Friday, July 29, 2011

Book of the Week: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

You might recognize this cover paper from the marbled paper porn post a while back. It's deliciously nautical. The seafoam green, the sandy tan, the white floating bubbles....the intermittent squid ink swimming about in the current.

When we were little, my sister and I read a lot and our mom would occasionally give us each books from her shelf. Well, my sister got 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne and I was insanely jealous; I can't even remember what book I got. Well, this one was one of those 50's style covers with a weird illustration of a squid trying desperately to eat some kind of sea vessel. Yum.

So here I do homage to the book I never got. I hope Jules Verne isn't rolling over in his grave yet, because I happen to have ideas for two notebooks inspired by Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. Yay adventure! Hmmm....maybe some Nancy Drew or something too. That's an idea!

Anyway, you can read any of Verne's books here or find this specimen in my Etsy shop here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book of the Week: The Burnley FC Journal

My friend Stephanie commissioned a book for her man-toy last week, so I had to do a bit of research on the Burnley football team (nicknamed the "Clarets") who were the theme. What a blast! 

Honestly, the only trivia I knew about British football I got from watching Bend it Like Beckham, and reading Harry Potter. So I was surprised to find that the fanaticism attributed to British football clubs is just as crazy, if not more so, than American football fans. But, luckily, that meant more information for me. 

Looking over the club's official site (find it here) I discovered that--like most everything culturally British--history, loyalty, and tradition diffuses even something as simple as fandom. So I tried to make this journal very traditional by covering it in "claret" colored bookcloth and light blue endpages. Then, I drew a little sketch of the Burnley FC crest and stuck it to the interior. I hope the man-toy likes it!

Also, it's interesting how much music or background entertainment influences you, isn't it? I mean, my memory of a certain book is usually tied to what I was watching or what I was listening to while making it. For this, I watched Cold Comfort Farm while sewing up the bookblock, rounding the spine, and covering the case; then, I watched Ramona and Beezus as I cased-in and drew the little sketch of the crest. I'm not sure if the kid's movie, in which Ramona's dad is constantly drawing up funny cartoons, made me draw the crest so cartoon-y or if I'm just predisposed to drawing funny pictures. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Marbled Paper Porn

I ordered some beautiful hand-marbled paper from a fellow Etsian a little while ago, for this gigantic monstrosity of a Shakespeare-inspired custom journal I've been working on for ages. Which leads me to the point: I LOVE PACKAGES!

If you look closely to the left, you'll notice the gnaw marks I made on the wrapping. For some reason, I can never delay gratification enough to get a package from the mailbox to my apartment, despite the trivial two minute walk, so I often find myself knee deep in brown paper and shreds of cardboard just as the resident cute boy comes to check his mail.

Oh but just look at this paper! I'm still in awe that someone actually made this! There were no computers involved--no printing, no graphic design--just someone huddled over a big tub of liquid, manipulating the dyes into this perfect pattern.

Hand marbled paper has been a tradition within the bookbinding world for what might as well be forever. But I'm not a marbler, so I'll direct you to these awesome articles.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book of the Week: Gwendolen Fairfax Journal

Every week I want to showcase an item from my Etsy shop--in which i'll describe my inspiration, what went into it, how it was made, etc. This week, the first, I've chosen the Gwendolen Fairfax Journal I made a few months ago that's really become the symbol of my shop. 

A while ago, my sister and I were watching the Importance of Being Earnest (the one with Colin Firth and Rupert Everett) and I was enthralled by Gwendolen's line: "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train." 

And that idea really stuck with me. (Actually, her tiny little journal was one of the reasons I started doing a collection of mini journals too.) But it was also the idea that a journal should capture the spirit of the person who writes in it. Gwendolen's journal, I thought, should be completely feminine, and immaculate--as if one had to be a real lady to simply keep the dirt from getting to it. So I used flowered paper and white-cream colored bookcloth to cover the journal inspired by her. 

From that idea, many more journals arose. I've done ones based on Pinocchio, Wendy Darling, Marie Antoinette, Teddy Roosevelt, and more. And really, that's become the central idea of my shop. Make books that will reflect their future owners, if not by style, than by the characters that inspire them. 

Interested in this book? Find it for sale: here

Or find something else that inspires you here

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Goodness, my blog is boring. I actually do more than make books. I read them too. So I've decided to do a Summer Reading Challenge. I've asked my friends to recommend some books, and I'm going to read them. ALL of them. And some of these are...well....I mean, yeah. So, here's a brief taste:

I have "A Book Lover's Diary" to keep track of what I read. Find one for yourself here.
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