Arts in Education · Beads on Books · math · Working with Paper

Loose Ends



A handmade paper book cover
A handmade paper book cover

Last week I worked on organizing my desks and workspace.

This week I’ve been trying to clear ideas out of my thoughts by getting out the things I’ve been thinking about. Writing posts and making videos are like my pensieve in the Harry Potter movies.

So today I did a video dump. Three videos on three different topics. Getting these out will let me move on in a more focused way.

The first one is a video about working with paper. I was tearing some paper for this book cover, and took the opportunity to make a video to show how and why I tear. Here’s the link:

Next video is to accompany a post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago, about a project that I did with 5 year-olds about counting beads to create groups that add up to 10 beads. The kids enjoyed this project so much that I revisit the project with a video.

Bead counting book
Bead counting book

Here’s the video that describes the project. The cover photo of this video makes it look like it might be upside down, but everything is there right as it should be.

Next up is a video about a math problem that I saw on Mike Lawler’s blog  

Calculus problem that is more than just calculus
Calculus problem that is more than just calculus

I was swept away by this problem because it illustrates how a problem with really easy calculus in it (really, I could teach the calculus part in like five minutes) is scaffolded on top of math from geometry, algebra, and pre-calc. I love how skills from many parts of math have to be used together here. In many ways this is like the bookmaking that I do, in which I use many different skills to create one thing.

Thank you WordPress for giving me a place to clear my brain.

In about 10 days I will be teaching a two-day Chinese Thread Book workshop. Between now and the, it what I mostly hope to be thinking about. I will be seriously over preparing! Looking forward to it.

Making designs on papers
Making designs on papers for Chinese Thread books




Arts in Education · Beads on Books · Binding Loose Papers · Japanese Binding for the Classrom · Journals · Making Books with children · Making books with elementary students · simple book binding

Journals All Day Long

I’ve just noticed that I am more apt to blog about a project before I do it with kids when I am very nervous about how it will turn out.

I was very nervous about most of the projects that I wrote about in my last post. 

Making beautiful drawing journals in one class period is challenging. I’m relieved to say that the day of bookmaking went really well.

This post will mostly be a photo essay of making five styles of books, with kids ages 4 though 11.

Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding
Pre-K Book, Pipe Cleaner Binding


The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings,and showing their creatations to each other.
Pre-K sharing

The Pre-K kids immediately started to fill their books with drawings, and lost no time showing off their creations to each other.

First Graders, book on a stick
Kindergartners, book on a stick

Kindergartners did a simple rubber-band and stick binding. They all wanted to decorate their sticks.  Most of the students tended towards making animal shapes with the bling.

First Graders, envelope book
First Graders, envelope book

The big surprise of the day, for me, was both how quickly the first graders finished their project and how amazingly beautiful they turned out. These books took them only twenty minutes to make.

First graders assembling their books
First graders assembling their books

Knowing what I know now I would slow the project down and help the kids less. I was so nervous about how this project would  go.

Assembling envelopes into pages
Assembling envelopes into pages


Finished Envelope books
Finished Envelope books

 Wallpaper-sample covers were simply glued on.  These look so good to me.

Simple sewing, lots of embellishments
Simple sewing, lots of embellishments

The modified pamphlet stitch book with pocketed covers made by 2nd & 3rd graders was the only project that I’ve done so often with students that I knew it would go well.

Second and Third graders made sewn book with beads
Second & Third graders made sewn book with beads


Ribbon Journal
Ribbon Journal

The highlight of the day, for me, was making these sewn journals with 4th & 5th graders.



The book block was made from 4 pieces of 11″ x 17″ papers folding into origami pamphlets, then sewn together side-by-side. All the holes for sewing were punched by paper punches.

Wallpaper-sample covers were attached by threading ribbons through holes in the cover and endpapers.

Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders
Ribbon Journals made by 4th and 5th graders

This project ran a bit over time. We were suppose to finish in 45 minuets, but it took 50 minutes. No one complained 🙂

Aerial view of Ribbon Books
Aerial view of Ribbon Books

These books, like most of the other books made yesterday, were constructed without glue, The only exception is the envelope books.  I didn’t exclude the use of glue intentionally, but I guess I think about glueless structures more often than not.

This was the last class of this school season. Now I can get back to some housecleaning.

I am ending this season happy!


Beads on Books · exposed sewing

Making Books with Teenagers, Post #1


It’s a real gift to be totally surprised by the results of a bookmaking workshop. I did not have a clue that I would enjoy working with teenagers as much as I enjoyed working the group that taught this past week.  They were smart, capable and enthusiastic and they have an art teacher (the teacher that invited me in) who clearly has created an environment in her art room which is both relaxed and serious. This made my job easy. I started making books with these students, and they just took off with it.

Over the course of numerous classes with the high school students several styles of books were made, including the paper-cover, beaded-pamphlet stitch, a shoelace exposed link binding, and a hard cover pamphlet binding with Ahashi bookcloth, all pictured above.

I want to mention, too, that it felt like a magical journey just to get to the school, located up in the Adirondacks. This is a photo of morning rush hour up in the Adirondacks.

On the first days of classes many of the students made paste papers, so many of the books were well decorated using these papers. I rather think that this young lady’s nail polish goes well with the book. An added bonus.

Of all the styles that I introduced to the students, what they seemed to like best was making books out of the heavy black paper that I brought with me – Epic 80lb cover. We folded a spine, and sewed right through the text block and spine, adding beads. They all used awls to punch the holes, and no one got blood on their books. Always a good sign.

I brought lots of beads. It was quite remarkable to see all the choices these students made, using colors and patterns in many different ways.  They were also pretty good at threading the needles.  One young man threaded a needle for the first time in his life during this class. He had trouble at first, then quickly became an expert at it.

I have too many photos for just one post, so I will end here, and add more later.

Beads on Books · exposed sewing · Non-adhesive Book

Handmade Book for my Teenager

Long Stitch Book by Paula Krieg

My daughter’s birthday is coming up. She mentioned that she will be needing a new sketchbook soon (“I only have two pages left and that won’t last me long.’) Since it is Still Snowing and since I am Centrally Located in the Middle of Nowhere there is no way I will get to a store by her birthday. Therefore, to hold her over, I made her a book.

This book is made by doing a Long Stitch Binding. This is a sewing pattern that I learned last weekend in NYC from Susan Mills, who teaches bookbinding, one book at a time.  I had met Susan just recently, and was intrigued by her Full Tilt Single Session Bookbinding Classes which teaches one book structure in three hours.

Longstitch Bound Book

This is the book I made in Susan Mills class. My goal was to be a good student and make a good, simple model book. Susan talked about decorative options, which I filed away in my head,. I admire the simplicity and elegance of this binding, but, even more, I appreciate how the spine seems to just beg for beads and decorative touches.
Long Stitch Book, Decorative Spine, by Paula Beardell Krieg

I used a silver rattail 2mm cord, added beads with beading cord, and wrapped the cord with some colorful string. It’s about 7 1/2 inches square. I plan on giving this to my daughter tomorrow. I do not hold out much hope that she will like it. After all this is a handmade book that her mom made and she is a teenager. But it will do (I hope) until I can get to AC Moore to buy her a proper sketch book. In a week or two I will possibly sneak in her room and rescue this book from the floor (under her bed?) before it disappears entirely.