Custom Address Books

Have you ever had one of those friends that you don't talk with for ages, but when you do it's as if no time has passed? I have one of those from childhood/ teenhood, who I just love! But this post is about address books, isn't it! This friend of mine got in touch to see if I could make some custom address books for some newly married folks, and this is what we came up with!

I had some extra paper after the endsheets were made, so I made some simple soft cover books to include in the package. I thought my friend and her mom could toss them in their purses, or gift them along with the address books!

This endsheet paper is mesmerizing! 
I was able to use pre-sewn text blocks for these, which is a huge savings over printing and cutting out all of those little tabs by hand! Check out the link if you'd like to try your own DIY books.

This lokta paper was interesting to use for endsheets. It is handmade, so there is a variation in thickness throughout the sheet. You can see through it in some spots, I'll have to remember that because it could be a fun parlor trick for another project!

A Patriotic Gift

A good friend of mine, who was born on the 4th of July, has a special interest in the Presidents of our country.

I always get excited when I come across neat presidential things, because I can squirrel them away for later gift giving! A while ago, I found this little book about the lives of the U.S. Presidents at one of my favorite antique shops, The Butler Did It Antiques in Cannon Beach.

The book is very slim and just has a paper cover, so I thought it deserved a clamshell. Then I decided that it needed my friend's initials on it. Very presidential, don't you think?

Here the book is nestled in its box. It is a Little Blue Book, as can be seen on the front cover. I wonder if it was ever truly blue, that's some serious fading!

It all starts with George! All of the illustrations are pretty great. Another thing you can see in this photo is that the book was printed in the US, but what I didn't realize is that it was published/printed in Girard, KS. Girard is about an hour away from my friend's hometown of Independence, KS. That was a fun discovery!

Book Repair: Cassell's Spanish Dictionary

This project began with my client trying to come up with a Christmas gift for her impossible-to-buy-for husband!* This particular Cassell's Spanish Dictionary has a great history, having belonged to her husband's father, and is full of sentimental value.

The photos above feature some of my favorite steps during the process of this book repair. Cleaning the spine went really well because hide glue had been used, and once it was moistened the brittle spine linings pulled right up. These original linings on the spine were removed so I would be able to attach decorative endsheets and anchor them to the book by sewing through a few sections of the binding, this also allowed me to add new linings of acid free paper and adhesive. The bottom row of photos deserve the "favorite steps" title, because they were taken as things really started to shape up and the book looked more and more like the finished product!

Before & After- Stronger spine linings and the attachment of the new cover allow the dictionary to have the graceful opening you see in the bottom photo.

Before & After- What a difference a cover can make! Now those wilting endsheets are protected with decorative endsheets and a cover. My client selected this marbled paper (along with the bonded leather color), and I think it was such an elegant choice.

Before & After- The book can now slide easily onto a shelf without worry of pages folding or tearing.

* We all have those people in our lives! Writing "impossible-to-buy-for" made me think of my dad and all of the things I've ended up giving him. My dad is an audiologist, so ear related things always find their way into my gifting brain storm. One year I made a paper mache ear and mounted it to a clip board! What a lucky guy ;) All that aside, I think my client nailed it with this book!

Project Sneak Peeks & News

While things on the Internet front seem to have ground to a halt, work in the bindery has been full steam ahead! I've probably seen about forty bindings go out the door since my last post. Many of them were multiples of the same book, but there was a nice variety of interesting projects mixed in there too! Some of those are in the photos above and may deserve full posts at a later date. 

It has been a fun, busy summer. With trips to Boston, Daytona Beach, and Portland, it has felt like a real whirlwind. Also, for the last five months I was a Creative Assistant at Hallmark. It was such a neat position. I would go in a couple days a week to help create mock-ups of greeting cards, books and packaging. Just a lot of fun handwork and a great way to meet new people and add some extra social interaction to my weeks!

Photo by Tim Fleenor Photography, taken at Ashlee & Chris's wedding!
That's all past tense because of some news that I have to share! My husband and I are moving to Portland, Oregon next week! Josh accepted the position of Graphic Designer at LAIKA, the amazing animation studio, that just put ParaNorman out into the world. If that wasn't cool enough, my parents just moved to Portland last year, and I can't wait to hang out with them on a regular basis!
We've truly loved Kansas City and working for Hallmark has been such a great opportunity for both of us. It had to be something as star-aligned as this to move us. It's a total dream come true, and we couldn't be more excited!

So, after I finish one last project, the bindery will be closed for about a month while we find a new place and get settled in. I'll be able to start finishing any new work in November. Feel free to contact me with project ideas or questions if you'd like to get the ball rolling on something.


The Frontier Horizon

The horizon represents a new frontier, personally and globally. Imagine that you can walk the rim of this binding where all of the sections are gathered. Look outward at the endless possibilities extending toward your future. Look inward at the layered spokes of your past and contemplate how your memories, experiences, and the people that have made an impact on your life might inform your steps toward each new frontier. This book structure represents a personal reflection as I search beyond my own horizons and limits. I push toward new experiences while carrying the past with me.

Cave Paper, Mohawk Superfine, vellum paper printed with mementos from the artist’s past, linen thread, magnets

Dimensions: 10.75 x 10.75 x 2.5, Folds flat to 18 x 2.5 x 1.5


I am honored and thrilled to share that my artist book, The Frontier Horizon, was selected for the upcoming Guild of Book Workers Horizon exhibition.

Hardbound Long Stitch

When a friend stopped by the bindery and saw all of the different types of binding examples I have on hand, he decided on the spot that he'd like to have a book made.  As his eyes danced across all of my examples I could see his thoughts start churning and wheels start turning! He was deconstructing and reconfiguring, and ultimately loved the idea of pairing the visible sewing structure of a long stitch with the sturdiness of a hard bound book.

Usually this type of long stitch is paired with a paper or vellum cover. While that is a lovely and historic solution, this binding would be getting every day use sliding in and out of a bag and a hard cover would help protect the pages a bit better.

Because of the interest and enthusiasm of this friend, I thought I'd offer to teach him how to make the book himself. And that's just what he did! The book in these photos is the example that I made while demonstrating the steps. I had my sister-in-law in mind while I made it, so this was waiting under the tree for her on Christmas morning. My friend's book was made with a nice piece of zebra wood for the spine and rich brown cloth on the cover, it was also over twice the size of mine with an extra set of woven sewing stations. Can you picture it? Quite a beaut!

Introducing... Milk Mail!

Milk caps are like a perfect little slice of vintage pie. Each one reminds me of an intricate poster and what better to do than find two that match and sandwich a special note in between! I've started turning my growing collection of vintage milk caps into a delightfully functional series called Milk Mail.

 Once you have your note written just put it in it's milk mailer and send it on its way!

 A small collection of these sweet accordion books is currently available for sale at mash handmade in Kansas City. Leave a note or drop me a line if you'd like to know when they're available in my Etsy shop.

Book Butterflies!
Each self sealing mailer comes with a length of bakers twine to secure the book, and a perfect compartment for safe mailing. Your recipient will pull the ribbon to release their book.

Step by Step Instructions
1. Pick your favorite milk cap book.
2. Write a special letter or draw some dandy pictures.
3. Secure the book with bakers twine.
4. Place your milk mail in the protective mailer.
5. Address the envelope and send it on its way!
    Extra postage will be necessary for careful handling.

Bitty Binding

When I'm working on a project, usually I'm up and down, cut this here, press this there, rounding, backing, stamping, and various other -ings! It's not necessarily strenuous, but sometimes it's a nice treat to sit down and be able to make something from start to finish with all of the tools and materials at your fingertips! That's just what I got to do yesterday with this little Sweetheart book charm.

Paper Weaving

 Toward the end of last year I commissioned Rhonda, a bookbinder and paper marbler, to hand marble a slew of paper for one of my custom projects. I needed the paper to make endsheets for a series of guest books. Her work was beautiful and I couldn't have been happier with the result.

 In order to turn the marbled paper into endsheets, I mounted it onto a thicker paper that is sure to be durable for the repeated opening and constant use the books will receive. Each set of endsheets was made oversized and then trimmed to match height and width of the pages of the book block.

Above are the neatly trimmed marbled endsheets in action! I just loved the look of all of the trimmed strips neatly lining my recycling bin, and I couldn't toss them. I also couldn't just let them sit in a drawer for too long without playing with them!

Soon, my paper fiddling turned into paper weaving!

And more paper weaving.

And more! Once I stopped with the marbled paper trimmings, I had a knack for it and didn't feel much like stopping. I picked up some Japanese paper scraps and got cooking!

I plan to mount these little checkered pieces on tissue and then see what happens from there! I'm leaning toward incorporating them into the tops of boxes. Whatever I do, I'm sure the result will be posted here eventually.