Category : Random

Adios 2016!

Confession time – I get really cranky this time of year. There’s just something about the time between Christmas and New Year’s – why doesn’t it go faster? I’m ready for next year!

This period of time is informally known as Elissa Reflects and Beats Herself up for All the Things She Didn’t Get Done This Year. It’s not as fun as it sounds.

For example, I have 81 half-written draft blog posts (including a bunch about my Japan trip). I’m not exaggerating – here’s the proof:

Draft blog posts screen shot

Just how in the fart does that happen?

And don’t get me started on the piles of unfinished books in my studio. And then there’s this and that, and blah, blah, blah. Crab, crab, crab. My mind can really be an endless source of ick.

Imagine my surprise when I had a magical happy moment earlier this week. I decided to stop moping and instead look at all of the cool stuff that happened this year.

I’ve never been good at this, so I decided to start by making myself a motivational poster:

Shut up brain - motivational poster

Well that did the trick! Here’s my top ten list:

  1. I went to Japan. And bought a whole mess of paper. And saw it being made. And got forced into karaoke.
  2. I attended the Movable Book Society conference in Boston (that was on my bucket list)
  3. I attended the Wells Book Arts Summer Institute (also on my bucket list – 2017 registration open now)
  4. I took a class with Karen Hanmer (this woman is a master of everything)
  5. I went to Chena River Marblers for their end-of-year sale
  6. I visited with Vamp and Tramp Booksellers at the University of Vermont
  7. I exhibited work at the Burlington Book Festival
  8. I presented at the T.W. Wood Art Camp
  9. I learned how to make the Chinese Sewing Box in a workshop with Erin Sweeney
  10. I WENT TO JAPAN (okay, maybe that’s cheating, but it was such a wonderful trip)

I have to admit that 2016 was a damn cool year. I guess I shouldn’t be in such a rush to end it. Perhaps this end-of-year reflection should become a yearly thing…

Do any of you do an annual self audit? If so, I’d love to hear what you’ve done this year! Show me your list in the comments below.

Happy World Photo Day!

World Photo Day logoI just found out that today is World Photo Day and I simply can’t resist a good random holiday. Korske Ara, an adventure and landscape photographer based in Canberra, Australia, started the World Photo Day project in 2009.

He had the following to say about the craft:

Photography has the power to tell stories, freeze memories, inspire generations and initiate change.

That really does sum it all up, doesn’t it?

So why is World Photo Day celebrated on August 19th?

It was on that day in 1839 that the French government announced the development of the daguerreotype process. Not only was this the first publicized photographic process, but it was also considered the first practical photographic process. We have the following to thank for their most awesome invention – Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (for whom the process was named).

Let’s hear it for Joe and Louis!

So what can you do to celebrate today? Here are a few ideas:

Take some pictures

It’s time to share your story. Get up. Go outside. Go back inside when you realize that you forgot your camera. Go outside again. Start snapping and let people see your world.

Actually look at the pictures on your phone

I came across an interesting study commissioned by Shutterfly, a producer of personalized photo books. Researchers found that more than half of new photos aren’t shared after being taken. 

Does this feel familiar? Do you look at your pictures right after taking them and then never visit them again? 

Fairfield University professor Dr. Linda Henkel said the following about this:

Looking back at a photo helps to reactivate and consolidate the memory, making it more accessible later and training the brain to remember the story behind the picture.

You took those pictures for a reason, so hit Memory Lane and relive those warm fuzzies.

Put your photos in an album

The Shutterfly study also found that 50% of survey respondents hadn’t looked at a photo older than 10 years in the past month. Think of it – all of those weddings, graduations, birthdays, vacations, dog parties – it’s like they don’t exist anymore.

You can bring those photos back into your life by putting them into photo albums. They help you tell the story behind the photos, which adds depth and meaning to the experience. And the feel of a book in your hands is just so wonderful – it’s personal and intimate. 

[start shameless self-plug]

Perhaps you didn’t know that I hand-bind photo albums that are great for preserving your memories and stories…yep, it’s true. You can find a selection of my work for sale on both my website and on Etsy. Can’t find what you’re looking for? I love doing custom work – contact me and let’s talk.

Handmade photo album by Elissa Campbell of Blue Roof Designs

[end shameless self-plug]

There’s also a dizzying array of online self-publishing options. Most offer templates to aid you in the design process and you can upload photos right from your phone. While I haven’t tried these myself, here’s a small selection of what’s out there (in no particular order): MixbookBlurbArtifact UprisingPinhole Press, and Snapfish.

Do you have any photo-related stories to share? Have you used any of the photo book services on my list? Taking a stab at the daguerreotype?

Let me know about it – I’m all ears!

Happy National Notebook Day!

National Notebook Day written on a handmade journalI just discovered that today is National Notebook Day. This is the inaugural year for the event – it will take place on the third Thursday of May each year.

I couldn’t find much information about the holiday. I’m assuming that the organizers would like for everyone to just grab a journal and get writing. Wouldn’t one of my journals be perfect for that?

If you’re doing something special today, let folks know about it by using the hashtag nationalnotebookday when posting to social media.

I started wondering how new holidays happen, so I did some poking. In general, it seems that you just declare that something is a holiday and then get others to recognize it.

Apparently, the King of Holidays is Chase’s Calendar of Events. If you get in there, you’re golden. It doesn’t cost anything – just fill out this form and you too can create the holiday of your dreams (and get it in print). The deadline for 2016 submissions has passed, but get thinking for next year!

You can also choose to register your holiday with National Day Calendar. They are less generous with their holiday declarations – you have to be a company or organization to be able to submit.

I guess I have some more thinking to do about Eat Chocolate Twizzlers Until You Start Feeling Sick Day



Happy 8th Blogiversary!

Today is the eighth anniversary of the day I started this blog!

Out of curiosity, I looked up the traditional and modern anniversary gifts for year eight. Here’s what I found:

  • Traditional: Pottery/Bronze
  • Modern: Linens/Lace

In order to satisfy both the traditional and modern themes, I have no choice but to buy myself some Bronze Momi and Ogura Lace papers – right?

Over the years, I’ve attended many events that offer swag to attendees – it’s like getting bookbinder goody bags. I love bags of stuff – don’t you? On top of that, I’ve collected duplicates of printed promotions that come with supply orders.

In honor of my blogiversary, I’ve decided to share the love. I’m having a giveaway!

So what does the prize look like? Well, it’s about 2.5 pounds of goodness:

2 issues of Bound and Lettered and 1 issue of the Guild of Book Workers Newsletter

Printed promotions from the French Paper Company

  • Paper sample books of the Construction and Smart White lines from the French Paper Company and the publication Hidden Treasures: The History and Technique of Fore-edge Painting by Jeanne Bennett:

Paper sample books of the Construction and Smart White lines from the French Paper Company and the publication Hidden Treasures: The History and Technique of Fore-edge Painting by Jeanne Bennett:

4 metal stencils from Dreamweaver Stencils and a border mold by Ten Seconds Studio:

  • A marbled bookmark from Chena River Marblers, a small roll of bookcloth, a pack of bookplates, a leather key chain from Harmatan Leather, a tape measure key chain from Harmatan Leather,  a small bag of beads, and other randomness:

A marbled bookmark from Chena River Marblers, a small roll of bookcloth, a pack of bookplates, a leather key chain from Harmatan Leather, a tape measure key chain from Harmatan Leather,  a small bag of beads

Three rulers from Green Heron Book Arts, a batch of paper samples from Legion Paper, two paper bookmarks, a postcard, and a card from the Artist’s Book Ideation Cards by Barbara Tetenbaum and Julie Chen

So how do you enter? It’s easy – just comment on this post with your favorite quote or joke about books by midnight on April 10th. I’ll announce the winner (chosen at random) on April 11th.

Need inspiration? Here’s a quote to get you started:

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. – Groucho Marx

Paper Nerd Club Patch

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I collect bookbinding/paper-artsy badges. I’m pretty sure that my obsession stems from my stint in the Girl Scouts. I still have my sash and all the badges I earned.

So you must understand how excited I was when I discovered the Paper Nerd Club Patch in the pages of Stationery Trends magazine. The badge is the brainchild of Constellation & Co. They work primarily as letterpress printers.

Check out this beauty:

Paper Nerd Club patch by Constellation & Co.

It came on a letterpressed card, announcing my achievement as a Paper Nerd. Hooray for me!

Paper Nerd Club patch and letterpressed card by Constellation & Co.

The thing is huge, measuring three inches across. It is much bigger than a standard scouting badge.

Paper Nerd Club patch by Constellation & Co. and other badges

I am in love with it! I can’t wait to get it on my work apron. While I’m at it, I can finally sew on the two PBI badges that have been neglected for the past few years.

FYI – Constellation & Co. also makes a Type Geek Club Patch – I probably should have bought that one too. Next time!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays in different languages

I wish you the best during this holiday season – whether you’re having a white Christmas, a belated Chanukah, or a Full Cold Moon Friday. I hope you’re spending time with the ones you love and those who love you (here’s to you, Wiggum).

Many thanks to those who have supported me in my bookish endeavors this year – you rock!

Bring on 2016!


I’ve been quiet…

As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t written any blog posts over the last month. Things have been tough lately. I’m a private person and try not to make a habit of talking about my personal problems on my blog, but I’m going to make an exception in this case.

2 1/2 weeks ago, my dad passed away. It’s a big loss and I’m pretty heartbroken.

I’ve been lucky in that my dad was always supportive of my creative work. In fact, I’ve often joked that I was destined to become an artist because my dad’s name was Art.

I’m thankful that I had him in my life as long as I did. He was a good man.

Happy World Book and Copyright Day!

World Book and Copyright Day logo

World Book and Copyright Day is an annual event on April 23rd, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The day is also known as the International Day of the Book. The event was created to honor the value of books and promote reading. It also hopes to increase awareness of copyright laws.

Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO said the following about books:

Books are invaluable platforms for freedom of expression and the free flow of information – these are essential for all societies today. The future of the book as a cultural object is inseparable from the role of culture in promoting more inclusive and sustainable pathways to development.

Heck yeah!

In celebration of the date, events (book fairs, conferences) are being organized throughout the world. You can see what’s going on in your neck of the woods by checking out a map on UNESCO’s website.

I found out that you can download books published on UNESDOC for free. Out of curiosity, I did a search on the site and I found a book that includes a chapter on bookbinding – The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture, Volume 5: Culture and Learning in Islam. The chapter by Hasip Oktay Aslanapa, which focuses on the history and qualities of Islamic binding, is an interesting read.

In honor of World Book and Copyright Day, I think that I’ll finally order some books that I’ve had my eye on.

What are you going to do today?

Mad Scientist workshop

A few years ago, I took an awesome workshop with John Brickels, a Vermont-based ceramic artist. It was his Mad Scientist Workshop and it started at 3:00 a.m.

Yes, you read that right. We were working in clay in the middle of the night. That’s what mad scientists do.

We also wore lab coats while we worked. I loved it!

Clay is a bit out of my comfort zone – the goal was to make clay robots. John made it really easy to get to work. He prepared large clay tubes for us to use and had lots of templates for cutting out gears and nuts.

Being me, I decided to make a bookworm bot. I used one of the tubes for his body and put a gear on his head for a hat. He has screws for eyes and nuts going down his back. Oh, and he’s got a belly button. That was absolutely necessary.

Here he is, busting out of a book:



We worked on our clay robots for a few hours. After we were done, we marched down the street in our lab coats to a local diner where we ate robot pancakes. It was awesome.

I’d love to be able to attend the workshop again, but next time take my niece and nephew to join in the fun. I think they’d have a blast.

If you ever come to visit my studio, you’ll see that bookworm bot has a prominent perch on the windowsill in front of my work table.

If you’d like to learn more about the workshop, check out the video below – it will entice you to travel to Vermont and take the workshop yourself!

To sleeve or not to sleeve?

I received an interesting email recently that I’d like to share with you. I was asked if when selling my books on consignment, do I enclose them in protective sleeves.

Clear cellophane bags

In an ideal world, I’d love for my work to always stay pristine with no chance of damage. Of course, when it comes to consignment, this is something that is out of my control.

In general, I send my books off without sleeves and hope for the best. I think it’s important for people to be able to touch my books, turn the pages, and feel the texture of the materials. If a book is intended to be used, then I should be okay with people handling my work.

Plastic sleeves are a potential barrier – they send the message that something shouldn’t be touched. How many packages have you opened so that you could examine the contents? I don’t do that very often.

I believe that people are pretty conscientious when it comes to touching handmade things. In all the years I’ve done craft shows, I’ve never experienced any major losses and I’d like to think that this translates into the consignment environment.

I would like to add that I have total respect for galleries that prefer for work to be packaged in protective sleeves. They have a lot of work to take care of and there’s no way that they can keep their eyes on everything. I know that they do their best to keep work safe.

What do you think? To sleeve or not to sleeve? I’d love to hear what you have to say about it!

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