I received a few freelance projects this week, so have been pretty busy with web and graphic design work.  However, I did carve out an afternoon to work on a few different crafty projects I’ve been meaning to finish for the past…oh, few months!  While listening to Radio Lab podcasts, I decided to some mini sketchbooks using leather for the covers.  I’ve actually learned a bit of proper bookbinding in the past, but I figured I’d go for something simple first.  I followed along a video tutorial on Youtube and ended up with these beauties after a few hours.


After stabbing myself multiple times, I’ll realized the lack of good tools certainly makes the process a lot harder.  First, I don’t have good scissors to cut thick leather, so the edges are pretty roughed up.  Second, sewing into leather is pretty difficult even though I used my awl to pre-punch holes.  I first tried sewing with some twine, but realized it had a metal wire in it that made the stitching very uneven and bumpy – that’s the regular stitched sketchbook you see in the photo.  Then I tried with regular embroidery floss in bright yellow, using the blanket stitch that created a very nice edge.  Finally, with the leftover leather I made another smaller notebook and I’ve shown the back cover below, where I stamped my tortagialla logo and signed.  Cute, eh?  I suppose the only good tool I have is a heavy duty hole puncher – 6 sizes – that worked nicely for the paper and leather.  My tool is similar to the Crop-A-Dile (affiliate link to Amazon) but only hole punches for 10 Euros at the hardware store here in Italy.


A happy surprise today was receiving a bunch of snail mail.  Our postal service is pretty sketchy here because sometimes things don’t arrive at all or it takes a long time due to small town services – mail is not necessarily delivered daily.  I participated in a few art exchanges, so I was very happy to receive lovely mail art from Leah Virsik, Margie Woods Brown and a mystery sender from Australia that is a package sitting in the post office…ooo, I wonder what it is!?


I also received my printed fabric from Spoonflower – my lovely singing boy and girl!  My original idea is to cut them out and sew up little plush/pillow dolls.  Of course, in my haste I forgot to include space for the backside…erf!  I think I’ll have to order more fabric with just the snowflake design or perhaps choose a different fabric?  I think it would be sort of spooky if both sides had the face…or not?  Oif!


Finally, I am trying to finish off this watercolor piece of a little snow queen. I am just starting to outline the piece, see where I did the crown?  I’m hoping to send it in to Art Trader Magazine as they have a snow queen or snow king themed contest now…except it’s due today!  Eeek!


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