2018, A Year in Review

As the end of the year approaches and we start making plans for the new year, I think it’s helpful to look back at the things we’ve done in the previous year: achievements, failures and things that fall in between. Here’s a little look back at some things that I did in 2018 that I’m proud of, particularly because I experienced huge amounts of fear before I undertook some of them:

Published Work

In January, I had my studio photographed for an article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors. While it was a huge honor to be asked, I was so terrified that I almost said no. I also wrote an article for the same magazine during 2018 that I’m very proud of.


Teaching is the thing I love to do most and I was thrilled to teach 15 classes this year, including to this AMAZING group of bookmakers on the island of Nantucket in March. I also launched my online teaching platform towards the end of the year, which was another scary leap of faith.

Blogging & Online Content

I’m happy that I overcame my fear of video this year and created 16 videos, which although not perfect are getting better with each one I make. This is my 11th year of blogging and I managed to write 39 blog posts, including 7 tutorials and 6 how-to articles. I also sent 53 newsletters, created approximately 200 Instagram posts and dozens of Facebook posts . My biggest joy and surprise of 2018 is the Facebook group, Crafting Handmade Books. This group of almost 900 members has developed into a kind and inspiring community that I’m thankful for everyday.

Paper Club

In March I launched Paper Club and it was a big leap of faith to launch this venture because I was uncomfortable asking my readers for money but I’ve been humbled and gratified by its success. To date, I have shipped approximately 3,000 sheets of paper all over the USA and Canada, and the recipients have made the most amazing projects with them. Switching to a proper online store hosted by Shopify (ie not Etsy or PayPal) was another terrifying but gratifying move this year and one I wish I’d made sooner.

Creative Projects

I hope to write another blog post showcasing my favorite creative projects from 2018, but for now the project that has brought me most joy this year is an altered book I created on retreat.

Altered Book | Ali Manning

And the project that I’m most proud of is the Garden Book I created for an e-book published by Interweave.


Reading over this list makes me feel quite exhausted but also excited for 2019. I’m grateful to all you blog and newsletter readers, those who take time to comment and like my posts on social media. Happy 2019!

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13 Thoughts on “2018, A Year in Review

  1. I wish for you and yours everything beautiful that can be wished….Magic and Wonder, Contentment, Health. Peace, Joy and Love…..now and for the coming New Year.

  2. glacken2016 on December 24, 2018 at 11:12 am said:

    Ali, Merry Christmas to you and Andy! I hope you have a very blessed 2019. Thank you for all you willingly share. Looking forward to knowing more about your online classes. Annie

  3. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, Ali. You are enriching the lives of so many people through your work.

  4. Hi Ali! Thank you for your kindness and inspiration throughout the year. I love receiving your emails and have even purchased some of your handmade papers from The Paper Club. I wish I lived closer to take one of your classes, but have ordered your eBook to try some of your great projects. I live in Canada. Thank you for the holiday wishes. I would like to wish you a very happy and healthy holiday with your family, and I look forward to more exciting things from you in 2019.

  5. Mandy Avery on December 24, 2018 at 3:05 pm said:

    so now it is confirmed. You never sleep, rarely eat and your husband has to look for you in the papers. lol I am over the moon happy that I found you and Vintage Page Designs when I did. Your constant encouragement with your blogs, videos and support through your group page on FB are lifelines for quite a few of us. Thank you. Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year … may you continue to be inspired to produce your work.

  6. I am so thankful for your generosity in sharing your work, instructions and tips, all of which are a great inspiration. And that Facebook group – I was so glad when you started it. Now I am in touch with so many others sharing the same interest in bookbinding. We are all talented in our own way! Merry Christmas . . . and an exciting New Year!

  7. Angela Sopranzi on December 27, 2018 at 6:12 pm said:

    I have an incredible pile of the lovely paper I got from you in 2018. My 2019 plan is to get to all the wonderful tutorials you posted and start creating! Thank you! All the best of love, peace and happiness in 2019!

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