Etsy front page

My Mark Twain sheepskin journal made the front page today.

in the news...

Here is the article about my bookbinding home business which ran in the Dec. 16 edition of The Advance - I made sure I gave Trans Canada Etsy Team a plug. I tried to also get Bookbinding Esty Street Team in there, but they left it out as it was less 'local'. (click for larger readable view)



And here's the article as it appears on the online version of The Advance at

things to come

I got a phone call from the paper this afternoon…apparently they want to do a story on me and my li’l business. Neato. They must be pretty hard pressed for copy. Heh! You can be sure that my family will buy up every edition, but I just may be able to salvage a copy for myself to get it scanned and posted here when it hits the stands. Who was it that said a little shameless self promotion is good for the bones? …no one? Oh well. They should have said it. ;)

I've Been Tagged

I've been tagged by Right Out Loud, to share 7 random facts about myself:

1. I spent most of my childhood up in a tree with my nose in a book.
2. I’m *extremely* introverted (even though I fool most people that I meet).
3. I cringe at needles going into skin, and yet could watch a corpse being dissected without wincing.
4. I will rarely exit from a zoo or animal shelter with dry eyes.
5. I’m anal-retentive about almost everything.
6. I have always wanted to sing in a twee band.
7. I don’t like chocolate.

I won't bother tagging others so that whoever wants to, can take part. :)

etsy front page

My turquoise spike journal made it to the front page!

work procedure & front page goodness

The question "how do you work?" was recently posed within our Bookbinding Team. Everyone has their own way of working, and the trick is to find a method that best suits you. I make books one at a time, so I only have one book going at any given time. However, I prepare each part of the book aforetime in batches.

For example, I'll spend the better part of one day just sizing and cutting leather for various journals (enough to make, say, 10-15 books). The next day I'll spend my time ripping paper and getting text blocks prepared. Once that's all prepped, and I have all parts assembled, I will start to make the books one at a time.

I like working like this because I can then focus on a single task at hand; once I get "in the zone" of a particular task, I work much more effectively and rapidly, without having to change over to a different task. So it's been an order of production that's really worked well for me. I make anywhere from 2-6 books a day, depending on my schedule and how I feel.

As for how I organize my workspace I have an office where I cut all my leather and prepare my text block, however, I assemble all my books in the comfort of my livingroom. I will often watch TV or a favourite period drama as I make my books - it makes the binding process even more enjoyable.

In other news, one of my journals made Etsy's front page yesterday. Thanks for the heads up, Elzeline!

brown & green treasury

new books and a feature

How is everyone? Autumn is upon us. We're back from our long autumn camping trip which we really enjoyed and now it's back to work again.'

First off I just found out my Jane Eyre handbound leather journal is being featured on BronteBlog in their merchandise section. How neat is that!

Things here are going well. I've been busy filling quite a few custom orders, but I had a little time today to work on some new books for my shop. Having fun with some new colour combinations and variations on closures. Here they be:

Featured at Poppytalk Handmade

My shop is featured at Poppytalk Handmade from Oct. 13-Nov. 14.
Come visit me. :)

Etsy Storque feature - Bookbinding Team

Yay! The Bookbinding Esty Street Team (BEST), of which I'm honored to be a member, is currently being featured on an Etsy's Storque spotlight. BEST members are bookbinders on Etsy from all over the world. Take a look at the feature here:

Etsy front page

My olive green journal made it on the front page of Etsy. Yay! :)

turquoise love

I absolutely *love* turquoise, and so I just had to incorporate it into one of my journals...and the result? My favorite closure yet! The turquoise spike is stunning against the brown leather.

This would be a great book to take along with you on a trip to the library or some quiet place where you can sit, read, dream and write.

It measures approximately 5½" x 4¼" x 1½" thick, with a generous 320 pages (both sides) of blank white 28lb. quality writing paper, acid-free with handtorn edges. It opens completely flat so you can write/draw all the way into the margins.

The leather is a beautiful and rugged looking warm brown cowhide that has a distressed antique look. The hearty binding is handstitched with dark brown beeswaxed Irish linen thread. The book is kept securely closed with a lovely turquoise spike (securely sewn through holes in the spike), tucked into a leather loop on the cover flap — a sturdy, closure that is really eye-catching!

Now available at my shop:

EDIT (09/19/2008): This journal has sold in a local sale, but stay tuned for later as I'll be adding more with a similar closure.


I've been interviewed by Sarah, proprietor of The Beaded Lily Etsy shop, at her lovely and informative blog Sketchbook: Thanks Sarah! :)

In other news, the in-laws' 2-week visit with us from The Netherlands is over and now it's back to work again. Although I did a bit of binding while they were here, I really put a lot on the backburner. So now it's time to restock the shop, and work on some custom orders as well.

The Back To School Market on Poppytalk went really well. I enjoyed every second of it. I will definitely be interested in participating in future markets!

come visit my table... the Poppy Talk Back to School market. :)

Back to School Sale and new closures

Members of the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team are holding a Back to School Sale from August 8-10. La Paperie & Cozy is joining in with a B.O.G.O Sale -- Buy One, Get One 20% Off! Now's the time to stock up on your books for the school year!!!

New closures? Oui ...some more. :)

Tuesday newsies

I forgot to mention that I was interviewed a little while back, on the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team (BEST) blog. It was a while back, but if you wanted to take a peek, the interview is here.

I was asked by Jan at Poppytalk Handmade to apply for School Days! A Back-to-School Market, which will be running Aug. 11 - Sept. 5! Well I did and my application was accepted! It will be my first time on Poppytalk and I'm very excited about it.

snagged my first Etsy Treasury

Woohoo! :) I've finally snagged my very first Treasury on Etsy. I've entitled it Ooh la la - a certain "je ne sais quois". Click for a larger view of these lovlies!


An interview with La Paperie & Cozy is now being featured at The IN Crowd. The INCrowd is's Indiana Street Team, and they feature shops in the US and in the world on a weekly or monthly basis. Thanks for the interview, Carolynn! :)

I need closure!'s another new closure I came up with today. :)
It's a pretty silvertone leaf-and-vine toggle clasp. I like it. I can't seem to stop trying new things lately. But change is good, right?

Alrighty. More wholesale orders and custom orders to fill ...gotta scoot!

“What would I do with a journal?”

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard this, when the topic of journaling comes up, I’d be a millionaire. I’m sure of it. (Coming in second is: “I don’t have the time.”) Why do people write in journals? Does it require an inflated ego? Hours of time? In my humble opinion, NAY!

One can take great joy in writing about the “everyday”…little things that can make life special. Even if you’re just recording day to day events, what you ate for lunch, what movie you saw, what book you read – looking back on it, can be a very enjoyable experience! And it only takes a few minutes a day. I’m particularly referring to tangible journals, bound books that you record your thoughts and life events in, but I guess one could also apply it to blogs as well.

I view it as mental/creative “exercising”. You make a bit of time for physical activity…so why not mental activity -- creativity? The power of creativity is monumental! Yet, creativity is by no means limited to artists. It is something that all of us can draw upon to refresh, invigorate ourselves and express our deepest thoughts. Not only that but creativity reinforces essential connections between brain cells, including those responsible for memory. In other words, it's what keeps us sharp!

So do you have a blank book lying around? Don’t know what to do with it? Well here are some ideas!

daily diary – Chronicle daily thoughts and events; they’re such fun to look back on. Things may seem boring and uninteresting now, but it’s neat to look back on what you’ve written in a few years time to see how much has changed (and how much as stayed the same). Keep it in your purse or bookbag to jot down things as the inspiration moves you.

photo journal – Paste in photos that inspire you and/or are important to you, and write about them.

book log – Write about the books you’re reading; discuss plot lines, characters. Praise the good reads and have fun throwing figurative tomatoes at the literary catastrophes!

recipe book – A place to keep treasured foodie goodness, for generations to come

friend journal – Have a far away sweetheart, friend or loved one? Why not add your notes to each other to a journal instead of on a piece of paper, and send it to your friend...have them fill out their pages, and send it back...and do so continuously until the book is completed. By the time you’re finished, you have a lovely bound collection of your correspondence with each other. (I wish I would have thought of this when hubby and I were dating, long distance!)

guestbook – A book where friends/family write their name along with some fun notes about their time visiting with you; or of course a wedding guestbook too!

sketchbook – Self explanatory, I should think. :) A lot of folks are into the “sketch a day” routine; a journal is a great place for that!

travel journal – Whether it be a short jaunt, day trip, or world excursion, write about it and include photos, ticket stubs, maps,’ll cherish the memories and experience for years to come!

fitness journal – Whether your training for the next marathon, charting weight loss and exercise, or keeping a food log, this is a great way to keep on track and chart your progress!

wine journal – What vintage? Was it a good year? Red, white, rose? Desert wine? What was it best paired with? Write it all down in your wine journal!

bird watcher journal – What sort of bird was that?

poetry book – A place to collect poems you enjoy, or write your own.

taking notes – Meetings, conventions, or kept in your case/purse to jot down just about anything

dream diary – To be kept on your nightstand as a place to track your ‘interesting’ dreams!

other ideas – film/movie log, pregnancy journal, small scrapbook, calligraphy book, ship’s log

"I'd like to thank..."

Woohoo! I made the front page of Esty this afternoon! I think I did once before, but this time I actually saw it. :)

etsy front page

My blog has been honoured with an award:Astrid, the talented and creative blogger (Germany), kindly bestowed the premio arte y pico upon me. This premio was initiated by Eseya from Uruguay with the aim of honouring arts and creativity in the internet world. As always, these awards come with certain criteria:

1. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award through creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogger community, no matter what language.
2. Each award should have the name of the author with a link to their blog.
3. Award winners should post the award with the name and link to the blog of the person who gave them the award.
4. Please include a link to the “Arte Y Pico” blog so that everyone will know where the award came from.

I pass the award on to these well deserving folks:

Lilli - Bookbabie

Jennifer - Jeng Shop Blog

Mel - Aria Images

Kaija - paperiarre

Jen Worden - Mixed Media Artist

the biiiiig book

Here are photos of that enormous book I finished last week for a custom order. It's one of the biggest books I've ever made thus far!!! It turned out really nice, although my arms are quite tired! :)

It's hard to judge the size of this thing by the photos, but if you take a look at one of the pics below, you'll see a side-by-side comparison with a standard-sized journal that I normally's literally dwarfed by this bubba book!

12" x 12" x 2" thick
400 pages 50 lb. drawing paper
heavy duty antiqued old-world leather



...I guess that's what I'm plagued with, because I'm in denial that it's almost July! Where exactly did June go? It went far too fast!

I've been really busy lately. Custom orders have literally been pouring in, which of course, is lovely. So things have been hopping, here at the bindery. I'm particularly interested in a custom journal measuring 12"x12"x2" which I'm commissioned to do. That's one BIIIIG bubba book! I'm really looking forward to seeing what the finished product will look like. I'll definitely post pics when it's done.

I've also been working on two new types of closures, and I'm really loving them! They're both very convenient as well. Both are now available at La Paperie & Cozy

new closure

Handbound leather journal with silver-plated metal button with black elastic closure

"The love of learning,
the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books."

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Handbound leather journal with mother-of-pearl shell peg closure


Hard to believe we're over half way through June already. Stunning.
Here are some new books I completed lately.

an additional shop

There has been a slight change to my shop at La Paperie & of this weekend, I no longer will be selling my art along with my journals. I've decided to create a new Etsy shop for my art, along with some of my photography (which will follow in the near future).

The shop's name is Salt Water Shed, as I live close to the gorgeous rugged Atlantic Coast and I am constantly being inspired by the beautiful nature that surrounds me.

I don't have much listed just yet, save for the prints that were already available on my La Paperie Cozy shop, but there is more to come. Feel free to take a jaunt over and take a peek. :)

what's brewin' at the geekery

I think I've just made my most favorite journal ever!! It's been in the works for a while, but I just never had the chance to finish it.

I've always been fascinated by the periodic table of elements - it's truly a thing of beauty. So I decided to use it on this journal's intro page ...especially for fellow geeks.

This one will soon be available on my Etsy shop, but I will definitely be making one for moi!

{click for larger view}

More journal piccies here...

where it all happens

I always enjoy looking at photos of people's desks and workshops. Here's a couple shots of my bookbinding studio.... studio *snicker* ...oh my, that sounds so pretentious. Because it's really just a little dingy corner in our study which is devoted to my bookbinding work. To be truthful, though, I do the actual binding whilst sitting on the sofa downstairs watching my favorite period drama. ;) So really this is only where I work with the paper, and cut the leather.


I'm now a permanent feature at Handmade Boutique on the web, under their Stationery and Paper Goods section. Very cool! They've got loads of great indie artists on there site, so get thee to their site and have a looksee!

A little journal made with a lot of love!

I'm just lovin' making my mini journals lately. Whenever I see them it's hard not to go "aww." :) They're not "lilliput" journals persay (some are so small they're the size of thumbnails!), but 'mini' compared to what I usually make. They're a great way of using up all that leather that is too small to be used in a regular-sized journal and yet too big to throw away.

These little guys are only 3.25" x 3" x 1" ...the perfect size to slip into a pocket, purse or bookbag...or just about anywhere else! They're handy for when you need to jot down things in a jiffy. There are 160 blank white pages, handtorn, and stitched with natural waxed cotton thread, visible on the spine. The cover is leather, of course, with wrap around flap and tab closure to keep it securely closed. I can't wait to make a few more for my shop...these little things are rather addictive.

I affectionately refer to them as "li'l chubs". :)

the awesome factor is exponential

So… the rebel now lives here. The camera arrived this morning! It’s pretty nifty to say the least. Now all I have to do is learn how to use all the pretty buttons.

The World Book Day sale went very well. Thanks for all your support! :)

Besides needing to stock up my shop, I just got another wholesale order from a store for more journals. Whew! It’s going to be a busy week!

World Book Day Sale!

April 23 is World Book Day. In honor of this bookish event, La Paperie & Cozy will be having it's first ever sale for one day only.

For the day, everything in the shop will be 10% off.

Need a journal, sketchbook, artwork, etc. or other custom item? Tomorrow's the time to go shopping! :)

introducing 2 new items!

Two new items in my shop today...

In desperate need of some little notebooks around the house, I indulged in some notebook cuteness yesterday. They were quick and fun to make and I just love the paper! Can't you tell brown/blue combination is a personal favorite? ;) Anyway, I made far more than I required, so I decided to list some on my etsy shop.

Each book is approximately 4.25" wide x 5.5" tall, and lovingly handcut, folded and stitched. The pages are handtorn to size for a nice rough edge.
♥ cover is beautiful patterned scrapbook card stock
♥ pamphlet binding visible on the spine
♥ stitched by hand with walnut-colored waxed linen thread
♥ 40 pages (counting both sides) per book of good quality creamy 24lb. acid-free writing paper


I also made a Food & Fitness Journal. I've been meaning to make one for myself for quite a while and finally go the chance the other week. I made two - I kept one for myself, which I've been using for the past couple week (it's great) and decided to make another one to list on the shop. I'm really happy with how it turned out and will probably make some more.

Approx. 5.5" x 4.25" x 1", it's the perfect size to slip into a purse or gym bag!

♥ will allow tracking for 200 days (200 pages counting both sides)
♥ each page has space for: the date, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, exercise and water (see photo details)
♥ 40 blank pages in the back to track your progress, keep track of measurements/weight, paste in articles or photos, write about your goals & achievements
♥ front page with name, date started/ended
♥ handbound with waxed linen bookbinding thread
♥ covered with a gorgeous strong and sturdy tan oilskin cowhide
♥ paper is handtorn and handstitched to the cover (non-refillable)
♥ heart tag is removable

Rest In Peace li'l camera

After binding five books yesterday (yes, five!), I was eager to get them photographed to list them on my shop. Well, things were going well until the second photo. Our camera died.

I saw it coming. Symptoms of its untimely demise included blurry images riddled with lines and poor lighting. There were shadows where there weren't supposed to be any. Not to mention horrible focus of any kind. And then there was the frequent "change battery pack" warnings even though there were fresh batteries used. So it is not unexpected; just inconvenient. I must say our handy li'l Canon Powershot A60 served us well, over the past 5 years we've had it. It's definitely seen a lot of action and has traveled the world with us. Now it's time to move on...but we're staying "in the family".

Our next camera will be the Canon EOS Rebel XT Digital SLR . But alas, they just don't sell them around these parts, so to the city we must go (2 hours away). Hopefully we can get away soon; perhaps this Sunday if things go well. In the meantime I may borrow my folks' Sony digital point-and-shoot to tide me over.

Canon EOS Rebel XT Digital SLR

In any case, better photos are in the future... :D

UPDATE: Ordered it online! Should be here next week! Woohoo!!!

World Book Day

Mark your calendars! April 23 is World Book Day, which coincides with the anniversaries of the deaths of Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare.

The Bookbinding Esty Street Team (B.E.S.T.) will be hosting a team challenge where members will create books that are inspired by Cervantes and Shakespeare.

I finished my contribution to the challenge - it's a Shakespeare journal, inspired by his love Sonnet #116, my personal favourite. I will be listing it on my shop soon. The first page of the journal features a portrait of Shakespeare, captioned with an excerpt of his beloved Sonnet:

"Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests
And is never shaken;"

This would be a wonderful gift that any Shakespeare fan, bookworm, or aspiring writer would cherish. It, like all my journals, comes with a little "card of interest" containing information about the book (the history of the binding, the type of stitch and leather) - which makes a lovely addition as a gift.

5.5" x 4.25" x 1.5"
400 lined pages (both sides) with handtorn edges
gorgeous deep antiqued cherry cowhide cover

There will also be a 10% OFF - World Book Day Sale on all my Etsy shop items on April 23 --- one day only! So if you're in the mood to go shopping for journals and sketchbooks, that's a good day to keep in mind. :)

new books, three

I tried my hand at coptic stitch for the first time ever. It was tricky getting used to it, but I enjoyed it. Here is the finished project...a little hardcover book, covered in natural linen bookcloth hand-painted with pussy willows. I finished the cover with antiqued copper decorative book edges.

natural linen bookcloth
220 pages (both sides), unlined white
antiqued copper decorative book edges


And another new oilskin leather journal, trying out a new closure style. I think I'm going to like this one! Very handy!

gorgeous rugged brown oilskin leather
5.5" x 4.25" x 1.5"
400 pages (both sides) unlined white, handtorn edges - opens flat


And another mini book - this one even smaller than the first 'mini' one I did. This adorable little journal measures just 3.75"x3"x1", with 220 unlined pages -- the perfect size to slip into a purse or bookbag! I always have one in my car's glove compartment. The cover is a lovely worn looking nutmeg oilskin cowhide leather with wrap around and tab closure. The binding is stitched with natural waxed linen thread, visible on the spine.

It was difficult but...

I've decided not to sell my soaps on my Etsy shop any longer. This is due to the fact that I wish my main presence on Etsy to be my bookbinding and art. I wish to free up more of my time to devote to my true love: bookbinding. :)

I only make my soaps in small batches anyway, and this is not fair to my online customers expecting various different soaps listed on a frequent basis. I just don't have the time to make soap often enough and in large batches to fulfill that broader client base's needs.

Therefore, I've decided that my handmade soaps will no longer be available on my Etsy shop. I am only selling them locally, and to former online customers who are familiar with the product. If you have ordered soap from me in the past and you wish to put in an order, please contact me. I would be happy to help you out. Thanks!

yesterday's news

Matchbox #2

Also, two new journals...both custom orders.

i give you my ♥

the inscrutable heart...
cannot be hidden
but only
given away.

Matchbox #1
dark brown paper, kraft paper, blood red cowhide

* My apologies for the poor photo quality. My camera is on the fritz, and I need a new one desperately.

la vie en rose indeed

My journals are now featured and for sale at La Vie en Rose Boutique - a lovely online boutique where 8% of all sales goes to charity. Support a great cause and get a lovely item in return! A win/win situation!

think outside the box

Kaija, over at Paperiaarre, has come up with a smashing little creative idea...decorate a matchbox a day! Give it new life as something special. Whether it be the box itself, or what it contains.

I love this idea because there is no limit except for your imagination (and the size of the box of course). With this workaday world, it's often times difficult to fit something creative into your routine. This is a nice way to do it.

a sneak preview

...of what's to come.
I've been busy filling custom orders. But I've also been working on a few new types of journals for my Etsy shop, soon to be unveiled:

- food/fitness journal: for those of us that like to keep track of intake and output!
- book journal (aka "book log"): for the book lover who loves to track what they read
- recipe journal: a special place for those special recipes
- travel journal
- a special book for World Book Day on April 23

Stay tuned. :)

new bookage

I've been busy filling some more custom orders that have come in - including some going to stores all over. I've also got a few new leathers that I'm excited to try.

Here are two more new journals to add to my etsy shop:

I've also been experimenting with a few new types of closures. While I love the leather ties, I thought I'd try my hand at something different for a change. I really like this one, with an elastic cord and button closure - and I think it's fast becoming a favorite. It makes the book very easy to open without fumbling for a leather tie, which makes it great for those on the go!

a 'lilliput' book

Well...not entirely a "mini" book, but mini compared to what I'm used to making, and definitely mini compared to the wedding album I made (shown in last post).

Last night I was going through some of my leather pieces and noticed that some were large enough to make mini journals. So I made one out of a lovely piece of that nutmeg oilskin cowhide that is my favourite. Its approx. 4"x3.75x0.75". It's adorable! Despite it's small size, it still boasts 240 unlined pages, if you count both sides of the page. I used hemp cord this time to stitch the binding, just to see what it would look like - it's actually very nice and sturdy, and I will definitely be using it again in my it a nice organic look. I've listed it on my esty shop.

I think I may make two of these mini books for myself -- one to keep in my purse, and another for the glove compartment of our car when I need to jot down my business-related mileage for income tax purposes. They can come in very handy! And they're CUTE! :D