North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Holiday Social and Card Exchange

Each month, the North Redwoods Book Arts Guild has a monthly meeting with a  workshop and book exchange. The book exchange is based on a theme that is either a structure or a specific content. These themes change from year to year and are both suggested by and voted on by our membership. We have three meetings a year that don't follow this pattern. In February, our exchange is a Valentine's Day card. In September the theme is "Second Chance" when we make a book of our choice.

December is not a conventional meeting but our social event of the year. Instead of our usual location in Eureka (a meeting room), we meet at the home of Sandy V in the hills of Arcata where we have a wonderful view of the area. 

The card exchange is somewhat similar to cookie exchanges. In October, we sign up to participate in the holiday exchange. This year 29 people who live down the street, across the nation or even across "the Pond" agreed to make cards. Each participant designs their own card with themes from Christmas to the winter season in general. Just like a cookie exchange, we come with our own cards and go home with one from each of our participating friends. 

Since this is our annual social event everyone is welcome regardless if you are participating in the exchange. Everyone gets to see and handle the cards. We put them on the dining room table and walk around gathering one card from each participant (controlled chaos) and then sit in the living room talking about how the cards are made, what they are made of, and what inspired us to make them. Each of us brings some kind of finger food to share. And we laugh and talk throughout the event.

When we arrive, we bring the cards into the dining room.

All the participants have a name card where we place our cards.

Out-of-town participants must mail their cards to arrive in time for the event. 

We line up anxiously awaiting for the bell to gather our cards.
 Each person has a bag with their name on it. When all of the cards are out, we walk around the table picking up one card from each pile.

After our bags are filled, we sit in the living room. One at a time, we tell about our card. Those members who participate in the exchange but cannot attend, send a colophon to be read.

Each of us brings a bit of something to nibble on, sweet and savory.

Sandy's home is spacious. There is always plenty of room to talk and eat.

It's so inviting.

Talking and eating. Eating and talking.

Photos of each of the cards have been taken. Toward the end of the month, the pictures will be on Flickr. Check back a bit after Christmas by coming to this website and tapping the link on the left for the "Guild Flickr Gallery".

Monday, November 27, 2017


NORBAG’s only social event of the year will soon be here. Our annual holiday card exchange will once again take place at the lovely home of Sandy Vrem.  Be sure to put Saturday December 9 on your calendar because this is an event not to be missed!

Remember, you DO NOT need to be signed up
 for the card exchange to join the party.
 Everyone is welcome!

We ask everyone to bring a food item to share (please nothing too gooey since we’ll be handling cards –finger foods are requested). We will not have the library at this gathering, but there will be a box for you to return any books that you have checked out. The directions to Sandy’s home will be in the newsletter.

Lynne Gurnee has installed a collection of holiday cards from 2016 in the kiosk inside the Humboldt County Library. Be sure to stop by to check out the display in person.

And here are a few more photos of holiday cards from years past.

Becky McAllister - 2013

Bobbie Hayes - 2013

Simona Carini - 2012

Miriam Hall - 2013

Margaret Beech - 2012

December 2017 Holiday Party

When:   Saturday Dec. 9 at 12 noon
Where:  Sandy Vrem's house - directions in the newsletter
Bring:    A finger food item to share
RSVP:    No, come one come all

Friday, November 17, 2017

November Workshop - Herringbone Calendar

Dolores Guffey led the NORBAG November workshop. She taught a structure that was inspired by Margaret Beech's July exchange book. Dolores brought copies of the 2018 calendar so that we could cut out and paste them into our herringbone structure. 

Dolores also brought many samples showing that this structure could be glued, sewn (needle or machine stitched), bound with washi tape, brads or even staples. This delightful little structure can have content on either one or both sides. It will sit on a shelf opened for display or collapsed flat and read like a book. When the structure is flat, it can fit in a pocket, purse or envelope. 

While we all made this little book using a 2 3/4"x 5.5 dimensions, it can be adapted to almost any size and subject matter. In the last picture Dolores made one that was square.

We started out scoring one end of six of the seven pages. We then folded them so that pages alternated with a valley fold on the left and then on the right.

We stacked the cards together, added paper clips where each folded edge met an unfolded edge. Then we opened it to make sure that the pages were in the proper order.

When we were sure that the pages were in the correct order, we put them together. In the above picture, a member was using tape. The picture below showed another member putting sewing holes on the folded edges. Our members used pamphlet stitches and Japanese stab binding patterns on these. The method of joining the pages was up to each member.

This picture shows the Japanese stab binding on one side while the opposite end still had paperclips holding the pages together.

We then needed to decide how we would decorate these little calendars. Some used patterned papers on the covers, others used collage or photographs. The folded edges also carried a design. Some had decorated papers to cover the ends while others wrapped the ends in washi paper. As always, in NORBAG, we are limited only by our imaginations.

We cut the calendar months apart. These two pictures show that we don't lack for ways to cut paper: from paper cutter above to our favorite standby, ruler, pencil and craft knife.

In this calendar, the member used patterned pages and if you look at the stitching, it is a pamphlet stitch. She did not use any other decoration on the folded edges.

And then we call it finished!

The structure at the back of the table shows a different size. To the right is Margaret's July book. She had some photos that were portrait and others that were landscape. So all of the landscape are showing on the front side while the portrait orientation ones are on the back.  What a great afternoon.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Ready or not the holidays are upon us! If you’ve signed up to participate in the Holiday Card exchange it’s definitely time to be working on your cards. The NORBAG Holiday event is on Saturday Dec. 9th so if you're planning to mail your cards be sure to post them in time. If you still need some inspiration here is a selection of cards from earlier years. And if you didn’t sign up this year, maybe seeing some of these cards will inspire you to participate next year. You could really get a head start by choosing a design now. 😉

Ellen Clague - 2009

Becky Luening - 2007

Becky McAllister - 2010

Andrea Penn - 2008

Bonnie Julien - 2007

Dolores Guffey - 2006

Ellen Golla - 2011

Michele Kamprath - 2011

Sandy Hansen - 2011

Miriam Hall - 2012

Sherry Grazda - 2006

Peggy Marrs - 2004

Pat Miller - 2004

Sandy Vrem - 2005

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Margaret Beech's July exchange book is the inspiration for this month's workshop. Dolores Guffey will show us how to make up several of these little structures that would make wonderful holiday stocking stuffers. Of course you don't have to make just a calendar since this structure lends itself to many possibilities to showcase photographs, art work, favorite quotations, etc. For this workshop we will just use one size, but the structure can be made any size.

What to bring:

  • Seven (7) pieces of cardstock size 2 3/4" x 5 1/2" (grain short) for each structure you wish to make (there will be plenty of time to make two, if you so desire). It is suggested that you use a solid color cardstock for the workshop which will facilitate the assembly.
  • Thread: Perle Cotton, size 5, in a color to complement your paper
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Piercing tool
  • Craft knife
  • Metal edge ruler
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Glue stick and waste paper
  • Bone folder
  • Six (6) paper clips
  • Decorative piece of paper for calendar's cover (see photo examples)
  • Washi tape (optional to complement the color of cardstock)

What will be provided:

  • Monthly calendar pages (along with a master calendar to take home and copy)
  • Instructions
  • Sample structures with different sewing and gluing options

   Saturday November 11 at 12 noon

Where:  Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
Bring:    See above list
RSVP:    Yes by November 8 to Dolores (contact information in the newsletter)
Cost:     50 cents...what a bargain!

Monday, October 23, 2017

NORBAG Calligraphy (Chancery Cursive) Workshop with Kathy Warren

On Saturday, October 14, we had our monthly meeting and workshop. Kathy Warren taught us Chancery Cursive which is based on Italian Renaissance manuscripts. As we said in our newsletter, this was developed as a "speed writing" technique for Papal scribes. Kathy mentioned that when she was in college and learning the various scripts, she learned three in one semester while Copperplate took a full semester to learn. With that in mind, we were very aware that we would be learning the most basic forms of Chancery Cursive and would need to practice at home.

Kathy supplied us with a sheet showing the basic strokes for each letter as well as the proper angle to hold pen and nib. A second sheet gave us resources to read and purchase. A third sheet showed us letter groups (letters that use similar strokes), related forms (where to start on letters, where the pen is picked up, the position of crossbars, etc.), spacing and some common mistakes. We also received several pages of lined paper for practicing. And finally, she gave us Zig Memory System Calligraphy fiber tipped pens to use in our practice.

Kathy brought an overhead projector that is ideal for this kind of workshop.
These are the materials that Kathy provided.

Lynne, Edge and Linda practiced with the Zig marker.

This is what the practice looked like.

It is somewhat ironic that we are practicing this delightful script and use it to enhance our daily writing while school children are no longer learning cursive in many schools.

Our entire workshop was done in black and white. No scissors or glue. Just quietly working with a pen and paper. For a bit of color, here is the table with the exchange books. Exchange book photos will be posted on Flickr by the end of the month.