Rags to Riches is designed especially to share handmade books, journals and paper art. The objects on this blog are made totally of recycled materials or discared paper, and cardboard. Please feel free to comment on any of my postings. I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Books from Recycled Objects

I might not have mentioned before that all handmade books on this blog are made from recycled material. What inspired me to make handmade books was working in a library. In my workplace there are many recyclable materials such as paper, cardboard, discarded dust jackets and even discarded books. I am now teaching some of my colleagues how to create handmade books too. We meet every Wednesday during our lunch break. There are five of us, but as from tomorrow two more will join the group.

A book made from a Vita-Weat box. There are endless types of product boxes I can use for book making. For this book, I used recycled photocopy paper as signatures. I do not cut my paper, but tear them using a metal ruler instead. This is a simple book using long stitch binding method.

Everyone at my work knows that I recycle things. I often return to my desk to find various objects left for me by my colleagues. The green velvet coated paper I used to cover this book was given to me by my friend Sophia. She told me it was a wrapper from a bar of soap. She thought that I could use it for something. I made this book and gave it back to Sophia on her birthday. I used light green recycled paper for the signatures.

This is one of my earlier books. The cover came from a Japanese book box that was discarded. I rescued it from a card board trolley. The signatures were brown packing papers. When I finished it, I thought it needed something else to give it a lift. I had this old button lying around for ages and it was a perfect thing for this book.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I have not been posting since last week. The reason is that Winter is almost upon us here in Australia and when I get home from work, it is too dark to take any photos. I prefer not to use a flash when I take photos for my blogs. Natural light is much better. I am a bit fussy with my blog photos. Today I have a chance to take some photos under natural light.

Stacks of books always looks great. For someone who works in a library you would think I would have had enough of books. Actually am not bored with them at all. I love working with them.

The cover for this journal made using mixed media method. It has layers and layers of different fabrics. I then machine embroidered with free motion stitching and then went over it with hand embroidery and hand stitching. In the end, I made a blank book to fit inside. When I showed it at my book workshop on Wednesday I was told that it looks like something out of Harry Potter. Because I did not see any of Harry Potter I did not know from which particular bit of Harry Potter does this journal represent? Well, that was a compliment and I might have to see the next Harry Potter to find out...!

Collage paper is really fun too. Up until now I have been using dust jackets to cover books, but this time I used a few different dust jackets and collages over by machine. After that I made it into a book using Coptic stitch binding.

This book is made for ANZAC Day. I love the texture of print on cardboard. You can get very neat print on some of the cardboard boxes at my library. This one comes from an Australian Standing Orders publisher. It is only a small impression with their company name on it. I have another one with a typical Australia house on it. I am looking for something to make out of that.

On the inside it contains memorabilia of ANZAC Day for example, Anzac biscuit recipe, red poppy, message from Kamel Ataturk, apple tea package and some photos of Australia soldiers.

Memory book


Rags to Riches handmade books display has been on for the whole of April. This week is the last week of the display. At the beginning for the week we decided to rearrange the display one more time before it finished. All the vibrant colours of the books were all mixed together before. Every time I walked past the cabinet I kept seeing red, blue and green jumping out at me. Then I thought, what if we arrange them by colour? And that what we did. The end result was fantastic. I have noticed that more people have stopped by and looked at the display since.

Here is the close up of the red section. I can see Kumi's Mondrian book on the left. The red book I made for Steve is on the right. Snowman book that Kumi made out of molded plastic is next to the one with the green stripe by me. We have thrown in a few paper beads for decorations.

This is the green section. From the left is Dennis's hand embroidery journal then Ayako's recipe book. The Journal for a quilter and the other green books are mine.

This is the brown section. There are handmade cards by Cathrine Haboe-Ree. Her cards were made using handmade papers with leaves and feathers.

And here is the blue section with my Japanese lady book and Kumi's bag book. It is sad for the display to come to an end. To think that this is the first ever private display at the library. We could say that we have made history for the library! We are now working toward next year's display.

Read more books.