Archive for Books

Suit Yourself

Wanna know what’s really fun? When your sister is super artsy-creative, too! :)

My youngest sister had an idea for a book called “Suit Yourself” and she didn’t just tell me about it, she drew up a schematic! Ha!

As you can see, she had a very specific idea in mind for her book. She wanted it to be multi-functional…something for writing and drawing.

So…I bound loose-leaf lined paper:

And, plain white sketching paper.

A special black/white/red inscription was added to the inside paste pages.

Would you believe I was even able to find paper with all four suits on it?!

The spine was covered in black canvas bookbinding paper for extra strength and red satin ribbons were added as a closure.

My sister was very satisfied with the results and by now I am sure the pages are just full of all her other incredible ideas!

Sonny…thanks for asking me to make this for you! It’s so fun to breathe life into someone’s artistic vision!

Etsy, Here I Come!

It’s official!! I have an Etsy shop!

Etsy is something I’ve been meaning to be a part of for ages, and I finally bit the bullet. My goal is to gradually add more and more items as time allows (as a wife, mom, friend, event planner, and personal trainer, there’s only so much time for crafting!)

I plan to add paper goods and party-planning essentials, wall art, etched glass items, handmade books and journals, maybe even some textile pieces. The sky is the limit, really!

As I’m building up my shop, I’d love for you to swing by and check it out!

For those of you who asked about this wall art…

…there are now TWO available in my shop. Choose which frame style you like best, submit your order, and it can be YOURS in just a few days! They are ready to go, just need to be shipped to a loving home. :)

Thanks for loving Z as in Zebra and inspiring me to expand my horizons. Cheers!

Madeline’s Moments

It’s always fun when family commissions you to make something! The following book was created for my cousin Alisa to give to her niece (and god-daughter), Maddie, on her confirmation day.

Madeline, who at the time was 7, loves writing and sketching. This book was intended to be a combination journal/sketchbook and also a place where friends and family could write letters/prayers.

I love the lime green/chocolate brown combo and this paisley paper allowed me the chance to throw in some hot pink accents.

LOVE. This. Paper!

Bronze letters were strung on a brown ribbon and attached to the cover with star-shaped brads.

Seriously, this paper! aah!! The colors, the whimsical pattern. Love it.

The star brads continued all the way around the back cover as well.

Since the ribbons wrapped all the way around the book, they allowed it to be tied shut.

My cousin let me know that the book was a hit. Several family members wrote letters to Maddie, shared photos and stories, and drew pictures.

If you’d like to make a keepsake album for a loved one, email me! I’d love to make one for you!

Handy Dandy Notebook

Several years ago, I made my sister a handmade journal cover for Christmas. And I just found the pictures of it (though most of the design process photos are missing *sad face*)!

That said, here’s a glimpse of what I made.

I started with some pleather/vinyl that was on sale at my local craft store. I measured and cut two hunks: one for the outside cover and one for the inside “pocket” flaps.

Then, since the wrong side of the fabric was so blah, I gave it a little pizzazz by painting it with a teal acrylic paint (which absorbed into the lining and gave it a nice, muted color).

My mother-in-law assisted me with sewing the flap fabric to the outer layer of fabric. ((I don’t own a sewing machine, nor do I know how to use one…add that to my crafting to-do list!))

These flaps would house the corners of a standard spiral-bound notebook.

Here is the finished piece unstuffed:

Complete with my sister’s doodles. :)

The covers of the notebook were then inserted into the sewn flaps.

Though I could’ve bound her a traditional journal or sketchbook, I wanted to make her a long-lasting cover that she could use for multiple notebooks. When you are a prolific writer like she is, you tend to go through a lot of notebooks!

I added a fun, jazzy button enclosure, too.

And here’s the finished product, all buttoned up and ready for the next story (based on the undone stitching around the button, you can tell this picture was taken months after the journal cover had already seen lots of action!)

Sonny, you are a terrific writer. I believe in you and your dreams. Go get ‘em!

Green Bambino Guest Log

It’s so fun when a new local store opens up and sells exactly what you need exactly when you need it! For me, Green Bambino is the perfect example of that truth.

The eco-friendly cloth diaper/natural baby products store opened up just months before I was due with my first baby (now known as Beau the 19 Month Old!)

I took a Cloth Diaper 101 class, registered for baby gifts, took a baby-wearing class, and got to know the incredible owner, Morgan.

Morgan’s #1 concern in her shop is providing an excellent customer experience. And, boy, does she! Not only does she have vast knowledge about diapers and natural baby products, she also has the heart of a teacher. Which keeps people coming back time and again.

Last year it became clear that Green Bambino was out-growing its location and Morgan made the decision to relocate…across the street!

Since I now consider Morgan a friend, I offered to make her a guest book for her new store.

In keeping with the store’s philosophy, I used only repurposed fabric or recycled paper to create their book.

All great guest books have a place to keep a pen!

I had this green fabric leftover from my wedding nearly 3 years ago. Its bright color fits perfectly with Green Bambino’s fresh and earthy decor. A brown ribbon gave the fabric a nice, finished edge.

I then used a scrap piece of acid-free davy board and carved out a baby footprint (no easy feat with davy board, let me tell you!)

For the inside pages, I used repurposed letterhead from my old job! They were just going to throw it away. Can you believe that?! So, I cut the top portion off to get rid of the logo, and printed a motif on the cover page of the book.

Then, the inside pages were filled with lines where store patrons could write their names and hometowns. Though Green Bambino is a local store, it’s the only one like it in Oklahoma City. Even people from surrounding states travel here because they have no such stores at home!

Last time I was in the store, I saw several pages full of signatures, but I didn’t get a chance to really look through it. I can’t wait to see how far people have traveled to experience Green Bambino! It’s a terrific place.

If you are expecting or know someone who is, I highly recommended swinging by the store (or their website) to see how their offerings might make your life better! :)

Nothing But the Blood

In college I took a class called “Experimental Bookmaking.” In the class we were encouraged to explore a range of materials, try new stitching techniques and even redefine what “book” means.

It’s always fun when someone hires you to make a book and they trust you enough to just let you run with it. The book below is a perfect example.

Theresa has had me make several books for her over the past few years. Mostly she has ordered gifts for others, but this time, she wanted a prayer journal for herself. And she said I could design it any way I wanted! :)

I experimented with exposed board for this book. I cut ruby-red bookbinding cloth in a wave shape to cover the spine and connect the covers, and the white part of the cover is raw Davy board, which I shaded with a white Prismacolor pencil.

I then added snowflake brads to the spine for symbolism and to give the book a little embellishment.

Inside the book, I designed the paste pages. I printed the lyrics to the worship song “Nothing But The Blood” and accented that particular line.

I knew Theresa was planning to use this book as a prayer journal, and I wanted to keep this reminder at the forefront of her mind every time she opened her book.

Theresa: Thank you again for being such a loyal customer. I always enjoy designing books for you. I hope the pages of this book are now filled with answered prayers and reminders of God’s provision in your life!

Be blessed!!

Burlap Book

I mentioned in this post that I love making books for other artists. Some times, other artists are even willing to trade their art for mine. Win-win!

Abi and I were meeting up to do a photoshoot for BodSchool, my personal training business. She takes incredible photos and I wanted to bring a thank you gift that I could give her until I was able to make her official sketchbook.

In college, I purchased a book that teaches how to bind books without any glue. As you can imagine, that makes the process much quicker, as you don’t have to wait for anything to dry!

I had some burlap scraps another friend had given me and decided that would be the perfect material to try something new.

I chose to make a “quarto” sized book (a fourth of a page) from 8.5 x 11 paper. The final size was roughly 4.25″ wide x 5.5″ tall…a great little book for stuffing in a purse or camera bag!

I burned the edges of the burlap to give it a more finished look (and also in hopes it would keep it from fraying so badly). Have you ever smelled burnt burlap?! Eww.

Since Abi loves green, I chose olive-colored paper for the pages. It also looks really great with the earthy burlap, don’t you think?

The stitching I chose was Long Stitch/Link Stitch. The sections are sewn together so the stitches are exposed on the spine like this:

I really like how you could see the stitches if you knew to look for them, but that the twine also blended in nicely with the burlap.

This was a really fast book the make. The thing that took the longest was learning the new stitch, but even that went quickly once I got the hang of it.

Abi, thank you again for being willing to trade art! I love making unique things for unique girls like you!

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Tony & Melanie

One of my favorite kind of books to make is a wedding guest book! It’s exciting to be a part of a day that marks a new beginning for a loving couple.

Melanie and Tony asked me to create a one-of-a-kind guest book for them. The Scripture verse “My lover is mine, and I am his” graced the cover.

Their wedding colors were earthy tones, so I mimicked this in their book using soft, brown recycled paper, brown satin tie ribbons, and earth-toned papers for the pages.

A nice, green paisley paper added the finished touches to the inside cover.

And no wedding book would be complete without a little personalization!

Names and a very important date, all surrounded by heart-shaped brads.

Tony and Melanie, thank you for allowing my art to be a detail in your special day. Here’s to many, many years of wedded bliss!

Dear Abi

I believe everyone is an Artist. Some people may not recognize what they do as “art”, but it takes on so many different shapes and forms. Perhaps you’re surrounded by art right now and don’t even know it!

Cooking is an art. Loving your kids and keeping them fed, bathed, and entertained is an art. Crunching numbers in a budget is an art. Maintaining a healthy marriage is an art. Masterfully hammering boards together and building something that didn’t used to exist is an art.

Since art is everywhere, sometimes even the people who DO call themselves Artists don’t realize how many artistic passions they’ve left undiscovered.

One of my favorite artists, Miss Abi, is an A-MAZING photographer. And fashionista. And writer. And, and, and…as it turns out, a sketcher!! Who knew?!

Abi and I love to trade art with each other. She took some terrific photos for my new business, and I paid her back by making her an 8.5 x 11 sketchbook.

Her favorite color green in a fun pattern, plus her name and some BLING!

A pen loop (because what good is your sketchbook if you forget a pen?!) was built in as well.

Abi, thank you for being my go-to girl for all things photography (and fashion advice, which I am certain I desperately need more of!).

I love your zest for life and hope this book will be just one of the many places you chronicle all your dreams and adventures this year and beyond! Love you!

A Journal for Kelley


Personalized, handmade gifts are always a great thing to get someone beginning a new chapter of their life.

So when Kelley was graduating, Donna knew that a Z as in Zebra journal would be a great gift for her.

With your name on the front, there’s no mistaking it’s yours!!

I love funky geometric patterns, and this one portrays all the fun, exciting, scary, new adventures most graduates are just itching to embark upon.

Inside the front cover, Donna wanted to include an inscription with the verse Jeremiah 29:11

So fitting!

Donna, thank you for asking me to make Kelley’s journal! It excites me to think of all the dreams and plans and big ideas its pages contain by now! :)