Category : Supplies

Hollander’s 8th annual internet sale

Hollanders logoStarting tomorrow, Hollander’s will be holding their 8th annual internet sale. The sale lasts from Thursday, October 23 through Sunday, October 26.

Where is that wish list of mine?

All orders get 10% off and an additional 5% on orders over $250 (discount not applicable to custom cutting orders or workshops). If you spend over $100, you’ll get a $10 shipping credit if you ship via UPS Ground (in the continental U.S.).

If you’re looking for ideas on what to buy, you can’t go wrong with any of the Keith Smith books. They’re hard to come by used and are almost never discounted when new. I think I’ll finally get the sample book of Japanese bookcloth. I’ve had my eye on it for a while. It looks like their selection is somewhat different than the Japanese bookcloth at Talas. Does anyone know for sure?


Vermont North by Hand

Vermont autumn foliage

I love Vermont this time of year. If there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze me, it’s the colors of autumn foliage. I am guilty of driving at an irritatingly slow pace, staring out of my car window like I’ve never seen trees before.

Of course, I’m also guilty of cursing under my breath at people who do the same thing when they’re in front of me in traffic. Especially if I’m late for work.

The timing couldn’t be any better for a studio tour and Vermont North by Hand is doing just that this weekend, October 4 – 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  The drive in this area is beautiful – I drove into East Topsham last weekend to buy paper from Richard Langdell, one of my favorite paper makers/masters. I make several trips a year out to his studio and showroom (which is truly drool-worthy). Richard’s studio is stop #13 on the tour and if you’re even remotely near the area and love paper, then you must make a visit.

As an added bonus, you get two artists for the price of one when you visit Langdell Paper. Stop #12 (at the same address) is Sarah Green, Richard’s wife and owner of Mountain Ash Design.  Sarah uses many vintage and repurposed fabrics in her work, which includes aprons, billfolds, quilts, and my personal favorite – pot holders. Only she calls them HotHolders™. She has the best slogan ever: Because you’re not the only thing in the kitchen that’s hot ™. Love it love it love it. Sarah is what I would refer to as a Beefcake Textile Specialist – meaning that she features fabrics printed with hunky men in her work. Who wouldn’t want a studly half-naked man in their kitchen? Well, now you can have that with Sarah’s work.

If you can’t make it to her studio during this weekend’s tour, you’re in luck – the Mountain Ash Design Etsy store is open for business.

I bought myself a Kutrimmer!

Kutrimmer 1071So I had planned to spend this week blogging about my weekend with Carol Barton, but today I got distracted.

I did it.

I bought myself a Kutrimmer 1071.

As I discussed in this post, I have wanted one of these puppies forever. And today I bought one. I can’t believe it. I’d been watching one on Ebay marked with Buy it Now/Make an Offer. The Buy it Now price was $884.10 with free shipping. I decided to offer $700, which was about a 20% discount. The offer was accepted within half an hour.

Of course, there’s that nagging part of me that wonders why I didn’t offer less…the seller accepted my offer so quickly…

So now I just have to make a list of all the fun things I’m going to cut. That should make for an interesting blog topic. Kutrimmer…meet cheese (maybe not). Suggestions anyone?

Gocco availability issues

Today someone responded to a previous post of mine where I discussed my (then recent) purchase of a Gocco PG-5 set. She asked where I got mine because she was having problems finding one. I bought mine on Etsy so I checked to see if my seller printaddictjapan had any units in stock. I was rather surprised to find that her price had jumped from $99.50 (when I bought it on 5/31) to $265.

Her shop notice stated the following:

The price increase of the Gocco reflects the availability and increased prices here in Japan. I have very limited stock and do not anticipate finding new stock. I regret the situation but it is out of my hands…..

As I mentioned in this post, the Riso Kagaku Corporation announced that it would stop making Gocco printers in June 2008. Well, it seems that in three short months, supplies have been running low.

There is a discussion about the availability issue in the Gocco Flickr group. I searched on Ebay and prices have gone up on there as well – and the number of auctions has decreased. Other online retailers that had stocked the machines are either out of stock or have significantly raised their prices.

Even though I have a Gocco, I’m still bummed. It seems as though enough people love these things that the company should keep making them. Forget profits – do it out of the goodness of your hearts! I’m still hoping that there’s a Gocco superhero who will swoop in and make this happen. Meh.

Time to start hoarding supplies.

Inspiration in coffee cup sleeves

There’s a local coffee house that uses these really cool cork coffee cup sleeves when you get coffee to go. I had never seen these before. Using cork for the sleeves has several advantages:

  • It insulates better than paper.
  • It is both recyclable and biodegradable.
  • It can be harvested without killing the tree.

There’s another reason – they look really cool. I had been admiring the sleeves for a while before I realized what I was attracted to – I wanted to use them as a material in my work. Luckily, I found a steady source for the sleeves. I have a reusable coffee mug, so I can’t just buy coffee in paper cups for the sleeves. I get them from a fellow coffee-drinker, sans mug, so I feel no guilt. They’d just get thrown away, right? I decided to try making some cards.

The first thing I learned is that the cork is thin enough to get an 1/8″ eyelet through it. That’s pretty much the most important thing to me when I’m making cards – will the eyelet get through?

I attached skeleton leaves to the cork using eyelets and I was pretty happy with how it looked. When setting eyelets through cork, be careful when you push the eyelet through the hole – they tear easily.

Thin pieces of cork with skeleton leaves

Next I layered the cork/leaf piece over some wood veneer paper. The same evil paper I talked about in this post. You may not be able to glue it with PVA, but it sure likes Duck roller adhesive. Finally, that paper is good for something!

Lastly, I attached the whole collaged piece to a folded piece of card stock.

Handmade cards by Blue Roof Designs

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. They’re different from my usual collaged cards, which are much more girly. I like that they look more natural and textural. I definitely plan to use the cork again. I just need to wait for my friend to drink more coffee.

Chopstick journals

I just finished up a batch of chopstick journals for a wholesale order. It’s always satisfying to see a fresh stack of books sitting on my work table. I’ve been making this style of journal for at least 4 years. I’d have to go back through my files to know for sure. You can see more of my current designs on Etsy.

Handmade journals by Blue Roof Designs

When I developed designs that became part of my production line, I decided that I was going to make each design in a limited edition of 24 books. For some reason, I never let people know that and it also never occurred to me to number them as an edition. I think that part of me was afraid that if a design didn’t take off, then I’d be stuck with 24 of the same book.

I am rather obsessed with finding the right chopsticks to match a cover paper. I have 2 plastic shoe boxes full of chopsticks.

Plastic tubs filled with chopsticks

I have been to at least half a dozen Chinatowns across the country. I have spent hours combing the internet. My favorite online retailer is Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen. They have lovely designs available.

I have to say that I have a chopstick nemesis.

I found the most perfect chopstick design in a grocery store in the Boston Chinatown. They were purple with gold and silver cranes on them and they were fabulous when matched with a purple Yuzen paper decorated with cranes. I was in heaven. They came in pack of 5 pairs and cost only $1.99!

Purple chopsticks decorated with gold and silver cranes

But the store only had one pack.

And I can’t find them any where else – I have Googled “purple chopsticks with cranes” more times than I care to count. I seem to have no problem finding the exact design on black, red, and white chopsticks, but not purple.

It’s like I found the last existing pack in the universe.

I am putting out a challenge to anyone reading this – if you can find me a source of 19 pairs of this chopstick design (hopefully under $2.50 a pair), I will happily give you one of the journals incorporating them.

I’m not the first person to use chopsticks in a binding. Rhonda, owner of the MyHandboundBooks shop on Etsy, has published a tutorial on her blog that shows her use of chopsticks in a pamphlet binding. She also created a Flickr group where folks can post their own chopstick journals that have been made using her tutorial. Her books use only one chopstick, while I use two. I can’t bear to separate a pair of chopsticks – they’re married!

If you have used chopsticks in a binding before, please post a link to your images. I’d love to see them!

The Kutrimmer is a beautiful thing

I have finally returned to production mode after my long vacation. I have a wholesale order that I need to fill early this week.

After having spent the last 2 days cutting bookboard by hand, I now have funny (not funny ha ha) numby feelings in my right forearm. When I look back, I realized that I’m a crazy person for the amount of board cutting I’ve done on the floor of my studio. Yes, on the floor (it’s concrete). It’s the only way I can get the leverage I need to cut large pieces of board.

I don’t like to send out my board for cutting because it’s important to me that I do all of the production of my books by myself. Of course, the continued use of my limbs is also important.

I have been drooling over the Kutrimmer 1071 forever.

Kutrimmer 1071

The Kutrimmer, produced by the MBM Corporation, is a paper trimmer that seems to be pretty well regarded amongst bookbinders. Manufactured in Germany, the trimmer cuts bookboard up to a thickness of .098″ and a stack of around 40 sheets of paper. And it has a clampy thing that helps keep things from slipping.

The 1071 model has a cutting length of 28.5″, which is perfect for me because my bookboard is 26″ wide. The one thing stopping me from buying it yesterday is cost. I know that over time, it would probably pay for itself in time saved during production. Unfortunately, average cost for this model is between $850 – $900.

That’s a lot to lay out at once.

Until the day when the Kutrimmer and I become close friends, I will continue dreaming that I open my front door one day to find a board shear wrapped in a big red bow. And then I’ll use it to cut the bow off.


My trip to New York Central Art Supply

I have just completed the first half of my summer vacation. I won’t bore you with the details, other than to let you in on something valuable I learned during my travels – it is quite possible to lose your passport within 1 hour of landing at your destination. And your cell phone. And your husband’s passport. Enough said.

So here I am in Holyoke, MA – the night before day 1 of my Julie Chen class. As I sit here on my lappy, the Tour de France is playing on the television. Life is good.

Exterior of New York Central Art SupplyWhile in NYC during the past few days, I was fortunate enough to achieve one of my paper geek goals – I made a visit to New York Central Art Supply. I had been hearing about this place for years – lots and lots and lots and lots of paper. Just when I feared that I had finally hit a vacation without a possible paper purchase (no paper in the Virgin Islands, meh), my streak remains intact (you can read more about my vacation paper streak in this post).

I was prepared to do some very unnecessary spending. I had great hopes as I walked up the narrow staircase to the second floor where their paper department was located.

Once I got upstairs, I was greeted by very loud Sex Pistols music. There were three sales staff located behind a desk, talking amongst themselves. No one said hello to me. This is one of my biggest peeves. While I do prefer to shop without being pestered, I like to be acknowledged upon entering a store. It’s good manners.

I don’t like to be cranky when I shop for paper. This makes the spendy feelings go away. It makes me even sadder when I lose an opportunity to get paper geeky with someone else. I was forced to browse their paper selection in silence. Meh.

[wipes a tear away]

Then I saw the sign that said something along the lines of the following:

We only take out paper for people making purchases and not for those who just wish to view it.

HUH??? So I can only look at it if I agree to buy it?

Then I saw the next sign:

Go ahead and talk on your phone in here. It’s not rude.

Now I’m not a fan of people talking on phones in stores, but geez. If you’re going to say that, you might as well put up a sign that says: Just put your money on the counter and go home.

So, on to the details. Prices are a bit less than what you’d pay at Kate’s Paperie (which is within walking distance from this location) and the selection is bigger. They claim that if they don’t have the paper, then it doesn’t exist. Well, I did find a number of papers at Kate’s that weren’t at NY Central.

Their paper samples are attached to large moving panels on the wall – they’re basically mounted like a big book and you turn the pages to see the samples (like those poster display thingies). This setup makes it hard if more than one person wants to look through the samples. When you move one of the panels, you risk smacking someone further down the wall.

They also sell bookcloth, but you have to ask to see the sample book because it’s not out on display. Their bookcloth prices compare to Hiromi Paper and their selections are almost identical.

I finally walked out with some paper and 2 yards of gold Japanese bookcloth. As I made my purchase, I got no smiles from the woman who helped me. Another peeve.

To sum it up: if you are in NYC and are dying to see the place, go for it. If my visit was typical, then do not expect any assistance while in the store. I did hear them answer questions from some shoppers, but they weren’t exactly friendly. You’re best off knowing what you’re looking for in advance. If you’re someone who needs a lot of hand-holding, then this is not the place for you.

Would I go back there? Probably not. And I like to shop at independent businesses. But if you can’t give me a reason to come back (good customer service), then I’d rather shop online.

Cool Gocco-related find #1: color charts

So now that I have a Gocco printer, I have been engaging in what must be a long-honored tradition of becoming obsessed with finding out every little detail about the little devil. I started making a list of all the cool web resources I found until my search came to a screeching halt after doing a search on Etsy.

What I found was shop blue22, a.k.a Jamie from New York City. So Jamie has gone and done a genius thing – he gathered all of the official Gocco inks he could find (59 to be exact) and printed them on different colors of paper so you can see how they print before you use them or even buy them.

Gocco ink color chart - black, white, grey

With each set of cards you receive a transparent overlay so you can identify each ink – Jamie calls it a “Color Matrix”. In my opinion, anything called a matrix can’t be bad. Unless it’s a sequel.

The first set of charts I saw was what you see in the image at right – inks printed on black, gray, and white cardstocks. But that was just the beginning.

Then I saw his super happiness set (my name, not his) – the 28 card set.

Gocco ink color charts

Hmmm… which one do you think I want? With a set of these charts, there’s nothing to stop me from buying every color ink in existence. I no longer have to worry about something not working out. I can proceed in all my Gocco rainbow bliss. I am so screwed.

** Many thanks go to Jamie who graciously allowed me to use images from his Etsy shop so you can directly witness the coolness of his Gocco charts.

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