Handbound Christmas Ornaments Book – Part Two

Project on Projects: Do It Anyway December

Or in my case… Do It Anyway 2021.

If the video above doesn’t play you can watch it on YouTube here.

In my previous post I detailed the year-long project that culminates in this nearly six minute long video. Yes, I’m pleased with the book… actually, I’m thrilled. But most importantly, I’m pleased that I could see this project through to completion, COVID-19 pandemic and other stressors be damned!

And now that I’ve finally finished the video and uploaded it here I’ll take a few minutes to reflect and get over my post-project letdown before picking up my paintbrush again because you see… I already have another project going!

My Sketchbook Is Online!


As I’ve mentioned before, I completed a book for The Sketchbook Project 2014. I’m happy to report it’s been digitized and you can see it here! (note: the reproduced images show the book much darker than it really is.)

SP fanned

I love traveling and have always been fascinated with World Heritage Sites. Each site has been deemed to have either cultural or physical value by UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. There are nearly a thousand sites on the list and each one is amazing. Since visiting more than a handful is unlikely, I chose fifteen to highlight as my imagination traveled eastward around the globe.

The Sketchbook Project is kicking off its 2014 tour tonight in Brooklyn, NY before it heads out to visit over 20 cities! My sketchbook and many others will be safely packed in the mobile library and towed from city to city where the public can check out one or more to view in person. Check out the tour page to see if they’ll be in a town near you!

But don’t fret, if you go online you can look through plenty of sketchbooks as many of the artists have chosen to have their sketchbooks digitized too!  Visit the digital library and just have fun searching various criteria; I’m positive you’ll enjoy the variety of all the projects!

Sketchbook Project 2014 Finished!

I’ve been absent these last few days as I finished working on my entry for the Sketchbook Project 2014. I felt the need to paint and decorate the covers… make it a real atlas.

This was my first time using colored gesso and boy. was I surprised how gritty it was! The book just wasn’t pleasant to hold. But how to fix it? I tried many things out on one of my journal pages.  Do I letter directly? Which pen? Should I stamp? Collage?

What a mess!

140109 test page

But now I had a plan! On went the stickers and the stamped lettering, layered between coats of matte medium. StazOn is my friend. It truly is permanent… no smearing as the matte medium was brushed on.

But I still wasn’t happy. The matte medium made the book feel slightly sticky in my hand. Krylon Workable Spray Fixitif to the rescue. A single thin coat was all it needed.  Remember, this stuff can be flammable and toxic, please spray in a well ventilated area.  I did a quick spray outside and then brought it into dry on the stove with the exhaust fan on. After an hour it was completely dry.

SBP Cover

SBP Cover

I’ve had these stickers for years just waiting for the perfect project.

SBP Eiffel TowerSBP SphinxThe workspace isn’t as neat as it was before and that’s a good thing!

140108 studio

Sketchbook Project Update!

All the holiday hoopla really cut into my sketching time and now the deadline looms. Wednesday, January 15th, 2014. There’s still lots to do on my project but things are… as they say… progressing.  Whoever “they” are.

Atlas of…  that’s my theme.

I originally had painted all the page spreads in my book so now I’m filling the book with line drawings of well-known landmarks of the world.  I love the irregular lines my PPBP, Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, makes on the pages… the india ink seems to fade to a charcoal gray.  It’s organic and subdued… not jarring.  I see this book as a travelog you can hold in the palm of your hand as I take you east around the globe visiting my vacation wish list!Sketchbook Project 4-5

Sketchbook Project 12-13

I pre-painted these pages before I even thought of my theme.  Now, I’m thinking serendipity is my friend.  I think the colors work well with the sketch locations.  I like how I have the gold streaming through the Eiffel Tower and especially the pinky-gold… it gives the Sphinx the feel of the desert sun.

Eiffel 4-5

Sphinx 12-13


Hmmmmmm… 2 continents so far.  Will I manage to visit them all?


Paint Those Pages!

I had all sorts of great ideas of how I was going to fill my Sketchbook Project with all sorts of splashy watercolor… that is, until it arrived.  It has the absolutely thinnest paper I’ve ever worked on!  But I one of my goals was to use the sketchbook as-is.  No adaptations.

But I want color!

I thought of using colored pencils but I really wanted full backgrounds full of vibrant pigments.  I recently read Alisa Golden’s book from a few years ago, Painted Paper, where she promotes the use of acrylic ink dry-brushed across the pages.  Acrylic ink, NOT acrylic paint.  It doesn’t leave a plastic feel to the paper so the pages won’t stick even in humid weather and she claims it will be easier to write on.

Painted Paper book

Brilliant!  Well, believe me, even the driest dry-brush completely warped the paper.  Ah-ha!  I’ll iron it flat!  Amazingly, it worked.  I tried different techniques on each spread.  Some I brushed, some were stamped; I even hand cut a stencil from a cereal box and spritzed diluted ink onto the page.  Each time I ironed the pages dry and flat… ish.  They make a wonderful crinkly sound when turned.

SP 8-9

SP Stencil & Ink

Now I have a book filled with vibrant color.  Just what I wanted.

SP fanned

Hmmm… now to fill the book!  I’m going to pour myself a cup of peppermint tea and get to work.  These are the 2014 Official Themes: Strange Neighbors / Borders and lines / A simple place / Accidents / Found! / Dudes and latitudes / To the last page! / First aid kit / Say words out loud / Paper airplanes / This list… / Atlas of… / Greetings from… / 32 Days / This is not about you / This is not about me.

I’m thinking an atlas of…….


“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”

A blog?  Me… writing?

Well it won’t be all writing.  I’m here to share my interests and pursuits which often border on obsessions.  I’ve been like this all my life.  As a girl scout I earned all sorts of badges.  Never content learning one thing well, I’ve always been a artsy-crafty dabbler.  I’ve sewn clothing and I’ve embroidered and done needlepoint.  I crochet and knit… not particularly well, mind you.  I quilt.  My latest passions are sketching, watercolors and journaling, preferably all at the same time, in the same sketchbook.  I’ve even started bookbinding so I can use the paper I like in the size I want.

Don’t believe me?  Well, that’s what the blog’s for.  I want to share my fun… let’s go!

This is my workspace and yes, I cleaned so it would be more photogenic.  Most everything I need is close at hand… sketchbooks, sewing machine, bone folders and PVA, good lighting and a comfortable chair.  There’s plenty of inspiration from my friends hanging on the wall.  I even have two large windows with views to the backyard.

131208 Studio

But… I can’t get distracted.  I have a deadline looming.  I’m participating in The Sketchbook Project and the book needs to be postmarked by January 15th, 2014.  Aauugh! Just over a month to fill a 32 page book.  I’ve got to get crackin’.

131208 SB Project

Next post we’ll see how I’ve prepped the pages.