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  • In this week’s How-To Tuesday we are going medieval. We are making our own black ink using a recipe from thirteenth-century France.

    Looking at the golden inlays and the red and blue ink of a medieval manuscript, it is easy to understand why these books were so expensive to make. But most of the text was written using black ink, which at first glance doesn’t seem to be very expensive. However, the black ink was exclusive as well. It took time to make and the ingredients had to be imported from far away.

    The black ink that was used in medieval Europe is called iron-gall ink. There are hundreds of recipes for making iron-gall ink, but they have a few things in common. These things are gallnuts, iron vitriol (a. k. a. copperas), and gum arabic. Many recipes also use rainwater and wine.

  • Ways To Ask Someone to Be Your Bookish Valentine

    “Is love an art? Then it requires knowledge and effort.” 
    ― Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

    Valentine’s Day may be the most bookish of holidays. Think about it. What other holiday encourages people memorize Byron, compare each other to a summer’s day, or sweat over the syntax of a note scrawled on a Pokemon themed card pack from CVS? (Who wouldn’t want to spend the Eevee-ning with you?)

  • Valentine’s Day is one of the more crafty holidays we've got, up there with Halloween and Christmas. Every year, you’re all ‘I should make something this time, because it’s cute and considerate.’ But what if Pinterest makes you feel like you’ll fail before you even start? What if the only idea you have is a ‘Good for 1 Massage’ card? What if when you try to wrap a present, it ends up looking all crinkly? What if you’re hosting a dinner party and you want to decorate with supplies you might already have?

    Maybe the inspiration you've been looking for has been hiding in a craft book in the Arts & Crafts section of your local bookstore. You probably walk by that section because a lot of older how-to craft books look a little … bland. So here are some alternatives you can use for this year's Prove-How-Much-You-Love-Me day.

  • This Valentine’s Day while you’re planning a romantic dinner, or a fun evening with friends, or a good ice-cream-and-Netflix marathon don’t forget to send a little love in the direction of your books. They are after all the best travel agent, and probably taught you a great deal of things including a few about love, friendship and family.

    So treat yourself to a bookmark and make one with your favorite quote for a friend, loved one, librarian, teacher or any of the bibliophiles in your life, because any bookish lover will tell you a bookmark is a perfect Valentine’s Day card.

  • Ah, yes. The noble Penguin. Today on Penguin Awareness Day, we honor the publisher that... 

    Okay, okay. So Penguin Awareness Day isn't actually about the publishing house, but wouldn't that be fun? To celebrate the wrong (but oh so right) Penguin, I've rounded up a number of awesome Penguin Classics inspired projects you can create yourself. 

  • It's Letter Writing Week! There’s something oddly satisfying about getting handwritten notes and letters that electronic mail just can’t convey. Don’t get me wrong, I, like most people my age, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Gmail and the ilk but there are times where the virtual emojis and letters just don’t cut it.

    The weight of the paper, the way people write their letters and even the stamps that people choose all tell stories. What better way to tell a story than create book-inspired cards? They’re conversation starters and a great way to connect with people.

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