A summerweight little book covered in linen

Dear Everyone ~

When I visited Boston in the spring of 2018,
my aunt took me to the studio sale of a clothing and textile designer.
In a room full of lovely garments, was a bag full of 3 x 3
hand-dyed linen squares. Yes, they spoke to me, and I did not resist.
I could immediately see them as covers for little books.

I experimented with assorted types & colours of threads,
including pale oranges and ochres. Ultimately,
I bought some undyed Japanese cotton yarn
(just next door, at Knit1).
Though the Japanese-style binding is very sturdy,
the books have a dreamy quality.

The 16 interior pages are crisp Esleeck (a now-closed paper mill
in Massachusetts) Fidelity Onion Skin, from the days of typing paper.
I don’t know of anyone in the U.S. who makes onion skin or
cockle-finish (which was air dried) paper today.

The paper is quite receptive to a micron pen, fountain pen,
or sumi-e brush pen. Lightly applied watercolour would be divine.


The book fits perfectly in a square (3½ x 3½) glassine,
sealed with a dainty bit of washi. The glassine gets an outer wrap
of white tissue on the bias. Fresh & dressy.


Click here for a Little Linen-covered Book

Airily, breezily, calmly, Bari

Last Friday, June 28, was the fourth anniversary
of the shop’s opening. A sign heralding this will
be in the window as of July 6.

The thrall of wall-to-wall postcards

Dear Everyone ~

In honor of the beginning of summer, I’ve just updated my postcard wall.
It is now two-thirds, maybe even three-quarters, of the way to the kitchen.
Some of the recent cards have come from my Post Crossing exchange.
Many of the new arrivals have come from long-time friends and from customers
(who I now consider friends), some of them right in Chicago.

Occasionally, a customer will take a moment to send me a card from the road,
or the plane. Armel recently sent me a postcard from Kenya,
mailed in an envelope with a marvelous stamp: the shape of Kenya made of produce,
with close-ups of selected crops. In December of last year,
Armel sent me a glorious card from Venice …
which finally arrived at the beginning of June!
That was a grand surprise.

It’s particularly thrilling to receive a one-of-a-kind postcard
drawn or painted by someone I know.
A couple of local friends are especially prolific, and generous, and inspiring.
Here are three front-and-backs made by Maralee,
who meticulously adds an artful detail and a subtle splash of
wordplay to the message side as well.
She is also clever at selecting stamps that complement her theme.

My friend Janet, a “graduate” of Sketch, Doodle, Draw when I first opened the shop,
has become a dedicated artist of beguiling mostly botanical cards.
She uses a micron pen or fountain pen for contours,
and then coloured pencils or watercolour — and honours her tools delightfully.

* * * * *

My morning ritual is to sit at my desk at home,
while I’m having tea, and write a postcard or two.
I send several postcards every week,
usually ones that I’ve drawn with pen and ink or micron or a brush pen …
on whichever blank watercolour cards I’m favouring at the time. I
am always behind on my correspondence,
as shown by the current assortment of cards patiently awaiting messages and recipients.


* * * * *

Three new Hahnemühle watercolour postcard products are now in stock.

The 250 gsm pad comes in two sizes, the smaller of which (4⅛ x 5¾)
qualifies for the postcard rate (35¢).
The larger (4⅛ x 8¼) requires First Class postage (55¢).
For 55¢, you could also mail your card in a European DL envelope,
if you happened to have any handy.
The other new Hahnemühle item is a tin of postcards with rounded corners.
The cards are slightly heavier and slightly more textured than the tin we showcased in May
(which promptly sold out, but is now back in stock).

Postcards in their Tins
Hahnemühle Watercolour Postcard Pads

À la card, Bari

Next week, the shop will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday (July 3 & 4),
in addition to our usual closing days of Monday and Tuesday.
I wish you a Festive Fourth!

Washi ’n’ wear: Light wraps for summer

Dear Everyone ~

The studio’s complimentary “signature wrap” has recently undergone a subtle shift,
inspired by a friend whose papery sensibilities I admire. She wraps her packages
with the tissue on the bias, and she is a big fan of “dress pin” washi.
This tape is brilliantly designed so that when you apply a piece to anything,
it looks as if the pin has gone through the paper or fabric.
I love this trompe l’oeil effect.

After a bit of experimenting, I decided I even like leaving one corner
of the tissue un-tucked in. It reminds me a bit of a furoshiki.

The “clip” pattern offers assorted butterfly clips and bulldog clips.
When you apply a piece on top of twine or cord,
it looks as if the clip is holding the beribbonment in position.

The “envelope/eyelet” tape includes several string-and-button closures.
I am particularly fond of using these on envelope flaps.
They are also great to secure the ends of a wrapped package.

The pin pattern is very temporarily out of stock;
the other two patterns are available immediately.
You can order now, and we will ship as soon as your order can be complete.
(Parcels will be sealed with a surprise pattern of washi!)

Numerous other patterns (in a range of widths) are available at the shop.
Assortment boxes of six patterns are also in stock in limited quantities.


Assorted washi tapes

That’s a wrap, Bari

A summary of new papery pleasures

Dear Everyone ~

Some dreamy delights have drifted into the shop,
especially for correspondents, watercolourists, sketchers,
doodlers, listers, collagers … and packaging admirers.

I’m so very thrilled about accordion books (a.k.a. concertinas)
from Germany in a quartet of sizes; 30 cold-press watercolour “postcards”
in a very pretty protective tin; and fountain pen inks from Japan
in fourteen nature-honouring colours.

The accordion sketchbooks are made from natural white
Hahnemühle heavy watercolour paper.
(It is truly two-sided, which is not always the case.)
The covers are charcoal grey cloth with a bit of sheen and subtle texture.
The red elastic closure wraps from the back to hook over
the upper front corner—something I’ve never seen before.

Don’t feel left out if you aren’t a watercolourist.
These books make lovely travel albums, swatch collectors,
or celebratory cards where everyone gets his or her own panel to inscribe and decorate.
An accordion book left open on a mantel or shelf is a lovely enticement to remember an(y) occasion.
The Hahnemühle paper is also great for coloured pencils and for pen and ink.

Speaking of ink: these fountain pen inks are made by Kyo-no-oto. Yes, in Kyoto.
Why would I resist nine numbered inks plus five special-edition colours?
Their boxes are little jewels (2¾ x 1⅞ x 1½) of packaging detail.
The numbered inks come in a superb letterpress-printed box
made of ultra-heavy natural white watercolour paper.
The wrap-around label is printed on slightly glazed white paper.
The combination is exquisite.
The five special-edition inks are in a different palette,
with a different box design, and the ink bottle itself is definitely luxe.

These perfectly portable postcards come in a tin that is noteworthy in its own right.
The 4 x 6 postcards have rounded corners and rule-lines for an address.
The card surface is ideal for watercolour, pen and ink, coloured pencil,
and even markers. The cold-press stock is natural white …
and the raised Hahnemühle logo on the lid is the best little crest.

Link to the ink
Click here to the accordion books
Click here to the tin of postcards

Capering with paper, Bari

Hugely good things come in small packages

Dear Everyone ~


I have always been attracted to desk accessories in general,
and to mini-versions of things in particular.
My very newest “big little news” is a set of mini memopads from Japan.
Each measures only 2¼ x 1⅜ x ⅝ thick.


The covers are so charmola.
The spine view reminds me of a box of matches AND of a miniature book
AND of the vintage packaging for red-bordered labels.
Each cover features a delightful cut-paper illustration: a red bird, an apple tree,
blue lotuses, a bookish girl, and a chrysanthemum close-up.

These are eye-catching as a set, and even a single pad makes a great party favor.
I couldn’t resist wrapping one and tying on a half pencil covered in Japanese paper.


I use butterfly clips pretty much every day, for organizing,
for gifting, and for sealing packages in the shop.
The smaller sizes remind me of bonbons:
my tiny butterfly clips covered in Japanese paper are ¾ wide;
the teeniest are ⅜ wide.
They are as practical as they are pretty, and pretty sweet.


Few paper things are more endearing than a minuscule envelope.
You can use them for postage stamps, little messages,
tooth fairy you-know-whats, and Blackwing eraser refills.
My tiny envelopes measure 1 x 1 and my teeny envelopes measure 1¼ x 1¼.

Last but not least, another new arrival in the shop are paperclips made of paper.
Each little box contains 6 white, 6 tan, and 6 black.
They are a stylish accent and a great alternative to stapling or sticky-noting.

Diminutively, Bari

Boston: A Convergence of Creative Spirits

Dear Everyone ~


I’ve recently returned from my second “teaching trip”
to Studio Carta in Boston. Everything felt familiar, and all the logistics went smoothly.
Best of all, there were wonderful surprises…

I have a few customers in Canada, including Mya, who lives in Toronto.
As it happened, she had placed an online order the day I flew to Boston.
I emailed to let her know I’d be shipping orders when I returned to Chicago,
but that if she needed her order sooner, I’d have one of my shop assistants
assemble her package and ship it. Mya replied No worries,
adding that she had wanted to sign up for one of my workshops in Boston,
but that it was too last minute.

Then, four days later, I received an email from her, on Friday evening,
saying she had just signed up for Saturday’s workshop and booked her flight.
Yes, she came directly to Studio Carta from the Boston airport …
and went directly back to the airport after the workshop!
It was wonderful to meet her.

Barbara, another student in Saturday’s workshop,
has been an online customer for about a year now.
She lives in New York, and she drove over to Boston with her husband
for the buttonhole stitch workshop. This was her first-ever bookbinding class …
and a great success for her.
And it was wonderful for me to meet her.


Also in Saturday’s workshop was Melissa, Angela Liguouri’s assistant at Studio Carta.
She wrapped each of the 10 signatures in her book with a strip of paper
around its spine to match her cover. Yes, her spine looked divine!
I know from teaching my online class that this is a popular technique …
and I find it a charming variation. I can’t help thinking about the possibilities,
including using a contrasting signature-wrap or even a gradation of wraps.

On Sunday, Suzette, who had taken my online buttonhole-stitch class,
was one of the five students in the Coptic-stitch workshop.
She brought with her several buttonhole-stitch books she had made, for me to see.
It was a lovely moment.
Her books felt so good to hold,
and one even had hard covers—something I’ve yet to try.

The idea that I can share my knowledge, my aesthetic,
and my love of paper and books with so many people, is thrilling to me.
…I love how modern technology – e-commerce, online classes, texting –
brought all these people together at Studio Carta
to revel in the ultimate analog pastime: making books by hand.

* * * * *

On a non-workshop day, I went to Watertown to visit,
and have tea with, Lynn Faitelson.
She owns Fat Chick Press and specializes in letterpress printed wedding invitations.
Lynn had taken both of my workshops at Studio Carta last September. 
Afterwards, she sent me samples of her botanical series notecards,
which I fell in love with. While I was at Lynn’s last week,
I selected several cards to offer in my shop.
(You will see them very soon-ish!)


Reveling in connectivity, Bari

A stitch in time … makes nine signatures!

Dear Everyone ~


Back in February, I showcased the sketchbooks of my friend
(& working artist & nimble shop assistant) Emmy Kennett.
She never leaves home without a sketchbook, and she had recently made herself
a new buttonhole-stitch one at the studio. Now, she has filled it up …
and has just finished stitching a much thicker, more multi-page sketchbook.
Her vision for it was a bit experimental, so I helped her think it through and
then map out her spine template of 189 pinholes. While I was at it,
I decided to make myself one at the same time.
Mine is still in process, but Emmy’s is already in use.


Emmy filled up her previous sketchbook in about three months,
because it had relatively few pages. She had used Stonehenge 250 gsm (90# Cover).
This time, she wanted more pages, so she selected Hahnemühle Bugra 130 gsm (90# Text),
which she’d used on earlier sketchbooks. Instead of three signatures,
we discussed having a dozen, but then decided that nine would be ambitious enough.
Emmy observed, “I didn’t actually think about whether I wanted the spine to be wide or not.”


Mapping out the pinholes involved some high level bookbinding arithmetic.
The “woven chain” stitching for each signature requires a width of 3/16 inch,
which means that there would be a bit of space between signatures.
Emmy, characteristically, didn’t mind this at all, commenting,
“Years ago, before I’d actually made books or been around bookmaking,
I probably would have cared about the extra space.
But now I know that’s just how it is: It is made exactly how it’s meant to be.
And I know that I probably will use that extra space for taping things into.”
For her cover, Emmy chose luscious Lime Green Saint-Armand.
It’s 100% cotton, very robust, with a lovely fabric-y feel.

Emmy selected three different colours of waxed Irish linen thread (4-ply),
for alternating columns. Her inside stitching also turned out beautifully,
with the colours overlapping.

* * * * *

This past week, I packed up all my supplies to ship ahead to Boston,
where I’ll be teaching next weekend. While I was tying bows on everything,
I spent some time thinking about Emmy’s project and the workshops I’ll be leading.
Whether you are making a book yourself, or having one made to your specifications
(or looking for a readymade one), ultimately the most important aspect
is its usefulness for whatever you hope to do with it.
The pages and cover materials may seem the most obvious criteria,
but other “deciders” include: the feel of the book in your hand;
whether it stays open (if that is important to you);
how durable the cover is — and whether the book fills you with delight.

Bound for Boston,

I was recently interviewed for a post on The Avid Pen blog.
I was pleasantly surprised that the author included
all of my responses and photos!
You can read it here.

Giving very vintage correspondence a second life

Dear Everyone ~


I have been collecting vintage correspondence for many years.
I’ve discovered letters at various venues, at home and abroad,
most of them from the 1800s (and a few that are even older).
All of them were beautifully written by hand, with nibs or quills,
at a time when paper was precious.
How they look and feel is more captivating to me than what they say,
especially as many of them are in languages I don’t read.


Until the 1870s in the U.S., all paper was made from cotton rag,
and those fibers were longer and stronger than the wood fibers now used for papermaking.
The letters in my collection are still in excellent condition,
and the creamy paper is sturdy enough (even when it’s relatively thin)
to cut and score and fold and adhere … and can you see where I’m going

I’ve decided to decant my archive of vintage correspondence
and put these mesmerizing sheets to new use.
I’ve covered a limited edition of buttonhole stitch books,
and I’ve also set aside some sheets for gift-wrapping.
And I’ve made a (very) few small bags, which are splendid for holding baby envelopes
and, inevitably, rolls of washi tape.
I propose to wrap boxed items, such as Italian paper clips,
as well as petite Rivoli pads, enclosure samplers,
and even small Euro-folders.

Several years ago, I acquired ledgers of lightweight “tissue-y” paper
that had been used, with carbon paper, to keep a record of outgoing typewritten correspondence.
Magically, the carbon paper turned the copies an incredible shade of teal.
These pages are wonderful for wrapping small items in what I call “bonbon style”,
with a length of ribbon or bakers twine at each end. 
This is a dreamy way to give someone an Italian glue stick
or a German Duroplast pencil sharpener.


In the dropdown menu for each shop listing mentioned above,
you’ll find a “PLUS” option showing the cost of gift wrapping.
If you’d like to see whether an item not specified above can be wrapped
(or bagged) in vintage correspondence, please email (bz@barizaki.com)
or call me at (773) 294-7766.
I’ll be able to tell you right away how I’d propose wrapping it.

Very epistolarily, Bari

Oh-là-là! Notebooks nouveaux and jaunty journals!

Dear Everyone ~

I’m delighted to announce the arrival of a fresh supply of notebooks
and journals from France. Each one is charmant—and as an ensemble,
they might almost make you feel like you’re jotting on the Côte d’Azur.
They are positively sunny.


Last year, I offered the pamphlet-style notebooks in several springy patterns.
I have restocked my personal favourites from last season
and selected five new designs. The notebooks measure 5½  x 8¼
and have 64 pages of lined ivory paper (90 gsm).
Their binding is stapled (not sewn).
The covers include a handy printed-on “label,”
parfait for personalizing.


The same designers have now created journals, and
I’ve selected six delightful cover patterns.
The journals have twice as many pages (128) as the notebooks
and a perfect-bound spine, like a fashion magazine.
They contain “sections” of three different page patterns: lined, gridded, and plain.
(And a delightful foil-stamped label on the front notes these details en français.) 
Journals measure 6¾ x 9⅜ x ⅜ thick.

You can savour all the notebook cover patterns and
journal cover patterns in their shop listings.

Bon appétit, Bari

Postcard, postcard, on the wall … Yes indeed, I love them all

Dear Everyone ~


It’s been awhile since I’ve shown the postcard wall … which continues to flow.
Soon (swoon) it will literally cascade over my
very big Everything Cabinet to merge with the inspiration collage
above my board-cutting table (near the guillotine).

If you’ve sent cards in the past, you are cordially enticed to join the postal party anew.
Your new card(s) will be washi’d to the wall with future installations,
so you will be represented in different sections—fun to hunt for when you visit.

If you haven’t yet sent a card, I’d love it if you would …
and I will send you a card in return. (So be sure to include your mailing address.)

On a personal note, I’m currently in a phase of enjoying
mailing postcards and notecards into the world,
rather than drawing in my spare moments.

Jotty & Jaunty, Bari