StorybooksandGardens

Storybooks & Gardens

Announcement    Hello! Welcome to Storybooks & Gardens!

A book is a sacred object. But sometimes, children’s books are just so well-loved and worn out that they are too fragile to read and too damaged to be valuable. But clever people can still find a way to create beautiful things from these lovely old favorites.

I'm Kath, and I make jewelry, magnets, pins, bookmarks, keychains, and blank journals/sketchbooks, often using recycled materials. I'm located in Evanston, IL.

I am a used book dealer specializing in children’s books, and have recently been brainstorming ways to upcycle the covers and pages of damaged books. Sometimes, a book is just in too poor condition to be read or even displayed, but I cannot bear to throw them away. I try to upcycle all of the parts: the covers become blank journals. The spines become bookmarks. The text and illustrations are made into magnets, buttons, and bookmarks. And I save out many of the best pages for you to create something yourself. My packs of pages are perfect for scrapbooking, junk journaling, or even simple framing or shadow boxes. What can you invent?

I also make jewelry! I work in enamel, resin, and glass, occasionally incorporating stickers, scrapbook papers, children's book illustrations, and images of book covers into my work. I also love flowers, and vintage waterslide decals sneak into my enamel with regularity.

Let me know if you need other photos as more are always available. If you're looking for any special collectible children's books, to read or to use in a project, please reach out. I have thousands of titles available offline and am happy to create a custom listing if I have what you need, whether it’s a beat-up paperback or a vintage first edition.

My home and workshop are smoke-free but NOT pet-free so if cats are a problem for you, please be forewarned. Their names are Jack and Lennie and even though my workshop is in a different building that they have never entered, their hair seems to follow me wherever I go.

Announcement

Last updated on Jan 3, 2022

Hello! Welcome to Storybooks & Gardens!

A book is a sacred object. But sometimes, children’s books are just so well-loved and worn out that they are too fragile to read and too damaged to be valuable. But clever people can still find a way to create beautiful things from these lovely old favorites.

I'm Kath, and I make jewelry, magnets, pins, bookmarks, keychains, and blank journals/sketchbooks, often using recycled materials. I'm located in Evanston, IL.

I am a used book dealer specializing in children’s books, and have recently been brainstorming ways to upcycle the covers and pages of damaged books. Sometimes, a book is just in too poor condition to be read or even displayed, but I cannot bear to throw them away. I try to upcycle all of the parts: the covers become blank journals. The spines become bookmarks. The text and illustrations are made into magnets, buttons, and bookmarks. And I save out many of the best pages for you to create something yourself. My packs of pages are perfect for scrapbooking, junk journaling, or even simple framing or shadow boxes. What can you invent?

I also make jewelry! I work in enamel, resin, and glass, occasionally incorporating stickers, scrapbook papers, children's book illustrations, and images of book covers into my work. I also love flowers, and vintage waterslide decals sneak into my enamel with regularity.

Let me know if you need other photos as more are always available. If you're looking for any special collectible children's books, to read or to use in a project, please reach out. I have thousands of titles available offline and am happy to create a custom listing if I have what you need, whether it’s a beat-up paperback or a vintage first edition.

My home and workshop are smoke-free but NOT pet-free so if cats are a problem for you, please be forewarned. Their names are Jack and Lennie and even though my workshop is in a different building that they have never entered, their hair seems to follow me wherever I go.

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Kathryn Kerste

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Kathryn Kerste

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About StorybooksandGardens

Sales 19
On Etsy since 2009

Journals, magnets, jewelry, and more, made from upcycled vintage children’s books.

I’m Kath and I live in Evanston, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). I have been making things for a long time and although I dabble in a lot of mediums, jewelry is my first true love, followed by paper crafts. By day I am an editor and a bookseller, with a specific love of children’s literature. I sell vintage children’s books and my most recent art stems from that: finding a way to upcycle books that are just too damaged to be read. I have always embraced a love of second-hand finds and have a firm commitment to green living and keeping useable items out of a landfill.

Most evenings you’ll find me in front of my kiln making enameled jewelry, or at my work table playing with paper scraps. Weekends I’ll be at a flea market, either selling books, handmade items and other treasures, or perhaps at an auction or estate sale shopping for treasures or my next upcycling project.

I also collect vintage toys, so you may find some of my overflow on this page!

Shop policies

Last updated on January 23, 2023

Accepted payment methods

Paypal Visa Mastercard Discover Apple Pay Klarna Giftcard
Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits

Returns & exchanges

See item details for return and exchange eligibility.

Cancellations

Cancellations: accepted

Request a cancellation: within 24 hours of purchase

Privacy

I will use your information to ship your item and that is it. Period. I do not have a newsletter and will not email you anything or sell your information to anyone. If you get anything regarding the purchase in ads or emails, that is coming from Etsy, not me.
See this Seller Handbook article for a sample privacy policy you can customize for your shop.

More information

Last updated on May 11, 2022

Frequently asked questions

Why would you cut up a book?!?

I have been a professional bookseller since 1994 and have collected books since childhood. To me, a book is a sacred object. But when a book is just too damaged to serve as literature, and has no value as a collectible, there are two choices: trash, or recycle/upcycle.

I upcycle everything I can. I make bookmarks from broken spines, blank journals from hard covers, magnets, pins and keychains from smaller illustrations, and package loose pages for crafty types to use in their scrapbooks and junk journals.

It is satisfying to create something darling from something that someone else casts aside.

Gift wrapping and packaging

Sure, I can gift wrap! Just convo me about the occasion and we’ll come up with a plan. Probably no charge unless you need something really elaborate.

Care instructions

Don’t use books or magnets in the shower. Or pool. Or in the ocean. Thank you.