Posts filed under ‘Making’


I found this beautiful little animated film on Neatorama. It’s called “Papiroflexia,” which is Spanish for origami, and in two whimsical minutes combines some of my favorite things: papercraft, a love of nature, and therianthropy. Enjoy!

EDIT: Apparently WordPress won’t let me embed YouTube videos? Anyway, here’s the link:

August 10, 2007 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

Birthday Hedgehogs

Yesterday was my sister’s 21st birthday. I’ve been promising her for a while that I was going to make her a fabulous handmade sketch book, and on Friday I started digging through some stuff in preparation to do so. I got a great idea for the book – and realized that I was in over my head. There was no way I could finish the book by Sunday evening.

I’m going to make that fabulous sketch book, but in the meantime I decided to make her a set of little portable notebooks for doodling and note-taking this academic year. It also gave me an excuse to try Jackie Poutasse’s Hedgehog tutorial. I love moleskines but rarely splurge on them, so the thought of making my own appealled. (Apparently if you make your own, they go from moles to hedgehogs – kind of a Kleenex thing, maybe?)

I ended up spending pretty much all weekend (at least eight solid hours, not including shopping for the perfect sheets of paper) on a set of six hedgehogs, each slightly different from the last. A couple of them turned out near-perfect; one may self-destruct at any given moment. (I think I forgot to loop my thread back around a previous signature on one go-around.) But I love the way they turned out, and I think she really likes them!

The biggest one was done with heavier paper for the text block and, although you can’t tell, there’s a lot of glitter and gloss to the cover material. I covered the edges of this book with book tape from Kimbooktu because the paper’s embellishments were cracking. The monkeys one was the first one I did, and it’s a bit plainer because it served as my “dummy.” Fortunately, it worked just fine! The next one was tricky because I had to laminate a sheet of Tinkerbell-themed vellum to cardstock without the glue showing. This one is different because I didn’t wrap a second sheet of paper for the cover – the cardstock was heavy enough that I thought it made an adequate cover by itself. It is also reinforced with book tape. The orange one has orange paper, just for kicks, and my sister’s name spelled out in alphabet beads. The clouds book was covered by some fantastic self-adhesive paper by blogger Elsie Flannigan – Elsie, if you’re reading this, PLEASE make more of that stuff! And finally, the last hedgehog is adorned with some terrific fabric stickers with a surf-shop theme.

A closeup of the orange hedgehog. I wasn’t sure how the white elastic would work – typically one uses black – but I really liked the end result.

I bought this little hamper-caddy at the dollar store. When I saw it, I eyeballed it and realized it was exactly the right size. Sure enough, they just fit!

Finally, in the interst of full disclosure, a photo that shows off the slight problems I had getting the spines to adhere properly. The fore-edges are uneven, too, but that was intentional.

They were really fun to make, and not that difficult. I highly recommend the tutorial, and if this is your first book, I highly recommend doing a few practice text blocks first. (Binder clips are your friend.) Let me know if you ever make one – I’d love to see pictures!

July 30, 2007 at 7:35 am 1 comment

Little Etsy Books

The man who introduced me to book arts disdains miniature books, and I have to admit that they can be painfully precious, but sometimes they can be pretty neat – and the workmanship required to create them is astounding. Here’s a few little books I found on Etsy, one of my favorite browsing sites.

Basilisk Journal by Meowstro: 3″ x 2″ ($9)

Blank Book 3 Piece Binding by OrtBindery: 82mm x 53mm x 15mm ($75)

Book of Questions by NinaJudinBooks: 3.3cm x 42cm ($125)

Chocolate Button Book by RedOtter: 3″ x 3″ ($7.50)

Decorated Notebook by purplemagpie: 7.5cm x 11.5cm ($7)

Enthusiasm Booklace by JOYouz: 1.125″ x 1.5″, 0.25″ thick ($20)

Green Graffiti by BlueAlgae: 7cm x 5.5cm ($1.20)

Handbound Leather 1/12 Scale Book by teresasart: 1″ x 0.875″ ($30)

Itty Bitty Blank Book by erinzam: 3.5cm x 1.5cm x 17.8cm ($10)

Leather Mini Journals by Kreativlink: 6cm x 8cm ($22 each)

Leather Handbound Book Keychain by ArtisanGraham: 2.5″ x 2.5″, 0.75″ thick ($10)

Mentos Sours by yatsu: 8cm x 6cm ($5)

Miniature Book Charm by dingo: 17mm x 12mm, 5mm thick ($4)

Mini Book of Haiku by greenchairpress: 1.5″ x 1.5″ ($10)

Origami Bookcase Alphabet Book by dingo: 1.75″ x 1.5″ x 1″ ($15)

Parking Ticket by lookability: 2″ x 2″ ($3)

Personalized Mini Journal by ladyartisan: 2″ x 3″ ($15)

Polymer Clay Art Collage Book by midnightbluart: 2″ x 1.5″, 0.33″ thick ($12.95)

Squared by KupoKiley: 0.33″ thick, about 1.5″ x 1.5″ ($5 for both)

Tiffany Cassette Tape Blank Book by erinzam: 4″ x 2.5″ x 1.5″ ($18)

A Week in my Garden by runmoremiles: 2″ x 2″ ($4)

Zodiac Monsters and The Tiny Zodiac Monsters Coloring Book by monstergallery: 1.5″ x 1″ and 1.125″ x 0.875″ ($0.60 each)

I’m dreadfully amused by the Mentos book, and you should definitely click to see the adorable illustrations in the Zodiac Monster books. I can’t believe the 1/12 scale book – so tiny! Check out the bookshelf book, too – the three shelves of books are actually each volumes in an abecadarian!

July 26, 2007 at 8:38 pm 2 comments


If anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas…


Bonefolder Bind-O-Rama 2007
The Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition Catalog

Initiated in 2004, the Bind-O-Rama challenge and online exhibition has become an annual event. To continue that tradition, the 2007 Bind-O-Rama will be a set book exhibition featuring the catalog to the Guild’s 100th anniversary exhibition. The
exhibition continues to be a great success as it travels across the US. Closing in Portland, OR on May 20, the exhibition will then travel to Dallas’ Bridwell Library before closing at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in late November.

The bound catalog is already sold out, a first in Guild history, but there are still a good number of unbound copies left. What better way to bind them then for an exhibition. The unbound copies of the Guild’s 100th anniversary exhibition catalog can be ordered from the Guild of Book Workers for $30 that includes shipping and handling within the US. For orders outside the US, shipping costs will be provided.

This is an extremely “luscious” catalog and a must have for any bibliophile, bookbinder, or book artist. To see the quality of the illustrations, the
full exhibition can be viewed online at

Catalog Specifications:

Size: 8.5 x 11″ Vertical
Pages: 112
Illustrations: The catalog depicts all 58 bindings in the retrospective exhibition and all 62 bindings in the juried exhibition of contemporary works. All illustrations are in color. The catalog includes introductions by Peter Verheyen, GBW Exhibitions Chair; Betsy Palmer Eldridge, GBW President; juror’s statements; complete binding descriptions; biographical statements. Design: The catalog was designed by Julie Leonard and Sara Sauers of Iowa City, IA, who designed the catalogs for the William Anthony, Fine Binder exhibition held at the University of Iowa and the Book of Origins: A survey of American fine binding.

July 10, 2007 at 6:33 am 1 comment

In Which I Make Bookplates

Friday night, I spent a romantic evening making bookplates. I think I’d like to go back and make a few more in color, just for the fun of it. You print them on Avery labels so that they’re ready to peel and go – and you can print as many as you need, which is a big deal when you have a huge personal library, but bookplates-to-purchase come in dinky little six-packs.

Which do you like the best? My husband and I are rather fond of the second one.

The text on that last one is a medieval curse against book thieves.

July 7, 2007 at 9:51 am 4 comments

Good Start to the Week

second_prizeI found out early this morning that I won Second Place in Kimbooktu’s book gadget contest!

I invented a “book cloak” that you can make yourself (follow the link for simple instructions) to hide books you’re embarrassed to be seen reading in public. I never in a million years thought I’d actually win anything, to be honest – some of the other inventions were so funny and outrageous that I thought sure my mundane little gadget would fall by the wayside. But it didn’t, and now it shall forever live in Kimbooktu infamy. 🙂

In addition to a cute trophy graphic, Second Place receives:

When I receive my prizes I’ll take a picture (both for y’all, and at Kimbooktu’s request).

I’m very excited about the prizes, but much more so about creating something that people found interesting and useful. Thank you so much if you voted for me. This really inspires me to keep doing and creating. 🙂

June 18, 2007 at 6:53 am 2 comments

Make your own Book Cloak!

You are a member of the Literati, but admit it: every now and again, you read something “unworthy.” Don’t raise your eyebrow at me – you know what I mean. I know all about your secret stash of Harlequin novels, that row of Stephen King and John Grisham tucked in your closet. I know all about your summer of chick-lit debauchery!

Your secret is safe with me – and I offer you assistance. No longer do you need to tuck bestselling novels inside sterner tomes or use arms, bags, or small children to shield the cover art from the world. I bring you hope, and hope’s name is the Book Cloak.

The Book Cloak is a custom book cover for those books that are simply too embarassing to be read in public. You might expect to pay $10, $20, even $50 for such a pride-saving tool – but no! The Book Cloak, as an open-source craftwork, is completely free to you, minus the cost of materials! You can make it using only materials found around the house (although a trip to the scrapbook store makes it all the more fun to do), and it’s so easy that anyone can do it. To demonstrate the ease of Book Cloak construction, I did my demo on a camping trip without the benefit of any specialty bookbinding tools.

The following instructions are for a standard mass-market paperback. However, they can be easily amended for any size book simply by using larger paper, or an additional sheet.

Supplies: two sheets of 12″x12″ heavy paper in contrasting colors; one sheet of 8.5″x11″ cardstock in a complementary shade; ribbon to match; acid-free adhesive (rubber cement works well), craft tape or acid-free masking tape

Tools: ruler, scissors (or craft knife and straight edge), pencil, hole punch

Step 1. Identify an embarrassing book. If it makes English majors turn green or sixth-grade boys faint, you’ve found the right book. Measure its dimensions (width, height, and depth).

Step 2. Take one sheet of 12″x12″ paper. From it, cut two rectangles at least two inches (5 cm) taller and one inch (2.5 cm) wider than your book. (If you have enough paper, cut the rectangles four inches [10 cm] taller and two inches [5 cm] wider.) These are the cover sheets. Make one rectangle, of the same size, from the contrasting sheet of paper. This is the spine sheet.

Step 3. Slip one of the cover sheets inside the front cover of your book and center it lengthwise. Mark where the edges of the cover hit the paper. Remove the paper and fold the top and bottom in at the marks. Crease sharply with your thumbnail or a bonefolder.

Step 4. Repeat with all three rectangles.

Step 5. Trim the spine sheet so that it is 3″ (about 7.5 cm) wider than the depth measurement of your paperback. If it is printed on one side, turn it over so you are facing the reverse. Center the paperback’s spine on the rectangle and mark about 3 mm beyond where the edges hit (so that the marked area is slightly wider than the paperback’s spine). The marks should go from the edge of the paper to the crease of the fold.

Step 6. Cut along the marks, and fold down the tabs. This will reinforce the edges of your Book Cloak. This narrower part of the spine sheet is the actual spine.

Step 7. Turn over all rectangles so that you are looking at their backsides. Line up the cover sheets so that they butt up against the spine. Make sure all edges are straight, and glue the three sheets together. Allow to dry.

Step 8. Fold this new larger sheet at the spine’s edge on both sides and crease gently. Slip the paperback in, being careful to line it up at the spine, and wrap the front coversheet around the cover. Mark where the edge of the cover hits the paper, and fold the paper at that point. Crease sharply. Repeat with the back cover.

Step 9. Find the point where the two creases meet on each of the cover sheet corners. This is the pivot point. Miter the edges by folding the corners in at a 45 degree angle at the pivot point. Crease sharply. Repeat for all four corners.

Step 10 (Optional). If you would like to add handles to your book, punch two holes in each side as shown. The creased edge should bisect the holes, which should be about 3″ (7.5 cm) apart. You will have a total of four holes, two on the front and two on the back. If you do not want handles, skip steps 10-11.

Step 11 (Optional). For a standard paperback, cut a length of ribbon approximately one meter in length. Thread it through the holes so that there are loops on the outside of the cover. Tie the ribbon’s ends together (make sure that the knot is one that will hold). The flatter the knot, the better.

Step 12. Take a piece of heavy crafting tape or masking tape and cut it to just shorter than the height of your book. Place it on the backside of the spine, over the tabs and ribbon, if applicable. This reinforces the spine.

Step 13. Set the paperback inside and slip the front cover under the corner flaps. Fold down the top, bottom, and side folds so that they make neat edges. Glue the folds down. (If you want the Book Cloak to be removable, only glue cover paper to cover paper – not to the actual book!) Repeat for the back cover. Put pressure on the glued spots and allow to dry.

Step 14 (Optional, but Recommended). It is recommended that the Book Cloak be attached permanently to the book, as it is custom-measured to that particular copy, but if you want it to be removable, skip this step. Take the sheet of 8.5″x11″ cardstock and cut from it two rectangles, approximately 2 cm shorter and 1 cm narrower than the paperback. This is your endpaper. Slip it inside the front cover, center it, and paste it down, making sure to glue it to the Book Cloak paper and to the inside cover of the paperback. This will keep your Book Cloak firmly on the paperback, and adds that final touch of class.

The Final Product! Once the glue dries, your Book Cloak is completed! If you added ribbon, you can carry it like a handbag, or tie the handles together to hold your book closed.

Make a matching bookmark from your scraps.

Finally, with the Book Cloak, you can read what you’d like with impunity.

Created as an entry for the Kimbooktu Reading Gadget Contest. Wish me luck! And if you make a Book Cloak, I’d love to see a picture. Comment with a link, or email me at

June 4, 2007 at 10:38 am 1 comment

Ten Books

classroom edition

Well, I finished my classroom edition. Ten copies of Chains, each weighing over half a pound, each 5.5″x4.25″, each painstakingly hand-bound. (The “painstaking” part of that sentence is completely literal – my triceps and forearms still haven’t forgiven me.)

title page

Chains is a book about emotional abuse. Over a third of all women who have had serious relationships have been the victim of emotional abuse (obviously men are victims as well, but most available statistics deal with women in heterosexual relationships).


It’s a nasty thing. Because there are no outward physical signs, it can be very easy to ignore or dismiss emotional abuse – to believe that it’s all in your head, or your own fault, or “not so bad.” The problem is, it is so bad. It does seriously bad things to your mental health, is a major predictor of future physical abuse, and is a major warning sign for murder and murder-suicide.


This book is about the chains of abuse that bind us, and the chains we bind around ourselves under the mistaken assumption that we are in a loving relationship. It’s also about the chains we lock around that part of our lives so that we don’t have to think about it or talk about it.  


Chains is difficult to open, reflecting on how hard it can be to open up about abuse, and once you’ve got it undone, the chains make it hard to handle – just as we can find it difficult to get a grip on our feelings as we try to process them in the aftermath of an abusive relationship. Finally, once you’ve got Chains open, it is difficult to close back up – a reminder that we shouldn’t try to lock up these things inside us but should expose them to the light so that they can heal and help others.


I’ve decided that multiple editions are the devil. It took me so long to do all of these. On the other hand, there’s something deeply satisfying about having an entire little stack of the same book – being your own publishing house. I am so impressed with “real” book artists who do editions in excess of a hundred books… how do they do it? I guess maybe once you’re good at this it becomes like knitting, and you can do it more automatically. That, or they use slave labor.


Chains is a multiple-signature book with medium-weight hard boards covered in heavy textured paper (I’d categorize the paper as handmade, but that would be deceptive as I purchased it… somebody had to make this stuff by hand, though) and tied shut with metal chain. The pages are printed on Astrobrite paper using Pharmacy typeface and graphics adapted from a Photoshop brush by Obsidian Dawn. The text block’s design is inspired by the zine aesthetic. And yes, I used tacky glue – I experimented with a lot of different kinds of glue, and Aileen’s worked best with this paper.

May 9, 2007 at 8:32 pm 1 comment

Anderson’s Grimoire – in 3D!

My Defense Against the Book Arts professor is in the process of building what may be the first 3D website in teh intrawebs. Yes, that’s 3D as in blue-and-red goggles and nasty headaches. He rigged up a 3D camera and took our pictures with our Donkey Man books so that they could be the first content on the site.

Yesterday I received the following press release:


Boise State University professor Tom Trusky is inviting the public to learn a little bit more about Pacific Northwest history and enjoy the works created by his book arts class – all in 3-D.

Visitors to Trusky*s Web site ( will be able to see the class project with the help of 3-D glasses, which can be obtained by calling (208) 426-4210 or by e-mailing Trusky. The students were asked to create a book that dealt with the story of the “Donkey Man,” J.
Fred Anderson, a photographer who worked in northern Idaho and eastern Washington at the turn of the 20th century.

Anderson found a suffering, abandoned donkey in Lewiston and nursed it back to health, later enlisting the donkey to carry his chemicals and other photography equipment. Anderson would travel from town to town,
often taking photos taking photos of children riding the donkey and wearing costumes, as well as portraits of American Indians in the region. He married a young woman that his family later referred to as
“The Child Bride,” according to Anderson*s son, Howard. The Child Bride ran off, and Anderson eventually married again and fathered Howard Anderson and a daughter. After being mistreated by his father, 17-year-old Howard ran away from his parents and Idaho, never to return.

The book arts class was tasked with using some part of the story in a creative way. Some of the creations deal with Anderson’s camera, or are told from the point of view of The Child Bride.

3-D enthusiasts have another opportunity to use their special glasses by visiting the Idaho Center for the Book*s Web site at Trusky worked with Kathy Robinson at Boise State Printing and Graphics Services to turn his photos into 3-D creations.

“I only regret that the glasses are red and blue instead of blue and orange,” he said.


Contact: Tom Trusky, English, (208) 426-1999,
Media Contact: Julie Hahn, University Communications, (208) 426-5540,

In addition to 3D images of book artists in all their artisty splendor, the website includes the following description of Anderson’s Grimoire:

6 x 5 1/2″ (irregular; spine “wand” 12″)
“Corset-stitch” sewn
Numerous artifacts (photographs, feathers, broken spectacles, lavender, a key, a nail…)
24 pp.

From information about J. Frederick Anderson Kate Baker has created a “Grimoire,” a witty, twisted homage to fairytales by not only imagined-distant-relative Hans Christian Anderson but also those German brothers Grimm. Baker was told this tale, she tells us, by Howard Anderson, son of J. Frederick Anderson. She cleverly includes faux facts, artifacts and photographs with real Anderson facts and photos in a bursting, suede paper-covered book held almost-closed by a band of beaded jute. In Baker’s biblio witches brew, Anderson senior is a malevolent magician given to fits of pique. In one of them, he turns Howard’s mother into a pooch. Proof’s not in the pudding, but in the photo Baker inserts at this point in the narrative she’s typed (on an antique machine known as electric typewriter): we see JFA’s Victorian-style photograph of son Howard, his drowsy, unsuspecting Little Lord Fauntleroy head resting on the family dog. But Baker’s told us who that woof once was….

May 9, 2007 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

Anderson’s Grimoire, Part Three

My Defense Against the Book Arts professor sent me his review/critique of Anderson’s Grimoire. I won’t post the full text here (last time I did that, one of his undergrad students Googled the post and caused an embarassing situation, for me anyway) but I will share the results.

He opens his email with the following: “I confess, I’ve not looked forward to reviewing your book. I silently groaned when you presented it in class.” Needless to say, my heart sank. I’ve had a lot of professors in my life thus far, but there are relatively few whose opinions I actually value. He is one of them, and to think that he hated my book… ::shudder::

Fortunately, the rest of the email talks about how his initial reaction was proven wrong. The phrases “a delight to read” and “authentic narrative voice” are highlights, as are “charming spite” and “evilness.”

Grade: A+. I can live with that.

All right, well, I’ve got another book to finish… still got to attach endpapers and chains. My hands were throbbing after yesterday’s board-covering escapades, and working with the chains is going to hurt like hell. Add on the fact that I am STILL SICK and… yeah. Whee.

May 7, 2007 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

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