Highway to the discomfort zone…

Let’s face it; I am not a crafty person. It is weird because I play music and have written and perform songs, and I fancy myself to be fairly decent at drawing. I think I have the “arts” part down, but the “crafts” part seems to give me a lot of trouble. The project I chose was a handmade leather sketchbook, which I found on a blog by Melissa Esplin called I Still Love You (http://melissaesplin.com). This tutorial seemed pretty straight forward and claimed to only take 10 minutes to complete. It seemed like a pretty neat idea, and something that I could use and possibly make for others if the opportunity ever arose. I was also drawn to this because it seemed like a project that could be translated into a library program pretty easily, perhaps around the holidays so the patrons could make a handmade gift for someone.

This step did not take ten minutes. It took me about an hour and a half to complete. Since I wanted to use a thicker paper for the signatures and the sheet were bigger than the measurements listed in the tutorial, I had to trim them a bit. This is where having the cutting mat really paid off, with the ruler markings on the mat itself I was able to measure and cut all at once, without much premeasuring. I was also not terribly concerned about clean edges, because I was going for a more handmade look in the end. I did use the straight edge ruler to attempt to make straight cuts.

Once I got into a rhythm the process and assembly went more quickly. I was able to quickly put the pages together and punch hole out for the leather ties to go through. My hole-puncher was a little too big but I determined it would work for the time being. I then cut the felt to be a little bit bigger leaving some room to create a flap and tie feature. I have not gotten this far on the actual product yet because I did not have any glue that would hold on the felt material.

The felt fabric itself was a little flimsy so I cut a piece of Bristol board that I use for drawing, as it is a little bit firmer that the drawing paper I used for the signature pages. I lined them together and tied them with the leather ties. This process was a little more difficult to do since the hole I punched were a little too big but I was able to get all the pieces together. The leather tie was cut to about 16 to 20 inched because it needed to be threaded through the cover, the reinforcement board, the first set the pages, and then the second set with enough length to tie it at the end.

Finally, once every thing was tied together I had the beginnings of a finished project. It turned out a little bit loose and I felt a bit rushed when I was doing it because I was out of the comfort zone a little bit, but I feel like it came together in the end a lot better than I thought it would. It was an experience that opened my eyes to a way of seeing how pieces work together by putting them together myself. I liked this project because it can definitely be worked into a class for students, or library patrons to participate in. I even suggested that a friend of mine use it for her Sunday school class, the kids a re a bit young but if the materials are precut the assembly and decorating can be fun!


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