Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Israel Journal Update: The leather is here and book binding is underway.

Oh, the smell of leather! It summons me back to endless days in childhood, riding my horse through wooded trails and along back country roads. The clip-clop of her hooves, birdsong and the creak of saddle leather filled many joyous days. These days frequently come to mind with rolls of leather in my studio. I wish you could be here to enjoy it with me. These are delightful days in my basement studio with wintery winds blowing outside and a toasty fire in the little fireplace. The crafting of an Israel Journal begins with premium Horween cowhides. Yes, entire sides of hides. Since they are from an actual animal, there are occasional scrapes, scratches, and holes to work around as I make the cuts. In my case I measure multiple times and say a prayer before a rotary blade touches this leather. So far, so good....

After carefully measuring and cutting to cover size I end up with a stack like this. I then will strategically punch holes along the spine area for sewing and other holes to keep the journal safely enclosed when not in use.

Each page of text and watercolor has been individually torn to size, folded, stacked in 3 page signature groups, the spines of each pierced with carefully measured holes so that the signatures can be hand sewn to the leather covers. Here I am applying the endsheets to the fist and last signatures. The endsheets host the names of random locations we visited while in The Land. 

Following this, it is time to sew the text block (the folded and stacked signature pages) to the leather cover.

I love this stage! A few are nearing completion. Just a few more steps in the process....

...and then I must build piles!! 

As the stash increases, I will update concerning the finishing touches on the journal and a way for you to purchase, should you desire. Thank you so much for your interest in this project. Many of you send encouraging emails and phone calls. My prayer has always been that this will be used to the Lord's glory and to honor His holy name. May it be a sweet smelling sacrifice. I would love to hear from you, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section of this blog.

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and may your Christmas season be blessed with family, friends, laughter and most of all with the One whom it is all about.

     "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
       For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
       And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
       In the house of David His servant --
       ......To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
       Might serve Him without fear,
       In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days....
                                                                              Luke 2:67-69, 74-75

Blessings to you all,

Friday, October 3, 2014


Oh my! On the drawing board today (quite literally)....choosing leather for the cover of the Israel Travel Journal. The leather is luscious. The fragrance is rich.

This is amazing leather and I can't wait to see how the finished product will look.

Meanwhile I have been tearing pages day in and day out. Each little section you see here represents one journal. There are 32 per box in this picture, plus another box partially filled, over 100 copies so far..... But what am I doing sitting here at the computer, I have more work to do!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's home!!

Guess who is home? After 5 hours on the road and a heavy load for my midsized car, the little art book has arrived safely home. Though it is all just sheets of paper now, it will become a book very soon. My sweet husband unloaded the car, packed the boxes of printed pages in our Polaris and backed up to my basement studio...

It was a pretty heavy load.
All laid out on our basement kitchen counter. (The little kitchen too, is a work in progress, as you can see)
It seems weird, but these stacks of boxed-up pages are so exciting to see. It represents hour upon hour of work, but it is one step closer to the finished product.

In the midst of all the hub-bub we had a couple of twins dressing up for the 4th birthday of their precious cousin. They are pretty excited to get to that party, fairy wings and all!

Hummm, how did these pictures get in here anyway?

Meanwhile downstairs in the studio, I have been tearing pages. Page after page after page. Yeah, its a lot of work, A LOT of work, but how else does one get those lovely torn edges?
Studio set up.

Tearing the pages includes ripping off the unwanted white
margin of each side of each sheet of paper.  Like this....
.....and this.....
....and finally THIS!

I end up with a lot of this!

And finally get this! Stacks of book block waiting for folding and binding....
but that is another post for another time.

You may be wondering what the finished project will look like. What is the cover to be? Well, stay tuned in to this little blog....

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer in the Studio

Today I sit in my studio and a cool breeze blows. It is an uncommon, yet so lovely, coolish August in Michigan. Typically the pond is low at this time of year, the grass a rain-starved brown, the heat and haze of hot summer prevailing. Not so today. It is mid-70's, refreshing and energizing. The proof copies wait at the printers, and I wait for word from them.

A couple views of the proofs.

As I wait, I have still been productive. See those stacks of folded papers in the background? Those are 2009 Israel Journal "cast offs" that I have been using to make prototypes for the 2012 Israel Journal.   My first choice has always been a leather cover, which seems natural for a travel journal, don't you think? So, using left-overs and cast-offs, and some leather I had purchased a couple of years ago, I have begun playing with construction design for the new journal. Here is what I have come up with so far:
The dark thread (third from the top) just arrived yesterday, and is what I had in mind all along. I like it. New leather samples should be here any day now. All this behind-the-scenes stuff is pretty exciting in my little 40 acres piece of woods! (And the luscious smell of leather doesn't hurt either.)
One more thing I haven't mentioned yet. There will also be notecards, for those who still send wonderful little notes via snail mail. Two different sets (8 cards each) will be available. The images on the cards are from both Israel Journals. Set 1 from 2009 Journal, Set 2 from the yet to be released 2012 Journal. These are also at the printers, but will look like this:
Just wanted to let you know that the days are busy and the work is progressing. Thank you for your kind interest. I will keep you updated and would love to hear from you!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Makings of an Illustrated Journal (or Call Me Completely Looney)

The little studio is buzzing - and will soon get even busier. The finished journal pages are at the printers and I am waiting for a proof copy. Until then, there is still plenty to do. Many of you have inquired about the process of getting one of these little art books completed, so in the days to come I will show you the work in progress.

Of course there are many delightful days reliving the journey and pulling rough sketches together. Some of the pages were done on site in Israel. Most were completed after returning home. If you have taken Precept's Israel Study Tour you know it is intense! You definitely get your money's worth. It is truly a study tour, leaving little time to paint or draw during the day. But it is a joy to relive those precious days by perusing photos, reviewing notes and designing journal pages from them.

Hour upon hour in the studio playing hard at work.
Many days the studio looked like this! 

Then....hours of computer work. The rough texture of watercolor paper, the over-spatter of  paint, an occasional smudge, eraser marks - all gets tidied up. If there is an occasional oops, well - not to worry, it is just me keeping life real.

As I await my print order, I've been deciding on cover material. Just what do I want the exterior of the journal to look like? Ideally, it would be full, worn leather - like an old travel journal. But I think some nice papers would also give a pretty cool look. These papers arrived today and there is a whole lot of love in this little studio.
Loving these papers. 2009 Journal, right center. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A New Day....

Have you ever wanted a do-over, a new beginning, to start afresh? I have. This blog is one of them. I had originally set it up to give access to an item I was selling. I had hoped to stay connected with periodic posts.  The travel journal of Israel which I had hoped to sell, did wonderfully. The periodic posts, not so much. End of story.

Out with the old and in with the new. New day, new way....

Hello, I'm Colleen. This is my blog. Here I will journal. Some entries will be serious, some fun, some colorful. A lot like life, huh? I'm still getting my feet under me, so I will share a few sketches from times past until I get going. 

Enjoy, and have a blessed day.

Yum....it's cherry season in Michigan!

Cherry licorice

Cherry orchards.  Subtle theme going, its the way my mind works!