I Promised I Would Tell You...

But first...I've got to confess, in this house we are addicted to books. When I met my husband and we were dating, he would give me good books as random gifts and we'd hang out on Sunday afternoons reading. Oh, to have that lazy leisure time again...some of those books that I truly enjoyed are listed on the side bar under favorite books on my shelf and here are just a few that I love to pick up for artistic inspiration. I have them sitting on a pretty cake plate so that they are not lost on the shelves.

Lucky for me, my mother saved many of my books that I had as a child (my husband family saved a few of his, too) and now I get to read the old stories to our son. I think that I may have to do a separate post about those beauties. So tattered and precious and magnificently illustrated.

I've also got a passion for collecting blank books, just as I do pretty paper and stationery (that's another story, too) ~ and it began long before I studied book making and book binding in graduate school.

Here's one tiny book that I made in school ~

I covered it with silk...

...used some rice paper,

and made my bright white cotton paper from rags.

Before I pressed the pages, I added some bits of lace and then when dry, painted on some gold leaf. I use this book for some of my special photographs of Cortona, Italy.

I have always loved blank books ~ for the possibilities available on the blank pages, for the lovely art and design of the cover, the quality of the paper, the way in which it is bound. I never kept a diary as a child or teenager, but when I first traveled to Italy I brought with me a plain black sketch book.

Little did I know that I would fill it not only with sketches I would make, but also all the adventures I would take, people I would meet, train ticket stubs, bottle water labels, wine labels, and so much more ~ after all I was in Italy!

This oversized scrap book made in England, adorned with cherubs, and tied with a ribbon and an old key holds more of my photographs and memories of Italy.

The old key was the key to the room in the monastery that shared with four other girls in Cortona.

I brought Italy home when I returned to the States, and created small, pocket sized sketch books and travel journals using my pen and ink illustrations.

I had the illustrations printed on cold press watercolour paper, bound up over 100 sheets of recycled paper, then I water coloured the front and back covers. Each one is unique because each one is hand painted ~ by yours truly.

The illustrations were some of my personal visions while living and studying in Italy. I was a student of art history and architecture and many of our assignments involved doing on-site sketches. At times we were told to sketch twenty or thirty windows one day, and the next day we would be instructed to draw a single Renaissance cathedral in detail and proper perspective – and spend hours on it. My preference as you can see from this collection was to sketch quickly with pen and ink.

These little books, are available in my Etsy and Art Fire shops, are just the right size to fit into your pocket or handbag. Great for jotting down notes or doodling. Terrific as travel gifts for anyone.
I want to thank all of you who left such great comments about my one-of-a-kind pretty booklets on my Blogoversary and Give Away post. I have made a few more, which I will be listing in my Etsy and Art Fire shops soon. Here's a preview peek at them...

~ Summer Bouquet ~

~ Vineyard Haven ~

~ Blossom Buddies ~

Now, I would like to announce the winner of my photographs and gifts. For all of you who left comments on my blog posts from my Blogoversary date of August 11th through the end of the month, your names are here...

The winner is...

Congratulations Julie and thank you ALL!

~ ~ ~