Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Rush Job

I had great plans of doing a real job of cleaning up my studio this past week.  Didn’t happen.When I took a few of the new hanging books down to the Arts Center, they mentioned that they were out of my smaller notepad and memo pad covers.  Of course, I had to drop everything and make some up.  It’s more fun than cleaning anyway! So here are the results.

You may notice that I tend to work in fours.  I find that making four books or towers or notepads at a time gives a nice rhythm of repetition without becoming boring.  You can see how I make these notepad covers here.  I have a few of these on Etsy also.

On another note, the weather has finally warmed up and I was able to start digging up the garden yesterday!  I no longer try to do it by hand and it’s much easier.  I have a little electric cultivator that works very well for me.  I’ve tried renting a roto-tiller, but they are just too heavy for me and every year it gets harder for me to pull start gas motors.  I now just drag my long extension cord out behind the pines and till away.  Get fun for a short time!

I’m still plying with some soft covers and mostly making messes.  More on that later.

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Filed under Marbled Paper, Notebooks

New Hanging Books

This is just a quick post to show off my latest batch of hanging books.  I made some with “soft” covers – really very stiff or heavy card stock- and some with Davey board covered with my marbled paper.  The board covers are hinged or articulated in order for them to open properly. I’ve had a lot of fun searching through boxes of old beads to find ones to use on these books.  It feels good to actually use some of the stuff in the basement instead of just tossing it.  Most of the cords and raffia are also from the stash.

Previous versions of hanging books in a blog posted a year ago.

I also tried out a new soft cover binding, but ruined it in the finishing process.  If I am brave enough, I may post some pictures!


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Filed under bookbinding, Marbled Paper

Cold Amid the Soft Covers

I promised a blog about my soft-cover books, but first a rant.  Why it is so freaking cold in mid-April?  Wet, cold, gloomy and just the pits!  I suppose I should be happy there are no snow storms or tornadoes, but it’s all about me and I’m COLD!  I have heard there is a magic line about 100 miles south of me where it is warm and spring-like and cherry blossoms are blooming, but not here, not now and that’s not good.  Enough of this already.

On to the books.  I will confess, I have a conflicted relationship with soft cover books.  They can be very diverse, imaginative and fun to make, but they aren’t “real” books.  In my more traditional moments, I equate them with paperbacks and “crappy crafts” as being very disposable, not something one keeps. On the other hand, they are fun and usually easy to make.

When I was on my recent vacation, I bought the materials to make a few when I tried of the ladder games. Naturally, I choose a type of softcover book that is rather traditional in shape. It has the added advantage of having a relatively stable spine.  Many soft cover books have little stability and the spines can twist and wiggle. This book has a nice long-stitch spine and tabs that wrap both front and back which creates a double thickness on the spine.  Once I finished my  first prototype, I began to see some great possibilities for using some of my heavier marbled paper.

Here’s a look at the first one I made (the second isn’t finished yet) and four that I made with my marbled paper once I came home.

The front and back covers are cut at the same time with the tabs interlaced. Works great if you are using the same paper for both, but since I was using my marbled paper for one side, it left an extra set.  There isn’t an individual picture, but in the group you can see that I made a second book from the green textured paper, but with a black marbled piece for the cover.

As usual, some of these books will be available on Etsy.



Filed under bookbinding, Life, Marbled Paper

Making a Jacob’s Ladder Book

Several people have asked me how to make the Jaccob’s Ladders. I’ll try to explain a bit, but it’s really too complicated to describe just in words. I used the instructions in Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings by Alisa Golden. It’s available through or other booksellers.

Here’s my brief explanation.

The “steps” of the ladder are made from “sandwiches” of two  boards. I covered my boards with my marbled paper. The sandwiches are joined together by ribbons and that’s the tricky part. The ribbons weave in and out of the sandwiches and are glued on the inside but not on the outside.  The weaving is not straight down the ladder as the ribbons must loop around the step so that the ladder can move.  If you open the ladder slowly, you can see that the ribbons form an X  between the steps, with the outside ribbons staying parallel to each other and the center ribbon “X-ing” them.

In Golden’s book, she lays out the process in 28 steps with diagrams.  Even with that help, it took me several tries to get the weaving completely correct. Once figured out it is a lot of fun!

Good luck and happy gluing!



Click below for a short video of a Jacob’s Ladder in motion.



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Filed under bookbinding, Craft design