Craft Fair 2022

To be completely honest, I shouldn’t have been expecting great things from this year’s Downtown Craft Fair. I didn’t follow through on many of my bright ideas for notebook covers, and ended up bringing mostly last year’s leftover inventory, with about three or four new books added in. At Aaron’s suggestion, I even discounted some of my less-than-perfect books, since I’d have felt guilty selling them at full price when I didn’t think they were up to par.

I did purchase a couple of tiered acrylic display stands, which made my layout look a little more organized. (A string of battery-powered LED lights came with each stand, so I opted to use one.) The tablecloth I brought was not quite up to the task, so I was glad I also brought a few giant binder clips to keep it in place (and to anchor the LED string).

The location I was assigned happened to be a dead spot for cell reception. The bright side to that, I suppose, is that I didn’t have to pay any fees to Square for swiping credit cards, since they wouldn’t authorize.

As it was, I only had one sale at the fair, anyway, and she was willing to hit up the nearby ATM for cash.

I made some additional sales to my co-workers, though, including a few custom orders. One guy placed an order the day before the fair, since he wouldn’t be in the office that day, and my work BFF ordered two notebooks as stocking stuffers for her kids. My manager bought one for his wife — interestingly enough, he chose the one I almost didn’t even want to sell, since it was a major experiment in creative bookcovers. Continuing the theme of me being more critical of my work than others are, my newest co-worker bought one of my recent binding experiments (the results of which did not meet my expectations, but was good enough that I sold it at full price), then she bought a discounted book later on for her daughter.

I guess my thing is that I don’t really consider this a side hustle as much as a creative experiment? So, instead of finding something that works and running with it, I keep trying different techniques and seeing how they turn out. I guess that means I end up with a bunch of rough drafts and some happy accidents, but no tried-and-true repeatable methodology.

Considering that I have three custom orders to complete, though, perhaps this is my opportunity to get comfortable with one given process.


Making notebooks has been my jam lately.

This green one was my experimental Frankenbook — I drew a butterfly and screenprinted it onto the cover fabric months ago, then experimented with my Cricut on the back cover. (The die-cut sunflower keyhole was not the original plan, but I ran with it.)

I glued some sunflower fabric to the inside of the cover in lieu of endpapers. The four signatures I attached to the cover by stitching rather than glue, which was only the second time I’ve tried that technique (although I think it’s now my favorite).

My Frankenbook turned out much better than I’d expected, and the process was just as valuable as I’d hoped.

Meanwhile, the spiral-bound notebook I’d been using as a work planner was getting dangerously close to full. So, I planned out a replacement work notebook: legal size paper folded in half, with binding that opens flat, and a place to keep a pen.

During the planning process, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole of paper marbling, and I decided that I needed to incorporate some green marbled paper in my new work planner. The cover I crafted from heavy chipboard covered with self-adhesive wallpaper from Amazon (which looks and feels suspiciously like fancy contact paper). The textblock I attached to the spine by the first and the last signatures, so it still lays flat.

As an upcycle project, I disassembled an old, half-used spiral-bound from back in college, then cut and punched new chipboard covers for front and back. I did some watercolor doodles on the inside front cover, debossed a nature quote on an old calendar photo page I’d saved, then glued that onto the front before feeding the spiral wire back through. Someday, this will probably be another of my gardening journals.

Making books is hella fun.


Yesterday, YouTube recommended a video by Sea Lemon about binding journals by hand. Me being me, I fell down the bookbinding video rabbit hole and learned just a little about a lot of different bookbinding techniques.

Today, I gathered up some scrap paper, needle and thread, and a few other supplies, and tried my hand at it while my son watched the Cartoon Network. I’m definitely not super adept at sewing by hand yet, and there’s a very important element of precision involved… but I could see this sort of thing possibly being part of a thoughtful handmade gift or three.