... alternatively there is a wealth of inspiration online, in books and magazines, and in shops which, (so long as you aren't going to gain profit by going into mass production of the things) you can just recreate.
While it appears (and probably is) rather detrimental to my own purposes (ie. selling the things that I make to you) I am going to attempt to show you how I do some things so that you can do them too. A lot of the craft and art that I come up with I bodge together from ideas and techniques I glean from my internet trauling and picking through mum's craft books. In fact I blame nearly all of my foxy craftiness on my mum. As I wrote this I gained a great appreciation for people who write clear and easy to understand instructions as it can be tricky to explain some things in words. But enough excuses! Onwards!
So... Stab binding.
It's called Japanese binding by a lot of people, but as the Japanese used MANY traditional binding methods and this one was actually first used by the Chinese (I think) so its probably more appropriate or accurate to call it 'Stab binding'
Recently I have used this technique to make a wedding present album for a friend and her husband in NZ and just last weekend a Mother's day present for mum.
I've split the tutorial into two parts so its not too long, first up, the part which is the most time consuming... the cover.
Fortunately, after too long being monopolised by the stereotype of the 'craft woman' needlecraft is making a comeback. I've never been very good at keeping to patterns so I imagine I'll be terrible at making them. You don't need one anyway, this is the part of the whole thing that is supposed to be "you" (whatever that is)
These are the stitches I use most often.
At 'A' bring the needle to the front and stitch back to 'B' (its called backstitching because you always kind of loop back) Bring the needle back to the front of the fabric at point 'C' and then back to 'A'
Then at 'D' bring the needle to the front, and back at 'C' and so on.
From the back of the fabric you bring the needle forward at 'A' then from front to back at 'B' bringing the needle to the front at 'C' keeping the thread under the needle point. The stitches can be as close together or as far apart as you like.
Pick a starting point 'A' and bring your needle to the front of the fabric. Insert it again at the same place and bring the point out again at 'B' keeping the thread under the needle point. Continue like this until you're done, and when you are just anchor your last loop with a normal straight stitch.
There's lots of other stitches you can use and there are some wonderful online resources to help you learn them. This one is amazing, if my meager instructions are not clear enough I guarantee Sarah will have a much better explanation. And she does pictures... good ones. (Unlike mine)
All you need to do is cut out your fabric and get stitching. I have used linen. Make sure that you have at least two extra inches on every side. I'm making an A5 album so I just measure it against a piece of paper that size, pretty easy and no 'real' measurements involved.
Then just design your cover and stitch it up!
I make up pictures off the top of my head generally and as you can see, simple is good. Obviously I have a fondness for trees which you make by cutting out a rough circle the size that you want and blanket stitching it in place. Vliesofix makes it much easier to keep flat but I did mine freehand... and its not super flat, but I'm not worried about that.
The trunk is chain stitch then the branches are backstitch. The fruit or flowers on the trees (the dots) are french knots. The leaves are cut out of felt and straight stitched in place... the grass is just scattered straight stitch too.
If you want a paper cover thats fine too... but you just have to wait till next time for me to explain how the binding paper parts go.