Bookbinding Tutorial, Tried and True

Posted by Julie Prescesky in , , , ,



My daughter complained to me one night about not having an unused sketchbook. We are a family of many used up sketchbooks, so I wondered if it might be time to look into some bookbinding techniques and make our own. Truth be told, I've always been enamored with the thought of bookbinding, but never made space in my life to try it, until now.

It was one of those moments of thinking that making one would be less effort than dragging children across the city to the art store to buy one. Of course, it's not really less effort, but it's certainly satisfying.

This is the tutorial I settled on, by James Darrow:
 http://jamesdarrow.deviantart.com/art/Bookbinding-Tutorial-292237490
Be sure to read all the way through, including the comments section (for other hints and tips).

I took a few photos of my my experience with his process.  Most of the supplies I already had, but I had to pick up spray glue and pressboard (which I found a scrap of at a hardware store for $2.25). Alternatively, you can use dense cardboard (like matte board, etc) if you don't have power tools and would rather use an x-acto knife to cut. For fabric, if you don't have scraps, consider upcycling some old clothes.

I chose to start out with inexpensive printer paper, in groups of four. Of course, I will be doing this again with art papers suitable for watercolour and ink washes, which is super for urban sketching. Printer paper works just fine for dry media like pencil and pen.

I used embroidery floss (split in half - 3 strands).

Once the paper was glued together, I added the ribbon. I added the canvas, but made a mistake gluing it to both sides. In fact, at this point, it should only be glued on the spine.

So I gently pulled the canvas away from the sides. 

When gluing the end papers on (I used scrapbooking paper), I found it easier to 1. spray the entire back of the page (make sure you've already folded the center crease). 2. fold it in half and lay it down on the bound (printer) paper first, matching up the folded ends ....

then, open the end paper and fix it to the board, keeping the spine pulled up.

And then it's just BEAUTIFUL.



My daughter chose the green one.


Annnd, my first sketch in my new book. 

Give it a try!  Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to help you out.







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5 Kid Approved Sewing Projects

Posted by Julie Prescesky in , , , , , ,



Last week I ran a sewing day-camp for kids at our community centre. Mostly, boys and a few girls, aged 4-14 (the 4 year old was accompanied by her mother, who ran the camp along side me). Here are the projects we tackled together.

Day One - Freezie holders. Since we ended every camp day with a freezie after clean-up, we thought this would be a good starter project. It also helped give us a feel for how comfortable the kids were with hand stitching and machine work.  We opted to leave the bottom open, so that the kids could slide the holder up and down the length of the freezie as needed.


Also - we prepared fabric for the following day's project with the Freezer Paper (butcher paper) technique of stenciling.  We used butcher paper and acrylic paint, which has pretty good staying power once dried and heat-set with an iron.



Day Two - Wallets.  We converted our newly stenciled fabric into these fun wallets. They are easier than they look!



Day Three - Design and Make Plushies. The kids drew thier own creations and we converted them into plushies. For the faces we used felt and Heat n Bond.  Easy peasy.



Day Four -  Water Bottle Holder. For the sake of getting everybody through this project in time, I made the straps beforehand and they chose from two different colours, blue or black. I also found that I needed to take over on the sewing of the round bottom onto the side pieces - this was a bit tricky for the kids. 




Day Five -  Pencil Rolls. I modified this tutorial, making it a bit more involved, by lining it. I felt that the kids had come so far with their skills by this time, it would be a shame to take the "easy route" when, with just a bit more effort, the results were so much more polished and satisfying. 



This roll can also be used as a holder for crochet needles, utensils for camping, paint brushes, etc. One of the boys went camping with his family this weekend, and I got this picture by email this morning:


Most exciting about last week's camp was seeing the pride and thrill the kids had in creating their own fun and useful items. 

Try these kid tested projects with your own family and help them feel empowered. 











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Goal Setting Continued - Step by Step Worksheet

Posted by Julie Prescesky in , , , ,




This is a continuation of my last post where I  provided you with a free goal setting worksheet - a kind of "goals at a glance" worksheet, if you will.

This particular worksheet focuses on the foreseeable steps you will need to take to accomplish those goals. Simply look at your first sheet of goals, pick a few you want to get started on right away, and write down each step you will need to take to see it come to fruition.

For example, I am revising a novel I've written and I'm nearing completion. I would like to find a literary agent. My steps might look like this:

1.Research agents | Deadline: January 31
2.Make a shortlist of agents | Deadline: February 5
3.Research how to write a query letter/synopsis and write them| Deadline: February 10
4.Submit Query Letter and Synopsis to agents | Deadline: February 14
5.Follow-up | Deadline: March 14

You get the idea. And the best part is putting that check mark in the box next to each one as I complete it.

You can find the step by step worksheet HERE.

Best to you in your goal setting journey!






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Goal Setting With Kids

Posted by Julie Prescesky in , , , , , , , , , , , ,


There's something magical about committing thoughts to page. It has a way of wiping away the cobwebs and bringing things into focus; of putting our own hopes and dreams above the drudgery of the day to day, if only in short bursts.

This is the perfect time to take a few moments out to reflect on how we'd like to shape the coming year, Not everything is in our power, of course, but brainstorming, reflecting, writing things down and periodically reevaluating our goals, no matter how pie-in-the-sky they might seem, is a beautiful gift we can give ourselves.

I made an easy checklist for you and your family to jot some goals down on and maybe think about sharing them with each other as part of your celebration to ring in the new year.  I'm passing these out to my kids later today and hoping they might like to get on board and dream up some things they'd like to see and do in 2015. I'd like to encourage them to think ahead a little and challenge themselves in what they think this next year could hold for them.



Find your DOWNLOAD HERE.

Print it out, and once you've filled it in, post it somewhere you can see. What a fantastic list to revisit at the end of 2015 and marvel at all of the things you fulfilled because you took the time to get to know what you actually wanted out of the year.

Some might like to print out a separate copy each for categories like professional, personal, creative .... etc.

Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2015 be the year of fulfilled dreams, big and small, and delightful surprises along the way.

*UPDATE* - Find the second step in the planning process HERE.







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Insulating the Top Bar Hive for Winter

Posted by Julie Prescesky in , , , , , , ,


I did a lot of searching around for the best way to protect my bees from a cold Canadian winter. I've read that honey bees like to keep their indoor winter temps at about 20 degrees Celsius. They eat, and snuggle (make a bee ball/cluster) and exercise (flap their wings) to accomplish this. The popular consensus is that it's not the cold that's harmful to the bees so much as it is the possibility of condensation. So, air flow is necessary along with the insulation.



I picked up a package of foam insulation and cut it to size to cover the top, bottom, and two long sides. I had to be careful to cut out sections for the landing bars below the doorways, and, of course, to make sure I made an opening on each side for the bees to escape and to allow some airflow through the hive.

Removing the latches for the window cover.

I also had to remove the door and latches for the window so that the insulation would rest flush against the side of the hive. You'll notice in the above photo that there is soft foam insulation in the window frame to make sure it stays cozy warm - that was always there, even in the summer.



For adding insulation to the ends, I used a follower board as a template and cut some foam to fit inside the hive at each end.  I moved the follower boards closer together and shrunk down the area of the hive the bees would have to keep warm.


I wrapped it all up and secured it with bungee cords. I used four really small bungees to attach the bottom foam insulation to the side foam so that when I remove the large bungees that cinch everything together, the whole thing doesn't come apart. This makes it easier for one person with only two hands to manage. The side foam panels sit snugly between the end boards, keeping them in place when I remove the bungees, and the bottom foam stays in place because it's attached to the sides.  Because the lid/cedar roof sit loosely on top of the hive to begin with, it still fits over the insulation and bungees, albeit more snugly.

I'm a little concerned about the amount of food they have. According to various forums I've read, my hive should feel around 100 - 150lbs in order to contain enough honey for them to survive the winter. We had a lot of thieves in the hive this fall - mostly yellowjackets, but I also suspect from nearby hives (there are 4 others within a kilometer of here) - leaving the food supply quite low. The hive is certainly much heavier since I fed them a few rounds of 2:2 sugar syrup (which I felt necessary), but I'm not convinced that the hive is heavy enough. One of the issues with feeding them late in the season is the time it takes for the new honey they produce to ripen. As it ripens, it can create condensation, which wreaks havoc on the bees when the temperature drops. So, I stopped before the temps dropped too much.  In the last week or so, Montreal has become a frigid winter wonderland.

My other option to supplement their food is to give them organic honey directly in the hive at various times throughout the winter. I'll want to do it on "warm" days, which, for Montreal winters, are few and far between.

photo from www.backyardhive.com


I will use a turkey baster to drop some honey into a shallow dish I placed below the first few top bar/comb. This site suggested first mixing the honey with a little warm water to make it easier to transfer. I'm not sure I will do this. I want to avoid any excess moisture. Because this was my first season with the bees, I don't have any of their own honey on hand (I did get a small amount in the summer, but that is long gone). I can otherwise supplement with organic honey, as I mentioned above.

So, please cross your fingers with me that my bees tough it out this winter. I can hardly wait for spring!

If you have a top bar hive (or otherwise)  and have suggestions for me, please comment!!




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We Draw Animals

Posted by Julie Prescesky in , , , , , , , , ,




Kathy from We Draw Animals contacted me with the idea of creating a custom tutorial for you.

I requested a Honey Bee - because, as you may know, we are first time beekeepers this year.

In five easy steps, you too can draw a honey bee.



Check out her website for tutorials on how to draw a zillion different animals. This is such a great resource for teachers and homeschoolers. At the bottom of the site, you can access a bunch of different categories of animals, each containing some interesting facts and a load of tutorials. She has also compiled an e-book (free) for ease of use.

Now excuse me while I go explore her section on Rainforest Animals.  Oooh, that Asian Hornet looks like a Ninja among insects.




Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your costs will be the same but LoveItLearnItMakeIt will receive a small commission. This helps cover some of the costs for this site. Your support is appreciated!


First Time Honey Extraction

Posted by Julie Prescesky in , , , , , ,


I needed to make room in the hive - they just build so quickly - so I removed a couple of frames. One frame was one of the original frames from the NUC, so it 's been in the hive since the beginning. All of those frames (4 or them) will need to be removed before winter because they don't fit the top bar hive properly, so I figured it was a good time to start. The other frame was a top bar which had only a bit of comb on it, still white - so, very new - with some honey/nectar on either side. I decided to take it because they had a lot of other new builds going on and this one only had a little bit of their food stores on it. I hoped it wouldn't disrupt them too much.


Unfortunately I didn't photograph the white honeycomb on the top bar - the process for the two different frames was slightly different. 

The frame shown here is from a Langstroth hive, I believe.  It has a plastic base in the middle and was once a full rectangle before we cut it down to fit the top bar hive. You can read about that in this post


It was easy enough to prop up on one end in a large bowl, gently slice the wax cap off of the honey with a serrated bread knife and then take a flat wooden spatula and scrape the honey into the bowl.  Notice there is only honey at the top of this comb. This is after the old Queen had swarmed with her crew and there was no new larva.

It's important, generally, to take capped honey - it means it has ripened beyond the nectar stage, or so I've read.  But of course, I've already admitted to taking a frame of new white comb with nectar in it. The final photo shows the difference in colour.


For the white comb on the top bar, I simply cut the comb from the top bar and squished it to release all of the honey.  The next step was to strain the honey and wax bits and pollen and whatever else into a jar.



It helps to mash and stir with a spoon.


Below, notice the colour difference - ripe honey is on the left. The viscosity differs a lot, too. The ripe honey is much thicker. The unripe honey/nectar tastes lighter and fruitier, though.


After resting for a day, or so, the little bits of pollen and wax rise to the top of the honey, so you can choose whether to skim them off the top, or eat them. And that's it!  The ripe jar will be making it's way to BC to my Dad, whom I promised the first harvest. It's because of his childhood stories that I've always been so intrigued by these little gals.






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