"Inspiring Workspaces" feature of linenlaid&felt on The Etsy Blog

I am excited, honored, and humbled for linenlaid&felt to be featured on the Etsy blog as part of a new series that shows artists in their inspiring workspaces. My bookbinding studio has been part of the Etsy marketplace for five years now (my Etsyversary was earlier this month) and to be selected from among some 1.2 million active shops just amazes me.

The response from this feature has been incredible, and I've enjoyed reading all of the blog comments, receiving e-mails from college classmates and Cortona, Italy study abroad alumni, and shipping out orders to new customers. Plus, having my leather journals featured by Etsy on Instagram was an exciting and unexpected surprise as well. 

linenlaidfelt book arts studio in East Nashville

It was also fun to host visitors to my Nashville bookbinding studio. I got to talk deeply about my work with Etsy blog writer Julie Schneider, of Your Secret Admiral, and to watch Dylan Reyes photograph what he observed in my studio.

I’ve been a devoted reader of the Etsy blog for years, and it has undoubtedly contributed to the evolution of my book business. I’d also had my eye on the inspiring workspaces blog features, which have also included food illustrator Lucile’s Kitchen, cut paper artist Swallowfieldand creature designer Hine.

As for the feature itself, it shines a light on how I work in what is now my fourth home studio. That’s being a little generous — my “first” workspace was barely a studio. I had a corner carved out of an attic/bedroom and ended up doing most of my work at the kitchen table.

I shared on my blog a few months ago just how far I’ve come. My studio is much improved, with better lighting and equipment, including my beloved flat file and heavy-duty paper cutter, plus standing West Elm work table and daylight lamp. Out the window, I watch my flower bed bloom (although not in January).

I hope you’ll check out the Etsy blog feature and follow up with more writing by Julie and photography by Dylan, including on Instagram.

linenlaid&felt bookbinding studio in East Nashville

5 years on Etsy — an Etsyversary

The new year always reminds me of when I got my start on Etsy, but this Jan. 10 feels like more of a milestone than ever, as I’ve reached my five-year Etsyversary.

I first signed up when we lived back in a small town along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. At the time, I was slowly building a plan to turn my bookbinding passion into my full-time profession. Five years later and transplanted to the great Nashville arts community, I’m binding handmade books every day from my home studio.

Nashville leather photo albums

And I’ve never had such a busy time on Etsy. My favorite photoshoot to date, with psalm27creative this past fall, encouraged me to list more of my work on Etsy than ever before. Just look at how great these leather journals look! (And if you must look, here’s a page with some early product photos for comparison.)

It’s hard to say how far I’ve come in five years, but here’s another fun example.

My first sale — a pair of small books — went to an acquaintance in Michigan. Flash forward to December 2014, and I found a book-lover interested in receiving four of my Instagram photo albums — all the way in Australia.

It’s odd, but I must be big there, because it’s where I’ve made my most international sales, with 14. I’ve also sent eight to the United Kingdom, five to Canada, and four to France. I’ve also shipped books to Switzerland, Norway, Germany, Spain, and Ireland.

linenlaidfelt handmade books map

Here in the U.S., I’ve reached 35 states.

I do love sharing my work far and wide and that has been one of the best benefits of being involved with Etsy. Without it, I might not have gained the momentum to start my own business.

A big birthday sale in my Etsy shop

For the first time ever, I'm hosting a sale in my Etsy shop. In celebration of my birthday this month, I've put more than a dozen books on sale. 

Throughout August, you'll save up to $20 per book on my high-quality hardcover Coptic bound books and a few other styles. Take a look at the sale section, and pick out your new favorite journal.

This sale will help me make room in my studio for some of the new designs I've been working on. You can see some of those books in my shop now, and I'll be adding more throughout the month (like new leather Instagram photo albums, hardcover books with my original screenprinted patterns, and softcover notebooks) so check back often. 

Collage books with Lokta papers, now on Etsy

Handmade coptic book collage photo
I am constantly surrounded by beautiful, handmade papers. It's one of the perks of bookbinding. But sometimes, I've found that it takes a bit of a shakeup to see them in a new way.

My husband was working late one night, and as I rooted around in my paper scrap bin, I noticed an intriguing pairing of bright Lokta papers. These are among my favorite papers. They come in many gorgeous colors, have great texture, and are easy to work with. They respond well to glue and don't crinkle. Plus, they're sustainably made.

That night, I had a spur-of-the-moment urge to collage with these bits of paper. (Ironically, my husband often harps on me about all the scraps that I save, and it was only when he was away that I decided to put them to use.)

I began a free-form binding project without my usual careful planning. I focused on color matching.

Two coptic books by linenlaidfelt 
The first collage covers I made were striped. For the second, I assembled the papers in a patchwork. For this second book, I also rubbed away at pieces of the paper, distressing portions and allowing the color layers to blend. I also preserved the deckled edges of the pages and composed with those in mind.

The books I came up with — a sister set — are now in my Etsy shop. I hope you'll take a look, and show them to friends. They'd be good journals or sketchbooks or a fun guest book for a summer wedding.

:: Striped collage book
:: Patchwork collage journal

Handmade coptic books

On the front page again!

I'm thrilled to announce that one of my handmade books made it to the front page of Etsy again!  I was working in my studio yesterday evening making covers for some new photo albums when I happened to glance at my computer screen and notice that I was on the front page.  While my first front page appearance was certainly exciting, I found out about it after the fact.  This time I actually got to see it live up on the site.  (My delay in posting about this on the blog had nothing to do with lack of excitement; my hands were just covered in glue last night and I wanted to keep them away from my keyboard!)  

The treasury below, which includes one of my Italian longstitch books with a rust colored suede cover, was the curated collection featured on the front page yesterday.  A huge thank you goes out to Martata for putting together this gorgeous treasury!

'Rust can be Minty' by Martata















Rusty but trusty

I've been on a roll making Italian longstitch books lately.  My goal for February was to focus on making these leather journals, as well as photo albums.  But once I got started with the longstitch books, I just couldn't seem to stop.  

I made some with rich brown leather (like this book), and more recently with butter yellow and bright teal leather covers, but my favorite has been this rustic orange suede.  I can't seem to get enough of the gorgeous color (especially when paired with mint green thread) or the soft texture.  And I think the journal looks especially lovely paired with all of the "rusty but trusty" items in the treasury below. 

Handmade treats for Valentine's Day

My husband showered me with handmade delights this Valentine's Day. First, I got a box full of cranberry-orange gumdrops, made by fahrenheitgoods on Etsy.  They are soft and delicious (I had to hide them from myself so I wouldn't eat them all this evening!), and the box was wrapped in a beautiful paper too.  I'm sure that paper will make its way into a handbound book in some way or another.

He also got me a beautiful pair of copper enamel earrings from tekaandzoe, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  (You might remember that I've been lusting over them for months...)  I already planning my outfit for work tomorrow so I can wear my new earrings. 

And last but not least, Tony picked out some handmade perfume for me from Sweet Anthem.  I've been obsessed with the "Anita" scent for the past month, after ordering a perfume sampler with a gift card my friend Chase gave me for Christmas.  All of the fragrances I tried were quite nice, but that particular one really stood out to me.  "Anita" smells just like a peppermint mocha, my all-time favorite coffee drink.  And as my sample of that scent was starting to run low, I'm excited to now have a full-sized bottle of it.  

Tony and I will be staying in this evening, cooking dinner together, and watching a movie.  On the menu: homemade chicken curry, chocolate souffle, and a bottle of wine we've been saving since our honeymoon.  It should be the perfect evening.

I hope you've all had a very happy Valentine's Day!

Sunny yellow treasury

I was just featured in a beautiful Etsy treasury, and it was too gorgeous not to share.  I'm loving all of the bright sunny colors, and my yellow Italian long-stitch journal is in good company.  Click on any of the photos for more info about the item.  Enjoy! 

'Daffodil Fields ' by sstormster1















Treasury tool is sponsored by Lazzia.com.

Custom orders made easy

It's now easier than ever to place an order for one of my custom books! I've created custom listings in my Etsy shop for my journals, guest books, and albums in all of my standard sizes, which you can view right here. In each of those listings, you can see examples of previous custom orders in that style to spur ideas about the possibilities.

You can pick the colors and decorative paper used for your book, and I can also design a personalized label for you that I will place in a recessed cutout in the cover. The possibilities are endless, and I will work with you to make sure you get exactly what you want.

These custom listings are just the beginning. If you have a specific idea that doesn't fit into one of the categories here, just send me an e-mail to discuss your ideas: linenlaidfelt {at} gmail {dot} com.

You can also visit my new custom order page to view a portfolio of past custom work and to read the FAQs about ordering a custom book from me.