Wordless Wednesday 07.11.18



Sprouts Press ranked in Top 25 Bookbinding Blogs!

It’s official, my little bookbinding blog has been ranked in the Top 25 Bookbinding Blogs by Feedspot!!  I’m humbled and honoured to be among some remarkable bookbinding blogs in this list.  I’ve included the full list at the end.

It’s interesting to note that I feel myself reflecting on where my blog is today, compared to where it started.  I’ll be honest, I miss posts like my ‘Use Your Journal‘ series, and my more introspective and sometimes inspirational posts.  Maybe it’s time to get back to my roots and hunker down to write a bit more from the heart.

What do you want to hear about in a bookbinding blog?  Leave a comment below.

In the meantime, I’m sharing the love.  Here are the other top 25 Bookbinding Blogs as ranked by Feedspot:

  1. iBookBinding – Bookbinding Tutorials & Resources
  2. My Handbound Books – Bookbinding Blog
  3. Paperiaarre | Handmade Books and Other Treasures
  4. Jeff Peachey
  5. Ruth Bleakley’s Studio – Handmade Books, Journals and Stationery
  6. Reddit | Bookbinding: the art and science of elegant hardcopy
  7. The Rag & Bone Bindery Blog – Playing With Books
  8. Blue Roof Designs blog | Adventures in Bookbinding
  9. Reddit | Bookbinding Resource
  10. Student Bookbinding
  11. Herringbone Bindery | Flash of the Hand
  12. han-made bookbinding
  13. The American Bookbinders Museum Blog
  14. London Bookbinding
  15. Welcome to Book Island | Bookbinding in the modern age and beyond
  16. Jack & Taff Fitterer Blog | Hand Bookbinding & Restoration
  17. The Binder’s Ticket – Vernon Wiering’s Bindery Miscellany
  18. Sprouts Press | Hand Bound Books, Crafts & Paper Arts
  19. Conti Borbone bookbinder
  20. V FOR BOOKS – a bookbinding blog
  21. American Bound
  22. Bookbinder’s Chronicle
  23. Bookbinding Now

Have fun checking these out – and remember to get up and stretch every 30 minutes!!!


February: International Correspondence Writing Month!

February just got a whole lot better.  Why? Because it’s International Correspondence Writing Month! (InCoWriMo for short)

To participate, all you have to do is hand write and mail/deliver one piece of correspondence a day for the month of February.  This can be letters, postcards, notes, cards, etc.  And it can be to anyone; strangers, public figures, friends, family, etc.  You can write to a different person each day, the same person every day, or any combo in between!  collageit

And good news, if you want to keep all this correspondence organized, take a look at Sprouts Press’ Correspondence Journals!  You may remember them from last year’s One of a Kind Christmas Show (maybe you got one as a gift?).  They’re finally available online, take a look here.  More colours are being added daily, so keep your eyes peeled!

Or, if you prefer to shop in person, I’ll have a selection of Correspondence Journals, amongst other hand bound journals, available at the Paper Fair this saturday (February 4, 2017) at Toronto’s First Post Office.  Please go here for details.

Want more information about InCoWriMo?  Check out the official website here.

Favourite Words: Tips for Using Your Journal

Today I’ve decided to share one of my favourite posts about using your journal.  It’s a link way back to the beginning of my Use Your Journal series, but it’s timeless.

This post explains a simple use for your journal, but it’s proven to be a favourite of mine as I have more than one book dedicated to this use.  Read on to see what it’s all about!  

***Note: If you prefer to read the original post, no prob! Just go here to see it.


As you may have noticed from my previous post, I’m on a bit of a hand-lettering and calligraphy kick these days.  I’m also enjoying the idea of a few posts that promote journalling, sketching and using journals in general.

When I first had this idea I immediately pulled my quotes journal from the bookshelf, and decided to share a few of my favourite pages. photo 1I will admit that this is a big step for me, I don’t usually share the contents of my journals and sketchbooks.  But these are just quick, pretty little notes that I jotted down in less than 10 minutes.  And that’s the idea, you can do it too!photo 4You can find quotes all over the place: online, via a ‘quotes’ app (there are many!), at the library, etc.  Sometimes the best are snippets of conversations overheard in passing, or by looking at groupings of book titles on shelves to see if they form a sentence.  It’s also fun to pick up a book and open it to a random page and see what you get, like a box of chocolates!  (Well, maybe not quite like chocolates, but you get the idea)  photo 2Fun pens and markers are also a welcome addition.  A bit of colour or shading can give your page just the right tone.
photo 3

If you want to try this yourself here are a couple of tips:

-Choose a quote that isn’t too long, make sure it fits on the page and that there’s room for a border to be drawn around it.

-Make sure to jot down the author of the quote so you can give credit and search for more inspiring words by that person.

-You can put a ground of colour down first with markers (as in the last photo above), and then write your quote on top.

-Feel free to use a simple, minimalist border or to get more creative and swirly.  Really whatever you feel like is what goes!

-Don’t try to make it too perfect, this is meant to be a quick exercise that is fun and enjoyable!

Do you have any other tips for quick quote-taking?  Have fun!

How to start using your journal – 3 easy exercises

dsc_0711 Today I’m talking to all the folks out there who have found their perfect, ideal journal and are holding on to it, waiting for inspiration to strike.  Today I’m travelling back in time to a post I wrote a couple of years ago that still holds true.

It’s all about slowing down, paying attention to yourself and your surroundings, and taking your time.  I’ve got three exercises for you to try that should bring some focus and invite eagerness to begin using your journal.

Read on for the article, or click here to view the original post.


After the conclusion of a large project, or the close of a busy holiday season I often find myself searching for what’s next.  Obviously I’ve got all the ‘business’ things to keep the left side of my brain busy these days.  But what about the next steps for the creativity that drives Sprouts Press, what will the next collection of journals be?  What function will they serve or what questions will they answer, if any?  Will they just be pretty objects that also happen to be books or something else?

I’ve found myself circling around a few topics and activities over the last couple of weeks that seem to be influencing these decisions.  While I’m not going to share what they are, (yet, sorry!) I’d love to tell you how I reached them, with the hope that other kindred spirits are also on this type of quest and might find it useful.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So, this is what I do:

1. Go to the library.  Take the library bag.  Spend around 2/3 of the time in the non-fiction section and 1/3 in the fiction section.  I like to choose books that are a combination of inspiring and instructional, and books on things that I’ve never tried before (ie. traditional Norwegian knitting!!  So beautiful!).  And while I probably won’t actually learn traditional Norwegian knitting, I will certainly enjoy the craftsmanship and detail of the pieces in the book.

Gather enough books to max out your library card.  Seriously.  (It doesn’t cost anything, unless you don’t return them on time.  I *may* have done this once or twice).  While it’s nice to know exactly what you want to look at, it’s so great to just wander the stacks and see what pops out, what titles catch your eye.

2. Drink tea in the sunshine.  This one requires a bit more patience, for me anyways.  To find a sunny window and really enjoy a cup of my favourite tea while not thinking about anything else, just the tea.  I will be honest, it’s rare that I can do this for an entire cup of tea.  Usually it’s just half the cup, then I get sidetracked/eager to look at my library books.  I still enjoy the tea, but more in a gulping look-at-that-awesome-piece-of-artwork kind of way.  In the summertime this is an outdoor/backyard/cafe patio activity!

3. Tidy up the workspace.  I’ve said this before, but a tidy workspace really is so inviting when starting a new project.  Everything is easily found and nothing needs to be moved out of the way to clear another corner of the desk.  I suppose it’s the same idea with a journal; the blank page is uncluttered and prepped for your ideas and creativity.

On days when I do these things in the morning, I find the rest of the day just flies by with me working away and before I know it, it’s time to start dinner.  I get completely lost in designing or creating or researching, and I love it!  Give it a try and let me know how it goes.


New Designs!

dsc_0729Introducing the newest line of books from Sprouts Press: themed journals with printed pages!!  (not just lined, but printed with prompts and details to record!)

Yesterday, over on Instagram, I shared the first in the series; The Correspondence Journal!  Today I’m happy to share the next design: The Reader’s Log Book!!  I’ll be launching them officially tomorrow, at the Etsy Made in Canada show here in Toronto (MaRS building, right by Queen’s Park subway station).

Stop by to check them out and say Hello!  I’ll be at booth 47 from 10am – 6pm

Wordless Wednesday 15.06.16



A new year of news from Sprouts Press!

DSC_0703_fotorThe first newsletter of 2016 will be sent out tomorrow!  If you haven’t subscribed yet, you have until tomorrow, 6am to get on it!!

I send my newsletters out via email, once a month.  While content varies month to month, there’s always a list of upcoming workshops, shows and other goings on.  Sometimes there’s even special surprises just for subscribers!!

To subscribe, go here.

Use Your Journal No.7

Day 293/365

Today I’m going to talk about using your watercolour journal out in the field!  It’s fun, I promise!!
DSC_0814I recently took a few days off to enjoy some time in the woods, near a lake and I decided it would be fun to do some sketching.  So, today I’m going to talk about my tricks and tips for watercolour sketching when camping/cottaging/hiking.

Disclaimer: I am not even going to try and pretend that I’m any sort of expert at watercolour painting.  This post isn’t about how to paint with watercolours, but rather, how to enjoy watercolour painting (and maybe even just sketching), in a handbound sketchbook while out in woods.
DSC_08126 Tips for Watercolour Sketching In the Field: 

6. Choose appropriate paints.  For example, I use watercolour pencils, because they aren’t messy, are easy to transport and easy to use.  Also, I like to use a refillable watercolour brush, the type where you fill the handle with water.  I take a couple of them, pre-filled and I’m set for a day of sketching and painting!  If you prefer pans/cakes of watercolour paint, consider getting one of those nifty little travel boxes with foldout trays, and put it in it’s own zip-top bag (no leaky paints!!).

5. Bug repellant.  Pretty much assume that there will be bugs that want to bite.  Mosquitos, black flies, etc.  There are lots of repellants to choose from, do some research on what type of bugs will be at your destination, what types of repellant work best (and are most friendly to the environment and your health) and go from there.  Trust me, it’ll be a much more enjoyable experience.

4. Waterproof everything, especially if canoeing is involved or rain is probable.  This is simple though, no fancy equipment needed.  Just put your sketchbook and paints (especially if you use pans/cakes of paint) in a tough, thick, freezer zip-top plastic bag.  Also, if you keep this bag in an outside pocket of your backpack, then it’s really handy for quick-sketching!  (Note that my ‘waterproof freezer bag’ makes an appearance in the photo above, it’s underneath the book as it had just rained and the moss on that rock was not quite dry)

DSC_08253. Don’t be afraid to take your nice sketchbook.  I took a full fabric watercolour journal (pictured above, and found online here) and am so glad I did.  Not only was it tough enough to handle a few days of camping, but it looks really good on the coffee table after the trip.  As long as you follow the previous tips and take the steps needed to protect against things that can damage any sketchbook (fancy or plain), then you should be fine.

2. Slow down, open your eyes, and look around.  There are fascinating things everywhere in the woods, all sketch-worthy.  For example, hiking one day I passed by a large rock with circular patterns on it and thought it was neat, but carried on.  Someone else wanted to take a photo of a rare flower, so we stopped and I thought of the rock again.  Going back and inspecting it more closely revealed it was some sort of moss or lichen, with teeny tiny trumpet-like flowers in ash grey.  It looked like a beautiful underwater landscape!

1.Take your sketchbook with you everywhere on your camping/hiking trip.  You never know when someone else might need to take a rest, or find a patch of wild raspberries and want to stop and pick some, giving you a chance to sketch the local flora and fauna; flowers, stone formations, rivers, lakes, trees, little forest critters, etc.

*Important: if you’re out in bear country just know that berries are bear food.  Keep your eyes peeled and leave some for others (human and animal).  And of course, know the rules and laws for the land you are hiking/camping, the poisonous plants of the area, local warnings, etc.  I’m just sharing this info because I’m a girl guide forever: Be Prepared!!!

DSC_0837And that’s it, those are my tips!  I’d love to hear any other tips or exciting art-hiking-camping stories you might have, leave them in the comments below!

*To read more ‘Use Your Journal’ posts, go here for the latest list.

Use Your Journal!

Day 280/365

I spent last Sunday in Unionville, Ontario at a beautiful little show with some fantastic people.  And, as often happens, some people were drawn to my pieces but hesitant to purchase because they feared they would never use the journal.  Part of my motto is that my books ‘are designed to be used, well worn and well loved’.  Needless to say, while I appreciate a healthy collection of journals (read: more than *a few*), it’s even nicer to actually use them as it adds value and enriches your experience with the book.

In an effort to help people out who have difficulty starting that coveted journal, I started writing a series of blog posts titled; Use Your Journal!  Today I’ve rounded them up and conveniently listed them here for you, all in one place.DSC_0100

This list starts with posts about using your journal, prior to me titling them ‘Use Your Journal!’.  I recommend starting at the top of the list and working your way down.  They progress from ideal environments to journal, to the different purposes for different books, to prompts and examples of uses for journals and sketchbooks.  If you have a request, just ask!

Plein Air  Day 7/365

Inspiring Things (these days)  Day 88/365

Use Your Journal No. 1  Day 94/365

Use Your Journal No. 2  Day 129/365

Use Your Journal No. 3  Day 140/365

Use Your Journal No. 4  Day 147/365

Use Your Journal No. 5  Day 170/365

Use Your Journal No. 6  Day 206/365