Sunday, December 24, 2023

Holiday Greetings To My Faithful Readers

May your holidays be bright, full of love and laughter and remembrance of those who have gone before us into that good night. 

We didn't get any new snow, but that just makes my walks around the neighborhood easier - don't want any falls dislodging any of the hardware in my back! There are quite a few new renters on my street and not as many decorations as I've seen in the past but these two put a smile on my face - and they are lighted up at night!

And there have been deer browsing behind our row of townhouses and yesterday I noticed one reason why. There is quite the apple tree a few houses down from me and it is still just loaded with apples which the deer obviously love. Sorry not to get a better picture but it's this cheap cell phone of mine . . .

The one was in a staring contest with me while the other soon fled back into the bushes - look at that white tail warning!

So peace to you all! Don't forget to put your feet up and relax, go for a long walk, enjoy any visitors you might have, and maybe sneak in a little creative endeavor. Mine will be knitting on that sock - I've just turned the heel!

Merry Christmas !!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Snuck Up On Me

Gift wrap backed with rice paper & folded into a double pocket

I started working on another gratitude journal last week, knowing Christmas was quickly approaching and I'd better get going if it would reach its recipient as a holiday gift. But as I was perusing the calendar to plan my holiday to do's, I realized I didn't have two weeks left but just one! So I've had to put it aside to work on cards and such but I thought I'd share this nifty trick I tried with the gift wrap. I'm not the only one in the book club that had difficulty gluing gift wrap to bookboard without it bubbling and wrinkling. And I worried that my paper wasn't as strong as needed to keep the pockets from tearing. After much random mulling, I wondered if I couldn't back the gift wrap with rice paper the way one does fabric to make book cloth. But I still wondered about what adhesive to use when I ran across a "hack" for adhering decorative napkins to something like an envelop.* Ahh, here was something else book club members had struggled with when it was suggested to make cover paper using decorative napkins glued to copy paper. I watched the video and it looked too simple to be true How many times have I struggled with a technique that a video had presented as easy? But this time it really was.

So here is all you do. Lay down a sheet of parchment paper and your regular paper (the video showed an envelop with the flap open). Smooth a layer of plastic wrap over that (Saran Wrap is one brand name you are probably familiar with). Finally, lay down your decorative napkin, or in my case, a piece of gift wrap, right side up on top and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Now evenly press the whole thing with a hot iron which will melt the plastic wrap and create the bond between plain paper and the decorative paper. Oh my - did that work slick! Now I can't attest to the longevity let alone the archival quality of this process but for what I am using it for, that doesn't really matter. And I can tell now that by doing this with the gift wrap for covering the boards, I'll have paper I won't have to worry about tearing or not lying smooth when glued. Can't wait to do this to the rest of the pocket paper and the cover paper. But I'll have to because it's back to getting my Christmas card done.

*If you're on Facebook, you can watch the video here, my little gift to you: Cling Wrap Hack

Monday, December 11, 2023

An Alternative To Paint and A Finish

Years ago Washi Tape crossed my radar as a thing. I didn't understand what it was exactly, nor why it was being touted as a must have item but I bought some anyway. The 4 or 5 rolls I bought have remained unopened until the other day. I've gained a better understanding of how to use this tape but still couldn't figure out how to work it into any of my various projects - it just didn't seem to be the sort of thing I'd use. But as I found a page in the gratitude journal to add a gratitude to, but one that did not have the painted borders, it dawned on me that I could put strips of Washi tape around my entry. Oooo, so much less messy than paint, quick and easy, I'm going to have to tape off some other pages! And yes, last week's challenge was dealing with a crown that came off. Just what one needs in the weeks before Christmas! All better now for the time being but I'll be staying away from things like sticky caramel (which was not the culprit btw - I was just eating a slice of soft crust pizza . . .).

As for my finish, I finally got all the lines of quilting on the 4-patch strip quilt resewn. I started working on that back in August but not very steadily. But I could see the finish line approaching the last time I worked on it so devoted big chunks of time over the weekend to get it done. And really, this was not something I was going to do slowly and carefully; perfection was hardly on my mind and so there are lots of places where my new stitching did not go exactly over the old stitching. Can you hear me yelling "I DON"T CARE!!! I just want to get this done!"? It seemed to take forever anyway. I don't think there's any other repair or mending work to do so I can move on to some other more interesting sewing project.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Kicking Off the Holiday Season

We all have our holiday traditions, and for me, I don't touch anything Christmas until the first weekend in December. On that Sunday morning I break out the 3-disc set of Bach's Christmas Oratorio and I'm off! This year my niece sent me this advent calendar with specialty jams and spreads behind each day's door along with a brief message like "Be Merry!" And after brunch while the Oratorio was still playing and snow falling outside my window, I worked on my sock - so very Christmassy. The knitting seems quite slow going to me even though I am now past all the increasing and have the ribbing pattern set up, so I can just knit away without much thought. Those are size 1 needles I'm working with so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that progress is not speedier. However, I am halfway now to turning the heel.

Now that more of the sock is visible, I can see how the hand-painted yarn's variegation is working to create a subtle pattern. But I can also see now something I couldn't before, that this is not just gray yarn of different values light to dark but that there is also a purplish blue in there, also light to dark, so very pretty. No plain Jane Gray here. Working on this has not just scratched an itch, but made the itch worse! I keep finding myself picking up pattern books and going through my yarn stash to figure out what I might knit up next.

I've just learned that my goddaughter finally had her baby, a couple of weeks late but just fine. She had originally told me that she planned to have 3 kids and that was it, and she was no spring chicken when she started. So she had the 3, I dutifully and joyfully made a special quilt for each, and thought I was done. But no, she has surprised me with a fourth. I will wait until after Christmas to get started on one but to be honest, I have no clue what I will make. I am so used to having ideas just waiting for an excuse to make up but I'm drawing a blank. Time I guess to start looking through my many books and patterns saved from magazines and find some inspiration! You can see the previous 3 quilts here, here, and here. If you check these out, you can see why I feel that I can't make just any old baby quilt. But hey - it's a girl baby so I can break out some pink!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Loose Ends & Scratching An Itch

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was quiet, just the way I like it, and I spent part of it scratching this itch to start a knitting project, specifically trying out a "toe up" sock pattern. I kept getting the nudge, remembering how I spent so much of my school vacations knitting by the fire, and the yarn with pattern has been sitting out for longer than I care to mention. I bought the yarn on sale a very long time ago, pretty much at the beginning of the sock knitting craze and I remember how hard it was to make up my mind about what color yarn to buy. Ever practical and not sure I'd like bright multicolored socks, I opted for the one called "Gray Matters", which is a wool/acrylic hand painted blend made in Turkey. In my defense, I've written before about the positive attributes of gray, and then recently ran across this praise of gray:

“Gray isn’t just for shapeshifting clouds or sophisticated business suits. There is so much more to gray than that. It’s not a cliche. It’s a marvel. Gray is the disputed territory between the light and dark. It’s a color that has one foot in the shadows and one in the sun. I don’t know when we decided that the color gray was “boring” - because it’s anything but.”- John Roedel
There you have it, complete with "foot" pun, and the hand painted variegation should produce a more interesting and beautiful sock than a solid yarn would. This particular toe up pattern has a cast on not unlike the one for the mobius scarves I've made, but by starting with only 4 stitches on each of two needles and a method of increasing I was unfamiliar with, I found the beginnings of this sock challenging and giving me fits. But as the space grows it is getting easier, although working on multiple needles in the round is not my favorite. I'm ready to set up the ribbing pattern so things should go more quickly now.

As for loose ends, I feel I have so many as I look at what's scattered around my studio. But I took care of some of them last week. I got all the bits of ephemera added to the gratitude journal and started writing in it. I experimented with something the teacher showed us: masking off the center of a page to preserve it for adding text, then painting the rest of the page. I used that Fresco Finish paint again, partly because it dries to a matte chalky finish which, unlike regular acrylic paint, doesn't stick pages together and is easy to write on if one chooses. This is such a great look and will keep me from getting too wordy!

I had a little paint left on the palette so I experimented with a fan brush, mimicking the flowers in the adjacent page. The camera didn't pick it up well, and you can't see the green that I also worked in between the pink, but I was pretty thrilled with the result. Funny how this particular journal is unleashing something in me that is unexpectedly liberating. I'm usually such a regimented and chronological person but this format has me jumping around all through the book. It's really fun to work in it.

Another loose end is adding quotations to this journal which I believe is the second book I made once I'd joined the Handmade Book Club. The journal itself has lots of issues, but it was a way to use some of the eco-dyed watercolor paper I'd made and then add lots of tree and leaves related things to the blank pages. There are paint experiments in there and a few pictures from magazines pasted in. Some actual dried leaves glued in as well. Still lots of pages to fill but I see it as an ongoing project. But I did want to get the poems and quotations added once it dawned on me how many I'd collected referencing trees and leaves. It will feel good to have that loose end tied up.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Pause and Gratitudes

Yet another week of distractions and diversions, appointments and phone calls, basically not getting too much done in the studio in spite of good intentions (more requilting though - one grid line at a time will win that race!). I did take advantage of an opportunity to participate in a 5 day November Pause offered by Michelle GD whose e-mails in general are full of "gentle thoughts and inspiration". In a world so rattled with horrid and discerning events, and the average person's life so full to the brim with activities and expectations, this would be a chance to slow down and reflect each of the five days, exploring what "pause" may mean and listing gratitudes in different ways (she's particularly into making lists). Why not, I thought. We were encouraged to go at our own pace, not feel obligated to do each day's journaling and listmaking on the day it arrived if it was just too much, not even do each part of a day's offering if it did not feel right. She so kindly said, "I want everything about November Pause to be gentle and spacious. Our hurting world doesn't need another hurried-harried, frustrated-frazzled, overworked-overwhelmed, tired, feeling-unworthy being. You, or me." I started off well, then began "having a week" and did have one day when I just couldn't face the subject we were to explore. But the next day I could, and it led to an epiphany I've been searching for. The last day we were encouraged to write our gratitudes in circles on the page and jazz them up with "lots of art". Oh, I am not good at this and didn't want to invest a lot of time in adding artsy things so just grabbed the set of fine point pens of many colors on my desk and played a bit with shapes and doodles. Overall though, I found these 5 days of exploration full of insights that made me feel better about myself and understand the value of the pauses I work into my days. A lot of guilt got off loaded.

Each day included a short reflection, several journaling prompts, that invitation to practice gratitude in different ways (which she called "a grateful heart", a short breathing practice to ground, a "what if" invitation to take a small loving action (after all, we're all in this together, or should be), and a poem. Here's the poem she shared on the last day, actually a blessing from my favorite author of blessings. As you are off however you celebrate Thanksgiving in a few days, may this blessing settle around you. And don't forget to pause if things get frantic!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Not Much Visible Progress Week

Honestly, not much of interest to share this week. After having made a bit of space on my work table after finishing the Abstract Color challenge pieces, I moved my gratitude challenge journal onto it along with all the bits and pieces of things I've collected to paste into it. It's been a bit exciting to realize how many things I've saved but had no real place to keep them that can be stored in this journal, and still have plenty of room for adding handwritten bits of gratitude and precious memories. But as always, I can't just slap them in any old way! So I was slowed down a bit once pocket things were inserted in pockets and I considered how I want to space out the other items among the signature pages. A work in progress . . .

Photo: @rajesh_kumar_photography.

And honestly again, who wants to see the darning of socks and repair of a seam in a favorite pair of pajamas? Yes, I do mend and darn and don't mind the process at all but I do tend to let it stack up until I have quite a bit to attend to. And I also sat a few times at the machine while I continue to requilt over the grid lines of the 4-patch strip quilt, but really, nothing to see there either. But I ran across this incredible butterfly on Facebook which at first glance looked to me like some art quilter's rendition done up in hand-dyed or painted fabric and thread painted with metallic threads. But no - this beautiful creature is mother nature's handiwork, and I am in awe. The Blue Admiral is a nymphalid butterfly, the only species of the genus Kaniska. It is found in south and southeast Asia. Have you stumbled upon something of rare beauty lately?

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Finally Done With Pink!

Finally got a chance yesterday to take one last assessment of my Abstract Color Challenge and add a few finishing touches. I can't believe how much these little 5 x 5 pieces of "art" have grown on me. If thought of as a series, the order above is the order I had them laid out in as I worked on them. But as I removed the tape holding them to the table and looked at each individually, I was fairly pleased with how each stood on its own. Click on the pics for a larger view to study the details. I really like the look of the spatters and am ok with the bit of pen work I added.

In the meantime I ran across this quilt with what I feel is a stunning use of pink! It's called Hidden Gems by Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchison.

And then I read an article about a wool and knitting festival on the Shetland Islands and was really taken with the pink and blue accents on this sweater, worn by wool felting teacher Ann Marie Anderson. I'm really gaining a new appreciation for the color pink!

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Wrapping up #INKtober

I've had a bit of "life intervening" so no progress on the Abstract Color Challenge but I did keep up with my daily INKtober sketches. I have to admit the last 5 or so days I could feel my enthusiasm waning and finding it harder to think up what to sketch. And with that I also found I was making more mistakes or misjudgements, perhaps not really concentrating, just in a hurry to be done. Wrapped up for another year, I am not feeling any eagerness to continue a daily sketch practice. On to other things.

In the meantime, this might be a good time to share another Austin Kleon post, this one about time and music and doing your own thing, but it really refers to more than music. Several things struck me as so true, what I experience myself, like this:

“We live in an age in which only results seem to count, not processes,” Jarrett writes. “We need to hear the process of a musician working on himself. We don’t need to hear who is more clever with synthesizers. Our cleverness has created the world we live in…”

Nor do we need to hear who is more clever with their use of crystals on quilts or their free-motion quilting designs. I'm always more interested in process, not cleverness in the finished quilt. And the following quotation really captures what has happened since digital clocks came into existence (to which I have to protest that I DO often say, "almost (or about) 9:20":

"We see the world as ‘bits’ of information, either/or, yes or no, digital. We seem to have no desire to experience time. We trade this experience for the ‘accuracy’ of ‘bits’ of time: it’s either 9:19 or 9:20, never almost 9:20. So we think that time is a straight line and, eventually, that everything has edges. Something stops here, something starts there. But the natural world is essentially circular. . ."

So I will get back to my process of finishing up various projects, and I will be thinking in terms of spending "about an hour" when I head to the studio. How about you? 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

#INKtober Continues As Does Color Challenge

Here is the latest page of #INKtober sketches, giving you a glimpse into my life last week. You might spot some urban sketching; looking ahead, the weatherman warned of a severe drop in temperatures this week so get out and enjoy the last few days of 70 degree weather at the end of last week and over the weekend.

So I grabbed my architecture sketchbook and headed over to the new houses across from the park on one of my walking routes to do two things. You might remember that the last time I was sketching at this location, I looked at my results once home and couldn't believe how off my roof was. I always take a picture of what I am sketching, and in reviewing it, I suddenly realized what was wrong. I'd been so focused on getting the eaves right that I totally forgot to add the peak lines of the roof. So that was the first thing I fixed. Then I moved a few houses down to sketch a straight-on view of a slightly different  house. I don't always do a pencil undersketch before inking in and adding color to complete the drawing but for these two I did. You can just make out the images on the toned paper. A youngish man (20's?) stopped to chat, and we soon were discussing angles, perspective and shading, him mentioning that shading is what he struggles with. How fun to interact with another sketcher.

Do you ever feel like you need a pep talk to get moving again on your art projects? As I felt myself continuing to resist working on the Abstract Color Challenge, I ran across this blog post by Daniel Sroka entitled Stop whining and make some damn art which was just what I needed! I've experienced the sort of self-doubt he describes and he is right: the way out to feeling good about yourself and your work again is to get back to work. Time to turn my awkward teenagers into something I could at least like and feel I'd made some good progress on. I added a few more pieces of collage, some ink and colored pencil highlights, some pink stamped on with bubble wrap, some pail pink paint in light areas and a bit over those strong pink pieces to knock them back a bit, then spattered each with brown ink. Ahhh, so much better (here's the "before" picture). I may add some handwritten text on at least one of them but I think these are pretty much done. I'll take individual pics of them when I'm sure.

I definitely like the pink glow they have now (not so obvious in the photos unfortunately) after applying this Fresco Finish chalk acrylic in Blush to the white areas and lightly across the strong pink. You might remember my epiphany about struggling with blending since all my paint colors on hand are strong and darkish and I never think to play with lightening them up by adding a bit of white. If only I'd think to add some pale paints to my collection. Enter having a sale on these very paints that were recommended to me by an internet friend years ago. I invested in 5 pale opaques: this Blush, Seaglass (which is a minty bluish green), Periwinkle (a lovely lavender), Eggshell (a nice off-white) and Buff (which is a bit sandy). That should cover all the bases.

While I feel better about these pieces, I know I have a lot to learn about collaging. I want to be successful on day one, have my pieces turn out looking as good as the teacher's examples, not be embarrassed to share them with the rest of the participants of this challenge. Not there yet. And then Helen Well's weekly blog post arrived in my mailbox, right off addressing this feeling of inadequacy in her Art Making Manifesto.

The more art we make the better our art becomes. The more art we make the more likely we are to develop skills and ideas. The more art we make the more confident we become in our decisions.  

Stop whining and make more art! It will get better and better with experience and experimentation. As she says, "Art-making is a skill, developed by practice and not an innate talent which we either have or don’t have. . . The idea of art being a ‘practice’ is right, we do indeed have to practice." Helen has a total of nine items on her manifesto list, all interesting and worth considering. Give it a look.

And right on cue, the weather took that plunge overnight. We didn't get much snow, just a little on the lawns that eventually melted as the day wore on, and we never got out of the 30's. I looked out the dining room window this afternoon, trying to make sense of the white on the tips of this small tree, looking like flowers or decorative lights.

A closer look and I could see that somehow, the snow had settled between the needles forming a ball that stayed while snow elsewhere had melted off.

I don't think I've ever seen this on this tree. Worth taking a picture.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Back To Pink & More #INKtober

To be honest, not much got done last week as I apparently was showing side effects of an RSV shot. Chatted with the pharmacist about it and he highly suspects it's because of the immune-suppressing meds I take. Still feeling it this week so am still taking it slow. In the meantime, I am perked up by my neighbor's Halloween decorations. That's my front door past the tree that we share so I get a chuckle each time I go out and see those skeletons relaxing in the chaise lounges.

Fortunately, the #Inktober sketches take little time or energy so I've been able to keep up with them. Here's the latest page. As you can see, there was a day of beautiful fall weather where I felt good enough for a walk at city beach, and then a total cloudy blockout of the hyped eclipse which in my area was an 80 percent one.

I kept popping into the studio in moments I felt a little better, inserting some postcards into the pockets of the challenge gratitude journal. I'm calling this "Gratitude, Memories, Things I Love" so that I can include things like these postcards of familiar sights sent to me after I moved away from the area back in the 1990s. Yes, I've been holding on to them that long, in the bottom of a stationery box. That's the Tacoma Narrows bridge peeking out. The greeting cards I used as wrappers have printing on the back that I'd rather not see so I have these small calendar cards from NWF that I will paste over it.

Someone from the challenge group shared this with us, suggesting we might like to include it in our journals. I decided I wanted it for my opening page. Still running into bits to add to my collection of things to paste on other pages.

Lastly, I decided I couldn't put off gluing down the pieces loosely arranged on my 4 pieces of watercolor paper for the abstract color challenge. Feeling I'm not really embracing making these abstract, and they are still in that awkward teenager stage, but today I experimented with where I might add a few small pieces here and there. Also thinking about ink spatters and bubble wrap marks and water soluble colored pencils. Still feeling cramped working in these 5 x 5 inch spaces. I like the lower left one the best, really just as it is, but must be brave about adding something more to give it depth and interest. Mostly, I'm ready to have these off the worktable. On the day I glued these pieces down, I covered them with wax paper and put them under books to dry, then sat at the sewing machine a bit to continue restitching the diagonal grid quilting on the 4-patch strip quilt while listening to podcasts. I'm almost done with the lines going in one direction and will feel much better about this project when I can flip the quilt and start stitching the other direction. And honestly, I'm so itching to start a knitting project, as if I don't have enough things going. Must be the autumn weather . . .

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Another Book Challenge & Some #INKtober Sketches

Last week was busy, and not a bit of pink abstract challenge in sight! Instead, I tried my best to keep up with my bookclub's latest open to the public challenge, this one called 5 Day Gratitude Journal Challenge. I watched the promo video and was feeling a little lukewarm about it as it is another coptic binding and I wasn't feeling the need for a gratitude journal. However, I was quite intrigued by the pockets it included and thought about a friend who might enjoy receiving such a journal. Those pockets needed a rather large piece of paper and many were using gift wrap for them so I looked through my box of wrapping paper and was surprised to find not only the book of William Morris Designs wrapping paper but also some pretty National Wildlife Federation papers, both which I had totally forgotten that I had. Signature wrappers were also called for and I had some blank butterfly cards I thought I could use. As I gathered them up, I also ran across things I'd not known what to do with but didn't want to toss that would fit into those pockets. Suddenly I was all in to make this book!

First order of business was to make those pocket wrappers. I cut one sheet of wrapping paper and did a trial run. Easy enough with a few folds, and although I didn't have time to make the other three on Day one, I did pick out a different design for each of the rest of them. Day one instructions finished the following day.


Only one day behind (which as these challenges generally go for me was really good), Day 2 instructions were for preparing the signatures which required some cutting down of 9 x 12 drawing paper to 6 x 12 for 6" signatures when folded. We were also encouraged to use pages from magazines as signature wrappers and interspersed within each signature. I used the greeting cards as my wrappers, trimming a little off top and bottom to fit and it not mattering that they weren't as wide as the signatures.

As for the interspersed magazine pages, also cut down to fit, I chose some pages of different paintings out of The Magazine Antiques. Some I put between pages, others I placed in the center of the signature. Like the greeting card wrappers, they did not need to span the entire page and the ones between pages of a signature did not even have to be folded down the middle - an example of that later.

Under weights those signatures went, and cutting bookboard was next. I really don't like cutting bookboard. It is a long and arduous process and by the time I got two cut, I was out of steam to cover them. I cut the pieces of cover paper and end papers to size as well as sorting through my ribbon stash to choose one for the closure before calling it quits for the day. Getting just a little more behind but got the gluing done the next day. Took the signatures out from under the weights, wrapped the covers in waxed paper and put them under the weights. Honestly thought I'd punch the sewing holes in those signatures before quitting for the day but again, discovered I'd run out of steam.

There's an instruction video for each day's assignment, only ten to fifteen minutes long but invaluable, so I'd been doing that too. On this next day it was time to make the punching template, another quick and simple process but that is all I did. Definitely slowing down! Then nothing on the day after, except I did spend time tracking down directions on-line for how to set my Crop-a-dile up for inserting eyelets. I'd bought one with a coupon once I'd seen members of the club using one to punch holes in bookboard and insert eyelets. I bought some eyelets, although of the larger size of hole it makes although I really wanted the smaller one. I'd used it a few times to punch holes in leather but that was about it. And in the process, I'd misplaced the directions - they are SOMEWHERE on my worktable, I'm sure! Anyway, having familiarized myself with its workings and getting it set up for my eyelets, I called it a day.

Now it was Monday, with the 5 days of the challenge having ended on Friday. Time to get to work. I'd been worrying about durability of the gift wrap on the covers (plus I'd experienced the same issue with wrinkles as I did the last time I used this type of paper), and decided I wanted to put a coat of acrylic varnish over at least the outsides. Once that dried, I took a big breath and punched the sewing holes in the cover and added the eyelets. I've been told that one can get eyelets with a longer shaft that will work better through the thickness of the bookboard, but of coarse I hadn't bought that kind of eyelet. And as others experienced, there was a splitting of the shank on the back, which by the way, the company warns about. I used my trusty tack hammer to beat down the rough edges. And today, I sewed the book together, with little problem. The too large eyelet holes turned out not to be an issue. A white thread would have shown off the stitches more but I rather like the blue.

Click on the photo to see the eyelets

A ribbon closure is a good choice for this kind of book. Not only is it already a little chunky because of those pockets, it will get fuller as things are added to those pockets and perhaps glued to blank pages, so it is starting out not closing flat (although not springing open as much as I feared since I tend to pull my stitches pretty tight) and will need the flexibility of a ribbon closure as I work in it. Because, once I started collecting things and found that William Morris paper, I fully embraced this book and everything about it and am excited to fill it not only with things relating to the gratitude theme, but also things I love and favorite memories. As for the friend who I originally thought I'd be making this for? I've already got some papers picked out for making a second one for her.

A look at the inside of front cover and back of pocket wrapper and how the pocket wrappers look side by side.

Here's an example of a magazine page that had a painting on each side. It is folded off-center and placed between pages of a signature.

And this is the part of it you see when you get to that page on the other side of the center fold. None of these magazine pages are glued down.

And finally, in the center of the last signature, I bound in this lovely handmade card from Jan in Wyoming which she sent to me after my back surgery. I'd been wondering where I could put it other than the top of my desk and this was perfect, certainly a reminder of a friendship to be grateful for.

As for #INKtober, I did think to skip it, what with these challenges to attend to. But flipping through the sketchbook I've been using for them, I decided it is such a good practice that if I keep each day's sketch quick, I could include it too. I even printed off the official prompts for this year, but then decided I wasn't that keen on a lot of them. Instead, I've reverted to a practice I was introduced to by one of the Sketchbook Revival teachers where you keep a daily diary by sketching an activity of the day. I am finding this so fun and so far, the self-made prompts have been easy to come by. That first one got me off to a rocky start, but each day seems to get a bit better. The eye needs training!