The Nib And Quill

Last year, my then three-year-old daughter brought me a pen and some paper and asked me to "type" her name.  I tried to explain to her that she meant "write", but she insisted it was "type".  Being a computer geek, I have raised my kids on the computer from a young age.  We have tons of learning games that have you "type your name to get started."  This was also a child that loved Baby Einstein and communicated in sign language instead of talking.  She's not deaf--she just preferred sign language.  Thankfully, she now loves to "write" and use her voice.  Maybe she'll be a journaler one day....

If she is, I'll make sure to purchase one of The Nib and Quill's fine selection of coptic-bound journals, either in regular, small, or miniature size.  Regardless of the size, they are all beautiful and made with love.

What does "coptic bound" mean?

The Coptic Binding technique dates as far back as the 2nd century AD in Egypt. A Coptic bound Journal usually has an exposed spine. It is an intricate way of knotting to create a chain that appears braided. I really love the beautiful and vintage way it looks. One benefit to using this stitch is the fact that it will lay completely flat without hurting or putting stress on the spine. This is a must for me when I journal. Once you have it this way, it is very hard to go back to the old spine!

In your journal descriptions, you say that it is made of signatures.  What does "signature" refer to?

The signature is a grouping of paper that is folded. I like to use 4 sheets of paper that I hand tear. When folded, it will allow 16 pages front and back for that signature. I also cover that signature with a special paper. Once all the signatures are folded and sewn, all the different colors of the signature wraps come together to make a gorgeous look.

Where did you get the idea to do a mini journal?

The mini journal was created to up cycle leather that I had around the house. I hate to throw things out and had tucked the leather away for a rainy day. I decided to first use it to make baby journals as a little happy to give to my Etsy customers. They are about an inch wide. They are very fun to make and the customer can add them to key chains, necklaces, or just to have as a cute conversation piece. My daughter wanted one that would fit in the palm of her hand. I made a few for her to give to the neighborhood children and they were such a big hit that I had to put a few in my shop!

You say that your mom is also an artist. What type of art does she create?

My Mother, Pat Barnes, is an amazing artist. She specializes in an art form known as "School girl art". That is where young schoolgirls in the late 18th and early 19th century were taught art techniques on boxes to give as gifts. It is a beautiful technique of watercolor and pen and inks. She uses the techniques for her original art wooden boxes as well as her paintings. She has been very inspiring to me and has taught me many of things.

In your profile, you reveal that you are known as the "Cupcake Friday" lady because you make cupcakes for the neighborhood kids on Friday. Is there someone from your childhood that is inspiration for this?

Once again, this is where my daughter comes in to play. It started when we first moved to Virginia. I was pregnant with my 3rd child and wanted to create something special for my middle child, Olivia. The first cupcake I made her was sunflowers with ladybugs on it. It just happened to be a Friday. I had found it in a cookbook, so I can’t take credit for the design. It was a special surprise for her. She wanted to share with the neighborhood kids and next thing you know, I am drowning in icing every Friday! The kids love it!

These would make great gifts for a new mom, dad, or grad in your life who is starting a new phase of theirs.  Or get one for yourself, and document the changes going on around you. 

Find The Nib And Quill at any of the following online junctions:





  1. Bookbinders are absolutely heroic in my eyes. Kristi's work is gorgeous. Thanks for introducing her.

  2. I am so happy with the interview, Mel! Thank you so much for including me. It is truly an honor!
    Kristi Baker


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