Confessions of a Craftaholic

Tag: book binding

Inspiration Thursday

Today, for inspiration thursday, I remembered to work on a journal spread.

It reads, “I choose to be happy”.

What do you choose to feel today?

I created this spread because I needed to see it there, and think it, while I painted, cut out little bits of paper. I create art journal spreads as a sort of…therapy. It’s so soothing. I like to glue in pictures, post it notes, and stubs and things. I love that. I’m not trying to create a museum quality work of art.

My art journal is just a way for me to record the thoughts and things in my head, along with ideas of how to be a better person. I like to add pictures of myself, because I’m visual that way. This particular picture is VERY old. My husband and I were in our first year of dating in this one. I know because that jacket is old. We are in Sunset park, brooklyn I believe.

Today, I choose to be happy. Why?

Choosing to be happy, I’ve said before, is not something you do when you already are happy.

Sometimes, life gives us crap to deal with. Sometimes we have pain and grief to deal with. In choosing to be happy, I’m not saying that I all of the sudden do not feel pain. I’m saying that I choose to notice the positive things in my life, because there are good things everywhere.

I’ll tell you, I decided to do this, most recently through my poems.

Most of you know, I write poetry. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. Now, I know a lot of poets say that. But I have a corny poem from when I was 8 years old to prove it.

Anyhow, my poems came from me needing to get out how I was feeling, since growing up, I wasn’t exactly raised by people who taught me how to express my emotions in a healthy way. So I started writing. And obviously, what came out of it, was poems written from the dark places in my life as a child.

I’m a b ig fan of Paul Simon. One thing, is that in some of his earlier stuff, you hear that darkness. You hear the sadness that he felt on occasion. But then….you listen to his other stuff, more recent, and you hear…stories. You hear him telling you a story. So I decided that I wanted to go in that direction with my poems. I can’t write stories for shit. But I can tell a story in my poems.

So I decided to move on, from the shadows of the past. I mean, the past is still the past. But it is just that.

Anyway, getting back to my point. I can choose to feel. I can choose to feel anger about my lost childhood, or I can choose to be happy to have two children to provide a HAPPY childhood to. I can choose to have a grudge, or I can move on.

Life is about choices. Today, I choose to be happy.

What do you choose today? Why not journal about it today?



The Craftaholic

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A Hand Bound Book For Lisa

Sort of, that is. I think I had blogged about this one already, but this time it’s for sale, so I’m re-posting. Hope you don’t mind.

This is a hand bound sketchbook, with 100 pages of recycled paper, bound with my signature cardboard hardcover, a vintage picture frame, and hand dyed flower in the middle.

I originally made this as a sketch for a workshop, for my friend Lisa Kettell, but due to our busy lives, it never happened. So I have decided to put this baby up for sale, in my shop.

You like it?

I should make more of these, I think.

Hmmm. As far as food cravings are concerned, pizza is quite popular in this house. Homemade is even better. Yum. With ham and onion. Oh man.

What else? Well, my art supply closet is back to being a splendid mess. I do want to organize it, though. An organized mess, you know? Right now, it’s a bit too cluttered, even for me. And that’s saying a lot. I did de-stash some things tho. I’m getting rid of a bunch of rubber stamps I don’t use and such.

Things like fabric and paint, I never get rid of, though.

The Craftaholic

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A Collage Podge Book

Recently, for one of the last art swaps I’ve joined, I created a hand bound collage book.

The cover is made from vintage fabric from my stash. The lace trim you see there, is also from my stash. Can’t remember where I got it. The fabric was given to me by my husband’s old co-worker who was quite the seamstress.

That’s a glimpse of the inside. It’s nice, right?

This book was sent out in a swap, but I can make one like this for you, if you want. Just leave me a comment and I’ll email you back.

It’s so fun to make books like this. I love it.

What else? I’m quite busy lately. Tomorrow, I’ve got to bake a cake for a friend in my poetry group who’s birthday it is. Red Velvet cake. I usually bring my leftover baked goods, so that’s what I’m up to.

Also, I took a trip to Dick Blick and got some stuff to make my own twinkling H2Os! More on that on Friday.

The Craftaholic

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100 Books for Lenina

I haven’t posted in a few days, sorry about that. I’ve been busy with workshops, and things.

My latest project is a major one for me. I’m working on making a set of 100 miniature accordion albums for a friend, who’s having a baby. These are favors for the baby shower. They aren’t finished yet, but here’s what it looks like so far:

I still have to stamp and heat emboss the words, “All you need is love” onto kraft cardstock, with inked edges (that coordinate with the booklets), and then stick them on with pop up dots.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it for a friend. And, I got to use up all the scrapbook paper from my stash, that I don’t use anymore, so that’s a bonus.

What else? I’m working on a baby blanket for my daughter. I’m so excited. You know, if you happen to live in New York City, you should really check out Smiley’s Yarns, in Queens. O M G. Not only are the prices right, but they have good quality yarn! Rowan yarns, wools, alpacas, silks and more! YES. Really.

Anyhow, back to my bookmaking. Boy, the things I do for a friend……


The Craftaholic

A Memory Book For Luna

Here’s a book I made for a friend of mine, Dawn, who just had a little baby girl. I’m headed over there, and just wanted to share with you the book I made.

You’ll notice there’s no quote today or philosophical quote. That’s because I decided I’m going to do them as separate posts, once a week. I hope you don’t mind waiting.

Anyway, here’s the book I made:

It’s just a quick little book I made, really. The baby’s name is Luna Love.

You like? I can make these books in my sleep.

The Craftaholic

Create-A Watercolor Journal


“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

-Abraham Lincoln

I keep telling people when they tell me they worry too much, that life is too short. There is so much focus on saving money for the future, and planning for the future, and living a healthy lifestyle, but not enough emphasis on how much joy and peace there is in your life.

I always go back to forgiveness and letting go. We store too many things within ourselves; we suppress things. Why are we so focused on the outside, and not on the inside?

We must look within ourselves and let go of the negativity. It doesn’t serve a purpose, at all. Let it go. Life will continue and pass you by, and all you will be left with is these useless feelings that only repel others from you.

I finished something I am truly proud of. I wanted to keep it for myself! This is for a swap, on craftster. I got flaked on by my original partner, and got assigned a new one, so I put some effort into it.

She said she wanted a combination of lined and unlined pages, so I gave her that.

This book has a spiral binding, for which I used my binditall machine.  I used fantasy fiber that I ironed and made into a fabric, to layer on the cover, with a vintage playing card, and typewriter letters by All Night Media, by Plaid Crafts.

This fairy is a rubber stamp, by All Night Media by Plaid Crafts.

Here, you can see how I made it lined for her. I was unsure as to what I should do for the other side of the watercolor pages, so I went ahead and glued lined paper to the blank side of the watercolor paper. This way, she’s got lined AND unlined pages in her journal. Nice, right?

I stamped quotes and images on the pages of watercolor paper, so they can serve as writing prompts for her. Plus, it’s nice looking.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I hand painted the watercolor paper. It’s easy! Squirt a nickel sized bit of watercolor into a spray bottle, then fill almost full with water, and shake. You can spray it on, then brush it with your brush, so that it makes more of an interesting look on the paper!

That’s all for now. I have a couple more small-ish swaps to work on and send out. And I got a sudden craving for Nutella. Yum.

The Craftaholic

Junk Journal


“”Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”


Not forgiving someone gets you nowhere. Not moving on only keeps you stuck in the past.

Revenge is NOT worth jeopardizing your happiness and your future. Revenge. It comes from a place of non-forgiveness. Move on. I know a woman who chooses not to forgive the very people that also hurt me in the past. I moved on. I chose to forgive, and move on. What happened? I found happiness, and I’m following my dreams.

What happened to her? She never found true love, and is frankly very annoying to be around for too long, as she becomes very cranky and negative all the time.

Mind you, I’m not saying you’ll have similar results as mine. But one thing is for sure: it’s better to forgive than to feel anger and hate.

Making art helps a lot in the path to forgiveness. While you wonder what’s going on in your head, or why you’re thinking the way you do, work on a project. When you feel that pain and that hurt, work on your art. Concentrate on the colors and the patterns, and become one with them.

Afterwards, you’ll notice you won’t feel that pain anymore, or at least not as concentrated. This is when you should journal. Write or draw, whichever comes more natturally to you. Do it. Write it. As you do, start letting it go. If you don’t know how, say a prayer. Let go. Make Art.

Last night, I made what I’m calling a junk journal. I call it this, because it’s pages are vintage ephemera and cards and such that I had laying around.

Pages from a vintage children’s book, and pages from a vintage crochet magazine.

Recycled envelope, and a vintage NYC postcard.

watercolor paper.

A pretty envelope, and lined papers. Unlined watercolor paper follows on the back:

So that’s that. If you like this book, you can buy it from me, on my etsy shop.

Today is Sunday, and my parents are coming over to visit. That means no art making today, as I must clean up my apartment and make dinner. It’s pasta for dinner today. Maybe I’ll be nice and make some banana bread. It’s perfectly cold outside, which is very nice for baking.

The Craftaholic

Day 347: A Halloween Chunky Book


“Human potential is the same for all. We all have the power of thought—so what are you lacking?”

-The Dalai Lama

Holy moly! The power of thought. When we think of what we’re lacking, we tend to think of practical things like diapers, money, clothing, food…but those are just external things. What we lack is the idea that things will get better, that we have the power to improve things, just on our own. And we can. When we believe in ourself, we accomplish much.

Today, I accounted for the lovely autumn weather by making a Halloween themed chunky book. I really love how it turned out. I have an appointment next week with someone (I can’t tell you who yet) and I must prepare a portfolio of my work. I am so excited for it! I wish I could tell you, but I can’t yet. It’s next week, though. I can tell you that.

Anyway, here’s what I made:

I used a vintage frame that I had laying around, just waiting for such a project. Lovely, right?

The tabs are handmade, of course.

That frame was part of my wooden vintage frame. I took it out, and voila!

The handmade flower is easy. It’s just six or so scallop circles with a brad in the center, then they are crumpled up into a ball to look like a flower bulb, then you slowly unfold them. Easy peasy!

So, what do you think? You like it? I love it. Today is lovely! The weather outside reminds me of when my husband and I first married, in the fall. It was such nice cool weather, and everything we had was brand new…you remember that feeling?

I guess I am feeling nostalgic because my anniversary is coming up next week, on the 30th. It’ll be 7 years of us being together. I’m not a fancy pants kind of lady, so I don’t need much. I’d like a Smashing Pumpkins CD that I lost  to an old boyfriend years and years ago. That, and a sit down dinner at this old fashioned diner in manhattan. It’s called La Bonbonnierre, and it’s almost next door to the Ink Pad. That’s all I want, really.

Anything else I want? Actually that’s all. I honestly can’t think of anything realistic that I want. Amazing, right? Meh, I’m a simple girl, really. Given the chance, I would rather buy art supplies than clothing. I don’t know why, but whenever I set aside money for clothing, I end up buying art supplies.

I don’t know what to get for my husband. At all. He’s not a tie wearing guy, I can tell you that. I got him the mandolin he’d been asking for. Maybe, I’ll make him some really good soap. He’s into good soap. That’s how I got into soapmaking. I had made soap before I met him, and then when we started dating, I started making more for him, because he loves a good bar of scented soap. So I’ll do that then. I wonder if anyone makes a fragrance oil that smells like Irish Spring…?

The Craftaholic

Day 342: A Finished Matroyshka, and some Swapped Goodies


“Wasting any essence of this precious human existence is almost like taking poison while being fully aware of the consequences.”

-The Dalai Lama

Don’t waste your time wasting time! How do you waste time? Think about it. Worry, doubt, anger…all those emotions that take away from you. This is how we waste time. Negative emotions like anger and resentment only take away from our internal and external beauty and radiance.  We must choose what we want in life, and then pursue it. Pursue what you wish to have in life, or life will choose for you.

Today, I finished the book I was working on yesterday.

It looks like she has a flower on her head, but I kind of like it that way.

What else? I had a stuff swap with my craft group yesterday. It was a small but fun event. Here’s a few pics.

That’s Yoshi. She happens to be THE swapping queen. She knows of ALL the swaps in the five boroughs. Seriously.

We had so much fun! I will photograph the vintage crewel kits that I got, later today.

That’s all for now. Hubby needs the ‘puter.

The Craftaholic

Day 341: A finished job


“Try to develop a deep conviction that the present human body has great potential and that you shall never waste a single minute of its use.”

-The Dalai Lama

This is what I’m always saying: life is short. Don’t waste time. We waste time in so many ways. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I struggled with depression most of my childhood and into my adult life. About 2 or so years before I got pregnant, I found myself finally lifting myself out of it, by healing myself with art and poetry.

When I had my daughter, I went through postpartum depression, and it was rough on me. I decided though, to lift myself out of it. Life is short, and I had this tiny little person that I wanted to be there for. I didn’t want to waste my life being sad over the crap that happened to me as a kid. Bad things happen everywhere, and we must put our faith in our higher power, in the universe, in ourselves, and in whatever your religious beliefs are.

Anyway, we must not waste time being sad or bitter. Don’t let the past determine your future. Only you can decide what to do with your life. As the song says: “don’t let the bastards drag you down”. That’s a song by the Toasters, one of my favorite bands.

Alright, today I finished a job for a client. Remember the eyeshadow I made for a client of mine? Well, I had to package them up and get them ready to go. I labeled them with the name for each person they are for. See for yourself:

I used a set of collage style stamps by Stampin Up that is now retired, sorry. I for some reason have an affinity for their retired stamps. I don’t know why.

Anyway, I started another project. I may have a meeting on Aug. 31 that I am UBER excited for! I can’t tell you what about, because I don’t want to poo poo it. Suffice to say that I have to bring my portfolio, so I wanted to make some extra special things. Here’s a work in progress:

What do you think so far? I’ll post the finished work tomorow. I have to buy a few things for a book that I’ve been working on FOREVER. I now need a rubber stamp of a banner, and some thick brown ribbon for the sides of the book. And hubby is off, so we’ll be hanging out together.

The Craftaholic