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Friday, June 29, 2018

Talented Artist - Karen from Novel Creations - Interview & Giveaway

Novel Creations

About Karen

Welcome to Novel Creations! My name is Karen and I am happy you stopped by.

Working for a used book store, I would bring home the books they wanted to throw away. I just could not see them taking a dive in the dumpster. Eventually, I had to come up with an idea to recycle them.

I found directions on how-to-make-your-own book purse and I knew that was it.

Well, following those directions, I ended up making a HORRIBLE book purse. Nothing like the photo that was shown. After many mishaps and lots of improvements, I was able to make a book purse and good enough that family and friends wanted me to make them one!

Because of my love of books, it was time to start sharing this creative bookish accessory with other book lovers and my Etsy shop was born in the year 2008.

My book purses have been showcased numerous times on BuzzFeed,,
Chicago Times, L.A. Times, USA Today and Horror Finds.


Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest


1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I grew up in a family history of entrepreneurs on my father's side and creative dreamers on my Mother's side. Handmade creations and ideas are a staple in my immediate family. When I get together with my sisters and my Mom, in addition to sitting and visiting, we are always working on some kind of a handmade craft item. Our hands and our mouths are moving.

2) What’s the inspiration behind your work?

I was working at a used bookstore and saw all these unwanted books. It was difficult to see them being unused. So coming up with a way to breathe new life into them started an obsession that I wanted to figure out.

3) Where did you learn your craft?

What surprises most people is that I make these from actual books.

The idea came from a craft-making book I found at the store I worked at.... When I saw this idea, I knew that was it. I followed the directions and the purse came out horrible. Exactly what you would call a Pinterest fail. I reworked, retweaked and redesigned until finally my family wanted me to make them one. Even 10 years later, I am still updating and tweaking my designs.

4) What does your workplace look like?

My home-base workshop is full of things that make me happy. It is not magazine cover design at all but I look forward to stepping inside. My other favorite place is my bookroom library. I have a spare room stuffed with book shelves for my book finds. I have so many books that I am not even able to take photos of them all and upload to my shop yet. Some call it my book hoarding room and that is okay with me. I love the smell of this room too.

5) You make bookish items, where does your love for books come from?

From my childhood of course. When I think back about my elementary years and my teachers, the memories I have are them reading books to us. I can still remember the sound of my 4th-grade teacher's voice when she read Ramona The Pest out loud to the class.

The one book I cherish and is my ultimate favorite book is Mrs Piggle Wiggle. I secretly hid the book that I borrowed from the school library and still have it to this day. I read the stories to my children when they were little.

6) Can you tell a bit more about how you started your store?

After I made purses that people wanted, I branched out to the fairs and festivals where I grew up to see if other book lovers would find my creations just as pleasing as I do. With the great response, I wanted to share with a much larger book lover community and that is when I found Etsy. I was an original seller who brought book purses to Etsy.

7) How do you choose which cover to use and where do you find the books?

I am always at any used bookstore that I can find. Especially when we travel, I hit the used stores and ask to dig through their unwanted recycled piles of books. Thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales and auctions are never passed by.

There is this "thing" that happens when my eyes are diverted to a book. I get this feeling. I have learned to go with it and now will bring that book home. Within a day, I get a request for it or an order. It has been a mystical thing that happens to me that my reluctant hubby now fully accepts.

8) You recycle a lot, how does this process work?

I use every part of the book that I can...if the inside pages are not wanted by the customer, I shred them for packing material. If a book has a satin marker ribbon, I sew that along the top of the inside pocket. Some of the pages are created as a card and envelope for gift-giving. I create other small things with the pages and sell those items individually, ex. book wreaths, bookish ornaments, bookmarks, earrings, etc....

9) Can you name some of your favorite authors whose covers you’d really like to use?

Every customer has their favorite author and favorite book, so the creation of any book into a book purse is endless.

When I have an author who personally contacts me and shares her joy of having her own book created into a purse, I get overwhelmed with the feeling of gratitude for the opportunity to be able to create something special for someone.

10) What are your plans for the future?

I recently created a design so that I will be able to recycle unwanted paperback books or books too small for a book purse or book clutch. The book wallets have been a book lover dream for those who have their own designer purse, but want to keep their favorite book with them in a unique fashion accessory. As long as there are unwanted books, I will keep repurposing them into something unique.


Book cover wallet

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a book cover wallet (winner’s choice).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Genius! I love these. What a perfect gift for a book lover .

  2. The quality and design look amazing. Unique, fun and quirky too.

  3. They are so amazing!
    Bravo! :)

  4. These are really clever and beautiful!

  5. Look so good, I would have never thought of something like this. Great idea!

  6. I love these - I even love the name "Novel Creations" which couldn't be more apt :-)

  7. Beautiful, useful and amazing, thanks, love your shop! xx

  8. Those are absolutely lovely! I would love to get one

  9. These are fantastic. I keep hinting to my husband for one of them.

  10. Hi Karen, I love these Purses/wallets! Thank you

  11. Oh my gosh what awesome creations, love it!

  12. I love them, they are beautiful.

  13. I love the store! Such cute things!

  14. Loving these. Beautiful, useful and clever.

  15. These book cover bags are stunning! I love them.

  16. thanks I love the different ways you recycle

    tiramisu392 (at)

  17. Wow so neat, and what a talent...I think if I won I'D pick..... a HP book or any Kelley Armstrong book

  18. These look super lovely and very ingenious. :-)

  19. Love your items, they're absolutely wonderful!

  20. Karen I wish you success! Your creations are lovely

  21. These are so cute and creative, great work!

  22. Karen these are gorgeous. I really can't wait to get one and I despise purses but you better believe I would proudly display any of yours on my shelves at the house. c:
    -Maranda H.

  23. Karen, your creations are so adorable! Unique and fun!

  24. So quirky! I especially love the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland purse x
    Twitter: @Y_Nirvana

  25. that great idea make a small purse and walet you can get lot of old book around here form the thrift store and the book sotre in spring feild

  26. I love your designs and the vintage covers you use!

  27. Cutest wallets ever! I wish I could craft!

  28. Wow! I love these! I have a birthday coming up for a family member who doesn't go anywhere without her books. I will be buying one of these for her.

  29. Hey Karen, what a creativity! I love the way you recycle items. Absolutely love your products. Keep rocking....!

  30. Oh, wow, the things you do, Karen! I love it all. I've checked your Etsy account and... you are so talented. It's amazing.

  31. I literally need everything from this shop. Ugh.

  32. I absolutely LOVE the looks of these wallets!