Monday, March 30, 2020


Since we, and most of the world, are staying home in hope of flattening the curve of coronavirus cases, this blog will strive to offer some comments on activities as well as projects from some of our members. We will try to update the blog every two weeks, so be sure to check in for new ideas as well as information about when regular NORBAG workshops will resume.

Our member from York, England, Margaret Beech, has always generously shared her ideas with us. Margaret takes simple structures and elevates them into beautiful works of art. If you subscribe to Bound and Lettered magazine you’ve probably seen some of Margaret’s projects. Below we offer Margaret’s version of a WOW fold and an envelope to go with it. She encourages you “to make something, pop it into an envelope and mail it to a friend as a Random Act of Kindness during the current time of national crisis and social isolation.”

This WOW fold uses a 20 cm square of paper and fits exactly into a 10 cm square card. (U.S. measurements would be 8" for a 4" card, however any size square will work and just adjust the card accordingly.) Margaret says, “I am not suggesting you should make anything very sophisticated — just something that will fit into an envelope to be mailed. You may prefer just to make a square greeting card with a square of your own decorated paper on the front. Or a square card with a tiny envelope on the front, perhaps with a tiny card with a cheer up or greeting. I would encourage you to make your own greetings cards generally. I always have a store of them (birthday, get well, thinking of you, sending love, new home etc.) and can honestly say I have not bought a commercial card for over thirty years –think how much money I have saved! And you could too!”

The WOW structure fits exactly into the card so Margaret suggests
 for an 8" WOW you might want to use a 4.5" square card. 

The WOW opened.

Back of the card with the WOW fold opened.

Front of the WOW card.

Thank you Margaret for sharing your worksheets with us.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


For the first time in 25 years NORBAG cancelled a meeting and workshop this March. Along with a concern about the corona virus, we were not able to use our usual large airy room because of a church event. Also, the governor of California had requested that people 65 years and older self-isolate and others who are able, to work from home. That request has now been updated for everyone to remain at home. Based on that, and on news of the progression of the virus, we’ve decided to put all future meetings on hold. The monthly newsletter will continue, but probably with less pages.

Those who wish to may continue making the themed exchange books, but at present we don’t know when they will be viewed or exchanged at future meetings. If you would like to share your projects or thoughts/suggestions on how to cope with our current isolation situations please send any jpg photos or information to Bonnie Julien to publish on the blog. Please check the newsletter for Bonnie's email address.

Bookmaking can be a time to relax and reflect so …in the words of Dolores Guffey, “May the creative forces be with all of us!”

For a little inspiration check out these "oldies but goodies" exchange books from years past.

Dragonfly by Becky Luening - May 2005

Dragonfly is an accordion with tabs sewn on with a pamphlet stitch.

Soup by Margaret Beech - June 2006

This is a flag book with display pockets sewn in the middle with a pamphlet stitch.

Happy Birthday by Dolores Guffey - September 2008

Die-cut cakes sewn with French Link stitch.

Cake Baking by Peggy Marrs - October 2009

Peggy's original watercolors were scanned for this edition.

One full sheet of Mi Teints paper was used for this structure. No sewing!

Sunday, March 15, 2020


A new selection of artist books made by NORBAG members is now on display at the Humboldt County Library in Eureka. The kiosk that houses the books is near the book check-out and returns area. Included are books with ancient style stitches made with modern or non-traditional materials, exposed bindings, as well as a variety of hand-sewn books.

Bindings include Coptic stitched in blue raffia on painted papers; Tackets neatly done in two colors on gray handmade paper; and Stab binding done with macramé thread and beads.

A display of exposed bindings features a book of hand-marbled, paper-covered sections stitched in white linen thread over black tapes; colorful threads wrapped over cords; and French link binding.

Another shelf displays a variety of stitches including Long Stitch, Buttonhole, Twisted, and many decoratively stitched small books.

Unique books include a decorative spin-braid of threads color coordinated with hand-marbled papers; double Secret Belgian binding with copper embellishments; Raven's Foot binding on hand-decorated covers; and more unique bindings.

Ancient stitches with modern materials

Exposed bindings

Unique bindings

A variety of bindings


Tuesday, March 3, 2020


Due to the corona virus, a number of our members expressed concern about meeting (especially in close quarters - the Fireside Room). Lara has agreed to postpone the workshop until the April meeting. At the April meeting we will have two separate book exchanges, one for the March theme of Surface Design and one for April's theme of a Shaped Book.

Our April workshop will feature Lara Cox teaching a somewhat simplified version of a medieval girdle book. This workshop will provide us with the basic structure so that we can create more complicated and decorative versions in the future.

Girdle books were small portable books worn by medieval European monks, clergymen and aristocratic nobles as a popular accessory to medieval costume. They first appeared in the late 13th century and gained popularity through the 15th, sometimes becoming ostentations jewel-encrusted presentation books, and then falling out of favor late in the 16th century when printed books had become much more common. 

The structure consisted of a book with a leather binding that continued loosely beyond the cover of the book in a long tapered tail with a large knot at the end that could be tucked into one's girdle or belt. The knot was usually strips of leather woven together for durability. The book hung upside down and backwards so that when swung upwards it was ready for reading. The books were normally religious: a cleric's daily Office, or for lay persons (especially women), a Book of Hours. Another possible reason for their decline was the relatively small number of specialized girdle-protected texts becoming outdated with little need to replace them. In an environment of increasingly cheap printing it was simpler to replicate texts than spend time preserving individual manuscripts. The intricately constructed girdle bindings were simply impractical after a certain point.

Tools and materials to bring:

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Awl
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • Cutting mat and exacto knife
  • PVA Glue (or favorite paste) and brush for gluing
  • Scrap paper for use in gluing (old magazines work great)
  • Bookbinding thread like Perle cotton or similar
  • Sewing needle that fits the size of your thread
  • Beeswax
  • Hole punching cradle (handy but not necessary)

Please have prepared ahead of class:

  • 10 signatures with 3 sheets/folios per signature, folded and nested. Start with pages measuring 5 1/2" tall x 8 1/2" wide. Once folded, the signatures should each measure 5 1/2" tall x 4 1/4" wide. Please fold, bone and press your stack of signatures. Alternatively: if you would rather use thicker paper and less pages, you may do so with the understanding that the final stack of signatures should measure 5/8" thick when pressed and stacked together. We will be sewing them together into a block as part of the class.
  • Decorative paper, 8 1/2" x 11" or larger. Various decorative papers may be used for the endpapers at the front and back of your book. Mi Teintes or a similar weight paper will work.
  • 2 pieces precut bookboard measuring 6" tall x 4 1/2" wide (for front and back covers)
  • 1 piece bookboard for the spine measuring 6" tall x 1/2" wide. Also, what seems to be a measurement discrepancy between the spine width and book block thickness is correct--all will be revealed at the workshop. 
  • NOTE about bookboard: Cereal boxes, cake mix boxes and cracker boxes while not as heavy duty as bookboard are usable in place of bookboard for many bindings. Feel free to substitute them in as the bookboard for this project.

Lara will provide:

  • Directions, re-usable cover pattern and examples
  • Precut cover fabrics
  • Cording and ribbons for closures and knots
  • Hole punch guide
  • Waxed paper
  • Sewing thread

WHEN:    Saturday April 11 at noon

WHERE:  Eureka Methodist Church at Del Norte & F Streets
BRING:   See lists above
COST:     $4
RSVP:     YES, to Lara. Her contact information is in the newsletter.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


Our last workshop/meeting was February 8, 2020. We had the usual early birds who put out all the tables and chairs for the meeting. Members came in saying hello to friends, meeting new members, and putting their tool kits and materials on the tables. We took about 30 minutes to look at the exchange books, the free table and the “show and tell” table before going back to our seats to begin card making. This meeting was different, we didn’t need instructions or demonstrations about making valentine cards... we are paper people so we started immediately. About an hour later than usual we took a break for the book exchange, an introduction to Lorraine Miller-Wolf, and the general business of NORBAG. Afterwards, we went back to making cards.

This is our eighth annual Valentine card making workshop lead by Lorraine Miller-Wolf. She started making and delivering cards to various shut-ins in 2005. In 2011, some NORBAG members joined in the donation of cards to distribute on Valentine’s Day. In 2013 the tradition was born when we started making cards to donate at our February workshop/meeting. We enjoy getting together to bring and share materials to make Valentine’s cards for other people. Here are some photos of the "making" meeting.

These are the Valentine cards from the exchange.

This is Lorraine.

Here and in the following photo are some of the materials that Lorraine brought for us to use.

These are a few of Lorraine's samples as well as more materials.

Rosie brought her daughter to help us with the valentines.

As usual, one of the members brought an embossing machine for our use.

Say "Hi" to Diane. She is a brand new member!

Helping each other with a page top paper punch.

Even pop-ups were made.

Drum Roll! Here are our lovely cards.

Here is the Valentine making crew.

Sunday, February 9, 2020


North Redwoods Book Arts Guild members both past and present have created books and cards to celebrate Valentine's Day and to be creative using a red and white theme. Many interesting items are now on display in the kiosk at the Humboldt County Library in Eureka. Included are: a whirligig spiral book with words of love, art papers and stamps; book pages fashioned into a flowered bracelet; a red book with woven binding and lots of beads; a wrap and closure book with collected quotations; a red and gold accordion book of sentiments in calligraphy; an embroidered felt pin based on a 1970's Vogue pattern on a cut-out card with red embroidery; and an Abecedaries of Dog book with original drawings by one NORBAG member, assembled by another member using a third member's instructions. Abecedary books are alphabet books. "They're the A is for apple and B is for bear books" as defined by Shereen LaPlantz in her book, The Art & Craft of Handmade Books. Be sure to check out this display if you're in the Eureka area.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


It has become a tradition for NORBAG members to dedicate our February workshop to making valentines for Lorraine Miller-Wolf to distribute to people around Humboldt County. Recipients of these valentines are those receiving the Senior Nutrition home-delivered meals, participants at the senior lunch sites, kidney dialysis patients, and people living in local convalescent and board & care homes. Lorraine shared that she distributed 815 valentines last year... many made by NORBAG members! If you can't come to the workshop, but would like to give Lorraine your own homemade valentines, just email her at

Materials to bring:

  • Miscellaneous papers suitable for valentines
  • Paper doilies
  • Ribbon, lace and other adornments
  • Bone folder
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue or glue stick
  • X-acto knife & cutting mat
  • Stamps & stamp pads
  • Scrap paper to protect the table surface

WHEN?   Saturday Feb. 8 at noon
WHERE?  Eureka Methodist Church, Del Norte & F Streets
BRING?   See above list for suggestions
RSVP?     No
COST?     None

Friday, January 17, 2020


Australian Reverse Piano Hinge Binding. Dianne Byington took all of those words and showed us how this deceptively simple book structure could be used in a multitude of ways. We brought nothing more than 4 rectangles of card stock folded in half and a 4 1/2 x 3" scrap of cardstock for hinge pins. The basic book was shown on the first page of the January newsletter.

To begin, Dianne handed out an instruction sheet that included detailed step-by-step instructions as well as a page with color photographs of the general steps to make the structure. Three of the cardstock pages would serve as signatures, the fourth would serve as a cover, and the small paper would serve as a hinge pin (which slips into a tab to hold the book together). Dianne supplied additional paper for the hinge (which acts as the spine and holds the signatures together). She had a table of samples using different materials, various configurations of the hinge itself, and varieties of hinge pins from paper to twigs.

The table was filled with different samples. The fuschia sample used punches
on the exposed hinge paper to give interest. The tiny blue book is made from tyvek.
 (Note: you can tap on the photograph and it will open in another tab where you can see a larger image.)
This sample is a book of shoes. The hinge pins are extended and curled to create
fireworks. The tabs holding the binding together are shaped and exposed
 for additional drama on the outside of the structure.

On the left is "My Book of Hinge Pins" with a cover to hide the hinge
(see below for another view). The blue book shows the hinge that has used
a water like paper punch on both pins and hinge.

"My Book of Hinge Pins" has pockets inside the book. The nature of the hinge
 allows thicker items added to the pages without causing the book to fan open.

This book signatures are not cardstock but rather text weight paper.
Photos have been attached to the hinge tabs.
We gathered around Dianne's table and watched as she demonstrated the steps to make the structure. We picked up the instruction sheets and other materials and started on our own books.
Dianne showing how the hinge tabs are formed.

This is the instruction for scoring and folding the hinge strip.
Note that the measurements are not consistent. We are making a working sample
 showing different size hinge tabs.

This is the folded hinge strip. The first and last flap will be connected
to the covers. The three mountain folds are inserted into a slit
 in the signatures and the page slides all the way to the valley fold.
This hinge becomes an open ended tab that will accept a hinge pin
to stabilize the page and the structure.
The red is the signature and a slit has been cut in the valley fold.
The white is the hinge and the mountain fold of the hinge is inserted from
 the outside to the inside becoming a tab for the hinge pin.

In this photo, the hinge tab is already in position and,
instead of a piece of paper for a hinge pin,
we inserted a popsicle stick to fill the tab and stabilize the signature.

Materials can completely change the look of the structure.
Our member is using paper with a different design on each side of the page.

In this sample, the hinge pin is simply adhered to the outside of the signature.

Another option for a cover is to use the fourth signature as a cover.
The fold of that signature is at the fore edge and the open side is at the spine.
Sandwich the hinge flap between the cover and it disappears.

After we were done, Dianne gave us another hinge and small stick
that was somewhat irregular. She demonstrated how to use a piece of text weight paper
 to measure a tab for an irregular hinge pin.

Show and Tell Table

At each meeting, we have three extra tables. One is the "Show and Tell" table. If we are playing with a new technique, finished a piece not in the exchange and want to talk about it, displaying a preview of the next month's workshop or an announcement or article, we have a place to put it. We usually announce those things before the exchange takes place.
"Into the Fold" is a full page newspaper article about origami classes that three of our members are taking.

Another member is experimenting with collage on recycled children's books. (Tap on the photo to see the detail.)

This lovely accordion card of flowers with cut-outs is lovely. 

This is a really TINY miniature book. 
The second table is interesting. Whether you are close enough to attend our meetings or are one of our distant members, you probably do the same as we do, you share. Those things go on our "FreeBee" table. Take what you like. Bring something if you like.
Since our next meeting is a valentine workshop making cards for shut-ins,
 card blanks were available. Calendars, brochures, magazines, containers and much
 more all find their way to the table.

The last table is very different. We have received donations from members
that are simply more valuable. So we put them on the table and they are for sale.
No prices, no one to watch to see what you pay. Just the change box and the items.
You decide what it is worth you and you make your own change.
Sometimes we have books, book blanks, finished projects, specialty papers
or even a calligraphy set. They all find a home and
the guild treasury has a bit to offset postage and the other expenses we incur.

See you next month!