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This week's muse is creativity, and capricious as she may seem to be, if you remember she's there for you, anything goes and she will be pleased. There are times mine seems to have a Loki spirit, laughing as I attempt to swallow all I have bitten off. I laugh with her... Or at her.
I had another picture in mind, but with all the problems I've had with my computer lately, not to mention my chaotic home life, I've substituted this for the original picture in mind. It somewhat resembles the multi-colored toy gecko, if you squint. That is the first rule of any project: substitute if necessary.
Throughout my life I've had my needs met even if it meant juggling, but extras were a definite luxury seldom expected or sought.
One period of our lives was spent in Navy stateside hops. While housing on base was a fantastic help to the monetary stipend, it was not always readily available. Our third son was born after my husband was transferred to Mare Island, California.
I remembered the soft books with textures for tiny fingers and bright colors to catch a baby's eye. I had as a child and I loved them. The ones selling in the PDX while indestructible were expensive. The local thrift shops did not have any but the heavy board books which were good,but not exactly what I had in mind.
However, the thrift shop did have a swatch of heavy muslin, in pink. Not to be deterred or even thinking pink is not for a boy, I snatched it up and went diving for yarn. Discovered that item in another bin. I even found embroidery thread and a set of needles. At home, I had my cloth pens that made it into the small amount of belongings I had carted with me cross county and additional needles and thread. For a couple of dollars I had the rest of my craft supplies.I was ready to build a soft baby book.
Laying the book out for continuity and stability took the most time. The book was to end up a 6"x12" with a front and back cover and the complete alphabet each with a drawing, some embroidered, some painted, and others crossed stitched again for texture. I used embroidery hoops for stitching and for coloring the pages.
Each section started out 12" x 24" with the top edge of the page at the 6 inch middle mark and the spine at the 12 inch mark. I worked front to back, right to left, that is: 24 x 12 inch square laid flat, front cover on right side bottom, back cover left side bottom, turn top to bottom, page 1 under front cover, last page under back cover. I used chalk and a ruler to make into four equal areas. sewing chalk is best but in a pinch white chalk lightly used will work. It needs to be easily brushed off so a light touch is essential. Oops...pressed too hard? then wash after assembly, on gentle. It will have many more washes as time goes on.
When the first 24 x 12 section was done, TOTALLY dried, I folded top to bottom, inside out, stitched around edges, then pulled right side out with only a tiny area in one corner open to pull through.Next, I completely whip stitched the outside edges with the blue yarn. This was when I still had an ironing board - I covered the section with a towel and ironed, on LOW. Don't want to transfer the paint.
My finished pile I laid face up with first and last page showing. Each inside page had six items, for instance, page 1 had an A and a drawn picture of an Apple and the word apple and under that a B and a drawn picture of a Ball and the word ball. The last page, had a Y and a drawn picture of a Yak and the word Yak, and a Z and a drawing of a Zebra and the word Zebra, continuing the sequence until it meets in the middle with M and N getting their own full page. If you cannot draw, then use transfers.
I doubled up the letters because I did not want the book to be too unwieldy for little hands to hold. In total I used four 12 x 24 inch pieces, each piece eventually folded into four pages. If you halve the amount you will have a much smaller book, but the size of the book is up to you.
I did not number the pages until I finished.
All the edges and the spine were whip stitched with the yarn making it a sturdy, lasting product. Prescott, now my illustrator for children's books, had his name on the front cover, along with it proclaiming to be his First Book. He was almost five months old.
That book traveled all over the United States and made six of our seven cross county moves. The last trip across, items were lost including all my pads of sketches and Prescott's First Book.. He was twenty-five, remained behind, and married.
Next up on our MMB Open Book Blog Hop is P J Fiala
and her latest book at Amazon and Amazon.co.uk