Another idea that I’ve been excited about – though it will have to wait until after the bathroom is finished – is using hand-marbled paper as wallpaper, in my case perhaps just for one wall in the dining room.  Imagine what a unique look one could get.  It would be like a wall of faux marble blocks and would not be as insanely expensive as one might think.  I’ve currently got lovely sample sheets to mull over from this craftsperson, Iris Nevins, in New Jersey:

I took a bookbinding class once, when I was living in Montreal, and concluded that binding books is best left to others.  Sewing the signatures was sort of fun, but getting the cover right… a nightmare that never quite ended.  I have the pieces in a bag somewhere!  I do still love the beautiful materials.  The atelier that held the class, La Tranchefile, was extremely elegant.  I remember, the last time I visited before moving back to the States, there was a display of notebooks in its boutique that were bound in tanned but untrimmed stingray, with tiny, subtle, exquisite beading at the edges.  They were made by our teacher, Odette Drapeau.

Besides binding or re-binding books, La Tranchefile will make custom boxes for collectors’ books and artwork.  Their website is, unfortunately, only in French.  I remember that Mme. Drapeau was so nice about switching into English when I needed it for the lessons.  The place has changed ownership since I was there, but it doesn’t sound like it’s changed much otherwise.  Bookbinding seemed to be a matter of greater interest up in Quebec than it is here in the States – I wonder why?

“Tranchefile” in French means the “headband” of the book – that colorful strip of trim at the head and foot of a hardcover book, just behind the binding.  So often they are red, but of course, if you’re doing the binding, they can be any color you want!