Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I just finished a little Christmas bookbinding project where I bound together some previous year's Christmas cards. I don't get very uptight about saving cards, but I also don't like to throw them away. Sometimes I will cut them up to make gift tags but there are always some with letters written inside or other reasons why I want to keep them. So I decided to make a book, at least it will be easier to keep them in this format! They are just sewn onto the ribbons with a layer of PVA on the spine.

Let me know if you have other creative uses for old greeting cards! And have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday too!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Books by PrairiePeasant

Laura, known online as PrairiePeasant, is a bookbinder in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We have met through our memberships in both the Etsy Bookbinding Team as well as the Trans Canada Etsy Team. Much of Laura's work involves using eco-friendly materials to produce eco-friendly journals. Laura told me, "I love the challenge of finding usable materials at thrift shops and garage sales and I love using old maps and unloved books in my work." This unique journal is part of her Anatomy Series: The covers are reclaimed book board and the images on the covers are pages from a vintage medical textbook. From her Rebound series, using the covers and some pages of a discarded reader, she transforms an unloved book into new, cheery, and colourful journal: Laura also has a second Etsy shop called PrairieThreads where she has her eco-friendly fibre arts, like these awesome little knitted stockings, made using 100% salvaged yarns, recycled from previous projects and treasures found in thrift shops. You can check out more of Laura's work by visiting her Etsy shops (just click on the images above and there's still time for Christmas shopping, espcially if you're ordering within Canada!). I also highly recommned Laura's blog at She documents so many of her creative projects, including bookbinding, calligraphy, quilting, knitting, and many other things she is doing!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Check this out

Super nicey blogger, rikrak, over at therikrakstudio just did a little feature on my shop, showing off a little collection of mine! Check it out for a chance to win one of my weekly planners.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Marbling again

Just want to share some recent marbling attempts. I have just started trying to mix my own marbling paints using acrylics and this has introduced some new challenges (compared to using pre-mixed paints purchased from the professionals who actually know what they are doing!). But after much experimentation, some good results were still possible. So much practice required, so little time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Free Shipping and more prizes to win

Apparently this is the big weekend to have a sale, so my Etsy shop is offering Free Shipping to all Canada and USA locations. All other countries can get half price shipping. So, Free Shipping at MyHandboundBooks until Monday night (Nov 30th)! On top of the free shipping, and on top of the 12 Days of Christmas promo that I mentioned in my last post, there is yet one more fun thing happening. The Bookbinding Etsy Street Team presents the...
BEST Holiday Book Event!
You can get all the details at Basically, by shopping in any of the participating Etsy stores, you get your name into a draw for prizes (shown below). Books made by our team members and a couple of gift certificates are up for grabs! So if you still have some shopping to do, get at it! Best to get the online shopping done as soon as possible so you aren't victimized by the postal system too. (I think this is the end of my own holiday promotions, I promise I'll get back to some more interesting bookbinding-related stuff soon!!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

Be sure to check out the 12 Days of Christmas promotion that the Trans Canada Etsy Team is having right now. For the next 12 days, you can get your name into a draw for this rather fabulous prize - consisting of handmade goodies from 22 different artisans across Canada. During these 12 days, each shop will be featured on the TCET blog sharing favorite Christmas memories, recipes, and traditions so you can get to know us all a little better. Ballots for the prize are earned by shopping in the participating Etsy stores, and you can get one free ballot by writing your letter to Santa and telling him about three particular items you would like to have from the participating shops. Check out the details, find the list of participating shops, and leave your letter to Santa here:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where have I been???

Sheesh, suddenly it's been 22 days since my last post. I haven't been anywhere. I have no excuses. So. What's been happening, anyway? First of all, I want to show you this really fabulous book - made by another Canadian bookbinder, Jen, who is Red Pumpkin Studio on Etsy, and she is based in Regina: Isn't that cool? It's a very unique style and that's some of my marbled paper on the covers! So this is the first time that I've seen a book made by someone else using my marbled paper and this book is just so cool, I think she did a fantastic job of combining her style with this particular paper. Also I wanted to mention that a couple weeks ago, I won a book from Subu! So that was exciting. She is having a Wordsmith Wednesday contest on her blog every week. Readers can suggest words or phrases that might be suitable for her to use on the covers of her notebooks. I had suggested "Not Yours", hehe! If she picks your suggestion, then she'll make a book with your suggested phrase on the cover and send it to you! Simple as that. She accepts suggestions all week, so you can go over there now and make a suggestion before the next winner is picked on Wednesday!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

BEST Zombie Award 2009

Thank you to everyone who has been following these Halloween Challenges and casting votes for my books! The Bookbinding Etsy Street Team actually had a tie for the award this year. The two winning books were my tunnel book, Trapped Inside a Haunted House, and Sara Hindmarch's book, Vampire Diary, so congratulations to us! Sara is defending her title since she won the award last year, way to go! Check out the full results on the team's blog. The Trans Canada Etsy Team's Halloween Challege ended yesterday too. The winner was a Haunted Tree Pendant by MyBelleBijoux. I voted for her pendant too, it is really great! So my MacBeth journal was the runner up (again... I was the runner up last time too!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Challenges - I need your votes!

This week, my halloween books are looking for votes! The Bookbinding Etsy Street Team is having its second halloween challenge for the BEST Zombie Award. I made this tunnel book for the challenge: Trapped Inside a Haunted House. You can vote for this book (or whichever book you like most) over at the BEST Blog. AND - the Trans Canada Etsy Street Team is also having a Halloween challenge this week! Same idea, except that this team consists of a wide range of artisans and crafters, not just book artists. So the collection of halloween items is wonderfully wide-ranging! For this challenge, I submitted my Macbeth journal which has the witches' chant on the back cover, printed onto some of my handmarbled paper - and an illustration from an old storybook on the front cover. So now hop on over to the Trans Canada blog to vote for this book (or whichever item you like best, of course!) If you leave comments on either of those blogs, there are little surprises to be won by some random commenters, so be sure to leave a comment in both places! Happy Halloween...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More books

I've been making 2010 planners, getting ready for the new year.

And some Halloween Journals! I picked up an old book of nursury rhymes and stories at a thrift shop, and the book was in rough condition, pages falling out, etc. I used some pictures from this book for the covers of these journals.

Miniature book swap

When I was at PBI this year, a small group of us decided to organize a recurring book swap. We agreed to get the book, "More Making Books by Hand" and work our way through the projects in this book. So for each swap, we are making a small edition so that we can send a book to each person in the group and we'll get a book from each person in return. And they are all miniature books, so nothing larger than 3" in any direction. The first swap was completed a couple months ago and now I'm working on the second project, I need to have the edition done by the end of the month. But here's what the first swap looks like - this is one book from each person - mine is the second from the left, with the green and brown marbled paper on the cover.

They all have content too, since we're giving each project a theme and this time we were supposed to do something that would be a self portrait, without using a picture of ourselves. The results were incredibly wide ranging! Much fun. Can't wait to see the results of the next swap.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My favorites

Hardcover pamphlets are one of my favorite things to make. I made a few recently. This one with the rice fields on the cover is my favorite of this batch. This particular book is being sold to raise money for Cancer Research in support of Jay who is raising money for the Weekend2EndCancer event in Ottawa. The rice field picture is a page from Jay's 2008 calendar. Her calendar was full of gorgeous Japanese scenery and she sent the photos to me thinking that I might be able to use them (yes!), so I made this one in support of her fund raising efforts. I used lime green leather on the spine and the pages are a mixture of various colourful papers. Over at the Book Arts Forum we just did a Pamphlet Book Swap so I made another for the swap and sent it off for Jackie. (Still eagerly awaiting my return book, I think it is coming overseas so I must sit patiently!) Jackie's book has two fabrics on the cover and again a mixture of different papers for the pages. Then, just for fun, I made four more in different colours, available on Etsy.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Morgan's Paper Anniversary

The Morgan Conservatory ( ) in Cleveland, Ohio, is having its paper anniversary this weekend, celebrating its first successful year. Congratulations to them!

In preparation for this anniversary event, handmade papers made at the Morgan were given to artists far and wide, and the artists were asked to do something with it, then send it back to the Morgan for a silent auction this weekend to raise money for the centre.

This is what I did with my sheet of handmade paper from the Morgan. A journal, made with a crossed structure binding, and a matching pair of mini book earrings, and a little book pendant on a chain. They are all stamped with my original "Man and Wife" hand carved rubber stamps. All packaged prettily in a wooden box which I customized a bit to make the little compartments. I hope everyone had a great time at the event!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The first 4 flag books

These are the first 4 flag books that I made. This effort was prompted by the B.E.S.T Book Swap. Our last swap was all about flag books so I had to make one. But I had never made one before. The very first one: it uses found images for the flags and the accordion, and the cover has some of my paste paper on there. There is a quote about blue skies printed on the back of the flags. The second one: it also uses found images for the flags. There are a few lines from the Frost poem "Birches" printed on the backs of these flags. The book cloth on the cover was hand-painted then backed with paper to make book cloth. I did not do the painting, though, it was a friend with whom I swapped some book cloth several years ago (thank you Leah, if you ever happen by here and see this!). The third one: this was made in preparation of the fourth since I had an idea for the fourth, but wanted to try it first. I used more found images for the flags (somehow I manage to collect a lot of images in triplicate or quadruplicate or quintuplicate and this turns out to be handy when playing with the flag book structure). So I wanted the silly bobkitten (or whatever sort of beast that is) to pop through a frame. After successfully getting that bobkitten to pop through his frame, I was ready to do it again with real flags. So, this very literal flag book is made with Canada flags, obviously. And it worked, the maple leaf pops through nicely. Some of my own marbled paper is on the cover. This is the book that I submitted to the B.E.S.T Book Swap and you can check out all the flag books on the team's blog if you are interested.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Celebrating Autumn Journal

The Trans Canada Etsy Team issued an Autumn Challenge a while ago, and now all the entires are online for voting! So go over to the team blog ( and vote for #11! or #13! er, I mean, go vote for your favorite! This is my Autumn journal (#11 when you vote!) I cut a circle out of the front cover to create an enclosed window. The back of the window is lined with a piece of real birch bark, and then a small red maple leaf was placed inside before I sealed it over with a plastic transparency sheet. The birch bark is from that tree in the campground where I camped this past summer and there were big pieces of bark peeling off so I brought a bit home with me. The little red maple leaf, I picked last Fall from a tree near my house and pressed in a big book all year. The marbled paper on the covers is some that I hand marbled myself. There is also some handmade paper that I made, as the paste-down on the inside of each cover. My other submission for this challenge is this sheet of marbled paper - #13 when you vote!! Vote here: And if you also leave a comment over there after you vote, there is a little giveaway for some lucky commenter (not here, over at the TCET blog)

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Marbling

I did some marbling recently so I want to share some of the results.
Cathedral Spanish Wave Diagonal stripes with antique spots Stones Free-form curl on a nonpareil Free-form curl on stones

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Got fun boxes?

Well, if you are the sort of person who saves boxes because you think they look really cool... then you could make them into journals. I made this batch of books for a friend who has a tendancy to accumulate and save boxes. Definitely some fun things going on here. You followin' me camera guy? And another batch made from boxes that I had accumulated:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

An old printshop

During our brief travels this summer, we visited Sherbrooke Village which is an historic village, and it has a printery. I had visited this village when I was a kid, but I did not remember there being a printshop. This time, however, it was the most interesting shop in town (although a bindery would have been even better).

Sherbrooke Village is just a regular town really, and in the 1960s the town decided to turn itself into a museum. So all the historic homes and shops were restored to their 1800s state. And although it's primarily a tourist attraction, some of the buildings like the church and courthouse, which are part of the historic village, are also still used by the larger community of Sherbrooke. There is a simple wooden fence around the historic village and on the other side of the fence within arm's reach, is the modern town of Sherbrooke with exhaust fumes and ATMs and all that good stuff. So it is an interesting juxtaposition.

They have all the things you would expect to find in an historic village like a blacksmith, a schoolhouse, a post office, a jail, the doctor's home and office, a pharmacy, the potter's barn, etc. But as I said, the printshop was a little highlight so I thought I'd share some of the photos that I took.

Chandler and Price in action

Many drawers of type

My kid, who might have mixed up some type, but I'm not admitting anything...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School: Weekly Planners (and *free* book pendants)

Now I have weekly planners, as well as the monthly and daily planners that I mentioned before. Some people are very particular about their planners and it can make a big difference if you have space to write every day or not! My favorite planner is the "weekly" variety like these ones. These particular planners are 13-month agendas, starting Sept 2009 and ending Sept 2010. This is one designed to my own preferences concerning size, format, page layout, etc. So whether you like daily, weekly, or monthly, these might just work for you! And for the next month, I'm going to give away *free* mini leather journal pendants with every planner. Woot! Kinda like these ones:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bookbinding in the bush

As I've mentioned before, I have a rather different approach to the "travel journal" concept. Rather than taking a blank book with me when I go away, I travel with no book, just a bag. I collect papers, postcards, tickets, maybe some random notes here and there, and end up with a bag of loose papers and brochures and other related paraphernalia. Then when I get home and get organized, I transform the paraphernalia into a book.

Recently, I made one of these "travel journals" for myself, using papers and materials that I collected over the summer with my family. We didn't have a big vacation, just a bunch of smaller weekend-type-stuff, but there are lots of memories to be kept nonetheless. I never seem to have time to make books for myself so this time, before we went on our last camping trip, I packed up everything I needed and took all the materials with me so that I could make the book while we were camping.

The camping/bookbinding studio:

I completed the book in a few hours, all the same day. It was dark when I was doing the last of it and I was working by the light of the campfire and a the case is a little crooked... and the whole thing has a lot of swell due to the nature its content...but that's ok.

I had a plan for this book beforehand, so I knew what I had to bring with me. The cover has real birch bark on it - collected during a hike earlier this summer. But the little window in the front cover was unplanned so I had to be resourceful finding material to use for the window pane. I ultimately settled on some cellophane-type-stuff from a cracker package. Why bother with the window? Well, the day before I made this book, Raland (my dh) discovered wild mussels in the waters by our campsite so he collected a big pot of mussels, boiled them on the campfire and ate them. Rather to his surprise, unlike cultivated mussels, wild mussels have pearls inside them and he nearly broke his teeth on every one of them. Ah, the memories! It was amusing... so I saved some of the little pearls and put them in this little window so they will rattle around in there forever... or as long as that cracker-box cellophane survives.

Inside the book, the content consists of all the papers and ticket stubs and whatever else I had. They are organized chronologically, and related stuff is grouped together of course. I wrote a few details on shipping tags and stuck those into each section.

I used some larger papers to create pockets in the middle of each signature, so the loose bits like ticket stubs and the shipping tags, etc, are tucked into those pockets. There are also a few pages that fold out, and stuff like that.