Archive for the ‘bookbinding’ Category

Sponsored: Symbols of Christmas Printable Book


Disclaimer: I don’t pretend to think that all of you are Christians or even like religion. If you are a Christian, you might really enjoy this post and sharing this printable with friends and family. And I sincerely hope you do! If not, please don’t take offense. This is simply a project that I feel in my heart I’ve needed to make and share here in case others may find it impactful for their holiday celebrations.

If celebrating Christ’s birth at this time of year is not your thing, I would love to hear more about your personal beliefs and traditions for this time of year in the comments below*.

This month has been insane. So many things to do and so little time. I’ve actually had this project completed for weeks, but I haven’t had a chance to photograph and write about it until now. I figure Sunday is the perfect time to publish, since this takes a more spiritual tone.

Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to do my annual candy box. This project ended up taking its place. I have so many ideas for the candy box, though. I may have to publish a New Year’s or Valentine’s candy box. :)


At church I’m in charge of the activities for our women’s group. We meet at least quarterly for spiritual, service-oriented, social or creative activities. When we were planning I knew I wanted to make a little keepsake/quiet book for adults and children alike to be reminded of the true purpose in Christmas: Christ’s birth. I’m glad I worked on this project. It’s been a busy time of year with a lot of work (a fabulous problem to have, for that I’m humbly grateful!), so carving out time to research symbols of Christmas and coordinating scripture was a great way to get in the spirit.

This printable by no means includes all of the symbols of Christmas (I realized I left out the wreath – oops), the 7 included simply serve as a prompt for discussion and pondering on the other things around us that remind us of Christ and God.

I wanted it to be something that could be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, so I made little calligraphed illustrations that could be colored and kept the design simple to appeal to adults. It’s all small enough that it can easily fit in a purse to be toted around all season long (even though it’s almost at it’s end).

I printed off a few and plan to give them to my grandparents and parents this year. The ones we made for our women’s group activity were a huge hit. We prepped 30 kits and even though we didn’t have 30 in attendance, all were spoken for! It was a thrill to see women take extras to share with others.


The book includes symbols on: The evergreen tree, the star of Bethlehem, the candle, the poinsettia, the candy cane, the stocking and holly berries. At the end there are a couple of pages for thoughts so you could use it as a holiday journal or as a way to write your personal thoughts on the season to give to someone else. Or write in some of your favorite holiday traditions/memories.


Each symbol has a brief explanation and a scripture. Each scripture is taken from the King James version of the Bible. Mostly from the New Testament.


To assemble, you will need:

  • printed sheets
  • hole punch
  • needle
  • thick thread
  • bone folder
  • 6×9 inch piece of leather or felt**

Download the printable (link at bottom of the post) and print. Print double-sided and DO NOT fit to page (print at 100%). 

Cut the paper in half width-wise so that you have 8.5 x 5.5 sheets. Rearrange your papers so they are in order. I like to go by the odd numbers on the bottom right hand side. Use the blank half sheet on the outside of the title page.

Punch holes in the guides on pages 10-11. Center your pages over the leather, mark the holes on the leather and punch.

Thread your needle and sew the book: Start on the outside front cover in the middle hole. Go to the inside of the book and leave a 4 inch tail. Go through the bottom hole, then thread through the top hole and then back through to the middle hole. Your tails will be coming out of the middle of the book. Tie a knot around the string running up the spine and finish with a bow. Fold in half and crease with a bone folder.

Now you’re finished! If you batch these, you can make 10-20 books in about half an hour. They’re great for gift giving! Enjoy!


This post is sponsored by | check out their video “He Is the Gift“. It so beautifully conveys the nativity with song. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*This blog is a positive, creative space. Comments that attack any religious faction will not be tolerated or published. 

**Leather provided by Leather Hide Store.

Sponsored: Leather Folio Tutorial



This tutorial is sponsored by Jo Totes. They have a wide selection of fashionable camera bags in both genuine and vegan leather. My favorite of all is the Siena bag – an italian leather bag that ages beautifully. I use it as my every day bag. It fits all of the essentials! The structured body allows me to easily find all of my purse’s contents quickly.

Stay up to date with Jo Totes on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

My purse essentials (beyond baby stuff): my instax camera, a notebook, pen, chapstick and gum.


For a while I had my notebook just floating around my purse naked. The problem with this was that the top page would frequently break off, wrinkle and just get disgusting. To remedy the problem, I hand-bound a folio where I can just insert the notebook I’m using and protect it from the contents of my purse. I’m constantly ripping out pages and tossing them, so it’s nice to have something reusable instead of having to bind a new journal every time I run through my pages.


The original version I bound was a traditional 3/4 rounded back bind with cutouts and pockets. I thought about sharing how to make this, but as I broke down each step, I realized that I had very specific bookbinding tools and the steps would take 5+ hours to photograph and explain. I ditched that idea for a simpler sewn version. It’s not as rigid, but it’s still quite sturdy and can be completed in well under an hour. You could opt out of real leather and use an industrial felt instead. I’m not sure I would recommend a vegan leather as it doesn’t tend to wear well over time.


This would be a great gift for a guy or gal. Christmas gift perhaps? It’s just over 2 months away, so time to start planning! I’ve already taken care of a couple of Christmas gifts already. I feel way more on top of things this year. Don’t worry though, I have plenty of time to procrastinate and get behind on my gift-giving.

So would you like to make one with me? It’ll take you about 20-30 minutes. If you’re making a bunch all at once (which I would totally recommend!) it’d take less than that for each one.



  • ruler
  • rotary cutter (and mat)
  • bulldog clips
  • thread
  • leather needle (or topstitch needle)
  • elastic
  • button
  • hand-sewing needle
  • x-acto knife
  • pen
  • bonefolder
  • leather
  • sturdy canvas or a fabric wallpaper*
  • notebook**

* I used fabric wallpaper for this. I scored some years ago from design centers in SF. Just ask an interior design company if they have any wallpaper samples that are being discontinued that you can have. Alternatively you can fuse any kind of fabric to Ultra Hold Heat ‘n Bond with regular copy paper.

** My favorite paper is the Rhodia pad or Clairefontaine Triomphe paper. They come in plain, grid, dot grid and lined.

Read more for the full tutorial.


Recycled: Ostrich Wedding Book


Today’s recycled post comes from a bookbinding project I did in July of 2008. My sister’s friend was getting married & her mom wanted me to bind a wedding sign-in book for the occasion. Her colors were pink & green. Jerre’a sent me the paper & fortunately it matched my green ostrich leather perfectly!

It’s so funny how pictures of previous projects take me back in time. Right about this time 3 years ago, I was taking care of a 3 month old Penelope & teaching bookbinding & watercolor classes for the continuing education program in Redwood City, California. We were living in Menlo Park at the time. Our summer was full of hanging out with friends, kiting, beach going & SF touring. I miss those days, but I’m so happy to be where I am right now.

It’s memories like those that make me realize how happy things are. I’ve been sort of up and down these last couple of days, so these reflections do me the world of good.

Flat Back in a Snap

flatback-pageclick on image to enlarge

This little eBook has been in the works for nearly nine months. It’s gestated just like a baby sans the vomiting and weight gain.

See, bookbinding isn’t just for conservators with 2,000 square feet of art space and thousands of dollars in tools. It’s very inclusive, so join the club! Bookbinding requires a desk, some floor space and a few inexpensive supplies that you might already have. So here it is; learn to bind a flatback journal—just like the blank books in the bookstore—at home, using regular crafting tools. Get your copy by making a selection and clicking the button below. If you’re not sure about the tools to buy, add the tools eBook for only $2 more!

PDF Options

Art Weekend Recap


Bookbinding Class 1

Here we all are having a serious moment. Andy (middle) taught the silkscreening classes which I so stupidly missed. He’s really cool.

Being able to participate in Nicole’s Art weekend was so much fun! The last bookbinding class I taught was nearly a year ago, so it was great to get back into sharing the addiction. In two classes we bound nearly 30 books! I was so impressed with how well all everyone did. Sadly I didn’t get a photo of a single one of their books. Oops.

Bookbinding Class 2

Alma's Lovely Ditties

Alma, one of cool art weekend teachers (and one of my dear friends) gave me a super rad flower brooch. She teaches fabulous illustrator classes, designs beautiful repeat patterns and sews these fabulous felt pins (among other things). Check out her etsy shop here. Her husband taught the photoshop & workflow classes (which I heard were great) and their baby. Oh. Their baby taught the how to melt everyone’s heart class. He’s very cute. very.

Tabletop Photography

I had the pleasure to Audit Nicole Hill Gerulat’s Tabletop photography class. I learned all sorts of cool tips and tricks to get better photos. Nicole convinced me that I need to start shooting manual and focusing manual. I learned a lot more about photography that way.

Tabletop Photography 1

We were in such a dark room for this, but look at how the coke can was lit! Nicole is very impressive with her lighting abilities. She’s also very nice and one of my favorite photographers. You should take her classes.

Tabletop photography 3

These photos I took with my lensbaby because my regular zoom lens is an embarrassing piece of j-u-n-k that stopped focusing that afternoon. Now I’m getting a new zoom lens, can’t wait to get it in the mail!

Tabletop Photography 2

I had a great weekend, it was so packed with creative time I just crashed on Sunday. I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep. It was a pleasure to meet and hang out with everyone at art weekend. I surely hope it’s not my last!

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