Category Archives: handmade books


I’m back from a dream vacation in sunny Italy. I saw so many incredibly beautiful sights and I am itching to turn some photos and memories into art.

Here’s a shot of the view from our hotel in Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples.  Just gorgeous!

The Real World




This is a great format for complementary or companion volumes.  It’s two books in one!

Think of the possibilities:  the new testament and the old, The Iliad and The Odyssey, War and Pea… oh, no, that doesn’t work.

Anyhow, lots of fun ideas around this format.

This one is sewn with Coptic bindings, a different color waxed perle cotton for each volume’s stitching.

There is a front cover, then a section of book block, another cover, another section, and then a back cover.

If this were sewn with a pamphlet or long stitch, the cover(s) would be one continuous sheet with hinge or spine fold, rather than the three separate covers shown here.

The covers are davey board wrapped in card stock weight decorative papers (from Michael’s, I think) and the signatures from 20lb bond paper, so good for writing in, but no heavier use.

The postmark themed paper in the center lends well to a travel theme. This book is coming with me, my daughter and grandson to our Jersey Shore vacation next week to help us collect memories. She and I can each write in a volume, chronicling the days from our own perspectives, but together in one cherished place.

middle cover (the back of each volume)

volume 1 cover

volume 2 cover

Coptic Binding


I love love love this type of binding. It is a basic Coptic binding, used as early as the 4th century, where each signature is stitched to the next and the covers stitched to the signatures themselves.

Note how the spine arcs so prettily when the book stands open.

The stitch pattern is beautiful and the book opens flat for easy journal/sketchbook work.


I used waxed linen thread to sew with  and wrapped the cover boards with a home dec fabric remnant.

I’ll definitely be making more of these with more decorative variations in the stitch pattern.


Hemp Stitch Stab Binding


More books this week! I’m just making sample books at this point, finding which techniques I enjoy.

The sketchbook on the left is a standard codex of bristol paper with signatures sewn over tabs and glued to a cloth spine cover. The cover is mulberry paper over davey board.

The one one right is a Japanese stab binding in a hemp stitch. This time I added a hinged cover of davey board with mulberry paper over top.

Click on the pic to see the stitching up close. Really pretty pattern.

I’m planning another in higher contrast so the stitch pattern is highlighted. This particular one seemed to want to stay low-key.

I love these stab bindings; they make for such pretty journals or sketchbooks. The hinged cover is really essential for the purpose, though; it’s tough to use a sketchbook that doesn’t open flat.

Garden Journal


I am using Cover to Cover, by Shereen LaPlantz as one of my texts for this bookmaking study. The project here is taken directly from it.

I started by stitching together five four-page signatures to make a standard codex, then prepared a covers and a spine with davey board and mulberry paper.  I added decorative end papers to the text block and used them to attach the cover.  I used these papers and this method of construction so that his book can be my garden journal. I like to keep a record of which plants are where, what color palettes  I use in different corners of the garden, and so forth so that in the deep dark winter months I can do some dreaming and accurate planning. Until now, my garden journals have been handwritten and drawn in colored pencil or watercolor, but I just may add some photographs this time around.