Six garden-planning seasons ago, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design grad Sara Blette was looking for a notebook to help organize her planting and keep track of the details we all find ourselves forgetting after every spring: Which variety of peppers did so well last year? What were those purple flowers that attracted all the bees? Where did I plant those lily bulbs? And when did that first frost come that killed the tomatoes?
When Blette couldn't find a notebook that met the items on her checklist—something design-forward with an easy-to-customize format, created in the United States, and made with recycled paper—she decided to fill the void by creating her own three-ring binder, complete with places to add photos, grid paper for plotting beds, wooden plant stakes, and a CD with templates for printing extra pages.
The design process for the Garden Journal ($18)—which we can't wait to use, even though it's not outdoor planting time yet—sparked a larger idea. As Blette asks, shouldn't you be able to put together a notebook that "fits your OCD needs, whatever they are"? The thought led her to create Make My Notebook, a company that lets you choose your size, design, color, filler paper, and binding. Blette assembles the books and hand silk-screens each cover in her Edgewater studio (5364 West 25th Avenue, 303-501-9125, open by appointment), many of which were inspired by photographs from her own garden.
You can order online or catch Blette in action at the Design Within Denver trunk show on April 19 at MCA Denver and at the Horseshoe Market in Berkeley on May 11. While Blette's focus is local, Make My Notebook is making an impact beyond Denver: A few of her designs were recently picked up by Nordstrom and are being sold on the website and in 60 stores nationwide.
—Images Courtesy of Sara Lazio
Follow copy chief Jessica Farmwald on Twitter at @JessicaKF.