Biblio Bling · Exploration

Biblio Bling in the Works

My Etsy shop at The Merry Monk is getting some new additions in the category of Biblio Bling.  Biblio Bling features handmade pieces of wearable art inspired by my favorite books and authors.

The Inspiration

I’ve been a book nerd all my life so wanting to create and wear something that reflects my love of books is a natural for me. My first job was working at a public school library for 25 cents an hour, and I hoarded that meager pay to buy books. Back before libraries caught on to the whole library sale idea, they would burn the books that were removed from circulation. I begged to take some home and swore an oath on a stack of dilapidated books that I would never return them accidentally to the library – a sin close to but not quite as bad as the Original.  My favorite copy of The Wind in the Willows comes from that haul. It’s not a valuable book bound as it is in sturdy library cloth and covered with old stickers, but it has the most glorious, thick paper. I don’t want to read any other; just sniffing the pages takes me back to my youth.

Alice in Wonderland is the first book Im using to inspire this line. My previous post, How Alice in Wonderland Saved my Life, provides some background for that choice.

To whet your whistle, here are a few illustrations that I love from Alice:


The Process

To begin, I brainstormed ideas based on images in the books. To organize all my ideas, I created a mood board so that I could have a visual reference to help me stay focused and to which I could  refer as I shopped for findings and other pieces to use in this collection. I created several mood boards with different colors schemes for different characters. Here is Color Scheme 3 from my Alice collection:

Alice Mood Board Scheme 3


Pattern Curator was the source for the color scheme and floral patterns above. If you don’t know about Pattern Curator, head  over to their website and sign up for their emails.  You’ll love their fabulous print and color inspiration.

The Parts

Because I want to incorporate words as well as images into my pieces, my biggest challenge has been to find a way to do that in the best shape and size. I settled on using metals blanks and dominoes to begin. Here are a few I’ve created so far:


Other components have come from B’Sue Boutiques including the  brass charms you see in the mood board above.

The glass pieces at the bottom of the mood board are supplied by my brother who makes the coolest glass components for jewelry making and other crafts.  Here a few of the non book-related pieces I’ve created with them.

And since I have a “thing” about paper, I know I’ll be using some of my handmade papers as well as text from Alice to create unique components.

Stay tuned for the final reveal of my complete line on April 14 when the Build A Line Challenge comes to a close and we reveal our completed line.

Have a suggestion for a book you’d like to see in Biblio Bling? Leave a comment below. I’m always looking for inspiration.  Just keep in mind that I cannot use any images from Disney, Dr. Who, or other copyrighted materials.

All photographs are the property of The Merry Monk Press and may not be re-used or copied without permission.

On The Reading Shelf

How Alice in Wonderland Saved My Life

It was the spring of 1971, and I was close to failing high school geometry.

I had started the class armed with ruler, compass, number two pencils, plenty of notebook paper, and enthusiasm. The nun who taught the class was young, personable, and fun. I did just fine until Spring rolled around. On nice days, we headed outside to sit on the grass under a budding tree while she explained the latest proof and drew on notebook paper to illustrate her point. Everyone loved it, including me.

Imagine it for a second. The sun is shining, a breeze is gently rustling the new green leaves, Sr. Mary Mary is holding forth on Euclid in all his glory. This is what is going through my head ……Euclid….blah…… blah……blah….oooh look at that big spider …..hypotenuse….blah…blah…..blah…..this grass is tickling my legs…….. blah……….blah…..therefore we can say that………..did that spider just crawl up my leg?……….everyone got that?      Um, what?

I was lost.

Near the end of the semester, desperate not to have to go through this again, I asked for an extra credit project and, given a choice of several, I chose to do a paper on the logic in Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll, real name Charles Dodgson, was a mathematician and logician with strong opinions on the subject. Math and logic references are frequently found in his works, as in this exchange from Alice in Wonderland:

`I couldn’t afford to learn it.’ said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. `I only took the regular course.’

`What was that?’ inquired Alice.

`Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied; `and then the different branches of Arithmetic– Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’

`I never heard of “Uglification,”‘ Alice ventured to say. `What is it?’

The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. `What! Never heard of uglifying!’ it exclaimed. `You know what to beautify is, I suppose?’

`Yes,’ said Alice doubtfully: `it means–to–make–anything– prettier.’

`Well, then,’ the Gryphon went on, `if you don’t know what to uglify is, you ARE a simpleton.’

I’d never read Alice before that class, and I fell in love with the book for all its outright craziness and convoluted logic.  I loved Alice for being curious about it all.

“Curioser and curiouser!” cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for a moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).

Maybe the story fit right in with my teenage brain trying to make sense out of a world that sometimes seemed nonsensical. The illustrations by John Tenniel were perfect companions to the text and will forever be what I think of when I envision Alice in Wonderland—a little crazy with a hint of terror lurking at the edges.


I hope you’ll be tempted to open Alice and enjoy. There’s a wealth of information online about the math and logic problems in Carroll’s works if you want to be curious yourself.

By the way, I passed geometry class. Thanks, Alice.

There is another connection with Alice and that will be in my new line of literary jewelry.  Stay tuned for updates on that project coming soon.