Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Check Out the Library!

Illegal levels of fun, I had a ball making the miniature books for the Writing Mouse's Library. Each is a handmade journal of his, filled with the notes of daily events that take place in Halfland, in his neck of the woods.
I made 17 additional books to the 3 I'd made previously, for a total of 20 for the set. 16 on the tall shelving next to his desk, 1 on the side board, 1 on the mantle, 1 on the rug, and 1 that he'll travel with when with Rana.

I am so naively optimistic when embarking on these simple tasks, thinking I can knock out a bunch of books in a couple hours. It took me two days; 1 to craft all the covers with specific papers I had prepared in the color theme, add the end papers and headbands, cover tooling effects and then latches, locks, and hardware.

Today was for making all the text blocks for their interiors. (list of what was used above) At first I glued each page together to tame them for binding, but quickly found that the easier way was to make them as the mouse would have made real books. I sewed sets of signatures together and then attached them to the spines. I was surprised at how much the illusion was furthered by using a dowel as a mold to round the spines and then compressing them inward with clips to indent on either side. These look to me to be for all the world genuine Writing Mouse journals in his library. I can imagine their pages filled with his scratches in ink.

Especially after fabricating bits of excruciatingly small hardware to a few select volumes. I used miniature hinges bought at Kit Kraft last year, and bent them to act as string latches. (They work). I used a piece of an old earring that Cirelle donated as an, accidentally, eye-shaped (perfect!) filigree lock on the large pink book, for cozy reading by the fire. Once I'd fashioned the lock, I was doomed to make a key to fit it. And so I did, using pounded gold wire coated with layers of metallic paints and matte medium to build up the texture. It hangs from a silk hand-braided wire cord so it can swing on the back of the Mouse's desk chair as he moves.

I love the touch of a tooth pick dipped into metallic paint and carefully daubed onto the hardware for smaller-than-the-head-of-a-pin rivets. And how short thick volume, with the Flor de lis on its spine, was made from a no-reason impression I'd made years ago with iron paint that I rusted. There were four small holes punched in the design so I filled them with grains of sand as uber tiny "seeds" and then painted them gold. (Please see what a nice looking book it turned out to be on the shelf in the top photo, right side.)

I'd like to thank everyone who sends me materials, like Yaz and her sister for the amazing hand marbled papers they made in Turkey, Mark for the bar of Mast Bros. Chocolate from Brooklyn, NY b/c their wrappers are all beautiful and hand printed with great patterns, friends who included notes on special Japanese paste papers with an ideal seed pattern, a swatch of perfect green Italian end paper snatched from some forgotten source, etc. etc., for their contribution to making these books, and the project overall, that much more delicious.

Not to mention all the perfect seeds and pods Cirelle gathered and brought over, and those Marcie sends from Atlanta, Georgia. And a long "overdue" mention of the incredible hand-blown glass bottle that sits on the mantle (built especially to feature it there) that kind reader Enui in Italy sent me years ago. By the way, for anyone wanting a fast way to change the color of glass w/o brush strokes showing, I found that I could shift the bottle's pretty aqua blue color to the green I needed for the chalet by using a yellow permanent marker over the top.

I seem to get around to pressing everything sent into 1/2L. service at some point or other. Thank you, all again!


  1. Wow! I can't think of anything else to say but WOW! The whole micro set is so amazing! I love the way you handle potentially difficult things like the books and make something so pretty and real!

  2. Thanks so much, Lirael! Don't let on how much fun doing these things are, ok?!

  3. You're absolutely right: making (scale) props for movies, is awesome to do :)

  4. This is fantastic!

  5. oh my GAWD! adorable beautiful!

  6. Shh, don't spread that around, Lirael! People should think it's a hardship so they won't be jealous!

    Thanks, Melissa!!! Welcome officially to 1/2L by the way!! w00t!

    THANKS, gl!!! I really love getting you excited over a post!

  7. So incredible!!! just two days to do seventeen tiny books, I would of thought a month at least... and that key, I'm just speechless.


  8. Hiya, Jeff! It depends on the rate of work. I abandoned all my other responsibilities and humped on the set for weeks around the clock. And maybe that equals months of hours that more sane people might have been able to allot to their projects!

  9. wow!!! I love those little books. The library is my now my fave place in halfland.

  10. hee hee, got a nice spot for you in a soft chair by a warm fire, Rich, where you can read as much as you'd like! xoxox

  11. Oh Shelley, your just amazing...the books are beyond wonderful!


  12. Thanks, Marcie, I could make those all day long! xoxoxo, s

  13. those books could be my newest favorite prop in halfland !!



  14. Thanks so much, Justin! I found my inspiration book reference images after I made these and would like to make more... but moving ON!!!! xoxoxo


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