Level, with me

My roommate Peter bought a towel bar for our bathroom and I helped him put it up. The installation was simple, but we didn’t have a level. I fixed out situation quickly by using a shot glass!  Just fill a shot glass, or a clear glass, with some water, and place it on whatever object needs to be leveled.

How to make a cavity mold

After having about 9 lbs of ceramic slip leftover from a previous project, I figured I might as well slip-cast until I have none left.  So with some help from the internet and my friend/ studio neighbor, Alex Mac, I made a cavity mold from these cute little house bottles I found at a flea market.


A two-piece cavity mold is ideal for pouring a liquid into a mold that will harden, such as wax, rubber or slip.  The mold has a hole either at the top (for vases, cups, bottles etc.) or the bottom( for statues or objects)
This type of mold is best for slip casting because the plaster absorbs the water from the slip, which allow the casted object to harden into its shape.  Directions for slip casting will be posted soon.

Supplies:
foamcore board or cardboard
x-acto knife
object to cast
clay
vaseline
plaster
duct tape 
ruler

Step 1a- place your object on your board and draw a square or rectangle around it.
* note- the top of the object will be close to the top edge, the other 3 sides should have enough space to make grooves to lock in your mold when you use it.
Step 1b- measure the depth of your mold and cut out flaps (object’s width+ 2 inches) to fold up to make walls

Step 2- score the bottom of your box to fold up the sides and tape it up really well, making sure to tape up your score lines also.

Step 3- take your object and cover it with clay halfway, to where the 2 halves of your mold will come together.  I used ceramic clay, because I had it, but I’m sure sculpey will work just as well.

Step 3a- place you object in the box and fill gaps with clay.  (It doesn’t need to be perfect, but the smoother it is, the better your pieces will fit together in the end. ) after filling in the clay, press your index finger into the clay 2 or 3 times in different places to make shallow craters
Step 3b- (it is not pictured here) but you also want  make a little hill starting at the top of the object, widening out to the wall.  ( reference the picture for step 7)

Step 4- cover your object, clay and walls of the box with vaseline being careful to get every crack and corner.

Step 5a- make the plaster and pour over the object covering it completely, and then some more.  you can also mark your box to where you want the plaster to meet if you think you will be unsure.
Step 5b- Once you poured your plaster into the mold, tap the sides and wiggle it around a bit to get any air bubbles out.
* wait at least 1 hour for the plaster to dry.  i know! be patient.

Step 6- when the plaster is dry, slice the tape and open the box.  it is ok if the cardboard sticks to the plaster.  take out the block of plaster and remove all the clay, leaving the object in the plaster. place the plaster block into the box, object facing up, and tape it back together.

Step 7- fill in any gaps with clay and make another hill at the top of the object. (sorry for this pictures, I had made another mold because the blue house wasn’t as good as the green house, and this mold came out better in the end.)

Step 8- repeat steps 4 and 5

Step 9- wait for the plaster to dry completely at least 1 hour.  BUT i would wait overnight because you can’t use your mold for 24 hours anyway. :)

Step 10- when the plaster is completely dry, slice open the box and carefully separate the two pieces.  remove your object and HAPPY CASTING!

<3 G

 

how to bind a book

I started keeping little journals, and I eventually wanted to self publish them and make them by hand.  I thought by taking a book making class I would learn how do just that. I learned various ways of publishing and different binding styles, but I never really got around to it.

When I was visiting my niece, Gabriella, in Brazil this past summer, she saw my journal I was writing in and wanted one just like her favorite aunt.  So when I came back to the states, I made one for her with the book cover in her favorite color, PINK.  I usually only see my brother and his family once or twice a year, but I was lucky enough to see them just last week at our sister Melanie’s wedding, which is when I gave Gabriella her journal.

So here I will show you how I made Gabriella’s journal.  The supply list seems excessive, but the more you have, the easier the process will be.  I apologize for such a long post, but the process requires much attention. Please read each step BEFORE moving forward. I will do my best to explain the process, if there are any questions feel free to ask them.

Supplies:
book board
paper (i used printer paper)
binding thread
binding needle
awl
lineco super cloth
neutral ph glue
pencil
straight edge ruler
box cutter
bone folder
glue stick
2 sheets of card stock
damp paper towel by your side
wax paper
c-clamps or strong clips
book cloth
brush (for glue)

PART 1- SIGNATURES

step 1– with you bone folder, fold your pieces of paper in half and group them into 4, so you have 20 signatures. you can have more or less signatures depending on how thick you want your book.
* a signature is a section of pages in a book, each signature has 4 pieces of paper that make 16 pages.

step 2– once you have your signatures all put together, line them up at the spine (folded edge) and draw 4 evenly spaced lines down each of the signatures.

step 3– with an awl, or sharp, needle-like object, poke holes in each of the signatures where you marked it, being careful that your signatures are lined up.
* some people put one side of the signature when making the holes for support.

step 4a– cut a piece of binding thread, I cut mine the length of my signature and multiply it by the number of signatures I have, plus 1.  It’s always better to have more than not enough.  thread your needle with the binding thread and begin sewing.

step 4b– begin at the bottom of the last signature and sew a running stitch of the spine, leaving a tail at the end.  add the next signature by sewing into the top and down to the 2nd hole.  when you come up from the 2nd hole, sew into the 2nd hole from the previous signature and up from its 3rd hole.  sew back into the 2nd signature, this time into the 3rd hole and finish the running stitch.

step 4c– tie the tails from the first two signatures, BUT DO NOT CUT.  add on the next signature  and sew to the top. once you’ve reached the top, before adding the next signature, insert the needle into the top stitch between the first 2 signatures.
*keep in mind to tighten your stitches so your book will be nice and tight together at the end.

step 4d- repeat the sewing process with a running stitch and sewing back into the previous signature and looping into the stitch. when you get to the end, loop and tie off with a knot.

step 5– apply glue to the spine and clip together. let dry.

step 6– cut a piece of super cloth measuring the length of your pages, and 1 1/2 inches wider on each side.  apply glue to the spine, put the super cloth over the spine and apply more glue. let dry.

PART 2- BOOK COVER

step 1– now that you have your book pages measure the edges as well as the thickness.    find the grain* of the board and measure it so it is vertical for the cover.  you will need 2 board pieces for the front and back, and a piece for the spine of the book.* cut the front and back 1/4in. larger on 3 sides (top, bottom and edge of pages), so the spine is flush with the edge of the board. cut the piece for the spine the same size as the spine. to cut the book board BE PATIENT! score the board several times with a box cutter against a straight edge. if you feel comfortable to cut through the score marks without the ruler, do so. otherwise keep on running the blade through until you go all the way through.
* you can find the grain by bending the board slightly, the way it bends easier indicates that the grain is running up and down. (the way you want it)
* you can omit the spine piece for a soft, slightly rounded spine.

step 2a– place your pieces onto book cloth. space the spine between each board with 2 book-board-widths on each side.  (i usually leave a bit extra for easier closing of the book, but either way it needs this space to close.) trace the boards in their places and measure at least 1 1/4 ins. around all four sides. cut the book cloth to the size needed.
step 2b– at the four outer corners of the pencils markings measure 2 book-board-widths. cut the edges.

step 3a– apply glue to the book cloth and book board and glue together.  flip it over onto a piece of wax paper and smooth with your bone folder.  when you flip it back over, be sure to remove the wax paper that may have glue on it.
*the best way to apply glue is to make a zigzag all the way down, then starting from the center, brush outward.
step 3b– cut a piece of book cloth for the spine as I have done,if you’d like, but it is not necessary, and glue down.
step 3c- starting with the top and bottom, apply glue to both sides and fold the book cloth over and smooth with bone folder. do the same for the sides, but pay extra attention to the corners.

step 4- fold each piece of card stock and with your glue stick glue onto the first and last pages of your book pages.

step 5a- put a piece into between each of the pieces of card stock and apply white glue to book board and the back of the last (card stock) page.  line up the spine with the edge of the book board and glue down.
step 5b- do the same on the other side, but when you close the book, do not open it.  keep it closed under a stack of books overnight.

Tomato Florentine Soup

Sorry for the long hiatus!  This past week my beautiful sister, Melanie, got married to the love of her life, in Aruba!  Then Thanksgiving break came, so I’ve been in vacation mode for a while. But I’m back and I’m making things.

I am always looking for new recipes on blogs or Food Gawker and when I find one I like I bookmark it and then forget about it.  But I’m starting to go through them and found this recipe for Tomato Florentine Soup, which I made for dinner tonight.

I’m not very good at throwing things together and making it taste good, so I used this recipe from Good Life Eats and changed a few things around. I omitted the garlic, because I don’t like eating it if there is even a 2% chance of me going out or seeing anyone. I also swapped the penne with some white rice I had left over from the night before.  I also added quinoa, which I finally picked up off the grocery store shelf.  And finally because I’m just me, a little bean, I cut the recipe into a 3rd.

Also, this recipe can easily be adapted to be vegan, simply by omitting the butter and cheese. :)

Either recipe you choose to make this recipe, I’m sure it’ll make you all warm and cozy when you make it this winter!

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked white rice
1/2 T olive oil
1/4 T butter
1/2 large yellow onion diced
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 T tomato paste
1/2 T light brown sugar
1-14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 T flour
1 bay leaf
1 14.5oz can veg. or chicken stock
1/2 pack frozen spinach, thawed and cooked
1/4 cup parmesan cheese 1 T balsamic vinegar 
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat and add the onion.
2. Separate, and keep the juice from the tomatoes, and add the brown sugar, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes.  Cook until the tomatoes start to dry, about 13 minutes
3. While tomatoes are cooking, cook the quinoa in 1 cup boiling water for about 10-12 minutes.
4. Stir the flour into the tomatoes, then add the tomato juice and bay leaf.
5. Add the quinoa and the can of broth and stir.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Turn off heat, remove bay leaf and add rice, spinach, cheese and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy with warmed french baguette.

cheap and green: cleaning alternatives

Store bought cleaning products are not only expensive but harmful to ones health.  There are some that, unfortunately, get the job done much better than a natural alternative, so I do end up caving.  But for general cleaning tasks baking soda and white vinegar are the way to go.  White vinegar is a natural disinfectant that has way more uses than just for cleaning. And baking soda cuts grease and works as an abrasive.  Put the two together and relive you childhood-volcano-making days.

I must stress how inexpensive it is to clean without buying brand name products.  I have 3 best friends all living together. They are boys, go to college and don’t have money.  I tell them all the time it’ll cost them a total of about $4, hold off on a beer and buy some cleaning supplies, but I think they just don’t want to clean. But anyway, whether you are young, or old, or know someone strapped for cash, encourage them to try cleaning old school style.

Fill a spray bottle with 1/4 water and 3/4 white vinegar and clean
(you can add a few drops of essential oils like tea tree or lavender):
- counter tops
- windows and mirrors ( wipe with newsprint)
- floors
- wood, plastic, glass, metal, or any other hard surface


Use baking soda to clean:
- soap scum in a bathtub or on the wall: 
      . make a paste of baking soda and water and apply
      . splash white vinegar on baking soda paste and scrub
- toilet bowls:
      . sprinkle some baking soda
      . splash in some white vinegar
      . brush and flush 
- clogged sinks:
      . pour in some baking soda
      . pour in some white vinegar
      . wait until the fizzing stops and run the sink to flush it out

There are many more ways to use both white vinegar and baking soda other than for cleaning. Search around and see what you find, but for now I leave you with this.  Happy cleaning!

xxx G

turkish map fold instructions

My book making teacher, Ellen, made this amazing compilation of different folds and book bindings for the class to purchase.  Of course I bought it, and boy am I happy about it! In the book there are instructions for the turkish map fold, which I used for one of my books.  It is such a beauiful fold that looks complicated but it super easy!  Try it out yourself :)

supplies:
square piece paper (rectangles can also work with careful measuring)
bone folder
ruler*
pencil*

step 1- using your bone folder, fold your piece of paper diagonally in both directions, with the image (if any) facing itself

step 2-  open the paper, turn it over and fold the piece of paper in half the other way so the image is facing out.

step 3- unfold it and turn it back over so the point is facing up, and push the horizonal fold inward

step 4- fold the top two points inward, meeting in the cetner.  flip it over and do the same thing on the other side

step 5- invert the folds of the four points so they are tucked on the inside

happy folding.

xx g

etching book: doll house interior

Not only am I a maker of everything, but I’m an art student, which means I have duties to fulfill. This semester I’m taking an independent study for etching and made this little book using the turkish map fold.

inside

inside detail- library and bathroom

inside detail- bedroom and living room

inside detail- kitchen