The Martha Years
A few years ago I went through a serious Martha phase. I arrived at bridal showers with fresh blooms on my packages and covered friends' birthday gift boxes with woven grosgrain ribbon. (The matchbox obsession you've already heard about.) One project, however, really stands out in my mind as a truly good thing: custom-designed bookplates and labels.
Bookplates are usually elegant little paper labels that, according to Martha Stewart, add a personal touch to a treasured book and indicate a volume's rightful owner. Like party invitations or personal stationery, bookplates can be quite costly or very inexpensive -- there's a wide range of options available. Some bookplates are engraved while others are made at home with a rubber stamp or a computer printer.
You probably remember that when Mary McDonald hosted a book-themed baby shower, she had custom bookplates made along with the invitations. These were mailed to guests who were asked to bring a book for the new baby and to write a brief personal note on the bookplate.
Above, Charlotte Moss chose to use her beloved pagoda in this design for a personal bookplate. Most any business that produces customized note paper or invitations will make bookplates. Some will have a catalog of motifs from which to choose or you may inquire about bringing in your own non-copyrighted image.
Obviously these days many crafty, resourceful people make their own bookplates by hand (templates are available at Martha's site).
Rubber stamps are great because they allow you to vary your ink and paper colors (white ink on chocolate-brown paper or the reverse depending on mood). One year, for a friend who bakes, I had a stamp made that read "from Julia's kitchen" below an image of a dish. Using my computer, I did the graphic design, printed it out and took it to a business supply shop, Artlite.
In my Christmas gift to Julia I included her personal stamp, ink pads and a stack of blank paper gift tags and recipe cards. The same principle works for bookplates. It's a fun thing to do for the friend who has everything.
BTW: For collectors, bookplates are a miniature art form. To learn more, visit the Bookplate Society. And Cashmere Librarian suggests The Art of the Bookplate.
Credits: images one, two, seven and eight are from Good Things; the Mary McDonald shower pictures are via House Beautiful; and Charlotte Moss' bookplate is from her latest book, A Flair for Living, available through her site.