First off, I lied. I wanted to convince myself that the light rub of Paint Stix did the trick toning down the tissue paper and highlighting the wrinkles. But each time I came into the studio and saw it, my nose crinkled up. The rub of green just looked dirty to me.
So I pulled out some acrylic paint after all, thinned it down, and practiced on the parts that would be the inside of the covers until I was sure I wouldn't get too dark of a layer that would totally obscure the print. You can see how much darker this front inside cover is, and the back inside cover is even darker. I'm much happier with the outside of the covers now and it shows the texture much better.
So with all parts measured and cut and punched with sewing holes and the outside part of each cover carefully slit, it was time to thread a needle and start stitching. I had to laugh at our teacher starting out the video instruction with apologies for how long the preparation was (and I made it even longer!), but now we could get down to the fun part. And she was right. While this stitch looks complicated, it really is not, and was a joy to do.
Once all the signatures and covers were sewn together, the ribbon ends were fed through the slits to the inside of the folded covers (the long middle one also traveling back out near the edge), it was time to get fiddly again. Lots of glue to hold a piece of cardstock stiffener inside each folded cover before more glue to adhere both sides together, hiding those ribbon ends. Of course, the book, essentially finished, must quickly go under weights until the glue is firmly dried.
When I pulled it out from under the weights today, I was so pleased with how it looked, and the covers are nice and firm, almost as if they were made of bookboard. Best of all, the book lies perfectly flat as you page through it and the gaps between signatures is slight (partly because of the fineness of the thread I used). It is such a usable size at 5" x 7" and I have to tell, you, every time I open it, I just want to grab a pen and start writing!