Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all the members of BEST and to all our blog readers!

And of course, if you want to start the new year in style, we highly recommend having a new handbound date book or letterpress desk calendar this year.

If more of our BEST members have handmade planners or calendars or other 2009 items that you'd like to share, post links here in the comments. Happy new year to all!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Book Swap #5 - Preview

We just had our fifth book swap! The books were sent back out to the participants in mid-December; thank you to everyone involved. For now, here is a preview of the books. Each book will be featured individually over the next couple weeks.

Participants in this swap:

The next swap is being planned for the end of February so there is lots of time to prepare if you want to play next time. All BEST members are welcome to participate. Check the swap guidelines for more information about how it works.

Monday, 22 December 2008

hello, i'm satan

hello, i'm satan, and i'd like to talk to you about yatsu. also known as meredeth. or notuboc. i swear, this girl has so many aliases, i can't keep track of what i'm supposed to call her.

whatever her name is, this is the girl who's been doing all these crazy (omglookathowsexythisbookiswhyhasitnotsoldalready!?) posts you've (been trying not to) read this month. we've finally arrived at her sale day, and she's so preposterated (yes, that may not be a word) with christmas/listing/binding/wrapping/et-holiday-cetera that she couldn't make up her bloody mind what to write in this space.

so, naturally, she turned to me.

thanks, yatsu.

well, the contract reads, "must do as yatsu says." it doesn't mention anything at all about being actually helpful. so here's what i'll do. the details of the sale? are below. the anecdotal evidence for the awesomeness of these books? she spent the entire evening taking glamor shots of and generating listings for these books, and the shot she likes the best?


the Shop: (or
the Item(s): everything in the Non-Traditional section
the (slightly unbalanced) Sale: buy one get one free (see her shop announcement for provisos, limitations, and quid pro quos.)

Sunday, 21 December 2008

like hot wheels, only cooler!

ok, you know how i always tell you, you better hurry up and snatch up these things before i do? well, today, i promise you, i am so dead serious. matchboxbooks has made something that i crave. and then he had to go and make it super awesomely cheap for today only.



you can check his etsy shop and/or his blog for detailed pics of this thing, but let me just say, as a bookbinder in constant (desperate) need of storage, this box is ... what's that phrase about the pig, or the cat or something? anyway. let's just say i am all over this like something that is all over something else. like white on rice. like keys on a keyboard. like sharp on a knife. and it will soon be a whole $20 dollars more than it is right now.


this is a crime.

the Shop:
the Item: the coolest box evarz.
the (Crazy Mad) Sale: $20 off for today only. now get over there before i find some money hidden in my wallet somewhere!!!

Saturday, 20 December 2008


because we here at BESTbooks believe that every day should be an education, we bring you today a whole new word.

Bibliopegy \ˌbi-blē-ˈä-pə-jē\ noun: the art of binding books

today's binder is a practitioner of what she calls Edgy Bibliopegy, and to prove her point, we shall here present one picture from her listing:

now, the giraffe print is, franky, edgy enough for most of us. but whitney? no no no, whitney feels the need also to sew a little caterpillar action in there. it's not good enough just to kill some people with bright papers, she's got also to blind us with amazing stitching skills. (^_^) you'll have to visit her shop for the other creepy things she does with pattern and stitchery, but for my part i'll just sum it up by saying, woah.

if you'd like to find out more about the edge behind the bibliopedge (is that even a word...?) you can sidle on over to her (ironically sedate-looking) blog @

the Shop:
the Item: Mystery Mini-Book
the Sale: $2 off (it is normally $15, so that's ~13% off)

p.s. the poster of this post (post-a-post) would like to apologize for its lateness. lesson learned: if you want to do something on a deadline, do not get a new HDTV mere hours before that deadline. (T_T) )

Friday, 19 December 2008


today's seller is truly Luvly, starting with her name, and moving right along to the fancy/shiny book featured in today's Mad Sale, as we call it around these parts. LolaLuv, better known to her friends and fam as Leslie, and when she's not Engineering (her day job) she's off making fancy books such as the above. it's 9 by 6, so plenty big for your engineering thoughts, and even if you've got a bunch of thoughts, there's 222 pages (such a nice round number) so you could engineer all day long if you really felt the need (freak). the coolest part here? the endpapers are made from stuff she brought back with her from Thailand!

having thus fullfilled both today's Awesome and today's Lovely Seller quotients, we now conclude with the salient details:

the Shop:
the Item: Circles in Orange Sketchbook
the Sale: 25% off

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Move that Needle~

no, this is not the latest dance craze (although if you'd like to dance, you are more than welcome to. this is the season, after all) this is in fact today's lucky member. movetheneedle, to be found in the great state of pennsylvania, is today's praticioner of the black-- uh, i mean, the book arts (yeah.) and her featured book is one that you can stand back and admire.

the papers are a fancy italian type (i'm sensing yet another theme here, fancy italian papers) and the interior goods are everybody's favorite bristol, perfect, as she duly notes, for a variety of media (ink, pencil, paints, probably even some writing, if you're inclined to sully the thing with mere words (^_^) ) and bound up tight in coptic style for your very much Art-ing enjoyment.

miss move (as we'll call her for short) also brings us to something we probably could have mentioned earlier, and that is this: etsy powers blogspot. if you go through and ask sellers if they have a blog, probably 90% of them will list a blogspot address. i think? google should give us some free advertising time. in the spirit of free advertising, we shall encourage you to do your part to help power blogspot by visiting movetheneedle's blog, to be found here: (trust me, i've just been reading it, and any blog that features this zebra shirt cannot be bad). also, if you're one of those crazy facebook people, you can find her there, too.

the Shop:
the Item: Blue Marbled Coptic Sketchbook
the Sale: 15% off this item

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A Rose by Any Other Name

today's Lovely Seller (that's right baby, that's our new phrase) has coined a phrase that i really wish i had thought of first. i'm not sure if it's something about people from pennsylvania (sounds like... transylvania) but the phrase "my primary modality is paper" makes me smile inappropriately. when i discovered she has a site called, i was super excited for some additional weirdness, until i discovered that it's full title is The Reluctant Vegetarian. then i saw the phrase "hubster" and everything was okay again. (^_^)

if you're into odd things, you should be pleasantly surprised by her journals, especially the control freak variety that comprise today's sale.

you get to choose the details ("ideal for control freaks and type A's") and there's plenty of post consumer/recycled goods to go around. just be sure you let her know what details you'd like. i think i'd not want subu hunting me down. although, if you'd like to know what you'd be up against in that situation, you can check out her other online homes, and the aforementioned

the Shop:
the Item: Control Freak Recycled Notebook x2
the Sale: free shipping

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


because this is a word that needs to be shouted from rooftops. ... shush now, you know it does. of course, if you ask me, today's Lovely Seller (tm, probably) has a name that could be shouted from rooftops, too. SCODIOLI! her profile tells us that she is a graphic designer by day and that her dining room is now official a Craftorium. i don't know what that is, exactly, but i know that i want one. possibly i already have one.

she also apparently like Mr Vonnegut, Kurt, that is, and fancy pictures of birds (but not actual birds) (^_^) and her shop tells us that she likes to make books out of things that are not normally books. the above-mentioned LARD has got to be my fav, but there's also the Valley Cream one, and her series of culinary journals. anything with MEAT on the cover in big letters can't be bad.

if you'd like to get in on the tasty goodness yourself, you'd best head on over to teh shop and buy one for yourself. free shipping~

the Shop:
the Item(s): yes.
the Sale: free shipping Dec 16 ~ 31

nota bene : today also turns out to be miss scodioli's birthaday!
hippo birdies to you, hippo birdies to you~

Monday, 15 December 2008


in the great Pirate V Ninja debate, i myself come down firmly on the pirate side (a fact that has caused me no end of trouble with my ninja sister) and today we learn that we have a pirate among even the most sedate of bookbinding groups. (^_^)

today we feature ARRRT!, otherwise known as Alexia, tells us she's been at this crazy bookbinding thing for four years, and we learned from her blog that she is super addicted to caffine, and if we judge from the number of blogs she owns, she also seems to be addicted to those.

if you're interested in knowing more about the addictions, you can head on over to one of her many blogs, wait come back and/or i make arrrt or you could add to your own addiction (or addiction-to-be) on twitter @emberlexi.

the Shop:
the Item(s): in this case you can check out her whole happy store~
the Sale: free shipping today only (so get on over there!)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

If This Seems a little Familiar... may be because you've seen the etsy front page recently. (^_^) our dearest Rhonda was recently a featured seller~ as you may or not be reading at this very moment (we're betting not) the store otherwise known as MyHandboundBooks hails from canada, in fact from that biggest of harbors otherwise known as Halifax, and as such, she gets to be in that fancy hang out of book binders everywhere (or rather book binders in canada), the Canadian Bookbinders and Books Artists Guild (a fancy site if you've got spare moment). she also turns out to be a member of the Pacific Centre for the Book Arts (also a fancy site, and with a considerably flashier header image).

As you might expect if you've read previous posts in this series (we're betting yes) Rhonda found herself addicted from the very beginning, and hasn't been able to stop since. to take a look at her shop, this has apparently culminated in a love of leathers, suedes, and super-intricate headband styles. to take a closer look at her shop, it seems to also have culminated in a love of pink, and i mean PINK pink, which brings us finally, in the round about way that i can't rightfully stay away from (^^;) to today's Glorious Sale. ms rhonda is having 30% off all of her PINK pink things through the end of the year. so if you know a girly girl, or perhaps a breast cancer survivor/sufferer/anything else, or maybe you're one of those rare freaks who actually dares to like the color pink, (^_^) head on over to today's Shop and sate your pink lust.

the Shop:
the Item(s): if it's pink it's on sale
the Sale: 30% off all pink things till the end of the year

Saturday, 13 December 2008

the future's so bright~

just about like this retro orange thing. (^_^)

madam jellygnite's whole shop is like that, too, retro, cheerful, super bright. another of our Aussie members, jellygnite gets her inspiration from all those weird bits of paper you see floating around, showing that the paper fetish is not just an american invention. (^_^) she also teaching high school art, spending her days passing on the love of paper and assorted goodies to the next generation, and speding her free time indulging in that love herself.

that superbright up there is the object of today's Mad Sale (a crazy mad 50% off!!!! as jelly herself puts it) and gets its luminous nature from the vintage 70s fabric used to cover it. it's 4 by 6 inches, too, a size that is close to my heart, and as the description says, "the perfect size to drop into your bag or back pocket for your doodles and sketches on the go!" so, if you'd like to be able to blind someone at a moment's notice, head on over and get the whole book at half the cost~ (^_^)

the Shop:
the Item: Retro Orange Sketch Book
the Sale: a crazy mad 50% off!!!!

Friday, 12 December 2008

i'm sensing a theme here...

when i read kupo's profile, i had to laugh. here, i'll paste you a section:

I have a paper addiction and love spending my free time folding, stabbing, sewing, and gluing paper.

i'm wondering if there's anyone in our little group who is not in need of a 12 step paper program.

and another section:

I am aspiring to go to graduate school in book and paper conservation and get a masters in Library and Information Science along the way.

please, please tell me there's some kind of People Who Like Smarts Way Too Much scholarship. just go ahead and email me the info. we wouldn't want any of these other smarties around here to get to it first, now would we. (^_^)

kupo sounds like maybe she won't really need such things anyway. if all her books are as gorgeous as the one she's got for sale today (oh wait, i've seen them, they are) you'll just end up buying them all once you see them.

of course i highly encourage you to go check out the goods for yourself, but if your wallet is afraid for it's life, i'll give you the salient details here. super shiny ginko paper, black book cloth, gold ribbons, handmade paper. see previous statement concerning paper fetishes.

for more info on said fetishes, you can check the blog:, otherwise, get thee to a binding shop!

the Shop:
the Item: Opulent Gold Ginko Journal
the Sale: $10 off this book

Thursday, 11 December 2008


i know that for some of you, the latter half of the year means warmer weather, and that christmas means shorts and t-shirts, but for those of us not in australia, december is bloody cold! (>_<) to "celebrate" that fact (says the girl who thinks 65 farenheit is the perfect temperature) we bring you today's item:

brought to you by the lovely and wonderful annahawthorne, this book has water- and stain- resistant and practically tear-proof! also, it has all kinds of different scrap papers inside, and we have already established that this is the kind of thing i like. it turns out i also like elastic closures, so this book's definitely a win-win for me. or rather, it will be a win-win for whoever buys it. and they'll be able to win with free domestic shipping. if you'd like to celebrate your own blustery temperatures, you can click the links below; if you'd like to learn a bit more about the lady who's celebrating all these blustery temperatures, you can visit her blog.

the Shop:
the Item: Ice Blue Companion Journal
the Sale: free domestic shipping on this book

Wednesday, 10 December 2008


in this case, there will be no cows. we apologize for misleading you. we shall make it up to you with pretties.

yes, we know it's gorgeous. the above referenced pretty is what we in the biz call a Garnet Flowers Journal... or at least that's what YellowCraftyChick calls it. her profile says she is just a girl with some paper, but the fact is that she is also a girl with some bookcloth, some thread, a needle, and apparently a pen, as that little darling shows up frequently in her listings. perhaps it's her totem? regardless, we shall now reveal the meaning of today's title!

MOO card holders!

well, those aren't on sale, but they are awesome. i think that should be our keyword for this month. awesome.

the (awesome) Shop:
the (awesome) Item: Garnet Flowers Journal
the (awesome) Sale: free (awesome) gift and free domestic shipping on the (awesome) garnet flowers journal

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

what adjective IS there for flurrsprite...?

well, we really don't know, but i'll try and think of something while you read all about miss flurrsprite's awesomeness.

first things first, we'd all like to announce that the next time flurrsprite finds herself on the way to hawai'i, we are all compact, and we fold up for easy fitting in luggages. (^_^)

so with that out of the way, we can move on to the items. we'll start with omnomnom.

a) everybody needs christmas cookies (as evidenced by the lady who baked cookies for my college class last week)
b) isn't that the cutest little sparkly ribbon bookmark!?
c) it has different kinds of paper in it. i <3 books like that.

the other item is just as cute, and has an even cuter story to go with it.

i'll let you go ahead and read the story, but i will say that you'd better go on and pick up some of these cards if'n ye be wantin' 'em, because i think they are uber cute, and i may just beat you to the punch. i can just picture a cute little flurrsprite in her pjs, can't you? ... no? you don't know what she looks like? well, where have you been? here's her adorable Buy Handmade PSA for the Storque~ now can you see those pjs? (^_^)

the Shop:
the Item(s): Christmas Cookies journal, Have a very good! cards
the Sale: the "christmas cookies handbound book" will be on sale for 30% off, and one "have a very good!" holiday card (your choice of color) will be included for free!

Featured Seller: MyHandboundBooks

Everyone should check out Rhonda, aka "MyHandboundBooks", in Etsy's Featured Seller article! We're all so proud, hooray!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Be there or...

as we approach the hinterland of the month, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere, our SaleStravaganza carries on. (and here i said i wouldn't use that "word.") today we have something both sparkly and practical for your viewing/buying enjoyment.

no, it is not some strange bondage gear. we haven't descended quite that low here at the BEST blog. not yet. (^^;) what this is, is only half of today's righteous sale. this handbound journal is brought to us, and possibly to you specifically, by inabinddesign, perhaps the one among us closest to etsy. ... she hails from brooklyn. (^_^) she's also another one of us with actual training in this sort of thing, starting with the skills to fill the book (a writing degree from Pratt) (and a bout of Super Experience at Dieu Donné Papermill) and moving on the the actual construction of the book (coached by Robbin Ami Silverberg). she's also one of us who apparently can't leave well enough alone, and she's going back for a masters (in early childhood edumacation, but still, haven't you had enough school yet girl? (^_^) ). she's so insane that she's offering free books. well, one free book. if you like matched sets, and you like what you see above, you'll love her sale. buy one of these, get one of these. so head on over and let the shiny squares speak to you!

the Shop: inabinddesign
the Item(s): Metallic Squares Journal, Metallic Squares Address Book
the Sale: buy a Metallic Squares Journal, get a Metallic Squares Address Book

Sunday, 7 December 2008

an Olive post~

meredeth is a little jealous of today's post for two main reasons. a? she's always wanted to live in boston mass, and b? she's always wanted to try some serious Printing. this book combines them both is a calming little oceanic blue flavor that's perfect for the sea-faring among you.

it's quite long when you open it all the way up, too, 84 inches! not, i suppose, that you would really want to do such a thing, but if you did perhaps have an entire building you wanted to wrap this thing around, you could! (^_^)

she also seems to be obsessed with getting degrees, as she's got two and is apparently so addicted to education that she's signed up for more classes. so at least we know our bookbinders are an educated class. which might explain how we ended up with a book inspired by oliver wendell holmes.

so if blue, or nautilus shells, or even OWH gets your motor motivated, then head on over to olive's shop and enjoy her December Sale. (^_^)

the Shop:
the Item: the Chambered Nautilus
the Sale: $20 off the item above AND free shipping from the 7th-14th on all items

Saturday, 6 December 2008

A Useful Post

late? me? never! ... okay, so maybe this once. we'll use my lack of awesome, though, as a spring board to discuss UsefulBook's awesome! we'll start with the thing i find most awesome, the paper used in the above journal, namely all-cotton 120 gsm velata, which from the cartier magnani mill in italy. sexy, sexy paper. the other thing that's awesome about this particular book is that it is the color of the car i hope one day to own, namely a smart car from the dealership up the road a little bit. (^_^)

all of these so-called Reinvented Journals are once silly-ly titled deals such as the one above, which have now been reborn into a better life. (the buddhist theory of book-incarnation, i believe.) like probably every single person on this street team, miss useful, as i will henceforth call her whenever we meet, is a lover of books, and if you feel as giddy as the rest of do at the sight of blank pages, then get yourself over to her shop and relieve your craving. (^_^)

the Shop:
the Item: all her Reinvented Journals
the Sale: Free domestic shipping and $3 off all reinvented journals

Friday, 5 December 2008


it was the obvious joke, so i thought i'd make it and move on. today's winner is theCraftyKitten.

as it says in the description : the cover looks like someone's notes! i love papers like that, and the awesome paper inside doesn't hurt either. (because meredeth uses kiddie handwriting.) (^_^)

her profile says she has an official piece of paper to say how awesome her stuff is, a Certificate of Artisan Trade Apprenticeship: Handmade Books, so you know it's gotta be good. judging from the rest of her shop, she's coptic expert, which actually makes it sound like she has a weath of knowledge about ancient egypt, but actually this means that she likes a book that opens flat. she also seems to joy in larger books, and cheerful colors. so if that sounds like your cup of tea, or your bag of tea, or maybe even your mug of ale, head straight on over and have a gander. she's having free US shipping through the 31st, and the Manuscript Coptic Book is 20% off just for today!

the Shop:
the Item: Manuscript Coptic Book
the Sale: free US shipping through the 31st, and the Manuscript Coptic Book is 20% off just for today

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A Stitch in December

continuing our theme of canadian members (or canadia as those sillier among us call it), today we feature on our Sale-a-thon PrairiePeasant.

now, i went looking through the winnipeg wikipedia article to find something to make jokes out of, but it turns out that winnipeg is actually home to some pretty awesome stuff.

i mean, besides prairie peasant.

for starters, it's the home of the Monnaie royale canadienne, or the Royal Canadian mint for the rest of us, which, besides being a really cool looking building, is open from 9 to 5 on weekdays, and also on weekends in the summer.

the other cool thing i found out is that Winnie the Pooh is named after winnipeg. i'll let you read the story for yourself.

i was looking for something cool for a sewing tie in, what with that awesome cover and all, but i didn't find one. there is the canadian museum for human rights (or at least there will be soon) (also, that artist's rendering is possibly the ugliest building i've ever seen.) (and that includes the Ohio State University Architecture building, which I helped select the design of.) and there is the manitoba electrical museum, and the royal winnipeg ballet (if you're into that sort of thing), but i found no cool sewing museums, or fabric museums, or even any black/white/red museums.

the upshot of which is, if you want to see something cool in winnipeg, you'll have to stretch on over to PrairiePeasant's shop, where you will find things 20% off for the next four days (i especially like her two-section notebooks. may have to make some of those for myself (^_^) ).

the Shop:
the Item: well, everything, but the one above is A Stitch in Time
the Sale: 20% off for the next four days (4 - 8)

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Where oh Where

has today's victim gone?

well, her profile says providence, and we know that rhode island isn't that big, so maybe by the time we're done with this post, we'll be able to nail her down. in the meanwhile, here's the things we do know about today's victim:

-- her books are quite the travelers, as seen on this map (of which i have decided i must have one due to its maximally awesome nature)
-- is a leo (in case you meet her in a bar or something i guess)
-- she likes to travel as much as her journals do (as all cool people do)
-- she owns one of those super fancy and much sought after gocco printer (oh man, uber jealousy!)

... okay, well, we've reached the end of today's post, and we still haven't located our wayward bookbinder, so i suppose -- oh? wait! is that?? ... oh. no. it's just her sale, passing us by on the awesomeness highway. (>_<) i suppose we'll have to settle for leaving you with a patented Awesome Shot.
the Shop:
the Sale: free shipping on this item, today only, and a free surprise greeting card
the Item: Roadtrip Journal

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A Sale by the Light of the Moon

welcome, welcome, boys and girls, to installment number two of BESTbooks' December Sale-A-Thon (just like a car dealership, only three times more likely to survive the economic downturn). as i sit back with my theraputic pint of Ben & Jerry's, gather 'round the camp fire to appreciate MoonBindery's fine leather binding. with her first book produced at age nine, the lifetime of experience shows in the terra cotta leather journal (or sketchbook, hardbound, 224 pages, medieval stitch binding, also made with those deckled edges everybody thinks are so cool these days) pictured above. since i've a paper on boring old modernist literature awaiting me, faithful readers, i'm afraid i can't stay and oogle with you, so i shall leave you to drool on the fancy leather (although probably, if you damaged it, you bought, so let's try and be careful about where we get our drool exactly, if we please could) and fawn over the cute little Xs (because keeping your closures attached in a stylish manner is what it's all about, thank you very much) while i try and reconcile the ugliness of james joyce's prose with the attractiveness of medieval style exposed bindings.

The Shop :
The Item : Terra Cotta leather journal
The Sale : 10% off this item

Monday, 1 December 2008

The Bookbinding-est Time of The Year

... well, we here at BESTbooks tried long and hard to come up with a title that didn't sound dumb, or stupid, or both, but the fact is that many of us are from the states, and we are still trying to recover from the variety of pies we were forced to try over this past weekend. perhaps we'll be able to come up with something better tomorrow.

in the meanwhile, it might be nice if we explained to you what the heck we're doing here today. indeed, what we will be doing here tomorrow, and every day between now and christmas eve. in the spirit of sharing, we have decided to share with you certian books that are or shall be on sale this month. each day, a new member, a new book, a new sale. i, your humble narrator (whose day is the 22, please do mark your calendars) shall guide you through the delightful and often bizarre world of books as brought to you by selected BESTbooks members.

so without further bull puckey on my part, we shall introduce to you today's member~

UberArt, as she is known around the internets, can be found on etsy or apparently in North Carolina, the land that spawned Krispy Kreme doughnuts, just in case you were wondering. what North Carolina has also spawned is a delightful young woman known as Beth, who tell us she has a masters degree in Art Therapy. her books certainly work for me. the love shot above is but one of her classy journals that are for sale this month. and what might that sale be anyway? free US shipping when you order between december 1st and 15th, with discounted shipping offered for international buyers. so what are you waiting for? get the heck over there!

The Shop :
The Item : Sapphire Spice journal
The Sale : Free US shipping Dec 1-15, discounted shipping for international buyers

and thanks so much to UberArt for being the brave first one! (^_^) see you tomorrow, all you book-philes~

Friday, 21 November 2008

Chain Stitch Tutorials

Handmade journals with a chain stitch binding have become very popular and people who are interested in learning how to make books often want to start with this method. If you are interested in a quick historic overview of chain stitch binding, there is some information here on our blog.

Here I have compiled a list of some online tutorials and books, for both single needle and multiple needle variations of the chain stitch binding. If you are trying to learn this sewing technique, pick one that makes sense to you and stick with it. If you have a favorite chain stitch tutorial that isn't mentioned here, leave a comment and tell us about it!

Using One Needle

Website: Cat Sidh’s Single Needle Chain Stitch

Website: Books and Beyond, Coptic Book tutorial Book.htm

Video: Coptic Stitch Binding with hard cover

Video: Coptic Binding

Book: Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden

Book: Non-Adhesive Binding, Books without Paste or Glue (Vol 1) by Keith Smith

Book: Non-Adhesive Binding, Exposed Spine Sewings (Vol 3) by Keith Smith

Using Multiple needles

PDF: Coptic Binding by Emma Jane Hogbin

Website: Binding a Metal Book with a Coptic Stitch

Book: Non-Adhesive Binding, Exposed Spine Sewings (Vol 3) by Keith Smith

Book: Non-Adhesive Binding, Sewing Single Sheets (Vol 4) by Keith Smith

Friday, 14 November 2008

Saint-Armand Paper

Previous posts have discussed various papers used in bookarts, but I didn’t see any mention of Saint-Armand papers made in Montreal (Canada). They are one of my favourite papers with wonderful textures and colours, so I thought I would share a little about them with you.

The Saint-Armand paper mill manufactures a variety of papers, including handmade and machine-made. The mill was established in 1979 by David Carruthers, who comes from a family associated with paper. I met David Carruthers over 10 years ago at a workshop, and I remember him telling us you could tell the pH of a paper by its taste (yes, with your tongue!) but I haven't developed that skill yet!

Saint-Armand papers are made from rag pulp rather than paper pulp so it is a “green“ product. They recycle mostly cotton off-cuts from clothing manufacturers and also linen, flax straw, jute and sisal, beating it by machine with a Hollander beater. (Wouldn’t it be great to be able to recycle used clothing at home into paper?) The handmade papers are made one sheet at a time following the same methods we’d use in our home studios. The sheets have 4 deckled edges and no grain direction. The machine made papers are made with the same pulp but on a fourdrinier paper machine.

MyHandboundBooks has used a white Saint Armand paper embedded with parsley flakes for the cover of this little sketchbook.

MyHandboundBooks has used Saint Armand paper as a liner for this book.

As a book artist, I appreciate the strength and beauty of Saint-Armand papers.
Their thicker papers can be used for covers, and they have a lovely selection of thinner papers which would be nice for the pages. Some of their papers are quite textured including the Umbrella paper. My local retailer made a portfolio from Umbrella paper and has been using it for years.

PrairiePeasant has used this paper for a crossed structure binding.

The mill does not sell directly to the public, but they deal with many retailers across Canada and the US. I am not aware if their papers are available in other places around the world--perhaps someone else might comment on this.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

BEST Pick for November 11th

In recognition of November 11th, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, or by any other name around the world.

This journal is from Cover image is an original, signed, lino print by her husband called "A New Day" inspired by old war comics. The journal is bound using an exposed Greek stitching. There is a mixture of papers, Japanese Chiri and Unryu, Nepalese Lotka, Thai Banana papers for the fly leaf and endpapers, and 96 pages of quality cotton rag paper.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Inside the Book

A question was posed by one of our readers regarding what kind of paper to use in bookbinding, thus inspiring this posting!

I have been experimenting with different "innards" for my journals, most recently working on a journal for myself with a mix of sketch paper and watercolor paper.

What type of paper you use to fill your journal depends on the intended use. For my journal, I wanted something I could sketch and draw in, but also use watercolor paints so I alternated the papers.

If you're making a journal to sell, think about your target market, considering the price your buyer would be willing to pay. That may determine what type of paper you use. For example, if your target sales price is $10, it wouldn't make sense to purchase a ready made text block or use high quality watercolor paper exclusively. Likewise, if you're making a high quality journal, a buyer would expect a nice weight of paper inside.
Here are some choices for the insides of your journal:

Text blocks
You can make your own text block or purchase a ready made one from a supplier, a few of which are listed here.

The Paper Source

Watercolor paper
90 lb works good for covering the book board as it isn't quite as bulky on the corners. Inside you can include a range of weights, 90 lb and up, or one weight exclusively.

Sketch paper
I wouldn't recommend anything lower than 60 lb.
50 lb or less tends to be too thin, and also tears easily when sewing.

Text paper
Is a loose term for anything ranging from copy paper, writing paper, or lightweight sketch paper.

This is by no means an all inclusive article on text blocks and as always, I welcome your comments. Thanks for your informative responses on our previous postings and I look forward to learning more on this subject from you!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Re:Paper wins BEST Zombie Award!

Congratulations to Sara,! After a week of active voting, Sugar Skull earned the most votes and is hereby officially awarded the 2008 BEST Zombie Award! Sara wins all associated bragging rights, to be used at her discretion, for a full year. She can also make liberal use of the BEST Zombie Award graphics. And finally, here is a closer look at her and the winning book!

The winning book bears a skull inspired by Day of the Dead sugar skulls, with clever matching vibrant candy wrappers sewn into the binding.

Sara titled this book, "Momento Moir, Sugar Skull Blank Book" and wrote "Eat candy and be merry. For tomorrow we die. Ah Halloween... the innocence of candy and playing dress-up, the darkness of nasty pranks and reminders of our mortality." Such a succinct and thoughtful summary of the Halloween traditions, and wonderfully represented here in book form!

Sara calls herself a hackbooker. She says "Hackbooking," her own bit of jargon, is the craft of guerilla bookbinding. Using found objects and fine papers, to create unique mixed-media books, albums, and folding frames. She is also a photographer and sometimes incorporates her photography in her books as well.

More lovely examples of her work, currently available on Etsy:

Thank you Sara, for making such a terrific book for our Halloween challenge. Happy Halloween and happy bookmaking to all!

Read the Interview with Sara

Visit her shop:

Visit her blog:

Friday, 24 October 2008

Vote for the BEST Zombie Award

Vote for the book that you think should win the BEST Zombie Award for 2008. The small photos shown below will link to larger photos and descriptions to help you decide. Then select your favorite and vote using the poll here on the right side of the page.

Here are the candidates:

Frankenstein's Monster
Sugar Skull
Black and Gold
Owl Photo Album
Skull and Bones
Candy Corn
Coffin in a Coffin
Screamin' Red
Trick or Treat

The members of the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team were invited to make themed books for the BEST Zombie Award, using any of the upcoming holidays as inspiration: Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Bonfire Night, etc. The award will be given to whoever gets the most votes! So check out the books then vote for your favorite using the Poll located in the right sidebar. Everyone can vote, tell your friends to vote, spread the word! Voting will close on October 31st.

Thanks to everyone who accepted the Halloween Challenge! And thanks also to everyone who voted and left comments for us. Yay, Sugar Skull!