Category Archives: Bookmaking

Cover of my artist’s journal


Everybody seems to be into artist journals.  With a blog, a journal that I keep when I go to restaurants (mostly), and art that consists of collages, it’s hard to justify using collage papers on something that I am not going to sell or frame.  I do tape and glue little things in my written journal, like tickets, good horoscopes, fortune cookie papers, etc., and lord knows when I plan on scrapbooking to keep the other memorabilia.  Probably never.

But I decided to give it a go – maybe last year – and got the cover done, one collage done, and painted a couple of pages in preparation for more.  I do see it as a great place to really go wild – in my collage work, I do not use glitter or sequins.  Neither can I use a lot of the images I used on this cover, for example.  The major image is cut out from an awesome book on the Virgin of Guadalupe, called Guadalupe, Body and Soul by Marie-Pierre Colle.

Guadalupe looks good on the mosaic table!

I also used some fun glitter sticker letters – the message “Rock The Art World” was possible to make after I did my name in the center!  And, of course, I do want to one day rock!

I love Chupa Chups!

A lot of the hearts and roses are also cut from the cover of the Guadalupe book – I hate to waste bright images.  BTW, the hard cover of the book has the same image as the paper cover – I am not really one to jacket books.  The Chupa Chups logo was designed by Salvador Dali – did you know that?  I don’t love the suckers themselves as much as the wrappers.

The next image is a sticker from Punch Studio that I superimposed over a tequila bottle label – Jose Cuervo.  The colors of the agave fields were perfect against the Virgin.  I also had another candy wrapper (from a Lindor truffle) to add to the mix.

No, I don't just believe in chocolate and tequila...

I am constantly buying books for my classroom.  I love to collect folk tales, fairy tales, and picture books that have great art.  There is a series of books by an author named Monica Brown – the three I’m talking about are biographies for children.  There is one about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gabriela Mistral, and even Pelé (must be newer), but the one I got the picture from is called My Name is Celia/Me Llamo Celia – about Celia Cruz.  The illustrations are by Rafael Lopez and they won a Pura Belpre Award.  One day, I would like to write a book – either a Young Adult novel or an art picture book, so that is why I also attached the “Latina Book Award Winner” medallion.

In my collage materials, I have a finite number of Peter Max hearts from a run of wrapping paper that he designed for Target years ago.  I went back to the store when the displays were being taken down to ask for them – they were awesome big hearts – but they said no.  Before one of them got put in the recycling bin, my sister managed to obtain one of them (is it really stealing if they are going to throw it away?), which hangs on my studio wall.

Another element I use often – especially in my Blue Dog Shrines, is a wrapping paper by Caspari – a gold background with painted squares.  Whenever I use it, people always think that I painted it myself.  Nope!  Nel Whatmore did.  Here’s a Virgin of Guadalupe shrine that I did – gave it to a friend of mine for her birthday – I might need to remove it from my Etsy shop.

At the bottom of my Virgin, of course, is the little angel that holds her half moon up.  Since my name is Celeste (which means “blue sky” or “heavenly”), I like to hope that angels are watching over (out for?) me!

Angels watching over me...


Useful links for bookmaking in the classroom


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the ESOL Conference at Kennesaw State University.  In truth, I had contemplated presenting back in October or November – whenever they were calling for presenters.  Then, I forgot about it – things are moving so fast this year!

I thought that, since I had not sent in an official presenter application, that KSU had forgotten about me, too.  So, imagine my surprise last month when I got an e-mail asking for my presenter information…  I decided to go ahead and go for it.

I had planned vaguely last fall to maybe give a presentation on making mini books in the classroom.  I have collected all sorts of resources on the internet, as well as bought many MANY possible supplies for making books.  So I gathered as much as I could find:  student examples, reference books, the photo albums and other book vehicles I had accumulated over the years.

Then, I worked and worked to plan on what handouts to provide with my session.  I included information on folding 8, 12, and 16 page books from one piece of paper, and I demonstrated these using LARGE pieces of sketchpad paper in the front of the class.  I also had a last minute inspiration to use some sentence strips to make little accordion books.  There were 35+ attendees, and I ran out of handouts because I had only made 35 folders of paper.

I worked very hard to compile a list of internet resources on the more accessible and fun mini book projects that I could find.  I told the attendees that I would make them available online.  Here we go (this may take more than one post):

8 page mini book:  There are many MANY sites that give instruction on how to make a book out of 1 piece of paper.  Some people call it a “hot dog” book.  I realize now that, since I gave people a copy of the folding directions, I didn’t include a link to folding directions.  Here is a link from Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord’s wonderful website called Making Books with Children.  At the bottom of the page, you can click on a link to print a PDF document of the instructions.

Pocket Mod:  I could probably write an entire post on the wonders of the Pocket Mod, the free recyclable personal organizer, and I may.  One day.  For now, if you go to, you can explore the different types of pages you can add to this little 8 page book – made, of course, from one printed page of paper.  You can even print out 8 tiny copies of the folding instructions for projects on 8 page books in your classroom!

That is only the tip of the iceberg – there is also a free piece of software called the PDF to PocketMod Converter (click on the link to the right of the page to download).  With this utility, you can type up 8 pages of your own and convert them to a mini book!  The only caveat is that you have to first convert your 8 page Microsoft Word document into an Adobe Acrobat document, or PDF.  If you have a Mac, there is already a utility to do this.  If you don’t, then you need to find a PDF converter to download.  I have BullZip PDF on my computer.

Additional useful links:

  • Eduzone has a tutorial on formatting text on a computer for a mini book using Microsoft Word, I think.
  • has a “staple-less mini book generator”  that allows students to format their own mini book, then print it out.
  • has a tutorial on making an 8 page paper bag book.  There are also story ideas.

Now, I am going to just try and put the rest of my links up – I did categorize them.  They are by NO means exhaustible in scope.

16 page mini books – a step up from the 8 page.  These are also called maze books or meander books:

Accordion books – there are LOTS of links on these:

Stapled books – these are simply made by folding paper in half and stapling the “spine”.  They are also called “chap” books:

Books in a Box – Most of these are accordion style, but some of the boxes are hand-made – you could put other kinds of books in a box, too.

I still have more to list, but I need to sign off and continue later!