Organizing The Book Promotion: Low-Tech Rules

I wrote the book on the laptop, of course. And I scanned in all the photos and permission slips, and chapters, and changes. I have a smart phone I couldn’t live without. Now it’s time to start organizing the promotion for the book.

People are sending me email suggestions for book stores and craft stores, mixed in with contacts and suggestions, links to websites, email addresses and Yahoo groups.  There are different ideas mixed up in different emails. There is no way to label each and keep it all straight.

So now I can ask people with blogs on writing or coaching or mixed media, creativity, journaling or arts to let me know if you would be interested in being on my blog tour–a series of interviews I’m scheduling around the release date. I can guest post or you can present an interview–in print or as a podcast. Let me  know in the comments!

I’m doing fewer signings and more events–Raw Art Journaling is not a novel, it’s a book on making meaning with your art. So having people do some art when they come to a signing makes sense.

A few events are planned, some in the works. And that’s when I realized that I need the old-fashioned organization tool I used for years before the computer: a three-ring binder. At first I refused, and made an Excel spreadsheet instead. But that didn’t work for me. I need to see the calendar at the same time I see the to-do list. See the “maybe” list along with the “final” list. Of course I’ll still use the computer, but I also need one place in the third dimension for all these lists and ideas and maybe-I-cans.

So the binder got purchased and labeled and organized. It will require a lot of updates and changing, but as the book release date (July 20, 2011) creeps closer, I’ll be ready for it.

–Quinn McDonald is the author of Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art to be released by North Light Books.

Through a number of my careers–creative director in an ad agency, editor at a newspaper, training program designer, event manager–three-ring binders kept my projects organized as I traveled from Beijing to Ft. Wayne.

The binder is chartreuse, easily visible on my desk or in the studio, as paper drifts pile over it. There are dividers for events (including signings), developing classes, publicity, people, and related projects. Costs are on an Excel sheet that I can print out if I have to. Most are lists that are also in the computer, printed out, and written over with additional thoughts.

Thanks for the Sakura Postcards

When I wrote about the Sakura children–the kids left homeless by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I had no idea what would happen. Asking people to make postcards doesn’t seem like much, but it’s easy to forget. You didn’t forget. It would have been easy to just let it go–after all, what good would it do? But those who sent postcard know that art heals.

When I went to the post office today, I opened the box and found it empty. Well,  I thought, it was an experiment. Then I noticed the thin slip of paper on the bottom of the box. I slipped it out and found the note, “See a postal worker at the front desk.” I wondered why–I had just renewed the box and paid the fee.

When I got to the front, the postal employee asked me if I was “Sakura.” Uh-oh. Not wanting to explain, I said “Yes.” I’m not Asian, but then again, we don’t all look like our stereotypes. She brought me a dozen fat envelopes filled with postcards. My eyes filled up. It’s wonderful to know that people care enough to make art and share it.

Thanks to Marva in Colorado, Erica in New Jersey, and a group of anonymous card-makers with big hearts.

The photos here are just a quick collage of some of the cards. I’ve thanked some people before, but it’s time to thank all of you again. Cards came in singles, some came in envelopes. The youngest person to send a card was 6 years old. The oldest was well into her 80s. Some were anonymous. One package had the note, “We made a group of cards and added some money for postage.”

Thanks to Karen in Oregon, Lynn in Arizona and Priscilla in Massachusettes.

In the last months, I’ve had some low times. Wondering about war, the world, the people in it. To all of you who have sent a card, thank you so much. For your time. For your messages. For caring. I’ve shown the cards to friends and the reaction is universal: immediate soul-lifting. The joy in these small pieces of paper doesn’t wear out–they made me happy and they make everyone who sees them happy. That’s pretty amazing. Joy doesn’t get used up, it increases.

If you haven’t sent in your cards, you can read more about them here. Or, just make a card with a loving message for a child and send it to:

Sakura Children
P.O.Box 12183
Glendale, AZ 85318

More Mixed-Media Postcards

The last batch of mixed-media postcards were a good beginning. Having fixed the concept, I began to work on details. Still exploring, still making mistakes, but getting better at identifying them.

After making the pink/yellow/orange one:

I decided it needed more. I added quotes from Plutarch (“Nature and wisdom never are at strife”) and one from Toni Morrison (“If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it”) and one from J. Petit Senn (“Happiness is whwere we fine it, but rarely where we seek it.”) After that, I added design in gel pen and then framed it in copper tape. I think that was one step too far, but it was good practice in framing with copper tape, the kind stained glass artists use. I love the effect, even it was a little too much here. It can add a spark of color or a bit of steampunk, depending on the postcard.

Moving on to other unlikely materials,

this postcard is made on a tag base, uses book pages, black paper and cheesecloth. I love the effect. It’s not done yet, but so far, the stitching works well. Thanks, Rosaland of Soulful Creating,  for telling me about stitching over the edge.

I had some handmade paper with flower inclusions left from paper-making days,

so that became grist for the mill. Derwent Inktense pencils for the circles, and washi tape for the edging. I’m starting to pay attention to the finishing details now. In fact, the other side of this card is a different paper,

and uses a different tape for finishing. All of these cards will eventually have writing on the back that relates to the front. And my rule is that they must all be sent to make them real postcards.

I had some embossed foil in plain silver. Using Copic markers (alcohol markers) I colored the floral embossing, attached the foil to a card-stock backing with fusible webbing, and added a copper foil edge.

The edge doesn’t photograph well, (there are no black marks along the top, I think it’s a ceiling fan reflection) but it looks appropriate. It’s difficult to get right, as I have a well-known inability to get things perfect straight. I’m not sure all four sides need to be exactly even, but edging the postcards is almost always a must, so I will also try edging them in marker and bias tape.

This one is the beginning of a frame. I don’t know what’s going to go into the middle yet, but the hem tape and decorative touches make it look almost Victorian.  It’s 4 inches  6 inches, so I’ll have to watch the proportion.

Remember I said I had a postcard that needed a zipper? Here it is. “I’itoi unzips the sky at morning.”

There are other zipper cards coming. I want to attach two cards using a zipper that separates. But first I’m enjoying this one.

Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach and writer whose art combines words and images. Her book, “Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art” will be published by North Light Books in July of 2011.

Under the Mistake, Gold

“Sometimes it hits me that I’m wrong about most things. About time. About my place in space. About the nature of the body. About the nature of the divine. About human nature. About what death is. About who I am and who my kids are. And about what the creek needs to support the salmon and all its visitors.

But heavens, let’s not worry about being wrong! I’m gradually learning that, paradoxically, it’s the foolsgold–the blunderings, giving ups, breakdowns, in spite ofs, chance encounters, shatterings, letting gos, and mess-ups, that has led to most of the creativity in my life, not the sweet making of something beautiful, or “enlightened” inspiration, and certainly not feeling in control. It’s the opposites, listenings, buzz hums,  the falling (leaping) down the rabbit hole, the stepping through the looking glass, barefoot, with no suitcase, in new territory.”

–Susan G. Wooldridge, Foolsgold, p. 88.

Transformation. Tape, ink, stitching, © Quinn McDonald. All right reserved.

After reading that, I began to wonder why, when we notice we are wrong, we are so concerned with having been wrong, instead of eager to have the skill of discernment and a chance to practice problem solving.

What exciting, wonderful, practical or clever thing have you learned recently from making a mistake?

Here’s my list: I need seven hours of sleep, no matter how much I think I can get by on five or six.

Rushing in the studio is directly proportional to the project failing at the last moment.

Not walking in the morning means losing important incubation time for ideas.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, life- and creativity coach.

Recovering Perfectionist Starts Something New

Combining fabric and paper to create mixed-media postcards is my latest art project. I’m new to sewing, after one disastrous failure when I was about 10, and spectacular embarrassment in a class of 8 to 10-year-olds when I was 30. This time, I’m not sewing clothes, I’m experimenting.

Jeff Szymanski wrote The Perfectionist's Handbook.

Experimenting is hard for perfectionists. There’s a lot of risk. You could mess something up. (Serious when you are a diamond cutter, not so much when your materials are smallish pieces of paper and fabric.) There is also the possibility of looking foolish, as you feel pleased with amateur level work. Yet I know few people who went from beginner to master in a single step. That’s what makes us perfectionists such procrastinators–if we put it off long enough, we might make it perfect. So we put it off in hopes of perfection. Sadly, perfection is elusive.

I’m a recovering perfectionist, so I push myself. I post my experiments, even my mistakes, on my blog,  because it may be helpful to someone just starting out. Or ready to quit. What made me want to quit with almost anything is the enormous amount I had to learn right at the beginning. As a recovering perfectionist, I figured out that I work on the meaning

Monica Ramirez Basco, Ph.D. wrote Never Good Enough.

first. What makes it important to me. That’s generally content–the Why in “Why am I doing this?” Once I have that down, I work on details. The “How,” especially the “How am I going to make this work?” if I worry about details first, I’ll never capture the overall concept.

The past few days, I’ve been posting photos of postcards in progress. I’m pleased that I’ve figured out how to thread a machine and wind a bobbin and make the machine run forward and back. I’m not worried that the pieces aren’t perfect, or that the mistakes show. I was surprised when I began to get emails telling me I wasn’t a quilter (you’ll get no argument from me), or that I should take a sewing class (hmm, wonder why?) or that putting up my mistakes shows that I’m an amateur. (Yes, I am a rank amateur on the sewing machine.) What is it about starting a new project that brings out the outer critics to chorus up with the inner critic? I don’t answer the critics, no more than I get into an argument with my inner critic.

The crucial stage is starting. If I bog myself down in details early on, I’ll never see anything beyond the details. If I try out the big picture–does this concept work? I’ll make progress. I’ll learn techniques and problem-solving. I’ll figure out work-arounds and work throughs. But mostly I’ll keep working. If I let the critic slow me down fixing details, I’ll quit. I won’t learn.

So to all the people who are letting me know I’m making mistakes, don’t expect to hear back from me. I’m busy. But if you hang around here, you will see a postcard with a zipper, or lined in copper tape, and they’ll all have mistakes, too.

Quinn McDonald is a recovering perfectionist and creativity coach. She writes about her experiences as a beginner. Because she begins every day with an eye to making meaning.

Mixed Media Postcards

The new sewing machine has enchanted me. While I’ve made some spectacular mistakes that involve picking chewed-up thread bits out of the machine with a vacuum cleaner and buying a special pair of teensy scissors to reach into crevices and cut out thread, the machine is easy to use. Particularly if you use it for what it was intended to do–sew cloth.

I’ve been working on combining fabric and paper to make some postcards for the Japanese kids left without homes after the earthquake in Japan. You can help, too, the address is at the bottom of this post. But first, the postcards.

Voile in yellow, orange and pink. Cheery!

I purchased some floaty material called voile in a color that, if it were any more saturated, would make my pupils contract involuntarily. Because the material is so sheer, the color is, too. The images here seem to be more vivid than the real fabric. I’m trying to work outside my usual neutral color palette, and this was way out of my comfort zone.

Sewing the fabric to the card proved to be a little tricky. Voile is slippery. Sew it onto paper and it shifts, slides, bunches and stuffs itself into the place where the bobbin will eat it. So I purchased a piece of double-sided fusible and ironed the voile onto one side and the paper (to make it look like a postcard) on the other.

The double-sided fusible was thick enough so the paper was just a nice detail. I could have used single-sided fusible, but I wanted the postcard to look like a postcard and not like a discarded scrap from the sewing room.

The postcard needed a bit more life, so I sewed another layer onto the top half of the card. This gave it a deeper, more finished look.

The card is fun; it reminded me of an Arizona sunset. Which made me wonder what would happen if I drew a design on paper and covered the paper with the voile. No fusible, just machine stitching.

First I drew a cactus and a horizon line on a card in watercolor pencil to create a simple image. Right now I’m in love with cactus spines (only when they are firmly attached to the cactus), so I drew them in with a pencil, then went over them in a yellow glitter pen. That doesn’t show in the image above.

Then I adjusted a piece of voile so the red was across the top and the orange on the bottom of the card. When I stitched it on, it looked pleasing, but needed a bit more.

I sewed another piece of voile across the top third of the card. I used a bright yellow thread which blended better than I anticipated. I used an ivory bobbin thread to not contrast too strongly on the back of the card.

Finally, using a River City Rubber Works postcard rubber stamp, I finished the back of the card to look like a real postcard. The card on the top is the reverse of the first, plain postcard, the one on the bottom is the cactus postcard, ready to send!

Please join me in making postcards for the kids in Japan who have lost their homes, toys, beds, and clothing. I dubbed them Sakura (cherry blossom) children because the festivals around cherry blossoms were cancelled in Japan this year. Postcards are easy to make–you can use actual postcards, too, just add a cheerful message. You can send them to me in groups (in an envelope) or individually, directly to my mailbox. I’ll forward them to Japan.

Sakura Children
P.O. Box 12183
Glendale, AZ 85318

Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach who is learning how to use a sewing machine.

Early Summer in Phoenix

It’s easy to think of Phoenix in terms of familiar desert scenes with hot sun and lots of sand. The Sonoran Desert doesn’t look like the Sahara. Only 40 percent of Arizona is desert. Flagstaff, 140 miles north of here, gets more than 100 inches of snow in the winter. The Mogollan rim has more Ponderosa pines than Maine.

But here in the desert,  we have a large variety of small-leaved trees that make early summer–late April to the end of May–green and beautiful.

So if you think that Phoenix looks only like this:

Or like this:

You are missing some amazing parts of early summer. There are yuccas and agaves that shoot up

long spikes of flowers. When the spike is finished blooming, the plant dies and a new one takes its place. The spike is about 20 feet tall.






We also have ocotillos, a cactus that looks like a collection of long sticks. The octotillo has small round leaves that fall off when the heat and drought get too much for it. Give it a good rainfall and the leaves come back quickly. In the spring, the ocotillo develops orange-red flowers that last almost a month. An octotillo looks like a bunch of candles in the yard.

The desert willow has purple flowers that look like orchids. They bloom in April and May when the lacy leaves are still light green. The desert willow has long, draping branches that catch the wind.

Our palo verde trees have green trunks. The tiny leaves falls off in the heat, so the tree has evolved to photosynthesize through the trunk and branches. The palo verde and sweet acacia drop tiny leaves and pollen that drifts. Older sections of town have flood irrigation from the canals. Some of the water runs into the streets and washes the pollen away Some days we have just a bit of pollen:

And some days we have so much that it fills the gutters and puddles in the streets.

Here is a green pollen-pool that looks like a leaf:

This time of year the roses are in bloom. They will start to bloom in March and bloom through early May.

Once we get regular 100-degree days , the roses go dormant. We had our first 100-degree day on the first of April. We haven’t had one since, and I’m grateful. We normally hit 100 degrees in early May.

After the hard freeze we had in late January and early February, a lot of trees died. It’s nice to see them coming back from the root. This one will be blooming again next year.

This time of year is wonderful. The nights are cool and the days are warm–well, OK, hot. The migratory birds have left to go back north, but we have hummingbirds, finches, gila woodpeckers and great horned owls that stay around all year.

The state has a huge diversity of ecosystems. Come visit and enjoy them before it gets too hot. And Happy Earth Day!

Quinn McDonald is a writer and naturalist who lives in Phoenix.

Guestpost: Exploring Creality

TJ Goerlitz as an avatar, so youll recognize her on the internet.

Note from QuinnCreative:  TJ Goerlitz is a peripatetic American artist living in Germany. I ran across her blog, Studio Mailbox, by accident. Her wonderful talent in describing the fun and frustrations of living in another country and struggling with the culture and language has made coffee come out my nose more than once. Her experience of giving birth and being an American mother in Germany has made me smile in recognition of my own childhood. TJ and I have discussed creative topics, and she first used the term “creality” to describe. . .well, here, I’ll let her tell it.

Before I begin, please let me say that although creality is something I “made up” I’m convinced that it’s very real.   The hardest part of inventing stuff (besides the stereotypical bad hair) is deciding how to define the invention.  Is it a concept?  An affliction?  A tangible thing?

In my initial post on creality I tried to define it although I’m the first to admit it’s a bit rough.  And it focuses only on how I experience creality which tends to be in the negative sense.

The Germans use the term zwischenraum to literally mean “between space.”   In traditional printing, the little flat spacer that was used between the words in a line of type is also called a “zwischenraum.”

Creality is much like the literal German printer’s zwischenraum except it’s invisible.  Creality is the space that’s sitting between the idea you have in your head and the outcome of whatever you just made while attempting to manifest your idea.

Creality can be experienced in a negative or positive sense.  There are times when your created result exceeds your initial expectations and you might respond to it with terms such as; happy accident, the unfolding process, or better than imagined!

TJ Goerlitz © All rights reserved.

If you’re hardwired like myself however, you might be experiencing creality in a primarily negative sense.  We’re the ones responding to our creations with terms like; dissimilarity or variance.  Which also sometimes masquerades as “I’m so disappointed with this shit.” And in the event that the creality spacer for a particular project just happens to be huge, some might call it a mutation or in other circles an “epic frigging failure.”

For years, I thought two things could be the culprit for my episodes of my negative creality:  either my ideas were too idealistic or my skills were too remedial to achieve my desired result.  Both reasons put the blame on my own shoulders.

Yet over the years I started recognizing the same problem in every creative person I met! And I’m talking about all the creative fields:  actors, writers, cooks, painters.  The only difference being that we express it differently depending on our personalities and our perceptions.

The idea that started it all. TJ Goerlitz © All rights reserved.

All this might sound super nuts-o.  But I feel it would be helpful to other creatives to simply know about this phenomenon.  I’m willing to bet that very few things have ever been brought to completion exactly as imagined or planned.  And the power of knowing this ahead of time might just really help us not be so attached to the original idea in the first place.

Imagine if from the very beginning we could say to ourselves, “hey look.  I know exactly how I want 70 percent of this to turn out.  So let’s get that right and I’ll cut you some slack on the other 30.”  Wouldn’t that be the better way to start out instead of rigidly attempting to achieve something that isn’t going to hit 100 percent anyway?

*Insert fine print.*  Obviously the dialog above is probably not the best plan if you’re an architect or a heart surgeon.  Clearly we don’t want walls falling over or blood spurting out of our stitches when we sneeze.  What I’m talking about is journaling.  Quilting.  Self portraits.  Photography.  Wedding cakes.  Writing.  The kind of stuff where the consequences of creative liberties aren’t typically death.

Being aware of creality spacers can give you a whole new perspective.  For instance, have you ever taken on commission work where the client didn’t like the outcome despite the fact that you were sure that you created something to specification?  Although it’s possible that your interpretation of their request was way off or that your work in general is total crap, there’s also the possibility that you got yourself all messed up in their creality!  The point is, knowing about creality can help you stop blaming yourself for undesired outcomes.  And c’mon; who doesn’t appreciate something besides ourselves that can take the blame?

Here’s some more thoughts for you:

  • Negative creality is directly proportional to the degree in which you are attached to your original idea.
  • Creality can be especially painful for high achievers, and those who “set the bar high.”And sadly this has nothing to do with actual creative skill.  This has to do with a mentality that if you do not reach “the goal” then you have failed.
  • Creality doesn’t have to be painful or negative.  It can be a positive experience for those who can detach from their original ideas.
  • Creality spacers shrink in size and emotional significance at the same speed as which we forget the original concepts.
  • Thinking of your original idea as a catalyst instead of a rigid plan will help turn a potential negative creality experience into a positive one.

The only way I’ve been successful in handling my negative creality is to separate myself from the work.  And I specifically mean hiding whatever I just made in a spot where I know I won’t re-discover it for a few weeks.  I have never resurrected something and still been disappointed.  In fact, I’m normally really confused why I was so pissed off at it when I made it.

Distance is creality’s enemy!!

You can follow TJ on Facebook.
You can tour TJ’s studio in her blogpost. Hey, she cleaned up just for the post.

–Quinn McDonald is a recovering perfectionist who has suffered from Creality and been delighted by its surprises. She’s delighted to have talked TJ into doing this guestpost. © Quinn McDonald, 2011. All rights reserved.

Buy the Right Watercolor Brush

Artists use brushes for many purposes–to paint, certainly, but also for applying glue, frisket (a removable masking fluid), ink, varnish, or sealant. Brushes are also good for removing eraser dust, glitter, cat hair, and the occasional cookie crumb that finds its way onto canvas, paper, or journal.

The confusing information about brushes is the number associated with their size. Flat brushes are measured by the width at the ferrule, and that logic makes it easy to guess how large the brush it.

L to R: Creative Mark Squirrel Quill #2, same brand in a size #4, Yasutomo synthetic bristle #12.

Round brushes measure from 0 to 24, with 0 being the smallest in the group. They also go below zero, with 0000 being smaller than 00.

Mop brushes are numbered with the same system, but the size of the brush doesn’t equal the size of the round brush. This can be a head-scratcher if you are new to buying brushes.

Tip:  A typical squirrel mop #0 equates to a #10 round; a mop #6 is the equivalent to a #16 round, and so on.

Tip: Genuine hair brushes (from kolinkyy sable, red sable, fox, squirrel to ox and goat ) use real hair from the animal, (generally the tail). Real hair has ridges and scales and holds water better than smooth synthetic brushes. Natural brushes are also “springier” which means they recover their shape better while in use. Natural  brushes are more expensive than synthetic brushes. Often, much more expensive.

Tip: For watercolor, which demands loading with lots of color and water while retaining a good point, use a natural-bristle brush.

Tip: Acrylic paints are alkaline and wear out natural-hair brushes faster than synthetic brushes.

Here is why the natural-hair brush is worth the extra price when you are painting with watercolor–the “fatness” of a synthetic brush doesn’t tell you how much water it will hold. So I did an experiment.

I put all three brushes into water. (I tinted the water blue to make it show up on the photo.) You’ll notice I didn’t just drop them into a jar. Natural-hair brushes shouldn’t be left point down to soak. It ruins the point. And once a natural-hair brush has a bent tip, it’s ruined.  Wet, the two larger brushes look about the same size.

The synthetic brush (black handle, top) holds considerably less water than the smaller squirrel-hair brush.

I then pulled each brush straight out of the water, allowed the water to stop dripping, then squeezed each brush over a napkin. The wet ring shows how much water each brush held. The synthetic brush (black handle, above, top) sheds water as you pull it out of the bottle. The smooth fibers don’t hold water like the scale on the hair of the natural-bristle brushes. The natural brushes hold more water.

The water-ring of the synthetic brush is smaller than the water-ring of the smaller of the two squirrel brushes. It’s a big difference; when you are loading your brush with color and water, use the biggest brush for the work. For my money, I prefer natural-hair brushes.

Tip: A cheap brush doesn’t save you money. You will spend more time working with them. They often shed hair on your surface, and that’s difficult to pick out without disturbing the paint or surface.

More information on brush material and sizes. guide to paint brushes, cleaning them and holding them.

–Quinn McDonald owns QuinnCreative, a studio for writing and creativity coaching.

Fat Journal: Solving The Problem

When you glue ephemera into your journal, add gatefolds, flyers, photos and found objects, the journal begins to expand. A little expansion is fine, but when you get a lot of expansion before you are halfway through the journal, you may be creating a problem.

Vertical journal view of already-stuffed journal.

Many journals aren’t made for stuffing, and the stitching that holds the pages in can give way, leaving you with separate folios (sets of pages) and an empty cover.

Yesterday, when I added a gatefold, I realized that the journal was going to be too stuffed before long. There are several ways of solving the problem. I’m going to show you two of them.

The first way is to compensate for the fat pages by removing pages entirely. You will want to remove one sheet (two pages or four sides) to keep the folios in place. Page through the book (it can be any location) until you find two pages (four sides) that are one sheet. You will want to remove the entire folded sheet. If the stitching is sturdy, simply pull the inner corner of the page out and away from the gutter (spine). Do not lift, that just puts strain on the stitching. You can also open the book flat, use a craft knife to slit along the fold. Stop before you come to the stitching. You won’t want to cut into the stitching. Most stitched books have three stitches. Remove the pages from all of them. You can save the pages for another project or discard them. I love the paper, so I keep it for another project.

Page being removed from journal.

That’s all there is to it–page removed, more space for the book to breathe.

The other method of journal-girth reduction is to cut out two pages, leaving a stub. I find this aesthetically unpleasing, so I add a thin page between the two stubs, creating a page, yes, but a thinner one that the combined two I remove.

When I was working on the blue/green/purple page insert for yesterday’s post, I used a paper towel to catch ink over spray and mop up. I don’t throw out those paper towels as they are often colorful.

Yesterday’s towel looked nicely colored (the color continues to soak and spread till the towel dries) so I decided to make it the additional page. Paper towels are tougher than you might think.

Paper towel colored with over spray from ink experiment.

Still, I wanted something more than a paper towel. Some tissue paper applied in chine collé style. I tore white tissue paper into pieces, pounced glue on with a bookbinder’s glue brush, and applied the tissue, continuing brush use to put down an even layer.

I glued just one side. The other side remained the colorful paper towel. The entire piece is fragile when glued, so allow to air dry on a non-stick surface like freezer paper or parchment.

Once the tissue was glued and dry, I ironed the tissue and paper towel to get a nice flat surface. This paper towel was 2-ply, and the plies are held together only by the decorative patterns. To keep them together, I used my new sewing machine and a decorative stitch. This is a bit tricky, as a satin stitch can tear the towel. I also learned how to pull out a mess of bobbin thread out of the machine.

To attach this thin page, again, choose a single folded page that makes 2 pages (stitched in the center) or four sides.

Put a cutting mat under the second page. I used a tough but thin piece of plastic cutting board for kitchen use.

Using a craft knife and ruler, cut away the 2 pages about 1/2-3/4 inch from the gutter (spine) of the book, leaving two stubs.

Position the insert page between the two stubs. When it’s just where it needs to be, I  lifted the edge of the paper towel and put down a bead of glue, and spread it down with my fingers. Once the paper towel was glued to the bottom stub, I glued down the top stub.

Using a Sakura gel pen, I drew a sewing machine design on the stub and glued a colorful image on the page. The prose poem is by Wade Davis. It says:
“The world into which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”

Because I put the thin page between two stubs from the same piece of paper, the page is easy to turn and much thinner than the original two pages.

Have fun with your journal!

Quinn McDonald is a raw art journaler and certified creativity coaches who helps clients work deeply and explore their life’s journey.