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This book was born of a secret correspondence between me and a dear friend's mother. One day, I received a very confidential email from a stranger (now friend) that just caused me to squeal with delight. It read: 

"I heard about you through my daughter, Sasha, and am very impressed and intrigued with your books. I've been thinking about what to get Sasha for her birthday. She's always so thoughtful when getting everyone gifts, we need to nail it just as well as she does. So this has me thinking about a book as art that would represent a favorite author like Faulkner or Melville? Embellish a cover OR it's a whole book (that hangs) but opens to a carved out tiny niche? I'm open to suggestions! . . . Is this something you would be interested in doing? Thanks, Susan" 

A celebratory Breakfast Club dance party and few emails later and I was watercoloring away and collecting quotes for this one-of-a-kind birthday gift. The goal was to really celebrate Sasha's love of literature, writing, and words by creating a piece that inspires. I proposed a seemingly ordinary coffee table book that opens up to feature a dozen (mostly) classic authors and a truly breathtaking quote from each one and Susan simply replied, "I absolutely adore all of your ideas. I am going to get out of your way and let you create this piece as you envision it." 

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The final gift started with a tattered and discarded copy of the book "Life and Literature." It's been carved out to include 12 niches, each with a miniature book inside. Each miniature book includes hand watercolored pages, vintage dictionary papers, and an inspirational quote clacked out on a vintage Smith-Corona typewriter. All these pages are sewn together and covered by a portrait of the author that's been embellished with hand-embroidered details. 

"After seeing photos of the gift Jenna made for Sasha's friend, I knew she had the talent to make a book into a piece of art. By giving her creative freedom, she created something much richer than I had imagined. When exchanging emails with Jenna while discussing the book, I would literally get chills from the perceptive and illuminating ideas she brought forth. The final book is inspirational, beautiful, and best opened slowly, piece by piece." —Susan, Syracuse NY

Happy secrets, vintage papers, embroidery, and tiny books— this birthday gift was truly an honor to create. If you'd like to be inspired, feel free to read each quote via the slideshow below.  

If you're interested in having a custom handmade journal or a very special gift created for you or a friend, just shoot me an email on the contact page