How things are…

I have rewritten this blog post so many times. Things are totally weird right now and at times it’s hard to stay positive. It’s mind-boggling how rapidly the world is changing due to the coronavirus.

I hope that you and those you love are safe and sound. Take care of yourselves and each other.

I think the book below does a good job of expressing how I feel right about now:

Model flag book

It was made at our last Book Arts Guild of Vermont meeting. I imagine we won’t be having meetings any time soon.

So what are my plans for the near future? Since I’m the primary caregiver for my nut child during the day, I’ve decided to try answering the following question: Is it possible to teach a near 3-year-old how to make a book?

I’m thinking pamphlet stitch. I’ll pre-punch the holes and give her a fat, blunt needle to use for sewing. I’m optimistic that this effort will be successful. Stay tuned.

23 Responses to “How things are…”

By Velma Bolyard - 19 March 2020 Reply

So, Elissa, It’s so damned hard, but you’re on the right trail. Hang in there—

By Elissa - 19 March 2020 Reply

Velma –

Wishing you the best as well. 🙂


By Velma Bolyard - 19 March 2020 Reply

Thanks! So many cancellations in our bookish world(s)…but we’re learning a lot and experiencing some other than first world problems. Might be good for us. Except I have the sinus infection from hell this winter…do you know the kid’s book “Could be Worse?” Maybe in a few more years… anyway, I feel like that. And the lousy ticks. (Notice I have to explain ticks by another plague?) Take good care—

By Elissa - 19 March 2020 Reply

Velma –

My classes have been rescheduled to June, but I’m not sure that’s far enough out. We shall see.

Is James Stevenson the correct author for Could be Worse!? Checking it out now…


By Velma Bolyard - 19 March 2020

I think that sounds right…the illustrations are a hoot—two kids and their grandpa…i think it’s grandpa…and he says could be worse with every ‘problem’ they present him with…

By Marilyn Gillis - 19 March 2020 Reply

And there are always the tried and true art activities like painting, making and decorating handprints, play doh, coloring. Art is good for the soul and mind, especially in trying times. I suspect the isolation is harder on us adults than the children we work overtime to keep entertained. And as Picasso once alluded to for adults, try to get back to your 5 year old art self. Those of us who are artists have a ready made outlet. At least the weather is relatively decent for getting outdoors and burning off energy. The days are getting warmer, it is officially spring, and each day has longer daylight. Thank goodness it isn’t November.

By Elissa - 19 March 2020 Reply

Marilyn –

We are working the crayons pretty hard over here. I have a stash of Play-Doh somewhere and I guess it’s time to set it free!

We also take a rather long walk every afternoon with Wiggum and Anna really seems to enjoy poking the mud.

Once my inventory is done (groan), I’m looking forward to getting back to playing in the studio. It’s been too long…


By Regina García - 19 March 2020 Reply

I hope you are well with the family. Regarding the idea of ​​teaching a three-year-old child, if possible, in kindergarten they are taught to use the needle, logically a big and thick one, and they learn to sew without difficulty. I think it is a great idea, both you and the child will enjoy it. Take good care of yourselves.

By Elissa - 19 March 2020 Reply

Regina –

I’m glad to hear I’m not completely out of the realm of possibility in teaching Anna to sew a book.

Stay safe,

By Carolyn S Bensinger - 19 March 2020 Reply

I bet the book will be great! And a great start.

By Elissa - 19 March 2020 Reply

Carolyn –

You have to start somewhere! I’m sure the book will be awesome, no matter what.


By Margaret Beech - 19 March 2020 Reply

Do you subscribe to Bound and Lettered (formerly Taballae Ansata from John Neal). Take a look vol.1. no.2 Spring 1999 pp40-41. The piece is called snip Jazzy pages by Barbara Selvidge and is a wonderful book that is easy as pie for a child who can hold a pair of scissors. No stitching necessary, use a stapler. If you can’t track this down email me and I will send you my worksheet.

Margaret York, UK or look at my blog for some other child friendly ideas.

By Elissa - 20 March 2020 Reply

Margaret –

I do have back issues of Bound and Lettered. I’ll go through my library and see if I’ve got that one. Thanks for the offer of the worksheet.

I checked out your blog – I am so envious of your calligraphy skills. So beautiful!


By Margaret Beech - 23 March 2020 Reply

Blue Roof Designs | Elissa replied to your comment on How things are….Hi Elissa

I am going through every copy of B&L since the start (so I can provide my friends with bits of paper magic to keep them busy through the present emergency – will add you to my list if you would like) and have found quite a number of ideas for making books with children. Have you thought of an envelope book. Best if they are coloured envelopes. All you need is the ability to lick the adhesive section and stick it to the next envelope. Then you have pockets to put little things in. Perfect for a little girl. Or an accordian fold or maze book made out of a picture she has drawn. The maze book then works like a puzzle to make the picture again.

Hope that has given you some ideas.

for the love of books

York UK

By Elissa - 23 March 2020 Reply

Margaret –

Sure, put me on your list!

I have plain envelopes that Anna can color first, then make a book. I’ll give that project a try. I’m not sure that she’s up to an accordion, but we’ve got nothing to lost in giving it a go. Thanks!


By dguff - 19 March 2020 Reply

To get comfortable with sewing for your 3 year old…use yarn that you have tipped the edge with glue to make it firm and somewhat pointy. Sew in and out of holes, pre-punched along outlines of pictures. You can get images off the internet of her favorite subject…dogs, food, whatever she is interested in. I can remember doing this yarn sewing from my childhood 70 years ago! Make the holes large enough for the yarn to slip through easily.
Next step would be to use thread, once she has practiced with the yarn.

Have fun and please post the photos of her book. She can also make a scrap book, cutting pictures from magazines. An ABC book? Find pictures for each letter of the alphabet.

Life will eventually get back to normal…

d. guffey

By Elissa - 20 March 2020 Reply

Dolores –

Thanks for the tips! I like the idea of practicing the sewing on flat paper first.

I’ll definitely post pictures of her book – that’s a given!


By Penne - 19 March 2020 Reply

love the book, very well expresses sentiments lately. Our Book Arts Guild meeting on March 11 was my last group gathering and will be for the next month, at least. We shall get through this, with the help of our community,

By Elissa - 20 March 2020 Reply

Penne –

We’re canceling the meeting for next month. I’ll be sending out a notice in the next day or two. I’ll miss you!


By Robin - 19 March 2020 Reply

Yes you can teach a child of 3 to sew a pamphlet stitch book! Pre punched holes a must and a plastic needle if you have one. Fun colorful thread too. Knowing your child will be a natural book genius there is no question about the success 🙂

By Elissa - 20 March 2020 Reply

Robin –

I guess I am raising a natural book genius! Which means that she will hate all of it when she becomes a teenager…


By Carla Vincent - 22 March 2020 Reply

ha ha so right!
When, after 10 minutes or so, she is tired of making books, go for paper chains. No sewing, just staple or tape. Surely you have a zillion strips of paper leftover from various book projects….She can color or draw on them first. Then string them around the room, the whole house, outside, in the trees…oh wait, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow! Have fun!

By Elissa - 23 March 2020 Reply

Carla –

I like the idea of paper chains. She’s constantly coloring on big sheets of paper that we can cut up into strips.

Thanks for the suggestion!


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