Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jodie's "Mom Gift"

My daughter Jodie has begun collecting postcards. She buys some vintage cards from antique shops. She also LOVES to receive postcards from friends and acquaintances all over the globe. She even has an Instagram account called postal.revival whose purpose is "Reviving old stories in antique and vintage postcards. Celebrating the joy of a handwritten letter."

So when I discovered this idea of turning a vintage postcard into a little journal, I had to try! I decided to make a special postcard journal for Jodie's special mom-to-daughter Christmas gift.

I've never attempted to make a book before, though I've long been interested. Of all the crafts I made in 2016, this little postcard journal may be the craft I'm most excited about.

Here's how I did it:

I found a vintage postcard in my stash. It was 5 ½” x 3 ½” This is the cover of the journal.

I measured on back of postcard to the center 2 ¾ " and marked a line. I then marked dots ¾” from top and bottom along that center line. I marked a third dot at 1 ¾” for the center. Then I punched holes at these three points with a ⅛” hole punch. You could also use a large sharp needle.

I gave my journal a ¼" spine by measuring ⅛" on each side of the center line. I then scored on these lines and folded them to make a crisp spine. Once that was done, I erased all lines and set the cover aside.

Next I cut 20 pieces of paper 3 ¼" x 5 ¼". You could use a handmade paper or other special paper to give a more vintage feel. I used a specialty paper that was part cotton that was translucent and had a nubby texture.

I folded each page in half, then stacked them 4 to a stack. I marked ⅝” in from top and bottom, and I marked the center at 1 ⅝” . I punched holes at these marks. Next I stacked the pages inside each other (one signature) and placed them inside the cover, aligning the holes.

To assemble the book and cover, I cut a piece of string/twine 18” to 24”. I pulled the string/twine through beeswax a few times, then put the string through fingers a few times to warm the wax and infuse it into the string/twine. This strengthens the fiber.

The next step was to thread the needle and sew from the outside of the cover through the center hole of the cover and through the center hole in each page. I needed to go through a few pages at a time to make alignment easier.

Then I sewed from the center of the book, through the top hole, to the outside.

Once again, I sewed from the outside through the center hole to the center of the book.

Finally, I sewed from the center of the book, through the bottom hole, to the outside.

On the spine, I slid the needle under the loop from the center hole to the top hole and pulled the string/twine taut. I tied a surgeon’s knot to secure the pages to the cover. I trimmed one end of the string to about ¾” and left the other end of the string long.

When I closed the book, I noticed that the pages didn’t align properly (too many pages in the single signature). The center pages stuck out more than the pages next to the cover. So I trimned the pages so they are even, ending approximately ⅛” from the edge of the cover. I chose to use scissors with deckle-edge blades to make the edges of the paper purposely uneven.

To finish the spine, I cut a piece of duck tape three times as wide as the spine. Because this journal is so small, I found it easier to work in centimeters rather than sixteenths of an inch. So I cut the tape 3 cm x 9 cm.

I centered the spine onto the tape, being sure to catch the short end of the string/twine under the tape, lengthwise on the spine. I pulled the other end of the string/twine perpendicular to the spine along the back of the cover. To tidy things up, I trimmed the tape at the top and bottom so it didn’t protrude further than the cover.

For a closure, I sewed a button to the front cover, using a second button on the inside of the front cover to act as a stabilizer. It's wise to keep this sewing a little loose so that you can wrap the string/twine once around the entire book, then once around the button to keep the journal closed closed. To make sure the string didn't fray, I tied a little knot in the end.

If you'd like to send my daughter a postcard, let me know. I'll exchange mailing addresses with her for you.

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