Sunday, 28 June 2009

An Abecedarian of BEST members: L

This is a continuation of a series of blog postings where I introduce you to members of the Etsy bookbinding team (BEST), moving from A to Z. Today’s letter is “L”, and we have loads of members whose shop names begin with L.

Look around, in these shops you might find a lotus book made from lightfast laid paper or a longstitch binding with a linen cover or even leaflet covers decorated with linocuts or lettering.

Launching this post is Lady Artisan whose Green Faux Croc Journal is a lovely little limp binding. It comes with it's own carrying handle.

Next in line is Bev of La Paparie & Cozy whose leather journals pay homage to literary legends: here is her Leo Tolstoy Handbound Leather Journal with a quote by Levin in Anna Karenina:

Kristin of Life Stories Books makes lovely fabric covered books, including this customizable long landscape Photo Album or Journal where you can choose your cover:

LizzieMade's shop specializes in memory albums: her Blue Marbled Mini Album uses luscious marbled papers with a Japanese binding:

In the shop Lola Luv you can find this little Bird in a Cage Pocket Book made by Leslie:

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Tools of the Trade: The Bone Folder

Have you heard? It’s all the hype these days!

Just the other day, this tool of our trade was featured on the CoolTools blog over at If you follow the link, you’ll find a well written summary of the tool, as well as some interesting follow up comments.

There are all sorts of tools that can be used for folding, but I'll just share a bit about the folders in my arsenal. The four above are my favorites. The two largest are my go-to folders that I use nearly every day. The smaller two are great for detail work and are the ones that I pack along in the car whenever I go on a road trip or vacation. They're a great size for tucking into a little travel kit for whatever small project I bring along.

This is an interesting folder that deserves to be mentioned. It is made out of Bakelite and beveled on all four sides. The short ends have a nice curve, somewhat similar to the curve on my favorite bone folder. The sides are perfect for working on a large project, especially when it comes to box making. The Bakelite folder can be swept under a piece of rapidly drying bookcloth and used to smooth it onto a box wall in one swift motion. If you're in the Boston area you can pick one of these up from Sam at Harcourt Bindery, or you can get info on ordering one on their website.

Folders found in arts and crafts stores generally come in just a few shapes and sizes, but the beauty of the natural material is that it can easily be altered. I had access to a Tormek grinding wheel which can speedily shape a bone folder to suite a specific need. Don't have a grinding wheel? Sandpaper will do, it will just take longer. If you're looking for something beautifully ergonomic from the get-go, check out these Elk and Moose bone folders made by Jim Croft, or take it a step further and take a lesson (link) from him.

The bone folder to the right was shaped on a Tormek at the suggestion of my instructor, Mark Andersson. This is a shape that he prefers, and I readily adopted his preference. It assumed its rightful position as my favorite tool as soon as it was finished. The rounded edge on the top is beveled to a nice sliver that is perfect for scoring and folding. The usual thickness of a store bought folder makes for a bulky score.

Have you noticed the darker color on the beveled side of the bone? While some recommend soaking in olive or mineral oil, Mark taught me to keep it personal, and use a bit of the oil from my forehead to keep it fine tuned. Below is a short movie of the two most common ways I use my favored tool to fold paper.

The notch in this bone folder to the left is instrumental for use on the spines of books. I pick this folder up when I'm securing spine linings on a flatback or rounded spine book.

I love my Teflon folder, but believe it or not, I never use it as a folder, it's more of a smoother. I love how it is completely flat on one side and that it promises to never leave a burnish mark on any of my papers or cloth. While my personal Teflon doesn't make a nice score, these come in all shapes and sizes for many uses, especially for conservation. This (along with the Bakelite folder) is a great option for vegan binders, or those that may be squeamish about using bone.

On a final note, the bone folder is also known as a fun toy to some (Ollie), and as a great E-Journal to others in the book arts community.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Flag Book Tutorials

The next team book swap will be all Flag Books! I have tracked down several resources for anyone who needs instructions. As you can see from these links, the scrapbooking people seem to have adopted this structure to make photo albums and such, but much before that phenomenon, the flag book has been used a lot for artist's books and there are some truly incredible examples out there and I have included some links below. The basic structure is not difficult, but it can be a very impressive structure when combined with images, colours, shapes, varying page sizes, etc.

Any team members who are interested in participating in this book swap can find all the swap guidelines here on our blog. Have fun making flag books!


Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden (p.79)

Bookcraft by Heather Weston (p.58)

Bookworks by Sue Doggett (p.76)

Tabellae Ansata vol 1 no 2 Spring 1999 (p.13)


Squidoo: How to make a Flag Book

Basic Flag Book Instructions

Gate Fold Flag Book

Flip Flop Flag Book

Make a Flag Book Tutorial


The Bonefolder vol 2 no 1 Fall 2005 (P. 12)

Flag Book Instructions by Kathy Miller and Diane Weintraub

Art, Books, & Creativity Flag Book instructions


Flag Book Part 1

Flag Book Part 2

Flag Books examples to inspire you


An iconic flag book

Fate, Being, and Necessity by Bea Nettles

"Flag Book" Flickr Search

Sunday, 21 June 2009

TransCanada Road Trip

The TransCanada Etsy Team is having a cross-Canada Road Trip from now until July1 (Canada Day!). You can find some great deals in participating shops plus there's a great contest. Now before you start to think I'm promoting this on the wrong blog, I found some great book related items among the participating shops:

This market bag by paisleybaby would be great as a book bag!

has leather pieces in a variety of colours, perfect for bookbinding.

And rjcharms has charm bookmarks fitting for any book lover!

Now I know, not all bookmakers shop for only book related items, so there's plenty more to suit all your needs! And what's in it for you? All purchases made from participating shops (click here for complete list) receive 1 entry for every $10 purchase (not including shipping) for a draw for these fabulous prizes:

A handwoven rug by fiveforty, made from t-shirts collected from members from coast to coast in Canada, valued at over $175!

And an amazing team goodie bag, valued at over $350, with contributions from all participating shops!

Now if I wasn't a member of the TCET, I would most definitely enter to win! Remember, you only have until July 1! Click here for more details.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Book Swap #7 - Jellygnite

Ali, known on Etsy as Jellygnite, sent this super neat book for our swap. It is an accordion structure with pockets, containing three stab-bound notebooks. The pages in the notebooks are cartridge paper and ephemera. The accordion structure wraps neatly around and is secured with black linen thread and a button.

See more of Ali's work at

See all the books from Book Swap #7.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Book Swap #7 - PurpleBeanBindery

From PurpleBeanBindery, Anna has sent this pretty teal journal for the swap. The cover is made in layers, creating a nice mix of texture, colour, and shape. This book is sewn with a buttonhole binding and the pages are a heavy-weight drawing paper.

Visit to see more of Anna's books.

See all the books from Book Swap #7.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Book Swap #7 - MyHandboundBooks

This swap book is from me, Rhonda, otherwise known as MyHandboundBooks. This blank journal has a soft leather wrap-around cover with a natural hide edge on the front. It is sewn with a longstitch and linkstitch binding, visible on the spine in an X pattern. The paper inside is beige speckled text paper with torn edges.

You can see more of my books on Etsy at

See all the books from Book Swap #7.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Book Swap #7 - PrairiePeasant

Laura, also known as PrairiePeasant, sent a blank journal made using a crossed structure binding for this swap. The cover is gorgeous Saint-Armand handmade paper and the pages inside are Strathmore petal-inclusion papers. The book is sewn with yellow 20lb hemp twine.

You can visit to see more of Laura's work.

See all the books from Book Swap #7.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Book Swap #7 - AlternativeJournals

The next swap book to be featured is from Celine, of She says that "the first thing that comes to mind when I look at this book is 'two-stick' popsicles, the ones you can break apart and share with a friend." The floral fabric on the cover is a vintage Japanese reproduction print, paired with purple bookcloth to make this pretty casebound book that is so reminiscent of grape and orange summer treats!

Visit AlternativeJournals on Etsy to see more of Celine's books.

See all the books from Book Swap #7.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Book Swap #7 - Buechertiger

Hilke, of says "never again dog-eared journal pages - roll up your art!" Hilke created this unique roll-up sketchbook for our book swap. This book has a leather cover and lots of drawing paper inside, with a binding sewn through the spine. There is a handy strap to wrap around it a couple times and keep it snug and tidy in your bag, just perfect for traveling.

Check out more of Hilke's work on in her Etsy shop.

See all the books from Book Swap #7.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Book Swap #7 - Preview

Thank you to everyone who participated in our most recent book swap! The swapping is complete and your new books are en route. We had six participants this time, from four different countries. Here's a quick preview of the books; more detail will be posted about each book in days ahead.

Participants in this swap:

The next swap is being planned for the end of August and it will be a theme swap, and the theme is Flag Books! (So not really a theme, more like, all the books have to use the flag book structure.) All BEST members are welcome to participate. Check the swap guidelines for more information about how it works.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

An Abecedarian of BEST members: K

Introducing the “K” group of BEST. Have a keek at these 8 unique shops, which seemed like a kazillion as I wrote this post!

Kandice of KandiceInWonderland combines antique objects, poetry, quotes and vintage images in her little Dates to Remember books. Here is her Periwinkle the Peacock Dates to Remember Book:

KarleighJae has a beautiful variety of books in her shop. This Rustic Antiqued Long Stitch Journal is one of her Leather Longstitch Journals:

Since Kathrin’s shop is listed here as kasaa, I‘m including her in the “K‘s“, but she has moved her shop to paperama. Among other items, she makes delightful accordion file folders. Here is the vintage wallpaper lovers file folder:

Kjersten of kjerstenhayes uses her own gorgeous handmade paper in her books. Her Scissors and Pencil Journal includes an original collage on the cover and a colourful mix of papers inside:

Renate of Kreativlink makes lovely hand painted fabric and leather covers for her journals and stains her papers with acrylics or tea. Here is her Swirl Tree, Leather Journal, Suede:

Kristin of kristincrane has an affinity for using maps in her bookworks. I love the map highlighting the train tracks to the harbour of this Hoboken and Jersey City Journal

Kiley of KupoKiley has a paper addiction and loves to spend her free time folding, stabbing, sewing, and gluing paper. In addition to that, I think she likes working with a magnifying glass:
Recycled Materials Blue Florentine Paper Mini Book Earrings:

From Italy, kurberry finds sheer joy in combining papers and colors and shapes. Her Blue Quilt journal features a chunky, hand-made, split-cover and individually printed signature covers: