Bring Me, Buy Me, DIY Me

Alison Morris - September 1, 2010

To all you crafters and shoppers who’ve enjoyed my Etsy posts and t-shirt posts and birdhouse posts and such. This round-up from my final week of regular ShelfTalker blogging is for you!
Up first… RETAIL
Did you know that Bob Staake will create a CUSTOM doodle for you for just $40?? I think you should take him up on the offer, then invite me over to see the results.
The next time you want to be left alone while you’re reading, just string up some of this caution tape from Highsmith.
Tired of people thinking that drinking is all you ever do? Send a message to them loud a clear with a (hic!) book-engraved hip flask. I love that the ad copy for this product says, “Perfect gift for avid readers or book group members.” CLEARLY I have been joining the wrong book groups!
And speaking of book groups, if yours has been letting you down lately, maybe you want to invest in a few of these bookplates? The same company who makes those (Pink Loves Brown) also has a fun design for dessert lovers and another for fans of umm… retro glasses? sexy librarians? Either or.

Cover your MacBook or MacBook Pro with… a book! It’s probably a lot less likely to be stolen in said disguise (sad as it makes me to type that!)
I just enjoy saying the words, “Moomin mug.”
And now on to the subject of…  CRAFTS!
Before I began making bookish birdhouses as gifts for people, I had a field day making sets of “marble magnets,” most of them featuring book images cut from catalogs. They’re VERY easy to make, fit nicely in recycled Altoids tins, and sure to add a splash to to your friends’ refrigerators. Complete instructions for making them are available on Not Martha. (Those are the very ones I used to get started!)
Two pieces of advice, though: 1.) Buy Judikins brand “Picture Pebbles” instead of the less expensive, generic flat glass marbles — the cheap ones are full of waves and bubbles that’ll make your images look distorted; 2.) The card images in the Peaceable Kingdom Press catalog are the perfect size for this project, as are those on the last few pages of Chronicle’s gift catalog — only after you’ve ordered from said catalogs and are ready to recycle them, of course!

In anticipation of doing a post about fun and easy DIY bookmarks, I assembled a LONG list of links for you. Follow these if you’re looking for inspiration.
bookmarks with simple fabric flowers
hardwood bookmarks
free downloadable bird bookmarks
paint chip bookmarks
fabric bookmarks
more fabric bookmarks
origami heart bookmarks
love you bookmarks
easy recycled envelope bookmarks
Japanese paper dolls  you can use as bookmarks
ribbon bookmarks (design #1)
ribbon bookmarks (design #2)
magnetic photo bookmarks
When you’re finished making all those different bookmarks, maybe you’d be keen to create some nifty book vases? (via
Or maybe some book letters?
They seem much easier to assemble than, say, this crazy beautiful but also crazy impractical “tower” of books that sits in writer Hank Moody’s study. (Yowza.)

Of course, if you’re more into cooking than crafting, you might prefer to spend your time making some pink pig pancakes. Or a feast for Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Or cupcake cake inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
For daily doses of crafting inspiration (some book-related, some not), I recommend becoming a regular reader of, which is chock full o’ links to crafts and recipes featured on other blogs. You can search for keywords (like “book“) on the site to fine-tune things.
Finally, a story: About a month before I left Wellesley Booksmith, Gayle Vonasek, former principal of the local Hardy Elementary School, stopped by the store to ask if I might have any creative ideas she could employ for a book-themed baby shower she was hosting for a fellow teacher. Did I?? After about an hour brainstorming with Gayle, showing her some favorite websites, and telling her all the things I did and didn’t make for Gareth’s and my wedding, I sent her off with a pile of F&G’s (“folded and gathered” picture book proof sheets) and a head full of ideas. The results were one wonderful baby shower! As follow-up, Gayle sent me several photos of the final results + explanations for what appears in each. I hope seeing these will give you some creative party-hosting inspiration too!
Gifts at the shower were displayed on a book case.

Gayle asked each guest to tell her about a favorite children’s book and explain why it was memorable. She explains, “I wrote the guest’s name on a library card pocket and the explanation on the library card.  The guest of honor and her mother tried to match the comments about the book with each guest.  Many guests also gave the book as a gift so the library pockets can be glued into each book for to preserve the memory.”

Title pages functioned as placemats on the tables.

The centerpieces were comprised of paper flowers Gayle assembled from F&Gs tucked into board books that Gayle had personally selected for the mother and baby-to-be.

She made a banner of book covers. (Again, from F&G’s, though a color photocopier + stack of books could create very similar fodder for such a thing.)

Forks for the buffet were tucked into library pockets.

Each guest at the party was sent home with a bookmark that featured beach reading recommendations from the guest of honor and her mother, and one of Gayle’s (now signature!) paper flowers.

Gayle cut some book images out of catalogs, glued them to construction paper, and created “toppers” for the desserts served at the buffet.

Needless to say, a good time was had by all!

5 thoughts on “Bring Me, Buy Me, DIY Me

  1. Linda Rath

    What a fabulous display of creativity, color, and love! I can’t imagine how much time went into the selection and construction of these v. special objets d’art–what a celebration, though. Incredible!


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