

The albums everybody had done all came out beautifully. Beautiful covers of silk and satin with complimentary bows and ribbon ties. They were really excited with the final outcome. The particular stitching method we used was what I dubbed as the corset binding.

I shall post up detailed shots of the kind of album made for this class as soon as I remember to take the pictures.

The last intermediate/advance class for this month for stab binding, aka old school albums, is this sunday. Then I'm taking a couple of weekends off to have some me time and make a date with the sea. I'll post up dates for classes beginning April, some of the previous students have already reserved spots for the long stitch, I'll just have to work out which day it's going to be held.

So next month schedule I'm planning on one beginners stab binding class, one intermediate/advance class and two long stitch classes. Possibly the same goes for May, maybe. No classes for June that's for sure, am going to be pretty occupied *grin*

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Golden Legacy Limited Edition Books

The three limited editions

My brother gave me the soft copy of his writings and wanted it to become a book, sort of a physical manifestation of his soon to be publication. He wanted to have the books ready for our parents birthday and gift to them during the birthday party we organised.

One of the chapters in the book

I spent a whole afternoon just getting the pages printed out in the right order to collate into sections ready for sewing and at least 48 hours under weight to make sure the sections folded flat.

Chose the long stitch binding as it was the easiest (in my mind) binding to do. But I had a bitch of a time with the materials I chose to use for the covers. The spine was a dark red thai silk and the front and back cover were kain tenunan (hand woven cloth with gold threads) that was used as a wedding outfit for my other brother almost 20 years ago, these were the leftover pieces I used.

The author of the book

Three editions were produced, one each for mum and dad, and the other for my brother.

I feel that the books have a lot of significance for my parents, the written words came from their eldest son, the first child, the material used as the book cloth have the memory of the second son wedding, the second child, and the books themselves were made by their second daughter, the fourth child.

Love it when things have reasons and meanings behind them.

Now my brother wants me to make another ten books. Told him it'll have to go in the queue and it'll be a different edition run altogether, the second unofficial printing but with a soft cover this time *grin*

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Current Love!

I saw this on Amazon. No clue what inside would be like...

Went out and bought it
(Sister went on day trip to Singapore, asked her get it there, bookshops here sucks, seriously)

She came home and handed book over.

I opened it up and...


It's beautiful!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More Students & New Book Making Class

They have all increased their skill level up by one. Yay! With just this one basic binding skill, they are able to use it in various ways, guest books, albums to name a few. For me, hello birthdays and christmas presents, you're set for the year *wink wink*

Clockwise from top left: Siti, Ong Yin, Shazana and Huwaida

Huwaida was so hyper I had to tell her to stop asking so many questions and listen so we could start the class. After a while, she actually managed to calm down enough to concentrate on making her book. See, patience... Ong Yin got interested when she learnt about bookmaking from my sister, Siti was finding her talent and Shaz got to do the class as a birthday present.

Clockwise from top left: Jasmine, Felicity, Hanah, Iman and Suzie

Iman is my youngest student to date, she's only 7 years old and man, look at that book of hers, it's colour coordinated I tell you. She had a bit of help with the cutting of the boards, apart from that, she did everything herself. Maybe it's all the training she got from her mom Kak Jazz since her mother is a scrapper. I was told the older sister was quite jealous when Iman came home with her book.

Fel came in between her work shift, a five hour lunch break imagine that. Suzie never believed she could do something like this, and Hanah was looking for something different, she's a freelance graphic designer, she did the logo to that scrapbook place at the mall.

Back from left: Adeline, Angeline, June, Meela
Front from left: Elia, Martin, Lin

This group was fun, noisy and rowdy. Jun brought along pizza (more food). Martin was the first male to venture ever since I started doing the class. He did feel a bit girly at one point but at the end, felt very proud that he was able to acomplish making a book, he's gifting it to his mother. Meela and Martin were competing who could make their book better, she was heckling him during the class. Adeline brought Angeline along (she was suppose to do class last week but came down with chicken pox and Ade figured it'll be good to get her sister out of the house after being cooped up all week long) and they worked as a team, they had the most complete notes ever.

And just after class started the power went out and we had to do it in the dark and it was a hot afternoon (it was to do with a sub station in town that blew up), fortunately the electricity came back on.

From left: Bing, Fifah, Chiong and Lulu (seated)

My first morning class. Started very late because some of them came late, appologies to those who came on time. Very quiet, not sure if it was because everyone was still sleepy or was just concentrating on making their books. The food was all gone though that's for sure. Good news we finished on time, everyone worked fast. Chiong went fancy with his book, he even made a locking tie for his out of the chinese coins that were available.

I have the first intermediate stab binding class this sunday, we'll be making albums and I'm cutting back on the basic stab class because I want to put in the long stitch binding class. I did a trial using a soft cover for the book and it worked well. Am thinking that there's a possibility that we could make two books in one class, one type of binding, two different variations in the same three hours slot. Hmmmm....

Also I was requested to slot in a Friday class as well, my other non working day apart from Sunday, any takers? If there are demands for it I can schedule that in somehow...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Red Black Oriental Journal Book

"This is starin' at you kid" (complete with a drawl of an accent)

This book I'm loving. Request for a customised book, red, black and oriental. In my mind I was like, yeah, I'll find that brocade material in red and black with the cherry blossom pattern on it. I've seen in before and I though it'll look well nice.

Nope, couldn't find the material. Damn, now what? I got red and black, but what can I use for oriental? There was a reason why I have lots of these old chinese coins isn't it, because it was waiting to become this, a chic sophisticated book.

I used my all time favourite long stitch binding, which echoes perfectly with the vertical pattern that's happening on the cover and the alternating black and red sections from the exposed spine. And the way the coins were held in place is no accident either, my subsoncious mind works in mysterious ways, so there were lots of vertical lines happenings here.

Detail shot, love the end sheet.

For the inside of the covers, I used a black indian paper with silver skeleton leaves print. I always love these print papers, works wonderfully for this book. The end sheet gave an interesting contrast to all the red and black. Very striking as the cover is turned. You can see how the coin sort of float in the space.

The client loved it when the book was delivered to her. Aaahhh, my work is done.

This book inspired me to do more based on this theme. I've been playing around with sketches of placement of the windows, the number of coins, the spine and the binding. I can't wait to try them out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Greeting Pop Up Flowers Book & A Happy Birthday To Muji

Yes I finally gotten around to offloading pictures from my camera, and no I have not found my camera cable yet. Fortunately I could use my fiance's cable since we both have the same digital camera model. It was our Christmas presents.

Photo from Rano

Anyhoo, check this out, I made that purple thing up there that's smack dab in the centre of the picture that Muji (in purple) is exclaiming wow over. (I was informed by the client so it's true, thanks Haryanie) The ones giving it to her were my clients, nicest people ever, they came to see me a couple of times to discuss what they wanted.

They asked for something special, and I invited them to come over to see what I have and discuss on what it was that they were looking for. They liked the idea of the engagement folders that I had made and asked for something similar and supplied me with a photo. And my only other lead was purple, she loves the colour I was told.

My challenge was, how to make it different enough and something that I'm happy with? Rule of thumb, if I'm not happy with it, neither will the client.

And you know what she was looking at?

Pop up flowers greeting card book/folder


It all came together on the nth hour. The right material just happen to land on my table, the right colours popped up and I happen to have all the colours in various forms, like they were waiting in anticipation. I was quite stressed making this but it was worth it. Smart, simple yet stunning. When I presented it to the clients they were really happy with it complete with audible gasp. Hey, it worked! Why, because the element of surprise were the flowers. They popped up.

The partially opened flower

All those pop up engineering books I have helped. I was able to solve the structural problem in order for the flowers to open up properly. It was so simple. Yet so effective.

Detailed shot of the front of the book/folder

And when the covers are closed, it's held by a double bow tie with a cascading flower gems on the front of the purple glittered chiffon covers.

Really love those pop up flowers....


Contact me at