A Book a Day? What's Up With That?

Hi, and welcome to this year-long project. So what's this all about and how did it happen, you might ask. In mid 2007, artist Noah Scalin decided to make a skull out of anything he could find, every day for a year. It stretched him in ways he never imagined, as an artist, a writer and a person. His experience turned into a blog that went viral, and then a book.

Others have picked up on the idea: 365 Hearts, 365 Masks, 365 Bears drawn on a cellphone, 365 paper napkin mustaches.
I wanted to play, too, and I chose books. I love books, I know a bit about making books (thanks to my talented book-maker sister, Marilyn Worrix), and they're broad enough in definition to give me a lot of creative leeway.

The whole point is not really the books. The idea is to stretch myself in many ways as an artist and a person, to set up a discipline, stick with it and see what that teaches me.

I hope you'll join with me and follow along on the journey chronicled here, and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I did it! This is book 365 in my year-long book-a-day challenge.

OK, I will admit right here that it took me just slightly longer than 365 days. I am 6 days over my exact year. But I am trying to be easy on myself here. I am celebrating anyway. I hope you will celebrate with me.

This final book is a leather journal for my friend Michael (because he called dibs), who I've known for over 40 years. The base leather for the book is a putty-colored cowhide. Around that, I have wrapped another piece of leather that I think is ostrich. I can't be sure because I pulled it unmarked from the scrap bin at the leather store. I saw it an pounced. It's a rich deep purple.

The pages are Neenah Sundance 70 lb paper in crushed cream, a lovely paper for writing or sketching with pencil, pen, ink, markers.

The journal is bound with a long stitch binding (also called a Medieval limp binding) with medium brown waxed cotton thread. It makes an interesting stitch pattern on the spine. The unusual closure is made from a found object I picked up at a flea market. I think it might be some type of faucet handle. A thong of the purple leather ties through it and around the journal to keep it closed.

This is a rich, elegant journal and I hope Michael lives it.


  1. Congratulations! An enormous achievement. For me a book a week would prove too much, I am afraid.

  2. Well done on all those books! Quite an achievement. Thing is, I enjoyed your blog, so what's next?

  3. Congrats! I've enjoyed following your year of books. I'm impressed and inspired!

  4. Wow, congratulations! What an amazing body of work. Much inventiveness as well as beauty. Inspiring!

  5. Congratulations! It's been a pleasure and an inspiration to follow your work!

  6. You deserve the fireworks - congratulations on completing your goal!

    1. and PS - beautiful book. Michael is sure to love it, if only because he knows the care that was put into it.

  7. Congratulations Donna! It has been fun and very inspiring to follow you through your year long project. I hope you are proud of yourself.....everyone who has taken on the challenges should be! I still don't think I would be able to do 365 days of anything....but I do know that I have pulled out a lot of book making material and have gotten back into that wonderful craft thanks to you!! Good luck on whatever is next and I hope you keep your blog going!

  8. Wow it has been awesome following all your beautiful 365 creative endeavors. Please keep your blog going, looking forward to more. I have learned a lot from your books, I can only imagine how much this experience has enriched your life. Congratulations on your achievements!

  9. Wow! What a gorgeous book!!
    Congratulations on completing your personal quest!!!!
    I am in awe! :):)

  10. Congratulations! I'm sad it's over!

    That purple leather is. . . wow. Royal.

    Are the bumps on it from the ostrich feathers?

  11. This is totally remarkable and wonderful!! I have been lurking with lots of admiration for most of the year and am so inspired and excited! I really hope that you will keep this blog up for all of us to continue to be inspired by your past & future creations... I'm thinking of doing a month of books soon but my goodness, your year of books is mind-blowing! Amazing job with SO many creative wonderful things to show for it!! :-D

  12. `Wow, you did it and the books look great. I am loving the beer series, could add pepsi and coke too, and the strong women series, the teen books with embossed covers and included drawings from the books, ....and...well every creative exploration.

    I even saved cooky and candy boxes to convert, and the donation requests and discount cards.(like credit cards) that came in the mail. Even the box the the case of canned chili came in looks good.

    I hope you continue this venture now that you are in the habit of book making every day and have a trained eye to spot a good book cover! Looking forward to continued reading your blog...sigh....

  13. MAZAL TOV (Literaly is means "Good Luck" in Hebrew' but we use this greeting also to say "Congratulations")

    It was fascinating, inspiring and too short year.
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.


  14. Absolutely congratulations on everything:) What an achievement! I've enjoyed following you and look forward to your future work.

  15. congratulatons and well done on your achievement :o))
    I have been following your blog daily and loved it all.

    Thank you fro sharing your amazing projects.
    {Dab and a dash.}

  16. I am Oh Boying!! Congratulations! Thanks so much!

  17. Thanks to all for your kind words. I'm not going away. I DO plan to continue posting to this blog regularly, just not every day. I look forward to making some books without the pressure of having to get it done NOW.

    P.S. Re: the comment above from "Sheehan" - that's Michael. :)

  18. This is wonderful! Congratulations!! You are an inspiration for sure. I am in school to become a elementary and special education teacher and I plan on making many handmade books both in the classroom and out. I can't wait to see your Etsy account so I can buy one or two of your beautiful books.

    Thank you so much for sharing your skill with us in the blogosphere. :)

  19. Congratulations! That is incredible. Sorry I'm late to the party. Thank you so much for sharing your year of books with us. It has been quite a treat and incredibly inspiring, especially seeing you push through rough times and books that perhaps you didn't think were the best, but were so important because you did it!

  20. I keep coming back because I miss your books. Not one for Feb yet. I have gone back through all your old books and had the pleasure of reading the old posts I missed.

    Again thank you for the past books, but I thought you were going to continue this at least once a week. I know you are making those books, but we need them too...lol...

  21. Frances - LOL. Yes I will be posting more books, but I needed a little hiatus. I found myself oddly depressed when the project was done. Just coming back to life. I did not make a single book from #365 until three days ago, when I made a few of the little pulp fiction notebooks and some others like them featuring one of my own photos of a mural here in Chloride, Arizona. I put them in our gallery here and sold two the second day! I'm now working on a hair-on-hide journal (will finish tonight) and thinking about a much more elaborate book sculpture I've been working toward for quite a while. And I woke up deciding I finally want to learn how to do a secret Belgian binding.

    I need to begin building up inventory so I can finally stock an etsy shop, so yes, keep looking for more books. They're coming. (And thanks for the butt kick!)

  22. Secret Belgain book sounds interesting and the pulp fiction books do too. You are copying those from more than 75 yrs ago, right? Copyright laws still exist and we can't use the originals, they are just too valuable, so use caution there.
    So glad you are continuing this.

  23. note: If you want use a copyed image less than 75 years, think Mona Lisa or Marylin Monroe. Her image copy was legal if altered 10%. I suggest a title pun addition or a computer manipulation of the image by adding a little modern twist, to work around the copyright issue.

  24. I followed your books for the whole year and I love them! You had so many creative ideas! I never thought of a book in so many non-traditional ways! YYou inspired me to do more than read books about making books. I actually did make a book with pockets out of a cake mix box.

    So, what did you learn in the process of making all these books? Did it change you in any way? Did it change your art?

  25. oh wow Donna. I have just blogged on how hard it is/was to to a drawing a day in the dAd project and here you are making a book a day. I am impressed and ever so slightly envious!

  26. I just discovered this blog and I have to say it is very inspirational. I can hardly make myself get out of bed every day, much less make a book a day (or every 1.011 days).

    I also enjoy that they are simple but often inspired...within the reach of mere mortals in the craft. Great work!

  27. Donna, I sent a message to your other website and then realized I could just leave a comment! I love, love, love this. You have inspired me. I also mentioned your blog on my post for today. Thank you!

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  29. none of your photos are coming through . can you help me? thank you