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Tea Stained Pocket Notebooks

I like to make these pocket sized pamphlet notebooks. They are handy for everyday use. But you can use them as a tuck in a junk journal. Use them for a travel journal, keep track of monthly goals. add them to Midori traveler’s journals. Plus they make great gifts.

In this example, I’m using tea stained paper and hand dying book tape for colorful spines. You can use most paper types (above 24 lb) and let loose with your creativity!

Materials List:

Make the Signatures and Book Spine

  • Tea Stained Paper or other paper folded into signatures. At least 24 lb paper.
  • White Book Tape
  • Alcohol Inks
  • Gelli Pad
  • Paper Towels
  • Small Spray Bottle with Rubbing Alcohol
  • Craft Knife
  • Bone Folder
  • Ruler
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Assemble the Notebook

  • Ephemera
  • Waxed Thread or Embroidery Thread
  • Book Binding Needle
  • Book Binding Awl
  • Craft Knife
  • Scrap Paper

Step One: Prepare the Signatures

For the paper, you can use tea stained paper or any type of paper that you like. I suggest about 24 lb paper, because it is more robust. I used tea stained letter sized paper, but you can do this with any paper size.

A signature is a bundle of papers that have been folded over. The spine is either sewed together or stapled to make a pamphlet or notebook. I usually make these pocket notebooks so that they fit into a pocket or purse.

Step 2: Dye the Book Tape with Gelli Plate and Alcohol Ink

After I assemble the signature, I measure it to make sure I will be making the book spines the correct size. I then cut the book tape to the appropriate size. The book tape that I use has a backing, so it won’t stick to the table and is easy to dye. If your book take doesn’t have that back, get some plastic dividers or sticker paper from shipping labels to attach the tape too.

Place protective papers to keep the alcohol ink from damaging your table. Place the Gelli plate on the paper.

At this point, you might want to wear some rubber or latex gloves to protect your hands. Then apply some alcohol ink to the Gelli plate. Spray the ink with the rubbing alcohol. This will create a tie die effect and the alcohol ink will spread out.

Then take your pre-cut Book Tapes and apply them face side down against the gelli print. This will transfer the alcohol ink design to the book tape. If you are doing a series of the book tapes, you will need to apply more alcohol ink to the gelli print. These are the colors that I prefer. Alcohol ink comes in a variety of colors and application methods. Play around with the color palette that you like.

I let the book tapes dry overnight. It could probably be used before then, but I like to be cautious.

Can you do with acrylic paint or watercolors? Sure! I found that those paints didn’t dry cleanly, and that normal hand moisture while handling the notebook spine, lead to the color bleeding onto your hands. Not ideal. But I’d like to hear of any solutions people have to that problem. Please comment below!

Step 3: Attach the Book Tape to the Notebook Cover

You should have some premade signatures and dyed book tape now. Let’s get the book tape onto the signature covers.

The next step, after the dyed book tapes have dried, it to attach the book tapes to the cover. Position the book tape on your work surface. I like to use a craft grid, so I can line it up. I then make sure the signature is a good fit. I then remove the cover from the work surface and pull down own corner of the backing material. I then bring back the signature and make sure it’s in a good spot and lined up. If you take the backing off all at once, there are probably going to be air bubbles or misalignment. The Book tape is very sticky and while you can reposition it abit, it’s more likely to tear holes in the paper if you try to reposition it.

Carefully remove the rest of the backing by, slowly removing it by pulling on the corner that is already turned down. As you are removing the backing, gently press down the signature onto the tape. You should end up with a signature that looks like the 1st picture. After that is pressed down, gently unfold the signature from the fold first. Then press it firmly to the book tape. It should look something like the second picture.

Use your ruler and craft knife to slice off the extra book tape.

Turning it over, you should have something like the first picture. Fold it half and reinstall the pages. You are now ready to sew it together!

Step 4: Sew the Signature into a Pocket Notebook

Get out your awl! It’s awl time! If you don’t have an awl, you can use a needle that the thread inserted end is put into a cork, a nail, or some other pointy object. It needs to poke a hole large enough for the needle and thread, but not large enough to destablize the paper. One of the reason for the book tape spine, is that it provides a stable material for the sewing to happen. If you look at school composition notebooks, they also have book tape as a spine covering. Of course, it’s done on a commercial book printing machine, so it’s going to look different. But it’s the same general idea.

The basic tools for sewing the pocket notebook with the three hole pamphlet stitch are: Waxed Thread, Ruler, Clip, Assembled Signature, Awl and Bone Folder.

The first thing to do is Clip the signature together. This will keep it from shifting while you are sewing or poking holes through the spine. Any paper clip that you like and/or have is fine. Just make sure it doesn’t leave a mark on the paper.

To poke the holes. Unfold the signature partially. You are going to punch three holes through the signature. I locate the center, punch a hole. Then I punch two more holes that are about an inch from each end.

You can do a template and measure everything a bit more. But I find that if I’m preparing a junk journal ‘tuck’ or junk journal pocket notebook, the lack of precision makes it look better.

If on the other hand, I’m doing a precise map/travel pocket notebook, I will do more precise measurements.

One of the joys of creating your own pocket notebooks is that they don’t have to look like commercially produced notebooks. But they can, if you want !

Then Thread the Needle with the measured wax thread. In the center hole, sew into the bottom hole, Thread into the top hole towards the spine. Then thread back into the center hole where you started.

Tie off the threads

Tie off the threads. Close the pocket notebook and flatten the spine by using the bone folder.

There you have it! A Tea Stained Pocket Notebook with a dyed book spine!

I look forward to hearing about your variations of this tried and true notebook style? Prefer it a bit bigger? More pages? A bit more formal? Perhaps you like to trim the pages after it’s completed?

If you would like to purchase this type of pocket notebook, please go to: Pocket Notebooks – Paper Butterfly Forge

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Coptic Stitch Recycled Book Journals

I made some Coptic stitch notebooks that you can buy in my online store.

I have recently made the jump from using twin loop binding to hand stitching the notebooks together. I’ve been thinking about making the change for some time. Part of the change is due to rethinking of the environmental difference in creating the notebooks. The metal twin loop binding system is based on a metal spine. I wanted to have a lower impact by using thread instead of metal to bind the journals.

Here are some of them that I’ve been working on in May 2023. The paper is either 70 weight sketch book paper or a fine 24 lb writing paper.

Meeting New Friends Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

Happy Tales for Story Time Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

Literature for Reading and Memorization Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

Brooks’s Readers Seventh Year Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

Robinson Crusoe Reader Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

Everyday Reading Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

Recycled Book Journal by Paper Butterfly Forge

Gregg Dictation Simplified Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

Recycled Book Cover Coptic Stitch Journal

Study Readers Coptic Journal – Paper Butterfly Forge

I do have a fair number of twin loop binding spine recycled book journals for sale. Here is the link to those journals. Sale – Paper Butterfly Forge

The twin loop bound journals are currently (June 2023) on sale for $10.00 each, so it’s a great deal, if you have ever wanted one or want more.

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Getting Ready to Make More Recycled Book Journals

I’ve been changing over to Coptic Stitch Sketchbook. I can only make 3 or 4 a week. Compared to when I used the twin loop ones, when I used to make 10 to 15 per day. Slowing down has it’s benefits though. 🙂

If you feel like supporting my tiny one person operation, there is a ‘buy me a coffee icon’ on this page. Another way to support my micro business, is to comment on the blog. It helps out with placement. 🙂

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Free Printable Weekly Planner

Free Weekly Planner

Hi! I’m happy to share a Free Printable Weekly Planner. I’ve been making printables to use in my Recycled Book Journals. I’ve been meaning to share them for free on the website for now.

This Weekly Planner is a letter sized PDF. It’s sized so that two planner pages are on each side of the paper. It’s designed to work as a signature in a sewed planner. You can also cut the paper in half and use it in a ring binder or a twin loop binding system. It’s undated so start at any time!

Click to access Weekly-Planner-Half-Page.pdf

Let me know if you have any questions about the PDF or the Weekly Planner.

Please leave a comment before for a free way to thank me. Comments are worth gold in SEO for my website. If you find it useful and you wish to give me a tip, there is a ‘buy me a coffee icon’ (coffee cup) on the website. The ‘buy me a coffee folks’ set the tip at $5.00, not me. If you do use them in your projects, please give a shoutout to Paper Butterfly Forge or Laura Dodson when you show them off!

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Gluing Book Jackets to Book Covers

I’m getting ready this morning to glue book jackets to book covers. Most of these are 1980’s science fiction book club books. Many of them are classic titles that are well regarded.

At the time of this writing the covid-19 crises has been around for about 4 months. At the same time there is a quite a bit of protesting and calls to action for Black Lives Matter. Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood is now called the CHOP and has declared it’s independence. There is also some evidence that wearing a mask is an appropriate way to reduce risk for yourself and others. It’s debatable whether or not people will actually comply with the requirements. Basically, my 2020 calendar has a lot of stuff cancelled and giant blank spots for the rest of the year.

So what does one have to do with the other? This pile of books is from a small family owned gift shop that is closing. When I went to pick up the books (they had sold my journals there) there was a crowd there in the shopping area. In some of these classic books they discuss the apocalypse and how people behave. Would people go shopping during a pandemic without masks? I had never thought about it. But some of these classic science fiction writers had thought about it and wrote these books.

These are not perfect books, of course. A fair number of these classic science fiction books were not written with today’s standards; either for lack of information dumps or inclusivity. So do I feel bad about tearing down these classic books and reducing the pages to what is currently not problematic? Nope. There were plenty of book club editions printed, people will like the iconic covers, and you can write or draw your own story in the classic science fiction novel.

It’s a couple days later and here are some of the book covers that have the book jacket pasted on them. I still need to transform them into journals.

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Craft Fair Costs

I see a ton of people set up for the first time at all types of craft fairs. However, when I talk to them, the newbies don’t always consider all the costs of being there. Today, I would like to express my opinion on that.

Labor: How many hours are you going to be at the craft fair. Any helpers? Are they volunteers or are you compensating them? Be aware that labor laws also apply to craft fair helpers. Take a few moments to read up on what is an independent contractor vs. an employee in your state.

Transportation: Did you rent a Uhaul, use your personal vehicle or borrow a friends car? You might be entitled to a mileage deduction on your federal or state taxes. It’s useful to keep track of your costs.

Hotels: If you stay at a hotel/campground be sure to add that in as part of your cost.

Parking: Put a coin in the meter? Then put a line in your cost tracking spreadsheet for parking. One other thing. How are going to get the boxes of product from your vehicle to the craft fair? Having a dolly or wagon will make it easier. Most items need to be carried 50 feet or more. I had one craft fair where I had to carry everything a block. And that included the canopy tent.

Canopy Tent: A lot of outdoor fairs require you to have a canopy tent. They might be 10 by 10 feet or 8 by 8 feet. You might be using a family tent, but if you buy a new one, record the cost. Cost Accounting is a bit different than tax accounting. So roughly guess on how many craft fairs that you will be using it for, the allocate a percentage of the cost. Note that inexpensive tents will only last one or two summers before breaking.

Tables/Racks/Gridwall. These are the foundations of your craft display. Like the tent, roughly allocate across how many craft fairs you are planning to do.

Table Cloths, Jewelry Displays, Other display. These are the sparkle on your display. They highlight your items and set the tone. Also roughly allocate.

Banners: These are fairly inexpensive but you may need a graphic designer to put some sparkle on the banner. Vista Print or most office stores can print them for you.

Oh yeah, booth fees. Craft fairs usually charge a fee to attend. As always, I suggest a credit card for payment for the best protection against fairs that are cancelled. Event cancellation happens to even large fairs and comic cons.

By now you are probably thinking: But Laura, what about the things that I’m selling. Those are my pride and joy! Enough of the bookkeeping and boring tent stuff!

Sure! Cost of Goods Sold:

Materials: Count up what the raw materials cost.

Labor: Keep track of your time and effort. (Not the R & D part)

Supplies and overhead: Some of the materials, like paint and glue, are difficult to quantify. Do an estimate and allocate a portion to each item.

Overhead: Website costs, business cards, studio costs, utilities, phones, and office supplies.

Okay, so that is overwhelming. No one would ever set up at a craft fair if they thought this through. Many people do craft fairs or vendor fairs as a part time thing or even a hobby. It’s important to think about all these things so that you don’t go on a buying spree that fizzles out after one or two craft fairs. Budgets are real and very few people have unlimited funds. If you want to economize some of the costs, ask friends if they have a canopy tent or tables that you can borrow. In addition, inside craft fairs might be less expensive that outside ones. Craigslist or Ebay are also discounted places to look. Walmart and Target also have discounted tables, tents or wagons.

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How to Research Craft Shows

Craft Shows are a great way to connect with your local customers, get some feed back on your products and earn some money. However, it’s important to research each and every craft show that you plan on attending. Each one has a different audience and price point. Knowing what to expect at each one will give you a basis for crunching potential sales and profits.

Types of Craft Shows:

  • Church and School Events. Usually the attendees are members of the church or school. The fees are usually smaller as well as the attendance. They are usually inside and provide a table that you set up at. They have usually been around for a decade or more.
  • Vendor Show: These are usually attended by MLM vendors. There may be as much as 50% handmade crafters attending. A lot of crafters report lower sales at these event types. However, I’ve had good luck at some of them. It’s difficult to sell $$$ jewelry when the table next to you is selling mass produced jewelry for under $10.00
  • Handmade crafted show: Only handmade vendors. Usually juried. That doesn’t always guarantee higher sales.
  • Juried Show: A show where potential vendors send in an application that is reviewed by the organizers. They then pick the vendors. Just because it’s juried, does not mean there will say 50% jewelry. I once attended a juried handmade show and when I was there, there were three different people with the same MLM company.
  • Non-Juried show: The organizer takes vendors on a first come first served basis. They still try to limit one MLM company per show.
  • Premium Craft Show: There are multi day events run by Urban Craft Uprising, Renegade Craft, and others where the event is run by a professional event planner. Typically, the booths are more expensive, there is actual advertising, and it is difficult to be approved as a vendor.
  • Farmers Market: Typically lower fees, at least once a week and the audience is not looking for handmade crafts or art.
  • Comic Cons: Usually juried, high traffic, and your handmade craft needs to be pop culture inspired. Note that some comic cons have an, Artist Alley, Vendor, and Craft Sections. The fees vary wildly for each section. I’d attend one before applying for these expensive buy profitable shows.
  • Holiday Shows: Holiday shows are annual shows in late November and December. They are thrown by a variety of organizations.
  • Annual festivals and community events. Often a large portion of the community attends each year. If you have a handmade product that sells well at festivals, it can be great. (T Shirts, for example) If you have niche product like pogo sticks, you can do less well. Do some test markets to see how people react before committing to a three day community festival. Three days without significant sales can be an emotional long haul.

Outside Tents.

Typically an event will have a standard tent size. 10 by 10 tent or 8 by 8 tent. The tents are usually popup canopy tents. Inexpensive ones can be purchased at Walmart, Target, or sporting goods store. The inexpensive ones are often flimsy and easily break. The expensive ones are well worth the extra money if you end up doing a lot of outside craft shows. Painters often invest in the sturdy ones.

Tent weights: Yes. Always use tent weights on popup canopy tents. The tents are giant kites waiting to be airborne. It doesn’t take that much wind for them be airloft. And remember the metal legs? Ouch if they land on you.

Tables and displays. Once you know the tent size, you can plan your display. Make sure you plan to either have room for people to walk into the booth or have a table against the ‘frontage’ edge. Have both a sun plan and a rain plan. Note that the tents will let in rain especially if it rains. I put up tent walls as necessary.

The Tents will usually be lined up in rows. Most craft fairs suggest that you tie tent legs together with your neighbor’s tent. Always ask before doing this. Your frontage will be 10 feet. If you are on a corner, you might have an ‘endcap’ or a ‘corner’ frontage.

Do you need tent walls? If it rains, probably. If you want to create a brick and mortor experience, yes. You can use sheets, tarps, or curtains to create walls. If its raining, I suggest tent walls and then use curtains at least two inches from the tent walls to decorate. Note that you can use bungie cords along the inside for places for curtains to hang.

Why would you install tent walls if it’s sunny? Remember that when you don’t have tent walls, the customers can look right into your neighbor’s booth. And poof! Your customer is gone! I had that happen at an early craft fair. My neighbor had a large loud knitting machine that they rode a bicycle to power. All day, my booth was filled with lookie loos trying to get a better angle on the machine operation.

If it’s sunny, as it is in many parts of the United States, you might need the tent as a sun shade. In that case there are lighter weight tents that might work better for you.

Inside Tables:

  • Usually six or eight feet long. Table widths vary and maybe 18 inches to 3 feet. Make sure you find out what it is.
  • If you buy a table I suggest a six foot folding table that is 2 and half feet wide.
  • I suggest doing a dry run of your craft display before going to a live event. It will be easier to quickly set up and you will bring less items.

Where was I? Research!

  • Organization: Make sure you find out who you are sending money to for booth fees. Unfortunately, there have been a number of frauds and cons where crafters and artists have been sold fake booths. See if their LLC is registered. Look at their website, does it look like someone has spent years making it? Or is it thrown together? Do they have references? How far back do their social media posts go?
  • Location: Verify with the location that it’s actually going to be there. There have been a number of craft show organizers and comic con organizers who have listed a venue they have not made an appointment for the show. Sometimes it falls into the category of running out of money vs fraud. However, if someone runs out of money, it’s difficult to get the money back.
  • How do they want to get paid? Options such as paypal’s friends and family, do not allow for refunds. A request to send friends and family might be a red flag. I suggest always using a credit card if possible.
  • What do their terms and conditions say about refunds? One organizer after they switched the venue to a different month and 40 miles away from the prime holiday show location, denied anyone a refund.
  • What do prior vendors say or think about the show?
  • Look at the prior social media posts. Are they full of shoppers? Or rather empty?
  • Search on social media outside of the organizers official channels.


  • How many potential attendees do the organizers think will attend?
  • How many shoppers will potentially fit into the space? Does the parking accommodate the numbers?
  • Note that for multiday events, such as conferences or comic cons, some organizers count each time a person enters the event. ie. Three day event, three people attended the event.
  • If it is a large event, is the vendor or craft room easily entered from the main event? There was a comic con that recently had the artist alley a mile away from the event. They did provide a shuttle between locations, however.

Who attends craft fairs?

  • Other craft vendors. Some of your sales will probably come from other vendors.
  • Farmers Markets often have regulars attending. They will often stop by in family groups.
  • Comic Con attendees. They will often be traveling from out of town and will only see your booth or table once or twice a year. They will often request a business card.
  • Supporters of the arts. They will often be shopping for everyday crafts and gifts.
  • Gift Shoppers. Usually only attending holiday craft shows or art shows.
  • Window Shoppers. They might be there for lunch or to be entertained.

Hopefully, that provides a bit more information on how to research craft fairs. It is essential to:

  • Understand what type of craft fair it is. It lets you decide if the booth fees are reasonable, you will have enough space, and the typical customer who attends them.
  • Research the Event Space. Is it in a place that people will attend?
  • Research the organizer. Organizers go out of business all the time. Even good organizers have issues with spaces cancelling on them or unexpected things happen at them.
  • Plan for what your display is going to look like and product types. I will write more on this later.
  • Plan for what foundation items like tents and tables that you will need to provide.
  • Plan for product unloading from your vehicle

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Downloads and Dictionary Prints

I’ve been making digital prints lately. I *should* be adding them on a regular basis.

They can used as collage paper or as a print. I look forward to seeing what people do with them!

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What do the insides of the Recycled Book Journals look like?

I believe in fun.  Fun paper, cards, and books that deserve a new purpose in life.  I upcycle books into nifty journals that can go anywhere and be used for any number of things.  Junk Journals, Scrapbooks, writing journals, bullet journals, or sketch books.

The Recycled Book Journals also make a thoughtful gift to friends, family and co-workers.

What do the Recycled Book Journals look like?

I upcycle a variety of books.  Generally I bind them with a wire binding system that looks like this:

Other binding types are available upon request.

What’s on the inside?

  • 28 lb white paper
  • 10 ish pages of the original book
  • Decorative paper
  • Interesting pages that vary.  They might be maps, music sheets, graph paper, pages from other books, or things I feel like upcycling.
  • There might be playing cards from games, library checkout cards, and again if I feel like including it in a book I will.

Here are some sample inside pages:

What types of books do I upcycle?

Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland and Nancy Drew recycled book journals are always popular.  However, I do quite a bit of vintage textbooks, gothic novels, classics, vintage children’s books, english literature books, foreign language books, and physics books.

Does it need to be hard back cover?  It helps!  However, I bind paperback and book jacket covers to a stiff book cover all the time.  I then apply a protective coating  to protect the paper, so that it will stand up to being in a bag or falling off a nightstand.

Does it always need to be white paper?   It doesn’t need to be!  I will add quality lined paper or drawing paper upon request.  Of course, there is a small fee for having the more expensive paper.

Interested?  My email is to discuss further.


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Making some cute bookmarks

People ask me all the time what I do with the extra book pages.  Here is one use:  I make cute book markets.

I have a backing that I bind the book page too.  Then I cut out the book mark.

Have a peaceful and prosperous day!

Laura 🙂

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First Day at Pike Place Market

It’s been a fun summer.  I’ve met a lot of great people at the Wallingford Farmers Market, the Madrona Farmers Market, Fremont Solstice Fair, Magnolia Summer Fest, Urban Craft Uprising events, and Oddmall.  After such a whirlwind of sunny events I turn my eyes to fall and to the 2017 Holiday season.

Then I got some fantastic news.  I’ve been accepted into the Pike Place Market as a daystall vendor.  Quite unexpected since this was the first year that I had applied and I was accepted.  I feel so fortunate.

So now you can catch my book journals at the Pike Place Market at least once a week.


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How to Make Book Cloth

I’m interested in making my own book cloth.  I’m collecting some of the methods for y’all here that I’m finding.

Book cloth is used for attaching cloth to books.  The basic parts of it are: cloth, glue/or adhesive and a tissue paper backing.  There are any number of ways to do it.

Why do you want to attach paper to the fabric?  It makes the fabric more stable, it might stretch poorly when glued directly onto a book board.  In addition, when directly gluing the fabric on to the book board, glue can seep out of the fabric.

You will need either flat glass or plexiglass to dry the fabric on.  My suggestion is plexiglass, because it is less breakable.  Glass might show the underside of the fabric so you can check for glue/paste seepage.


  • PVA glue/Wheat paste/ Fabric Fusing
  • Sharp scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Plexiglass/or glass to provide a flat surface.
  • Patience and time.
  • Clean and roomy work table.
  • Glue brushes.
  • Foam roller.
  • Fabric fusing?  An iron and flat ironing surface.
  • Fabric with a tight weave, to prevent seepage.
  • Natural fabric is best.
  • Tissue paper, japanese paper, or other light weight paper.

This method by Erica Munoz involves book glue, fabric and japanese paper. It goes over using a gluing station, which I’ve found essential for bookbinding.–craft-3294

This method by Sea Lemon on Youtube involves using a fabric backing to attach the paper to fabric.  This is a little bit less intense than rolling on glue and making sure it’s just the write amount as the previous method.  If you aren’t comfortable using a fabric stiffener or interface, this might be an issue.  It’s also not a traditional book binding method, but it gets the job done.


This method by Big Jump Press, starts off by making your own wheat paste.  She focuses on the traditional Japanese book binding methods and paper.  I’d practice the wheat paste method until that was right before starting on gluing the paper to the cloth.  Like the other bloggers, she uses fat quarters from the fabric store.

Put down that mulled wine immediately. We are making bookcloth today.

This blog by Daniel and Karleigh goes over some the differences in the book binding cloth.  How library book cloth is treated to make it better vs. using quilting fabric.  Make sure you read the comment section as well.

This blog by Roz wound up, is heavy on text and not so many pictures.  It talks about fabric treating, why you should back your book cloth and stitch size.



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Whew! That was some whirlwind of a year!

It’s a few days before the holidays and I’m starting to reflect on everything that has happened during the year. It’s been a fast and furious year!  I’ve been binding books and notebooks just about every free second that I have.

From Place to Place Recycled Book Journal
Fun Textbook upcycled into a sketchbook or diary.

I started showing at the Fremont Sunday Market, Urban Craft Uprising, Oddmall and so many other craft markets. (Bellingham Steampunk, Emerald Downs Gift Fair, a Very Vintage Market and more.)

Oh the Thinks you can Think! Recycled Book Journal
Upcycled Dr. Seuss Classic

Now I’m sitting down to plan for next year.  I have some new binding equipment on the way so that I do that magic that I do a little more efficiently. 🙂

The Writers Harbrace Handbook Book Journal
Upcycled writing handbook.

My first stop this January will be Rusty Con in Seattle.  I look forward to spending time there and meeting more people.  I have more than a few applications out to craft fairs this spring.

I had so much fun this interacting with all other craft fair vendors.  I look forward to seeing them again this year.

Everyone have a great holiday!

Laura Dodson

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Crochet Common Place Book

Common Place Book Cover

Commonplace books were ways of keeping knowledge or compiling information on a particular subject.  Today, we might consider a Pinterest page a commonplace book.   The use of commonplace books dates back to the dawn of books.  Printing books also made it more accessible for people.  Many scientists and writers have used them over the years to keep track of common knowledge.

The below example of a crochet pattern common place book.  It’s believed that it dates from about 1915 to the 1950’s.  It is made from a old legal book with a strong binding.  However, it’s been used so much over the years, the spine has fallen off and is taped together.  The tape has also disintegrated over the years.  However, the remaining binding and signatures appear to be in good health.  It is from a private family collection.

Common Place Book Angle


Inside the front cover are some cutouts from advertisements, the creator’s picture and other personal papers.


Common Place Book Inside Cover
Detail from Commonplace Book

There are patterns for various crochet patterns.  There appear to be hundreds of patterns.  According to the family, the family home was filled with doilies, embellished pillows and other crocheted items.  Not only was this a wish list, it was a working commonplace book.

Common Place Book Muff and Hood
Detail from Commonplace Book

Common Place Book Rose
Detail from Commonplace Book

Common Place Book The Lone Star
Detail from Commonplace Book

Common Place Book Tumbler Doily
Detail from Commonplace Book


Common Place Book Daisy Lace
Detail from Commonplace Book

There are also hints of other items that she was interested in.  This newspaper was also included.  It is frail, so I didn’t open it up to see what was saved.

Common Place Book Information
Detail from Commonplace Book

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New Retail Outlet! Otherworlds in Edmonds, WA

Recent Book Journals

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the folks at Otherworlds up at the Fairhaven Steampunk Festival.  After talking a bit, you can now purchase my book journals at the Otherworlds store in Edmonds.


203 5th Ave S, Suite 2
Edmonds, Washington 98020

They are a steampunk and geeky themed store where you can purchase art, games and books.  They also host a wide variety of events. If you live in the Seattle area love geeky things and haven’t visited their shop, you are missing out!

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What I’ve been working on!

My workbench!

Many thank you’s to the people who supported the Book Pom Pom Kickstarter.  It funded last week and I will be sending out the book pom poms and book marks shortly!

Book Pom Poms

The Kickstarter funds will go towards purchasing new book binding tools.

This past week I have been traveling and was even able to hand deliver a package of game tokens to a customer.  Since I mail the Lore Bits game tokens all over the world now, it’s rare when I can actually take them myself to a location.

I will be at the Fremont Sunday Market this weekend in Seattle.  Hopefully, it will be another sunny day!  I’ve also been invited to First Thursday Artwalk in Occidental Square.  This is a popup market curated by Urban Craft Uprising.

New projects:  I have a post up shortly about a new product line that I’m excited about!


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Off to Port Townsend for the Brass Screw Confederacy Steampunk Con

I’m off tomorrow to vend at the Steampunk con in Port Townsend.  I haven’t been there before, but I’ve heard good things about it.  I hope to meet some new people there.

The following two Saturdays, I will be at the Georgetown Trailer Park Market.  I enjoyed my time there in May.  I’m looking forward to returning.

What I will have at booth #9:

  • Over 150 book journals, each one is unique.
  • Card Notebooks made from magician cards
  • Free Bookmarks
  • Book Pom Poms
  • Comic book magnets
  • Lore Bit Magnets

If you are in Port Townsend this weekend, stop by the American Legion hall and say hi!

This week I also launched a kickstarter to raise money for book binding tools and education.  I’m looking to expand the types of journals that I make.  There are so many traditions in bookbinding, it’s time that I took a few classes to expand the selection.  Sure I know that youtube has dozens of videos on the subject, but it would be nice to be taught the right way.

The stitched journals can be assembled any number of ways, so it will take some experimenting with glues, papers, chip board and book cover cloth to be sure I have a quality product.

In addition, I’m interested in tea staining book pages.  But I want to make sure that tea stains are permanent and don’t run if someone gets the journal damp.  I know, I know, it never rains here in seattle, so I don’t have to worry about that.  But perhaps they will accidently drop a glass of water on it.  It never hurts to be prepared.

Since I will be assembling signatures, I need to know what type of thread I should use.  I’ve heard, dental floss, non-waxed, normal thread, furniture thread and definitely use waxed thread.

I haven’t used the PVC glue (okay, so I’ve used elmer’s, but not the specific glue that book binders use.) I need to know when and where to apply it.  Some helpful tricks on how to get it on the book and not on my hands.  I’m the type of cook that ends up with cookie dough on their hands after baking cookies.  Steve always wipes down the fridge door after I bake.  Predictable, but he loves the cookies. 🙂

At bottom is a few seconds from The Cure Concert in Portland in 2016.  We were sitting down towards the end of the concert.  And yes, yes he did wear the hat the entire concert.