Uncommon Handbound Books by Cindy Leaders

August: Last Month of Summer

Monday, August 3, 2009

August is my least favorite month of the year. I lose the will to accomplish in August. It's just too hot. I long for the first cool, crisp days of autumn, which are in all likelihood still two months away. September brings the autumnal equinox and the hope of a pleasant day now and then, but fall doesn't start in earnest until October here. So we muddle through August savoring the sweet consolation of cantaloupes and peaches and thanking God many times a day for air conditioning.

I think much of the nation must feel the same way about August, as it is short on holidays. With the exception of this coming Sunday night, which is Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night, a favorite with gardeners everywhere, there's not much to celebrate. So here are some books I think are cool. (Oh that word!)

National Clown Week - August 2-8

Here's your word for the day: coulrophobia (n): the fear of clowns. Let's be honest; clowns are scary. I don't know a single person who doesn't think so. Setting aside a week to celebrate them is likely a desperate public relations effort to redeem them in the public eye. But this little book from Jungae, embellished with an art postcard featuring the cover of a vintage piece of music, is very unique, and I like it quite a bit. Except for the clown.

Books from Guys

Etsy is almost entirely peopled by women. We know this. So I'm going out of my way to show you a couple of exceptional books from some male artists I admire.

This stunning book from Neilsenhandmade is titled Out of Balance. He harvested book cloth from obsolete and discarded books and stitched them together for the cover design. This is the only book he has for sale in his shop right now but all of his work is standout.

I also admire Jason's work at Jwaggone. The text paper in all of his journals is not only 100% recycled but also: processed chlorine free, "made carbon neutral", and both FSC and Green Seal Certified. The cover of this particular journal is made from plywood that he has painted with milk paint, which he says is "the greenest paint there is." Even though it's blue.


Summer Skies

Monday, June 22, 2009

My sister recently named her favorite thing in all the world as skies. When we're together, situating ourselves in a beautiful spot where we can watch the sun set, hopefully with a refreshing beverage in hand, is a Big Deal. She often notes that she doesn't get skies in Texas like we get here in Georgia. Sitting on my deck at dusk recently, I decided to take special note of the skies overhead. Here's what I saw:

  • many chimney swifts, chattering loudly, darting after one another, ravenously gobbling mosquitoes (I hope) at every breakneck turn;
  • quite a few bats, equally hungry, less gregarious and just the tiniest bit creepy;
  • several airliners (full of people going somewhere for as many reasons as there are people), climbing to altitude after leaving Atlanta, one catches the sun and shimmers brilliantly in the darkening gloom, contrail flowing behind;
  • a handful of quietly emerging stars and planets, reminding me how small I am and yet how blessed to share with the angels in enjoying the beauty of the universe;
  • one moon, the same one visible tonight in Dallas, Florida, England and Iraq, anywhere a person takes a moment to look up and observe.
I read some verses in the Bible that I think explain why the skies never cease to draw us and inspire us to awe and wonder:
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. Ps. 19:1-4.

They're telling us something that we all instinctively, whether we acknowledge it or not, want desperately to hear.


Have Ants, Will Travel

I can't believe it's already the last full week of June. Next week, the year will be half over. It's way too hot here in Georgia for the end of June, so I'm dreaming of cooler places.

Carpenter Ant Awareness Week - June 25-28

I'm not exactly sure why we need to be aware of carpenter ants, but I'm doing my part to spread the word right here! It's not clear whether the ants on this leather journal by Kreativlink are carpenters or just your garden-variety, unskilled ants, but they're busy as ants should be.

Cool off in the Faucet

I remember how a faucet and hose transformed a hot summer day when I was a kid. Doesn't this book from Donnalda make you feel a little cooler? And the words are a perfect reminder of how to really chill all year round.


The Saddest Book

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A young friend of mine passed away in her sleep a couple of weeks ago. There was no warning, she had no known health problems and had not been ill. Her husband went to wake her one morning, and she was gone, leaving him and three young children to face a new world without her.

Everyone that experiences this kind of sudden, unexpected loss is faced with a stark reminder of his own mortality. There are no guarantees. Eternity awaits each of us. I don't fear death because I am reconciled to the One who waits there through the blood of His only Son, Jesus Christ. My friend is with Him now, and I'll see her again, and my sister, and my mother. But here on earth until then, I'm reminded to live in a way that will matter at the end, to leave an eternal legacy in the lives of the people around me. God, help me to remember.

I made this book with many tears to serve as a book of remembrance for guests to write in at her memorial. I hope the family will treasure the memories of friends who gathered to honor her.

While I was making this book, I received an email from a customer who had purchased a journal from my shop. She is going to use it as a guest book at her wedding for people to write their best wishes and advice. What a striking juxtaposition of the place that books can have in our lives.


Blue Jeans and Tiaras

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blue Jeans Patented - May 20, 1873

Thank you , Levi Strauss, for single-handedly clothing the world. Made from recycled jeans, this very groovy retro-book is from VeronicaArts. Levi could never have imagined.

International Tiara Day - May 23

International Tiara Day celebrates women everywhere who have struggled to find their own path to success and have made it. The motto on the official website is "Real Leaders Wear Tiaras." This stunning book by newfry would be welcome by the most successful of women.

Arthur Conan Doyle's Birthday - May 22I hope that you both see and observe this interesting little book celebrating the legendary Sherlock Holmes created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from GreenChairPress. Perfect to toss in your bag to keep track of the details of life.


The Merry Month of May

Monday, May 11, 2009


From A Fain books, a small journal fits perfectly into this vintage cigar tin, embellished with a bicycle image. Annie Fain Liden is an extraordinary book artist who taught my first class in bookbinding. There is not an ordinary book among her works. Don't miss a visit to her shop.

This very unique book is made from the bike inner tubes, which the artist promises have been cleaned well. What a unique way to recycle! And US buyers will only pay $10 to have this shipped all the way from Denmark. There are a number of these to choose from by PalePink.


Hard to believe, but true. This date must have been visited upon us by the Sadistic Dentist Association, no doubted headed by Orin Scrivello. (If you're singing "Son Be a Dentist" right now, you watch too many movies.) No surprise that there are no books on Etsy glorifying the root canal, but I did find this very interesting book covered with advertisement from a 1922 orthodontics journal. From BrooklynBookbinder.

The last book for this week is in honor of L. Frank Baum, author of the children's classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, whose birthday is May 15. Actually, this book does double duty, because this week is also Children's Book Week. This cute little journal is in such happy spring greens. Perfect for both occasions. From Ragnazidnar.