Good Work: Leather Journals, Baby Books, and Ephemera

Knoxville, Tennessee · 76 Sales


Good Work: Leather Journals, Baby Books, and Ephemera

Knoxville, Tennessee 76 Sales On Etsy since 2008

0 out of 5 stars

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No reviews in the last year

slwill507 on Nov 12, 2014

5 out of 5 stars

Very unique, well made little notebook. Soft leather and nice, heavy paper stock. Carrying it around and writing down all the little reasons I love my fiance until May, when I'll give it to him as a gift on our wedding day. :)


lmrheaume on Aug 19, 2014

5 out of 5 stars

It is such a pleasure to work with Anna Laura. She has made an absolutely WONDERFUL baby book that is priceless to me. It's the softest leather and beautiful stitching on the flower...she puts a lot of love into her work and it shows! I will treasure this book forever and I can't thank her enough for the amazing gift she has created for me. Thank you again Anna Laura!

Vladimir Ferdman

Vladimir Ferdman on Jul 5, 2014

5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful work, thank you for creating this beautiful book.

View all 20 reviews


Bookbinding in the Digital Age

My bookbinding, whether I'm making journals, sketchbooks, baby books, dream journals or albums, happens at the confluence of my love for writing---recording memory---and my love for making art. My love for writing has pushed me through an MA program in English/Poetry Writing, my poems into a few national literary magazines, and my personal blog into the lives of many whom I know, and many I don't know. It's a vocation, and I link it strongly with the physical act, through the centuries, of laying sentences down on paper.

As writing of all kinds is increasingly done digitally, I want to involve my hands, and yours, in the good work of writing, drawing, and preserving books. And not just any books: beautiful books, books designed and bound by a human who, like you, cares about what the book you hold in your hand will remember.

I use fine writing paper and real leathers of all colors and textures because the ephemeral nature of human life is both persistent and fragile---what moves on into the future, and recedes in the past, is your life. You should be able to touch with your hands what you have lived. That's what I think, anyway.

While I started Good Work with small leatherbound journals, I've moved into new territory with leatherbound baby books and leatherbound dream journals. I love making all the books I make, but baby books and dream journals are unique in that they are tools you can use to polish your inner eye. The prompts, writing space, and photo squares of a baby book and the prompts and writing/drawing space of a dream journal help you to become more observant of your family's life and your own inner life.

I love what I do, and I hope you do, too. Enjoy browsing Good Work. Do get in touch if you have questions about listings, current or past, or about a custom order. If you want ideas about a custom order, visit my facebook page to see my "portfolio."

Anna Laura

P.S. I love bartering / doing trades, too, so if you want to talk about possibilities, send me a message. If I have favorited your shop, chances are I already wish I owned things that you make. :)

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Shop members

  • Anna Laura Reeve

    Owner, Designer, Creator

    My bookbinding---as I make journals, sketchbooks, and baby books---happens at the confluence of my love for writing, recording memory, and my love for making art. I want to bring myself and others into the good work of materially recording our lives.

Shop policies

Last updated on August 21, 2014
I make leather-bound blank books, which begins with rolls of leather, 8.5x11 sheets of paper, thread, needles, awls -- things like that -- and ends with books lovely enough to hold your dreams and drawings, and durable enough for your great grandkids to be reading in 75 years. I've been making blank books "from scratch" for years and am learning a better way to do things with every batch. "Good Work," a Wendell Berry borrow (see his book "Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community"), is the motto of my creations ... online and off. I'm not all about the flimsy & inexpensive props the TV tells us to buy every day of our lives...I want a work to be useful and beautiful, both together. The greater expense that comes with that quality of work is a honor to spend, and honor to receive.

I cut, fold, and sew the pages together in signatures, glue the signatures together with a strip of cloth at the binding (it's the only way to do it -- makes the book last forever), and glue the leather cover on top of the whole book (which includes the heavy-stock end-papers). If I've got any kind of design on the cover, that's more awesomeness that's happening. It takes a while to create a book, and I'm not sloppy, so the expense will always be worth it for anyone who wants to see their work (writing or drawing) last.

Accepted payment methods

  • Money Order
  • Check
Returns and exchanges
I do refunds in most cases. Message me with your questions and we'll talk.
I prefer Paypal. If I'm making you a custom order, I won't begin until I have received payment (or until your payment clears my Paypal). If you're buying a listing, I won't ship until I receive payment. I have a lenient cancellation policy---I want to make my customers happy. If you have a question about cancellation, message me and we'll talk.
Shipping prices will hold to the information in each listing. However, if you are purchasing a custom order of pieces with multiple destinations, I will calculate a custom shipping amount. That custom amount will only cover my costs in packaging & shipping the pieces separately.

My international shipping prices are, currently, one-size-fits-all. If you think it will cost significantly less to ship to your country, please let me know, and I'll do some research! I don't make money off shipping charges, and I don't want to. I'd like to make everything in my shop accessible.

I use cushion mailers for books & wallets, and cardboard boxes for star garlands. I will generally send items USPS First-Class, but my baby books go Priority Mail.
Additional policies and FAQs
+ Do you do custom orders?

Yes. I do more custom orders, currently, than pre-made items. I love it. If you see a piece in my shop, or in Sold Orders (or in my Facebook albums), that you want, let me know. I should be able to make a version of it (as identical as possible, or with changes you specify), and quote you a price.

+ Do you do custom baby books?

I love making custom baby books. I'll try to always have pre-made baby books available in my shop, but a custom baby book is just so cool. Made-to-order baby books with a simple applique are $65, and the price goes up a little for a more complex cover (baby's name, complex applique, etc.).

+ Can you alter any of the baby books already in your shop?

Since the endpapers are glued firmly to the leather cover, any additional punching or sewing will show through (and look very messy) on the inside cover. If this is ok with you, it's ok with me! I'll charge a small additional amount to do alterations to an existing book. I will have to change the price in the listing, so wait to purchase it until I give you the go-ahead.

+ Can I see other baby books you've made?

Sure! You can look through my "Sold Orders" for a few of them, but many of the custom baby books I've created haven't made it onto Etsy. I have photographed almost all the baby books I've made, though, and uploaded them into an album ("Baby Books") on my Facebook page: Good Work. You can follow the button for Facebook on the front page of my shop to get there.

+ Why do you have to send baby books Priority Mail?

Firstly, because most of them are too heavy to go First-Class, but I don't have a scale to weigh them before I list them in my shop (and add the shipping costs). It's easier for me to ship them all Priority, and it gives you a tracking number, insurance, and a 2-day delivery. I think it's a good deal all the way around, but if you'd like me to ship a baby book to you First-Class, let me know BEFORE you purchase the listing so I can change the shipping charges accordingly.

+ What is "oil-tanned leather" / What kind of leather do you use for covers?

For an in-depth lesson on leather tanning, get thee to the information superhighway (or go to a leather store) (or a library). In short, though: I use top-grain, oil-tanned leather for all my dark brown book covers (which is 95% of all my book covers). Top-grain = best quality. These leathers have been tanned all the way to the center of the hide, which means they won't tear, crack, or peel. They'll actually look better with age. This is important if you're rough on your books, as I tend to be. What's not to love? Well, the one (and only) downside to having a book covered in oil-tanned leather is that the grain-side (outside) can make an oil impression on white or thin paper if it rests on it long enough. I haven't timed this, but I did notice that a newly-made book left a faint oil impression on a paper that it had been lying on for at least a month, possibly longer. This is no reason to fear oil-tanned leather; rather, it's a reason to lay your book on a glossy surface, a wood surface, another book, a TV, a nightstand, a basket, a bookshelf, the ground, the couch, and your skin (rather than than on an open magazine, or at least to let it lie there for a month). This has only happened once to me, and it seems like the more I use a book, the more matte the cover gets, which means it may be leaving invisible trace oils on everything it touches---just like you do when you touch things with your hands. Anyway, this is just a caution for people who haven't any experience with leathers like these. I hope you come to love them, as I do.