Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Plan For A Book

I don't know if you are aware, but I have a love for outdated vintage things.  I just want to point out, however, that I'm not some lame hipster that "liked it before it was cool".  Although I did like vintage before it was least before the whole vintage-is-cool thing cycled back in my lifetime.  I have come to realize that ALL trends are cyclical and therefore, nobody alive now has liked anything 'before it was cool' because everything is a gigantic repeat...  So I both liked vintage before it was cool and did not like it before it was cool at the exact same time.  

Did I just blow your mind with that ramble?  Hehehe...  This is the kind of thinking that goes on in my head all day every brain is very random.  (Yes, it IS exhausting...)  But I digress...

Back to the original point, I love vintage things...of all sorts.  I really enjoy what I call "hideous 70s"...a lot of my favorite things in my house fit into this category.  I don't think they're hideous, I love them, but most people who see these things would say "Yuck!  Look at that hideous 70s *insert name of thing here* ."  I tend to grab what I like and I love that nothing I own's a big pile of random junk that all happens to make my random brain super happy. 

I also love old pictures...the candid daily life kind especially.  I like to make up funny stories about the people in the pictures and pretend that they are my eccentric extended family.  

I also LOVE books.  All books.  Every book.  Just for being a book.  Especially old books...but really all books... I JUST LOVE BOOKS!  

When I was a little girl, we used to go to the library in the town we lived in (Lisbon, Ohio), which was old and glorious, the Lepper Library (you can read a little history about the library HERE):

Yes...look at the how amazing it is!  I did a google search to see if I could find any pictures of it and I saw this one...(there are more if you want to see it during the day, just google Lepper Library Lisbon Ohio)...This picture does a great job at portraying how extremely magical this place was to me as a child...and how warm my memories of it are as an adult.  I don't have a whole heaping lot of good memories from when I was a kid, but this place is one of my precious few.  I can remember they used to have a gigantic lop-eared bunny named Bookmark that belonged to one of the librarians that stayed at the library during the day and you could pet him!  And I remember this library has THE BEST old book smell of any old book smelling place I have every smelled in my life.  

In part because of the Lepper Library, I have a huge amount of love and respect for all books.  I love them. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

I have wanted to make a book into an art journal for a long time now.  I've seen a lot of different versions of this all around the internet, and really like the way they look.  They are just awesome and I really wanted to start one of my own quite a lot.

So when I was visiting my brother and sister in Ohio and we went to the fabulous Roger's sale (it's a gigantic flea market that is also one of my precious few good memories from when I was a child)...the same day I got my STINKING AWESOME vintage typewriter...and I bought this old book and another one for fifty cents a piece:

I knew to look for a sewn binding and a cover that was in good condition...and so I picked this guy...for fifty cents, a total bargain!

Look at that!  I think it's so neat that people actually know how to do this...or did...I don't know if shorthand is still used in a practical way...maybe it's what court room stenographer people use?  I don't know if she can read this, but I know that my mom knows/knew how to read and write in Gregg shorthand.  I'm not gonna lie...I kind of want to learn it just to say I know how.  But then again, when I think about it, I am a pretty fast writer and my handwriting is so horrifyingly bad that it's basically illegible to others, so I must be very proficient in Sweet's shorthand...

I'm a reasonably fast typer...between 55 and 60 words a minute with 100 percent accuracy...(thank you, thank you, I will be signing autographs after the show... haha)...I value the accuracy over the speed...  at any rate, this book is saying that it wants you to shorthand 70 words per minute!  That's stinking crazy!  As you can see, there are practice letters in the book, so you can increase your speed through diligence.  The best thing is that there are pages of definitions for various industries that required one to know shorthand, including banking and law...but there were also definitions for automotive and aviation as well...just how many mechanics had secretaries taking dictation for them???

So I really love this's been sitting in my studio since I got back from Ohio...I've been looking at it everyday.  I open it up...touch the pages lovingly...stick my nose in the pages and give it a sniff (that's not weird!  I love how old book smell smells!  STOP JUDGING ME!!!)...caress the cover gently...then tenderly lay it down and say 'not today beautiful...not today...'  I just couldn't seem to make myself take action...I know, I know... I have issues...  But I just couldn't hurt the book...until today...when I finally did this:

I kind of wanted to cry when I first started ripping...there may have been a lump in my throat...  I said STOP JUDGING ME!!!  I KNOW it's weird!  I will be keeping these pages to use as well, so they're not going to waste.  I use ALL the buffalo when I kill it...I show it honor and respect in that way.

I just had to make myself do it.  I had bought Gregg, which is what I will be calling this journal from now on, with the sole intention of making him into an art journal.  That's the whole reason I got him!  I HAD TO DO IT GREGG, I'M SORRY!!!  I kind feel like Tom Hanks in "Castaway" when Wilson (the volley ball) gets lost at sea...

"GREGG!!!!  I'M SORRY, GREGG!!!"  *me sobbing hysterically*

But then it was all over and I was on a plane going back to the woman who had moved on because she thought I was dead.  ...oh wait...that was Tom Hanks...

What I did was make this page:

I tried my best to be respectful of Gregg...I am remaking the book with love.  I couldn't bear to cover over the copyright dates (1932, 1938...just think about all the people who touched Gregg in his lifetime!  AMAZING!)  on the left page, so I added in the date I started on remaking him and added my name to the copyrights as well.  In the end, he will be as much mine as he is yours, The Gregg Publishing Company, so deal with it!  I was thinking about how it would be poetic justice for this book to be worth a huge wad of cash if I hadn't started to alter would serve me right for viciously ripping out Gregg's pages...

I used a napkin given to me by my friend Cheryl to create the above page.  I do believe that this was one of the first care packages I ever received, and I hadn't used any of the neat things she sent me!  I was scared to use them because they are so special to me!  But I finally coaxed myself into doing it, realizing that Gregg had sacrificed his old life in order to make me happy, so if I could, I should show him just how much I appreciate it by using things that are special to me to decorate his pages.  Additionally, in M3, one of the Facebook groups I'm in, there's a challenge going on to use things other people have given you in a piece, so this is one of the things I worked on for that challenge.  I really wanted to keep it simple this time, I didn't do a huge amount of altering the napkin, and there's not a whole heaping lot going on...but I REALLY like how it turned looks kind of vintage still and I like that...I feel like it shows respect to Gregg's former life...all that good stuff...

And then again, completely different from the first page in the book and in keeping with my love of random randomness, I thought I would also add some things to Gregg's pages in this manner:

I went a little wild with the washi tape...but I like how this ended up looking quite a bit...She looks even better in real life!   I drew her with a black micron and colored her in with Sharpie poster paint markers...I still really like the poster paint markers much better than the regular Sharpie paint markers...I need to find a white one really badly and see if it's as awesome as the other colors... I am happy I added this gal to Gregg's pages...I believe there will be more of this type of addition in the future...  Perhaps some of my favorite ICAD cards that I don't know what else to do with...maybe a few of my lesser loved Happy Thoughts...the ones that no one shows an interest in...which I do have some more Happy Thoughts ready to be shared, I just need to change my typewriter ribbon so I can get the word parts pasted down...and then we'll have a Happy Thoughts free-for-all again!

I can't wait to put more into Gregg...I have a feeling he's going to be a much different style journal than my others...and I'm pretty excited about that!  

For a while, I was kind of concerned about finding 'my style'.  You you can look at art and just know without a doubt it's by a certain person.  For a while, I wanted that SO BAD!!!  I can't lie, I am still a little jealous of people who have found their niche.  I love to be able to go on the Facebook groups I'm in or be on a blog I love and say "Now that's a classic so-and-so beauty right there!"  But I don't think that will ever be me...and I'm ok with that.  I've come to see that I'm a random person...I like what I like and do whatever comes to mind... and my art journal pages will always probably be just as random as I am.  Maybe I'm wrong, and I do have a style...I know I do faces a lot, but I think they're always too different to be known as 'my style'...  I'm interested in what you all think about you think I have a style?  Can you identify my stuff as mine without knowing it's mine (and if so, how do you know)?  Or am I right and I'm totally random?  I'm interested in what you think about everything, so as always, any comments are appreciated and loved beyond words.    

I'm off now to go find some delicious and healthy food to eat...  Big squishes to you all!


  1. You make me smile, every time you open your mouth. Greg will be a proud and happy journal for all your lovely art. So ramble on girl!

    1. Thank you so much! I love that...I need to show this comment to my husband...reinforce the fact that he's lucky to live with my hilariousness on a daily basis! :D It's good to remind him with proof from time to time!

      I do love Gregg more than a person should love an inanimate object! I'm already plotting more pages specifically for him...I can see my new obsession forming... :)

  2. Haha - somehow this post reminded me of long gone days, when I was young and THIN and could write SHORTHAND IN ENGLISH. It was part of my job description...
    Cheers, my almost sister-in-law

    1. I'm happy I brought back some good memories! I always think I was born at the wrong time...I should have been learning shorthand and being thin too!!! Can you still read shorthand a little? I just think it is so neat!

      I love ya my favorite almost sister-in-law! <3

    2. To be honest I was never good at shorthand, but I was fast in longhand and my writing looked so horrible, everybody thought it was shorthand :-)
      I could never read my own shorthand writing so I finally gave up, which was ok, I only needed the course for my papers to get a better job.

      I love you too my favourite almost sister-in-law <3 !

  3. Oh Sweets I love your random~ness and I am totally honored that you have graced one of Gregg's pages with the napkin I sent to you. I love it that you named your journal too! 'He' will take on a very special persona that will be his and his alone, created with love by your beautiful heart! I so love your words and your art. Much love and many hugs, Cheryl

    1. Thank you my Cheryl! I am happy I used your napkin for Gregg! I almost didn't...I had to talk myself into it...but now I KNOW this page is exactly what it should be...I wouldn't have been happy with anything else! And the added bonus is that this page will always remind me of my most favorite Cheryl ever! Thank you so much for all your kind words!!! You make me feel so special! I'm sending BIG squishes and smooches in your direction!!! <3

  4. Oh sweets, I agree with you about your love of everything vintage and old books. I, too, have such fond memories of the library, every visit was like being at home. Even today, when I go to the library, I am always one of the last ones out the door. The smells, the old paper, the words, the history, especially the old leather bound books. OHHH

    My favorite episode of "The Twilight Zone" has always been the one where the banker is reading and gets locked in the safe, while the world gets bombed. When he wakes up the safe door is opened and he sees that he is the last living human. He finds the library and he is in heaven because he doesn't have anyone to nag him about reading. No wife to tell him to do chores, no boss to tell him to get back to work. But just minutes later, he does something unthinkable that proves he is in heaven and hell at the same time. (I didn't want to spoil it, just in case you haven't seen that one) Your love of eclectic stuff, I'm sure that is your fave episode too!! (If you haven't seen it, google Twilight Zone Library episode)

    My favorite color has always been cream, way before shabby chic was popular. My grandma was fluent in English and Italian, but she pronounced one word in such a crazy way... she never said cream, she always said beige. But she pronounced it Bay-jeh, with stress on the jeh and as if it were a two syllable word. It has always intrigued me.

    Gregg would be proud. Proud to show off all the beauty you have created. I love how you left the copyright date intact. Hugs, Pamikins

    1. I KNEW you would love old books too...I just KNEW IT!!! We are such good brain twins! I could honestly just live in an old library if they'd let me! They are just about my favorite place in the whole world!

      I know exactly the episode you are talking about! I always felt so bad for Mr. Bemis though! It really is such a good episode...definitely in my top three episodes list...but I always secretly change the ending in my head (I call it the director's cut!) so that it's not so sad! The really bad part is I'm not sad because all those people die...I'm sad for Mr. Bemis not getting to live his dream! I don't know what that says about me...*hangs head in shame*

      That's so funny about bay-jeh! I love it! It's much more classy than my family's weird dad used to say warsh instead of wasn't a wash was a warsh rag. He wasn't even from the south! It's was just his old timey used to drive me nuts! I wish I had a bay-jeh family instead! :) (Plus that would mean you and I were related...and that would just be AWESOME!)

      I hope I do right by Gregg! It's going to be my new obsession I think! <3 SMOOCHES!!!

  5. This is hilarious. Great blog!

  6. That first paragraph sounds like the inside of MY head, too. My hubby marvels at how busy it is in there!
    I went to secretarial school when they moved to Speedwriting instead of using Gregg. (Poor Gregg!) I was the first one in class to hit 60 words per minute...and there I stayed. Everyone else went up to 100! So the school wouldn't graduate me, even though I made straight As in everything else. The Bastards!!! Oops...did I type that out loud?!?!? *giggle* You'll make Gregg proud, I'm sure.
    Don't worry about having a "style"...I've been doing this stuff for 5 years and I still don't have one! I consider myself "eclectic." Such a nice word for a bunch of disparate stuff!!!
    Thanks for posting. This was fun!!!

    1. Now I know I'm doing something right! I love that I get to be like my awesome Raine! I would say my husband doesn't marvel at my mind as much as he is a little scared to think what's going on in there... (haha) I have to admit, I sometimes wonder what it's like to think the way 'normal' people do...I just know it's very different from the way I think... :D

      DARN THAT SCHOOL!!! You know that I'm now singing "Beauty School Dropout" from Grease but changing the words to 'secretarial school dropout' instead...yeah, that's gonna be stuck in there all night now... hehehe... What did you do after the secretarial school people were a bunch of wangs?

      I wonder if text message style abbreviations are the new version of Gregg/Speedwriting...(OMG, LOL, and the like I mean...) Here I thought it was just a way for dumb kids to be I'm gonna have to think twice about my earlier judgement!

      I'm stealing your word for your style and making it my own! Eclectic seems like a much more positive word than random! Because we are brain twins, you have to share 'eclectic' with me...otherwise I'll tell brain mom and she'll make you share...she may even give you a time-out if you don't! :)

      Love ya, my smoochy face! <3

  7. Yes, I agree! Your randomness is AWEsOmE!! I like vintage-y things too, like super old trunks - did you know that the ones that have Humped lids belonged to the wealthy? so that they're trunks had to go on top of all the others, and would be unloaded from the ship or train first! I love old facts like that too, and i have a "too"busy brain. And I treasure every word you write! I never thought to "name" a Journal, How cool!

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment! I knew that the humped trunks were for rich people, but I did not know why! That is REALLY interesting!!! I like to know tidbits like that too! I never liked History class in school (it was a bit of a yawn fest...too many dates for my brain to remember...I always did badly) until I got a teacher named Mr. Edwards who gave us INTERESTING facts about the people he taught us that Andrew Johnson was drunk when he was sworn in as president...then I really liked history! I'm a strange facts junkie too!

  8. I love, love, love that your journal has a name. It is so you. I think Random is good. The napkin page is very different from what I've seen you do in the past. I really like the page & I love that you kept Gregg's copyright numbers. I do think I could identify your writing if I was given three different blogs to read. It is so you. It is so full of life, fun and honesty. I enjoy your writing as much as I do your art. Keep it up.... I love your work.

    1. Thanks, Boo, on all accounts! Random IS good! I like the page a lot, even though (or maybe because) it is different from my normal (no face on that page at all!)...I had to keep the copyright stuff...I just couldn't cover it up...I TRIED, but I just couldn't and I'm glad I didn't!

      Thank you so, so much for the kind words about my writing! You made me squeal with happiness when you said you like my writing as much as my art! Best compliment ever! I love that you could pick me out of a (writing) line-up!


  9. love your blog!! hehe, my mind works that way it was very easy for me to follow along :)
    LOVE your first spread in Gregg!!! the bath robe one is great too!
    My aunt could write in shorthand like that... it always amazed me that a bunch of squiggles made words/sentences.

    1. Thank you so much!!! I'm glad/sorry that your mind works this way too! It's great fun most times...but also has it's exhausting moments too! :D ...but it is really awesome to get to meet people who can follow the zig zag of my random brain! <3

      I'm with you, it is crazy to think that people can read and write shorthand...what a neat thing to know!

  10. Very nice Sweetred, I also have picked up a couple of old books to alter - but like you I am also feeling some regret in doing so. It feels as though I'm destroying something that another has placed so much thought and meaning into, whether it's my kind of thing or not, or even, how outdated it may be????
    You have now given me some comfort - looking at it another way - it's giving it new life perhaps! ;)
    Your art seems to be evolving - branching out into some new territory on some of your latest posts, which is fascinating. It's wonderful to see what new trends we pick up here and there and how usual techniques change up. Finding ones Groove perhaps?
    I love how you have retained some facts regarding this book and believe in doing so, honouring the writer. (y)
    WTG Sweetred, both pages are remarkable!
    Love the Castaway tale too - you remain my favorite author! :D
    M3 - Rose

    1. It DOES make me feel guilty...for exactly the reasons you said! I know it sounds crazy, but after a few days of working with Gregg (the book/journal is named Gregg), I am having this crazy feeling of ...I don't know...vigor?!? He is giving me inspiration out the wazoo! I'm not one for 'signs' and such, but I swear if I believed in all that, I would totally take all this inspiration as as sign that Gregg is glad I am giving him a new life!

      I had originally gotten a few other books from a local used book store for making into journals, but I thought I should read them before I started to alter them...then they turned out to be REALLY good books! And then I couldn't alter I stuck them on my bookshelf...they will have to remain good books...I just CANNOT make them into journals...they need to live on and continue to be read...

      I'm so happy I'm your favorite author! That makes me super squishy happy!!! BIG squishes and smooches!!! <3 <3 <3


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