Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Your Secret Admiral on Modish

Yesterday afternoon, a little bird (aka Google Alerts) delivered the nicest surprise to my inbox... a feature about my handmade books on the fabulous design and style blog, Modish. The Eco-Friendly Finds piece is penned by Liz Grotyohann from Cosa Verde, with whom I had the pleasure of chatting at the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts fair recently, which, by the way, has won a spot in my heart as best craft fair in the land. So, if you have a moment, hop on over to Modish and have a look the write-up here!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My photo on This American Life's Facebook!

Yesterday I made the exciting discovery that This American Life posted my photo on their Facebook page!! You can see it here, along with many a comment and thumbs-up. As a devoted fan of NPR and This American Life, this nerdy tidbit made my day!

My friend gave me the lovely little Ira Glass felt finger-puppet for a birthday present earlier this year. If you'd like to make salad with Ira Glass too, you can buy your own handmade puppet from AbbeyChristine's shop on Etsy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Make a Do-Si-Do Book

A do-si-do book, like the partner square dancing move, swings between 2 signatures. These books are like two books in one and are excellent for dual purposes, like drawings and notes, or double themes like opposites or pairs. Read on and you’ll be whipping up your own fine books in no time!

Materials & Tools:

  • paper
  • scissors
  • linen thread
  • needle
  • bone folder
  • awl
  • pencil

Step 1:

Prepare two signatures and the covers. To make each signature, fold 5-10 sheets of paper in half and trim to size. Choose a sturdy paper or lightweight board to use as the cover. Cut the cover to be the same size as the height of the signatures and as wide as three times the width of one signature. Fold the cover into thirds using a bone folder, so it forms a Z shape.

Step 2:

Make a sample signature that is the same height and width as your signatures out of a single sheet of paper. Measure and mark the placement for 3 holes on the sample signature. You’ll use this as a guide for making holes in your signatures and covers. Put one signature into one of the folds of the Z shaped cover. Using a bookbinder’s awl and your sample signature as a guide, punch 3 holes through each signature and cover.

Step 3:

Pull the threaded needle through the center of the first signature, leaving a tail of thread a couple inches long inside the signature.

Step 4:

Push the needle through the top hole on the spine of your book.

Step 5:

Pull the needle through the bottom hole on the inside of your book, skipping over the center hole and thread tail.

Step 6:

Pull the needle through the center hole on the outside of the book.

Step 7:

When you pull the needle into the center of the book again, make sure that the needle and thread is on one side of the long center stitch and the thread tail is on the other. Remove the needle and trim the threads. Pull each thread taut to even out the tension of the stitching.

Step 8:

Tie a simple knot over the long center stitch.

Steps 9-16:
Repeat steps 1-8 on the second signature.

Step 17:

Ta da! Do a little dance and away you go! Fill you book with notes, drawings, secrets.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Thermal Printer

After coming to terms with the demise of Gocco, I decided to save my pennies up and invest in a thermal imager from Welsh Products! These machines have been around for decades and are still used for creating thermal silkscreens, tattoo stencils, and transparencies. I first started experimenting with screenprinting with screens created with a Thermalfax machine back in art school. I am excited to incorporate this printing technique into my bookmaking and artmaking processes!

With the thermal imager, you can expose a thermal mesh screen by running the screen and a carbon photocopy through the imager. The resulting screen can then be stretched across a plastic frame and printed with screenprinting ink and a squeegee. (That's the process in a nutshell.)

Be sure to check out this blog post on Vitreosity, if you're interested in more of the ins and outs of various thermal screenprinting process and equipment. It's chockful of information and how-to videos (including my Gocco video!).

Here are some notebooks I made with covers printed with thermal screens. If you're interested, they're for sale in my shop.

My latest project in-progress. These will soon become notebooks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Handmade Book: The Ultimate Chalkboard Book


I present to you the first in my new line of Chalkboard Books... I don't know about you, but the sight of a chalkboard book sends a wave of nostalgia straight through me and back to elementary school days.

So, I decided to combine nostalgia and ultimate usefulness into one classy, chunky volume. The front cover of this chunky sketchbook is, you guessed it, a chalkboard!

You can peruse my newest book further, if you'd like, in my shop!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wrap-up: News from Your Secret Admiral

Hello there my virtual friends,
I know it has been awhile since I've made a peep in the ol' blogosphere, but I wanted to share some highlights from the past month from Your Secret Admiral Land.

in the press:

(Click the image above to see the article at a readable size.)

In the February 19-25th issue of Time Out New York magazine, there was a segment honoring Martha Stewart's appearance at the 92nd Street Y. They highlighted three local crafters, including my pal Danielle Maveal and me! You can see the article online here.

on the road:

I spent 3 days in Baltimore at the American Craft Council show in the "AltCraft" section earlier this month, selling my wares, seeing old friends, and meeting fellow makers.

I had the great pleasure to see and meet Annie from Imogene, Rania from goshdarnknit, Linda from Little Flower Designs, Caitlyn from Re-Bound Designs, Josh and Margaret from Dovetail Ceramics, Nicole from Astulabee, Alison of Tigerlilly, the ladies behind Hello Craft, and so many wonderful others! The weekend was a whirlwind of activity, a buzzing beehive, and an overall success. I have spend the time since relaxing and scheming...

This was my booth.

Here are some of my day planners and other books.

Annie + Danielle + me

Buds! Angelica, Nathan, Aaron, Annalise, Richena.

I send a special shout out to Danielle, Nathan, and my mother for all their much appreciated help making this show go smoothly. Much love to you each!

in the galleries:

If you live in Brooklyn or Minneapolis, be sure to pay a visit to Your Secret Admiral products now stocked in two new brick-and-mortar galleries! In Brooklyn, my handmade books can be found at the lovely New York Design Room on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. In Minneapolis, a selection of books can be found at Gallery 360. Check it out!

Till Next Time,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from me to you!

This is how I spent my Valentine's Day so far:

1. Volunteering with Citymeals-on-Wheels delivering food and Etsy Valentines.
2. Perusing the vast offerings of the Union Square Greenmarket. (I returned home with many treats! Maybe another cooking post is on the horizon.)
3. Being a human bookmaking machine in preparation for the ACC Show in Baltimore that is sneaking up on me...

What did you do for Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Antique Embosser

Drumroll, please... I present you my brand new/antique embosser. I have been using this to emboss all of my handmade books. I think the embossed seal takes my books to the next level! This is definitely my new favorite tool.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wintery Potage Recipe

As you may know, I am a devout farmer's market goer. Every Saturday morning, I religiously pore of the week's offerings from the fine local farmers at the green market at McCarren Park. This time of year, the vegetable pickings are a bit sparse and I am always craving a piping hot bowl of soup. So, inspired by a recipe in Deborah Madison's cookbook, Local Flavors, I have been making this potage a winter staple.

Here's the recipe:

-3 small potatoes
-6 small turnips with tender skin
-5 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
-3 large leeks
-sprigs of fresh thyme
-a bit of cream
-salt and pepper to taste

Add all the vegetables and a few sprigs of thyme to a large pot. Simmer for 5 minutes in a cup of vegetable stock. Add the remaining stock (or water). Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in a few spoonfuls of cream. Garnish with thyme (or parsley). Serve with good warm bread. Enjoy!

P.S. This is one of those soups that tastes even better the day after!